Destinations Covered: Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Trichy - Madurai - Periyar - Kumarakom - Cochin
The Southern region of India has been blessed by various attractions such as backwaters, hamlets, temples, churches, forts, wildlife, culture and more. South Indian Voyage is a well-planned tour package of 13 days that takes you to some of the most popular destinations of South India. The itinerary takes you to some wonderful places like Cochin, Chennai, Trichy, Mahabalipuram, Kumarakom, Periyar, Madurai and Manabalipuram. Some of the highlights of this tour are world heritage monuments in Mahabalipuram, the magnificent Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, Auroville in Pondicherry and wildlife safari boat ride in Periyar.
Arrive at the Chennai airport and meet our tour representative. Get an assisted transfer to the hotel. Complete the check-in formalities. The day is now at leisure and you can explore the surroundings on your own. The state's capital, Chennai city is filled with various attractions including wildlife, churches, beaches, temples, rich culture and history. No single moment is dull here. Spend the day as per your preference.
Overnight stay in Chennai.
In the morning, embark on a sightseeing tour of Chennai including the San Thome Cathedral Basilica, placed on the southern end of Marina beach. The cathedral has been named after St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ. It is believed that he had come to Mylapore, somewhere around 52 A.D. He built a small chapel here and was converted into a church by the British in the year 1740. The other visits are to St Thomas Mount - a small hillock, the Little Mount Shrine – a 16th century structure, the Fort St George- India's first English fortress built in 1644, and St Mary's Church- the oldest Anglican church that is also called the 'Westminster Abbey of the East'. The last visit is to the Fort Museum. It has a small collection of objects belonging of the British Raj, which were donated by the then Madras Presidency Government.
On day 3, in the morning, start driving towards the temple town of Mahabalipuram. Upon arrival, check into the hotel. After settling-in, visit the World Heritage Site of the monolithic Rathas, the five rock-cut temple chariots. Pancha Rathas is an old monument complex on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, where the 5 chariots were hewed during the reign of Pallava dynasty in the 7th century. These temples are named after the five Pandava brothers of Mahabharata and their spouse- Dharmaraja Ratha, Bhima Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Nakula Sahadeva Ratha, and Draupadi Ratha.
Stay overnight in Mahabalipuram.
The morning of the day is at leisure. Later, start driving to Pondicherry. Now a union territory, it was a French colony in the 18th century. It still carries an Anglo-French feel in its ambiance. The seaside town is clean and beautiful. As you arrive, complete the check-in. Some relaxation is followed by sightseeing in Pondicherry. You visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram, founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo. The Ashram is known all around the world for its wonderful lifestyle and being self- sufficient. Next you visit is to the Auroville- an experimental township and the Pondicherry Museum- housing ancient artefacts, statues, coins, paintings, palanquins and so on.
Start your road journey to Trichy. On the way, visit the 'Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu'- Tanjore. Now known as Thanjavur, Tanjore was the royal capital of the Chola dynasty, from 850 to 1270. It is a significant center of architecture, religion, and art of South India. Here you visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brihadeeswarar Temple. Also known as Peruvudaiyar Kovil and RajaRajeswara Temple Rajarajeswaram, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to be 1000 years old. Continue your journey to Trichy. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel.
Overnight stay in Trichy.
On the 6th day, starts sightseeing tour of Trichy, beginning from the Rock Fort Temple – a historic fort and temple complex, constructed on an ancient rock, which is 273-foot high. Next you visit the Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Ranganatha (the reclining form of Lord Vishnu). It is one of the 108 Divya Desams of the Lord and a World Heritage Site. Thereafter, start driving to the ancient town of Madurai, on the banks of Vaigai River. On arrival, check-in at the hotel.
Overnight in Madurai.
In the morning, get ready for city tour of Madurai. Start the tour with Meenakshi Amman Temple -a splendid example of Dravidian architecture. Originally built in the 6th century, it is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her consort, Lord Shiva, here named as Sundareswarar. Thereafter, visit the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal - a wonderful Indo-Saracenic style. This palace was commissioned in 1636 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak, a Nayaka dynasty ruler. Later, you visit the Alagar Hills and the Tirupara Kundran Rock temple or Thirupparankundram Temple. Built by a Pandayan King in the 8th century, the rock-cut temple is dedicated to Lord Subramanya.
On day 8, begin driving to Thekkady, home to the popular Periyar National Park. On reaching, check- in at your wildlife resort. The evening is scheduled for a boat ride in to the Periyar National Park. One of the most popular national parks in south India, Periyar is popular amid avid photographers, animal enthusiasts and nature lovers. The best part of this sanctuary is the expansive artificial lake where various animals and birds can be spotted. The sanctuary, along with a decent population of tigers and elephants, has Indian bison, rare lion-tailed macaques, sambar, Nilgiri Tahr, and so on. There also are 266 species of birds.
Overnight stay in Periyar.
In the morning, enjoy a guided tour to the aromatic spice plantation, located nearby. The hills of Periyar have ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations. These spices are being grown here from the 14th century. Treat your eyes to the wonderful views of the surroundings.
Stay overnight in Periyar.
On this day, start driving towards the placid Kumarakom backwaters. Kumarakom is a beautiful lush town on the banks of Vembanad Lake, offering peaceful vacations. As you reach, complete the check-in formalities at the hotel. You are free to explore this place on your own. You can opt for a houseboat tour in the lake and enjoy bird watching. Kumarakom bird sanctuary, Pathiramanal Island and Bay Island Driftwood Museum are some of the popular attractions here.
Begin drive to Cochin today. On arrival, checking into the hotel. The day is at leisure. You can simply relax in the hotel and enjoy the facilities or can explore the city on your own. This ancient port city is an important city with various attractions. The evening is scheduled for a Kathakali dance performance.
The day is scheduled for city tour of Cochin. Visit the Dutch Palace or the Mattancherry Palace. This structure was constructed by the Portuguese in 1557 and was gifted to Veera Kerala Varma, the then Maharaja of Cochin. Next you continue your tour and move to the Jewish Synagogue, located close to the palace. Adorned by Belgian chandeliers and Chinese tiles, this synagogue was built in 1568. Later head to the Cochin Harbour for viewing the Chinese Fishing nets, one of the most popular attractions in Cochin. The next visit is to St. Francis, erected in the year 1503 by the Europeans. It is India's oldest church. The last visit is the Hill Palace, built in the 19th century by the King of Kochi.
Overnight stay in Cochin.
Enjoy a relaxed morning. Later, get an assisted transfer to the airport to board the flight for your onward journey.