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Southern India (Ayurveda: Harmony & Spiritual Tour), 14 days

Has there been a better time to go in search of  relaxation and inner peace? Join us in Southern India for days and days of destressing . Ayurveda, a Hindu health doctrine and presumably the oldest holistic medicine in the world, aims to create harmony between body and mind. The teaching assumes that man consists of a combination of three types of energy called doshas. If one is not healthy, the balance between these energies is disturbed. Get acquainted with Ayurveda and yoga and enter into this spiritual world of the Indian continent. And the journey continues on the enchanting, colorful backwaters of Kerala. You will stay on a lovely rice boat overnight (4 or 5 cabins per boat). You will be treated to scrumptious meals and the most wonderful, peaceful explorations of the lagoons and canals.  You will come back home equipped with some much-needed positive energy. 

Join Djoser's international groups, with travelers from Holland and Belgium (they speak great English!).  This is a true cultural adventure that is good for the soul!

Itinerary

  1. Mahabalipuram
  2. Mahabalipuram, Ayurveda reading
  3. Mahabalipuram
  4. Mahabalipuram - Chidambaram - Swamimalai
  5. Swamimalai, yoga & meditation sessions
  6. Swamimalai - Tanjore - Trichy
  7. Trichy - Coimbatore
  8. Coimbatore, visit Arya Vaidya Pharmacy
  9. Coimbatore
  10. Coimbatore - Calicut
  11. Calicut - Cochin
  12. Cochin, boat trip on backwater
  13. Cochin
  14. Cochin - flight to Chennai (arrive late evening)

Day by day

 Mahabalipuram

Day 1. Mahabalipuram - Meet group
Day 2. Mahabalipuram, Ayurveda lecture
Day 3. Mahabalipuram

You will meet the group in Mahabalipuram, a relaxed harbor town on the Bay of Bengal. The Dutch participants arrive late evening so you will meet the group the next morning for a a Welcome meeting and introductory lecture about Ayurveda .

Mahabalipuram has beautiful beaches, special temples close to the sea and the famous 25 meter long and high relief known as Arjuna's penance, with many gods and an elephant. The 7th century Jalasayana temple, 'he who rests on the waves', is on the beach. Special is also the large round rock on a rock formation, better known as Krishna Mandapa (or Krishna's butter ball). The next day we will continue to get acquainted with this intriguing health theory.

During the stay in Mahabalipuram there is the possibility to make an excursion to Kanchipuram. This is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus and also one of the oldest in India. You can see a large number of beautiful temples from the 6th and 7th centuries, including the 185 meter high Ekambareswara.It is evident why it is referred to as the 'golden city with 1000 temples'.

Swamimalai

Day 4 Mahabalipuram - Chidambaram - Kumbakonam - Swamimalai
Day 5 Swamimalai, yoga and meditation session

Through the villages Chidambaram and Gangaikondacholapuram we drive through a beautiful rural route to Swamimalai. Chidambaram is dominated by the huge Nataraja temple. The faithful come daily to this holy place for the evening rituals. Go inside the complex somewhere in a corner to take a look at the different rituals. Kumbakonam is one of the oldest cities in southern India. In the 7th century it was the capital of the Chola kings and an important religious pilgrimage place. The city is full of beautifully decorated temples.

In Swamimalai we stay in an Indian eco hotel where we can pamper ourselves. Because of the beautiful location between the palm trees, the hotel has a particularly serene appearance. To get in the right mood, we are welcomed with a relaxing foot massage. To start the morning well there is a yoga and meditation class included in the program to bring our bodies and minds in harmony. Then we visit the nearby Darasuram temple. You can also (optionally) enjoy a relaxing oil massage or a soothing herbal bath. Furthermore, there is the possibility to participate in an Ayurvedic cooking demonstration to discover the secrets of Ayurvedic cuisine.

Tanjore & Coimbatore

Day 6. Swamimalai - Tanjore - Trichy
Day 7. Trichy - Coimbatore
Day 8. Coimbatore, visit Arya Vaidya Pharmacy
Day 9. Coimbatore

On the way from Swamimalai to Trichy we visit Tanjore. Tanjore is located in an area that is very fertile through the Kauvery River, which flows through it. This river is considered by the Tamils ​​as the southern Ganges. The 10th-century Brihadishvaras Temple for Shiva is the most important in the city. The gates are guarded by two demonic-looking temple guards. On the temple grounds there is a huge picture of Nandi, the bull on which Shiva rides. The top of the temple is formed by a block of stone of about 80 tons. In the center of the city you can visit the museum with a special collection of bronzes. These belong to the 17th-century palace of the Nayaka dynasty.

The skyline of Trichy is dominated by the 'Rock Fort'. The fort is located on a 83 meter high 'holy' rock of 3800 million years old, said to be the oldest in the world. Every day the complex attracts huge numbers of pilgrims from all over India, a fascinating spectacle.

We travel further to Coimbatore, where we spend the night in a centrally located hotel. From here we visit one of the various Ayurvedic centers in the neighborhood. Enjoy (optional) Ayurvedic or medical massages or experience the healing effects of one of the health packages. Follow yoga or medicinal lessons with qualified teachers. In the afternoon we visit the clinical wing of the Arya Vaidya Pharmacy. The adjacent Chikitsalayam Institute has an ISO certified Ayurvedic hospital. Guided tours are given here.

Aleppey, boat trip

Day 10 Coimbatore - Calicut
Day 11 Calicut - Cochin
Day 12. Cochin, boat trip on the backwaters

After our relaxed visit to Coimbatore we continue our journey south towards Calicut and to the ' backwaters ' of Kerala, an area of ​​lagoons, canals, rivers and lakes with water plants, interspersed by narrow, green islands. Rice fields, palm trees and small villages offer an unforgettable impression of Indian rural life. At the Kottakal Arya Vaidysala institute, patients from all over India are treated with Ayurvedic medicine. The next day, and route to Cochin, we stop at the Kerala Ayurveda Pharmacy. Ayurvedic medicines are produced here.

On our own traditional 'house boat', the so-called Kettuvallom, we make an unforgettable trip through this beautiful, colorful environment. A cook takes care of the three delicious meals on board, which are included in the fare. We spend one night on this boat. In the morning we leave the boat after breakfast and go to the town of Cochin.

Cochin

Day 13 Cochin, boat trip through the port
Day 14. Cochin - flight to Chennai
Day 15. Chennai

In Cochin there are still traces of the colonial era, for which the Dutch East India Company was responsible. The Portuguese and English also left their mark on this place. Characteristic are the Chinese fishing nets that Marco Polo described from his experience here. Furthermore, there are many antique shops in the old town where you can certainly spend an afternoon. In the evening we make a boat trip through the harbor.

The ancient Kathakali theater is a wonderful experience. In an intimate theater, colorfully painted men with huge masks and exaggerated costumes, express different emotions with gesture and drums. It is humorous and highly entertaining.

A domestic flight takes us to Chennai, from where the group members will say goodbye.
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Dates and prices

Conditions "Guaranteed leave"

Price includes

  • Land Program
  • Domestic flight Cochin- Chennai
  • Transport by aircondioned bus
  • Hotel accommodation, breakfast in Swamimalai & Trichy
  • Meals during boat trip on the backwaters
  • Dutch guide (addresses group in Dutch & English) 
  • Introduction lecture on Ayurveda on day 2
  • Yoga and meditation class on day 5
  • Boat trip in the port of Cochin
  • Excursions according to program

Price excludes

 Excluded in our Southern India tour package: international flights from/to United States, meals, and optional excursions, entrance fees if not specifically named as included, India tourist visa, exit taxes (if applicable), tips, personal expenses, travel insurance, airport transfers at arrival & departure.

Cost Overview

2019 Scheduled departure 

Feb 8 to Feb 20    - Places available                 

 $2125 - Land package 

 $420 - Single Supplement

Other costs
$240 . Estimated weekly out of pocket expenses
$40 . Group tip pot per person (for driver, porters. Does not include your tour leader's tip. Tipping is appreciated and the amount is at your discretion)


Deposit Due - 20% of total cost, upon booking (non-refundable)
Balance due - 60 days prior to departure date.

Please see terms and conditions for cancellation penalties. Penalties increase, the closer cancellation occurs to departure date. To avoid unforeseen costs and circumstances, we encourage you to purchase travelers insurance.

Group trip dates denoted with the green "G" 

The dates you see listed in our group tours that are marked with a green "G" are SCHEDULED as a "GO" based the enrollment numbers. Before booking your flights it is important that you check with us to see if the group has enough participants for the trip to GO. However, Djoser is not responsible for costs for flight changes or cancellations if a trip must be cancelled due to insufficient enrollment, which might include a booking cancellation after the trip has been deemed to have sufficient bookings for a "GO". 

 

Practical information

Accommodations & Meals

Our hotels are a pleasant resting point in the busy Indian street life. We spend the night in clean, mostly centrally located hotels, where rooms are reserved with their own bathroom and air conditioning. The hotels often have a good restaurant.

In Swamimalai we stay in an Ayurvedic hotel. During this stay you have   opportunities to participate in various Ayurvedic treatments, yoga's and massages.

In the 'backwaters' we spend the night on a classic 'houseboat'. These traditional rice boats have 3 or 4 rooms. You share your shower and toilet with your other travel companions. Delicious meals are prepared for us. 

Mahabalipuram        Hotel Mamalla Heritage
Swamimalai             InDeco Swamimalai
Coimbatore             Prince Gardens Hotel
Calicut                     Key Malabar
Cochin                     Hotel Abad Chullickal

Single Rooms - 

You may request single accommodations for an reasonable additional charge, on your booking form. Otherwise, singles will be matched with a roommate of the same sex.

Hotel Extension Nights

If you would like to extend your stay for a night at the beginning or end of the trip, please notify us and we will request the room, for an additional charge.

Meals

Breakfast is included during the stay in Swamimalai, Trichy and Coimbatore. All other meals are not included in the fare. The advantage of this is that you, or a number of others, can look for a restaurant or restaurant of your choice. You can get an excellent Indian meal in our hotels and other restaurants very cheaply. The tour guide can of course give you tips on the best restaurants.

The Indian cuisine, with lots of different curries, is world famous and delicious. In South India you could order a so-called thali. Thali means plate in Hindi. On this you will find a large variety of dishes combined with rice and bread. A delicious cooling snack is the lassi, a yoghurt drink that is sometimes mixed with fruit.

Flights & Transportation

Booking your international flight - We provide the land package and transportation within the program as described. We do not arrange international flights from or to the United States or Canada. The land program will begin approximately two hours after the arrival of the Netherlands (NL) participants who will be arrive from Amsterdam. The land program will end about 4 hours prior to their scheduled departure time, which allows for time to get to the airport. The proposed flights for the Dutch participants and the land beginning and end times are listed in this section. They are subject to change based on flight delays or changes. We will keep you posted of any flight changes that we are aware of prior to the trip. When scheduling your flights, keep the following times in mind:

Note: The Dutch participants will arrive later in the evening so you can plan on meeting them in the hotel the following morning in Mahabalipuram on Day 2 

The land program begins in MALHABALIPURAM
(The Dutch participants arrive late evening, so you will meet them the next morning in the hotel) 

Land program ends in CHENNAI.  -

Earlier, the group will take a domestic flight from COCHIN to CHENNAI. Please check with us regarding times before you book your flight home from Chennai. 

Before you book your flight - To avoid flight change or cancellation costs get email confirmation from our office that the trip has enough participants to be a “GO”.

Verify the spelling of your name-within 24 hours - When you book your flights, double check your flight records to confirm that your name is spelled on your ticket exactly as it appears on your passport. Some companies (for example, ORBITZ) will only allow a 24 hour window to correct any errors without penalty. You may incur heavy fees for changes, forfeiture of your flight ticket, or even worse, you could be denied entry to a border upon arrival.

Send us a copy of your flight itinerary - We will forward to the tour leader so they will know when to expect you at the hotel and when you will be departing.

Keep in mind hotel extensions - If the Dutch travelers arrive early in the morning, we recommend that you arrange to fly in the day or night before so you will be meet the group. Some trips involve an immediate transfer from airport to the next town so make sure you will arrive before the others so you don’t miss the first meeting or transfer to the next location. We can arrange an extension hotel night for you. Prices for hotel extensions can be found in the "Dates & Prices" section

If the Dutch participants arrive in the late evening - Should they arrive very late in the evening, the group will have their first meeting in the morning in the hotel lobby. You can check in earlier and relax or explore on your own.

Airport transfer to/from hotel – not Included - If you will be arriving and or departing on the same flight as the Dutch travelers let us know. Then you can join them on the bus for the group transfer at no additional charge. Notify us in advance so we can alert the tour leader. If you schedule your flight at the same time as theirs, or later, you can join them on the group transfer to the airport at no additional charge. Otherwise, you can take an authorized taxi to the first hotel on the list we have provided for you. Private airport transfers can be very costly . If your flight is delayed, they are difficult to reschedule or cancel. With a taxi, you are not charged for waiting time or cancellations.

Useful Links for booking your flights
Orbitz.com
Expedia.com

Kayak.com

Transfer out

Airport transfers are not included.  The Dutch depart for Amsterdam at 1:50 AM.  If your flight back home departs at the same time or soon after, you can join the group on the bus to the airport, at no additional charge. 

Local Transport
Throughout the journey we use a private bus with air conditioning. Traveling with own transport has the advantage that we can stop regularly in the villages and places we drive through, for example to visit a small local market or other attractions. From Cochin we make a boat trip on the inland waters of Kerala to watch life along the water.

The cities are best explored on foot. Of course you can also use the famous bicycle or motor rickshaw for the longer distances. It is possible to rent a bicycle in some places.

We use a domestic flight for the Cochin - Chennai route.

Money Matters

Trip Includes

  • Land Program
  • Domestic flight Cochin- Chennai
  • Transport by aircondioned bus
  • Hotel accommodation, breakfast in Swamimalai & Trichy
  • Meals during boat trip on the backwaters
  • Dutch guide (addresses group in Dutch & English) 
  • Introduction lecture on Ayurveda on day 2
  • Yoga and meditation class on day 5
  • Boat trip in the port of Cochin
  • Excursions according to program

Excursions

During this Ayurveda trip, the following excursions are included in the itinerary

  • Introduction lecture on Ayurveda on day 2 in Mahabalipuram
  • Visit day 4 at the impressive Natraja temple in Chidambaram and the beautifully situated temples in the village of Kumbaknonam.
  • Early morning yoga session at hotel Sterling Swamimalai on day 5
  • Meditation session at hotel Sterling Swamimalai on day 5
  • Visit to the temples of Darasuram on day 5
  • Visit the Arya Vaidya pharmacy on day 8.
  • Overnight boat trip (on day 12) through the backwaters with a traditional rise boat. includes meals
  • Boat trip through the port of Cochin on day 13

During the trip there are other optional excursions that are certainly worthwhile. During the stay at the hotel Sterling Swamimalai and the Ayurvedic hotel in Coimbatore various treatments are possible. Cost not included. 

  • Special oil massage in Swamimalai
  • Herbal bath in Swamimalai
  • Trip with ox cart through the village in Swamimalai
  • Cooking demonstration in Swamimalai
  • Different Ayurvedic massage and treatments during the stay in Coimbatore
  • Visit a Kathakali dance performance.

Travel Documents

Passport must be valid for 6 months beyond departure from India. 

A visa is required and can be obtained online. 

Health Issues & Insurance


For this trip is recommended:

Vaccinations against DTP, typhus and hepatitis A
Malaria tablets

Health - Check for the Center for Disease Control – Travelers information for recommendations. Keep in mind that they may recommend an inoculation or medication such as malaria pills, which may be necessary for one specific part of a country but not another, or for a particular season. Shots are expensive. Make sure to get only what is needed. We recommend asking your doctor for a prescription to combat a more serious intestinal disorder.

When you book a trip we will provide you with information regarding the usual recommendations for the region we will visit. You will be responsible to check with your travel clinic or physician to review your plans and to find out the most up-to-date recommendations and needs for your particular situation. Plan to get your inoculations four to six weeks in advance of your trip. Some offices may need to preorder the medicines so call in advance.It is wise to pay careful attention to what you eat. Also, we recommend you bring medicines such as pain-killer and for remedy for intestinal disorders (such as IMMODIUM). Bring a small first aid kit. Tweezers, band-aids, antiseptic cream, insect repellent , salt rehydration tablets. The tour leader will have a first aid kit.

Climate and altitude changes can sometimes cause illness. Be sure to drink plenty of water. Bottled water is readily available. Excessive alcohol intake contributes to dehydration and makes you more vulnerable to illness. Make sure that you get plenty of rest and enough food and drink during the trip.

Most people are recommended to get

  • DTP vaccinations, typhoid and hepatitis A
  • Malaria tablets

Insurance - For piece of mind, we recommend that you procure travel insurance. In the event of an illness or injury, an emergency evacuation can be incredibly expensive and you would want access to the best possible facility. Also, lost baggage or missed flights can mean added expenses, Even events at home may prevent you from taking a trip, such as a lost job or ailing family member. It is important to get travel insurance immediately after booking. Most companies have a brief window (within 10 days of booking) for coverage for a preexisting condition. You will be asked to provide us with travel insurance contact information before your departure.

You are free to choose your own provider. Over the years, we have recommended TRAVELEX. They offer a variety of plans and most importantly, they are responsive. Should you choose to go with TRAVELEX, you will contact them directly and the cost of your coverage will depend on the plan you choose. The cost will be based over the total cost of your trip and flights, and the amount is also subject to your age. Ask about the TRAVEL PLUS plan and the more economical TRAVEL LITE plan. * Arrange for insurance immediately after booking your trip so that you are covered for any pre-existing situation. TRAVELEX 1-800-228-9792

Group Composition

Minimum group size : 10 . Maximum: 20

Join our international group with active travelers of all ages. The majority of participants will be coming from the Netherlands and Belgium, and almost all will have a superb command of English.

On request we are happy to give you a breakdown of the group enrollment (age range, singles, male, female). 

Djoser travelers are active, enthusiastic travelers of all ages. Join an international group with travelers from the Netherlands, Belgium and North America, who will be the minority group on these trips. Most of our trips range from a minimum of eight participants to a maximum of 20 or 22. You will find couple and singles on our trips. Feel free to call us if you wish to know the demographic make-up of a particular trips (number of singles and age range).

Minimum group size: 10
Maximum group size: 20


What to expect when traveling with an international group - 
Djoser, Inc. (the United States office) has been an India tour operator for over 15 years. Djoser, B.V. (the Netherlands office) has been an India tour operator for over 25 years. So together we bring vast experience. Most of our trips are arranged in cooperation with Djoser, B.V. in the Netherlands. Because they cater to the voracious travel appetites of the Dutch, we can offer a vast number of programs around the world with hard-to-find itineraries, with numerous departure dates.

On our Southern India group tour, you will travel with an international group, with most participants from Holland and Belgium. The international make-up of our groups is the attraction for many regular Djoser travelers and adds another cultural element to the trip. Typically, there are only one to five North Americans per group. You will find that almost all of your fellow travelers have an excellent command of English and most are very willing to socialize. It’s a great idea to extend an invitation to a few travel mates for coffee or a drink early in the trip. They will appreciate your effort and this is a great way to break the ice. It will be easier for them to test out their English skills in a quiet, one-on-one setting. Group members tend to warm up to one another in a day or two. As with every tour group, compatibility has most to do with individual personalities.

We attract travelers of all ages and we enjoy the mix! You will find our participants welcome opportunities for independent explorations in addition to group activities. No matter their age, Djoser travelers expect, and are up to lots of walking, hiking, biking, or whatever comes our way. The Dutch and Belgian travelers will fly as a group from Amsterdam. You will meet the group and tour leader at the hotel where you will begin the land program with the group.

Tour Leaders & Support Staff

Our trips will be guided by an experienced Dutch guide who speaks Dutch and English. He or she will be responsible for the organizational and technical aspects of the trip. He/she coordinates with the driver , hotels, and other vendors along the way. The tour leader has extensive travel experience and expertise as well as a comprehensive training.

Our experienced land representatives are situated in the destination country you will visit. We work closely with them and they function as the liaison between our office, the guide, drivers and hotels. They are also available in the case of an emergency and their number will be provided on your emergency contact list.

Climate & Geography

 Our trips are organized with weather conditions in mind. On our website, we will provide you with a weather summary of the region: Check temperature and rainfall for specific cities on your trip, during your month of travel at worldweather.org

In South India it is actually warm the whole year, Inland there is in particular a dry heat, usually comfortable. The coastal areas are often more humid. It is wise to go out in the morning and in the late afternoon and take it easy at lunchtime. In winter (December and January), it is pleasantly warm during the day, while it can 'cooll off in the evenings. The summer can be quite hot throughout India. The weather in India can vary greatly depending on the season. In winter, daytime temperatures are pleasant and nights can be refreshing, even cold. In summer, temperatures can reach tropical highs, but humidity is low and the heat is surprisingly easy to bear. In summer it is wise to start the day early, take it easy around noon and go out again at the end of the day. The monsoon season in India lasts from July to the end of August. Starting in the south, the monsoon reaches the north in the middle of July. Traveling in the rainy season does not have to adversely affect your holiday. The rains usually do not last long and nature flourishes.

Photos & video

Book Trip/Trip Inquiry

Are you ready to book a trip?


* Submit this form to begin your reservation process.  Confirm that names exactly as they appear on a current passports.  If names on your international, domestic flights or visas (if applicable) do not match your name as it appears on your passport, some countries will deny you entry.

TIP:  Also verify your name on your flight records, within 24 hours after reserving to avoid change or cancellation penalties.   

* Pay by personal check or credit card:  Visa, Mastercard, American Express

* Call us with your charge card information.  Your place will be reserved upon receipt of funds for required deposit.

* Refer to the Prices & Dates page for an overview of your total costs & deposit 


* Download the Booking Form with Terms and Conditions

* Fax for with signatures for all participants 18 and over to  484-595-9140 . Or scan to us at luke@djoserusa.com

* Or mail Djoser, Inc., 154 Woodgate Lane, Paoli, PA 19301 - Attn: Luke Neal


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