Duration: 12 Nights/13 Days

Places: Chennai → Mammalapuram → Pondicherry → Tanjore → Karaikudi → Madurai → Thekkady → Munnar → Cochin → Kumarokom → Alleppey → Varkala → Kovalam

Day 1: Chennai & Mammalapuram

The fourth largest city in India, Chennai (formerly Madras) is the seat of culture and learning in South India. It is also India’s third largest industrial centre as well as the automobile capital of India.  It is home to one of the world’s longest beaches, the 12 km long Marina Beach.

Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram, was an ancient port city built by the Pallava Dynasty in the 7th century. It was named after the cruel demon king Mahabali, who was slayed by Goddess Durga, and is an important World Heritage Site today.

Day 2: Pondicherry

Pondicherry was under the French rule for nearly 281 years. It still has the French flavor with its grand colonial mansions, beautiful boulevards, and placid promenades, French street signs, buildings and public places. Auroville is an International township located at 6 kms from Pondicherry. Auroville was conceived as a utopian paradise by the Mother, the spiritual successor of Sri Aurobindo. The idea was to build a futuristic city where people of goodwill would live together in peace and harmony. Auroville came into existence in 1968. The Matrimandir (Temple of the Mother) is situated at the centre of Auroville.

Day 3: Tanjore

Thanjavur or Tanjore, is well-known throughout the world for being the home of the Brahadeeswara temple. The temple is enclosed in two courts, surmounted by a lofty tower and includes the exquisitely decorated shrine of Subrahmanya. Among the other historic buildings is the Vijayanagar fort, which contains a palace that was expanded by the Maratha king with an armoury, a Bell Tower and the Saraswathi Mahal Library, which contains over 30,000 Indian and European manuscripts written on palm leaf and paper.

Day 4: Karaikudi

Situated in the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu between Trichy and Rameshwaram, Karaikudi is the biggest city in Chettinad and is famous for its Ganesha temple, saris, distinctive cuisine and majestic mansions. Comprising about 72 villages of which many of them were once the homes of wealthy merchant families known as the Chettiars, today, it is an area of mostly deserted splendid mansions. The place derives its name from the famous plant “Karai” which abounds in the area.

Day 5: Madurai

Madurai boasts of a cultural heritage that goes back 2500 years and has functioned as an important commercial center as early as 550 AD. Madurai was the capital city of the Pandya kings of South India. The Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple, which stands today as one of India’s cultural and architectural landmarks, was originally built by the early Pandya King Kulasekara. The ancient city of Madurai was supposed to be laid out in a lotus-like formation with the temple at the center and streets and main thoroughfares layered one after the other in a concentric fashion.

Day 6: Thekkady

The Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary located in Thekkady is a breathtakingly beautiful tiger reserve. It is nearly 1,800 m above sea level in the dense and evergreen deciduous forests of Kerala.

It is a landlocked home for its myriad fauna and flora as well as for the Mannans, Palians and Ooralie tribes who still continue their ancient methods of herding and bee keeping. The Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary offers a fairly good chance of seeing the great Indian tiger and elephants in their natural habitat.

Day 7: Munnar

Munnar, landscaped with tea plantations, hills, lakes, forests and winding walks is a beautiful getaway. Located at an altitude of 1,829 m, it is home to South India’s highest peak called Anamudi, standing 2,695 m tall. Eravikulam National Park which is a habitat of the endangered Nilgiri Tahrs is one of the highlights of Munnar. Often referred to as the Kashmir of South India, Munnar offers tourists a mix of relaxation and adventure amidst beautiful landscapes.

Day 8: Cochin

Cochin (Kochi) has one of the finest natural harbours in India around which is based an ancient history of maritime trade. The cosmopolitan city is fascinating in many ways – the beautiful sea front with Chinese fishing nets and stalls selling seafood; the traditional Fort Kochi area with its mix of Dutch, British, Muslim and Portuguese architecture; and the older city of Ernakulam steeped in Malayali culture. Built around a saltwater lagoon, the bustling seaport city on the southwest coast of India is actually a cluster of islands and peninsulas.

Day 9: Kumarakom

The quaint town is a cluster of little islands, located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake in the Kuttanad region of Kerala. Renowned for its natural beauty, Kumarakom is an ideal base to experience the famous Kerala backwaters, replete with meandering lagoons, coconut trees, endless rows of paddy fields interspersed by waterways and canals. Just 16 Km from Kottayam, Kumarakom is also home to a bird sanctuary.

Day 10: Alleppey

Alleppey (Alapuzzha), coined ‘Venice of the East’ is a mosaic of mirror-still lagoons, picture book lakes, palm fringed canals and a long sandy beach – all brimming with glimpses of daily life in the Kerala country side.

The town is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. Alleppey remains prominent on the tourist attractions of Kerela as one of the major centers for backwater cruises.

Day 11: Varkala

Varkala has also grown into a popular seaside resort over the years. It has a beautiful beach facing the Arabian Sea, but what is more unique are the steep cliffs rising from the beach with unique geological formations and natural springs, known as the Varkala Formation. The mineral rich waters are used for spa treatments and this small unexplored destination has been attracting many tourists, including foreigners, for a mix of beach relaxation and natural therapies.

Day 12: Kovalam

Once a fishing village and a favourite hippy haunt, Kovalam has transformed itself into a top beach destination of Kerala. It is 16 Km from Trivandrum and draws thousands of tourists from all over India and the world. Kovalam is spread with coconut trees and is a big draw for beach lovers, as it offers a variety of water sports, great seafood and Ayurvedic massages and treatments.

Day 13: Trivandrum

Transfer to Trivandrum and proceed to onward destination.

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