Marina Beach - ChennaiUpon arrival at Chennai airport you will be welcomed by our representative and transferred to hotel. Chennai (formerly known as Madras), your gateway to sunny south and capital of Tamil Nadu, a state known for grandiose temple sculpture and architecture of the Chola. Evening is free for leisure. Overnight stay in Chennai.
Day 02: Tour Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram (02 hrs)
Today we will drive you to Mahabalipuram. Enroute visit Kanchipuram - one of the seven sacred cities of India and is also known for having served as a capital for several dynasties. Visit three of the best temples - Kailasanatha and Ekambareshwara (dedicated to Lord Shiva) and Vaikuntaperumal (dedicated to Lord Vishnu). Continue your excursion to the ancient Pallavan port of Mamallapuram, visit the 7th century rock hewn monuments. The shore temple, the only surviving one of seven, is a unique example of a temple built of rock quarried elsewhere and carried to shore. Late evening check in. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.
After breakfast we will drive you to Pondicherry - It was a French settlement and is today a union territory where the French connection on the architecture and culture of the place is strongly visible result of the centuries-old relation with the French power. Upon arrival check in. In the afternoon visit the Botanical Gardens, Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus, The Promenade, Government Park, Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Roman Rolland Library, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, French Institute and other museums and art galleries. Rest of the evening is at leisure. Overnight stay in Pondicherry.
Today drive to Tanjore - the capital of the powerful Chola dynasty. Today, it is the little town set amidst the lush green rice fields of the Cauvery delta. Magnificent temples, still bear witness to the splendour of Chola architecture. Enroute visit Nataraj Temple at Chidambaram, and also visit the temples at Kumbakonam. Upon arrival check in. Evening is free for leisure. Overnight stay at Tanjore.
After breakfast proceed on a guided tour of Tanjore, visiting Brihadeeswara Temple, the palace, Sangeetha Mahal, Saraswati Mahal, Library, Raja Museum, Temple Museum and Schwarz Church. Evening is free for leisure. Overnight stay in Tanjore.
Early today we drive to Madurai. Enroute tour Trichy - situated on the banks of the river Cauvery is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. It was a citadel of the early Cholas which later fell to the Pallavas. Here you will visit the Rock Fort, Sri Jambukeshwara Temple, Tiruvannaikaval, Srirangam and other museums and art galleries. Continue your drive and check in. In the evening, visit Meenakshi Temple again for the evening prayer ceremony. Overnight stay in Madurai..
Day 07: Tour Madurai and drive to Thekkady (05 hrs)
After breakfast proceed on sightseeing tour of Madurai - One of the oldest cities in South India, Madurai has been the centre of learning and pilgrimage for centuries. Visit Meenakshi Temple, Tirumalai Nayak Palace, Mariamman Tank and Koodal Alagar Temple. Later we to Spice Capital Thekkady, located on the Tamil Nadu / Kerala border. This unique wildlife sanctuary is about 300 square miles and centered on an artificial lake fed by the Periyar River. Upon arrival check in. Overnight stay in Thekkady.
This morning game viewing is on board boats, which carry you along convoluted waterways and afford sightings of elephant, bison, deer and occasionally tiger. This tropical habitat makes it one of the premiere reserves of southern India with all manner of flora and fauna in abundance. Return to hotel and relax. Later take a spice plantation tour accompanied by a naturalist. Rest of the evening is free for leisure / experience holistic ayurveda massage at your hotel. Overnight stay in Thekkady.
Kumarakom BackwatersAfter breakfast we drive to Kumarakom - is an emerald peninsula of paddy fields, meandering lagoons and backwaters that juts out into Lake Vembanad. Perhaps more famously knows as the Backwaters this area is unique being made up of labyrinth of canals and lakes that stretch between the capital Cochin and Quilon in the south. From the vastness of Lake Vembanad to the quiet streams just large enough for a canoe, the Backwaters form the arteries through which rural daily life calmly flows - children splashing in the water, women washing clothes at the water's edge, fishermen up to their necks in water digging out fish with their feet, rice barges transporting coconuts and rice (the staples of the Keralan diet) and, above all, an overriding sense of peace and tranquility that permeates every aspect of this stunning region. Upon arrival check in. Rest of the day is free for leisure. Overnight stay in Kumarakom.
Day is free to experience the healing ayurvedic massage. Ayurveda believes that human being consists of the five elements, air, water, fire, ether and earth. And the combination of any of these elements exists in each one of us. Ayurveda the traditional form of Indian medicine was developed by ancient sages whose astute observations led to the development of constitutional medicine. The ancients visualized the universe as a constant play of energies, an imbalance of which created discomfort and disease in the body. It was the duty of the vaidya (physician) to harmonize this imbalance of the body - mind environment. Overnight stay in Kumarakom.
After breakfast drive to Kochi - formerly known as Cochin in the coastal state of Kerala. With a natural harbour that has always been one of the finest in the world. On arrival proceed on a guided city tour, visit the Portuguese Church built by St. Francis in 1562, the Jewish Synagogue, the famed Mattancherry Palace, and the Chinese fishing nets - ingenious devices requiring little human attention. Tonight enjoy a presentation of the colorful costumed Kathakali dance drama. Overnight stay in Kochi.