Glimpse of Southern India by Train
14 Days / 13 Nights
Chennai - Madurai - Periyar - Kumarakom - Cochin - Kozhikode - Coonoor - Mysore - Bangalore
Explore Southern India by train on this journey spanning three states starting in Chennai on the east coast, then on to Madurai, then across to the west coast where you will get a glimpse into the life of Kerala. Visit Coonoor famous for it's tea production then finish your tour in Bangalore.
Our itineraries are suggestions and are fully customisable according to your needs, interests and budget.
Treat these itineraries as inspiration and one of our experts will create your uniquely tailored holiday with your requests in mind so that you can truly experience India with Seven Senses.
Day 1. Arrive Chennai (-/-/-)
Meeting and assistance on arrival at Chennai airport.
Our representative will welcome you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
The afternoon is free to relax.
Day 2. Chennai (B/-/-)
After breakfast at the hotel proceed for a sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram. Located around 60 km from Chennai, Mamallapuram occupies a stunning spot on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon. Built by the pallava rulers in the 7th century, the complex comprises of 14 cave-temples, nine monolithic "Rathas", three stone temples and two relief sculptured rock panels. These two rock-panels give a graphic description of Arjuna's penance when he prayed for the powers of Shiva and form the largest Bass Relief in the world. Particularly of interest is the shore temple built on the water's edge with an east-facing altar designed to catch the rising Sun, this has now been declared a World Heritage Site. Continue to Kanchipuram. Located around 64 km from Chennai, it is 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 A.D. Only around 70 temples of the original 1000 are still intact and the most famous of them is the Kailasanatha Temple built of sandstone in the early 7th century A.D. Kanchipuram is famous for its silk weaving and a visit to the nearby villages to see the craftsmen at work on their looms is a rewarding experience.
Day 3. Chennai - Madurai (B/-/-)
Morning is free for an optional sightseeing tour of Chennai. Visit Fort St. George – a British trading post, a powerful bastion and entrance to South India. The 16th century Portuguese old cathedral of St. Thomas, in which the remnants of St. Thomas are buried who came to India in 52 AD. Pass by the University built in Indo-Sarscenic style, an stroll on the 5km long Marina Beach, a lovely esplanade by the sea.
Later transfer to the train station to board your train to Madurai.
VAIGAI EX (CC) (OPERATES DAILY)
CHENNAI EGMORE – 13:20
MADURAI JN – 21:25
On arrival transfer to the hotel.
Day 4. Madurai (B/-/-)
Breakfast in the hotel. Then proceed for a visit to the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, a palace in Indo-Saracenic style built in 1636, with huge domes and 240 columns rising to 12 m, a beautiful garden and an attached museum. The celestial Pavilion, an arcaded octagonal structure is curiously constructed in brick and mortar without any supporting rafters.
In the afternoon continue for an experience of the rich cultural heritage of Madurai, at the Meenakshi Temple, whose soaring towers are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters painted in vivid colors. The temple is dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva with its towers rising high above the surrounding township.
In the evening witness the aarti ceremony - lighting of lamps and prayers, at the Meenakshi Temple.
Day 5. Madurai - Periyar (B/-/-)
After breakfast we will drive to Periyar National Park. This unique wildlife sanctuary is about 780 sq. km centered on an artificial lake fed by the Periyar River. The drive will take about 3 hours.
Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady, is an example of nature’s bounty, with great scenic charm, rich biodiversity and providing veritable visitor satisfaction. Sprawled over an area of 780 sq. km Periyar is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India. Zealously guarded and efficiently managed reserve is a repository of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers of Kerala, the Periyar and Pamba. Game viewing is on board boats, which carry you through the jungle along convoluted waterways and offer sightings of elephant, bison, deer and occasionally, tiger. Small animals include black nilgiri langur; bonnet and lion tailed macaque, giant and flying squirrel. There are some 246 species of birds and 112 species of butterflies. There are trees more than 100 years old and over 50 m high.
Day 6. Periyar - Kumarakom (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed for a private road transfer to Kumarakom (approx. 3 hours). Later on we will board a houseboat. Kumarakom is popularly known as the rice bowl of Kerala. A huddle of tiny islets on the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a picturesque, unspoiled village, an incredibly stunning ecstasy of mangrove forests, pea green paddy meadows and coconut coppices intermingled with enthralling waterways and canals.
Rest of the day and overnight on board to witness the local life throughout the cruise. (Houseboat stationary at night)
Lunch, Dinner and overnight on board.
Day 7. Kottayam - Cochin (B/-/-)
Breakfast on board. Later disembark at Kumarakom and proceed for a visit to the Vaikom Mahadev Temple in Kottayam. It is one of the few temples which is deeply respected by both Shaivaites and the Vaishnavaites. Vaikkom’s Shiva is fondly called Vaikkathappan. The Shiva Linga here is believed to be from the ‘Treta yuga’ and considered as one of the oldest temples in Kerala where pooja has not been broken since inception. After lunch at a local eatery, transfer to Kottayam train station and board the train to Cochin.
JAN SHATABDI (CC) (OPERATES ON Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday)
KOTTAYAM – 17:03
ERNAKULAM TOWN – 18:07
Meeting and assistance at the Cochin train station. Later check in to your hotel.
Cochin is the Queen of the Arabian Sea - believed to be the finest natural harbor in the world with ferry rides commanding its breathtaking view. As you cruise around man made islands with lush green lawns sloping down to the water's edge. It is the oldest European settlement in India, recording a history of visitors who came, saw and stayed for hundreds of years. Layered impressions - Chinese, Arab, Jewish, British, French and Portuguese are contained within its environment. With its wealth of historical association and its setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, Cochin perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala.
In the evening enjoy Kathakali Dance and Drama.
Day 8. Cochin (B/-/-)
Breakfast at the hotel. Begin your exploration with a walking tour that takes you around Fort Kochi, the most historic part of Cochin. Your walking tour shows you the church of St Francis, the oldest European-built church in India. Continue to the Jewish Quarter where you visit the historic synagogue (closed on Friday & Saturday). Also visit Mattancherry (closed on Fridays). It was built in 1555 and its coronation hall and the murals painted are noteworthy features.
The next stop will be to view the Chinese fishing nets strung out along the tip of the peninsula. These are used by local fisherman. Evening is free for leisure.
Day 9. Cochin - Kozhikode (B/-/-)
In the morning transfer to the train station to catch your train to Kozhikode.
JAN SHATABDI (CC) (OPERATES DAILY)
ERNAKULAM JN – 09:20
KOZHIKKODE – 13:00
Meeting and assistance on arrival followed by transfer and check in to the hotel.
Visit the Uru/Dhow making Centre. Uru is the traditional ship building culture of Kerala. The art and science of making these ships came from the Arab world, some several centuries ago. The Arabs called them dhows and they eventually became the traditional Arabian trading vessels. Centuries ago, Arab traders found their way to the spice-scented shores of Kerala. After becoming aware of the availability of good timber in the forests of Kerala in addition to the presence of skilled craftsmen in ship building, the Arab merchants began to place orders for constructing dhows to the craftsmen of Malabar in north Kerala.
Later visit the Kappad Beach. The popularity of the Kappad Beach is due to the fact that it was the place where Vasco da Gama, the famous world explorer first laid down his foot. A stone monument is erected on the beach to acknowledge the remarkable historical event. It is considered to be the gateway to the Malabar Coast.
Rest of the day is free at leisure.
Day 10. Kozhikode - Coonoor (B/-/-)
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed for a private road transfer to Coonoor (approx. 5 hours). On arrival check in to your hotel. Located in the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu, Coonoor is a tourist destination famous for its tea production and adventure sports. The city holds a great attraction among the trekkers and hikers hailing from all around the world. Nestled at an altitude of 1,850 metres above sea level, it is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiri Hills.
Afternoon visit to Catherine falls to rejoice the beauty of nature. Later proceed to the Guernsey Tea Factory where you can learn how the tea is processed and also relish a cup of freshly prepared tea.
Day 11. Coonoor - Ooty - Coonoor (B/-/-)
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed for a transfer to the train station to board the toy train to Ooty at 10:30am. Arrive to Ooty 12:00pm.
Founded in 1819 by John Sullivan, the former Collector of Coimbatore who was the first European to build his house there, Ooty prides in its breathtaking beauty and still continues to retain the old world charm. Landscaped over 22 hectares, its Botanical Gardens (laid out 120 years ago) are covered with blossoming trees, shrubs and colorful flower beds. There is a fossilized tree, a crescent shaped lily pond, a bandstand, a conservatory and fountain terraces. 50 miles of green downs offer golf or just walking. The former palaces of the Maharajas have now been converted into hotels.
Visit the Toda village inhabited by the Toda Tribe. The Toda are one of the most ancient Indian tribes found solely in the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu. The Toda are a primitive tribe whose population has hovered in the range 700 to 900 over the last century. The earliest record of the Todas is a manuscript written by a Portuguese priest named Finicio after his stay of two days in the Nilgiri hills in the year 1602. From then, up to the English occupation of 1812, there is no documented information relating to this tribe. The Todas of today believe that they have always been on the Nilgiri hills. They speak a distinctive dialect which is not a blend of other languages. We will also visit the Toda temple to get an insight into their religious beliefs as well.
Later visit the Ooty botanical garden which is divided into several sections, covers an area of around 22 hectares, and lie on the lower slopes of Doddabetta peak. Also, the garden has a terraced layout. Later visit the Doddabetta Peak which offers an amazing view of Coimbatore and the regions around it.
In evening back to Coonoor. (20 km, approx. 1 hour by private vehicle.)
Day 12. Coonoor - Mysore (B/-/-)
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed for a private road transfer to Mysore (approx. 4 hours). On arrival check in at the hotel. Mysore is yet to, and perhaps never will, get over its past. A past that's made of kings, queens, conquests, rich patrons, extravagant durbars and pearled hallways must be hard to get over. The streets in Mysore are old and a good part of history can be traced by following their winding paths. The city that gets its name from Mahishasura, the troublemaker demon who was slain by the Goddess Chamundeshwari: whose temple atop the Chamundi Hill watches all over the city has played host to the reign of a long line of Wadiyars, Tipu Sultan and the British Raj.
In the afternoon visit the Maharaja’s Palace - designed by the English architect, Henry Irwin it is a three storied structure in the Indo -Saracenic style built between 1897-1912, the palace has beautifully designed square towers at cardinal points, covered with domes. The Durbar Hall with its ornate ceiling and sculpted pillars and the Kalyanamantapa (Marriage Pavilion) with its glazed tiled flooring and stained glass, domed ceiling are worth noting. Intricately carved doors, the golden howdah (elephant seat), paintings as well as the fabulous, jewel encrusted golden throne (displayed during Dasara) are amongst the palace's other treasures. The walled palace complex houses the Residential Museum (incorporating some of the Palace's living quarters), temples and shrines including the Shwetha Varahaswamy temple. The whole Palace is lightened in the evening and looks breathtaking.
Later visit Brindawan Gardens. Located about 19 km from the heart of Mysore these beautiful gardens are laid out below the Krishnaraja Sagar dam built across the river Cauvery. These gardens are famous for the illuminated dancing fountains that come to life after sunset.
Day 13. Mysore - Bangalore (B/-/-)
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the train station to board the train to Bangalore.
TIPPU EXPRESS (CC) (OPERATES DAILY)
Mysuru Jn – 11:15
Bengaluru City – 13:45
After the death of Tipu Sultan (Tiger of Mysore) in 1799, Bangalore became a flourishing British garrison town and had everything that a home-sick servant of the Empire could wish for – horse-racing, tennis-courts, pretty parks, Victorian Gothic bungalows with herbaceous bordered gardens and grand clubs for a game of snooker or cards or for lavish parties. The British buildings and the city’s two green spaces – Cubbon Park and the Race Course give Bangalore its lingering elegance today even though it has become a thundering commercial city. It is now more popularly known as India’s capital of the IT industry and has glass skyscrapers rising above the parks and brick buildings reflecting a sensational new affluence.
In afternoon visit the Tipu Sultan’s Palace which was built to look like a smaller replica of the Windsor Castle in England. It was built by Rev. Garrett, who was the first Principal of the Central High School in Bangalore, now known as Central College. The construction of the palace was started in 1862 and completed in 1944. In 1884, it was bought by the Maharaja of Mysore, Chamaraja Wodeyar. Now owned by the current scion of the Mysore royal family, Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wodeyar, the palace has recently undergone a renovation.
Later visit the Bull Temple, the 16th-century Dravidian styled temple. This temple counts amongst the oldest temples of the city and draws devotees from all over the country.
Day 14. Departure (B/-/-)
Transfer to the airport according to your flight schedule for your flight back to the UK.
The itinerary may be subject to change depending on circumstances.
PRICES AND INCLUSIONS
14 DAYS / 13 NIGHTS FROM £1,910 per person
based on 2 people travelling together
The price includes:
Domestic flights and train tickets according to the itinerary.
Medium range hotel accommodation on a twin-shared basis with breakfast
Lunch and dinner on the houseboat.
Quality private air-con vehicles & experienced drivers for all transfers and sightseeing.
Experienced English-speaking local guides throughout the tour.
Entrance fees for all listed attractions.
The price does not include:
Return flights from the UK to India
Anything not specifically mentioned above
Visa fee for India
Tips to the guide and driver
Personal costs such as drinks, laundry, etc.
High season package price from £2,035 per person
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