Explore the best of South India and Sri Lanka. From Chennai to Madurai, Periyar, Habarana, Kandy and more, you will get to see the sites, meet the people and eat the food, all while enjoying everything they have to offer.
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Day 1: Arrive in Chennai
Upon arrival at Chennai, you are met, greeted and escorted to the Hotel. You are welcomed in the hotel in a Traditional Indian style on arrival and check into the hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Chennai
After breakfast morning is at leisure.
Afternoon we visit Chennai served as the economic and political capital of the East India Company from the 17th century onwards. Among the highlights of the city is Fort St George that marks the beginning of Chennai as an important centre for trade. Within the fort is St Mary’s Church, the first English church in India and the oldest British building to survive. We will spend sometime in the Mylapore temple area to visit the 16th century Kapleeswarar temple and the fruit and flower market. We also visit to the Government Museum and Art Gallery, to see the art and bronze gallery, (closed on Fridays and public holidays). We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 3: Chennai – Excursion to Kanchipuram / Mamallapuram
In the morning after breakfast, we leave for an excursion to Kanchipuram, one of Hinduism’s seven most sacred cities. This “Golden City of a Thousand Temples” dates back to the early Cholas in the 7th century AD. Only around 70 temples of the original 1000 old temples are still intact and the most famous of them is the Kailasanatha Temple built with sandstone in the early seventh century AD. Kanchipuram is also known for its silk weaving and a visit to the nearby villages to see the craftsmen at work on their looms is a rewarding experience.
We continue on to Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) to visit the seventh century rock hewn monuments. The Shore temple, a World Heritage Monument is the only surviving one of seven, is a unique example of a temple built of rock quarried elsewhere and carried to shore. The best-known of the rock carvings is the immense bas-relief which is sculpted in fascinating detail on a huge whaleback-shaped rock, depicts the descent of the Ganges to the earth, the penance of Arjuna and myriad characters from the Mahabharata.
We also visit the Five Rathas, set of monolithic rock temples located on a sandy compound are the perfect examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. The Rathas have an association to the great epic Mahabharata which describes the heroes of Mahabharata with their wife Draupadi which is termed as pancha pandava rathas. We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 4: Chennai – Madurai (By Flight)
After breakfast at the hotel we drive to Chennai airport to board your flight to Madurai.
Upon arrival at Madurai airport, you are received by our representative and escorted to the hotel for check-in and rest.
In the afternoon we leave for city sightseeing tour visiting the Meenakshi Temple, an enormous temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati or Meenakshi. The temple with its majestic stonewalls and 12 towers known as ‘Gopurams’ rising out of the swarming streets of the city center were built in the 17th century by Nayak rulers. The high point of the Meenakshi temple is Hall of a “Thousand Pillars”, built in the 16th century; every pillar sculptured in Dravidian architecture. Not to be missed here are ‘Musical Pillars’. Each pillar when struck, produces a different musical note. Later, visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace — a gracious building in the Indo-Saracenic style, famous for the stucco work on its domes and arches.
After early dinner we return to Meenakshi Temple to witness the daily prayer ceremony when the temple bronze of Lord Shiva is carried to the bed chambers of Goddess Parvati. The procession is accompanied by religious prayer and temple music. We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 5: Madurai – Periyar (160 Kms / 4 Hrs)
Check out from the hotel after the breakfast and drive to Periyar. Check-in at the hotel upon arrival.
After the lunch in the afternoon, boat ride on the lake is the usual way of touring the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Boat cruises make the best option to check out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary. Today the Periyar Lake presents an excellent boating spot for tourists. Although it is unusual to see many animals from the boats, still you spot a family of Elephants, Wild Boar, and Sambar Deer by the water’s edge. The upper deck is best for wildlife viewing when taking a boat cruise, but better turn up half an hour early to get the best seat. We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 6: Periyar
Entire day is at your disposal to explore the spice plantations at Periyar. This exotic land reminds of a colorful impressionistic painting stirred to life as if by a miracle. Thekkady’s fantabulous landscape is diffused with exotic spice plantations, green carpets of endless tea gardens and lush tropical forests. Garbed in vibrant hues and bountiful gifts of nature, Thekkady offers a perfect romantic escapade into the soothing laps of Mother Nature. You can also take the optional guided treks in the wilderness, elephant rides and visit tribal museum. We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 7: Periyar – Alappuzha (175 Kms / 5 Hrs)
After breakfast we drive to Alappuzha (Alleppey). Check-in at the houseboat on arrival for an overnight backwater cruise.
The boat cruise takes you to small islets & you get glimpses of village at the best of its serenity and innocence. Watch village girls picking mussels or laundering clothes or pots on the small ponds in front of their house, while men folk are busy plucking coconuts, dates from the trees. Watch the village folk make the golden fiber called coir from coconut husk and transform it into various coir products. Rustling coconut groves abound. So stop over to drink calm fresh coconut water from the kernel and watch the toddy-taper tap at work. You can see birds like kingfishers, pheasants, cormorants, drogues, woodpeckers, Bee-eater and kite. Meals are freshly cooked and served on the houseboat. Overnight on board.
Day 8: Alappuzha – Kochi (65 Kms / 1.5 Hrs)
Disembark from your private houseboat and drive to Kochi (Cochin), upon arrival check-in to hotel.
In the evening you will witness Kathakali Dance Show, India’s most spectacular Dance Drama based on stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. The dancers are elaborately made up with paint and masks, accompanied with drummers and musicians. We reach the theatre early to get a chance to see the dancers getting ready for the show and their faces being painted. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 9: Kochi
After breakfast we leave for a guided tour of Cochin. We visit the St. Francis Church considered the first European Church in India, built in 1562 by St. Francis; this is India’s oldest European-built church. Continue on to Mattancherry Dutch Palace (closed on Friday & Public holiday), a double-storied palace. The most important feature of Mattanchery Palace is the murals in the bedchambers, which depict scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata. These murals are some of the most beautiful and extensive, one of the wonders of India. Proceed to the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Saturdays), which was constructed in 1568 and is the oldest in commonwealth. While driving along the coastline, at the Harbour’s mouth, one can also view the unique and still-in-use “Chinese Fishing Nets” which were introduced by the Chinese traders in the 14th Century. The tour ends in the Fort Kochi area where you can walk through the historical Dutch and Portuguese buildings. Some parts of this nearly 500-year-old Fort are still amazingly well preserved. We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 10: Kochi – Colombo (By Flight)
Today in time you will be transferred to Kochi airport to catch your flight to Colombo.
Upon arrival at Colombo airport, you are received by our representative and escorted to the hotel for check-in and rest.
In the afternoon commence a sightseeing tour in city of Colombo. Drive through the commercial and city center area known as the “Fort”, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century where grand colonial era buildings stand alongside modern office structures. See the busy markets and noisy bazaars of Pettah, the National Museum with its fine collection of lovely antiques and art of Sri Lanka. Drive past the Town hall, Independence Square, the B.M.I.C.H (International Convention Centre) and Cinnamon gardens residential area and visit a Buddhist temple and a Hindu Kovil to experience the diversity of religion, ethnicity and customs of the people. We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 11: Colombo – Sigiriya – Habarana (190 Kms / 6 Hrs)
After breakfast at the hotel we leave for Sigiriya and climb the Rock Fortress (a UNESCO World Heritage site) built by King Kassapa in the 05th Century A.D. which was a Royal Citadel for more than 18 years. The lion rock is a citadel of unusual beauty, rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The base of the rock is ringed by a moat and rampart and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens. The majestic Lion’s Paw picturesquely guards the stairway of the palace on the summit. See the famous frescoes of the “Heavenly maidens” of Sigiriya in a sheltered pocket of the rock and the 10 foot high Mirror Wall. Overnight stay is at the hotel.
Day 12: Habarana
After breakfast at the hotel we leave for the excursion of Anuradhapura.
Visit the sacred ancient city founded in the 4th Century B.C (UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982). It has the largest number of ancient monuments of the great Sinhala civilization which flourished in this region. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagobas of Sri Lanka, Ruwanweliseya dagoba, 2nd Century BC with its famous elephant walls and the 3rd Century BC Thuparama dagoba. Ruins of ancient royal palaces specially the pillars of the Brazen Palace, which once had nine storey’s, temples, the image of the Samadhi Buddha one of the finest pieces of Buddhist sculpture, monasteries, the twin ponds, guard stones and the moonstone. The ‘Sri Maha Bodhi’ or the sacred Bo tree is over 2200 years old grown from a branch of the very tree under which “The Buddha” attained enlightenment – the oldest historically documented tree in the world. We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 13: Habarana
After breakfast leave for Polonnaruwa, (UNESCO World Heritage Site) the Capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to 13th century, a well-planned medieval city defended by enclosing walls (around 5 km which still remains), graced by palaces, shrines, monasteries, pavilions, parks, ponds and irrigation lakes. Polonnaruwa is strewn with ruins in a resplendent state of preservation. Of these the ‘Vatadage’ and the ‘Thuparama Image house’ are the most spectacular. The ‘Gal Vihara’ which consists of statues of the recumbent, standing and seated Buddha have been cut from a single granite wall and rank among the true masterpieces of Sri Lankan Art. Return to your hotel for overnight stay.
Day 14: Habarana – Kandy (100 Kms / 4 Hrs)
After breakfast leave for Kandy en route visit Spice garden in Matale.
Kandy, the bustling hill country capital is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous for the pink painted Temple of the Tooth which houses the most sacred religious relic, the tooth of the Buddha, the Kandy Lake built in 1807 which is an attractive centerpiece to the town and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. On arrival in Kandy, check-in at the hotel.
In the evening visit the sacred Temple of Tooth Relic. Thereafter enjoy the Kandyan Cultural show at the Kandyan Arts & Cultural Centre. The show features the graceful and rhythmic dancers and drummers culminating in an impressive fire walking display. We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 15: Kandy
After breakfast we leave for an excursion of Nuwara Eliya. This beautiful town of Nuwara Eliya, set in the heart of Tea country and situated 1890 meters above sea level, is where the British succeeded in creating an English countryside with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne with well-kept lawns with hedges. Visit the Nuwara Eliya Town, Market place, Golf Course, (one of the finest 18 holes Golf courses in Asia) the Hill club, and drive around this hill station viewing Lake Gregory.
Day 16: Kandy – Negombo via Pinnawala (130 Kms / 05 Hrs)
After breakfast we leave for Pinnawala and visit the Elephant orphanage. This orphanage was set up by the government to take care of baby elephants lost or abandoned in the wild. Witness the feeding of the elephants. The baby elephants being bottle fed with milk is a heartwarming sight. Thereafter observe them as they take their daily bath in the river nearby, which affords marvelous photo opportunities. Bath time is enjoyed by all elephants, young and old alike and it is a good time to closely observe their tightly knit family structure. The young elephants are protected and cared for, by the older ones in the group and the leader of the group is respected by all. (Open from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm. Daily feeding times: 9.15 am, 1.15 pm & 5.00 pm. Bathing times: 10.00 am, 2.00 pm & 4.00 pm).
Afterwards leave for Negombo. Overnight stay at hotel in Negombo.
Day 17: Negombo – Colombo – Journey Home
Morning we transfer to Colombo airport to board the flight to Home.
- Assistance on arrival/departure at the airport by our office representative
- 18 night’s accommodation on sharing Twin room on Bed & Breakfast basis Chennai (03 Nights), Madurai (1 Night), Periyar (2 Nights) & Kochi (2 Nights)
- 1 night accommodation on sharing Twin room on Full Board basis in Alleppey
- 7 night’s accommodation on sharing Twin room on Half Board in Sri Lanka
- All transfers, sightseeing excursion as per programme using AC Transportation
- Entrance fee at all monuments of visit
- Rickshaw ride in Madurai
- Evening Aarti Ceremony at Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
- Shared Boat ride in Periyar Lake
- Plantation tour followed by Lunch at the Farm
- Kathakali Dance Show in Kochi
- English Speaking local guide as per the visits of the program in India
- English Speaking Chauffer Driven guide in Sri Lanka
- Indian Government Service Tax (GST)
Rates do not include:
- Any airfare, airport taxes
- Expenses of personal nature like telephone bills, laundry, drinks, tips, etc