South India Tour with Snake Boat Race
(13 Days / 12 Nights)
  (Chennai-Mahabalipuram-Trichy-Karikudi-Madurai-Palakkadu-Cochin-Alleppey-Kovalam-Trivandrum)

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Snake Boat Race, known as Vallamkali in Kerala is the most captivating facet of the festival of Onam. It is also promoted as one of the major tourist attractions in the state and draws a lot of local, national as well as international crowd. Vamakalli or the boat race has now been an integral part of Kerala’s identity and its popularity has been soaring with each passing year. The credit of its growing popularity can be given to India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru who was enamored by this event and in order to encourage it took initiatives to start a national competition for this sport.

The Legend
There is one interesting story attached with this event. It is said that once upon a time, there was a man named Katoor Mana who offered his daily prayers about 10 kilometers up the river Pamba from Aranmulla. One similar day after completing his worship, he was waiting to feed a poor man in order to complete his worship rituals. When even after waiting for long, he did not get any one; he simply closed his eyes and prayed to Lord Krishna.

As soon as he opened his eyes, he saw a ragged boy standing near him. Katoor became very happy and lovingly offered all the scrumptious items to the boy. To his utter surprise, the boy disappeared after having the meal. He looked for the boy here and there and then spotted him at the Aranmulla Temple but he gain vanished from the spot. Katoor Mana then concluded that he was no ordinary boy but the god himself.

So in on order to commemorate this event, he started bringing food to Aranmulla temple every year during the time of Onam. In order to protect this food from the river pirates, he asked Kovilans or snake boats to accompany him to the place. As this news spread amongst people, more and more people came forward in snake boats to protect him during the voyage. This is how the custom of a grand carnival called Snake Boat Race began. It later took the form of an event on the Onam festival.

 

The Boat
Vallamkali boats are not ordinary boats. There is a standard scale to make it. It is about 100 feet long and has a seating capacity of 150 men. It is made up of Anjili (Artocarpus hirsuta), or Kadamb (Naucleacadamba) wood. The boat is designed in a way that its ends are shaped like cobra hoods. This is also the reason that the boats are named Snake Boats. The boats are treated religiously by the local people and thus meticulously crafted by skilled craftsmen with lots of patience and hard work. Only men are allowed to touch this boat and one can enter in to it only of he is bare feet (a token of regard).


Occasion of Onam
The exciting Snakeboat Races take place on the occasion of Onam at the Aranmulla temple. The temple is built on the shores of the river Pamba. The spectacular snakeboats or 'chundan vallams' that take part in the race are nearly 30 in number and are owned by the villagers residing in the

hamlets bordering the river. The stretch of the race extends from the hills to the low lying plains that measure up to about 40 km.

A community event in itself, the race has the oarsmen dressed in white dhotis and turbans. They steer the boats while singing traditional boat songs to the rhythm of the splashing of their oars in the water. The boats often have a golden lace at the head and the flag and the ornamental umbrella at the center and form an important part of this visual extravaganza. This Snake Boat activity is considered to be much more important and pious than a mere game.

 

Punnamada - Alappuzha Dist.

Day 01: Chennai - Mahabalipuram
Around midnight arrival at the Chennai airport. Upon arrival, you will be picked up by our representative and drive to Mahabalipuram and transferred into the resort. Mamallapuram is a historical retreat set amidst natural beauty, about 58 km south of Chennai. Mahabalipuram is also known as Mamallapuram, the city of Bali. This ancient city is located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. This ancient place was the major seaport of the Pallava dynasty and was the second capital of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. Mamallapuram is globally known for the famous shore temples.

Day 02: Mahabalipuram
Today in the morning after breakfast we take a short trip to the shore temples. The Shore temple is located on a rocky hill very close to the sea. This is one of the oldest temples in South India. It belongs to the 8th century AD and is a good example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in Dravidian style. After visiting the shore temples we visit the Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram is known for its silk sarees all over India and world. After having a small visit to Kanchipuram we return back to the resort. Evening at leisure to spent the day at the beach.

Day 03: Mahabalipuram - Trichy
Today after an early morning breakfast we leave Mahabalipuram and drive to Trichy. Upon arrival at Trichy check into your hotel and relax. Trichy is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. Once the citadel of the Cholas, this strategic city, was much too benevolent, under the rule of the Nayaks of Madurai. In the evening we visit the famous Srirangam Temple and the famous Rock Fort Ganesha Temple.

Day 04: Trichy - Karikudi
Today morning we proceed towards Karikudi. On arrival you will be transferred to the Bangala home stay. This home stay belongs to the local Chettiar family and is a quaint assortment of buildings, built over the last 75 years, that has been recently renovated and restored as a Heritage Hotel for visitors to Chettinad. Today we explore Karaikudi with its fabulous mansions, and its many temples and also visit various antique shops and the Village market.

Day 05: Karikudi - Madurai
Today we will drive to Madurai. Madurai, the city of Nectar is located on the banks of the river Vaigai in the south of Tamil Nadu. It is the second largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is also considered as an important cultural and commercial centre of Tamil Nadu. Madurai is known for the famous Meenakshi temple dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi. Today, this splendid temple is also known for its imposing gopurams that soar over the city. This temple, which is the centre of social and religious activity, attracts thousands of visitors every year from all over the world. In the evening we will visit the temple to witness the famous night ceremony when the temple bronze of Lord Siva is carried to the bedchamber of goddess Parvati with some religious prayers and music.


Day 06: Madurai - Palakkadu

Today we drive towards Palakkadu. Nearly all the agricultural land you will pass on the way here from Palakkad belonged to the Kandath family. Their impressive ancestral home was built on part of the estate in 1794 using mud and teak. In the evening we have a walk through the winding roads through an unspoilt countryside and paddy fields together with a visit to the local village temple to watch the evening rituals and pooja. Overnight stay at the house.


Day 07: Palakkadu
In the morning, one can have a trek to the “Chaya Kada” (corner tea shop) and as well as Visit the local temple, where the presiding deity is Lord Siva. As this a family temple so the non Hindus accompanied by someone from the house only can enter the temple premises or one can enjoy the various activities like a bullock ride through the countryside an Visit to the nearby potter.


Day 08: Palakkadu - Cochin
Today in the morning after having breakfast drive to Cochin. Cochin or Kochi is the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. Cochin is located on the western coast of Kerala. Cochin is set on a cluster of islands surrounded by sparkling blue lagoons and backwaters on the vast area of the Vemband lake. Cochin is the most interesting town in South India at Malabar Coast and is also known as Venice of south. On arrival drive to the hotel. In the afternoon we will visit the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue and the Chinese fishing nets. In the evening we visit a Kathakali dance school. Kathakali dances come from Kerala and in its traditional form relates stories from the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Day 09: Cochin - Alleppey
Today we will drive to Alleppey to board the House boat which is known as Kettuvalam. It would be a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters of Kerala. Today you will cruise on the backwaters through the lush green paddy fields and swaying palm trees. Overnight stay in the house boat.

Day 10: Alleppey 
Today you will be dropped at a home stay set on the backwaters of Alleppey. This ancestral house is built in the traditional way with “Nalukettu”. Full day at leisure at the home stay.

Day 11: Alleppey - Kovalam
Today you will drive to Kovalam. In the evening we will visit the Kovalam beach. Overnight stay at the resort.
 

Day 12: Kovalam - Trivandrum
Today in the morning after having breakfast drive to Trivandrum. Today we have sightseeing in Trivandrum. The main tourist attractions in Trivandrum is the Shanghumukham Beach. The Shanghumukham Beach is a favourite place for the sunset viewers. The main attractions of this beach are an indoor recreation club, the Matsya Kanyaka (a gigantic, 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid) and a restaurant shaped like a starfish. Another tourist attraction in Trivandrum is the most famous Sree Padmanabha Swami temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. After having sightseeing in Trivandrum return to the resort and have an overnight stay.

Day 13: Flight to Home
Transfer to the airport to connect the flight back to home destination. 
 

Tour Reservation
To get more information or to book this tour please submit the Query Form or send us an e-mail ! Your booking will be activated only after we get a reconfirmation from your side.

About Hotels:
We provide you the accommodation as per your budget mentioned above in the table of hotels category for any of the booked tour. Hotels provided by us are from budget to luxury class hotels. Luxury hotels are all five stars or of above standard. Deluxe would be a combination of 3 and 4 star Hotels and standard would be a combination of 2 and 3 star or similar hotels. The criteria for selecting hotels by us remains the best value of your money.

 

 

 Proposed Hotels

Nights

Indo Vacations – Inclusions:

Accommodation in a double room with shower /bath & WC in the hotels as
    indicated.

Half board (breakfast and dinner in the booked Hotels).   

Dinner & breakfast  during the tour.

An experienced english speaking Tour Guide / Tour Escort for the local sightseeing

    throughout the whole tour (An Accompanying Tour Escort will be provided on the
    group strength above 10 traveler
).

An air-conditioned vehicle, including insurance, fuel etc. with chauffeur (experienced,
    reliable and English speaking) during the entire tour.
 

All entrance fees of the mouments as per the tour itineray.

All applicable taxes.

    Not included are: Camera fees, gratitude, drinks and personal expenses of any
    nature!

 

    Note:

(B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)

We suggest that you book the international flights in your country as this is mostly
    cheaper.

Please note you will need a visitor visa for India. We recommend to apply for the
    same well in advance.

For individual travelers joining the group will not  be charged extra for both the airport
    transfers (advance notice required
)

If the desired travelers do not register for the tour – An option will be available to
    operate the group tour with less people with some extra charges. These charges
    will be informed well in advance and till then there is no obligation or no cancellation

    charges of registration.

Registration for the group tour with Indo Vacations is without any cost. Only at the
    time of confirmation we will send you the travel documents and ask for 25 % of the
    total amount as advance payment. The due amount can be paid after your arrival in

    India. (more information is available on query).

Indo Vacations reserve the right of changes which may be beyond our control.

Details for the vehicles used are available at the below given links:  

 

For 1 person – Tata Indica - (4 seats)
  
 http://www.indovacations.net/english/tataindica.htm

For 2 person – Tata Indica - (4 seats)
   
http://www.indovacations.net/english/tataindica.htm

For 3 person – Tata Indigo - (4 seats)
   
http://www.indovacations.net/english/tataindigo.htm
For 3 - 5 person – Tavera Chevrolet / Toyota Innova - (6 seats)
   
http://www.indovacations.net/english/tavera.htm;
    http://www.indovacations.net/english/ToyotaInnova.htm

For 6-9 person - Tempo Traveler - (10 seats)
   
http://www.indovacations.net/english/tempotraveler.htm;

Hotel Ideal Beach Resort, Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram

2

Breeze Residency

Trichy

1

Hotel Saratha Vilas (Heritage)

Karikudi

1

Hotel GRT Regency, Maduari (Deluxe)

Madurai

1

Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort, Palakkad (Deluxe Resort)

Palakkadu

2

Cherai Beach Resort (Resort)

Cochin

1

House Boat, Alleppey (Deluxe)

Alleppey

2

Beach & Lake Ayurvedic Resort

Kovalam

1

Hotel The Travancore
(Heritage)

Trivandrum

1

 Total Nights               12

 

Heritage Hotels:
Heritage Hotels are old Palaces, Forts and Grand mansions of Maharajas which have been later renovated and converted into Hotels. Rooms are decorated all individually. Rooms are comfortable, romantic and present the flair of olden Maharaja days.

 

Testimonials & References from the customers who already traveled with us!

 

 

 

 

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