01 Day: Arrival Chennai:
Welcome to Chennai Airport, our representative will assist and escort you by a/c car and transfer to the pre-booked hotel. During your check in, all the required documents related to the tour, will be given to you and all your queries in concern to the tour and services will be explained. After refreshment, if time permits, you can take a short sightseeing tour of the city, visiting the market and the Marina beach. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Chennai (Madras): the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu is the most opportune point of entry for the state. Chennai has an international airport, a seaport, a rail and road network that links it to all major towns and cities of the region. Tamil Nadu is a bastion of Hinduism, whose past endures into the present. Temples with towering spires called gopurams are a broad feature of this state, rarely seen anywhere else in the country. Temples in Tamil Nadu were the fulcrums of society and even today art forms that find their origin in religious worship continue to colour day to day life. Notable among these are impressive bronzes of deities, glass paintings and Bharatnatyam - an evocative dance form.
02 Day: Chennai
After breakfast, take a sightseeing tour of Chennai; the gateway of South India will put you in touch with a different phase of India - classical, ancient, gentle. Chennai is the 4th largest city in India, spread over 50 miles and features a large and beautiful waterfront on the Bay of Bengal. Start the tour with visit to Kalashetra & join the Heritage Walking tour which starts from 0830 AM for 03 hours (closed on Saturday & Sunday) Visit The St. George Fort (closed on Friday), Santhome Cathedral & Snake Park (closed on Tuesdays) In the evening, optionally you can visit the flower and fruit market, and then explore Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world. Overnight stay at the hotel.
03 Day: Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram (140 kms: 4 hrs)
After breakfast, drive to Mahabalipuram enroute visit Kanchipuram to explore the ancient capital of the Pallavas famous for its 1000 temples, of which 124 shrines still remain. Visit the most famous temple: Kailasnathar; built during 685 A.D. to 705 A.D. Visit other temples like Vaikuntaperumal, Ekambareshwara, Kamakshiamma and Sakiswarar. Go shopping at the world famous silk cloth markets. Later proceed to Mahabalipuram and check in at hotel. In the afternoon, take a sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram; a sculptor's delight boasting of some of India's most sublime rock-cut art falling under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the seven pagoda-style Shore temples, Rathas, Arjuna's Penance, Krishna Mandapa, Shore Temple, Mahishasurmardini Cave, Varaha Mandapa and Mandapams. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Kanchipuram is known as one of India's Seven Sacred cities and the historical and culture capital of the Pallavas. It was ruled by Pallavas from 6th to 8th century A.D and later became the citadel of Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, Muslims and British rulers. It has been a centre of Tamil learning, cultural and religious background for decades. Kanchi is also known as the centre of the worldly famous finest silk sarees. Kanchi has magnificent ancient temples of exceptional architectural beauty bearing fluent testimony to its splendid Dravidian heritage.
Mahabalipuram with its picturesque location on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon is a happy combination of history, good beaches, hassle-free tourism, fabulous fish and lobster! Despite the many visitors, drawn by the former Pallava dynasty town, the place is friendly, relaxed, and the villagers are remarkably unperturbed by their crowds of visitors.
04 Day: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (96 kms: 2 - 3 hrs)
After an early breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive to Pondicherry. On arrival transfer to the hotel, after refreshment take a sightseeing tour of Pondicherry, visiting the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Ecole Françoise d’Extreme Orient, which is nearly 100 years old and offers programs in Sanskrit, Tamil and Archaeological studies. The French Catholic influence is evident in a number of churches, notably the Jesuit Cathedral (Notre Dame de la Conception’ 16941-1765),The Church of Our Lady of Angels (1855), famous for an oil painting of our Lady of Assumption given to the Church by King Louis Napoleon III, and the 17th century Chapel of Our Sisters of Cluny. Also visit Auroville, the planned city of Dawn of the new world. In the evening take a walk at the promenade by the beach. You will find here some of the most significant landmarks like the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Jeanne d'Arc, Duplex, the elegant War Memorial raised by the French, the heritage building "Mairie", the 27m tall old Lighthouse. After sightseeing return to the hotel for overnight stay.
Pondicherry: This attractive, former French colony exudes a Mediterranean aura with its sophisticated streets, elegant houses, ornamental gardens and the Hotel de Ville. Located along the Bay of Bengal the city didn't come under Indian rule until 1954. You can still hear a fair bit of French being spoken as you stroll along its remaining seaside villas and cobblestone streets. The city is really two towns in one: La Ville Blanche, the colonials' former playground, and La Ville Noire, the crowded inland area where the native Indian population was forced to live.
05 Day: Pondicherry – Chidambaram – Kumbakonam – Tanjore (170 kms: 4 - 5 hrs)
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive to Tanjore. En route visit Chidambaram– one of the major Hindu pilgrimage places famous for the Nataraja Temple. It is one of the oldest temples of Tamil Nadu. The temple is located in the heart of the city, and covers an area of 40 acres, towers at a height of over 40 metres in height with the roofs covered with gold plates. Is one of the cultural hub of Tamil Nadu & people in large numbers come there during the festival time. This is a good chance to see people of Tamil Nadu in their festive humor. Later proceed to Kumbakonam, although there are many temples in the city, there are two that are particularly noteworthy. These are the Adikumbeswarar Temple of the Saivites and the Lord Sarangapani Temple of the Vaishnavites. Adikumbeswarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated at the center of town. Later drive to Tanjore. On arrival transfer to the hotel, after relaxation you can walk around to see Pongal Celebration. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Chidambaram (also Thillai) literally means the sky permeated by an atmosphere of intelligence and wisdom. According to legend, it was once a forest of tillai, a mangrove species of trees. There was once a small shrine on the banks of a tank. The saints Vyagrapada and Patanjali are said to have worshipped at this shrine, now called Thirumoolanathar. It is believed that their penance attained fruition with the revelation of Shiva's cosmic dance by Lord Nataraja on the auspicious Thai Poosam day.
Kumbakonam also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India, Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. Kumbakonam is known for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples within the municipal limits of Kumbakonam. Apart from these, there several thousand temples around the town thereby giving the town the sobriquets "Temple Town" and "City of temples.
Pongal, coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India. This four-day festival of thanksgiving to nature takes its name from the Tamil word meaning "to boil" and is held in the month of Thai (January-February) during the season when rice and other cereals, sugar-cane, and turmeric (an essential ingredient in Tamil cooking) are harvested.Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over" or "spill over". The boiling over of milk in the clay pot symbolizes material abundance for the household. Pongal is traditionally dedicated to the Sun God Surya. It is the biggest harvest festival, spread over four days.The first day of the festival, which is called Bogi, is marked by lots of festivities. On this day, the people of the city paint their homes, remove old items and decorate with new ornaments. On the second day of the festival, known as Pongal, festoons of mango leaves adorn the houses while the city takes part in the festivities. On the third day, known as Mattu Pongal, the inhabitants of the city pay tribute to the cattle and fourth means 'Thiruvalluvar Day' on has done a great contribution to Tamil literature with 'Thirukkural'.
06 Day: Tanjore – Trichy – Tanjore (Excursion 60 kms: One Way: 1 ½ hrs)
After breakfast take a sightseeing tour of the city visiting Brihadeshwara temple built by Raja and is termed as the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture and falls under the World Heritage sites. Also visit the Thanjavur Palace, which was constructed in 1550 with huge corridors, spacious halls, observation and arsenal towers. Later visit the Saraswati Mahal Library - housing some of the most important oriental manuscripts collections in India. Established around 1700 AD, the library contains a collection of over 44,000 palm leaves, and paper manuscripts in Indian and European languages. Later drive to Trichy; the most famous landmark of this bustling town is the Rock Fort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive rocky outcrop. The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is one of the largest and most interesting temple complexes in India, built on an island in the middle of the Cauvery River and covers a staggering 2.5 sq km followed by a visit to Jambukeshwara temple. Later return Tanjore and enjoy Pongal festival, is a harvest festival, a traditional occasion for giving thanks to nature, for celebrating the life cycles that give us grain. Tamilians say 'Thai pirandhaalvazhipirakkum', and believe that knotty family problems will be solved with the advent of the Tamil month Thai that begins on Pongal day. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Tanjore or Thanjavur, as it was earlier called was the capital of the Chola Empire from the 10th century to the 14th century A.D. and later became a part of the Vijaynagar kingdom. It is the literary and religious centre of the South. The celebrated temple Brihadeshra built by the Chola King during the 11th century is its major attraction. The Saraswati Mahal library, dating back from the time of the Marathas, contains a rare collection of books and manuscripts on paper and palm leaves.
Trichy, is a city surrounded by the rock fort. On the top of the rock there is a fort and a temple. After crossing 434 rocks cut steps, there is a temple called Mathrubhutewarar temple, which is dedicated to Lord Siva. There is another temple called Ucchi Pillar temple, which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and located at the top of the rock. The entire city can be seen from this place. Srirangam temple and Sri Jambukeswarar temple are famous in Trichy.
07 Day: Tanjore – Chettinad – Madurai (278 kms: 4 - 5 hrs)
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive to Madurai, enroute visit Chettinad the Land of Heritage & Devotion It is a place that enchants and enhances the soul. Visit Chettinad Palace is one of the most glorious examples of Chettinad's widely famed palatial mansions. You might come across others hugging the palace’s walls or so it would seem. Chettiar Clan Temple, The Chettiar community has a total of tine clan/ family temples and the Chettiar clan temple in Ilayathangudi is one of the most popular ones. Athmanathaswamy Temple, erected during the 10th century, the well-known Athmanathaswamy temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is connected to Saint Manickavasagar, one of his devotees. Later drive to Madurai, and transfer to the hotel you can also have a visit to the local house in Madurai to see Pongal Celebration. It is celebrated to pay tribute to the Sun God, as well as nature and cattle and it marks the harvesting of crops. Later return to the hotel for overnight stay.
Chettinad located in Coastal Tamil Nadu is famous for its tourist attractions -the traditional palaces and mansions which reflect the glory and opulence of a bygone era. Chettinad is rich in cultural heritage, art and architecture, and is well known for its houses, embellished with marble and Burma teak, wide courtyards, spacious rooms, and for its 18th century mansions. Local legend has it that their walls used to be polished with a paste made out of egg whites to give a smooth texture.
08 Day: Madurai
After breakfasttake a sightseeing tour of the visit the Meenakshi Sundareshwar, one of the largest temple complexes in India built between the 16th and 18th centuries. Apart from the estimated 33 million sculptures there, the temple is absolutely absorbing with the endless rounds of ceremonies, prostration of countless devotees and glittering market stalls. Later visit Tiruparankundram Murugan Temple, Palamuthirsolai Murugan Temple. Also visit the Tirumal Nayak’s Palace; a highly decorative monument. Its enormous roofed arcade supported by 48 – foot high stone pillar, still stands. In the evening visit the famous Meenakshi Sundareshwar, to attend the Aarti (Prayers) witnessing interesting rituals and ceremonies. Also attend a procession is taken out from the in Madurai, Tanjore and Tiruchirrapalli, where Pongal is known as Jellikattu, bundles of money are tied to the horns of bulls, and villagers try and wrest the bundles from them. Community meals are made from the freshly gathered harvest and enjoyed by the entire village. Overnight stat at the hotel.
Madurai with its 2500 year old history is the oldest city in Tamilnadu both historically and as per mythology. Legend says that Madurai was originally called a forest Kadambavanam. Once a merchant saw Indra - the king of Devas, worshipping a Swayambhulingam under a kadamba tree in the forest. This incident was reported by Dhananjayan (the merchant) to the king KulasekaraPandian. The king immediately cleared the forest and built a temple around the lingam. And a city was planned around the temple.
09 Day: Madurai – Periyar (140 kms: 4 hrs)
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and drive to Periyar (Thekkady). On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Later visit Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary one of India's biggest wildlife sanctuaries covering 777 sq. Km (300 Sq. miles) is a Tiger Reserve. Its centre piece, the man-made Periyar Lake at the height of 2000 ft. covers 26 sq. km, running through the forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala, discover the park, animals found here include elephant, sambar, gaur and wild boars and birds like ibis and grey heron. The visit is done in a boat to view animals with a bit of extra luck we may be able to see the rare tiger as well. Later in the evening take a spice plantation tour to see crops of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates etc. on your way back to the hotel, you could stop at the local market and pick up some fragrant spices. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of India's biggest wildlife sanctuariescovering 777 sq. Km (300 Sq.miles) is a Tiger Reserve. Its centerpiece, the man-made Periyar Lake at the height of 2000 ft. covers 26 sq.km, running through the forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala. The lake is an important source of water for the many wild animals. The best time to visit Periyar is between OCTOBER and MAY. The best chance of watching animals is during the hot months of march, April and May, when water gets low and the grass dries out, animals especially elephants come down to the Periyar lake to bathe & frolic in the water with the young ones.
10 Day: Periyar – Munnar (90 kms: 3 - 4 hrs)
Today morning after breakfast check out the hotel and drive to Munnar. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Munnar is located at the Idukki district of Kerala State in India. The word "Munnar" means three rivers. 3 mountain streams (Madurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala) are joining together here. There are about 30 tea plantations in and around Munnar. The tea estates, hills, lakes and forests inside Munnar range expose its beauty. Visit at Eravikulam National Park (15 km from Munnar,) The Nilgiri Tahr can be observed at close quarters here. This park is established to protect the Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiri Ibex). The park is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world. Enjoy the Tea plantation and Munnar Lake site. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.
Munnar: the erstwhile 'summer capital of the British', has become the most sought after holiday destination in South India. It is the luxuriant gift of nature to the Western Ghats, the eastern border of Kerala, 5000ft above sea level. Dense forests, wildlife sanctuaries, and major cash crop plantations cover most of this region. Munnar abounds in animals like elephants and Nilgiri Thar and rich biodiversity teeming with flora and fauna.
11 Day: Munnar
After breakfast visit to Pothamedu which offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar, Devikulam (7 km from Munnar), this idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. Blossom International Park is about 3 km away from Munnar, Mattupetty dam and its reservoir is located 13 km away from Munnar, Kundala Lake & Echo Point. Afterwards return to the hotel for overnight stay.
12 Day: Munnar – Alleppey (170 kms: 4 - 5 hrs) Backwaters tours through sailing boat
After breakfast check out the hotel and drive for Alleppey, on arrival check in to the houseboat and journey begins to explore backwaters world though sailing boat passing thorough tropical countryside, enjoying view of palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals are panoramic sights. On the way one can see The Chinese fishing nets, the reminiscent of our past trade links, groups of duck swimming around and colourful birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures treasured in our memories, you can try your hands in fishing from the houseboats. In the evening enjoy beautiful sunset from the sun-deck of the houseboats. Enjoy the dinner of your choice cooked and served by the Chef. Dinner and overnight at the houseboat.
Alleppey: a calm backwater town is the center for backwater cruises in Kerala. It has a large network of water canals, which passes through the town, provides its lifeline & has a long sandy beach. Alleppy is also famous for Speculative Nehru Trophy Boat Race, celebrated every year- in month of August, the most colourful and exotic snake boat race in Kerala. The city is known for coir products.
Houseboat: Generated through electricity; with sitting cum dining area, private bedroom with attached English toilets, sun deck and fully loaded kitchen with a Chef, and Srank (Driver).
Backwaters Tours: The mystifying intricate of forty-five rivers that creates around 900 km roundabout lakes, lagoons, canals, estuaries and deltas in the South Indian state of Kerala, This topographical persona blessed the God's Own Country with elaborate water worlds, commonly known as 'backwaters'. Cruising all along the backwaters of Kerala is an ultimate way to discern its implausible foliage, bona fide, affluent ethnicity and wildlife. The tranquil, steep and Sluggish backwaters tour is like inspiring depictions of nature’s beauty witnessed by the tourists.
13 Day: Alleppey – Cochin (55 kms: 1 ½ hrs)
After breakfast, disembark from the houseboat and drive to Cochin. Visit Fort Cochin & St. Francis Church to see the town of Vasco da Gama. We also see the Jewish Synagogue (Closed on Friday afternoons and all Saturdays & all Passover Days & the Mattancherry "Dutch" Palace (closed on Fridays & Saturdays). enjoy the Kathakali Dance, one of India's most famous Classical dances with lavish Costumes, exotic makeup & Masks intensifying the beauty of the dancer’s intricate moments. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala also called 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin.
14 Day: Cochin – Hometown (By Air)
Today morning after breakfast the day is free for individual activities, if wish to buy for yourself as souvenir or a gift for someone back home, then visit the enchantingly quaint little curio shops in Kochi city of Kerala. These shops sell small knick-knacks, which are characteristic of the South Indian city. Since Kochi is well known for its handicrafts, you will find a unique assortment of items like figurines, colorful bead jewelry, mat, bangles all made from coir, wood, bamboo, shells, brass, ivory and sandalwood. Later check out the hotel and transfer to the Cochin Airport to board the scheduled flight for hometown, on departure the tour concludes with happy memories.
Note: Every year Pongal is celebrated from 13th to 17th January.
Since the precise cost of a customized tour is subject to specific accommodation choices, travel period (date/month/year), nos of pax travelling together and other custom preferences. However, to enable you to chalk out your holiday plan, we suggest following budget guidelines (minimum 2 people are travelling together & sharing one double room) for a customized tour: