Duration
15 Days
Fitness
Moderate
Travel
Multiple dates in 2019 & 2020
Destination
India
See India as you’ve never seen it before on this 15 Day small-group Southern India tour. A world away from the mountainous north, Southern India boasts lush greenery, its own cuisines and elegant city centres swathed in history. With a maximum of 22 travellers, you’re able to have close encounters with local culture inaccessible to most tourists. Learn how to wear a sari at a silk-weaving factory, visit a meditation centre in Auroville and cook a homemade lunch with a Kochi family to learn the secrets of Southern spice. The headline acts also feature on your itinerary, with rickshaw rides in Pondicherry, Bengal tiger-spotting in Periyar National Park and witnessing candlelit prayer at Meenakshi Amman temple.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Save up to $300pp on this incredible tour!
  • Stop off at Southern India’s best cities including Chennai, Kanchipuram, Pondicherry and Kochi
  • Visit several UNESCO-listed highlights including Mahabalipuram ancient archaeological site and Lord Brihadeeswarar Temple

HOLIDAY INCLUDES
MyDiscoveries exclusive discount- Save up to $300pp!
Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
Flights Australia-Chennai, Kochi-Australia
Airline taxes and fuel surcharges
14 nights accommodations on Southern India tour: 2 nights Chennai, 2 nights Mahabalipuram, 1 night Pondicherry, 2 nights Thanjavur, 2 nights Madurai, 2 nights Periyar National Park and 3 nights Kochi
Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
Hotel porterage
All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates
30 meals: 14 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 7 dinners with wine
Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
English-speaking tour guide
Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring

TRAVEL DATES Departures dates in 2019: 
  • Sep: 06, 20
  • Oct: 04, 18
  • Nov: 08, 19, 22
  • Dec: 17
Departures dates in 2020:
  • Jan: 03, 10, 14, 17, 24, 31
  • Feb: 07, 11, 14, 18, 25, 28
  • Mar: 10, 24
PLEASE NOTE: Due to flight schedule and departing times, you may depart one day earlier/later *Advertised price based on 06 Sep 2019 departure from Sydney at time of publishing. Flights aren’t available for 2020 yet.
ITINERARY 
  • Day 1: Depart for India
  • Day 2: Government Museum, St. Basilica Church, Marina Beach / Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 3: Kanchipuram, “City of a Thousand Temples”, Silk Weaving Artisans / Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 4: Mahabalipuram’s Temples / Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 5: Pondicherry’s French Quarter, Auroville Meditation Center, Paper Factory / Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 6: Chidambaram Temples, Thanjavur, Maratha Palace / Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 7: Brihadeeswarar Temple, Amma Mandapam, Ranganathaswamy Temple / Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 8: Chettinad’s Palaces, Ghandi Museum / Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 9: Madurai’s Temples, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace, Madurai’s Bazaars / Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 10: Periyar National Park, Spice Plantation / Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 11: Periyar National Park / Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 12: Alleppey Back Waters, Houseboat Cruise, Kochi / Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 13: Home Hosted Cooking Class, Kathakali Dance Performance / Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 14: Mattancherry Dutch Palace, Paradesi Synagogue, Farewell Dinner / Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 15: Departure from India/ Meals: Breakfast
For Full Itinerary CLICK HERE
MAP
HOTELS
  • Chennai: Grand Chennai By GRT Hotels
  • Mahabalipuram: Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram
  • Pondicherry: Shenbaga Hotel
  • Thanjavur: Sangam Hotel
  • Madurai: Courtyard by Marriott Madurai
  • Thekkady: The Elephant Court
  • Kochi: Forte Kochi

WHY BOOK WITH MYDISCOVERIES? At MyDiscoveries we want to help you make ‘one day’, today. Whether you’re into cruising or glamping, or if you’d prefer to holiday at home or abroad, we’re driven to make your holiday dreams come true. With over 20 years of travel experience, you can be sure we can create the right holiday for you. Can’t find what you’re looking for on our site? Call us on 1300 404 606 and one of our travel consultants can create an incredible package for you.
The MyDiscoveries 30 Day Booking Guarantee means that if you can’t get the travel dates you want within 30 days of buying the voucher, we’ll give you your money back
Pay over 5 x monthly, interest-free instalments. Credit card holders can spread their payments over 5 months on all MyDiscoveries holidays

FINE PRINT 
  • Valid for travel: Multiple departure dates in 2019
  • Advertised price based on 06 Sep 2019 departure from Sydney at time of publishing. Flights aren’t available for 2020 yet.
  • Advertised price may vary and is subject to availability at time of booking.
  • Subject to availability at time of booking for new bookings only.
  • Airlines are subject to best available at the time of confirmation or may change depending on date of departure.
  • All prices are subject to change at any time without notice.
  • Valid for sales unless sold out prior.
  • If you need to cancel your trip after travel has been confirmed, the travel operator may impose cancellation fees. In addition, MyDiscoveries will charge a AUD $100 per person cancellation fee. We recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you have booked your travel dates so you have protection against emergency cancellations that might be needed.
  • Travel insurance not included, customers are advised to purchase appropriate cover.
  • Once your MyDiscoveries Voucher has been purchased you will be contacted by the MyDiscoveries Reservations team will work with the tour operator to get you booked onto your preferred travel dates.
  • When booking in your travel dates, make sure you have your travel voucher number, traveller names and details of any special requirements (e.g. vegetarian etc)
  • The MyDiscoveries team will send an email to you confirming all of your booking information.
  • Excludes: visa, travel insurance, meals not mentioned and items of a personal nature

VISA INFORMATION A visa gives a non-citizen permission to enter and stay in a certain country. MyDiscoveries cannot issue visas for your trip. You will need to research Visa requirements and contact the nearest embassy or consulate. Australian Government’s travel advice service smartraveller.gov.au is a good place to start. Read more Visa information here.
To book your Southern India tour, purchase online at www.mydiscoveries.com.au or call us on 1300 404 606
1

Depart for India

Welcome to India! Arrive in cosmopolitan Chennai on the Bay of Bengal, gateway to South India; transfer to the hotel. Time to rest, relax and acclimate to your new time zone or venture out to get acquainted with some of the city’s extraordinary sights and the lively shops selling vibrant handmade silk sarees.
2

Government Museum, St. Basilica Church, Marina Beach

This morning, begin your exploration of the city at the Government Museum, with its fascinating exhibits about ancient Chennai. Then, enjoy lunch before a scenic drive along the coast that takes you to Marina Beach, a surprising combination of colonial buildings, churches, and monuments accented by the natural beauty of endless skies and sea. Afterward, visit St. Basilica Chruch built in the 16th by Portuguese explorers over the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle. The Basilica is one of the holiest Christian sites in India and one of the world’s only surviving Apostolic burial sites. Continue to the beautiful Kapaleeshwarar Temple. Walk around this centuries-old temple and admire the elaborately decorated gopuram, a fine display of Dravidian architecture before returning to the hotel. This evening, join your Tour Manager and fellow travelers at an orientation meeting on the exciting discovery of South India that lies ahead, followed by dinner at the hotel. MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
3

Kanchipuram, “City of a Thousand Temples”, Silk Weaving Artisans

This morning, travel to Kanchipuram, the “City of a Thousand Temples,” one of Hinduism’s most sacred cities. Here, you tour the historically important Ekambareswarar Temple with its 540 pillars. Then, visit the stunning Kailasanathar Temple with its elaborate carvings before enjoying lunch. Kanchipuram, world-famous for its hand-woven silk sarees, is the center of silk production and design in India for over four centuries. As you walk along the lanes of the city, view colorful displays of sarees waving in the breeze, woven on hand looms by artisans throughout the city out of dazzling bright silks, embellished with golden threads. On your exclusive visit to a traditional silk weaving factory, meet with some of the artists and learn how to drape and wear a sari. Afterward, on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, an ancient archaeological wonder rising on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Bay of Bengal. Once a major seaport, these magnificent temples, and carvings are remarkable examples of exquisite architecture, illustrating tales from mythology and highlighting the development of the Dravidian temple style. Spend your evening at leisure. MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch
4

Mahabalipuram’s Temples

Early this morning if you wish, join a yoga session. After breakfast, embark on a guided tour. Admire the Shore Temple standing by the sea for over 12 centuries, with an impressive bas-relief and imposing twin towers. At the southern end of the site, see the Five Rathas carved from large boulders and Arjuna’s Penance, a massive bas-relief that magnificently depicts the flow of the Ganges down from the Himalayas coupled with scenes from Indian daily life. This temple complex is considered the finest early example of medieval southern Indian architecture. This afternoon, enjoy the lovely beaches this coastal city has to offer before dinner tonight at the hotel. MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
5

Pondicherry's French Quarter, Auroville Meditation Center, Paper Factory

Your journey along the coast takes you to enchanting Pondicherry, a former French colonial settlement that still retains its carefree French atmosphere and architectural legacy. In the charming Old Quarter, with its tree-lined cobbled streets, colonial villas are draped with fragrant bougainvillea, and sidewalk cafes abound. Even the policemen are dressed in traditional French red hats and belts! Lunch is followed by a visit to serene Auroville, City of Dawn famous for the meditation center inspired by the teachings of the Indian yogi Sri Aurobindo. Many spiritually minded visitors come here and stay to nurture his vision of human unity. Next, view the golden-domed Mother Temple. Later, tour a factory where delicate individually handcrafted papers are produced followed by a visit to Aurobindo Ashram. Enjoy a rickshaw ride around the French, Hindu and Muslim quarters of Pondicherry. MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch
6

Chidambaram Temples, Thanjavur, Maratha Palace

Depart Pondicherry for Chidambaram, home to the massive temple complex of Nataraja, one of the holiest of all Shiva sites, a spectacular architectural marvel spread over 50 acres in the heart of the city. After time to relax over lunch, travel to Thanjavur (Tanjore) once a thriving capital of the celebrated Chola Empire, known as the “rice bowl” of the Tamil Nadu region. On arrival, visit the spectacular Maratha Palace, within a maze-like complex; walk through the open courtyard Art Gallery displaying priceless collections of superb Chola bronzes and stone carvings and visit the Saraswathi Mahal Library. The remainder of the day is at leisure in Thanjavur. MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch
7

Brihadeeswarar Temple, Amma Mandapam, Ranganathaswamy Temple

Begin the day with a visit to the grand Lord Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where thousands of people worship daily. Built by King Raja Raja Cholan over a thousand years ago, this impressive temple is one of South India’s most magnificent architectural accomplishments. Continue with a drive to Trichy. Here, visit Amma Mandapam, a religious bathing ghat on the banks of the Kaveri River. Witness pilgrims immersing themselves in a ritual bath before proceeding to worship at the sacred Ranganathaswamy Temple. Stop at this famous temple, one of the most illustrious in the country, nestled in an ethereal setting on the island of Srirangam. Following lunch, return to Thanjavur. Tonight, enjoy dinner with your group at a local restaurant. MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
8

Chettinad’s Palaces, Ghandi Museum

Your travels take you to Chettinad, land of the Chettiars, a community that dates back to the Chola period making its fortunes as money lenders, merchants and jewelry dealers. Here, see lavish palaces and mansions that reflect the opulence of a bygone era. Also known for its food and Master Chefs, enjoy a distinctive traditional lunch of local favorites. Next, you reach the vibrant city of Madurai on the banks of the Vaigai River, a center of learning and pilgrimage for many centuries. A visit to the Gandhi Museum follows with an opportunity to learn about this remarkable man lovingly called the “Father of the Nation” instrumental in India’s fight for independence. Before dinner, visit a local dance school practicing Bharatnatyam. Meet with students to learn more about the dance and attend a performance. MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
9

Madurai's Temples, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace, Madurai’s Bazaars

Don’t miss this morning’s optional Vanakkam (means welcome in Tamil language) private interactive walking tour of Madurai! At the first light of dawn, walk the quiet streets as the city awakens. Observe first-hand how everyday life begins in this Indian city from prayer rituals at the temple to market shopping — truly a total immersion into the culture. Return for breakfast, followed by a visit with the group to the ancient Meenakshi Amman Temple, an enormous Nayak complex built between 1623 and 1655, as a majestic testament to their ruler. Later, head to the massive Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace with its imposing courtyard, grand throne chambers and entry flanked by stone carved horses before returning to the hotel for lunch. In the evening, shop at the bargain-filled bazaars bursting with treasures and jewelry shops galore. Optional: Vanakkam Madurai Tour (AM) MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch
10

Periyar National Park, Spice Plantation

Today, drive to Periyar National Park perched high in the Cardamom Hills, the best-known wildlife sanctuary in South India, home to elephants, antelope, deer and many species of birdlife. Its variety of flora and fauna, pristine lakes and magnificent forests will surely make this visit most memorable. After time to relax and settle in at the hotel, stroll leisurely through one of the area’s spice plantations. You’ll hear about the many different ways to use these spices in both medicines and in the preparation of food. In the evening, join the optional Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with dinner. Kalaripayattu, one of the oldest fighting styles in the world, is believed to have been adapted from various martial art forms like karate, kung-fu, and judo. Optional: Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with dinner MEALS: Breakfast
11

Periyar National Park

Thrilling activities await you today at the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Begin the day with a nature walk inside the National Park. Pass through evergreen and deciduous forests accompanied by your local guide, who informs you about the local flora. A highlight of the day is a scenic Jeep ride to Ottakathalamedu, 1300 meters above sea level, for panoramic views of Thekkady. Afterward, a boat ride on the picturesque lake. At the end of this exciting day, perhaps treat yourself to a rejuvenating and soothing Ayurveda massage. Tonight, enjoy dinner together at the hotel. MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
12

Alleppey Back Waters, Houseboat Cruise, Kochi

The drive to Alleppey reveals this tranquil backwater region of Kerala. Boarding a houseboat, you cruise along this very intricate network of canals, lakes, lagoons and rivers called the “Venice of the East.” Observe Kerala’s rural lifestyle as you glide past tiny villages sprinkled with rice fields and witness a way of life that has changed little through the ages. With women washing clothes on the river banks while children play in the shallows, kingfishers dart among the palm trees and the fishermen stand with water up to their necks, seeking out fish with their feet. Enjoy a specially prepared lunch of Keralan cuisine cooked on board just for you. Arrive in Kochi, a principle port and center of the Malabar Coast spice trade since the 14th century. Known as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea,” it was here that the first European settlement in India was established by Vasco da Gama. Subsequently, the city was ruled alternatively by the Dutch and the British until its independence. MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch
13

Home Hosted Cooking Class, Kathakali Dance Performance

Today you’re treated to a specially arranged cooking class at a private home in Kochi. Join your hosts in the preparation of lunch while learning some of the secrets of Indian cuisine. Afterward, view 16th century St. Francis Church, before proceeding to the Santa Cruz Cathedral with its pastel-colored interior and impressive murals. Head to the harbor where local fishermen continue to use cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, distinctively unique to Kochi, living symbols of a centuries-old Chinese influence on this coast dating back to the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan. Spend the rest of the day on your own in Kochi. Time to relax before tonight’s colorful Kathakali dance performance, Kerala’s popular classical and emotional form of dance, drama and music that combines storytelling with music and rigorous physical training. Following the performance, enjoy dinner at the hotel restaurant. MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
14

Mattancherry Dutch Palace, Paradesi Synagogue, Farewell Dinner

This morning depart on a tour of the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese and later renovated by the Dutch in the 17th century. Then, continue to the heart of the Old Quarter. Here, visit the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India. Magnificently decorated with hand-painted Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers, the synagogue has preserved four important scrolls of the Old Testament. Back at the hotel, time to freshen up before tonight’s festivities. Embark on a cruise on the lagoons before enjoying a very special Farewell Dinner – a perfect conclusion to your wonderful journey through South India. Bid farewell to your Tour Manager and fellow travellers. MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
15

Depart India

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. MEALS: Breakfast
DESTINATION
India is a vast country well-known for its hospitality. In India, you say “Athithi Devo Bhava”, which means “the guest is God.” Moreover, of course, India has also historic and architectural treasures like Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram that you will visit during this very complete 9-day tour!
FLIGHT Flights are included in the deal!
  • Departures from Sydney & Melbourne: China Southern Airlines
  • Departures from Brisbane & Perth: China Southern Airlines or Singapore Airlines
Please note: Airlines cannot be confirmed until three weeks prior to departure and changes in airline may be made to accommodate tour requirements.
TRANSFER
During this tour, all transfers are included in the deal!
MYDISCOVERIES VIP PACK
  • Start your holiday before you’ve even stepped on the plane with MyDiscoveries exclusive VIP package.
  • Arrive at Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane airport in the comfort and style of a privately chauffeured luxury SUV or sedan, complete with complimentary water and WiFi.
  • Relax and unwind away from the usual airport hustle and bustle with premium lounge access complete with an array of amazing facilities at your disposal.
  • Read more CLICK HERE

WEATHER
  • India has three main seasons; summer, winter and monsoon. The monsoon season normally hits between June and September.
  • Winter season between October and March is the best time to travel when the weather is more comfortable.

VISA A visa gives a non-citizen permission to enter and stay in a certain country. MyDiscoveries cannot issue visas for your trip. You will need to research Visa requirements and contact the nearest embassy or consulate. Australian Government’s travel advice service smartraveller.gov.au is a good place to start. Read more Visa information here.
TRAVEL INSURANCE
  • MyDiscoveries can arrange a personalised travel insurance quote for you.
  • Call us on 1300 404 606 and quote Discovery10 for a 10% discount.
What is included in The Deal? Please refer to the ‘Includes’ section in The Deal for details of what’s included. If you are unclear, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 1300 404 606 for more information.
Are there any health precautions or vaccinations that I need? We recommend you see your doctor at least six weeks prior to travel to get their advice and to allow time for any necessary vaccinations.
Can I arrange my flights with MyDiscoveries? MyDiscoveries is a full-service travel agency and we can arrange flights to any destination. Call us on 1300 404 606 to get a personalised quote.
Do I need travel insurance? We always recommend that you purchase travel insurance as soon as your travel dates are confirmed. MyDiscoveries can arrange a personalised travel insurance quote for you – call us on 1300 404 606
Can MyDiscoveries organise my travel insurance? We always recommend that you purchase travel insurance as soon as your travel dates are confirmed. MyDiscoveries can arrange a personalised travel insurance quote at competitive rates for you – call us on 1300 404 606
When will my booking be confirmed? Once your MyDiscoveries holiday voucher has been purchased you will be contacted by a member of the MyDiscoveries Reservations team. MyDiscoveries will work with the tour operator to get you booked onto your preferred travel dates and will send you an email to confirm your booking information. If for any reason we are unable to book you onto your preferred dates please refer to the MyDiscoveries 30 Day Booking Guarantee to understand our refund policy. When booking in to your travel dates, make sure you have your travel voucher number, traveller names and details of any special requirements.
What is the cancellation procedure? / Can I cancel or make changes to my booking? If for any reason you need to cancel your booking, contact the MyDiscoveries Reservations team on 1300 404 606. Once we have received your verbal request for cancellation we will ask you to confirm the request in writing (email or post is fine) so that we can accurately start processing the cancellation. Make sure you include your travel voucher number and traveller names when requesting and confirming the cancellation. Please be aware that the travel operator may impose cancellation fees. In addition, MyDiscoveries will charge a AUD $100 per person cancellation fee for cancellations outside our 30 Day Booking Guarantee period.
When will I receive my tour documentation? This one depends on the tour operator.
What type of clothes should I bring? Bring comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer, an all-weather jacket, and an umbrella.
I haven’t received my MyDiscoveries voucher yet. What do I do? If you have not received your voucher contact MyDiscoveries on 1300 404 606 and we will resend your voucher by email or post.
How fit do I need to be? We have graded all MyDiscoveries products with a fitness level. Relaxed, Moderate & Active. For more information on the MyDiscoveries Fitness Levels CLICK HERE
How do I take advantage of the 5 monthly payments plan? At time of booking online, you should be able to select our 5 monthly installment plan as a payment option. If booking over the phone, please mention you wish to pay in 5 monthly payments and our team will ensure this is set up. This is a free of charge service that allows you to pay off your holiday in 5 equal payments. How does it work? Pay only 1/5th of the total of your Holiday at time of booking. Your remaining 4 payments will be taken automatically from the same credit card on the same day of the next 4 months. Easy!
Where can I find the full terms and conditions for MyDiscoveries? Specific terms and conditions for each holiday can be found in the Fine Print section of every holiday. Full terms and condition for My Discoveries can be found HERE