A country with as rich a history as India is bound to retain much evidence
of its past and for the avid collector of memorabilia there is no better
place to go to root out such gems. This tour is designed to introduce
collectors of antiques to a world of interesting bygones and interesting
items. This mainly escorted tour will take you to a variety of little
visited places where you will want to spend time searching through dusty
shelves and dark corners to locate those special items and indulge in
friendly bargaining with the shop owners to achieve that special price
everyone is so keen on. Who knows, there might even prove to be a way to
pass any extra special bargains on to friends and so contribute to the cost
of the tour.
Day 01 : Arrive Chennai
Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer and hotel. Later visit the
Victoria Technical Institute and a number of antique shops Fort St. George,
originally a British trading post and powerful bastion and entrance to South
India. The National Museum is housed here and contains sculptures from the
Pallava, Pandava and Chola dynasties including art and exceptionally
beautiful bronzes statues, together with exhibits from the stone and iron
ages. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 02 : Chennai-Mahabalipuram
Morning after breakfast proceed for Mahabalipuram via Kanchipuram which was
the ancient capital of the Pallavas and famous as a city of 1000 temples of
which 124 remain. The earliest temple, dedicated to Shiva, was built in the
7th and 8th centuries and still contains wall paintings. There will also be
a visit to a Silk Weaving Centre where the ancient processes can be seen and
the resultant product purchased. The journey to Mahabalipuram will then
resume and after checking in to your hotel, the rest of the day will be free
to relax. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 03 : In Mahabalipuram
After a leisurely breakfast there will be a sightseeing tour of the
fascinating town of Mahabalipuram famous for its Shore Temple and being the
centre of the local stone carving industry. The Shore Temple with its
intricate carvings is one of the oldest of the South Indian temples
constructed in the Dravidian style and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Returning to your hotel in the afternoon, the rest of the day is free.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 04 : Mahabalipuram- Puducherry
Morning after breakfast proceed for Puducherry. Once a French colony,
Puducherry still retains a very strong French flavour which can be seen in
its buildings and tasted in the food. On arrival you will be checked in to
your hotel and after time to relax, in the afternoon there will be a chance
to seek out some of the places in the town where antiques can be found.
Overnight stay at hotel.
05 : In Puducherry
After a leisurely breakfast there will be a chance to explore Puducherry
which is best done on foot during the early morning and late afternoon to
appreciate the unique atmosphere of the attractive town. There will also be
a chance to revisit any places where antiques were found but time was needed
to decide whether purchases should be made. The day should end with a visit
to the beach to watch the sun set, perhaps with a cocktail in your hand.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 06 : Puducherry-Tanjore
Morning after breakfast proceed for Tanjore via Swamimalai which is a
centre of bronze icon making. These beautiful, if rustic, items can be
purchased and would make a welcome addition to any antique shop which also
sells native art. Tanjore which was once the capital of the Chola dynasty
and still retains a number of impressive temples built during the 10th and
11th centuries. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 07 : In Tanjore
Morning after breakfast there will be a chance to visit some of the sites
of Tanjore and also to relax before continuing with your tour. Overnight
stay at hotel.
Day 08 : Tanjore-Karakudi
Morning after breakfast proceed for Karakudi, chief town of the Chettinad
region of Tamil Nadu. Chettinad is an area often missed out by tourists
which is a pity because it offers some of the most interesting and unique
buildings and architecture to be found in the whole of India. It is also
home to the highest number of antique shops and warehouses in India. On
arrival you will check in to your hotel and after lunch and time to freshen
up and relax, there will be a visit to the 'antique' street and an
opportunity to buy any number of interesting articles. Overnight stay at
Day 09 : In Karakudi
Morning after breakfast there will be a visit to some of the mansions for
which the area is synonymous. Today the mansions are only rarely lived in
permanently by those who built them but some have family members still
residing there and they are willing to allow visitors to look round at the
faded glories of the interior decoration. You will return to your hotel for
lunch and later go to the antique street for a last chance to purchase some
more curiosities or collectibles. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 10 : In Karakudi
Morning after breakfast the whole day will be free for you to decide whether
it will be for time to relax or maybe retrace some of your steps of the last
two days. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 11 : Karakudi-Cochin
Morning after breakfast there will be a short drive to Madurai and a brief
tour of the city including the famous Meenakshi Temple before being dropped
at Madurai airport for your flight to Cochin via Chennai. You will be met on
arrival at Kochi airport and transferred to your hotel. Overnight stay at
Day 12 : In Cochin
Morning after breakfast there will be a sightseeing tour of Fort Cochin.
Places visited will include the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue (closed
on Fridays & Saturdays); St. Francis Church and the Santa Cruz Basilica.
Also seen will be the unique and still-in-use "Chinese Fishing Nets"
which were introduced by Chinese traders in the 14th century. The tour ends
with a walk through the 500 year old Fort area with its well preserved Dutch
and Portuguese buildings. In the evening there will be a visit to a
Kathakali Dance Performance. Rooted in Hindu mythology, Kathakali is a
unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting, dance and drama
and is performed by dancers wearing elaborate masks and costumes. Overnight
stay at hotel.
Day 13 : In Cochin
Morning after a leisurely breakfast the whole day is free for you to
explore the numerous shops in the Fort area where antiques of all
descriptions can be haggled over. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 14 : In Cochin
Morning after breakfast the day is once again free for you to relax, do
more antique hunting or perhaps arrange, with the help of our local
representative, a day cruise on a houseboat through the famous Keralan
backwaters. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 15 : Depart Cochin
After breakfast and at an appropriate time, you will be transferred to the
airport to board flight for your onward destination.