Road trip to Tamil Nadu and Kerala, from Chennai to Kochi. A trip to South India is ideal for a smooth introduction to the country. 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
Drive to Kanchipuram, a religious and historical centre also famous for silk sarees. Proceed to Mahabalipuram and visit the Shore Temple on the beach, and Arjuna's Penance, an epic recreated on stone bas-relief.
Day 3 : Mahabalipuram / Gingee / Pondicherry
Drive to Puducherry, en route visiting medieval Gingee Fort. Evening stroll along the Promenade beach.
Day 4 : Pondicherry
Admire the beautiful boulevards inherited from brief French occupation and visit Aurobindo Ashram. 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 with beautiful monuments built by Chola kings and dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Day 6 : Thanjavur / Trichy / Madurai
In Tiruchirappalli, visit Rock Fort and Srirangam temple complex. Drive further to Madurai, a spiritual centre of pilgrimage and teaching. Visit Meenakshi Sundereshwar Temple, a Dravidan masterpiece, and the Muslim palace of Tirumalai Nayak.
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 an intimate 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, an eclectic city where different communities have long cohabited : Jewish, Muslim, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch… Wander along the jetty to observe Chinese fishing nets.
Day 11 : Kochi
Visit 16th century 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 plnatation estate
- Extend the trip to Karnataka (Mysore, Hampi...)
- Cycle early through the lanes of Pondicherry with a French or Tamil breakfast to conclude the ride.
- 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
Ask for a custom quote now. (mention tour reference : Essence of South India)