On this fabulous 10 day tour of southern India you will see so many famous sights, get to meet the friendly locals, taste their amazing cuisine and begin to fully appreciate all that this colourful region of the sub-continent has to offer. This trip, which begins in Chennai and ends in Trivandrum, is perfect for first-time visitors or those who have already experienced Delhi and the Golden Triangle and what to see more and do more.
Arrival in Chennai
On arrival at Chennai you are met by one of our tour representatives and driven to your hotel in the city. Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is sited on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. It has played a crucial role in the traditional, historical and academic growth of the country, representing the different elements of the highest variety of the Dravidian civilization. It is the cultural hub of South India which is famous for its affluent heritage in classical dance, music, architecture, sculpture and crafts.
After breakfast at your hotel the whole day is spent exploring Chennai. You visit Fort St George, St. Mary's Church and a museum, Kapeeleshwara Temple, San Thome Cathedral, Government State Museum and National Art Gallery. After seeing all the main city sights you are taken for a drive past spectacular Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world. Tonight you can dine out in one of the many local restaurants. Overnight in Chennai.
Chennai – Mahabalipuram
Today you leave the city and begin the 50 mile drive to Mahabalipuram, the major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom based at Kanchipuram. On arrival wander around the town’s great, World Heritage–listed temples and see the carvings which are spectacular, especially at sunset. Take an excursion to Kancheepuram to visit the Ekambaranatha Temple, Vaishnavite Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Kamakshi Temple, and Kailasanatha Temple. Overnight in Mahabalipuram.
A drive of more than five hours today when you say farewell to Mahabalipuram and head to Tanjore. But before leaving you are taken on a half-day sightseeing tour of the city with stops at Panch Rathas, Arjuna's Penance and the Shore Temple. Then there are lots of interesting sights to see as you drive the 250 miles to Tanjore. On arrival check into your next hotel and the rest of the evening is free for you to go out and explore on your own.
Trichy – Madurai
This morning, after an early breakfast, check-out of your hotel and explore more of Tanjore, making sure you visit the Brihadeshwara Temple and the fascinating Tanjore Palace and Museum. Later drive towards Trichy, a journey which takes around two hours, and on the way stop at the Rock Fort, Srirangam and Thiruvanaikkaval. You reach your hotel in Madurai in the early evening and after checking in you can go out and explore on your own.
Visit the Meenakshi Temple then start your full day excursion to Rameshwaram. The entire island of Rameshwaram is associated with various incidents from the Ramayana … it is said that Lord Rama gave thanks here after his battle with the demon king Ravana. Visit the Ramanatha Swamy Temple, a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture, and the Agnitriham Tank. Also see the Ramjharoka Temple at the highest point of the Island. In the evening return to your hotel in Madurai.
Madurai – Kovalam
A six hour drive to Kovalam today. Located close to the state capital Trivandrum, it is internationally famed for its palm-fringed beaches and rejuvenating centres. This coastal town initially came to notice with the construction of Halcyon Castle by the last Maharani of Travancore. With the arrival of hippies in 1970s, the place gained recognition as a tourist destination and is today renowned for its 15 mile-long coastline, which is formed by three beautiful beaches. Overnight in Kovalam.
Kovalam and Trivandrum
After breakfast, explore the highlights of Kovalam seeing the lighthouse, Vellayani Lake and Valiyathura Pier. In the afternoon, enjoy a half-day sightseeing trip of Trivandrum where you visit the Napier Museum. Located near the museum, the Shree Chitra Kala Art Gallery displays exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of Art. Visit the Kuthiramalika Palace, built by the King of Travancore, and see the various priceless collections of the royal family. Overnight in Kovalam.
Excursion to Kanyakumari
Today you are taken on a full day excursion to Kanyakumari, a spectacular spot where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal merge. KanyakumariIt is an important pilgrimage centre for Hindus. Here yopu visit Vevakananda Rock, the Gandhi Museum and Kumari Amman Temple. Also, enjoy the scenic sunset point in Kanyakumari. In the evening return back to Kovalam, a journey of around two and a half hours.
Today your wonderful and exciting tour around southern India comes to an end. You may have more time for sightseeing and shopping for souvenirs in Trivandrum before you are picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to catch an onward flight, and continue your holiday, or begin your journey back home. India is a country full of surprises and on this adventurous trip, which will leave you with lots of great memories, you will see and do so much.