Culinary Delights of Southern India

Main Info
Route Arrival – Chennai – Pondicherry (02) – Kumbakonam (02) – Chettinad (02) – Thekkady (02) – Kumarakom (02) – Houseboat (01) – Marari (02) – Kochi (02) – Departure
Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Chennai; Drive Chennai to Pondicherry [155 Kms /03 Hrs]

Upon arrival in Chennai, proceed on your drive to Pondicherry . En route take  a short sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram.Visit Five Rathas , the ceremonial chariots, rock-cut monoliths named after the 5 Pandavas – the heroes of the Mahabharata epic and Draupadi their wife . Visit the The Shore Temple by the sea surrounded by gardens designed according to descriptions of the original layout from ancient times. Built in sandstone in the 7th century.

Upon arrival Pondicherry, check-in at your hotels and relax.

Overnight in Cochin.

Although the French left Pondicherry more than half a century ago, the city retains a strong Gallic feel. Most of the local restaurants serving a variety of excellent continental Indian dishes, Spicy Tamil Nadu foods, superb bakeries and wonderful cafes are all testimony to the lasting continental influence.

Overnight Stay In Pondicherry

Day 02: Discover Pondicherry

Post breakfast proceed for sightseeing and visit Auroville, it’s an experiment in International living where men and women could live in peace and progressive harmony with each other above all creeds, politics and nationalities. It is a developing town 10 km from Pondicherry.

 

There after take a heritage walk that highlights Pondicherry’s rich architectural heritage and enjoy Lunch at Solar kitchen - the community Kitchen for the inmates. See the Matri mandir (the meditation centre) from outside.

 

Rest of the day free to visit the eclectic range of restaurants, ranging from traditional vegetarian to fusion "Pondicherry cuisine". Don't forget to visit Baker's Street, a bakery run by a French man who sells the most delicious cheese baguettes, quiches and freshly baked bread, as well as éclairs and fruit tarts

Overnight Stay In Pondicherry

Day 03: Drive Pondicherry – Kumbakonam [150 KMS / 05 HRS]

After breakfast, check-out and embark on your drive to Kumbakonam. En route, stop at Cuddalore to visit Fort St. David and the Garden House. Then, proceed to Chidambaram to visit the Shiva Nataraja Temple, one of South India’s most ancient temples.

Drive another two-hours arrive Kumbakonam. Check-in at hotel and spend the rest of the evening at leisure.

Enjoy dinner at very famous local Restaurant Sara Regency’s, which is famous for its local as well as multi cuisines.

Overnight Stay In Kumbakonam

Day 04: Discover Kumbakonam

Spend your day discovering the breathtaking Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Darasuram temples, known for housing many art and architectural treasures. Then, head back to your hotel to experience the many available activities from bullock-cart rides to dance performances like Bharatanatyam.

Overnight Stay In Kumbakonam

Day 05: Drive Kumbakonam to Chettinad

Check-out after breakfast and begin your journey towards Chettinad. En-route, stop at Tanjore to visit the spectacular Brihadishwara temple

Upon arrival in Chettinad, check in to your hotel for 2 nights stay and rest of the day at leisure or free for independent activities.

Later visit the Bangala, Every meal here is an elaborate affair running into several courses resembling a typical chettinad wedding feast. With a generous dose of pepper and not chilli, making it spicy but not hot. The spicing is subtle and its secret is the "instinctive hand" of the "Achi",(The host) dumping a handful of this and a pinch of that in the masala leading the taste buds on a journey of intrigue and delight.

Overnight Stay In Chettinad

Day 06: Discover Chettinad

Today visit the Raja’s Palace, old Chettiar mansions and clan temples. Later in the afternoon proceed for sightseeing of Chettinad including local village visits, heritage homes & palaces and tiles making factory and also see the local market, see how murukku (a local snack) is made by the families for commercially and also the weaving center. Enjoy a tender coconut offered by your story teller

Overnight Stay In Chettinad 

Day 07: Drive Chettinad to Thekkady Via Madurai

After a delicious breakfast, leave for Thekkady. Stop briefly at Madurai to visit towering gopurams at Sree Meenakshi Temple

Arrive at Thekkady and discover the immense biodiversity.

Overnight Stay In Thekkady

 

Day 08: Discover Thekkady/Periyar

Early this morning, we take a guided walk with a naturalist in Periyar Wildlife Reserve. Observe some rare species of flora and fauna, along with a variety of birds and if you are lucky you may even spot a few elephants and wildlife across the lake.

This afternoon, take a spice plantation tour and learn about the mystery and history of Indian spices. The spice plantations in Periyar are captivating with farms growing different spices in different sections of the plantations. You will be intrigued to see the vast variety of spices ranging from cloves, cardamom, ginger, pepper, chilli, turmeric etc .You have the option to experience elephant safari through the plantation,undisturbed by the mechanical roar of a car or jeep, open to the skies accompanied only by the rhythmic sound of the elephant.

This evening visit one local family for a cooking demonstration with the chef and learn uses of various spices in everyday cooking. The chef will be happy to share their secret recipes and give you some handy tips about south Indian cooking

Overnight Stay In Thekkady

Day 09: Drive Thekkady to Kumarakom [135 Kms / 04 Hrs]

After breakfast, enjoy a morning drive to Kumarakom a popular tourism destination located near the city of Kottayam , famous for its backwater tourism. It is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala

Rest of the day at leisure or free for independent activities.

Overnight Stay In Kumarakom  

Day 10: In Kumarakom

Early this morning enjoy a visit to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary for bird watching, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a small piece of heaven for nature lovers and bird watchers. Located on the banks of Vembanad Lake, this preservation ground is a habitat to plenty of common as well as endangered species of residential and migratory birds.

These include Siberian Cranes, Parrots, Herons, Owls, Egrets, Darters, and Waterfowls. Exploring the sprawling 14 acres in a canoe is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating things to do in Kumarakom.

Later learn about south Indian fish and seafood preparations along with the famous cuisine of Kumarakom, which is largely Syrian Christian in style. Dishes made of Appam- a rice bread, Kappa (tapioca) and Karimeen remain popular among vacationers in a cooking demonstration followed by a lovely lunch

In the evening visit Pathiramanal also called the Sands of Midnight , a fascinating island on the Vembanad Lake, it can be reached by boat from here.

Overnight Stay In Kumarakom

Day 11: Kumarakom – Alleppey [Houseboat]

This morning board your houseboat from the resort jetty to cruise through the Kerala backwaters that consist of a complex network of lagoons, lakes, & canals and are best experienced while slowly rowing down the labyrinth of canals in a traditional thatch-roofed houseboat, known as 'Kettuvallam'. Enjoy the comfort of a floating suite, relax and discover the flavors of Kerala served on the sundeck as the fascinating life along the waterfront passes by.

Overnight stay on Houseboat                                 [Note: All meals included on Houseboat]

Day 12: Drive Alleppey to Marari [20 Kms / ½ Hrs]

This morning, enjoy breakfast on board. Alight your houseboat and drive to Marari, a fishermen’s village.

Upon arrival in Marari, check in to your hotel for 2 nights stay and rest of the day at leisure or free for independent activities.

Overnight Stay In Marari

 

Day 13: In Marari

Breakfast in hotel

Enjoy your time in Marari, relax on the beach or pamper yourself with the various facilities offered by your hotel. You may opt for optional city tour or other activities offered by your resort.

Later have a village walk through the neighboring village to get a glimpse into the local life along the coast of Kerala and learn about the local dishes of seafood

Overnight Stay In Marari

Day 14: Drive Marari to Kochi [45 Kms / 1 ½ Hrs] – Brunton Boatyard

This morning, enjoy breakfast and embark on your drive to Kochi.

En-route to Kochi, visit a lush green island model village (agri farm), surrounded by backwaters and paddy fields. Meet the locals to understand essential elements of local village lifestyle of Kerala, which is predominated by coconut. Enjoy a backwaters boat cruise in a traditional country boat. Spend the afternoon seeing coir yarn processing, copra processing, crab farming, clam meat processing, cooking practices, operation of Chinese fishing nets, weaving coconut leaves and fish groping.

Upon arrival in Kochi, check in to your hotel for 2 nights stay

Later this evening, watch a spectacular Kathakali performance. Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in India. One of the most complex and highly stylized Indian art forms, this performance is a spectacular combination of drama, dance, music and ritual. Characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes re-enact stories from the Hindu epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Reach early for the unique opportunity to see the performers dressing up in their very elaborate and colorful costumes and painting their faces with make up to create the special persona for the performance. Also visit the onsite cultural museum to see sculptures of Kerala's unique dance forms. You will also see  a large replica of an authentic Keralan wooden canoe and witness how Keralan handicrafts and saris are woven.

Overnight Stay In Kochi

Day 15: In Kochi

This morning explore Fort Kochi on a bicycle  but undertaking a cycling tour. Fort Kochi, a historic trading port of Kochi is a laid-back town and cycling through its streets is a great way to discover it. With narrow cobbled stone streets, cafes that open for business late in the morning and fishermen that line the coast at sunrise with their Chinese fishing nets, Fort Kochi blends its old world charm seamlessly with its contemporary vibrancy

Post Breakfast visit the Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church and see the authentic Chinese fishing nets still in active use by the fishermen in Kerala.

Later visit a local family to learn the culinary art of south Indian cuisine all the way from preparation to serving and eating food off banana leaves!

Rest of the day at leisure or free for independent activities.

Overnight Stay In Kochi

Day 16: Departure Kochi

This morning, enjoy breakfast and in time transfer to the airport to connect to your flight back home / your onwards destination.

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