Glourious South India
The ancient and enchanting land of South India dates back to several thousand years. The state abounds in monuments and temples that are ancient and each has its own artistic and cultural story to tell. Tamil Nadu has a long coastline that stretches nearly a 1000 kms. The Golden sandy beaches dotted with coconut palms are ideal locations for sun and surf. NAMASKARAM ! Welcome to South India.
Day 01: Arrive Chennai
Meet and greet upon arrival at Chennai and transfer to your hotel.
Day 02: Chennai
After breakfast, visit Kapaleeshwar temple. This ancient shrine dedicated to Shiva is centrally located is the area’s most popular landmark. Lord Shiva once pinched off one of the heads of Brahma to arrest his pride. A crestfallen Brahma came to this place, installed a Siva Lingam and did penance. The Lingam is known as Kapaleeswarar. At noon, visit National Art Gallery and Government Museum, which houses a fine collection of items in various sections of geology, archaeology, numismatics, anthropology, botany and zoology Later, visit Marina Beach which extends from Fort St. George all the way to Mahabalipuram.
Day 03: Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram (105 kms / 4 hrs)
Morning after breakfast proceed to Kanchipuram. This ancient capital of the Pallava is famous for its 1000 Temples.The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century. Some of the interesting temples that you will visist are that of Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy. After visiting Kanchipuram proceed for Mahabalipuram. After checking into your hotel we will visit the city of Mahabalipuram famous for the seven pagodas.
Day 04: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (130 kms / 2½ hrs)
Morning drive to Pondicherry a charming coastal town that was formerly a French colony and still has touches of French culture. Upon arrival check-in at hotel. Afternoon proceed for sightseeing tour to the French Tamil quarter and the world famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram a spiritual center founded on modern sciences and yoga.
Day 05: Pondicherry – Tanjore (180 kms / 6 hrs)
After breakfast depart for the Great Chola Capital Tanjore (The Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu). On arrival check-in to your hotel at Tanjore and proceed for sightseeing to the world famous Brihadeshwar temple. The temple built by the cholas is very special for its architecture. The most surprising is that the temple does not have a shadow falling on ground at any time of day but falls on its own body. Tanjore is famous for its Bronzes.
Day 06: Tanjore – Trichy – Chettinad (140 kms / 5 hrs).
After breakfast drive to Trichy. On arrival check-in and proceed for sightseeing of Trichy ‘a town situated on the banks of river Cauvery’ visiting the famous ‘Sriranganathaswami temple’ at Srirangam. It is surrounded by seven concentric walls and 21 towers called ‘Gopurams’. The next place we visit here is the ‘Rock fort temple’.Climb up a 437 rock cut steps to the Ganesh Shrine, a view of entire Trichy town from here is breathtaking. Trichy is surrounded by seven concentric-walled courtyards with magnificent gateways and several shrines. The Sri Ranganathasvami Temple, located at Srirangam (banks of River Kaveri), one of the largest in India, is famous for its superb sculptures, the 21 impressive gopurams and its rich collection of temple jewelry.
Arrive in Chettinad, homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars. Experience heritage, art and architecture untouched by time. Visalam, in Karaikudi village, is reflective of the grandeur of the region, combined with the almost yogic simplicity of the community.
VISALAM, a house built with love: K.V.AL.M. Ramanathan Chettiar had this house built for his eldest daughter Visalakshi. The contractor for this house was Narayanan and the carpenters were from Thirunelvelli. The house was built during the war, a period when procuring steel and cement was extremely difficult. The cost as per their books is Rs. 5 lakhs. Valli Muthiah, inherited this home, being the only child of Visalakshi. She was married here. The house is now owned by her daughter, who was given her grandmother’s name. She married into a family at Rayavaram and so turned the house into a resort run by family friends the Dominic family. Visalam has played host to the ex-Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M.G. Ramachandran and to Dr. T. H. Somervell, an eminent British surgeon, who was here as a guest of K.V.AL. M. Ramanathan Chettiar. Dr. Somervell was part of the team of Irvin and Mallory who climbed Mount Everest 30 years before Tensing.
Day 07: Chettinad – Madurai (80 kms / 2 hrs)
Depart from hotel after breakfast and drive to Madurai the old city of Tamilnadu. ‘Madhuram’ means ‘sweet’ in Sanskrit. On arrival check-in to hotel. In the afternoon we do sightseeing tour of Madurai visiting the famous Meenakshi Temple. People are blessed by the temple elephant. Further more visit the Tirumalai Nayak palace and Gandhi Museum. Later return to the hotel. Late evening visit Meenakshi temple for the Aarti ceremony with a fanfare where the god Shiva is lead to the bedroom of his wife, Meenakshi.
Day 08: Madurai – Periyar (140 kms / 4 hrs)
After breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Periyar (also known as Thekkady). The name Periyar comes after the Dam made here by the English in 1895. On arrival at Periyar check in to the hotel. At noon, we would leave for guided plantation tour to the nearby spice garden. In the evening enjoy the boat trip inside the National Park. Wildlife that you can spot here includes herds of elephants, bison’s and packs of wild boars that roam through the woods and parade along the shores of the lake just before sunrise and sunset.
Day 09: Periyar – Houseboat (140 kms / 4 hrs)
After breakfast in the hotel drive to the backwaters of Kerala. On arrival we would be boarding our houseboat from Kumarakom jetty. During the cruise, you would also be able to drop in at some villages to check out the techniques and procedure involved in coir making. Lunch and dinner would be onboard, and you would be spending your night in the mid of the lake.
Day 10: Houseboat – Alleppey – Cochin (60 kms / 1½ hrs)
After leisurely breakfast on board disembark at Alleppey jetty, which is also known as Venice of the East because of the narrow canals and backwaters.
Transfer to Cochin. In the evening visit the famous dance drama of Kerala, the ‘Kathakali’. This dance can be characterized by grotesque gesticulations, amazing costumes and very extensive make-up. The stories are mostly taken from the epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana.
Day 11: Cochin
After breakfast proceed for sight seeing tour of Cochin visiting-‘The Jewish Synagogue’ at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town, ‘The St. Francis Church’, the oldest European Church in India, ‘The Santa Cruz Basilica’ originally built in 1557 by the Portuguese, ‘The Dutch Palace and Spice market at the narrow streets. Later return to hotel and in the evening visit the ‘Chinese fishing nets’ huge cantilevered fishing nets believed to have brought to Kochi by Chinese traders.
Day 12: Depart Cochin
Transfer to the airport as per your flight schedule to board the flight for your onward journey.