Arrive Chennai. Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to Mahabalipuram. On arrival in Mahabalipuram, check- in at the hotel. Afternoon proceed to explore the ancient heritage of Mahabalipuram temples, built in 7th century is today the sight of several antique sculptural marvels. Overnight stay at Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram - It is among the most outstanding examples of Dravidian art and architecture. The monuments are floodlit at night and so it is possible to enjoy their beauty even after sunset. Arjuna’s Penance - This skillfully carved rock is the largest bas - relief sculpture in the world. There are nine rock cut cave temples. The Mahishasuramardhini cave, contrasting the goddess fighting a demon on one side, and Lord Vishnu's cosmic sleep on the other, is a particularly remarkable one. Five Rathas -These rock-cut temples are rated as excellent example of Pallava art. Shaped in different styles, the fort of the rathas are supposed to have been scooped out of a single rock formation.
Day 02 : Mahabalipuram- Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram.
After breakfast, continue exploring Mahabalipuram temples. Later proceed to Kanchipuram, the city of thousand temples. Later return to the hotel in Mahabalipuram. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Kanchipuram - Kanchipuram, an ancient city known as “the city of thousand temples”, is one of the seven most sacred pilgrim centres for the Hindus. There now remain about 126 temples and a few more in its outskirts. Today, apart from its temples, this small town is also known for its thriving handloom industry. Ekambareswarar Temple - The eleven-storey structure which is adorned with beautiful sculptures is one of the tallest temple towers in South India. The ancient mango tree in the courtyard is revered by childless couples. They faithfully strung small cradles to the branches of the tree and leave with the hope that their desire for an offspring will be fulfilled.
Day 03 :
Mahabalipuram / Pondicherry (Puthucherry) - 3 Hours approximately
After breakfast check-out from the hotel and transfer to Pondicherry which still carries a strong flavour of the French presence in India. On arrival in Pondicherry, check-in at the hotel. Afternoon, proceed on a sightseeing tour in and around Pondicherry. Overnight stay at the hotel in Pondicherry.
Pondicherry - Pondicherry has a long history dating back 2000 years when it was an important Roman trading post. Pondicherry still remains something of its French flavor in its street names, policemen's kepis, spellings of names, the French accent which shows through in the pronunciation of English and Tamil words, a mixture of French words in ordinary conversation, and research institutions and monuments which are named after and dedicated to French heroes. With well- laid out streets and avenues,the city is amongst the easiest to move around in.The city presents an unusual combination of European culture and the Indian traditions.Visit Aurobindo Ashram,which draws devotees from all over the world.
Day 04 :
Pondicherry – Chidambaram- Darasuram/ Tanjavur (Tanjore)
After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and transfer to Tanjavur (4.5 Hrs approx.). Enroute visit Nataraja temple, Chidambaram and Airavateswara temple, Darasuram. On arrival in Tanjore check-in at the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel in Tanjavur.
Chidambaram - greets us with a beautiful temple, dedicated to Lord Nataraja- God Siva in the form of a Cosmic Dancer. Chidambaram is an ancient and renowned shrine in India. It is spiritual as well as historic. It noted for cultural significance. Devotees of both, saivites as well vaishnavites visit Chidambaram as a pilgrimage spot. The word "Koyil" or temple in the Tamil Saivite tradition refers to none other than the Chidambaram Nataraja temple.
Darasuram - The town is known for the Airavateswara temple constructed by the Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century AD. The temple is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage monument. This temple is a storehouse of art and architecture and has some exquisite stone carvings.
Day 05 :
Tanjavur / Trichy (Tiruchirappally) - 1.5 Hrs approx.
After breakfast check-out from the hotel, and proceed to explore Tanjavur which is famous for the Brihadeeswara temple, the finest contribution to Dravidian temple architecture. Afternoon proceed to Trichy. On arrival in Trichy, check-in at the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel in Trichy.
Thanjavur rose to the glory during the later Chola reign between the 10th and 14th Centuries and became a centre of learning and culture.Thanjavur is still the centre of all the classical arts and music.The Big Temple and the other famous temples in the district are known all over the world. It is the headquarters of Thanjavur district, the 'Rice Bowl' of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is also famous for its distinctive art style, which is usually a combination of raised and painted surfaces.Tanjore paintings are deeply rooted in tradition and still innovative within limits. This art is sacred and dedicated.The Raja Raja Chola Art Gallery has some fine pieces of stone and bronze sculptures from the 9th and 12th centuries.
Trichy / Madurai (4 Hrs approx.)
Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast check-out from the hotel and proceed to explore the ancient heritage of Trichy temples. Later proceed to Madurai. On arrival in Madurai, check-in at the hotel.Overnight stay at Madurai.
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. Trichy is a fine blend of tradition and modernity built around the Rock Fort. Apart from the Fort, there are several Churches, Colleges and Missions dating back to the 1760s. The town and its fort, now in Trichy were built by the Nayaks of Madurai. This city has given great Tamil scholars whose contributions to the Tamil literature have been very significant. Tiruchirapalli (Trichy), situated on the banks of river Cauvery, is famous for the Ranganatha temple at Srirangam, Rock Fort, Sri Jambukeshwara Temple, Tiruvannaikaval, Srirangam, Museums & Art Galleries.
Day 07 :
Breakfast at the hotel. Full day enjoy an ancient city, more than 2,500 years old, known as the Athens of the east. Enjoy the glorious temple architecture of Meenakshi temple. Overnight stay at the hotel in Madurai.
Madurai or the "city of nectar" is the oldest and second largest city of Tamil Nadu. This city is located on Vaigai River and was the capital of Pandyan rulers till the 14th century. The Pandyan king, Kulasekhara had built a gorgeous temple around which he created a lotus shaped city. Mythology says when city was being named; Lord Shiva blessed the city and its people. On the auspicious occasion some Divine nectar ("Madhu") fell from the matted locks of Shiva and hence the city was named "Madhurapuri". This sacred town of south attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors from India as well as abroad. Madurai is synonymous with The Meenakshi Temple, Tirumalai Nayak Palace, Mariamman Tank, Koodal Alagar Temple, Gandhi Museum and Government Museum.
Meenakshi Temple - In the Ashta Shakti Mandapam inside the temple, the sculpted pillars tell the story of the beautiful princess of Madurai and her marriage to Lord Siva. The pillars of the Mandapam are decorated with scenes from the wedding of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar. The life of Madurai revolves around the Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple. This magnificently carved temple is the main attraction of Madurai and its huge Gopurams towers over the city. Meenakshi temple has a thousand pillared 'Mandapam'. Precisely there are 985 pillars and each of them is delicately and exquisitely carved. Among these are the musical pillars, which produce music when tapped. Surprisingly, these musical pillars are carved out of a single granite rock. The temple has been a hub of Tamil culture and has been sponsoring literature, art, music, and dance in the region for a long time.
Day 08 :
Madurai / Periyar (Thekkady) – 4 Hrs approx.
After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and transfer to Periyar, perched amidst dense greenery, in the outskirts of Periyar tiger reserve. Enjoy a boat tour through the Periyar Lake to spot the wild animals and also enjoy a spice plantation tour. Overnight at the Hotel in Thekkady.
Thekkady - the sole Tiger reserve of the Country, Thekkady, with its bountiful treasures of tropical flora and fauna, is the ultimate reservoir, of many an endangered species and a rich tribal culture. The greatest attraction of Periyar remains the large herds of wild elephants, which come down to the lakes edge. Thekkady - The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hill and spice scented plantations. The Thekkady sanctuary is one of the best in the country for watching and photographing wild life. Thekkady is a pleasant heaven on earth for those who love nature in its wild manifestations.
Day 09 :
Thekkady / Kumarakom (04 Hrs approx.) – Alleppey (A/c Deluxe Houseboat)
After breakfast check-out from the hotel and proceed to Kumarakom and embark for the houseboat cruise to enjoy the breathtaking view of the untouched and otherwise inaccessible rural Kerala. Enjoy your Lunch & Dinner on board. Overnight stay at the houseboat.
What is truly magical about a houseboat ride is the breathtaking view of the untouched and otherwise inaccessible rural Kerala that it offers. The houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Meals would be cooked on board and supplemented with fresh fish from the backwaters. Today, the tradition is still continued and the food from the local cuisine is served by the Kuttanad localities, on board. The name Backwaters brings you the very thought of Houseboats. Food and leisurely times spent on-board with the feeling and privacy of house as well as enjoying the natural beauty. A Cruise amidst marvelous mangrove forests, captivating coconut canopies, swaying palms, mangrove forests, pulsating paddy fields sprinkled with enchanting waterways and canals decked with white lilies, can be quite a rejuvenating experience for the weary traveler. Enjoying a cruise in these backwaters is not to be missed, as it leaves you feeling fully rejenuvated. The banks of these backwaters in Kerala are the most enchanting picnic spots. You get to experience the native way of living.
Day 10 :
Alleppey – Cochin (02 Hrs. approx.)
Morning, after breakfast disembark at Alleppey and proceed to Cochin. On arrival in Cochin check-in at the hotel. Later proceed for a village backwater cruise with lunch to explore the pristine beauty of village backwater life.In the evening watch Greenix Show which is a kaleidoscope of Kerala Classical Art Forms. Overnight at the Hotel in Cochin.
Village backwater Cruise – An unforgettable journey in a country boat into the pristine backwater villages of Kerala.... goes through the zigzagging narrow canals and paddy fields fringed with coconut palms.....watch rare birds....country boat making....a natural fish farm where you can go fishing…You will witness coir making, toddy tapping and enjoy a typical Kerala lunch at a farmhouse.
Later in the evening, watch a classical art performance at Greenix Theatre which is a kaleidoscope of Kerala classical arts like Kathakali, Kalaripayattu (Martial Arts),Bharatanatyam etc.
Day 11 :
Cochin – Cherai Beach Resort ( 30 mins drive approx.)
Morning, after breakfast, check-out from the hotel and proceed on a short Cochin city tour exploring Chinese fishing nets, St.Francis church, the Jewish synagogue, Dutch palace etc… Later proceed to Cherai Beach Resort and check-in. Overnight stay at the resort.
Cochin Sightseeing - St Francis Church, built in 1510 by friars brought to India by Vasco da Gama, is the first European church built in India and is the site where Vasco da Gama was buried. The Jewish Synagogue was built in 1568, Chinese hand-painted tiles are one of the attraction. This, the only Synagogue in India has a nostalgic past of a Jewish Diaspora. The "Dutch Palace" was built in the 1550s; the palace contains excellent mythological murals and a rare example of traditional Keralite flooring - a subtle mix of burnt coconut shells, lime, plant juices and egg whites - which gives the effect of polished marble.
Day 12 : Cherai Beach
Breakfast at the hotel. Full day free for leisure to explore the beautiful lagoons and canals meandering in and around the resort. Sun rises at the backwater side of the resorts & sets in front of the resorts in the Arabian Sea.Overnight stay at the resort.
Day 13 :
Cherai Beach – Munnar (04 Hrs approx.)
After breakfast, check-out from the resort and proceed to Munnar,.Overnight stay at the hotel in Munnar.
Munnar - breathtakingly beautiful - a haven of peace and tranquility - the idyllic tourist destination in God's own country.Set at an altitude of 6000 ft in Idukki district, Munnar was the favored summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. Unending expanse of tea plantations - pristine valleys and mountains- exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests - aroma of spice scented cool air - yes! Munnar has all these and more. It's the place you would love to visit - it's the place you would wish never to leave- so welcome - log on to munnar.com for all information on Munnar anytime, every time.
Day 14 :
Cochin – Guruvayoor – Kodungaloor – Cochin
After breakfast, proceed to Guruvayoor. Visit Guruvayoor Elephant Camp (Anakottil) at Punnathoorkotta. Later visit St.Thomas Church, Kodungaloor. Return to Cochin. Overnight stay at the hotel in Cochin.
Punnathur Kotta:This lovely elephant sanctuary is attached to the Sree Krishna Temple at Guruvayoor. The open green area is the home of around 55 temple elephants. An utterly captivating place indeed!
Kodungallur situated on the west coast, was once a great port of the Chera rulers of Tamilnadu. It was known by the Greek as the Muziris and is a place immersed in rich history. Kodungalloor is surrounded by backwaters and the sea is also famous as Cranganore and has an illustrious past, to tell. It is said to be the place where St. Thomas first preached Christianity in India. St.Thomas Church: Christs apostle St Thomas is believed to have landed in Kodungalloor (formerly called Muziris) in 52 AD. The St.Thomas Church established by him houses ancient relics. St. Thomas is portrayed in the gospels as a courageous and challenging personality. He had preached the gospel from Ethiopia to China. Many a church in West Asia considers him as the father of its faith. At Kodungalloor, he established the first Christian church in India and is the architect behind other Churches in Kerala: Kodungallur, Kottakkavu, Palayur, Kollam, Kokkamangalam, Niranam and Nilackal.
Day 15 : Depart Cochin.
Like all good things,your holiday experience comes to an end but you will always carry with you memories of this unique and unforgettable experience.Today, you will be assisted and transferred to Cochin International airport for your flight home!!