The Great South The Great South
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  • During the first phase of our grand tour of South Indian destinations, we will explore Tamil Nadu including the capital of Chennai, paying close attention to the cultural side with a visit to temples and bazaars. During your tours in Tamil Nadu, you will also visit Pondicherry, France’s former trading post in India that exudes an old world feel and charm. We will discover the fishing villages, beaches and famous temple of Mahabalipuram.

    We continue our holiday, now with a Malu (Malu, nickname for the inhabitants of Kerala whose language is Malayalam) twist in Kerala, the crossroads of various commercial sea routes, which nowadays offers an unparalleled cultural richness. Egyptians, Phonecians, Chinese, Arabs, Portuguese, and Dutchmen... have all docked at their ports. These influences are particularly palpable in Cochin, a port town constructed on the islands of the Arabian Sea that faces the untamed coast of this superb country.

    But Kerala is more that just its cultural richness. The great variety of landscapes (jungle, mountain, rice paddies, lines of coconut trees, spice fields, backwater of south India and rugged coasts), the rich and varied flora and fauna, the warm nature of Kerala’s inhabitant are some of the qualities that make this region one of the most alluring in India. After exploring Periyar National Park, we offer you a well deserved backwaters tour. Revel in your moments of rest and relaxation aboard a charming and comfortable house boat, a setting that is enhanced by the natural beauty of the region made up of lakes and lagoons. Next stop: Cochin or Kochi, seductive port town with a rich history that reflection the perfection and eclectic style that makes Kerala one in a million.

    Now heading to the north, we stop in the former princely state of Mysore, where the earliest temples, constructed in stone, resonate the power and history of past empires. In these sanctuaries, these petrified gods seem to look at the visitors in a manner that oscillates between striking or caressing depending on the day. Karnataka is a vast museum of open sky that leaves visitors dumbfounded with the beauty of its towns: Belur, Halebid, Hampi, Badami... These sites are isolated far from big cities, and draped in the aridity of the Deccan Plateau, the top of a peak or next to a river. Don’t forget that some of these sites have been recognized by the UNESCO as World Heritage sites, and are far from on the lists of the average traveller. True travellers will adore the authenticity and intimacy afforded by these locales.

    Goa’s beaches are among the most beautiful in India. A long stretch of sand reveals itself to you mixing the stories of yesterday with those of today. The former Portuguese hold in India distinguishes itself from the rest of India. Goanais villages, where the architecture still showcases 4 centuries of Portuguese influence, enchant you not only with its small towns, but also with its 300 odd churches that fill this corner of paradise. This is the Indian state where you will truly feel « on holiday ».

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D 1: Chennai (Madras)
Check in to Chennai (Madras) - flights generally arrive at night. Overnight at hotel.

D 2: Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry
Road to Mahabalipuram, the ancient Pallava capital. Discover the low relief representing the « Descent of the Ganges », and the magnificent temples, spread in the village and along the coast. Continuation towards Pondicherry. Overnight at hotel.

D 3: Pondichery
The day is dedicated to the discovery of the city and its different communities and quarters. Enjoy the shady streets and the breeze coming from the sea front in the old French Quarter. The French influence is still visible through the architecture and the checkered town plan. Do not miss a visit to the very animated market and enjoy a drink at a terrace in the evening, enjoying the lively seafront. Overnight at hotel.

D 4: Pondichery - Tanjavur
In the morning, you head to Tanjavur. On the way, you visit Chidambaram and its superb Nataraja temple; you also visit the amazing Gangaikondacholapuram temple. Arrival in Thanjavur and visit of the Brihadishwara temple at sunset. Overnight at hotel.

D 5: Tanjavur- Trichy – Chettinadu
In the morning, visit of Thanjavur palace and its beautiful bronze gallery. You then leave the town towards the West, making your way to Trichy, which happens to be home of two extraordinary temples. Continuation towards Chettinadu. Overnight at hotel.

D 6: Chettinadu
The day is dedicated to the visit of this unique and amazing region, the Chettinad. Land of the Chettiar, landlords, and previously merchants and bankers, this out of the beaten tracks area is best known for its exceptional architecture; visit temples, palaces and mansions designed in a unique South Indian style. Overnight at hotel.

D 7: Chettinad – Madurai
You head towards West and reach the Visit this town which is known as the cultural centre of Tamil Nadu and holds an important place in Hinduism. You visit the amazing Meenakshi Temple, the Gandhi Museum and the palace of the Nayak Overnight at hotel.

D 8: Madurai – Periyar
You leave Madurai and Tamil Nadu to reach the border town of Kumily, in Kerala. Discover the little town which is also the heart of the spices trade. It is the ideal place to visit a spice garden, enjoy an elephant ride or see a traditional martial art performance. Overnight at hotel.

D 9: Periyar – Backwaters
You leave the hills to reach the plain of Palai, gateway to backwaters. You discover authentic villages living at the rhythm of the water. Enjoy this peaceful environment for walking or enjoy a bicycle ride bike. Watch the sunset over the vast Vembanad Lake. Overnight at hotel.

D 10: Houseboat
A short drive takes you to the pier of the houseboat. The boat team welcomes and installs you. You sail on the most famous canals of India and admire their amazing and unique ecosystem: plants, birds and fish are numerous here. You are surrounded by water, paddy fields and coconut trees and you discover tiny villages scattered on narrow strips of land. Meals and overnight on board (double cabin with bathroom).

D 11: Houseboat – Cochin
You head to Cochin, the economic capital of Kerala. You discover the beautiful Fort Cochin peninsula. Overnight at hotel.

D 12: Cochin
Visit of the town. Cochin is an unusual mix of architecture from medieval Portugal, Netherlands, England and South India. Cochin is also a good place to see a Kathakali dances show. Overnight at your hotel.

D 13: Cochin – Calicut (via Guruvayoor Elephant Farm)
Long day on the road to head to Calicut; on the way, you stop at Guruvayoor and visit the sacred elephant farm. The road goes through some unique landscapes as you pass the coastal plains and paddy fields. Overnight at your hotel.

D 14: Calicut – Mysore
In the morning, drive to Mysore in Karnataka. Discover its beautiful palace, its lively market and admire the incense making process. Overnight at your hotel.

D 15: Mysore (visit to Somnathpur temple, Chamundhi Hill, City Palace and market)
In the morning, you go to visit the stunning Somnathpur Temple, one of the gem of the Hoysala architecture. Return to Mysore and visit of the town, a verdant city known for its jasmine and sandalwood as well as for its splendid palaces. Overnight at your hotel

D 16: Mysore – Belur – halebid – Hassan
You leave Mysore to head to Hassan, the only town in that area with lodging options. You go 40 km north to visit the exquisite temples of Halebid and Bellur. Overnight at your hotel.

D 17: Hassan – Hampi
While still heading north, we cross the Deccan plateau until we reach Hospet nearby the lost kingdom of Hampi where the ruins seemingly emerge from the mountains. Overnight at your hotel.

D 18: Hampi
The day is dedicated to the visit of Hampi, the former capital of the Vijayanagar empire and one of the most fascinating site in the country. Overnight at your hotel.

D 19: Hampi – Badami
We spend the morning driving to the small town of Badami. In the afternoon, we visit the famous troglodytic temples. Overnight at your hotel.

D 20: Badami – pataddakal – aihole – Hubli
Today, you visit two amazing temples sites before heading to Hubli, a convenient stop on the way to Goa. Overnight at your hotel.

D 21: Hubli – Goa
You head to your final destination: Goa. Check-in at your hotel and relax on the beach. Overnight at your hotel.

D 22: Goa (Beach)
Day to relax on the beach. Overnight at your hotel.

D 23: Goa (Visits)
The day is dedicated to visits; you start with Old Goa, the former capital of the State and headquarters of Portuguese Power. You the visit Panjim, the actual capital with its magnificent traditional Portuguese houses and its white churches. Overnight in hotel.

D 24: Goa – Bombay (flight)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bombay. End of our services.

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