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13 Nights Temples, Backwaters & Beaches of South India

Destinations Covered
Chennai-Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry-Thanjavur-Trichy-Madurai-Alleppey-Kovalam-Kanyakumari-Trivandrum

Day 1 Chennai Arrival

On arrival at Chennai International Airport, you will be met and assisted by our representative to the designated coach / car booked.

Transfer and check-in at selected hotel.

Chennai or Madras as it was called before, on the Coromandel Coast, is the capital city of Tamil Nadu. It is a major industrial, commercial, cultural, economic and educational centre of the Southern India. Chennai was established by the British during the 17th Century. However, the city has a great historical past that is evident from some of the famous constructions in the city that stand the test of time to prove that the city is much more ancient than its accounted years.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 2 In Chennai

After breakfast, start the day with morning sightseeing tour of Chennai visiting Kalakshetra - a school of traditional art and music, Fort St. George – previously a fort which is now the Secretariat and Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu, St. Mary's Church - the oldest Anglican church in the country. Sri Parthasarathy Temple (8th Century temple erected by the Pallava rulers) and Kapaleeswarar Temple, another 8th Century temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Afternoon at leisure to relax.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 3 Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram (145km/3hrs 30min)

After breakfast, check-out and depart for Mahabalipuram, en-route visiting Kanchipuram.

Kanchipuram, is one of the seven sacred cities of Hindus, it was the capital of the Chola rulers. Visit the various temples including the famous, Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Kamakshi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati.

Afterwards resume journey to Mahabalipuram.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 4 In Mahabalipuram

After breakfast, start the day with morning half-day sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram, where the Pallava rulers erected several beautiful monuments and temples.

The first visit of the day is Krishna Mandapam - the largest and the oldest Hindu rock-cut temple in Mahabalipuram. Later, visit the Shore Temple Complex that comprises of one large and two small temples. This UNESCO World Heritage site was erected during the 8th Century. The last visit is The Five Rathas, known as Panch Rathas or Pandava Rathas. This example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture in India is associated with the Pandava’s of the Mahabharata.

Afternoon at leisure to relax.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 5 Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry (132km/4hrs)

After breakfast, check-out and depart for Pondicherry.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Pondicherry (or Puducherry), a French colonial settlement in India until 1954, is now a Union Territory town bounded by the south-eastern Tamil Nadu state. This seaside town manages to retain its old world charm and features an amalgamation of Indian culture and European styles. The places to visit in Pondicherry offer glimpses of an era gone by. A blend of French culture, Dutch colonization, British style and Indian heritage.

Afternoon at leisure to relax.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 6 In Pondicherry

After breakfast, set off for half-day sightseeing tour of Pondicherry visiting Sri Aurobindo Ashram - a retreat founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo, Rai Niwas, the former official residence of the French Governor Dupleix where now the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry resides & the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - a Gothic architecture specimen.

Afternoon at leisure to relax.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 7 Pondicherry - Thanjavur (177km/6hrs)

After breakfast, check-out and depart for Thanjavur, en-route visiting the famous Chidambaram Temple, dedicated to Thillai Nataraja – Shiva, The Lord of Dance. Also known as Thillai Natarajah Temple, it was erected between the 12th and the 13th Centuries.

The word Chidambaram is derived from chit, meaning "consciousness", and ambaram, meaning "sky" (from aakasam or aakayam); it refers to the chidaakasam, the sky of consciousness, which is the ultimate aim one should attain according to all the Vedas and scriptures. Saivaites believe that a visit to Chidambaram leads to liberation.

A unique feature of this temple is the bejewelled image of Nataraja. It depicts the Lord Shiva as the Lord of the dance Bharatanatyam and is one of the few temples where Shiva is represented by an anthropomorphic deity rather than the classic, anionic Lingam. The Cosmic Dance of Lord Nataraja symbolises the motion of the universe as sustained by Lord Shiva.

Afterwards resume journey to Thanjavur.

On arrival,check-in at the hotel.

Later in afternoon, visit the Brihadeeswarar Temple – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple was built during the reign of Chola ruler Raja Rajan Chola I and completed in 1010 CE, the temple turned 1000 years old in 2010. The architect and engineer of the temple, Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perumthachan is revered today as a father figure to all craftsmen in his homeland of present-day Central Kerala.

The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th Century. The vimanam (temple tower) is 30 metres high and is the tallest in the world. The Kumbam (the apex or the bulbous structure on the top) weighs around 80 tons. There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock.  The entire temple structure is made out of granite, the nearest sources of which are about 60 km to the west of temple.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 8 Thanjavur – Tiruchirappalli (55km/1hr 30min)

After an early breakfast, check-out and set off for half day sightseeing tour of Tiruchirappalli visiting Srirangam, an island that houses the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple - dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Lord Vishnu. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, this temple is glorified in the Thiviya Pirabandham, the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Alvar saints from the 6th to 9th Centuries AD and is counted among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu. The next visit is the Rock Fort, a well-known landmark in Trichy on 84 metres high rock. An added attraction in this fort is an ancient temple, called Lalitankura Pallaveswaram that was built during the reign of the Pallava rulers.

Afterwards, resume journey to hotel for check-in.

Afternoon at leisure to relax.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 9 Tiruchirappalli - Madurai (142km/5hrs)

After breakfast, check-out and depart for Madurai.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Later in afternoon visit the Meenakshi-Sundareswara Temple, also known as Meenakshi Amman Temple - dedicated to Goddess Parvati and her consort Lord Shiva. Built in 6th Century BC, the temple complex consists of 14 gopurams ranging from 45 to 52 metres. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2,500-year-old city of Madurai and is a significant symbol for Hindus.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 10 Madurai – Alleppey (307km/6hrs)

After breakfast, check-out and depart for Alleppey.

On arrival, transfer to Alleppey jetty to board the traditional Kettuvallam or House boat.

Houseboats in Kerala are huge and slow-moving barges used for leisure trips. They are a reworked model of Kettuvallams, Kettu means "tied with ropes", and vallam means "boat" which, in earlier times used to carry rice and spices. The popularity of Kettuvallams has returned in the function as major tourist attractions.

Enjoy the backwaters of Kerala by getting a glimpse of the village life at close quarters; a unique and unforgettable experience.

Lunch, dinner & overnight on board.

Day 11 Alleppey - Kovalam (180km/5hrs)

After breakfast, disembark from House boat and depart for Kovalam.

On arrival, check-in at beach resort.

Overnight stay at beach resort.

Day 12 Kovalam – Kanyakumari - Kovalam (90km/2hrs – one way)

After breakfast, set off for full day sightseeing tour of Kanyakumari. En-route visiting Padmanabhapuram Palace, the largest wooden palace in the World and the magnificent Sucheendram temple.

Afterwards continue to Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula and the meeting point of Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Visit the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the Kanyakumari Temple.

After sunset return to Kovalam.

Overnight stay at beach resort.

Day 13 Kovalam - Trivandrum - Kovalam (15km/30min - one way)

After breakfast, morning at leisure to relax.

Later in afternoon, enjoy half day sightseeing tour of Trivandrum.

Trivandrum, now called Thiruvananthapuram, is the capital of Kerala. It's distinguished by its British colonial architecture and many art galleries. The city is a perfect blend of attractive landscapes, intriguing history and culture.

Visit the famous Napier Museum building which combines the Mughal, Kerala, Chinese and Italian architectural styles. The building has a natural air-conditioning system. The museum offer glimpses of Kerala’s rich cultural heritage and showcases an excellent collection of bronzes historic ornaments, ivory carvings and chariots, and life-size figurines of the Kathakali dancers in full costume.

Proceed to Sri Chitra Art Gallery displaying paintings from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art. Besides these, the gallery houses some rare collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, Svetoslav and Nicholas Roerich. An Oriental collection of paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali are a visual treat to the visitor. End your tour with a visit to  Padmanabha Swamy Temple, a blend of Kerala and Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is noted for its mural paintings and stone carvings. One among the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India, the presiding deity here is Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha, the Serpent. 

Important Note

  • Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple in prescribed dress code.
  • Napier Museum and Sri Chitra Art Gallery remain closed on Monday.

Day 14 Departure Trivandrum

After breakfast, check-out and transfer to Trivandrum International Airport / Railway Station or any convenient point for your onward journey.

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