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A journey to discover South India: the Tamil Nadu region with its original culture, its stone temples and classical dances that represent a unique experience surrounded by tasty dishes of the local cuisine different from the rest of the country; Periyar, with its famous natural reserve, where bison, sambar, wild boar, elephants and tigers live; Kumarakom, paradise for observers of sedentary and migratory birds; Kerala where, according to legend, the warrior goddess Bhadrakali choose to live; Cochin, a city with a colonial past, a happy syncretism of different cultures. The journey requires a good spirit of adaptation for some long transfers and quite spicy food. Leave with us for this magnificent trip to India without barriers!
Arrival in Chennai in the early morning. Handling of the check-in and the customs formalities. Meeting with the local guide and transfer to the chosen hotel (rooms available immediately after the arrival). Morning dedicated to rest and acclimatization. In the afternoon visit of the city, capital of Tamil Nadu. The East India Company established one of the first Indian settlements here since the 17th century. The city, unlike Bombay and Calcutta, did not have a natural port, nevertheless, it mainly thrived thanks to the low-cost local cotton. A recurring feature in the architecture of the Indian companies is a particular type of white tint, called chunam, made with limestone and shells, which makes the walls almost blinding in the strong summer light. Visit Fort St. George, an imposing complex started in 1654, inside which there is the oldest English building still intact in India: the High Court's St. Mary's Church, built in the Indo-Saracenic style in vogue in the 19th century, and finally the Kapaleeshwarar Temple and St. Thomas Cathedral. Dinner and overnight.
Breakfast. In the morning departure by car for Pondicherry (km. 165, about 5 hours of travel). Stop along the way for a visit to the Temples of Mahabalipuram, built in the seventh century by the Pallavas. The complex consists of 14 temples carved into the rock, nine Rathas monoliths, three stone temples and two valuable bas-reliefs, of which the most famous is the Penitence of Arjuna. Free lunch. Continue to Pondicherry: after the arrival, hotel accommodation and visit to the Ashram of Aurobindo Ghose, Indian philosopher, mystic and politician. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Breakfast. In the morning departure for Tanjore (km. 177, about 6 hours), along the route we will see Chidambaram, Darusuram and Gangaikondacholapuram. In Darusuram there is the Airatesvara Temple, a fine example of Chola architecture, with columns thickly decorated with miniature sculptures, while in Gangaikondacholapuram there is a temple consacrated to Shiva, built by Rajendra, which certainly represents a more advanced phase of the art of the Chola. Free lunch. Arrival in Tanjore expected in the late afternoon: hotel accommodation. Dinner and overnight.
Breakfast. Tanjore, founded by the Chola, rulers of this region for centuries, later became the capital of Rajaraja I. During his reign and that of his son there was a great widening of the borders. The Chola became rich with the trade of silk, cotton, spices, drugs, jewelry, sandalwood and camphor, also developing agriculture. The differences of the castes became more and more clear, the temporal power merged with the spiritual one: the images of the monarchs of the past were venerated and the raja-guru or priest of the king became the main adviser not only spiritually but also politically. In the morning we visit the Brihadishvara Temple, which represents the emblem of this new conception of government. Built in granite, it contains a large statue of Nandi or sacred bull, carved from a single stone, about 6 meters long and 3 meters high. After visiting the temple, you can admire the Chola bronze sculptures, exhibited with sobriety and elegance in the museum of the Nayaka Palace, built from 1550, an imposing stone building whose buildings are arranged around several courtyards. In the afternoon excursion to Trichy, known as "City of sacred rock". Its origins are lost in the centuries prior to the Christian era. Visit the temple of Srirangam, where pilgrims and worshippers celebrate the rituals on the bank of the Cauvery river. Here in December a big party is celebrated, Vaikunta Ekadasi or Festival of Heaven, which lasts 21 days. Return to Tanjore, dinner and overnight.
Breakfast. In the morning departure for Madurai (km. 180, 4 hours). After the arrival, accommodation in the rooms of the chosen hotel. Visit of the Palace of Tirumala Nayaka, in Indo-Mughal style, built in 1636. Also, we will visit the Svarga Visalam (celestial pavilion), an octagonal structure formed by masonry arches without support beams. In the evening there will be an Aarti ceremony at the Meenakshi Temple. Dinner and overnight.
Breakfast. In the morning visit to the Meenakshi Temple, dedicated to the "fish-eyed goddess" and her husband Sundareshwara. Inside there is the sacred pool of the golden lotus: a legend says that when a new literary work was presented to the court, it was immersed in these waters; if it remained afloat it was a masterpiece, otherwise a bad text. In the afternoon departure for Periyar (km. 151, 3-4 hours). Accommodation in the rooms of the chosen hotel: dinner and overnight.
Breakfast. In the morning excursion by boat on Lake Periyar, to admire nature: on its banks there is the Hunting Reserve, where several species of wild animals live such as tigers, elephants, bison and monkeys. In the afternoon departure for Kumarakom (km. 127, about 4 hours). Upon arrival, accommodation in the rooms of the chosen hotel. At sunset boat excursion on Vembanad lake. Dinner and overnight.
Breakfast. Free morning available. In the afternoon departure for Cochin (km 80). Photo stop along the way at the Backwaters, the vast network of canals (about 900 km) that connects the coast to the various villages located in the interior. They represent the first communication route prior to the construction of the roads and are still used today for trade and travel. Along their way, you can see villages whose life seems to have stopped over time. Arrival and accommodation in the hotel. In the evening there will be a Kathakali dance show. Dinner and overnight.
Breakfast. In the morning we will visit he city. Cochin stands on several islands where the sea joins with Lake Vembanad: history tells that St. Thomas came to this isthmus around the 50 AD, rising the Christian community of the Moplars. Later came the Jews, Chinese, Persians and in 1502 the Portuguese. Vasco de Gama built a Portuguese factory for the exportation of spices. Albuquerque, who arrived here in 1503 with friars, began the construction of the fort and the church. After alternating dominations by the British, Dutch and French, in 1795 the British took possession of its strategic and profitable port. Today the economic hub of the city is represented by the commercial port from which the extraordinary production of the country starts: rubber, coconut, bananas, ginger and cashews. We visit externally (due to the numerous architectural barriers) the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace, closed on Friday), in reality built by the Portuguese in 1557 for the raja Veera Keralavaram to obtain commercial favors; the Pardesi Synagogue (closed on Saturday), built in 1568 and destroyed by the Portuguese, was rebuilt in 1664. Inside, it houses peace and serenity, even if the small number of the Jewish community often does not allow the performance of functions. A curious peculiarity are the Chinese fishing nets, located on the surface of the water and controlled by a complex system of weights and pulleys. Dinner and overnight.
Transfer to Kovalam (about 6 hours) for a day dedicated to relaxation, the Ayurvedic treatments are available on the site.
Overnight stay (assistance not included, if available it will be requested to the hotel).
Breakfast at the hotel and day at guests' disposal.
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Thiruvanathapuram airport for the return flight.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|From 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2020||€ 2,405|
(B / L / D): B = breakfast; L = lunch; D = Dinner
Individual departures on free dates, minimum 2 people.
The itinerary may be subject to changes based on weather, road conditions, site closing days or internal flight/train times if used.
Check-in at hotels is usually at 2.00 p.m., check out at 12.00 a.m.
To access some temples you will be asked to remove shoes and socks.
Tips are not mandatory but are recommended for drivers and guides.
To participate in this trip you need an Indian visa, a passport valid for 6 months with at least two free pages, two 5 x 5 passport photos and an online form duly completed and signed. It is necessary to send the original passport, form and photos to GO ASIA one month before the departure.
Exchange rate € 1 = INR 72 at 12/16/2016
Changes in exchange rates with fluctuations greater than 3% will lead to an adjustment in costs and will be communicated within 20 days of departure.
Proposed hotels (disable friendly rooms):
|Madurai||Heritage Madurai||Deluxe Club Villa|
|Periyar||Cardamom County||Periyar Cottage|
|Kovalam||Uday Samudra||Ayur Ashram|
The tariff includes
The tariff does not include
Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
from € 880
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
from € 950 - Excluding flights
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
from € 1300
Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
from € 400
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