BEST OF SOUTH INDIA
Cultural tour of India
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This 15 Nights/16 Days journey reveals South India’s rich cultural heritage covering the three most important states of South India, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The journey starts with the visit to the financial capital of India Mumbai highlighting the spirit of the people of Mumbai and its cosmopolitan culture. Home of the Indian Cinema Bollywood.  This journey further takes us to Kerala God’s own Country where we spend the next 7 Nights and experience tranquility, the beautiful backwaters, lush green surroundings, tea estates, spice plantation, mouthwatering delicacies and unwind ourselves with Ayurvedic massage therapy. After an insight of Kerala, we proceed to Tamil Nadu the bordering state of Kerala, where we get to see the rich culture and heritage South India has to offer with the massive temples at Madurai, Tanjore, experience the culture at one and the only place in India where French is still popular Pondicherry – Former French Colony. Visit the shore Temples of Mahabalipuram – A world Heritage site.  Our journey finally ends at Chennai City with its beautiful Marina Beach.

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Tour Information
Tour Duration : 16 days
Min. Tour Size : 02 persons
Max. Tour Size : 14 persons
Includes international air
Tour Price (from) : US$
Day 01: Arrive Mumbai
Day 02: Mumbai
(B, D)
Day 03: Mumbai/Kochi
(B, D)
Day 04: Kochi
(B, D)
Day 05: Kochi/Thekkady
(B, D)
Day 06: Thekkady
(B, D)
Day 07: Thekkady/Alleppey
(B, L, D)
Day 08: Alleppey/Kovalam
(B, D)
Day 09: Kovalam
(B, D)
Day 10: Kovalam/Kanyakumari/Madurai
(B, L, D)
Day 11: Madurai
(B, D)
Day 12: Madurai/Tanjore
(B, D)
Day 13: Tanjore/Pondicherry
(B, D)
Day 14: Pondicherry/Mahabalipuram/Chennai
(B, D)
Day 15: Chennai
(B, D)
Day 16: Chennai/Onward Destination
(B, D)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day 01: Arrive Mumbai

Arrival. Namaste! We are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together at the airport and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: ITC Grand Central – A Starwood Luxury Collection (2 nights)

Day 02: Mumbai

We start our day with a visit to the Gateway of India, Mumbai's most famous monument. Here we embark on our excursion to the Elephanta Caves*, located on an island in the Sea of Oman. The caves contain a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly the huge high reliefs in the main cave. We return to Mumbai by motor launch and visit the Prince of Wales Museum and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus*, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival Architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. Our Next Stop is at Mani Bhawan, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed here during the Freedom Struggle. The house is now converted into a Museum. From here we leave for the Jain Temple and Hanging Gardens, the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, the bustling Crawford Market and drive past Haji Ali, the tomb of a wealthy Muslim merchant. We end our tour at the Dhobi Ghat, the world's largest outdoor laundry. The word Dhobi Ghat is used all over India to refer to any place where many washers are present. (B, D)

Day 03: Mumbai/Kochi (Flight)

Today we are transferred to airport for our flight to Kochi, formerly known as Cochin. On arrival, we are transferred to our Hotel. Rest of the day is free for personal activities.
Overnight: Trident Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 04: Kochi

In the morning we explore Kochi, formerly known as Cochin, Kerala’s commercial capital with one of the finest natural harbours in the world. We visit St. Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India. Vasco De Gama was buried here before his remains were taken back to Portugal. Next we visit the Roman Catholic Santa Cruz Cathedral built by the Portuguese in the 16th century; which is famous for beautiful paintings on its ceiling. We continue to the Jewish Quarter with its Old Synagogue and the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese. Later we take a boat cruise to visit Bolghatty Palace and observe the fascinating Chinese fishing nets in action. In the evening we enjoy Kathakali Dance Performance. This dramatized presentation of a play usually based on the Hindu epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas, is a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. (B, D)

Day 05: Kochi/Thekkady (Drive)

In the morning after breakfast we drive to Thekkady to check in our hotel. The area is famous for its spice plantations and after lunch we will visit a spice plantation, where cardamom, pepper, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, all spice, and tea are grown. We will also see Ayurvedic medicinal plants and will have the opportunity to buy some garden fresh spices. In the evening we return to our hotel for dinner.
Overnight: Cardamom County (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 06: Thekkady

Our day starts with a jungle walk at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in the early morning, after which we return to our hotel for breakfast. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the world’s most fascinating natural wildlife reserves. Spread across 777 square kilometres it was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. In the afternoon we enjoy a boat ride on Lake Periyar to watch animals in their natural habitat by the water's edge. We are likely to see animals like boars, Sambars, wild dogs, Langur monkeys and wild elephants. The sanctuary is also a haven for water birds and we can see plenty of darters, grey herons, egrets and kingfishers. The evening is free to explore the local bazaar in Thekkady and purchase some of the famous spices grown in the area. (B, D)

Day 07: Thekkady/Alleppey (Drive)

Today we drive to Kumarakom, a beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddies and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies situated by Vembanad Lake. On arrival in Kumarakom we board our traditional houseboat and begin our journey through the picturesque backwaters and small lakes relaxing in the tranquility of Kerala's beautiful scenery. On our journey we come across many boats, canoes and other crafts, as we observe the traditional way of life and activities of the local people.
Overnight: Air-conditioned Deluxe House Boat (1 Night) (B, L, D)

Day 08: Alleppey/Kovalam (Drive)

We enjoy breakfast on board, sail to Alleppey and disembark at the Puthenagady Jetty. A comfortable drive gets us to beautiful Kovalam Beach on the Malabar Coast near Trivandrum. We then get to relax by the beach with endless white sands by the blue waters of the Arabian Sea in secluded a coconut groves.
Overnight: Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 09: Kovalam

Free day to relax on the beach. (B, D)

Day 10: Kovalam/Kanyakumari/Madurai (Drive)

After breakfast we leave for Madurai, visiting Kanyakumari, the “Lands’ End" of India on the way. Kanyakumari is the southernmost tip of peninsular India where the waters of the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet. We visit the Temple of Goddess Kumari, the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in the sea where Swami Vivekananda mediated. After lunch we continue our journey to Madurai. On arrival, we check in our Hotel.
Overnight:Hotel Sangam/Fortune Pandiyan (2 nights) (B, L, D)

Day 11: Madurai

Today we explore Madurai, the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. The city revolves around the Meenakshi Amman Temple, a structure in the Dravidian style of architecture. The complex houses 14 gopurams(gateway towers) ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high, and two golden sculptured shrines over sanctum of the main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure was built from 1623 to 1655. There are an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple and amongst the highlights are the Hall of a Thousand Pillars, the Tirumalai Nayaka Temple and the Temple Art Museum. (B, D)

Day 12: Madurai/Tanjore (Drive)

In the morning after breakfast we drive to Thanjavur and check in at our hotel. Thanjavur is popularly known as Tanjore. In the afternoon we explore the Brihadisvara Temple, one of the Great Living Chola Temples*. The temple, set in spacious grounds, has several pillared halls and shrines. Inscriptions record the names of dancers, musicians and poets a reminder of the significance of this area to the development of the arts in the 11th century. We end our tour of Tanjore with a visit to the Tanjore Palace & Museum, which has an eclectic collection of regal memorabilia most of it dating from the early 19th century.
Overnight: Hotel Sangam (1 night) (B, D)

Day 13: Thanjavur/Pondicherry (Drive)

In the morning after breakfast we drive to Pondicherry. This former French Colonial city in Tamil Nadu didn’t come under Indian rule until 1954. Pondicherry, otherwise known as Puducherry means a “New Hamlet” and is located on the Coromandal Coast. Its main attraction is actually outside of town: the ashram at Auroville, built by followers of Sri Aurobindo, a philosopher-prophet born in 1870, famous for his Integral Yoga and philosophical literary works. In the International Town where people from all over the world reside, we will find the Matrimandir, the famous monument built by the Auroville Society representing a lotus flower. Today we will also visit the 400-year old Manakula Vinayagar Temple, which has several frescos telling the life story of a half human and half animal lord.
Overnight: The Promenade (1 night) (B, D)

Day 14: Pondicherry/Mahabalipuram/Chennai (Drive)

In the morning after breakfast we drive to Mahabalipuram. On arrival we check in at our hotel. In the afternoon we visit the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram*. This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel Coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous 'Descent of the Ganges', and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. After lunch, we continue our journey to Chennai. On arrival we check in our Hotel. Rest of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency Chennai (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 15: Chennai

We tour Chennai, visiting the National Art Gallery & Museum, which contains some of the best collections of bronzes in the country including the famous icon of Natraja. We continue to India's oldest surviving British church, St. Mary's Church, built in 1680. We end our tour with a visit to People’s Park and the beautiful Marina Beach and the clock towers. (B, D)

Day 16: Chennai/Onward Destination

Today is free for shopping and other personal activities. Hotel Check out time is 12:00 Noon. In the evening we enjoy our farewell dinner at local well known restaurant. After an incredible tour of the Best of South India, we are transferred we are transferred to the international terminal for our flight home. We bid farewell to India after what will have been a memorable journey into history, culture, art, architecture, making new friends and lots of memories. (B, D)

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Departure Dates
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).

2017

Jan 21; Feb 08; Mar 18; Apr 26; May 17; Jun 14; Jul 16; Aug 13; Sep 17; Oct 14; Nov 04; Dec 09

2018

Jan 28; Feb 17; Mar 17; Apr 28; May 16; Jun 13; Jul 15; Aug 19; Sep 16

Tour Price

We accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here

Departure(s) Per Person on Twin Sharing Single Room Supplement
2017
Jan 21; Feb 08; Mar 18 US$ 2337 / CA$ 3030 US$ 865 / CA$ 1120
Apr 26; May 17; Jun 14; Jul 16; Aug 13; Sep 17 US$ 2147 / CA$ 2790 US$ 670 / CA$ 870
Oct 14; Nov 04; Dec 09 US$ 2380 / CA$ 3099 US$ 880 / CA$ 1145
2018
Jan 28; Feb 17; Mar 17 US$ 2380 / CA$ 3099 US$ 880 / CA$ 1145
Apr 28; May 16; Jun 13; Jul 15; Aug 19; Sep 16 US$ 2199 / CA$ 2869 US$ 675 / CA$ 877


Notes

N/A



Inclusions


Tour Price Includes
  • Domestic airfare: Mumbai/Cochin (based on current applicable fares)
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • 32 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers by private transportation
  • Services of local English speaking guides
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
  • Harbor Cruise in Cochin
  • Kathakali Dance performance - Cochin
  • Spice plantation tour - Thekkady
  • Boat Ride at Lake Periyar - Thekkady
  • Guided Jungle Walking Tour - Thekkady
  • 01 Rejuvenation Massage for 01 Hour at Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort – Kovalam
Not Included
  • International airfares
  • Insurance/visas
  • Tips/gratuities

Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)

CANADA(West Coast)
US$ 1600

USA(West Coast)
US$ 1400

CANADA(East Coast)
US$ 1200

USA(East Coast)
US$ 1000

Participants

This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 14 participants

Customised Itinerary

If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.

Contact Info
You may e-mail us at bestway@bestway.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.