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Southern India
2023: Diwali Special

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Date

2-15th November 2023

 

Price
£1,350pp double room

£1,650 private room

 

Arrival and Departure Airport

Kochi (COK)

 

Destinations

Kochi
Munnar
Madurai
Kanyakumari
Varkala
Alleppey

 

Highlights

Wander around the quaint Fort Kochi, a place that was occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British

Experience life in a Keralan village and tour their fruit farm

Wander through tea plantations

Visit one of the oldest cities in the world which we will explore by cycle rickshaw

Be immersed in Hindu culture at the revered Meenakshi temple

Go to the beach and the southernmost tip of India where we can see both the sunrise and sunset

Take a boat ride to spot dolphins

Walk along Varkala cliff enjoying the views and the vibes

Experience daily life on the Kerala backwaters

 

Deposit

£300pp in a shared room / £400 private room

 

Full Balance Due

2nd September 2023

 

Group Size

8 min / 14 max

 

Availability

Places available

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Let us take you
there

Join us to explore the two southernmost states in India; to cross mountains, beaches, and backwaters. Think: banana leaf thalis, rugged coastlines and cliffy beaches, colonial architecture, Kerala backwaters, tea plantations, coconut trees as far as the eye can see, lush rice fields and spice gardens, dolphin spotting, masala dosas, ancient temples & churches, Hindu rituals, traditional dance and martial arts, and so much more.

Day 1

After checking into the hotel and recuperating for an hour or two, we will head out together to share our first meal. This will be a delicious lunch overlooking the harbour. My business partner Paul will then take us to see some of the main sights, including an orientation tour of Fort Kochi. In the evening we will have tea and snacks, lovingly prepared by Paul’s wife Sophie.

Hotel: Roses Inn

Day 2

After breakfast, we’ll drive to our first destination. A stunning hill station in India, Munnar is home to the lush green tea plantations for which India is well known for. On the way, we’ll stop at a local spice garden where we’ll learn all about Keralyan land and its abundance of ayurvedic herbs and spices. When we arrive at the hotel, there will be some time to relax before spending the evening watching a Kallari performance (a beautiful ancient martial art originating from Kerala.)

Hotel: Clouds Valley

Day 3

After breakfast, we will set off to explore Munnar. We will visit the tea factory and learn about the history of the tea plantations, as well as see how the tea is made. We will also have time to do some shopping in the local bazaars. Munnar is a great destination to buy spices, oils, locally made chocolates, and of course – tea! 

For the hikers among us, there’s an optional 5-6 hour morning hike around a tea plantation. It’s a challenging circular route through Shola forest and the plantations, peaking at a whopping 1950m. It offers incredible views of the valley and the forest. The hike is guided by a local who knows the area well, so if you like the outdoors then this is not to be missed! The cost: approx 1000 rupees per person depending on the group size. For the hikers, you can still have the opportunity to visit the tea factory in the afternoon.

Hotel: Clouds Valley

Day 4

After breakfast, we will drive a little way out of the main town to experience life in a nearby Indian village. We will visit some natural beauty points such as Pazhathottam viewpoint, and embark upon a walking tour of the village where they grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. 

On the way back to Munnar, we will view the sunset above the clouds at one of the highest viewpoints in the area, at our last stop for the day. 

Hotel: Clouds Valley

Day 5

After breakfast, we’ll set off to our next destination and next state, which is Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Madurai is one of the oldest continuously habituated cities in the world and home to Meenakshi Goddess Temple. This temple holds great importance due to its mythological and historical significance and is believed to be where Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati, in the Hindu stories. After resting at the hotel, we will pay our first visit to the Temple to witness the beautiful evening Aarti ceremony. 

Hotel: Whestern Park 

Day 6

Today we will do a guided tour of Madurai by cycle rickshaw. We will visit the temple again in the daytime, and experience life in the bustling narrow lanes surrounding the temple. We will also visit the banana and vegetable markets and the Gandhi museum where we can delve deep into the history of India’s Independence Movement. 

Hotel: Whestern Park 

Day 7

After breakfast, we will set off towards Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India where we can watch both the sun rise and set over the sea. Here we can also see the union of three major water bodies merging- the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. After some time to relax at the hotel, we will watch the sunset over the ocean. 

Hotel: Singaar International

Day 8

For the early birds, there is an optional early morning outing to see the sun rise over the sea. After breakfast, we will take a boat ride to Vivekananda Rock. Swami Vivekananda is a revered Indian monk who was said to have attained enlightenment on the rock. In Hinduism, when a person attains enlightenment, they are considered to be a living God and are worshipped in person and after their passing. For the rest of the day, we will spend some time at the beach. We will then visit the Tsunami memorial, the Gandhi Memorial, and the impressive Mathur Aqueduct, one of the tallest and longest in Asia. 

Hotel: Singaar International

Day 9

After breakfast, we will drive to Varkala. Varkala is famous for its staggering cliff views and deep red sand. We will be relaxing here for a few days to wind down after all the adventures we have had so far! Varkala has some fantastic cafes and restaurants and most nights you can find live music playing. There are also some really nice shopping opportunities here. The prices in Varkala are much lower than in Fort Kochi so it’s a good place to get any gifts you want to take home!

Hotel: Hindustan Beach Resort

Day 10

A free day - after breakfast, the whole day is yours to do as you'd like to! There are lots of available yoga classes, indulge in an ayurvedic massage, or have a beer or two on the cliff. 

Hotel: Hindustan Beach Resort

Day 11

In the morning, we will go on a short boat ride in the hope of seeing some dolphins! When we are finished, we will return to the hotel for breakfast. The rest of the day will be free. 

Hotel: Hindustan Beach Resort

Day 12

After breakfast, we will drive to Alleppey where we will spend the rest of the day cruising through the stunning Kerala backwaters. Here we can relax, take in the scenery and enjoy some delicious homemade traditional Kerala meals. 

Hotel: House Boat or Lakeside Resort

Day 13

After breakfast, it’s time to disembark and head back to Kochi. There we will have a guided tour of the Jew Town and visit the Jewish synagogue and Dutch Palace. After lunch, the rest of the day will be free to relax and wander around the quaint harbour town.

Hotel: Roses Inn

Day 14

On this last day, we will drop you off at the airport for your departing flights. If you have the flexibility, we highly recommend that you stay an extra night or two to enjoy Kerala, and go home feeling rested and refreshed. Kochi is a nice place to wander around and enjoy the many cute shops and cafes. 

Included:

13 nights in 3* hotels
All transport
All entrance fees and guide fees

Breakfast every day
Some lunches and dinners

Cycle rickshaw tour
Boat rides in Kanyakumari and Varkala

Not included:

 

Flights
Visas
Travel insurance
Some lunches and dinners
Optional activities, such as hiking in Munnar

Other entrance fees and activities not specified in the itinerary
Tips

Any Covid incurred expenses

Booking Information:

A non-refundable deposit is required to book a place on the tour.

The full balance is due 2 months before the start of the tour on the 2nd of September 2023.

If you would like more information or to book a place on this tour, please send me an email, message or call. When I am in India this number is available for WhatsApp calls and messages only :)

bhavanaexperiences@gmail.com     07858951900

Why not check out my other tours:

Rajasthan Tour

Northern Tour

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