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Wonders of South India

12 Nov — 28 Nov 2022 | Tour Director: Cosmo Samuel Brockway

ACE Aquileia tour: Basilica of Aquileia

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Tour Director

Andrew Wilson portrait

Cosmo Samuel Brockway

is a travel and interiors journalist, tour leader and author.

full biography and other tours

Itinerary

Day

1

Depart London Heathrow 1400 on British Airways.

Day

2

Arrive Chennai 0535 and transfer to the Taj Connemara Hotel (renowned heritage hotel, opened in 1854) for overnight. Welcome and introduction followed by orientation coach tour of Chennai including Fort St George, Cathedral of San Thome (believed to be the final resting place of St Thomas) and Government Museum (fine collection of bronze and stone sculptures).

Day

3

UNESCO monuments of Mahabalipuram: 7th century seaport of the Pallava dynasty (cave temples, huge rock bas-reliefs, Rivage Temple with thousands of sculptures dedicated to Shiva). Some free time. Two nights at Taj Fisherman’s Cove Resort & Spa.

Day

4

Morning visit to Kanchipuram (ancient Hindu temple city) followed by opportunity to visit bazaars and some free time. Free evening.

Day

5

Transfer to Pondicherry for two nights at The Promenade Hotel (located on the waterfront).  Afternoon walking tour of the French Quarter including White Town Promenade, Cluny Embroidery Centre,  Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Pondicherry Museum (time permitting).

Day

6

Further visits in Pondicherry including Auroville Ashram (experimental international community founded in 1968): meditation temple (matrimandir) and artisan workshops. Free afternoon and evening.

Day

7

Via Chidambaram (Parvati Temple) and Tharangambadi (former Danish colony) to Thanjavur (former capital of the Chola Dynasty, 10th-11th century). Two nights at the heritage Svatma Hotel, Thanjavur (beautiful heritage hotel).

Day

8

All day visits in Thanjavur: Brihadeshwara Temple (dedicated to Shiva and a fine example of Dravidian architecture), Maratha Palace (constructed by the rulers of the Thanjavur Nayak kingdom), Saraswati Mahal Library (one of the oldest libraries in Asia, dating back to the 16th century). Free evening.

Day

9

To Madurai via ancient city of Tiruchirappalli (time permitting). Two nights at The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai Madurai (superb heritage hotel set amidst tranquil gardens with magnificent views over the city). Evening: night ceremony at the Meenakshi Temple (subject to confirmation).

Day

10

Morning visits in Madurai (Indo-Saracenic Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Meenakshi Temple) followed by free afternoon. Evening: South Indian ‘Food Walk’ featuring various tastings of local cuisine.

Day

11

To Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary for overnight at CGH Earth Spice Village (eco resort).  Afternoon lake boat excursion (subject to confirmation) looking out for elephants and possibly tigers.

Day

12

To the Malabar Coast for scenic houseboat cruise along backwater canals (including lunch). Continue by coach to Kochi for three nights at Fragrant Nature Hotel.

Day

13

Morning lecture: The History of Fort Kochi and its Communities.  Visits in Kochi including Church of St Francis, old ‘Dutch’ Mattancherry Palace, synagogue, convent school. Evening performance by Kathakali dancers and independent dinner.

Day

14

Morning motorboat excursion from Fort Kochi Harbour, including tour of Kochi Harbour and Bolgatty Island. Free afternoon.

Day

15

Morning flight to Mumbai for two nights at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (Tower Wing).  Afternoon visit to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum).

Day

16

Optional dawn visit to the Sassoon Docks and Flower Market, followed by boat trip to Elephanta Island for its Hindu Cave Temples.

Day

17

Depart Mumbai 1315, arriving Heathrow 1800.

Tour Dates

12 Nov — 28 Nov 2022

Days

17

Cost

£5395

Tour Code

WSIN-22

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Testimonial

“In many ways, the biggest asset was the presence and leadership of Cosmo Brockway. Personable, unflappable, kind, thoughtful… just some of his many qualities that, added to his knowledge of the history, culture and people of India, enhanced the whole experience”
- Traveller on a previous tour with Cosmo Brockway

FITNESS / PRACTICALITIES

Participants should meet ACE’s usual fitness requirements. Some visits will involve walking across uneven or rugged ground, as well as the occasional incline. The visit to Tiruchirappalli will involve a climb up to a rock temple. The visit to Elephanta Island in Mumbai will include a 120-step ascent to the site entrance, however there is an option to be carried by chair for those who wish. The tour involves several walking tours and participants must be comfortable spending up to two and a half hours on their feet. We will undertake a number of long coach journeys (with stops) and hotel changes, and some environments (such as the Sassoon Docks and Flower Market) may also be crowded.

ACCOMMODATION

India is rightly famed for its wonderful hotels, including heritage properties that immerse travellers in the architectural splendours of the past and offer fascinating insights of their own. Tempting us onward at every stage, our accommodation will range from Chennai’s Taj Connemara Hotel, bursting with history, to the stunning surroundings and city views of The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai in Madurai, and from the relaxing natural surroundings and wildlife of CGH Earth Spice Village to the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai. The majority of hotels are of a four or five-star standard.

FLIGHTS

For customers who wish to make their own travel arrangements,  ACE is pleased to be able to offer a flight reduction of £500.

Cost of £5395 includes: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, eleven lunches with water, eleven dinners with water & tea/coffee, excursions, gratuities.

Not included: visa, travel insurance, twin or double room for single use supplement £1250.

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