Highlights: Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Thanjavur - Tiruchirappalli - Madurai - Thekkady - Periyar - Kumarakom - Houseboat - Cochin
This tour combines, the finest of Tamil Nadu with that of Kerala. Tamil Nadu once known as the Coromandal Coast boasts of the most remarkable temple architecture in India. The former French territory of Pondicherry has its own distinctive colonial architecture. Kerala on the other hand has a distinctive charm, attractive palm-lined beaches, relaxing backwaters, colourful Kathakali dancers, hills and tropical wildlife.
Hotel featured or similar:
Mahabalipuram- Radisson Blu
Day 1: Flight from London Heathrow to Dubai by Emirates
Dubai to Chennai by Emirates
Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Afternoon sightseeing tour of the Old Town of Chennai.
Day 2: Chennai to Mahabalipuram via Kanchipuram, 150 Km/3hrs 30mins.
Drive to Kanchipuram, one of Hinduism’s seven most sacred cities.The ‘Golden City’ of a thousand temples dates back from the Cholas. Visit its temples and shop for silk and cotton fabrics. Travel onwards to Mahabalipuram Beach for a 2 night stay. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 3: Mahabalipuram
Morning city tour of Mahabalipuram. The coastal temple town boasts of fourteen cave temples and nine monolithic rathas (chariot shaped shrines), three stone temples and four-sculptured rock panels. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 4: Mahabalipuram to Thanjavur via Pondicherry, 310 Km/7 hrs.
Drive to Thanjavur (Tanjore) enroute visiting the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry - the former capital of French India. Also visit Matru Mandir at the futuristically designed Auroville. Arrive at Thanjavur the ancient capital of the Cholas and home to thousands of artists who developed the art of Tanjore style of paintings and bronze icons. Overnight in Thanjavur.
Day 5: Thanjavur to Tiruchirappalli, 55 Km/1hrs 30mins.
During the morning visit Thanjavur Brihadeeswara temple, a World Heritage site.The temple was built in 10th century with a feature of a massive cupola carved out of single granite block weighing 80 tons on the top of this 66.5 m tall structure. In the afternoon drive to Tiruchirappalli (Trichy - 1 hr) and visit temple town of Srirangam and Rock Fort, which stands on a mammoth 84 m high rock. Overnight in Trichy.
Day 6: Tiruchirappalli to Madurai, 140 Km/3 hrs.
Drive to Madurai (3 hrs). During the afternoon visit Madurai, the most sacred pilgrim town of South India. In the evening witness the prayer ceremony at Meenakshi Temple, an outstanding example of the Vijayanagar temple architecture. Overnight in Madurai.
Day 7: Madurai to Thekkady (Lake Periyar), 150 Km/4 hrs.
Drive to Thekkady for a 2 night stay. During the afternoon take a two-hour boat safari on the mist-shrouded lake, which offers excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife, especially herds of elephants.
Day 8: Periyar.
Day at leisure to explore the plantations surrounding the beautiful spice centre.
Day 9: Periyar to Kumarakom, 140 Km/4hrs 30mins.
You’ll leave just after breakfast, driving back down to the coast and the melodically named town of Kumarakom on the banks of lake Vembanad. Here, you hop on to a boat to arrive at your hotel for a 2 night stay. That evening take a sunset cruise on the lake in a converted rice boat to flute ambience music.
Day 10: Kumarakom
A day at leisure in Kumarakom. Relax by the pool or take a short boat ride to the bird sanctuary on the other side of a river entrance.
Day 11: Kumarakom to Houseboat.
Transfer to a houseboat for a day and night on the backwaters – experience the essence of Kerala with swaying palms and gently flowing serene waterways. Get a close up view of the countryside, quiet lagoons and rural Kerala, preserved through the ages and completely hidden from the road.
Day 12: Houseboat to Kochi, 60 Km/1hrs 30mins.
Disembark from the Houseboat at the jetty and drive to the harbour town of Kochi (Cochin), renowned as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. In the evening enjoy the famous Kathakali dance show - the mask dance with music, songs and mime to enact stories.
Day 13: Cochin.
Your morning sightseeing tour of Kochi includes a visit to the Dutch Palace and Synagogue. En route see the famous Chinese fishing nets. Afternoon at leisure to explore the sights of the oldest trading centre.
Day 14: Flight from Cochin to Dubai by Emirates
Flight from Dubai to London Heathrow by Emirates
Transfer from hotel to Cochin airport in time to board flight for London Heathrow via Dubai.