- A gift when you book your tour with us, a DVD film called ‘Mystic India’
- International flights included
- VIP meet at aircraft door on arrival
- Useful gift is given to you on arrival
- Private arrival and departure transfers
- Private car & driver for all road transfers
- Snack Hamper, with juice and water in your private car
- Mobile phone to use while in India to keep in contact with our local office and your driver
- Meals as per itinerary (B = breakfast) (HB = breakfast, lunch or dinner) (FB = breakfast, lunch & dinner)
- Private guide for sightseeing in all major cities
- Entrances to all monument and places of interest included
- See the Shore Temples at Mahabalipuram
- Take a walking tour of Pondicherry
- Visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry
- Heritage stay in Tranquebar
- See the Basilica shrine of ‘Our Lady of Health’ in Velankanni
- Tour of Tanjore and its temples
- Visit Trichy’s Rock Fort and temple complex
- Explore the Village of Karaikudi in Chettinad
- Try the spicy Chettinad Cruise
- Walk around the famous Meenakshi Temple
- Visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace in Madurai
- Visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai
- Experience a domestic train journey from Madurai to Chennai
- Relax beachside in Covelong
- Visit Kanchipuram
This Tour features the following locations
CHENNAI: Chaotic streets, scorching heat and the sheer absence of world famous sights. You’d expect Chennai to be the poor cousin, the most ignored metro of India. But that’s because you haven’t heard of its magnificent traditions, beautiful customs, and super-friendly people. Any city that believes offering food to others to be a service is sure to be a treat for your taste buds. Authentic dishes such as rasam, kootu, and fish curry steal your heart, and that strong Tamil coffee is exactly what those caffeine dreams are made up of. Chennai has also managed to turn up the heat, with glitzy nightclubs, cosmo shopping malls, and multi-cuisine restaurants staying open till late, but it’s still all about meeting people, eating, drinking and exploring the local way of life.
MAHABALIPURAM: Full of UNESCO World Heritage-listed carvings and temples, Mahabalipuram site, was once a major seaport for the ancient Pallava kingdom, which was also responsible for much of the stunning architecture you see here today. Considered to look especially beautiful during sunset, these temples can truly take the breath away. Factor in all that coastal beauty and you have a hidden gem on your hands. It’s not all ancient and historic, though. Mamallapuram also has a popular traveller ghetto where you get all kinds of dishes, souvenir items, and shops. If you’re looking for a small, laid-back town that can be easily explored via a day tour from Chennai, this is where you need to be!
PONDICHERRY: Ruled by the French till the year 1954, so you can still see the French culture having great significance here. It presents an intoxicating mix of French and sub-continental cultures, largely responsible for its boho-chic vibe and international acclaim. The fresh sea air, stunning secluded beaches, low alcohol prices, great cuisine and excellent yoga retreats don’t hurt its reputation either. The Old Town is known for its bougainvillea-lined teahouses, ancient cathedrals, 18th-century buildings, cobblestone streets and quiet enclaves, while the newer areas are chaotically Indian. Auroville, one of the greatest spiritual destinations on the planet, a place without borders, is also located just outside town.
TRANQUEBAR: Every weekend hundreds of local families from the neighbouring villages gather around the 400-year-old Fort located right next to Bungalow on the Beach where our clients stay. Ice-cream vendors, balloon sellers and snack stalls give an insight into the humble expression of how people like to celebrate life by the ocean in Tranquebar. The fort is the Danish fort after Kronborg located in Denmark. The Dansborg Archaeological Museum situated inside the fort holds a collection of curios and artefacts dating back to the Danes. It also has fossils of early centuries, coins, fish bones, Chinese porcelain and weapons. Rare paintings of Maratha kings and palm leaf manuscripts are also stored here.
TANJORE: Formerly known as Tanjore, Thanjavur presents the foundation blocks of one of the greatest civilisations of South India, one that was defined by its eloquent culture, artistic excellence and architectural legacy. The capital of the Great Chola Empire in its heydey, this bustling Indian town has a labyrinth of palaces, temples and memoirs of ancient civilisations that warrant exploration and deserve moments of your time. The best thing to do here is exploring the Great Chola Temples, UNESCO World Heritage Monuments that are solely constructed from granite, one of the hardest materials that most modern day architects with all their modern technology would want to avoid. The greatest of all temples is the Brihadishwara, a beautiful temple that is full of elaborate carvings, mesmerising artistry and beautiful frescoes. Other destinations worth exploring include Poompuhar and the Thanjavur Royal Palace. Thanjavur also gave birth to the Tanjore style of painting, and many masterpieces can be seen all over the city.
TRICHY: Located on the banks of Cauvery River, Tiruchirappalli (or simply Trichy) is the fourth largest city in the state, one of the oldest inhabited cities of India and one of the key tourist areas in the region. Its star attraction is the Rock Fort, an architectural marvel that hosts two stunning temples constructed in an 83 m rock. With settlements dating back to the second millennium BC, there is much to see and do here, and you can literally feel the presence of the ancients in this beautiful land, a unique energy reverberating in its 17th-century temples and churches. Like Thanjavur, Trichy celebrates Pongal with great fervour and visiting the city while it celebrates its most beautiful festival is an experience to be cherished.
KARAIKUDI: Karaikudi and 74 other villages were the homelands of the Nattukottai Chettiars. The Chettiars were a prosperous banking community who ventured overseas to do business in South and Southeast Asia in the 19th – 20th centuries. Their legacies are the charming houses of Chettinad built with simple materials; these houses have to be seen to be believed. Not yet discovered by mass tourism, Chettinad is a rural area certain to surprise even the most discerning traveller. To see these houses alone would justify a trip there, not forgetting the famous spicy Chettinad cuisine, different to what you will find in the rest of the state. Apart from the houses, Karaikudi offers extensive antique shopping opportunities, a weekly shandy village market, and some temples. Also visits the local craftsmen making the unique Athangudi Tiles which unlike ceramic tiles that are made with fire burnt clay, these Chettinad tiles are made only from the local sand then sun dried.
MADURAI: Madurai, the city that never sleeps! Madurai is essentially a temple town that might not boast of hedonistic attractions, but more than makes up with its incredible architecture. The temples found here are truly spellbinding, glowing examples of Dravidian architecture. As one of the oldest continually inhabited cities of India, this pilgrim town is also known for its rich cuisine, traditional shopping, and grand culture. Popular festivals such as the annual Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival or the Jallikattu, a game of taming angry bulls, are also known to attract a lot of visitors to the city. When you’re not exploring the city’s temples or enjoying its festivals, do spend some time at the Gandhi Museum, constructed in the memory of his assignation. The museum also hosts many of Gandhi’s personal belongings and hosts cultural programs in an open air theatre.
COVELONG: A fishing village 40 kms south of Chennai, it was once a port town developed by the Nawab of Carnatic, Saadat Ali. It was taken over by the French in 1746 and destroyed by the British in 1752. The Dutch built a fort in Covelong during the colonial times, where today stands the Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s Cove, a luxury beach resort. An ancient Catholic church on the beach is another attraction. There is also a Dharga & temple near the beach.
KANCHIPURAM: One of the seven sacred cities in India was the historical capital of the Pallavas. Apart from the Pallava rulers the Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, the Muslims and finally the British too ruled this part of Tamilnadu. It also became the seat of culture and religion for many centuries. This city is the centre of the fine and purely woven silk sarees. The famous Vaishnavaite temple here is Lord Varadharaja Perumal temples is also one of the 108 holiest Vaishnavaite temples.