A tropical elegance

Discover the treasures of South India. This tour combines the finest of three different states in India namely Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Each state will give you a unique and memorable experience of a lifetime. You will witness sky high temples, nature and lush green plantations, splashing backwaters enjoying an unforgetful holidays. Witnessing the past treasures in form of architecture, ornamented temples, colonial buildings, sailing on private boat laden with all modern amenities and much more to absorb around. This customized tour follows the intermingled state highways taking you deep inside the countryside revealing the diverse culture and traditions of enchanting South India while you travel from south-west to south-east and then south-west. Come and enhance your excitement to see the rural and urban life blending at various occasions to experience the treasures on colourful India.

Cochin

Mumbai

Mumbai

Mumbai

Tamil Nadu

Kerala

Periyar

Tag 1Arrive Mumbai

Arrive Mumbai, the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. Our tour representative will welcome you at the airport arrival lounge with Silkroad Travels /Classic Expeditions signboard. Transfer to hotel. Overnight at hotel. Mumbai was given by Portuguese as dowry to Charles II of England when he married Catherine. The group of seven islands was leased to the East India Company who offered freedom of business and religion to persons who came and settled here. Initially a few Parsis and Gujarati came but soon a sizeable population began to thrive here. This was way back in the 17th century. Today also Mumbai is a city of migrants. People from all over the country have come and settled here. This gives the society of Mumbai a multi-lingual and multi-cultural colour. Overnight at hotel.

Tag 2Mumbai

After breakfast ferry ride to Elephanta caves. Note:Elephanta caves remains closed on Mondays. Once known as Puri or Gharapuri, Elephanta island was the proud capital of a powerful coastal kingdom. It was named Elephanta by the Portuguese, who took possession of it several centuries later, and found a monolithic stone elephant at the place they first landed. Today Elephanta is a World Heritage Site, showcasing legends of Lord Shiva carved in rock cave temples. The cave complex is a collection of shrines, courtyards, inner cells, grand halls and porticos arranged in the splendid symmetry of Indian rock-cut architecture, and filled with exquisite stone sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The island is about an hour's boat ride from the Gateway of India. Afternoon walk through the old bazaars and admire the Victorian buildings on D.N. Road including the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus), a train station built in Victorian era and streaming with people. Overnight at hotel.

Tag 3Mumbai (DHARAVI TOUR):

After breakfast, our guide will pick you up from you hotel at 0830hrs for this tour. While travelling to Dharavi with your guide, you'll also get to pass through areas of interest such as Kamathipura (the red light area) and you'll briefly stop at Dhobi Ghat, the world's largest open-air laundry. On this tour, you will see why Dharavi is the heart of small scale industry in Mumbai. Many people know Dharavi as the 'largest slum in Asia,' but there is much more to this historic area of Mumbai than poverty. Dharavi's industries have an annual turnover of approximately US$ 665 million. Through our tour visitors experience a wide range of these activities: recycling, pottery-making, embroidery, bakery, soap factory, leather tanning, poppadom-making and many more. Most of these things are created in innovative ways and in very small spaces! When passing through the residential spaces, you will undoubtedly feel the sense of community and spirit that exists in the area. People from all over India live in Dharavi, and this diversity is apparent in the temples, mosques and churches that stand side by side. A tour through Dharavi's narrow alleys is quite an adventure, and you will leave with an enlightened sense of the purpose and determination that exists in the area. On the way to Dharavi by car, we pass areas of interest such as Kamathipura (red light area) and Dhobi Ghat (big open air laundry). The guide will also explain to you issues facing some of less fortunate people in Mumbai- such as the pavement dwellers and the street children. Highlight of this tour is Dhobi Ghat at Mahalaxmi. See the dhobiwallahs, or washermen, scrubbing sheets from Mumbai's largest hospitals and hotels at this busy outdoor laundry area!  Talked about only in hushed tones, the Kamathipura district has been the subject of countless films, literary projects and art pieces. A visit to this area (while staying inside the vehicle) speaks for itself. The Community Centre, supported by funds from the tour, provides education in English, computers and other soft skills to the teenagers and young adults of Dharavi. Other activities take place here such as a library, dancing, yoga, and indoor games. Visitors experience what matters most to Reality Tours: The men, women and children that make this dynamic community one of the most vibrant places in Mumbai. To this recycling area old computers, parts and plastics come from all over the world to Dharavi to be recycled. See the recycling plants in which separation and melting of plastics takes place. There is nothing like the view from a Dharavi factory rooftop. The tin hutments that house so many human lives stretch on as far as you can see. You will never forget this view! See the tea biscuits eaten all over Mumbai being made hot and fresh at the source! (Note: sometimes the bakery is closed.) Watch the women of Dharavi make popaddoms, the essential appetizer of any Indian meal, by drying them in the sun on wooden baskets that are turned upside-down. Gain an understanding of how the incredible people of Dharavi live while visiting our model resident's house. Furthermore we exhibit photographs here which are taken by kids from Dharavi participating in our art program. Watch artisans create all types of pots out of unfired, sundried clay. After Dharavi tour, return back to your hotel for overnight stay. Overnight at hotel.

Tag 4Mumbai-Chennai- Mahabalipuram

After early breakfast, transfer to the airport to board flight for Chennai.  Arrive Chennai and proceed for half day sightseeing tour before proceeding for Mahabalipuram for overnight stay. The Chennai visit takes you to the Government Museum and Art Gallery to see the art and bronze gallery (closed on Fridays and public holidays). Also visit the famous 16th century Kapaleeshwar Temple, that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Here non-Hindus are only allowed as far as the outer courtyard. Later, we drive past Fort St. George, Marina Beach and Santhome Cathedral. After sightseeing will leave for Mahabalipuram for 02 nights stay. Overnight at hotel.

Tag 5Mahabalipuram- Kanchipuram- Mahabalipuram

Today full day explore Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. Mahabalipuram situated on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon. Here visit the Shore Temple, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was constructed on the water’s edge, its altar facing east to catch the rays of the rising sun. Kanchipuram is an important center of Hinduism and known as the city of 1000 temples. Kanchipuram silk is famous worldwide specially Kancheevaram Saris. Overnight stay at hotel.

Tag 6Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry – ( 03 Hrs drive)

Today after breakfast leave for Pondicherry. Pondicherry now known as the Puducherry was the former capital of the French colonial territories in India. It is also known as French Riviera. Pondicherry’s history can be traced back for thousands of years, to its origins with Saint Gasthya, a revered sage. Here we visit Auroville, an ashram dedicated to peace and harmonious living that was founded by Sri Auribindo, a revered saint and philosopher. The Pondicherry Museum has an outstanding collection of artifacts relating to the history of the French in India. Overnight stay at hotel.

Tag 7Pondicherry-Thanjavur

Today we head out for Thanjavur. Thanjavur is famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Site Brihadeeswara Temple which was built by Raja Raja Chola 1st. Visit beautiful Chola Brihadeeswara Temple, whose beautifully sculpted gopurams (or towers) are over 90 ft high (27 m). The temple is capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite block weighing 80 tons. The Brihadeeswara Temple is encircled by the 16th century Shivaganga fort which includes the temple complex, the Schwartz Church , the Royal Palace and the Shivganga Tank and Park. Overnight stay at hotel.

Tag 8Thanjavur–Trichy-Madurai

Today morning leave Thanjavur for temple city Madurai enroute visit Tiruchirapalli is also known as Trichy which is famous for the wonderful Rock Fort temple. Here we visit the Rock Fort temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive rocky outcrop. In Madurai visit the Meenakshi Temple, whose towering Gopurams rise above the surrounding countryside. The temple is dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva. Later, we visit the Tirum ala Nayak Palace, a gracious building in the Indo-Saracenic style, decorated with stucco work domes and arches. In the evening you can participate in Aarti ceremony in Meenakshi Temple. Overnight stay at hotel.

Tag 9Madurai

see above

Tag 10Madurai-Periyar

Today morning leave Madurai and drive to Periyar (Thekkady). The Periyar forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India. Spreads across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns. On arrival at Periyar check in at Hotel. In the afternoon visit the nearby farms with our naturalist or take an elephant ride through the spice plantations. Spend the evening with our chef who at the cooking demonstration will show you how to cook Kerala cuisine. Later, experience the ‘50 mile diet’, our locavore restaurant where all ingredients that go into your meal are sourced from within 50 miles of Spice Village. Overnight stay at Spice Village.

Tag 11Periyar

Today experience Bamboo Rafting. This is a dawn to dusk range hiking and rafting programme through some of the richest forest tracts of Periyar Tiger Reserve. Starting at 8 am from the boat landing, a mosaic of habitats will be traversed before the party gets into rafts made of bamboos. The forests are rich in bird life and arboreal animals like Giant Squirrel and Nilgiri Langur. The rafting is for about three hours and one gets a panoramic view of forest-clad hills reflected on the lake. Animals like elephant, gaur and sambar are sighted keeping close to the edges of the lake. The team hitchhikes back to the boat landing by about 5 pm. An armed guard and 4 guides will accompany a maximum of 10 tourists. Tea, snacks and packed lunch will be served en-route. Overnight at hotel.

Tag 12Periyar- Alleppey

Morning transfer to houseboat jetty for your lifetime experience of houseboat on Kerala’s Backwaters. The kettuvallam, literally ‘tied together boat,’ is a comfortable and traditional way to get around the Backwaters. In times past this was Kerala’s equivalent of a container ship, up to 100 feet long and able to carry 30 tons of cargo. Great planks of seasoned and oiled jackwood were lashed together with coir rope and seams stuffed with coconut fibre before being slathered with a nice goop of boiled cashew shells to keep it watertight. Not a single nail used. The same methods are still used today to build rice barges adapted for human cargo.Climb aboard and there’s a bamboo and palm thatched canopy to provide shelter from the sun. Comfy cane chairs from which to watch the world go by and a table to take your meals at. There are one or two simple bedrooms with en-suite loo and shower though the water pressure is often so low you’re better off using the bucket and jug to wash. Your private houseboat is run by a crew of two or three local men who keep the engine chugging, steer it along the lagoon and arrange a canoe ride along a canal. A cook rustles up delicious meals in the impossibly small galley and there’s nothing for you to do except sit back and enjoy the view, lie in the sun or catch up on that holiday reading you promised yourself. The Backwaters are popular these days but the crew will try and find a quiet spot to moor for the night. After a cold beer at sunset dinner is promptly served (before too many of Kerala’s tropical insects are drawn to the light) followed by fabulous star-gazing in the huge skies. Usually it’s early to bed and the air-conditioning is on for an hour or two before the generators turned off and the peace of the Backwaters returns once more.

Tag 13Aleppey-Cochin

After breakfast disembark your houseboat and drive to Cochin. In the afternoon go for a Cochin sightseeing. Cochin is a living museum. Fort Cochin is believed to be the oldest European settlement in India, with the Portuguese flag first hoisted here in 1500. St Francis Church, built in 1510 by friars brought to India by Vasco da Gama, is the first European church built in India and is the site where da Gama was buried. The "Dutch Palace" was built in the 1550s by the Portuguese and taken over by the Dutch, who later presented it to the Rajas of Cochin. The palace contains excellent mythological murals and a rare example of traditional Keralite flooring - a subtle mix of burnt coconut shells, lime, plant whites - which gives the effect of polished marble. You have time to wander around Mattancherry or Jew Town. Jew Street is full of antique shops selling genuine and pseudo objects d’art. The Jewish Synagogue was built in 1568 and considerably embellished in the mid 18th century. It contains Grand Scroll of the Old Testament and the copper plates giving privileges to the Jew settlers by the rulers of Kochi. In the evening, witness a Kathakali dance performance. This is the most developed dance drama art of India. Drums beckon an audience to a performance most magnificent - actors depict characters from the Puranas and the Mahabharata, the great Indian epics - demons, superhuman beings and ordinary men and women. The dancers, all male, adorn themselves in huge skirts and elaborate head-dress, wearing what must surely be the most intricate make up known to any dance style in the world. Overnight stay in hotel

Tag 14Cochin –Village Rubble-Mumbai-Onward Journey

Get ready for Village rubble: 0700hrs: You will be picked up from your hotel in Cochin and after an hours’ drive willbring you to the fishermen’s beach where you witness the live action of boatmen bringing in their fresh catch of fishes for auction. Enroute visit coir yarning and mat weaving units. Later continue your drive to reach the beautiful farm house set by the backwater. 0915hrs: Breakfast will be served which will energise you for your cycling tour. Interact with the family and exchange experiences with brief introduction to some of the heritage relics available in the house. You start pedalling for 2 kms where you come to the ferry which will be crossing you and your cycle to the other bank of the river. Continue cycling for another 4 kms to reach the fish market. Our Expedition Manager will explain the life and activities around the market. This gives you an insight of how well the economy is balanced among the communities. You cycle again for the next stretch of 7 kms back to the farm house. 1230hrs: Our vehicle will be waiting to transfer you to your respective hotel in time for lunch. Later on the day transfer to the airport to board flight for Mumbai. Flight leaves at 1920hrs and arrives Mumbai at 2115hrs. Arrive Mumbai and transfer to the international terminal to board flight for home.This is the end of your booked tour.

Unsere Leistungen

  • Übernachtungen wie angegeben in 3 - 5 Sterne - Unterkünften (Ü) Verpflegung wie angegeben (FS -Frühstück, L-Lunch,  AE-Abendessen)
  • Flüge (Economy class inkl. 15kg Freigepäck) und Flughafengebühren
  • Örtliche indische englischsprachige Reiseleitung
  • In den Parks sind Fahrer und Natur- Guide inklusive
  • Unterbringung in 2 – Bett – Zimmern
  • Einzelzimmer – Unterbringung gegen Aufpreis (auf Nachfrage)
  • Spezial Permits, wo nötig
  • Sämtliche Transfers in geeigneten Fahrzeugen
  • Eintrittsgelder in die angegebenen Objekte

Nicht im Preis enthalten

  • Internationale Flüge (Preise ab Europa ab circa 600 €, Stand 01/2017)
  • Indien – Visum (circa 90 €, Stand 01/2017)
  • Kamera und Video - Gebühren
  • Trinkgelder, die in Indien üblich sind
  • Reiserücktrittsversicherung
  • Dinge des persönlichen Bedarfs
  • Alle Sonderkosten, die hervorgerufen werden durch unvorhersehbare Ereignisse (Naturkatastrophen, Politik, Arbeitskämpfe etc.)
ab 3200€ pro Person

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