Southern India - Feb 4 - Feb 15, 2019

Traveler: Marina K. - Local specialist: Preeti A Bhide

Our guide (Arun Panicker) deserves full marks. He is a classic CCC person (Cool, Calm and Collected) with a deep knowledge of everything Indian (history, culture, social issues, etc) and an excellent concise and precise information approach.
We all did some background reading about South India, so for me the "unexpected" was the most interesting (e.g. the room of thousands columns in the Meenakshi Amman Temple Complex - a fairy ordinary rectangular structure on the outside and an incredible jewel inside; the Sri Aurobindo Ashram - historically apparently a failure but still very impressive; the wide and very green streets of Chennai, etc).
Pondicherry's French quarters were quaint and charming; Goa was over touristy...
The houseboat on Kerala's tranquil backwaters was delightful and the boat ride through the narrow channels felt timeless - the women were doing the washing by the shores, the men were fishing for dinner, the kingfishers were flying above...
The spice plantation was a wonderful learning experience and in the little town of Trichy I finally found Tourmaline in silver setting!