Road trip to Tamil Nadu and Kerala, from Chennai to Kochi. South India is ideal for a smooth introduction trip to India. Visit Dravidian temples and colonial ports. Enjoy the fragrance of spices and the lavish 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 port cities
- Lush plantations and tranquil backwaters of Kerala
Day 1 : Chennai
Arrive Chennai, formerly known as Madras. Wander along Marina Drive along the sea.
Day 2 : Chennai / Kanchipuram / Mahabalipuram
Visit Kanchipuram temples and silk sarees markets. Proceed to Mahabalipuram. Visit the Shore Temple, the Five Rathas, and Arjuna's Penance, an epic recreated on stone bas-relief.
Day 3 : Mahabalipuram / Gingee / Pondicherry
Drive to Puducherry. Option to visit Gingee Fort. Evening stroll along the Promenade beach.
Day 4 : Pondicherry
Admire the beautiful boulevards inherited from brief French occupation. 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 famous temples in Chidambaram and Kumbakonam. Proceed to Tanjore, a peaceful town built by Chola kings.
Day 6 : Thanjavur / Trichy / Madurai
Trip to Tiruchirappalli, visit Rock Fort and Srirangam temple complex. Drive further to Madurai, a spiritual centre of pilgrimage and teaching. Visit Dravidian masterpiece Temple of Meenakshi Sundereshwar. Later visit Tirumalai Nayak Palace.
Day 7 : Madurai / Munnar
Drive to Munnar along tea estates and forests in the Nilgiri Hills.
Day 8 : Munnar
Visit Christ Church, a century old church dedicated to tea farmers. Trek in a tea estate. Or drive to Eravikulam National Park, home to wild elephants. The park also features South India's highest peak, Anamudi.
Day 9 : Backwaters Cruise
Drive along spice gardens to Kumarakom. Board a Kettuvalom, a traditional Bamboo-made rice boat converted into a cozy houseboat on sail. Cruise through coconut lagoons and narrow canals of Kerala Backwaters.
Day 10 : Alleppey / Kochi
Check out of your houseboat in Alappuzha. Drive to Fort Cochin. Different communities have long cohabited here: Jewish, Muslim, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch… Wander along the jetty to 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.
Average travel time:
- 3 to 5-hour drive between halts
When to go:
- Best time: October to March. Ideal in January-February.
- Avoid in summer (April to June)
- East coast sees rainfalls from July to September and in November-December
- Kerala sees rainfalls in June and July, sometimes in August too
Spice up your 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