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South India Coast to Coast

  • Chennai
  • Mahabalipuram
  • Puducherry
  • Thanjavur
  • Karaikudi
  • Madurai
  • Periyar
  • Alappuzha
  • Kochi
  • 14 nights from
  • £1,625 per person
  • Trip Code: MC-1154

Holiday Overview

South India Coast to Coast

 

An Iconic journey from the hustle and bustle of Chennai on the Bay of Bengal to the more relaxed city of Kochi on the Indian Ocean. En-route experience some of the great culture, food and scenery that Southern India is rightly renowned. From Chennai, travel south via Mahabalipuram to the former French Colony of Puducherry, formely Pondicherry, where you can experience relaxing French boulevards contrasted with frenetic Indian markets. Puducherry is also well known for its cuisine, a blend of Indian and French styles. Continue onwards with stops in the historic towns of Thanjavur and Madurai, temples abound. Travel into the heart of rural India and the Periyar National Park, before spending a night on a traditional backwaters houseboat, before arriving at Kochi, with its rich cultural history, both European and Asian.

15 days / 14 Nights

Start Chennai – End Kochi

Highlights Include:

Colonial Puducherry

The temples of Mahabalipuram, Thanjavur & Madurai

Periyar National Park

A night on a houseboat on the Kerelan Backwaters

South India Coast to Coast includes:

  • Transfers and sightseeing as listed
  • 1 night accommodation Chennai
  • 2 nights accommodation Mahabalipuram
  • 2 nights accommodation Puducherry
  • 1 night accommodation Thanjavur
  • 1 night accommodation Karaikudi
  • 2 nights accommodation Madurai
  • 2 nights accommodation Periyar
  • 1 night on a Backwaters Houseboat
  • 1 night accommodation Kochi
1

Day 1 - Chennai

Chennai, formerly known as Madras, serves as the capital of Tamil Nadu and is the fourth largest city in India, with over six million inhabitants. Upon arrival in Chennai, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Meals Included - None

Featured accommodation

Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai

2

Day 2 - Chennai - Mahabalipuram

After breakfast, proceed for a sightseeing tour of Chennai. Your tour will start with the visit to, Fort St. George the first English Fort in India built by the East India Company. Today the colonial buildings are used as government offices. Then proceed to Mylapore, which was inhabited in the 16th century by the Portuguese; visit the San Thome Church, named for the Christian disciple Doubting Thomas.  Also visit Kapaleeswarar Temple, honoring Shiva, which dates back to the 13th century and is the biggest temple in Chennai. You will also drive past the Marina Beach, the second longest in the world, stretching for several miles.  In the afternoon you will be driven to Mahabalipuram en-route visit Kanchipuram for some sightseeing of ancient temples and silk weaving workshops. 

Meals Included - Breakfast 

Featured accommodation

Ideal Beach Resort

3

Day 3 - Mahabalipuram

After breakfast proceed for a sightseeing tour of the city covering Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Penance & the Cave Temple.  The Shore Temple: Though known as the land of Seven Pagodas, there is only one remaining today. The five-storied Shore Temple on the beach was built by the Pallava King Raja Singha at the end of seventh century in pure Dravidian sculpture.  Arjuna's Penance- This skilfully carved rock of 29 X 7 metres, is the largest bas - relief sculpture in the world. It gets its name from the figure of an ascetic who is believed to be Arjuna, the hero of Mahabharata, doing penance to obtain a boon from Lord Shiva.  Mandapams/Cave temples: The Krishna Temple is the oldest temple. The rectangular Ganesh Mandapam was also built carving out of a whole rock and is worshipped still daily. You can also see Ganesa Ratha, Varcha Cave, Old Light House, Krishna's Butter Ball, Gopi's Churn, Valayankuttai Ratha, Kodikal Mandapam, etc. 

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Ideal Beach Resort

4

Day 4 - Mahabalipuram - Puducherry

Today drive from Mahabalipuram to Puducherry. Puducherry has a rich French cultural heritage, having been the capital of the French colonies in India since the 17th century. The French legacy is visible in the well-planned town, neatly laid roads, wide and vibrant beaches, beautiful promenades, architecturally imposing churches and public buildings and the statues. Split into two parts, Puducherry is, on one hand a bustling Indian Market town, and on the other hand, towards the sea, the streets are emptier, cleaner and decidedly European.  In the afternoon you will proceed for sightseeing tour of Puducherry - visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram, located on Rue de la Marine, the most popular attraction in Puducherry. The Ashram was founded by Sri Aurobindo Ghose in 1926. 

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

The Promenade

5

Day 5 - Puducherry

Enjoy a day at leisure in Puducherry

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

The Promenade

6

Day 6 - Puducherry - Thanjavur

After breakfast, you will be driven from Puducherry to Thanjavur, en-route stop at Chidambaram, the capital of the Cholas from AD 907 to 1310;. It is one of Tamil Nadu’s most important holy towns.  After visiting Chidambaram, continue your drive to Tanjore. About a thousand years ago, Tanjore, or Thanjavur was the capital of the powerful Chola dynasty. Today, it is the little town set amidst the lush green rice fields of the Cauvery delta. Magnificent temples still bear witness to the splendour of Chola architecture.  In the afternoon, you will visit the Thanjavur Palace and also visit the Brihadeeshwara Temple, built in the 10th century by Raja Chola. It is considered to be artistically the most perfect. 

Meals Included - Breakfast.

Featured accommodation

Ideal River View Resort

7

Day 7 - Thanjavur - Karaikudi

Today you drive to Chettinad, stopping at Trichy en-route for sightseeing.  Trichy (or Thiruchchirapalli) is located on the banks of the River Cauvery. It is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu and was a citadel of the early Cholas (300 BC to 200 AD), which later fell to the Pallavas (200 – 800 AD). 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.  Visit the Rock Fort, which is a landmark of Trichy. The rock is one of the oldest in the world-approximately 3800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland and older than the Himalayas. A climb of 434 steps leads to the ancient temple of Ganapati on top and a further climb to a Shiva Temple.  Then visit Srirangam Ranganathar Temple which is encircled by Cauveri and Kollidam rivers. This temple dates back to the 14th century. Numerous rulers have contributed in this temple’s construction such as Cheras, Cholas, Pandyas and Hoysalas. Its southern side gopuram is the largest, measuring 73 mts. This temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu. A ticket is required to have a panoramic view of the entire temple complex.  After visiting Trichy, continue your drive to Karaikudi. This evening there will be a special Chettinad cuisine dinner. Chettinad cuisine originated from the Chettiar community in Chettinad region. It is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food.

Meals Included – Breakfast & Dinner

Featured accommodation

Chettinadu Mansion

8

Day 8 - Karaikudi - Madurai

Today you will drive straight to Madurai. Upon arrival proceed to check in at your hotel  Madurai – One of the oldest cities in South India, has been the centre of knowledge & learning and an important pilgrimage centre for centuries. Spread along the rocky banks of the river Vaigai in the state of Tamil Nadu, this modern city is today famous as a temple town. The town is unique in the sense that all its temples are living temples and it remains a major religious centre attracting pilgrims all year round.  In the afternoon enjoy rickshaw ride and local market of Madurai, later proceed to visit The Meenakshi temple which remains a major religious centre attracting pilgrims the year round, a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with gopurams (towers) covered from top to bottom with a breathless profusion of multi-colored images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures.  In the evening, witness the evening Aarti ceremony in which Lord Shiva is carried in a palanquin accompanied by musicians, temple singers and priests to the temple of his consort Parvati to spend the night.  Note: (Non Hindus) are not allowed inside the inner sanctum of the temple. 

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Heritage Madurai

9

Day 9 - Madurai

In the morning, proceed for a sightseeing tour of Madurai starting with a visit to the famous Sree Meenakshi Amman Temple. Later visit The Thirumalai Nayaka Palace and the Bronze Gallery of the Government Museum. Afternoon is at leisure.

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Heritage Madurai

10

Day 10 - Madurai - Periyar

After breakfast you will be driven from Madurai to Periyar, which is also known as Thekkady, home to Periyar national park, spices gardens and flora & fauna. Although animal sightings rare one can still experience its rich botanical beauty while following a nature trail.  In the evening visit Kalarippayattu show. Kalarippayattu is a martial art which originated as a style in Kerala. The word Kalari first appears in Sangam literature to describe both a battlefield and combat arena. 

Meals Included – Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Cardamom County

11

Day 11 - Periyar

Early morning, enjoy a guided trek in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (Children Below 12 Years are not allowed). Periyar is South India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary, encompassing an area of 777 sq. km. Set on the attractive man-made Periyar Lake. Return to the hotel for breakfast. 

Later Rendezvous with the owner of a Spice Plantation followed by lunch. The plantation tour is an opportunity to meander through cardamom, pepper, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and many other varieties of spices and medicinal plants and gives you an insight into how these are grown, harvested and processed.  Spend the rest of the day at leisure

Meals Included – Breakfast & Lunch

Featured accommodation

Cardamom County

12

Day 12 - Periyar - Alappuzha

After breakfast, you will be driven from Periyar to Alappuzha (formely know as Alleppey).  Climb aboard the traditional Kettuvallams (rice boats) converted into houseboats with bedrooms and attached toilets. Originally these boats were used as ferries to carry rice. Cruise through the backwaters of Kerala. The backwater cruise through the narrow canals that criss-cross a typical Kerala Village, rich with green paddy fields and verdant coconut trees and is a thrilling experience. Lunch and dinner will be served on board.  Spend the day cruising in the backwaters of the vast Vembanad Lake.  During the night the Houseboat will be anchored at one of the Boat Jetties on the banks of Vembanad Lake. (All Meals will be served on board the Houseboat and AC running time in Deluxe Houseboat is 9 pm to 7 am only) 

Overnight on the houseboat  Meals Included - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Featured accommodation

Alappuzha Houseboats

13

Day 13 - Alappuzha - Kochi

After breakfast you will be driven from Alleppey to Kochi. Cochin (Kochi) is spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters. The city was founded in 1341 when a flood created a natural safe port which became the principal harbour for Malabar coast’s spice trade. Cochin was on the main trade route between Europe and China.

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Holiday Inn Cochin

14

Day 14 - Kochi

First you will proceed to Mattancherry and visit the oldest Jewish Synagogue (Closed on Fridays Saturdays & All the Jewish holidays) in India, built in 1568; it was destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch a century later.  You will also visit The Dutch Palace (Closed on Fridays)- which was built in 1555 and its coronation hall and murals at Ramayana are noteworthy features.  Continue your drive to Chinese fishing nets. The cantilevered fishing nets line the entrance to the harbour mouth. Chinese traders are believed to have originally introduced them in the 14th century although, today parts of the nets are known by Portuguese names. Your next stop will be St. Francis Church, originally named after Santo Antonio and dedicated to him as the Patron Saint of Portugal; St. Francis Church is the first church to have been in the new European influenced tradition.  Later enjoy Kerala Kaleidoscope at Greenix Village. A medley of various dances, Kaleidoscope Kerala redefines the intangibly elusive aesthetics of bliss as it evokes the eternally alluring charm of this many-splendour land and it’s infinitely enriching cultural ethos.

Meals Included - Breakfast

Featured accommodation

Holiday Inn Cochin

15

Day 15 - Kochi

Today your tour concludes with a transfer to the airport.

Meals Included - Breakfast

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