Day 01 – Arrive Chennai Chennai is the first place we have chosen for you to explore. After you arrive at the Chennai airport, our representative will be there to greet you with the warm welcome and transfer you to the hotel for check in.
In the afternoon we will have ample of time to rest. In the evening we will stroll the along T Nagar’s Pondy Bazaar. This is where you will find everything under the sun. One can shop for the knick-knacks, jewellery, clothing and other souvenirs. The major attraction is the cheap Madras Cotton. Later on we will chill out at the Elliot’s Beach. We will venture along the sea side away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Overnight Hotel – Chennai (B)
Day 02 – Chennai – City Tour, Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Chennai (70 Km – 02 Hr) The 2nd full day sightseeing tour will let you know about the city better. We begin our journey with the Fort St. George, built in the year 1640 AD by the British East India Company, under the direct supervision of Francis Day & Andrew Cogon. Within the fort we check out the St. Mary’s Church, built in the year 1680 & oldest Protestant Church in the East contains several antiquities, not the least being the oldest British tombstones in India. Later on we proceed to the St Andrew Church, highlighted with the striking blue dome thatt is decorated with golden stars.
Further we drive to Mahabalipuram, 7th century port city of the South Indian. It is believed to have been named after the Pallava king Mamalla. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th & the 9th century, & has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monuments are mostly rock-cut & monolithic, constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible.
Overnight Hotel – Chennai (B)
Day 03 – Chennai – Pondicherry (65 Km – 01½ Hr)
On the 3rd day of the tour we will contintue with the sightseeing tour to Mahabalipuram. After breakfast we start with the Shore Temple, one is of the oldest temples in South India. It belongs to the 8th Century A.D. & is a good example of the first phase of the structure of temples constructed in the Dravidian style. Designed to catch the first rays of the rising sun & to illuminate the waters after dark, the temple ended up with an unusual lay-out.
Than we make a visit to the Arjuna’s Penance, world’s largest bas-relief. This huge whale-back shaped rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts, & birds & in fact, can be said to represent creation itself. Next we visit Rathas, monolithic temples fashioned as chariots. They remain an architectural mystery, for each is apparently a faithful reproduction of a structure built of wood. In fact, even the grain of the timber beams & rafters has been simulated in stone. Of the eight Rathas, five have been named for the Pandava brothers, the heroes of the epic Mahabharata.
In the later half of the day we take a excursion trip to Kanchipuram, one of the seven holy cities in the country. It was a city of learning for both Tamil & Sanskrit, & was believed to be visited by Hsuan Tsang. We start with the Kailashnathar temple built in the 8th century. Here we will pay homage to the Lord Shiva and attend the prayer session. We check out its architectural work that is one of the finest examples of the Pallava architecture.
Before returning to Mahabalipuram we visit Kamakshi Amman Temple, built in 12th century AD, as an important Shakthisthalam, known as Parabrahmaroonpini. The main deity is seated on Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Eswara & Sadasiva.
Overnight Hotel – Mahabalipuram (B)
Day 04 – Pondicherry – Tanjore (300 Km – 06 Hr) Today After the Kanchipuram is over, we drive to Tanjore, flourished during the rule of the Nayaks & Mahrattas. It has been the treasure house of art for centuries. It is called the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is well-known throughout the world for its exquisite handicrafts like the Art Plate, pithwork, bronze icons, Thanjavur paintings & the classical South Indian musical instruments.
In the later half of the day, we visit Brihadeshwara temple, also known as Big Temple, built by Rajaraja Chola I was completed around 1010 CE. This 10th century CE temple, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a brilliant example of the Dravidian style of temple architecture. The beautiful Chola Fresco paintings on the inner walls of the temple are no way less than Ajanta paintings.
Overnight Hotel – Tanjore (B)
Day 05 – Tanjore – Madurai Via Trichy (200 Km – 04 Hr) 5th day of the tour is set for the sightseeing in the cultural city of Madurai. It has been an important commercial centre as early as 550 AD. It is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu & was originally known as Kadambavanam or the forest of Kadamba.
En route we stop at Trichy, which has very historic temples, monuments & churches. It was an important town in the days of the later Cholas, Nayaks as well as during the early days of the British East India Company. We start with Srirangam Temple, surrounded by the waters of the River Kaveri on one side & its tributary Kollidam on the other is a 600-acre island-town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. There are not less than 21 Gopuram here in this temple, one of which is the tallest in South India.
Further we will visit Rockfort most famed landmark is an 83 m high rock which is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The most amazing fact about the rock is that it is one of the oldest in the world approximately 3,800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland & older than the Himalayas.
Overnight Hotel – Madurai (B)
Day 06 – Madurai Futhering your temple and spice tour to India, we proceed to Madurai on the 6th day of tour. First on iur excursion trip comes the Meenakshi Sundareshwar temple that was first built 2000 years ago & was substantially expanded between the years (1623-55 AD). Initially there was only the Shiva temple. A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure known as Ayiramkaal mandapam or the Hall of a thousand pillars in the outermost corridor.
Overnight Hotel – Madurai (B)
Day 07 – Madurai – Periyar (136 km – 03 ½ hr) Today Your wildlife explortion in the South India will begin on the 7th day of the tour, when you will reach Periyar Willdife Sanctuary. It is South India’s most popular Wildlife Sanctuary. Periyar is a place to cruise on the lake & gives an opportunity to see wildlife. It is home to tigers, leopards, elephants, bison, antelopes, sambhar, wild boar, monkey, a wide variety of birds. Later we visit spice plantation farms where we learn about the varieties & plantation of different spices.
Overnight Hotel – Periyar (B)
Day 08 – Periyar – Kumarakom (135 km – 04 hr) The 8th day of the tour starts with the boat ride at the Paeriyar Lake that is the perfect way to view wildlife attractions of the Park. After two hours of wildlife viewing we get back to the hotel for breakfast. Later we drive to Kumarakom, known for backwaters, huge Vembanad Lake & famous Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.
Overnight Hotel – Kumarakom (B)
Day 09 – Kumarakom – Alleppey (Overnight Houseboat) Today we will be on the adventure trip to the Kumarakom Bird sanctuary. There are two seasons for birds: between October & February there are cormorants, teals, & other ducks & from February to July there are darters (snake birds), night herons, egrets, & Siberian storks. It also has golden backed woodpecker, crow pheasant, white-breasted water hen, tree pie etc.
Later we board the houseboat, locally called Kettuvallam, cruise around beautiful backwaters of Kumarakom to Alleppey to observe & experience the daily life of the villagers along the backwaters.
Overnight Houseboat (B, L, D)
Day 10 – Alleppey – Cochin (65 km – 01 hr) Before breakfast go for a wildlife viewing to the sanctuary on Lake Periyar by boat cruise. After two hours of wildlife viewing get back to the hotel for breakfast. Later drive to Cochin, a very popular & historical sea trade connection with Middle East, Mediterranean Europe, Dutch & British. It has one of the finest natural harbours on the Arabian coastline. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the buildings & structures representing different regions of the world.
Optional Boat Cruise
Overnight Hotel – Cochin (B)
Day 11 – Cochin Half Day Tour Today we will be busy exploring the major attractions of Cochin. We will visit Jew Town, synagogue, built in the year 1568, is magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles & Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. Also visit the spice market, where the air is filled with the pungent smell of spices & history that brought the world to its doorstep. Chinese fishing nets, (Cheenavala) are distinctly unique to Cochin. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. In the evening see Kerala’s most popular classical dance, Kathakali.
Overnight Hotel – Cochin (B)
Day 12 – Depart Cochin
Destinations Covered : Chennai – Pondicherry – Tanjore – Madurai – Periyar – Kumarakom – Alleppey – Cochin