SOUTH INDIA

Go back in time as you travel through Kerela and Tamil Nadu, two major states that comprise Southern India Add tours for a supplement, combine with another FAM journey and bring your companion to explore the beauty that lies hidden.

Highlights

August 26 - September 2, 2022

Go back in time as you travel through Kerela and Tamil Nadu, two major states that comprise of Southern India. Non-travel industry companions are welcomed to join this journey. Add pre & post tours for a supplement or combine it with another FAM trip in the Indian sub-continent.

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Aug 26
Welcome to Kochi
Kochi
Aug 27
Exploring the city of Kochi
Kochi
Aug 28
Kochi - Madurai
Madurai
Aug 29
Madurai
Madurai
Aug 30
Madurai - Chettinad - Tanjore (Thanjavur)
Thanjavur
Aug 31
Tanjore - Mahabalipuram
TBD
Sep 1
Mahabalipuram - Chennai
Chennai

Day-by-Day Program

Rooms are available for check-in starting 14:00 hrs local. A representative from Yatrik.com will welcome you at the airport and be with you till you check-in to your hotel.

 

Hotel: Taj Malabar

Meals Included: None

It is a very early start as we leave for a backwater cruise of Alleppey; the heart of the backwaters of Kerala. Backwaters comprise of a network of canals, inland lakes, lagoons and estuaries. The waterways link remote villages and islands with the mainland. It is a wonderful experience to cruise the serene backwaters, getting a glimpse into the peaceful life of the rustic village folk who live around the backwaters. Small canoes ply the backwaters, ferrying people and goods. The breath-taking beauty of endless green paddy fields and dancing coconut palms along the shimmering waterways is the best way to get a glimpse of its day to day life. On the way the boatmen could take you into the thatched country shops if you wish to savour the fresh goodness of tender coconut water.

Historic monuments, temples and churches can be seen along the banks of these waters. Lunch will be served on board.

Popularly known as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea”, Cochin is rich both in culture and tradition. Cochin casts a magical spell on you transporting you down the lanes of history to Dutch, Portuguese and British. A land of lagoons, swaying coconut palms and Chinese Fishing nets silhouetted against the sunset. Some of the places that are musts are a visit to see the Chinese Fishing Nets at the entrance to the harbor and a fascinating sight. These old contraptions were introduced by the ancient Chinese travelers and are still used by the fishermen.

The Jew Town – in the Mattancherry, is one street long which at one time was predominantly occupied by Jews,  where they sold fruits, vegetables and spices or worked as oil pressers or carpenters. The Spice market is still located on the narrow street, but most homes and business belong to non-Jews. Out of seven Synagogues that graced this street only the Paradeshi is open. At one end of the Jew Town on the Jew Cemetery Road is the Jewish Burial place, with stone sepulchers above ground and inscriptions in Hebrew and Malayalam. From the burial ground, a walk through several blocks will bring you to the Magen David decorated, wrought iron gates of the Paradeshi Synagogue. Along the way one can identify buildings that once housed synagogues and prayer halls, as well as Jewish homes.

Time permitting, in the evening, a visit to the performance of Kallaripattu – the ancient form of Martial Art, and Kathakalli, a dance form unique to Kerala that retells the story of Mahabharata, Ramayana or Bhagwat Purana – the three epics of India. The dance form is unique in the sense that they always depict lessons of good prevailing over evil and is enacted by dancers in outrageous make-up and only through facial and body expressions accompanied by musical instruments. Never a word is uttered. One has to see it to believe the high-energy performance.

 

Hotel: Taj Malabar

Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

Post breakfast, we will proceed for Madurai.

It is a long drive of 8 plus hours today with a stop for lunch. Once in Madurai, we will check in and freshen and enjoy the evening relaxing or catching up on emails.

Madurai is celebrated for its Meenakshi Temple and is one of India’s oldest cities with a history dating back to the 6th century BC. Madurai’s trade with the ancient Greeks and Romans is well known. It was the capital of the Pandayan Empire till the 14th century and is now an important commercial center of South India.

Lunch will be served en-route.

 

Hotel: Taj Gateway

Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

After breakfast, we will visit the Meenakshi Temple, which is a superb example of Dravidian architecture and sculpture. The temple has two sancta, one dedicated to Shiva and the other to his spouse Meenakshi. The highlight of Meenakshi temple is the “Hall of Thousand Pillars” – all of which are elaborately sculpted A set of musical pillars carved out of a single block of granite that emit melodic noted when tapped, splendid mandapas and a large temple tank are all part of the huge complex.  One of the most popular tourist places in Madurai, the Thirumalai Nayak Palace was originally the residence of the then king Thirumalai Nayak. This palace is a testimony to the perfect blend of Dravidian and Islamic style of architecture. Erected in the year 1635, the palace was a magnificent vision by the king for his royal stay. If you’re a history lover and appreciate the marvels of architecture then this is the place to be. The light and sound show here, every evening, makes the visit even more memorable.

 

Hotel: Taj Gateway

Meals Included: Breakfast

An early breakfast and we depart for Tanjore (Thanjavur).

Enroute we visit the city of Chettinad – which is a 2 two hour drive from Madurai. Make sure to have your walking shoes on.

We will explore the ancient area of Chettiars. Walking along the narrow streets of Kanadukathan – one of 9 villages of the prominent Chettiar community of these parts – you could be forgiven for having fallen back in time to a past that still looms large and casts its shadow upon the daily lives of people here ; where majestic villas, imposing colonial-style bungalows and other stately ruins of a bygone era trying to impress onlookers with their stature and grandeur. The marketplace is abuzz with activities that have not changed in a long time – crafts, jewelry, sculpture and woodwork – all of which form the economic, social and cultural leitmotif of this dynamic and ingenious merchant community. Shoppers can make some great buys and bargains here! And for those of you drawn to religion and want to explore the sacred in the lives of these people, Kanadukathan abounds in many temples known for their unique history, most notably the ancient 1800 years old Pallayiar Patti temple a short ride away. Lunch will be served at Chettinad.

We will continue to Tanjore – another two hours away and on arrival, check-in at your hotel.

Tanjore rose to glory during the late Chola dynasty reign between 10th and 14th centuries and became a center of learning and culture. It is also known as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu and is also known for its exquisite handicrafts, bronzes and Indian Musical instruments. Visit the “Brihadeeswara Temple”, which is Tanjore’s crowning glory. On top of the apex of the 65 meter high temple is an enormous monolithic granite block that forms a cupola on the top. It weighs 81 tons, reflecting the architectural prowess of  the Cholas. This dome was hauled into place by a 6 kms long ramp in a manner similar to that used for the Egyptians Pyramids.  

 

Hotel: Svatma Thanjavur

Meals Included: Breakfast + Lunch

** The flow for this day may change. Based on hotel availability, we may head to Chennai and do a day trip to Mahabalipuram on Sep 1 **

Post breakfast we will head to Mahabalipuram which was once a port city of the Pallava rulers. The temples and rock cut sculptures of that period create a unique blend of history and natural beauty. To be seen here are the Rock Cut Caves – nine of them with carvings from Indian mythology. Arjuna’s Penance – the world’s largest stone bas relief on a huge rock facing the sea with sculptures depicting scenes from the Mahabharata is a sheer beauty. The Rathas are five monolithic temples dedicated to Hindu gods, each created in a different style.  Finally, a must is the Shore Temple – built in the 08th century and one of the oldest temples in South India; the best example of the first phase of temples constructed in the unique Dravidian style. In fact, the whole of Mahabalipuram lies under the open sky and is often referred to as the world’s largest Open Air Art Gallery! All monuments are floodlit at night and so it is possible to enjoy their beauty after sunset also.

 

Hotel: TBD

Meals Included: Breakfast

* The flow for this day may change based on hotel availability and the flow of the program on Aug 31 *

You could sleep in a little or get a head start and wake up to the sound of the waves. 

After breakfast, we will head out to Chennai, our final stop for this journey.

 

Hotel: Taj Connemara

Meals Included: Breakfast

Participation Costs

Travel advisor and planner : USD 849.00 per person on twin share.

Single supplement: USD 349.00

Travel companion: USD 1199.00 per person on twin share

Additional Information

  • 100% payment is required to hold the spot.
  • An invoice will only be raised once the participating travel advisor confirms in writing.
  • For credit card payments, 5% transaction fee will apply.
  • Wire transfer fee for accepting the payment is included in the participation cost. Remittance fee is extra.
  • All payments will be remitted to Yatrik.com, the DMC and the host for the South India FAM trip.
  • Up to 60 days of arrival, 100% credit will be held by Yatrik.com for future FAM or client bookings.
  • Between 60-45 days of arrival, 50% credit will be held by Yatrik.com for future FAM or client bookings.
  • Within 44 days of arrival, non-refundable.

Please refer to the CGI Toronto website or by clicking here.

Visa is required for Canadian and American passport holders. Please refer to the exact requirements on the Government of India (visa online) website or by clicking here.

  • INR or Indian Rupees is the local currency.
  • Currency symbol: Rs.
  • We recommend carrying Rs. 1000.00 for tipping the airport representative, the driver and the bell staff at the hotel.
  • Exchange counters are available at the airport and they do offer competitive rates.

Please consult your doctor for travel vaccination requirements.