India small group holiday, South India
Description of India small group holiday, South India
Southern India is one of the country's most beguiling regions, and his diverse and comprehensive trip across the cultural and historical landscapes of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala encompasses the region's finest cultural experiences as well as a chance to see the amazing wildlife of the Nagarahole National Park, including Asian Elephant and over 250 species of birds.
Travelling from the shores of the Indian Ocean to the Arabian Sea, we will visit an array of UNESCO Heritage sites and ancient temple shrines. Highlights include the pilgrimage city of Kumbakonam (dating back to 300BC), the ancient centre of learning Kanchipuram, and the performing arts centre of Kalamandalam.
You'll experience Tamil and Dravidian culture and heritage first-hand and enjoy the stunning beauty of the Western Ghats and the Malabar Coast. We will also visit the historic splendours of Madurai, Mysore and Cochin, and explore the majestic landscapes of the Kerala backwaters aboard a traditional houseboat.
Explore the captivating city of Madurai - home to the Gandhi Memorial Museum, as well as a host of Hindu, Vishnu and Muslim temples and mosques – before catching an overnight train to Mysore, the stunning cultural capital of the Karnataka region famous for myriad festivals.
In Pondicherry, experience a sophisticated city with fascinating French colonial influences, then compare those with the 18th century palaces of Chettinadu - sumptuous creations in Italian marble and Burmese teak inspired by the grand houses of Europe.
The finale of this brilliant trip of contrasts is the historic riverside city of Cochin, centre of the Malabar spice trade.
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PlanetResponsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that we have been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to dossiers and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit.
In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, we have set up a charitable foundation through which we can channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive Indian cultural tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities. Wherever possible we are happy for our clients to visit these projects to see for themselves where and how this money is being spent.
On this trip, we use public transport - an overnight train on day 8. We also observe the environmentally friendly traditions of Chettinadu on day 5 when we learn about the local industry. Using a houseboat, we travel from Kochi to Appeppy on the sleepy Keralan backwaters on days 15-16, ensurance we take a leisurely pace to fully appreciate the serene beauty of our surroundings. Finishing our tour in Marai Beach, we will observe the traditional fishing industry, ensuring that any seafood we eat will be environmentally sourced as well as delicious.
We always encourage our travellers to remember they are guests to this diverse, vibrant and fascinating country, and we play our part by trying to ensure they leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photographs and memories.
PeopleCommunity Projects and NGOs
In India we have spearheaded travel into rural area ensuring that local people benefit from tourism in places where there are not many opportunities to earn an income. We have developed unique relationships with many people,and through our form of interactive, socially conscious tourism we have helped them adapt to the modern, changing world by providing the ability to financially provide for themselves
All our India cultural tours employ the services of local guides and drivers, stay in locally owned hotels and guesthouses – often staying in our guides villages and homes, which again diverts important funds directly into the area. The wonderful thing about this kind of interactive tourism is that everyone gains – the locals financially, and our clients with the unique experience and social interaction.
In addition we sponsor the following projects:
- In Ladakh the “Ladakh Project” has brought solar lighting to families in the remote Nubra Valley; enabling them to grow and harvest crops and stockpile supplies to get them through the harsh winters.
- In arid Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, we have implemented tree planting schemes (a hands on experience for some of our trips!) as well as helping directly with the financing of rural village schools.
- In Calcutta we support the Hope Foundation, an organisation devoted to helping and improving the living conditions of street children by offering education, health services and nutrition and to help give them a better chance in life.
- We also support several NGOs around the world such as the TESFA community project in Ethiopia, A-Cet and Adopt-A-Minefield, which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.