Is Kerala really such a peaceful place

South India | Tamil Nadu - Kerala - Hindu gods and coconut trees

Trip No. 3070

Travel to the world of sagas and myths of South India and experience an extremely lively and colorful culture as well as varied landscapes with jungle, coffee, tea and spice plantations, bright green rice fields and palm groves. In addition to visiting impressive Hindu temples, you can enjoy the Mediterranean and French flair with its colonial architecture in Pondicherry. In the Cardamom Mountains, go on a boat tour in Periyar National Park and explore the wildlife sanctuary during a hike. India is known for its fabulous spices and their uses. During a cooking demonstration, you will learn about the art of Indian cuisine with its multitude of spices. A special highlight is the houseboat trip on the backwaters, an idyllic lagoon and river landscape, as well as a visit to an island village with an overnight stay. Life seems so calm and peaceful here. You are welcome to extend your trip with a swim at the beach of Marari, Kovalam or Varkala or you can choose one of our India modules afterwards. Enjoy every day of this trip! The joy of color and joie de vivre of South India will remain in your memory for a long time.

South India | Tamil Nadu - Kerala - Hindu gods and coconut treesSouth India | Tamil Nadu - Kerala - Hindu gods and coconut trees

Itinerary:

Day 1: arrival

Flight to Chennai (Madras).

Day 2: Chennai - Mamallapuram (B)

In the morning you will reach the provincial capital Tamil Nadu and travel on to Mamallapuram. This small place is located on the Coromandel Coast and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its temple precinct. Upon arrival check-in at the hotel. Later, travel by auto rickshaw to a nearby village. You walk through the village and stop at the house of a potter who will be happy to show you his craft. In the evening you will take part in a puja, a Hindu ceremony, in the temple. Overnight at hotel. (Travel time approx. 1.5 hours, 60 km).

Day 3: Mamallapuram (B / L)

Today you will explore the historical temple complex of Mamallapuram. It was built in the 6th and 7th centuries by King Narashimhavarman. Krishna‘s butter ball is a huge stone ball lying on a rock ridge. One has the impression here that this ball could roll down at any moment. The five Rathas (five temples) combine different variants of Hindu architecture. For lunch you will have the Thali, which is known for India in a restaurant. It is a meal made up of different ingredients. Sambar (sauces), dal, chapati, rice, buttermilk, curry, etc. are served. The afternoon is free for your own design. Overnight at hotel.

Day 4: Mamallapuram - Pondicherry (B)

The East Coast Road takes you along the Coromandel Coast to the former French colonial town of Pondicherry. This is where Sri Aurobindo once lived, a well-known Indian master whose philosophy is still recognized worldwide today. In the afternoon you will discover the French flair of the former colonial city. On the tour you will visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the Ganesha Temple with its glorious Hindu splashes of color and a Catholic church. Overnight at hotel. (Travel time approx. 2.5 hours, 100 km).

Day 5: Pondicherry - Thanjavur (B)

Drive to Thanjavur (Tanjore), the former capital of the Chola dynasty. The flat, fertile land is criss-crossed by numerous estuaries. Because of the fertility of the soil, this district is also known as the "Tamil Nadu rice bowl". On the way, visit the Airatesvara Temple in Darasuram, one of the finest examples of Chola art. Overnight at hotel. (Travel time approx. 5 hours, 190 km).

Day 6: Thanjavur (B)

Today's day tour starts with a visit to the Brihadishwara Temple, which has a style that is atypical for South India. This temple, whose center of worship is a nearly eight meter high Shiva lingam, is over 1000 years old and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The next stop is at the palace of the nayaks. Here you will visit the Thanjavur Art Gallery with an excellent collection of bronze and stone sculptures. We continue to a village where the bronze technique and stained glass are practiced. In the evening, you can stroll along Gandhiji Road. There are a number of souvenir shops here. Overnight at hotel.

Day 7: Thanjavur - Madurai (B)

On your drive to Madurai you will stop in a small village to visit the enchanted Ayyanar Temple. Ayyanar is a protective deity of the Tamil rural population. The path to the temple is lined with life-size clay horses and leads to a sacred banyan tree. Continue to Karaikudi in the Chettinad region. Chettinad is home to a merchant caste that made considerable fortunes in the 19th century. The great patrician houses show a unique mixture of Tamil, Asian and European style elements. Enjoy Tamil cuisine for lunch. Continue to the millennia-old city of Madurai. In the evening you will be driven by bicycle rickshaw along the banana and vegetable market. Overnight at hotel. (Travel time approx. 5 hours, 190 km).

Day 8: Madurai - Munnar (B)

In the morning visit to the Sri Minakshi Temple. In addition to the detailed architecture and the colorful hustle and bustle in the temple, you will be particularly impressed by the mystical atmosphere and the more than 60 meter high entrance gates. On the drive to the mountain town of Munnar, you will drive along the cardamom plantations and through tropical forests. Again and again you have wonderful views and you can enjoy the fresh and pure mountain air. The health resort of Munnar is located at approx. 1600 m and lies between green tea gardens. The British were once drawn to this beautiful landscape in the summer. Overnight at hotel. (Travel time approx. 5.5 hours, 155 km).

Day 9: Munnar (B)

Visit to the center for tea production and processing as well as the TATA tea museum. Then you will be introduced to the TATA project “aranya natural” in Srishti Welfare. The clothes made here are designed by designers and are mainly made from natural materials. In the travel period from September to December you can visit the Eravikulam National Park. The rare wild mountain goat Nilgiri Tahr lives in this rugged mountain region. The skilled climbers can move around safely in the rugged habitat. In the evening enjoy a short hike along the tea plantations. Overnight at hotel.

Day 10: Munnar - Periyar (B / D)

Today you travel further into the Cardamom Mountains to Periyar / Thekkady. The fascinating Periyar Nature Reserve is located in the southern part of the West Ghats. In the afternoon guided tour in a spice plantation. Here you can see how cardamomom, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric and cloves grow. In the evening you will be the guest of a family who will show you the use of spices in Indian cuisine during a cooking demonstration. Then enjoy the delicious meal. Overnight at hotel. (Travel time approx. 4.5 hours, 100 km).

Day 11: Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (B)

In the early morning you go on a hike with a forest ranger in the Periyar wildlife sanctuary (walking time approx. 3 hours, 5 km). The park consists of high steep slopes on the edge of the park and wide plains. Tigers, elephants, sloth bears and reed cats as well as many species of birds live in the wildlife reserve - an Eldorado for ornithologists. In the late afternoon, enjoy a boat tour along some of the richest forest areas in the Periyar Reserve. With a little luck you can spot animals on the shore. Overnight at hotel.

Day 12: Periyar - Alleppey - Backwater (B / L / D)

Drive to Alleppey. A boat will take you to the Homestay Village in the Backwater. The backwater is a branching network of picturesque lagoons, lakes and flat alluvial land. This magical world is linked with artificially created canals. In the afternoon, explore the island and observe the different facets of local life. Enjoy a boat trip along the small canals at sunset in a particularly quiet atmosphere. Overnight in homestay. (Travel time approx. 4.5 hours, 140 km).

Day 13: Houseboat (B / L / D)

Get to know your crew at the houseboat dock. Glide romantically in a comfortable houseboat through the picturesque fairy tale world of the backwaters - an unforgettable experience! Overnight on the houseboat.

Day 14: Alleppey - Kochi (B)

You leave the houseboat and travel overland to Kochi. Today you are concerned with the cultural history of the multifaceted city. You will visit the fort, the Church of St. Francis, the Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace) and the Jewish quarter with the synagogue. In the evening you will see a traditional Kathakali dance performance, a dance performance in pantomime with impressive masks and costumes. Overnight at hotel. (Travel time approx. 1.5 hours, 60 km).

15th day: departure

Return flight to Germany. Optionally, there is a bathing stay on the beach of Marari, Kovalam or Varkala.

Highlights:

  • Perfect for beginners in South India
  • Mamallapuram temples and cult caves (UNESCO)
  • Haunted Ayyanar Temple
  • Hike & boat tour in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Insights into the South Indian culinary art
  • Houseboat trip against the exotic backdrop of the backwaters

Conditions:

No special physical requirements are required for this trip. Please be prepared for a hot climate and long driving distances. You can expect strong contrasts between enchanting landscapes, impressive monuments and great poverty, which one should perceive but not immediately label or evaluate. Please travel with an interest and tolerance for this foreign culture! The hike in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Munnar is through hilly terrain at an altitude of 900 to 1300 meters. It does not require a high level of fitness, but you should be able to walk well and enjoy a hike. Sturdy shoes are important for the hike.

Further information:

DIAMIR Privatebookable from 2100 EUR, daily from 2 people, English-speaking tour guide

Hints:

In Kochi, the synagogue is closed on Fridays and Saturdays and during Jewish family celebrations. These take place mainly on Sundays from January to February.

Eravikulam National Park is closed from January to March due to the newborn mountain goats. During this time, the little mountain goats are spared.

The named hotels are the accommodations primarily used on this trip. We have pre-reserved these accommodations for you. Should an alternative be considered in exceptional cases, this accommodation is of a similar standard.

Included in the tour price

  • Scheduled flight from / to Frankfurt with Emirates or another airline in economy class including tax and fuel surcharges (as of 1.8.17)
  • German-speaking tour guide
  • All journeys in private vehicles
  • Rickshaw ride in Madurai
  • Guided hike in Munnar
  • Cooking demonstration in Periyar
  • Guided hike and boat tour in Periyar National Park
  • Houseboat - trip on the backwaters
  • Kathakali dance performance in Kochi
  • All entrance fees according to the program
  • Travel literature
  • 11 nights: Hotel in a double room
  • 1 night: ship in double cabin
  • 1 night: guest house in a double room
  • Meals: 13 × F, 3 × M, 3 × A

Not included in the tour price

Meals and drinks not mentioned; Visa (approx. 80 €); possibly airport charges in the country of travel; possible increase in fees and / or kerosene surcharges after 1.8.17; possibly photo and video permits in museums and monuments; Tips; Personal

Desired services

  • Rail & Fly (only valid when booking): € 40
  • Feeder flight from D / A / CH: € 0

  • Minimum number of participants: 6
  • Maximum number of participants: 12