Day 01 : Chennai
Arrive Chennai in the evening and transfer to hotel by private vehicle. Chennai : At the southern tip of India in the state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai - or Madras as it was known earlier - is its capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is also the third largest metropolis in India. Chennai as the gateway will put you in touch with a different face of India - classical, ancient, gentle. Definitely touched by colonialism but not ravaged by wars & intensely aware of its roots & traditions.
Day 02 : Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram (60 kms, 01 hr.)
After breakfast, sightseeing of Chennai. Visit Museum to see the art and bronze gallery (Closed on public holidays). Drive through the Flower & Fruit Market, High Court, Fort Museum, Marina Beach, San Thome cathedral.
Afternoon, leave for Mahabalipuram, enroute visit Kanchipuram (64 km from Madras) ancient capital of the Pallavas, famous as a city of 1000 temples that still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th & 8th century & has painting on the walls. Templs of Ekambaswara, Kailasnatha, Sri Kamakshi & Vardarajaewamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silk. On arrival in Mahabalipuram check-in at your prebooked hotel.
Day 03 : Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry
(98 kms, 02 hrs.)
After breakfast, visit Mahabalipuram, which was the main port of the Pallava dynasty & has exquisite Rock-cut monuments, monolithic structures & Bas-reliefs. It is also a beach resort. Visit a very interesting creation enroute Dakshin Chitra, a museum that preserves actual houses of different communities & village craftsmen from the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Kerala.
Afternoon, leave for Pondicherry. On arrival check-in at your prebooked Hotel.
Day 04 : Pondicherry - Tanjore
(150 kms, 03 hrs.)
Morning, sightseeing of Pondicherry, which was formerly a French Colony. Settled early in the 18th century Pondicherry became part of the Indian Union in the early 50s when the French voluntarily relinquished control. The main attraction here is the Aurobindo Ashram which was founded by Sri Aurobindo in 1926. The ashram is one of the most popular in India with westerners, and is also one of the most affluent. Also to be visited is the Pondicherry Museum which has a well displayed variety of exhibits ranging from French furniture to this history of bead making.
Afternoon, leave for Pondicherry. On arrival check-in at your prebooked Hotel.
Day 05 : Tanjore - Trichy
(60 kms., 1 hr. drive)
Trichy - Chettinad (104 kms, 02 hrs. drive)
After breakfast, visit Tanjore (Thanjavur) which was the ancient capital of Chola kings. Visit the Brihadishwara temple which was built by Raja Raja and is termed as the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture. This temple is one of the monuments in India with World Heritage listing. Also visit the Thanjavur Palace which was contructed in 1550 and has huge corridors, spacious halls, observation and arsenal towers.
Afternoon, leave for Trichy. Visit the Rock Fort Temple in Trichy (Tiruchirapalli) and the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam - This superb temple complex is surrounded by seven concentric walls with 21 gopurams and is probably the largest in India. Most of it dates back from 14th to 17th centuries. The largest gopuram was completed as recently as 1987, and now measures an astouning 73 metres.
Continue drive to Chettinad. Arrive Chettinad & check-in at prebooked hotel.
Day 06 : Chettinad - Madurai
(100 kms, 02 hrs.
Morning, free to explore the region.
Afternoon, drive to Madurai. Arrive Madurai & check-in at prebooked hotel.
Day 08 : Madurai - Periyar
(110 kms, 02 hrs. drive)
After breakfast, visit Madurai, one of the oldest cities in South India and has been a centre of learning & pilgrimage for centuries. Visit Madurai's main attraction - Sri Meenakshi temple which attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over India. The temple is named after the daughter of a Pandyan King.Designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak, the present temple was substantially built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak (1623-55 AD), but its history goes back 2000 years to the time when Madurai was the capital of Pandya Kings.
Afternoon, leave for Periyar. Periyar has one of the world's most fascinating Natural wildlife reserves noted for its geography, diverse wildlife and scenic beauty. Arrive at Periyar and check-in at your prebooked hotel.
Day 09 : Periyar
Morning, leave for Jungle Walk, the forest provides specially trained guides who can be hired at the hotel for early morning treks into the jungle.The treks are of a duration of 03-04 hrs. These treks are an ideal way to really feel the forest and to experience it closely.
Afternoon, boat ride on the Lake Periyar where one can have a unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar, however are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.
Day 10 : Periyar - Munnar
(62 kms, 02 hrs. drive)
Morning, leave for Munnar. Arrive Munnar and check-in at prebooked hotel.
Afternoon, sightseeing of Munnar. Visit the tea plantations, a tea factory (subject to permission being granted), the Eravikulam National Park, home of the endangered Nilgiri Thar (Ibex), followed by visit to the Mattupetty dam, the Indo Swiss Dairy farm, the Kundala Lake and other scenic spots. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11 : Munnar - Cochin
(130 kms, 02 hrs. drive)
Morning free for individidual activities. Afternoon, leave for Cochin. Arrive Cochin and check-in at prebooked hotel.
Day 12 : Cochin
Morning, sightseeing of Cochin including Asia's best preserved Synagouge, the Dutch Palace and the oldest European Church in India - the St. Francis Church where Vasco De Gama was originally buried. A leisurely walk through the Fort Cochin area which gives you a close look at the operation of the huge catileavered Chinese fishing nets introduced by Chinese traders which is still used in Kerala backwaters as a traditional way of fishing.
In the evening, witness Kathakali Dance Show.
Day 13 : Cochin - Kumarakom
(140 kms, 03 hrs. drive)
After breakfast, leave for Kumarakom in time to board houseboat for overnight backwater trip. On arrival in Kumarakom, commence an overnight houseboat cruise, which gives one a fascinating insight into the life of a Keralan Backwater Village. As the boat glides along the backwaters one can see the daily life in the backwater villages. On the narrow strips of land, fisherman fishing, children swimming and playing in the water, women doing their daily chores, mobile shops in tiny canoes, the cultivation of paddy and it's harvesting (during harvest season), huge country barges ferrying the coconuts, rice, coir etc.
Note : The cruise commences at 1300 hrs with lunch served onboard and continues till dusk. At dusk the boat will anchor in a wide waterway or lake for the night. (The backwaters close to boat traffic at dusk as the fisherman lay their nets in the backwaters. Other boats are not allowed to ply in the backwaters after dusk.) On the following day the cruise commences again after breakfast and you will be dropped at Allepey by 1000 hrs.
Day 14 : Kumarakom - Kovalam
(174 kms, 04 hrs.)
Check-out from the houseboat and proceed to Kovalam, a beach town on the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The palm-fringed bays in secluded coconut groves, promise a relaxed stay. The boundless blue waters of the Arabian Sea and miles of white sands washed away by the surf at the feet of the stalwart palms and the rocky promontories, makes this beach paradise. Arrive Kovalam and check-in at prebooked hotel.
Day 15-16 : Kovalam
Days at leisure on the beautiful beaches : the paradise of the Sun, Sea, Surf & Sand.
Day 17 : Kovalam - Trivandrum
Morning, transfer to the Trivandrum airport to board onward/return flight.