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COVERING THE THREE STATES of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, this itinerary captures the essence of South India. It introduces you to the culture, the highly devotional classical music and dance forms, the distinctive cuisines, the styles of dress, homes.
You start at Chennai, previously known as madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu, and, in 1639, the site of the first settlement of the British East India Company. From there to Mysore, capital of the Wodeyar dynasty which ruled the state of Karnataka for some 150 years till Independence. Then into the interior – the misty hills, lush forests, acres and acres of tea and coffee plantation, orange groves, and breath-taking views of Coorg or Kodagu which translates as ‘dense forest on steep hill’ – an apt description. Kozhikode or Calicut is where Vasco da Gama landed, finally successful in his search for a sea route to the spice lands.
But it is the cruise of the backwaters of Kerala that the true essence of the land comes through – a quite peaceful countryside bathed in serenity.
Reception and welcome at Chennai airport followed by transfer to your hotel. Explore Chennai in the afternoon, the flower and fruit markets, museums, the profusion of superb Indo-Saracenic buildings.
All day excursion t Mamallapuram and Kanchipuram. Also visit Kalakshetra, a cultural institute started in 1936 for the preservation of traditional values in Indian art, especially dance and music.
Take the morning train to Mysore, political and cultural capital of the south under the Wodeyar Kings.
After breakfast, visit the Maharaja’s palace then drive on to see other sites outside the city.
Drive to Coorg in the morning, stopping at a Tibetian settlement en route.
Day at leisure to explore the tranquil beauty of the tea gardens that abound.
If you leave in time, you could be out in the National Park by the afternoon.
Spend the day attempting to spot tiger, leopard, wild dog, elephants, gaur, as well as a variety of monkeys, deer and antelope. The park is also an excellent place for birdwatchers.
A journey through picturesque jungles and countryside to Calicut (also known as Kozhikode), a busy coastal city to the north of Kerala.
This is a long drive with two halts – one at the elephant orphanage and the temple at Gooruvayur en route. Relax in the evening.
On the west coast of India, the town of Kochi, previously known as Cochin, is also referred to as the Gateway of South India. Visit the ancient palace, old Portuguese churches as well as Jewish synagogue, indicates of the diverse cultural heritage of the city.
Take a cruise down emerald backwaters that meander through palm-lines villages where these waterways are still the primary linkage.
Vrinda sets sail for the middle of the lake at sunrise. Spend the day enjoying the luxury of the cruise boat in the most beautiful natural surroundings.
Tour the capital city of Kerala, earlier known as Trivandrum.
Transfer to the airport in time for your flight out.
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