A Journey through South India

A Journey through South India
19 February to 04 March 2018

Join Revd. Lesley McCreadie, Sherborne Abbey & friends on this church group tour to India explore the beautiful south of the country.

Join us as we travel in the footsteps of Thomas the Apostle from coast to coast, beginning our journey at Chennai with a visit to St Thomas’ Mount and San Thome Basilica. We then move south, stopping at the world heritage site of Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry and on to Madurai to see the magnificent Shree Meenakshi Temple, and end our journey on the coast at Cochin.

The tour will be a mix of the holy and the holiday, with time for reflection and also time for fun and relaxation, exploring and shopping.

“The whole experience was great, the most relaxing day of the holiday was the cruise up the backwaters when the whole group experienced it together” – Margaret Fortune

“A whole variety of experiences- worship, culture, scenery, friendliness of the people & their hospitality” – Daphne Brindle

Group tour: A Journey through South India

London – Chennai – Pondicherry – Trichy – Madurai – Cochin – London

Itinerary:
DAY 1: MONDAY 19TH FEBRUARY 2018 – FLY TO CHENNAI

Depart London Heathrow on Emirates flight EK0002, departing Heathrow at 13:40 and arriving at Chennai the following morning at 08:15. (Changeover 00:40 – 02:50 in Dubai).

DAY 2: TUESDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2018 – CHENNAI

Arrive in Chennai in the morning and transfer to the Accord Hotel.

Afternoon tour of Chennai including St Mary’s Anglican Church, the oldest British building in India (fondly known to locals as the ‘Westminster Abbey of the East’) and the Hindu temple of Kapaleeshwarar, a grand and impressive example of Tamil temple architecture with thousands of trademark colourful carvings.

Overnight in Hotel Accord, Chennai

DAY 3: WEDNESDAY 21ST FEBRUARY 2018 – CHENNAI

Today ascend St Thomas’ Mount, where it is believed that the apostle was martyred, and later visit his tomb in the Roman Catholic Basilica of San Thome.

Overnight in Hotel Accord, Chennai

interfaith pilgrimage india

DAY 4: THURSDAY 22ND FEBRUARY 2018 – DRIVE TO PONDICHERRY

This morning leave Chennai and drive south along the East Coast Road to Mahabalipuram, the ancient and stunning ‘temple by the sea’. After lunch continue south on the coastal road down to the French colonial seaside town of Pondicherry. There will be an opportunity to take an evening stroll along the famous beachfront promenade.

Drive time: 4 hours (155km)

Overnight stay is at the charming heritage hotel Maison Perumal, Pondicherry

DAY 5: FRIDAY 23RD FEBRUARY 2018 – PONDICHERRY

Day at leisure to relax and explore Pondicherry. Overnight at Maison Perumal, Pondicherry

DAY 6: SATURDAY 24TH FEBRUARY 2018 – TRAIN TO TRICHY

Time again to rest, relax or explore Pondicherry in the morning. Optional half day sightseeing (no extra cost). Transfer to railway station to catch train to Trichy – “Mangalore Express” (Train number 16857) from Pondicherry (16:35) to Tiruchchirapali (aka Trichy) (20:40). Snacks and fruit will be provided on the train to keep you going until the late dinner at the hotel. On arrival in Trichy transfer to Hotel Breeze Residency.

Overnight in Hotel Breeze Residency, Trichy

DAY 7: SUNDAY 25TH FEBRUARY 2018 – TRICHY

Today is a day for fascinating temple visits. In the morning stretch your legs before climbing the 326 steps up to the Rock Fort to visit its historic temples, and in the afternoon we explore the magnificent and colourful Ranganathaswamy Temple.

Overnight in Hotel Breeze Residency, Trichy

DAY 8: MONDAY 26TH FEBRUARY 2018 – DRIVE FROM TRICHY TO MADURAI

Today we travel west to the city of Madurai where we check into the Heritage Madurai Hotel, and head out for a fascinating and thought-provoking visit to the Gandhi museum.

Drive time: 135km (3-4 hours)

Overnight in Heritage Madurai Hotel, Madurai

DAY 9: TUESDAY 27TH FEBRUARY 2018 – MADURAI

The Shri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is arguably the finest and most fascinating temple complex in India, and is a major pilgrimage centre in the south. The site houses several shrines surrounded by 14 large colourful gateway towers. Just a mile down the road, we also stop to visit the impressive 17th century king’s palace of Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, built in an interesting blend of native South Indian and Islamic styles. The afternoon is at leisure and a great opportunity for shopping.

Overnight in Heritage Madurai Hotel, Madurai

madurai interfaith pilgrimage india

DAY 10: WEDNESDAY 28TH FEBRUARY 2018 – TRAIN TO COCHIN

Spend the morning at rest relaxing in the hotel grounds, or take a stroll around Madurai. Afternoon transfer to Madurai Junction train station to catch “Ms Guruvayur Express” (train no. 16127) from Madurai Junction (16:15) to Ernakulam Town (03:18). Rail journey time: 11h 3m. Travel will be in AC 2-Tier sleeper with good chances of sleeping.

Transfer 15km from Ernakulam Town Station to Eighth Bastion Hotel, Cochin.

Overnight in Eighth Bastion Hotel, Cochin

DAY 11: THURSDAY 1ST MARCH 2018 – REST DAY IN COCHIN

Day for rest in the hotel grounds (enjoy the pool) or explore the old town of Fort Cochin at your leisure.

Overnight in Eighth Bastion Hotel, Cochin

DAY 12: FRIDAY 2ND MARCH 2018 – FORT COCHIN

Today we have a morning sightseeing in Cochin where we visit the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Jewish synagogue and St Francis Anglican Church. We also make a visit to the Mattancherry palace with its Keralan style murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits and exhibitions of the Rajas of Kochi.

In the afternoon we drive 40km north to Cranganore (aka Kodungallur), the place where St. Thomas is said to have arrived in India.

Back in Fort Cochin in the evening we will witness traditional Keralan dances before returning to the hotel for dinner and a well-deserved overnight rest.

Overnight in Eighth Bastion Hotel, Cochin

DAY 13: SATURDAY 3RD MARCH 2018 – BACKWATER CRUISE

Today rest in the hotel grounds, wander the town or take a relaxing cruise on the backwaters of Kerala

Overnight in Eighth Bastion Hotel, Cochin

DAY 14: SUNDAY 4TH MARCH 2018 – RETURN INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE

Early morning transfer for return flight: Emirates flight EK 0531, departing Cochin at 09:40 and arriving at London Heathrow at 18:20 (Changeover 12:10 – 14:30 in Dubai).

The cost per person sharing a twin or double room:
£2,360
Single room supplement:
£640
The cost includes:
  • Return International flight with Emirates Airline in Economy Class.
  • Daily breakfast and dinner at all hotels. Packed dinner from hotel on Day 10
  • Accommodation in a sharing twin or double room with en-suite facilities (Check-in is 1400 hrs and checkout 12 noon. Early check-in late checkouts are subject to availability).
  • All arrival/departure transfers, long drives and sightseeing by a chauffeur driven private air-conditioned coach.
  • Train tickets and reservations in 2-Tier Air Conditioned Class.
  • Services of a local English-speaking representative for all arrival and departure transfers to assist you at the airports.
  • Services of English speaking guide during sightseeing as specified in the itinerary
  • Backwater cruise on Day 13
  • Escort guide for entire tour
  • Entrance fees to all monuments during sightseeing as specified in your itinerary
The cost does not include:
  • India visa fee. You can now apply for visa on arrival in India- please click here for more information. https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
  • Lunches
  • Any expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, beverages, gratuities etc.
  • Camera fees at monuments and other places of interest.
  • Travel Insurance: It is essential to have adequate travel insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
Please ensure:
  • It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover
  • It provides cover for your whole trip
  • It covers you for all activities
  • It covers all your pre-existing medical conditions
  • Keep your Policy Number and Insurer’s 24-hour Emergency Number handy with you

If you wish to book this tour, please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £400.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Credit card payment will be charge at 2% extra. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.

CONTACT US

To enquire or make a booking on this tour, please call: 020 8901 7630 Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday 11am – 4pm

TESTIMONIALS:
“I cannot recommend this company enough. Safe to say India has got under our skin and into our hearts, and when we visit again we will definitely be booking with this company - if you are thinking of going I urge you to do the same.”- Gillian and Ashley Iredale
``The whole experience was great, the most relaxing day of the holiday was the cruise up the backwaters when the whole group experienced it together``- Margaret Fortune
``A whole variety of experiences- worship, culture, scenery, friendliness of the people & their hospitality``- Daphne Brindle
``Being in India and witnessing the faith that the people of India have, Hindus, Muslim or Christians, seeing with my own eyes the devotion the people have`` - Steve Breward
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