South India Trip – Essence of Tamil Nadu and Kerala

South India trip by road from Chennai to Kochi. Explore Tamil Nadu and Kerala. South India is ideal for a smooth introduction to India. Visit Dravidian temples and colonial ports. Enjoy the fragrance of spices and tropical greenery.

11 days / 10 nights

Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Thanjavur - Madurai - Munnar - Alleppey - Kochi

  • Vibrant temples of Tamil Nadu
  • Colonial ambience of Madras, Pondicherry and Cochin ports
  • Lush plantations and backwaters of Kerala

Day 1 : Chennai

Arrive Chennai (Madras). Wander on Marina Drive along the sea.

Day 2 : Chennai / Kanchipuram / Mahabalipuram

Morning visit Kanchipuram temples and silk sarees markets. Then proceed to Mahabalipuram. Explore Shore Temple by the beach. Then visit Five Rathas, Krishna's butterball and Arjuna's Penance bas-relief.

Day 3 : Mahabalipuram / Gingee / Pondicherry

Drive to Puducherry. Option to visit Gingee Fort. Evening stroll along the seaside Promenade.

Day 4 : Pondicherry

Admire the beautiful French era architecture and boulevards. Visit Aurobindo Ashram, and its perfume and paper factories. Trip to the experiential city of Auroville.

Day 5 : Pondicherry / Chidambaram / Thanjavur

Leave the coast and enter Tamil land. Visit Chidambaram and Kumbakonam temples. Then drive to Tanjore.

Day 6 : Thanjavur / Trichy / Madurai

Trip to Tiruchirappalli; visit Rock Fort and Srirangam temple. Drive further to Madurai, a spiritual centre. Visit Meenakshi Sundereshwar Temple, a Dravidian masterpiece. Later visit Tirumalai Nayak Palace.

Day 7 : Madurai / Munnar

Drive to the Nilgiri Hills along tea estates and forests. Stay in Munnar.

Day 8 : Munnar

Visit Christ Church, an old church dedicated to tea farmers. Trek in a tea estate. Or drive to Eravikulam National Park, home to wild elephants.

Day 9 : Backwaters Cruise

Drive along spice gardens to Kumarakom in Kerala's backwaters. Board a cozy houseboat on sail. Cruise through coconut lagoons and narrow canals.

Day 10 : Alleppey / Kochi

Check out of your houseboat in Alappuzha. Then drive to Fort Cochin. Different communities have long cohabited here: Jewish, Muslim, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch… Observe Chinese fishing nets.

Day 11 : Kochi

Visit Pardesi synagogue, Mattancherry Dutch Palace and Saint Francis Church. Evening attend a traditional Kathakali dance performance. Then transfer to airport and board your flight for onward destination. End of your South India trip!

Average travel time:
  • 3 to 5-hour drive between halts
When to go:
Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
  • Best time for a South India trip: October to March.
  • Ideal in January-February.
  • Avoid in summer (April to June)
  • East coast sees rainfalls from July to September and November to December
  • Kerala sees rainfalls in June and July, sometimes in August too
Spice up your South India trip:
  • Stay in a colonial plantation estate
  • Extend the trip to Karnataka (Mysore, Hampi...)
  • Cycle early morning down the lanes of Pondicherry.
  • Rejuvenate yourself with an Ayurvedic massage
Monument closing days:
  • Pardesi Synagogue on Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish holidays in Kochi
  • Mattancherry Palace on Fridays in Kochi

Any question? Do ask:

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