South Indian Tasting Trail

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Food Tours Madurai| Food Walks Madurai| Street Food of Madurai| Fine Dining in Madurai| local food tour Madurai|Food Tours Chennai |Food Walks Chennai| Street Food of Chennai| Fine Dining in Chennai| local food tour Chennai|Food Tours Cochin| Food Walks Cochin| Street Food of Cochin| Fine Dining in Cochin| local food tour Cochin|Food Tours Pondicherry| Food Walks Pondicherry| Street Food of Pondicherry| Fine Dining in Pondicherry| local food tour Pondicherry

Tour Start Location

Chennai

Tour Start Location

Cochin

Itinerary

Day 1Arrive Chennai

Warm welcome with fresh flower garlands, meet with our company representative and transfer to hotel.
Overnight.

Chennai (formerly Madras), a 284-sq-mi (400-sq-km) conglomerate of urban villages and diverse neighbourhoods making up Tamil Nadu’s capital will pleasantly surprise you. Its role is as keeper of South Indian artistic, religious and culinary traditions.

Day 2 Chennai

Breakast at the hotel.
Proceed for sightseeing of Chennai.
For lunch, enjoy a ‘meal’, on a thali leaf you are served rice with multiple curries and assortment of dishes.
Overnight at the hotel.

Chennai Sightseeing
Chennai’s sightseeing of major sights include, Fort St. George, citadel built by the British East India Company in Madras (now Chennai), India, later becoming the British capital in south India. The fort, named in honour of Britain’s patron saint, is well preserved by the state of Tamil Nadu. Govt. Museum, Established in 1851, Government Museum of Chennai is popular as the Madras Museum. Factually being the second oldest museum of India (after Kolkata’s Indian Museum), this museum is a treasure in itself! As a rich repository of finest masterpieces of art, archaeology, anthropology, numismatics and much more, the Madras Museum assures to lure one and all. Kapaleeswar Temple, is one of the prominent Shiva temples in India situated in Mylapore, Chennai. Here Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kapaleeswar [self-manifested] and Goddess Shakthi [Uma] as Karpagambal. Marina Beach is an invigorating landmark of Chennai that draws several visitors from across the country. It is the longest natural urban beach of the country and the widest stretch of the beach is 437 m. The whole long stretch of 12 km with turquoise waters makes Marina Beach, the second largest beach of the world and one of the top places to visit in Chennai.

Day 3Chennai - Mahabalipuram

Breakfast at the hotel, drive to Mahabalipuram.

On arrival, sightseeing of Mahabalipuram. Post program, enjoy sea food at one of the restaurants at beach side (direct payment).

Overnight at the hotel.

Mahabalipuram – Tamil’s Sea Town
Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram, 31 miles (50km) south of Chennai, was the major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom based at Kanchipuram. A wander around the town’s magnificent, World Heritage–listed temples and carvings inflames the imagination, especially at sunset.

Mahabalipuram Sightseeing
The Five Rathas were, astonishingly, all carved from single large rocks. Each of these fine 7th-century temples was dedicated to a Hindu god and is now named after one or more of the Pandavas, the five hero-brothers of the epic Mahabharata, or their common wife, Draupadi. The rathas were hidden in the sand until excavated by the British 200 years ago. Standing like a magnificent fist of rock-cut elegance overlooking the sea, surrounded by gardens and ruined courts, the two-towered Shore Temple symbolises the heights of Pallava architecture and the maritime ambitions of the Pallava kings. Arjuna’s Penance, the crowning masterpiece of Mamallapuram’s stonework, this giant relief carving is one of India’s greatest ancient artworks. Inscribed on two huge, adjacent boulders, the Penance bursts with scenes of Hindu myth and everyday South Indian life.

Day 4Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry

Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Pondicherry.

On arrival in Pondicherry, visit Auroville, later check-in and overnight at the hotel.
The union territory of Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry) was under French colonial rule until 1954. Some people here still speak French (and English with French accents). The internationally famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its offshoot just north of town, Auroville, draw large numbers of spiritually-minded visitors. The older ‘French’ part of town (where you’ll probably spend most of your time) is full of quiet streets, lined with bougainvillea-draped townhouses numbered in an almost logical manner. Enjoy fabulous shopping, French food, beer, and plenty of yoga and meditation.

Day 5Pondicherry

Breakfast at the hotel, proceed for sightseeing of Pondicherry.
In the french coloney area, you will be free to visit local cafes, rooftop joints to enjoy the continental food, European Bakeries etc.
Overnight at the hotel in Pondicherry.

Pondicherry Sightseeing
Sightseeing of Pondicheery would include visit of the Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple, a centuries-old temple dedicated to Ganesh, which contains around 40 skilfully painted friezes & where you might get a head pat by the Temple Elephant. Then walk in the French Quarter of Pondicherry, usually including RUE DUMAS, RUE ROMAIN ROLLAND, RUE SUFFREN and RUE LA BOURDONNAIS.

Day 6Pondicherry - Thanjavur

Breakfast at the hotel, drive to Thanjavur. On arrival in Thanjavur proceed for sightseeing, later check-in at the hotel and overnight
Thanjavur – Dravidian History’s Landmark
Thanjavur (Tanjore), here are the ochre foundation blocks of perhaps the most remarkable civilisation of Dravidian history, one of the few kingdoms to expand Hinduism beyond India, a bedrock for aesthetic styles that spread from Madurai to the Mekong. A dizzying historical legacy was forged from Thanjavur, capital of the great Chola empire during its heyday. Today Thanjavur is a crowded, modern Indian town – but the past is still very much present. Every day thousands of people worship at the Cholas’ grand Brihadishwara Temple, and the city’s labyrinthine royal palace preserves memories of other, later powerful dynasties.

Thanjavur Sightseeing
Thanjavur’s royal palace is a mixed bag of ruin and renovation, superb art and random royal paraphernalia. The mazelike complex was constructed partly by the Nayaks who took over Thanjavur in 1535, and partly by a local Maratha dynasty that ruled from 1676 to 1855. Brihadeeshwar Temple is one of the most beautiful architectural splendors of the country. It is erected amidst the great walls made perhaps in the sixteenth century. Inside the temple, there is a temple tower famous as Vimana among the devotees and tourists. This temple tower has an elevation of 66 meters. Vimana is one of the tallest temple towers on the earth. A rounded apex structure is there in the Brihadeeshwar Temple, which is believed to be constructed out of carving on a single stone only. This temple is a perfect illustration of the great heights achieved in the field of architecture by the Chola rulers. It is a homage paid to Lord Shiva and is a display of power of Raja Raja Chola I.

Day 7Thanjavur - Alangudi - Chettinad

Breakfast at the hotel and proceed for a long walking tour of Alangudi village. Lunch at the Alangudi Village.
Drive to Chettinad, on arrival check-in and overnight.

Alangudi Village Experience
Start off with a leisurely stroll with him through Alangudi’s village pathways. Get a chance to interact with its local residents, visit the ancient village temples, get introduced to their local village gods, witness Coconut Palm leaf weaving, walk through verdant paddy fields and meet the farmers in action. You would come across many other rare scenes which would take you by surprise and make you fall in love with Alangudi. Once you finish your walking tour, visit a local family. You will have a traditional Aarthi welcome followed by an introduction of the family members.

Later get indulged in an exciting Cooking Demonstration session wherein you will learn different varieties of Tamil Nadu recipes.

Chettinad (Karaikudi) – Tamil Nadu’s sensory delight
When it comes to visiting the best places in Tamil Nadu, Chettinad has to be on the top. For no other reason but the fact that Chettinad tourism is a sensory delight. The bright Chettinad architecture, tasty Chettinad food and intriguing heritage of its mansions and Chettinad temples are bound to delight any visitor. Technically, Chettinad refers to a region that includes 78 villages of the Pudukkottai and Sivaganga districts in Tamil Nadu. Karaikudi is the main town of this region and is popularly considered as the capital of Chettinad.

A tour of Chettinad mansions and temples will be undertaken taking you through the history and culture of the place.

Day 8Chettinad

Breakfast at the hotel.
Proceed for a walking tour of the Chettinad area, enjoy a bullock-cart ride. You also have an option to get your astrology checkked by a ‘Parrot’.
Chettinad cuisine is quite distinct from the rest of the Tamil Nadu, here the food is with extra spices (not hot) and unlike rest of the Tamil Nadu, here this cuisne loves adding meat to the dishes.
Enjoy a chettinad lunch in a heritage mansion.
Overnight at a hotel.

Day 9Chettinad - Madurai

Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Madurai. On arrival proceed for sightseeing Madurai.
Later, a food Safari tour.
Overnight at the hotel.

Madurai – Tamil Nadu’s Soul
Chennai may be the capital of Tamil Nadu, but Madurai claims its soul. Madurai is Tamil-born and Tamil-rooted, one of the oldest cities in India, a metropolis that traded with ancient Rome and was a great capital long before Chennai was even dreamed of. Tourists, Indian and foreign, come here for the celebrated Meenakshi Amman Temple, a dazzling mazelike structure ranking among India’s greatest temples. Otherwise, Madurai, perhaps appropriately given its age, captures many of India’s glaring dichotomies: a centre dominated by a medieval temple and an economy increasingly driven by IT, all overlaid with the hustle, energy and excitement of a big Indian city and slotted into a much more manageable package than Chennai’s sprawl.

Madurai Sightseeing
Sightseeing of Madurai includes the beautiful Meenakshi temple. The prime attractions in Madurai include King Tirumala’s Palace, Gandhi Museum, and Great Tank.

Madurai Food Safari
A celebration of Madurai cuisine wherein you explore the delicious, relaxed, inexpensive style of eating at different restaurants in Madurai that’s been popular for many years. This food safari is indeed a culinary journey for you across Madurai which is a food paradise, serving distinctive dishes, which you cannot find in any other places.

Day 10Madurai - Periyar

Breakfast at the hotel, check-out relatively early and drive to Thekkady. On arrival in Thekkady (Periyar), visit a local Spice PLantation. Have an indepth Spice Plantation tour with a naturalist.
Later, visit the Periyar National Park on a shared boat.
Check-in at the hotel. Evening, visit the local theatre for the Kalaripayattu Show.
Overnight at the hotel.

Thekkady – Spice & Wild
The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. The Periyar forests of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India. Spreads across the entire district are the picturesque plantations and hill towns that nestle beautiful trails for treks and mountain walks. It is one of the oldest tiger reserves in the country and the forests of Periyar is embellished by the presence of endangered species.

Spice Plantation Tour
The wealth of spices of India, especially Kerala have lured foreigners for centuries. The appetizing flavors and the intoxicating aroma of spices need to be experienced to see the reason for the temptation. Thekkady cultivates spices in their blissful weather and location. Owing to a number of lush green spice plantations, it is undoubtedly the heartland of spices. Enjoy a spice tour in Thekkady, in the Western Ghats, close to Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Boat ride in Lake Periyar
Proceed for the boat ride at Lake Periyar for wildlife viewing. Herds of Elephants, bisons are common sights here. This reservoir is famous for its water birds which can be observed from close quarters when you go boating on the lake. Periyar Lake is inside a protected area and contributes to the conservation of plants, fowl, fish and wild animals, some of which are rare, endemic and also endangered.

Kalaripayattu Martial Art Form
Kerala’s martial art form, Kalaripayattu, is well-known worldwide. Most of Kerala’s art forms are influenced by Kalaripayattu. In the past kalaris (combat arena or battle field) formed an integral part of the lives of ordinary citizens. Having no gender bias, boys and girls of all ages would be taken to the Kalaris for practice in their early years. The status and sway of Kalaris shifted along with the social climate.

For example, there is ‘Meipayattu’ (physical training), ‘Vadipayattu’ (fighting with sticks or swords), ‘Valpayattu’ (fighting with knives), and ‘Verumkaiprayoga’ (fighting with brooms) (bare hand exercise).

One gets to experience the legendary martial art form in all its glory with exercises being presented by trained fighters. The audience will also get a deeper understanding of the techniques used to showcase this ancient practice.

Day 11Periyar - Alleppey

Breakfast at the hotel, drive to Alleppey. On arrival in Alleppey, embark on your houseboat.
Lunch, evening snacks, dinner onboard the houseboat.
Overnight onboard.

Alleppey – Venice of the East
Referred to as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha has always enjoyed an important place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today, it is famous for its boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. One of the most delightful experiences while in Alappuzha is the houseboat cruise. The houseboats you find in the backwaters of Alappuzha are in fact a reworked version of the Kettuvallams of olden times. Kettuvallam is a Malayalam word, ‘Kettu’, which refers to dwelling structures and ‘Vallom’ means boat. In the olden days, ‘Kettuvallam’ or a boat with a thatched roof that covers wooden hulls was used to carry tons of rice and spices. Of late, houseboats come equipped with all the comforts of a good hotel room including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cosy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. An uninterrupted view of life in the backwaters can be enjoyed while you are on a houseboat.

Overnight on Houseboat
Enjoy a welcome drink as the houseboat cruise starts and your captain steers the houseboat towards the serpentine canals of the Alleppey backwaters. Relax and enjoy the scenes you pass through. You get exposed to the beautiful sights of the countryside and day to day activities of the people of Alleppey who live close to the backwaters. You come across lush green paddies, old churches, temples, markets and more. Sometime later you will be served a backwater special lunch of Authentic local cuisine.

After a sumptuous Keralan Lunch on board, the cruise continues through a wonderful area of the lush green vegetation.

Dinner and overnight onboard houseboat.

Day 12Alleppey - Cochin

Breakfast onboard the houseboat, later disemark and drive to Cochin.
On arrival in Cochin, sightseeing of Cochin. You will realise how Cochin acted as a major gateway for Spice trade in modern history. Later, visit the local theatre for Kathakali PErformance.
For dinner, visit an experiential restaurant ‘Cassava’ at Kochi Marriot. This unique restaurant, the only one of its kind in Kochi, serves an authentic menu crafted by masters of Moplah, Syrian Christian and Sadya recipes honed for generations
Overnight at the hotel.

Cochin (Kochi) – Gateway to Kerala
Set on a magnificent estuary, serene Kochi has been drawing traders, explorers and travelers to its shores for over 600 years. Nowhere else in India could you find such an intriguing mix: giant Chinese fishing nets, a 450-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese and Dutch colonial-era houses, and the crumbling remains of the colonial British Raj. The result is an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal and Holland and an English village grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast. It’s a delightful place to explore, laze in arty cafes and relax at some of India’s finest homestays and heritage hotels. It’s also an important centre for Keralan arts (traditional and contemporary) and a standout place to see Kathakali and Kalarippayatu.

Cochin Sightseeing
Visit Dutch Palace in Mattancherry, also know as Mattancherry Palace, is one of the finest examples of the Kerala style of architecture interspersed with colonial influences. The Jewish Synagogue or Paradesi Synagogue at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town. The St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. The Santa Cruz Basilica originally built in 1557 by the Portuguese. Walk to the Chinese fishing nets which are huge cantilevered fishing nets, believed to have brought to Kochi by Chinese trade.

Day 13Departure

Breakfast at the hotel, transfer to airport for flight back home.

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