Enchanting South : Through the coast of Kerala and Tamil Nadu

  • Tour Itinerary
  • South India
  • Indus Holidays Best Seller
Suitable for

Family / Couple

Duration

14 Nights 15 Days

Category

Heritage / Nature

Package type

Customisable

From Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea, this tour you will show case the coast-to-coast beauty we call south India. On this journey you will connect with the rich culture of the Dravidians, awe at the skill of craftsmen who created timeless architectural wonders and let nature spill her magic on

Starting from

40000

/person

Experience Highlights

  • Heritage
  • Wildlife
  • Beach
  • Cover 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites on your tour: Legendary Stone carving sites at Mahabalipuram, the great living Chola temple sites and the Western Ghats.
  • Stay on a beautiful eco-friendly houseboat as it traverses through backwaters
  • Appreciate the ancient Chola art of bronze casting used to make the beautiful Hindu idols
  • Visit to 12 famous temples and cultural centres including the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world at Trichy
  • Watch a demo of ancient martial art form Kalaripayattu by individuals devoted to the tradition

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Booked by 120 travellers in 2021

Tour Summary

  • 15 Days
  • 15 Destinations
  • Short daily travel
  • Day 1 - Chennai on Arrival
  • Day 2 - Chennai - Mahabalipuram
  • Day 3 - Mahabalipuram - Thiruvannamali
  • Day 4 - Thiruvannamalai - Pondicherry
  • Day 5 - Pondicherry - Kumbakonam
  • Day 6 - Kumbakonam - Trichy
  • Day 7 - Trichy - Chettinad
  • Day 8 - Chettinad - Madurai
  • Day 9 - Madurai - Thekkady
  • Day 10 - Explore Thekkady
  • Day 11 - Thekkady - Kumarakom
  • Day 12 - Kumarakom - Alleppey
  • Day 13 - Alleppey - Kochi
  • Day 14 - Kochi - Cherai
  • Day 14 - Departure from Kochi

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

  • Chennai on Arrival
  • Full Day
  • In Town

You will be welcomed at Chennai International airport by our company representative and taken to your hotel- the largest city in south India. Established in 1639 as one of four divisions of the country under Imperial British rule, it is today is a significant gateway to southern India.

  • On arrival, check-in to the hotel.
  • Enjoy your dinner and relax for the night at your hotel.

Stay at Chennai

The Park Chennai

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Marina Beach in Chennai is one of the largest beaches in the world.

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Chennai

View more tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 2

  • Chennai to Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram
  • 2 hrs
  • 70 kms

We start the tour after breakfast with a quick tour of two places of traveller interest in Chennai.

  • Visit San Thome Cathedral: One of the 3 sites of apostles in the world, that houses the tomb of St. Thomas, the apostle who came to India in 52 AD and was killed here in 72 AD.
  • Explore the Government Museum the second oldest museum in India. This is the The Archeology section exhibits 2nd century Buddhist to 16th century Vijayanagara work.
  • The Bronze gallery is famous for its Chola era bronze idol collection. The National Art gallery exhibits Ravi Varma and Tanjore paintings.
  • Optionally visit Kapaleeswarar temple (8th century pallava architecture) and Marina Beach (world’s second longest natural beach.
  • Head to Kanchipuram, one of the most important spiritual centres of Hinduism.
  • Explore Kailasanthar temple that reflects the freshness and simplicity of the early Dravidian style of temple architecture of the 8th century.
  • Head to Ekambareswarar Temple, the largest temple in Kanchi.
  • This Temple features a 59 meter high gopuram (gateway tower), a hallway with a thousand pillars and a 3,500 year old mango tree whose branches are said to yield four different types of mangoes.
  • It is also a sacred religious spot being a PanchBootha place.
  • Head to Mahabalipuram, check into to hotel and relax for the night.

Stay at Mahabalipuram

Grande Bay Resort

(See our stay selections)

Grande Studio

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Most monuments in Mahabalipuram are monolithic, i.e. carved out of single rock.

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Mahabalipuram

View more tips

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 3

  • Mahabalipuram to Thiruvannamalai
  • 3.5 hrs
  • 160 kms

We start today’s tour at 9 am after a lovely breakfast in your hotel. Mahabalipuram is an enclave of seafood, sun and sand. The town is famous for its ancient rock carvings and still the best place to see artisans chip away at exquisite sculptures in stone.

  • Spend Half-a-day enjoying Pallava stone work at the UNESCO Heritage Sites of Mahabalipuram.
  • Explore the magnificence of Pallava architecture at the 3 monuments: Shore temple (magnificent ruins of a dual shrine), Arjuna’s Penance (bas relief on the face of a huge rock) and the PanchRathas.
  • Then set off on a journey to the spiritual hub of Tiruvannamalai at the base of the majestic mountain. On reaching Tiruvannamalai.
  • Check in to your hotel and relax for an hour.
  • Head to explore the Arunachaleswar Temple, one of the largest temple complexes in India.
  • This 10 hectare temple has its oldest parts tracing back to the 9th century. The biggest attraction is the East gopuram (gateway tower) which is 271ft tall making it second tallest in the country. Also see a thousand-pillared hall and get blessed by the temple elephant.
  • An Evening at Ramana Ashram, the ashram of the most revered of Indian Saints.
  • This tranquil ashram draws devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi, one of the first Hindu gurus to gain an international following during the 1930s.
  • Visit the old and new hallsand the Samadhi where the guru’s body is enshrined.
  • If interested join a mediation/satsung.
  • Enjoy your dinner and relax for the night at your hotel.

Stay at Thiruvannamalai

Arpanaa Hotel

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Most monuments in Mahabalipuram are monolithic, i.e. carved out of single rock.

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Mahabalipuram

View more tips

Activity Add-ons

Day 4

  • Thiruvannamalai to Pondicherry
  • 2.5 hrs
  • 110 kms

Enjoy a lovely breakfast at your hotel and by 9 am we begin our journey to the French quartet of Pondicherry. Unmistakably and charmingly distinct European feel of Pondicherry makes for an excellent outing.

  • Visit Auroville: A unique experiment in community living
  • Auroville township is home to an international community (from 43 nations) dedicated to peace and sustainable living.
  • Spend the evening at the French quarter. Walk around and explore
  • Enjoy Do-it-yourself heritage walks through the seafront promenade, white mustard buildings, neo-classical governor’s residence (Raj Nivas) and white town.
  • You could also visit the Aurobindo ashram and its bookstall.
  • Don’t miss French food (hello steak!) and beer.
  • Enjoy the good life and relax for the night at your resort.

Stay at Pondicherry

Le Pondi

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Did you know that Pondicherry's Independence day is on August 16?

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Pondicherry

View more tips

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 5

  • Pondicherry to Chidambaram & Kumbakonam
  • 4 hrs
  • 150 kms

After a refreshing break at Pondicherry, we are back on our trail of temples and world heritage sites. At 9 am after breakfast, we travel to our first destination of the day, Chidambaram.

  • Visit Natarajar temple of Chidambaram dedicated to Shiva as a cosmic dancer
  • The east passageway of the temple is carved with 108 sacred postures which inspired the classical dance, Bharthanatyam.
  • This is the only temple with a brass idol where Shiva is worshiped in this cosmic dancer form. The architecture is Chola style.
  • Our destination today is Kumbakonam, a small Indian town along the Cauvery river. The town is famous for many superb Chola temples scattered around nearby.
  • Wonder at the Airavateswara Temple: Chola architectural marvel
  • Part of the Great living Chola Temples UNESCO heritage site, the temple is a fine example of Dravidian architecture and was built in 12th century AD.
  • This speciality of this temple is the exquisite detail of the stone work.
  • Appreciate the Chola art of bronze casting: The only school of iconography
  • We will take you to a village workshop where the famous bronze idols are cast and defined.
  • Relax for the night in your resort.

Stay at Kumbakonam

Vinayaga by Poppys

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Natrajar temple is the only temple where a brass idol of Shiva is worshipped

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Chidambaram

View more tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 6

  • Kumbakonam to Tanjore & Trichy
  • 2.5 hrs
  • 90 kms

Enjoy a lovely breakfast at your hotel and by 9 am we begin our journey to Trichy via Tanjore. Welcome to the ancient capital of the Chola Kings and important centre of South Indian art. The Tanjore school of painting is famous for depicting Lord Krishna in white.

  • Explore the Brihadishwara Temple: ‘Big temple’ with the largest temple tower.
  • This famous Shiva temple is also part of the great living Chola temples heritage site. The temple houses one of Asia’s largest stone Nandi (bull) statues.
  • You could consider a quick shopping tour for Tanjore paintings, dancing dolls and musical instruments. Also consider a visit to the Palace Museum in Tanjore.
  • Arrive at Trichy and check-in to your hotel. Enjoy your lunch and relax for some time.
  • Visit the Rockfort Temple: Cave temples perched on a 83 m high rock.
  • There are close to 600 steps to climb to reach the top. There are multiple shrines and caves along the way. The top will give you a beautiful aerial view of Trichy.
  • You could visit a local market in town where you can enjoy the aromatic experience of spices, fruits and flowers are sold.
  • Enjoy a nice dinner and enjoy you stay.

Stay at Trichy

Sangam Hotel

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Did you know that Srirangam temple is the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world?

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Trichy

View more tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 7

  • Trichy to Chettinad
  • 2 hrs
  • 90 kms

Enjoy a lovely breakfast at your hotel and by 9 am we begin our journey to Karaikudi/chettinad the land of mansions. Today we visit the biggest temple in our tour and spend time royally in the mansions of Chettinad.

  • Visit Ranganathaswamy temple, the Largest functioning Hindu temple in the world.
  • With an area of 160 acres, this reclining Vishnu shrine has 21 towers and fifty shrines.
  • This temple also features a hall of thousand pillars with sculptures of riders on horses.
  • Among other attractions is the art museum which has a worthwhile collection of ivory figurines.
  • Arrive at Chettinad and check-in to your mansion.
  • Enjoy a Chettinad style lunch and relax for some time. This is where you will hear the fascinating story of the naatukottaichettiars (a business community), how they built their townships and mansions and also the secrets of their famous cuisine.
  • Explore the mansions of Chettinad: Relive the ancient glory.
  • Every village has a few stately mansions built in the late 19th century with material sourced from around the world.Explore a couple of them to understand the history of Chettinad.
  • Completely man-made tiles: Discover the art of tile making at Athangudi.
  • The Athangudi design on tiles is of a bygone era but they still grace the floors of most chettiar mansions. You will be surprised by observing tile-making: totally handmade using local soil and natural colour to get geometric patterns.
  • Return to your mansion and enjoy the regal life in your mansion for the rest of the day. Live in the charm of a bygone era.

Stay at Chettinad

Chettinad Mansion

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Every village in Chettinad has a few stately mansions built in the late 19th century with material sourced from around the world.

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Chettinad

View more tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 8

  • Chettinad to Madurai
  • 2.5 hrs
  • 90 kms

This morning head to one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Madurai. An ancient centre of Tamil Knowledge, centre of power of many dynasties and the seat of divinity from time immemorial, The main attraction here is Meeakshi temple, the abode of fish eyed Goddess. The imposing 15-acre temple complex ornate by gateway towers with exquisitely multi-coloured images of gods, demons and mythical figures is an architectural marvel.

  • Start with the famous Meenakshi temple, which is an architectural marvel.
  • Enter through the busy eastern entrance (a lot of craft shops here) and move on to see the 1000 pillar hall (Ayiramkal mandapam) sculpted with life size ornamented figures.
  • After Darshan, spend time at the massive temple tank and leave the temple through the hall with magnificently painted ceilings.
  • Consider visiting the famous Tirumala Nayak Palace, the 17th century palace of Tirumalai Nayak.
  • Also spend time at the Gandhi museum which presents detailed accounts of the Indian freedom struggle and has rare Gandhi memorabilia.
  • Relax for the night at your hotel.

 

Madurai

Star Regency

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Madurai is particularly famous for cotton fabric, hand-woven silk, bronze work and stone carvings.

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Madurai

View more tips

    If you are interested in seeing Indian temple rituals, then don't miss the night ceremony here. The bronze of lord Shiva is brought on a chariot to his wife Meenakshi's bed chamber amidst much chanting, drums, horns and gathering of devotees. An absolute must-see!

    Hand loom textiles can be purchased from Puthu Mandapam. Kumaran Silks and Alankar Textiles are famous for sarees. To buy handicrafts, Government Poompuhar Handicrafts Shop , Khadi Gramayog Bhavan and Cottage Arts Emporium are the best places in Madurai.

Activity Add-ons

Day 9

  • Madurai to Thekkady
  • 3 hrs
  • 140 kms

Sheltered in the tranquil spice hub of Periyar is one of India’s best managed wildlife reserves (home to 40 odd hard-to-spot tigers) and a 25-sq-km artificial lake perfect for a scenic spotting cruise. Dig deeper into the range of activities, perhaps trek with a tribal villager or go rafting to see Periyar’s real jungle magic unravel.

  • This morning, drive through a landscape of cardamom plantations, grasslands and tea gardens to the forests of Thekkady
  • Halt at a Spice plantation, learn from an expert about cultivation and the healing power of spices (Optional)
  • Enjoy a scenic Lake cruise inside the thickly forested Periyar reserve to spot wildlife by the water edge
  • Evening, visit a local theatre to see warriors showcase Kalaripayattu, a 3000 year old Keralan martial art (Optional)
  • Shop around the spice town tonight, enjoy dinner and relax at your resort

Stay at Thekkady

Spices Lap

(See our stay selections)

Heritage Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Did you know that the 100-year-old lake, surrounded by Periyar wild-life sanctuary is artificial?

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Thekkady

View more tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 10

  • Explore Thekkady
  • Full Day
  • In Town

Today you will have some of the best wild life experiences on offer in Periyar. A nature walk by the lake side, an elephant safari, shopping and evening seeing tribal art (if interested)

  • Early morning consider a nature walk in the reserve
  • Dawn is an excellent time to view exotic wildlife with your trained tribal guide in the periyar reserve. Walk through the safe path and spot wildlife along the way. Head back to your resort for a late breakfast
  • Experience Kalaripayattu: One of the oldest fighting systems in existence (optional)
  • Unwind at your resort today evening with inhouse activities and dinner.

Stay at Thekkady

Spices Lap

(See our stay selections)

Heritage Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Did you know that the 100-year-old lake, surrounded by Periyar wild-life sanctuary is artificial?

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Thekkady

View more tips

Day Itinerary Options

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 11

  • Thekkady to Kumarakom
  • 3.5 hrs
  • 140 kms

Discover the most fascinating waterworld on earth - every road is a canal, every home is an island. Kumarakom will marvel you with its unique biodiverse landscape, heavenly local cuisine and its altogether different ‘backwater village’ lifestyle.

  • Morning, enjoy a scenic drive past paddy fields and palms to your backwater resort
  • Experience a traditional Kerala lunch and settle into the gentle pace of life here
  • Ayurveda therapies would be a great option for the late afternoon
  • Unwind at the resort as you witness boats pass by and a relaxed backwater sunset
  • Evening walks to explore local villages and fresh seafood at ‘shaaps’ will be fun before relaxing for the night

Stay at Kumarakom

Lake Song

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Kumarakom bird sanctuary is home to a wide range of avifauna including local and migratory ones.  

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Kumarakom

View more tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 12

  • Kumarakom to Alleppey
  • 45 min
  • 30 kms

To glide along backwater canals by day and to sleep under a sky full of stars, a houseboat cruise is pure enchantment! Your private boat, setup as a home on a traditional rice barge, takes you on a journey to discover a water-world brimming with experiences that last a lifetime.

  • Morning, take a short drive through vibrant villages to board your ‘Kettuvallom’
  • Your cruise will take you through splendid waterways giving you sights of homes on the backwaters, shops, the people and their villages.
  • Stop to enjoy a traditional Kerala lunch freshly prepared by the chef on your boat
  • Afternoon, drift by canals fringed with endless paddy fields while you socialise with your crew. Watch backwater life unfold from your boat deck.
  • Your houseboat will be anchored near a village by early evening, Stroll around to interact with locals, go fishing and witness a spectacular sunset.
  • Relax after dinner on the boat experiencing the gentle lapping of water, night sky and balmy breeze.

Stay in Houseboat

Houseboat

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Did you know Kettuvallams were once used to ship agricultural produce from homes by backwaters to market in nearby towns.

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Alleppey

View more tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 13

  • Alleppey to Kochi
  • 2 hrs
  • 80 kms

Nowhere else in India can you find such an intriguing mix: a 450-year-old synagogue, colourful street art, iconic fishing nets and gable-roofed victorian structures squeezed together with boho cafes. A tropical port city which sits astride a cluster of little islands, Kochi is far more than your gateway to Kerala.

  • On arrival, meet your Indus representative who will drive you to mainland Kochi. Fresh up at your hotel and head to Fort Kochi.
  • Afternoon, dig into Kochi’s colonial past by foot to explore heritage churches, landmarks and the well preserved Dutch Palace.
  • Stroll past shops selling antiques and spices to visit the beautiful Jewish synagogue
  • Walk by the sea to observe the still-in-use Chinese fishing nets and even try operating one
  • Laze around in the town’s arty cafes or hop on a local ferry to see the city skyline at sunset
  • As in important center for arts, Kochi is a standout place to witness an evening Kathakali show (Optional)
  • For dinner, try one of the exquisite seafood restaurants around and relax for the night

Stay at Kochi

Coral Isle

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Did you know that Kochi was a natural harbour created by the massive floods of 1340? 

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Kochi

View more tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 14

  • Kochi to Athirapally & Cherai
  • 1 hr
  • 45 kms

Today experience the beauty of nature’s creations with forests, waterfalls and beaches. By 9 am set off on a journey to the Sholayar forests.Tucked in a dense rainforest is the stunning sight of the Chalakudy river taking an 80 ft plunge down a rock-face and flowing into the distant horizon.

  • Enjoy a mild trek through the forests to the base of the thunderous waterfall at Athirapally.
  • Also visit the cascading waterfalls at Vazhachal 5km away and get some snaps of wild insects and water pools along the way.
  • Enjoy lunch on the way to Cherai.
  • Enjoy a sunset at the safe shallow and quiet Cherai Beach.
  • The uniqueness of Cherai is the proximity of lagoons which makes for a remarkable sight. Occasionally, people also see dolphins in the waters over here.
  • Relax for the night in your resort.

Stay at Cherai

Cherai Beach Resort

(See our stay selections)

Deluxe Room

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Did you know that the rainforest of Athirapally is the only habitat in India for endangered species of Hornbills?

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Athirapally

View more tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Add-ons

Day 15

  • Departure from Kochi
  • Full Day
  • In Town

Today is the last day of your tour. Enjoy a splendid breakfast and check out from the resort.

  • If you are interested in picking up some Kerala souvenirs we will take you to some of the good handicraft shops around town.
  • Consider buying traditional Kerala sarees or spices from local market.
  • Alternatively you may rest in your hotel swimming pool and prepare for onward journey.
  • We will drop you at the airport by evening on time for your departure flight.

Departure from Kochi

Insider Tips by Indus Indus Holidays

Did you know that Kochi was a natural harbour created by the massive floods of 1340? 

All such local insider tips is here: Local's guide to Kochi

View more tips

Activity Add-ons

Offers & Packages

Liked this itinerary? Let us have a friendly chat to find out how we can help

  • Chennai 1 night
  • Mahabalipuram 1 night
  • Thiruvannamali 1 night
  • Pondicherry 1 night
  • Kumbakonam 1 night
  • Trichy 1 night
  • Chettinad 1 night
  • Madurai 1 night
  • Thekkady 2 nights
  • Kumarakom 1 night
  • Houseboat 1 night
  • Kochi 1 night
  • Cherai 1 night

14 Nights Standard Package

Starting From

40000 / person

These are indicative Rates (per person). Subject to variation based on choice of stay, group size, activities, dates, routes, transportation and other price hikes.

14 Nights Deluxe Package

Starting From

50000 / person

These are indicative Rates (per person). Subject to variation based on choice of stay, group size, activities, dates, routes, transportation and other price hikes.

14 Nights Luxury Package

Starting From

70000 / person

These are indicative Rates (per person). Subject to variation based on choice of stay, group size, activities, dates, routes, transportation and other price hikes.

14 Nights Backpackers Package

Starting From

35000 / person

These are indicative Rates (per person). Subject to variation based on choice of stay, group size, activities, dates, routes, transportation and other price hikes.

We handle each booking individually to get best possible prices and inclusions. This means our negotiating power can often lower prices or get more inclusions than indicated here. Give us a try!

Route map

Talk to an Expert

Goldin Syriac

Goldin has 6+ years of experience in tour planning.
Take his friendly advice for a memorable trip.

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