Temples & Backwater Tour of South India (15 Days)

Duration: 15 days
Destination: India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai
from
163822

Check Availability

  • 15 days
  • Chennai
  • E-Voucher
  • Lowest Price
  • Cancellable

Overview

Visit the two state of India. Tamil Nadu famous for its exquisite temples of which some are UNESCO World Heritage sites. See the largest & oldest active temples of Hindus in Thanjore, Trichy & Madurai. Rejuvenate yourself in French Colonial town Pondicherry by practicing Yoga in Auroville Ashram. Old monuments, exotic flora and fauna, lush vegetation, the delicate scent of spices and temples bells all characterize Kerala. Western Ghats in the tea-growing region of Munnar gives you a true sense of the sheer natural beauty. Explore the picturesque Periyar National Park & learn about spice plantation. Cruise along the beautiful Keralan backwaters & watch mesmerizing traditional Kathakali dance. At the end of tour relax on world famous Kovalam beach.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Chennai

Pass By: Chennai (Madras), Chennai (Madras), Chennai District, Tamil Nadu
On arrival at Chennai airport meet with our office executive assistance and transfer to hotel (hotels check in time 1200hr afternoon, early check in subject to room’s availability).

Stop At: Fort St. George, St. George Street, Chennai (Madras) India
Later city tour of Chennai. Visit Fort St. George & Museum - Fort St. George is located on the banks of Bay of Bengal. It was built by the British East India Company in 1640 AD. The fort is believed to be the first establishment of the British in India. It is a military architecture marvel, which was erected as a trading post and later evolved to be the origin of modern Indian Army.
Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Semmozhi Poonga, Ellaiamman Colony, Teynampet, Chennai (Madras) 600086 India
Semmozhi Poonga is a beautifully landscaped botanical garden in Chennai which is set up by the horticulture department of the Government of Tamil Nadu. Apart from some common plants and trees, the garden houses some really rare types of plants and medicinal herbs. There is also an artificial pond in the garden and ducks which makes it an enjoyable place for the children as well.
Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: DakshinaChitra Museum - City Office, G-3, Madhuram Flats, 6, Urur Olcott Kuppam Rd, Urrur Kuppam, Besant Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600090, India
Dakshina Chitra - is a living-history museum in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, dedicated to South Indian heritage and culture. Opened to the public on 14 December 1996, the museum was founded and is being managed by the Madras Craft Foundation. Arulmigu Sri Parthasarathy Temple - The Parthasarathy Temple is an 8th-century Hindu Vaishnavite temple dedicated to the Lord Vishnu, located at Thiruvallikeni, Chennai, India. Evening to walk on Marina beach.
Duration: 2 hours

No meals included on this day.
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 2: Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram (120kms/ 3hrs approx)

Pass By: Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu
Breakfast at hotel drive to Mahabalipuram via visiting Kanchipuram - the City of Thousand Temples and The Silk City.

Stop At: Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu
Visit Kailasanathar temple - 8th century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is noted for its architecture and sculptures. There are 58 small shrines situated around the main shrine as compound wall. Sandstone was used in the construction of this temple. Ekambareswarar temple - another ancient temple of the city dedicated to Siva. The 2500-year-old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yields different varieties of mangoes. Varadharaja temple - dedicated to Lord Vishnu, noted for its wonderful sculptures. This is one of the 108 sacred Shri Vaishnavite temples. Vaikundhaperumal temple - dedicated to lord Vishnu, it is also one of the 108 Divyadesams. Kamakshiamman temple - dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi the presiding deity, one of the holy Sakthi worship places in India. It is closely associated with Sri Adi Sankaracharya.
Duration: 2 hours

Pass By: Mahabalipuram, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu
Optionally visit Handloom industry - famous for handloom Silk Sarees the main profession of people in Kanchipuram. Continue drive to Mahabalipuram check in at hotel.

Stop At: Mahabalipuram, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu
Later visit Monolithic Temples - locally known as Rathas. They were executed by chiseling out the exterior face of the boulder. Work started from top to bottom. Shore Temple - built with blocks of granitein in 7th century during the rule of King Narsimha-Varman II Rajasimha the temple complex consisting of two Siva temples and a carving of Anantasayana Vishnu. Cave Temples - cut and decorated with panels in the Mamalla style of the Pallava period in the 7th century. Remnants seen in the caves also indicate that they were plastered and painted when built. Krishna's Butterball - a gigantic granite boulder resting on a short incline.
Duration: 3 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 3: Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry (100kms/ 2hrs approx)

Pass By: Pondicherry, Pondicherry, Union Territory of Pondicherry
Breakfast at hotel visit temple and monuments at Mahabalipuram. Afternoon drive to Pondicherry check in at hotel.

Stop At: Auroville, Auroville, Viluppuram District, Tamil Nadu
Later visit Aurovil - an experimental community in southern India. It was founded in 1968 by the spiritual leader Mirra Alfassa as a town where people from all over the world could live in harmony. Its focal point is the Matrimandir, a futuristic, spherical temple covered in gold discs. Auroville Botanical Gardens protects the region’s tropical dry evergreen forest. Auroville Beach is a long sandy stretch with gentle surf. Sri Aurobindo - established in 1926 by Shree Aurobindo and 'The Mother'. Together they explored the possibilities of yoga and meditation as a path to salvation. At the ashram, residents continue to practice their teachings. Pondicherry Museum - an art and history museum especially noted for its collection of fine lost wax bronzes form the period of the Chola Empire. The Museum's collection includes 81 Chola bronze sculptures, ranking as one of the largest collections of Chola bronzes.
Duration: 3 hours

Stop At: Pondicherry, Pondicherry, Union Territory of Pondicherry
French Colony - Pondicherry has some of the finest examples of old French culture with a hint of Tamil influence in its visual aesthetics. In this tour, you will catch sight of some of the unique and old infrastructures. Observe and get inspired by the architectural beauty of the French part of the town while enjoying a cup of coffee and some deserts along the way. As part of the package, customise your walk with your guide to cover the visit of French consulate, French Institute, Raj Nivas, Bharati Park (Aayi Monument), Government Square, Beaches, Monuments, Churches, French schools.
Duration: 4 hours

Pass By: Pondicherry, Pondicherry, Union Territory of Pondicherry
Evening to relax on the beach.

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 4: Pondicherry - Darasuram - Chidambaram - Thanjore (185kms/ 4hrs approx)

Stop At: Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, East Car Street, Chidambaram Vijay Gems, 608001 India
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Thanjore. En-route visit Chidambaram Nataraja Temple which is dedicated to the Nataraja or the dancing posture of Lord Shiva. This temple is located in the heart of the town and has undergone numerous renovations under the reign of Chola and Pallava kings. In 1213 AD, Aragalur Udaya Iraratevan Ponparappinan rebuilt some of the parts of this temple. The Nataraja Temple is known for its attractive gopurams, carvings, five mandapams and inscriptions. Built during the 10th century by Chola Kings, this temple is known for huge walls, four tall shikharas in four directions and a big Sivagangai tank. The four tall shikharas are decorated with 108 carved dance postures of Natya Shastra.
Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Cholapuram, Thanjavur India
Further drive & visit Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple - built in Tamil style of architecture with a square plan. The structural elements resemble the big Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur. Both include a courtyard entered through multiple gateways and relatively small gopuram (tower). Inside are shrines, most of which are aligned on an east-west axis; a few are perpendicular. The temple complex includes Nandi Mandapa, Alankar Mandapa, Maha Mandapa, Mukha Mandapa and Ardha Mandapa. Some of these were added and restored by Hindu kingdoms after the 14th century or by British India art conservation officials in the 19th century. The temple site has a monolithic representation of Navagrahas, the nine planetary deities.
Duration: 2 minutes

Stop At: Shri Airavatesvara Temple, Gurunathan Pillai Colony, Dharasuram, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu 612702, India
Continue drive & visit Darasuram Temple - a storehouse of art and architecture. The vimana is 85 feet high. The front mandapam itself is in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses. The temple has some exquisite stone carvings. The main deity's consort Periya Nayaki Amman temple is situated adjacent to Airavateshwarar temple.
Duration: 2 hours

Pass By: Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India
Continue drive to Thanjore check in at hotel.

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 5: Thanjore - Trichy (60kms/ 1.5hrs approx)

Stop At: Brihadeshwara Temple Bus Stop, Membalam Rd, Balaganapathy Nagar, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007, India
Breakfast at hotel. Visit Brihadeshwara Temple & Fort - built by great Chola king in the 10th century. It is an outstanding example of Chola architecture and is listed in UNESCO world heritage site. On the top of the apex of 63 metres high dome is said to be constructed from a single piece of granite, weighing an estimated 81 tones. Thanjavur Palace & Museum - the palace near the temple is a vast building of masonry built by the Nayakas around 1550 and partly by the Maratha. The palace houses an art gallery, a library and a hall of music. The art gallery occupies the Nayak Durbar Hall. It has a superb collection of Chola bronze statues from the 9th to 12th centuries. The Saraswati mahal Library is next door to the gallery. Art Gallery - in the Palace there are a number of granite and bronze statues of the Chola period. Saraswathi Mahal Library - another section of the Palace is the library where over 30,000 palm leaf and paper manuscripts in India and European languages are preserved.
Duration: 4 hours

Pass By: Tiruchirappalli, Tiruchirappalli, Tiruchirappalli District, Tamil Nadu
After sightseeing drive to Trichy check in at hotel.

Stop At: Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam 7 km north of Tiruchy, Tiruchirappalli 620006 India
Later visit Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple - there are 22 gopurams including India’s tallest (72 meters, 13 storey high). Many people have had a hand in its construction, including the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Hoysalas and rulers from Vijayanagar. Ivory sculptures of Lord Vishnu in various poses and the images of Nayak Kings with consorts donated by Nayak kings who ruled Madurai during the 17th century are available here.
Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Srirangam, Thiruvanaikoil, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu 620005, India
Tiruvanaikkaval - the Jambukeshwara temple, here is dedicated to Shiva, and it houses five concentric walls, and seven gopurams. Once an elephant worshipped Lord Shiva under the holy Jambu tree and hence the name Jambukeshwar.
Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Rock Fort Temple, Rock Hills, Tiruchirappalli India
Rock Fort Temple: The 83m high Rock Fort is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The rock is one of the oldest in the world-approximately 3.800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland and older than the Himalayas. At the top of the rock is the Uchipillaiyar Koil, a temple dedicated to Lord Vinayaka from where one can enjoy a panoramic view of Tiruchirappalli. A flight of steps leads to the Mathrubutheswarar of Thayumanaswami temple, dedicated to Lord Siva where the lingam is a projection of the rock itself.
Duration: 1 hour

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 6: Trichy - Madurai (140kms/ 3hrs approx)

Pass By: Madurai, Madurai, Madurai District, Tamil Nadu
Breakfast at hotel drive to Madurai heck in at hotel.

Stop At: Madurai, Madurai, Madurai District, Tamil Nadu
Later city tour visit the Meenakshi Sundareshwar - one of the largest temple complexes in India built between the 16th and 18th centuries. Apart from the estimated 33 million sculptures there, the temple is absolutely absorbing with the endless rounds of ceremonies, prostration of countless devotees and glittering market stalls. Later visit Tiruparankundram Murugan Temple, Palamuthirsolai Murugan Temple. Also visit the Tirumal Nayak’s Palace; a highly decorative monument. Its enormous roofed arcade supported by 48 – foot high stone pillar, still stands. In the evening visit the famous Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple to attend the Aarti (Prayers) witnessing interesting rituals and ceremonies.
Duration: 4 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 7: Madurai - Munnar (160kms/ 3hrs approx)

Pass By: Munnar, Munnar, Idukki District, Kerala
Breakfast at hotel drive to Munnar which offer colorful landscape, breathtaking sights and mesmerizing view. The journey to Munnar is beautiful as the road stretches along the waterfalls. Arrive Munnar check in at hotel. During the British rule in India, Munnar was the summer resort of the Government officials. The natural beauty, calmness and mild cold climate throughout the year make it the favorite tourist places. The tea estates, hills, lakes and forests inside Munnar range expose its beauty.

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 8: Munnar

Stop At: Munnar, Munnar, Idukki District, Kerala
After breakfast, visit to Pothamedu which offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills, the lush mountain and the breathtaking scenery here is ideal for trekking and long mountain walks. Mattupetty dam and its reservoir, this concrete gravity dam is built between the hill ranges and it is used mainly for water storage for hydroelectric projects. Eravikulam National Park, The Nilgiri Tahr can be observed at close quarters here. This park established to protect the Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiri Ibex) is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world. Mattupedi Dairy Farm, famous for the Indo-Swiss Farm, this is a highly specialized dairy farm which comes under Indo-Swiss Livestock Project. Echo Point, go there and scream as loud as you can and wait for a minute. You can hear your echo back!
Duration: 8 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 9: Munnar - Periyar (Thekkady) (110kms/ 2hrs approx.)

Pass By: Ramakkalmedu, Ramakkalmedu, Idukki District, Kerala
Breakfast at hotel drive to Thekkady en-route stop at Ramakkalmedu. The place gets its name from the impressions of the feet found on the rock surface here, which is believed to be of Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, as told in the Indian epic Ramayana.
Ramakkalmedu is noted for its hills and also for the panoramic and picturesque views of villages in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, which is towards the eastern side of the Western Ghats. A noticeably tall, pillar-like rocky structure, about 300 m high and facing east is another attraction here.

It is one of the windiest places in Asia and being so, one can also find here a wind farm generating electricity, which is an undertaking of the Government of Kerala. Other attractions in-and-around Ramakkalmedu include places like Frog Rock, Turtle Rock and the highest twin-statue in Kerala; called Kuravan and Kurathi.

Pass By: Thekkady, Thekkady, Idukki District, Kerala
Continue drive to Thekkady check in at hotel. Rest time free and easy to relax.

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 10: Periyar (Thekkady)

Stop At: Periyar National Park, Banks Of Artificial Periyar Lake, Thekkady India
Breakfast at hotel. Visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary on a boat. Nestled between the Cheruthoni and Periyar rivers Wildlife Sanctuary is blessed with the most diverse flora and fauna. The sanctuary has a gorgeous lake that is perfect for romantic boat rides. The tropical evergreen and deciduous forests teeming with elephants, bison, sambar deer, wild dogs, jungle cats, tiger and wild boar along with various species of snake including cobras, vipers, kraits and many non-poisonous snakes is a wildlife lover’s dream. A variety of birds such as grey jungle fowl, Malabar grey hornbill, woodpeckers and bulbuls also have found a home in this sanctuary.
Duration: 6 hours

Stop At: Thekkady, Thekkady, Idukki District, Kerala
Afterwards take a spice plantation tour to see crops of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates etc. You could stop at the local market and pick up some fragrant spices.
Duration: 2 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 11: Thekaddy – Alleppey (135kms/ 3hrs approx)

Pass By: Alleppey Backwaters, Alappuzha India
Breakfast at hotel, transfer to boat jetty to board houseboat and sail to Alleppey through the tropical countryside enchanting backwaters. While sailing enjoy palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals, the panoramic sights one can never forget. The Chinese fishing nets the reminiscent of our past trade links are also found on the way. Flocks of duck swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures reflecting the charm of this tourist land, you also enjoy fishing from the houseboats, evening enjoy sunset from the sun-deck of the houseboats. The Houseboats have generated electricity, sitting cum dining area, separate bedroom with attached English toilets, sun deck and fully loaded kitchen with a Chef, and Driver. Lunch, Dinner and overnight in houseboat.

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Dinner
Accommodation included: Houseboat stay.

Day 12: Alleppey – Cochin (60kms/ 1.5hrs approx)

Pass By: Alleppey Backwaters, Alappuzha India
After breakfast disembark houseboat and drive to Cochin check in at hotel.

Stop At: Kochi (Cochin), Kochi (Cochin), Ernakulam District, Kerala
Later sightseeing tour of Cochin - one of few places in India that has managed to preserve the remnants of its colonial past with utmost care. Visit Fort Cochin famous for Chinese fishing nets, scenic beaches and architectural style of ancient buildings. At St. Frances Church see the town of Vasco da Gama. The Jewish Synagogue, built in 1568 in the old part of Mattancherry Town, one of the oldest lively synagogues. Mattancherry "Dutch" Palace which has an incomparable collection of huge Kerala Temple murals, exhibits & portraits. You may also visit the famous Hill Palace Museum, the largest archaeological and heritage museum in Kerala. Bolgatty Palace the oldest living Dutch palaces outside Holland, now converted into a heritage hotel. Willingdon Island a man-made island created in 1933 with wonderful walkways and jetty’s.
Duration: 5 hours

Stop At: Kerala Kathakali Centre, near Santa Cruz Basilica K.B. Jacob Road, Fort Kochi, Kochi (Cochin) 682001 India
In the evening, enjoy the Kathakali Dance, one of India's most famous Classical dances with lavish costumes, exotic makeup & Masks intensifying the beauty of the dancer’s intricate moments.
Duration: 1 hour

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 13: Cochin - Kovalam (beach) (200kms/ 4hrs approx)

Pass By: Kovalam, Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala
Breakfast at hotel drive to Kovalam check in at hotel. Rest day free and easy for personal activities & relax on the beach.

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 14: Kovalam

Stop At: Kovalam, Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala
Breakfast at hotel, city tour of Trivandrum. Visit Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple the guardian deity of the city. The Maharaja of Travancore till date pays homage at the Padmanabhan Swamy Temple that enshrines the image of Lord Vishnu reclining under the hood of "Anantha" the great serpent. Also visit Attukal Temple a Hindu religious shrine. The city has a rich tradition of nurturing art and culture since ancient times, witness same by visiting Napier Museum, Kuthira Malika & Sri Chitra Art Gallery. Drive thru famous beaches which include Shankumugham Beach, Kovalam Beach, Vizhinjam lighthouse & Light House Beach Road.
Duration: 8 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight at hotel.

Day 15: Kovalam - Departure

Pass By: Kovalam, Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala
Breakfast at hotel as per flight schedule transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.

Meals included:
• Breakfast
No accommodation included on this day.

Inclusions
  • 14x Breakfast
  • 1x Dinner
  • 1x Lunch
  • Accommodation included: 14 nights
  • Garland welcome and assistance of our office representative at airport
  • 14 Nights accommodation in selected price category hotels.
  • Private English speaking guide in each cities on sightseeing days.
  • Deluxe Air-conditioned private vehicle from arrival till departure as per tour program
  • Monuments entrances and activities charges mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Kathakali dance show ticket in Cochin
  • Boat safari on Pariyar River in Thekkady.
  • Applicable GST (Government taxes)
  • Bottled drinking water in car
  • Entry/Admission - Fort St. George
  • Entry/Admission - Semmozhi Poonga
  • Entry/Admission - DakshinaChitra Museum - City Office
  • Entry/Admission - Chidambaram Nataraja Temple
  • Entry/Admission - Gangaikonda Cholapuram
  • Entry/Admission - Shri Airavatesvara Temple
  • Entry/Admission - Brihadeshwara Temple Bus Stop
  • Entry/Admission - Periyar National Park
  • Entry/Admission - Kerala Kathakali Centre

Exclusions
  • Any air fare
  • Monument entrances
  • Meals other than mentioned in inclusions.
  • Expenses of personal nature like liquor, laundry, tips, telephone, fax, internet etc.
  • Anything not mentioned in inclusions.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 5 days of travel. In this case confirmation will be received within 48 hours, subject to availability
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
  • Face masks provided for travelers
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered

Airports

  • Chennai Airport, Chennai (Madras) India



Departure Time

Suppliers and travelers coordinate start times within the given time periods. Price using 5 star hotels 10/1/2020 - 3/31/2021

Monday - Sunday:12:00 AM - 11:30 PM
4/1/2021 - 9/30/2021
Monday - Sunday:12:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Price using 4 star hotels 10/1/2020 - 3/31/2021
Monday - Sunday:12:00 AM - 11:30 PM
4/1/2021 - 9/30/2021
Monday - Sunday:12:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Price using 3 star hotels 10/1/2020 - 3/31/2021
Monday - Sunday:12:00 AM - 11:30 PM
4/1/2021 - 9/30/2021
Monday - Sunday:12:00 AM - 11:30 PM

Voucher info

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

Duration

15 days

If you cancel at least 7 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee.
If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee.
If you cancel within 2 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.

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