Temples & Backwater Tour

Kerala & South India ToursTemples & Backwater Tour

In this Temples & Backwater Tour of south India you will visit the two state of India. Tamilnadu famous for its excusite temples of which some are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The route of temples tour lies on the southern coast which include some of the beautifull beaches. Rejuvanate yourself in French Colonial town Pondicherry by precticing Yoga in Auroville Asham. Move forward to Pariyar the National Park famous and learn about spice plantation. Finally relax in the backwater of Kumarakom and Alleppy.

  • Days: 10 nights / 11 days
  • Cost: Please enquire
Day 01: Arrive Chennai
 
Day 02: Chennai- Mahabalipuram (via Kanchipuram)  (110kms/3hrs approx)
 
Day 03: Mahabalipuram 
 
Day 04: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (134kms /3hrs approx)
 
Day 05: Pondicherry- Tanjavur (185kms /5hrs approx)
 
Day 06: Thanjavur - Trichy (56kms/ 2hrs approx)
 
Day 07: Trichy - Madurai (150kms /4hrs approx)
 
Day 08: Madurai – Thekkady (160kms /4hrs approx)
 
Day 09: Thekkady
 
Day 10: Thekkady - Alleppey (165kms /4hrs approx)
 
Day 11: Alleppey - Cochin (60kms / 2hrs approx)
 
Day 12: Cochin – Home country
Day 01: Arrive Chennai
 
Arrive Chennai airport meet & greet with our office representtative. Assistance and transfer to hotel.
 
Afternoon sightseeing of Chennai city, visit Fort St. George built by the British in 1640 as their first fortified settlement in India. It now houses the offices of the government, the Fort Museum, and St. Mary’s Church, the oldest Anglican Church in India. India’s tallest flagstaff of 46 mts, originally the mast of a ship wrecked in the 17th century stands here.
 
The Marina Beach is the second longest in the world. Walk along the surf-kissed edge, coast along the Drive, relax in your shorts, take the kids to the aquarium, sip coconut water, but worshippers of the sun, beware! You’ll offend everyone if you bring out your bikini. Rumours of sharks and sharp eddies keep all but the bravest away. The San Thome Cathedral Basilica houses the mortal remains of Christ’s doubting apostle, St. Thomas. 8th century Pallava temples, Kapaleswarar and Parthasarthy are not far from each other, in Mylapore and Triplicane respectively. Overnight at Hotel.
 
 
Day 02: Chennai- Mahabalipuram (via Kanchipuram) (110kms/3hrs approx)
 
Morning after breakfast drive to Mahabalipuram via Kancheepuram. Visit Kanchipuram: the city of thousands temples and one of the seven most sacred pilgrim centers for the Hindus and it is the ancient capital of the Pallavas kingdom. Visit Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy temple. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks.
 
Proceed to Mahabalipuram - The ancient 7th century port famous for its magnificent rock temples & carvings. Check into the hotel. The rest of the day enjoy in the beautiful beach. Overnight at Hotel.
 
 
Day 03: Mahabalipuram
 
Breakfast at hotel. Visit the Shore Temple by the sea is surrounded by gardens designed according to descriptions of the original layout from ancient texts. The temple was built at the end of the seventh century by King Rajasimha, is unusual for its shrines to both Siva and Vishnu. Further visit the Rathas – these mid seventh century monolithic temples were influenced by Buddhist architecture, as they resemble the monastery.
 
Later on Arjuna’s Penance - a bas relief sculpted on the face of two enormous adjacent rocks, 29 metres long and seven metres high, the Mandapas – are fairly shallow pillared halls or porticos excavated out of the rocky hillside, Also enjoy the walk through this small seaside village where carving in stone is still a living art; stone masons can be heard chipping away from dawn to dusk along the roadsides. Back to hotel and relax. Overnight at Hotel.
 
 
Day 04: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (134kms /3hrs approx)
 
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Pondicherry. Check into the hotel. Pondicherry with its distinct French colonial atmosphere. With well-laid out streets and avenues, the city is amongst the easiest to move around in. The city presents an unusual combination of European culture and the Indian traditions. An added attraction here is the township of Auroville, an oasis of peace and enlightenment. Another hallowed spot is Aurobindo Ashram which draws devotees from all over the world.
 
The sun, surf and sand are best at the beaches a little outside town. Called Serenity, Quiet and Reppo they manage to live up to their name. The town beach has a 4-meter high statue of Mahatma Gandhi and French World War I memorial. There is a 150-year-old lighthouse also. The French Institute is in a stylish colonial building. It has some remarkable old French books that are very rare. The Romain Rolland library has over 60,000 volumes and overlooks the sea. Along with the ‘kepis’ capped cops and its streets being called ‘rue’, it is the churches that help the town retain its European charm.
 
The church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception or Notre Dame de la Conception is almost 300 years old. The church to Our Lady of Angels is famous for an oil painting that was gifted by Napoleon III. The most magnificent however is the grand gothic Sacred Heart Church with 3 stained glass panels of the life of Christ. Just outside town is a copy of the Basilica at Lourdes. Overnight at hotel.
 
 
Day 05: Pondicherry- Tanjavur (185kms /5hrs approx)
 
Breakfast at hotel drive to Tanjavur – the ancient capital of the great Chola Empire Enroute visit Chidambaram, the Nataraj temple dedicated to the dancing God and the temples in Gangaikondacholapuram. Proceed and check into the hotel.
 
Afternoon visit the magnificent Brihadisvara Temple, known as the ‘Big Temple’. The main temple has a 62 metres high vimana (the tallest in India), topped by a dome carved from an 80 ton block of granite. We can see an enormous Nandi, carved out of a single block of granite six metres long. Overnight at Hotel.
 
 
Day 06: Thanjavur - Trichy (56kms/ 2hrs approx)
 
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Trichy, check into the hotel. Later on make a short visit to Rock Fort, Tiruchi’s most famed landmark is 83 m high rock which is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The most amazing fact about the rock is that it is one of the oldest in the world – approximately 3.800 million years. After that a short drive to Srirangam, the district’s most important pilgrim centre is located in an island. Srirangam, surrounded by the waters of river Kaveri on one side and its tributary Kollidam on the other, is a 600 acre island – town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswami Temple. There are 21 gopurams, among which the Rajagopuram is the largest in South India. Overnight at Hotel.
 
 
Day 07: Trichy - Madurai (150kms /4hrs approx)
 
Morning drive to the 6th century built temple town of Madurai, check into the hotel.
 
Afternoon visit the Meenakshi temple – an outstanding example of the 14th century Vijaynagar architecture The temple dedicated to Minakshi, the ‘fish-eyed goddess’. The temple’s nine towering stucco images of gods, goddesses and animals are superb. Evening once again visit the temple to attend the evening ceremony in the temple. Overnight at Hotel.
 
 
Day 08: Madurai – Thekkady (160kms /4hrs approx)
 
Breakfast at hotel; visit Thirumalai Naikar Palace, built in 1636 in the Indo-Mughal style. Later drive to Thekkady. The journey takes you through small small villages, rice, vegetable, sugarcane fields and mango plantations on both sides of the road. Once we enter the wild life reserve boundary we can feel the calmness of dense forest covered with teak and rose woods. We can see a beautiful view of the plains from the top of the Western Ghats. Check into the hotel. The rest of the day free to relax. Overnight at Hotel.
 
 
Day 09: Thekkady
 
Set on attractive Periyar Lake side is in a beautiful setting and was designated a part of Project Tiger in 1973, though Tigers are very rarely seen and it is better know for its elephants, which are very likely to be seen until Mar/Apr. Most bull elephants here are tuskless. Bison, Sambar, Wild boar and the barking Deer are fairly common. In addition to 246 species of birds, there are 112 species of butterfly.
 
Early morning explore the park by hiking through the buffer zone of the forest with tribal tracker as a local guide from the forest department. We return from our hike at 08.00hrs and back to hotel for breakfast. Further make a short drive to nearby plantations to know more about the spices of Kerala and the plantation crops. Evening again explore the sanctuary which offers a lovely and comfortable way to see the animals via boat rides on the man-made lake, which the wildlife area encircles. Overnight at hotel.
 
 
Day 10: Thekkady - Alleppey (165kms /4hrs approx)
 
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Alleppey also called the Venice of East, interlocked with a large number of canals and bridges. Board a houseboat from Aleppey and enjoy the cruise through the enchanting backwaters. Houseboat comprises twin bed room, with attached bathrooms, running water, and a lounge area in which to relax and enjoy the sights on the shore. Start our sail through scenic backwaters, passing through one of the few areas in the world where farming is done below sea level. The houseboat will cruise through the Chambakulam area by mid-morning and anchor to explore the boat yard, which displays the traditional long snake boats used in races. Visit St. Mary’s Church, established by St. Thomas in 1721. In the evening, catch a glimpse of village life along the backwaters and experience a way of life unique to this region. The boat will pass through picturesque stretches of the backwaters of Alleppey and moor up for overnight in Vemabanadu Lake. Overnight at Houseboat.
 
 
Day 11: Alleppey - Cochin (60kms / 2hrs approx)
 
Morning after breakfast disembark from the Houseboat, drive to Cochin – the commercial capital of Kerala and the most cosmopolitan of the State’s cities, Kochi has long been eulogised in tourist literature as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea”.
 
Afternoon city tour of Cochin. Visit Mattanchery Palace, built by the Portuguese (1557) as a gift for the Raja of Kochi in exchange for trading rights, it was largely rebuilt by the new occupants, the Dutch. Further visit Jewish Synagogue adjascent to the Palace. This gem of a synagogue dating from 1568 (rebuilt in 1662) at the heart of what is called locally Jew Town, now a fascinating mixture of shops (some selling antiques), wareshouses and spice auction rooms. Lateron drive to Fort Kochi beach area to visit St. Francis Church originally dedicated to Santo Antonio, the patron saint of Portugal, St. Francis Church is the first to reflect the new, European influenced tradition. Vasco da Gama died on the site in 1524 and was originally buried in the cemetery. Fourteen years later his body was removed to Portugal. Our final visit will be to huge Chinese Fishing nets line the entrance to the harbour mouth. Chinese traders are believed to have originally introduced them in the late 14th century although, today, parts of the nets are known by Portuguese names. Overnight at hotel.
 
 
Day 12: Cochin – Home country
 
Breakfast at hotel, transfer to airport to board flight for your home country