Tamil Nadu & Kerala
Day 1: Arrival at Chennai Aiport
A very warm welcome from all the staff at MJ Tours and Travel! We hope you will enjoy the following two weeks with us. We will go straight from Chennai to Mahabalipuram for a night stay in a lovely hotel. Mahabalipuram is 70 km south of Chennai on the coast. Mahabalipuram was the port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallava. They left us world-famous monuments and sculptures.
Day 2: Mamallapuram
In the morning we will go around for a visit at wonderful temples and sculptures in the town which is a UNESCO world heritage site. There are many important tourist attractions in Mahabalipuram (also known as Mamallapuram), especially The Shore Temple, known to be the most ancient temple in South India and dedicated to Lord Shiva; the Pancha Pandava Rathas, temples in the form of chariots; Arjuna's Penance, a giant open air relief; Krishna Mandapam, the cave sanctuary; and the giant natural rock know as Krishna's Butter Ball. These are all must-see here. The Five Rathas village is also home to many sculpture shops. Most of the sculptors will have trained in the government sculpture college on the East Coast Road 2 km from Mamallapuram. Here you can play a game: 'Spot the perfect Buddha'. The perfect Buddha could be the size of your fist or greater than life size, but you will know it because it has the perfect balance of masculine and feminine features (some Buddhas are too masculine; other too feminine). We will plan a lunch at an interesting place, where you will be served food at a local fisherman's house. (Mamallapuram is also a fishing town; the boats return to port in early morning bringing some beautiful fresh fish). In the evening we will watch the sun go down for a lovely sunset from a beach destination. We will drive back to the hotel for relaxing rest and sleep.
Day 3: Mamallapuram - Pondicherry
Rise and Shine! Get ready for a scenic drive on the coastal line to Pondicherry, It's another amazing destination with a rich colonial past (Dutch, Portuguese, English and French). It became part of India in 1954, but retains a French flavour. After lunch a local guide will teach us about the historic heritage of the town. We will walk through the old town and learn about both French and Tamil architectures. By about 5 p.m., we will visit be privileged to visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which is an amazing meditation centre that brings soothing effect to the mind. It gets spiritual seekers from all over the world. We will round off the day with a walk through the beach to our pleasant hotel.
Day 4: Auroville
This will be another memorable day, also with a spiritual flavour, where we will begin our journey to Auroville, established by Mira Alfassa, named 'The Sweet Mother' by her devotees. We will visit the famous Matrimandir, which means literally 'temple of the mother' in Sanskrit. This wonderful dome has a striking appearance and is an ideal place for meditation. This would go down as a specially memorable visit in your life and some of the visitors who have been here before, have built their own houses here because they felt a strong connection with the Aurovilian community. After lunch, we will continue contemplatively by spending our evening on the Auro beach.
Day 5: Pondicherry - Kumbakonam
After breakfast, we will head Kumbakonam, which is 185 km from Pondicherry. On our way, we will stop by and visit the Chidambaram Thillai Nataraja temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the Pancha Bootha Sthalangal temples, which are themselves the manifestation of five elements. This particular temple is referring to Sky element. Here we will see the Dancing Shiva in the form of 'Nataraja'. We will then have a delicious lunch in a typical local restaurant nearby (a restaurant is called Bhavan in Tamil). After lunch, we will drive down for an hour and go into the past by visiting the spectacular Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple. This temple is an 11th century monument from the Chola kings which also houses a Lord Shiva temple. It's time to head Darasuram, and visit our last temple for the day. It is named 'Airavatesvara Temple' and has a wonderful calm atmosphere. When we move around we will get the opportunity to meet a local family manufacturing wedding silk saris (Saris come in 3 qualities: cotton (lowest) polyester (everyday use) and silk (for social events)). We will move to Kumbakonam for a night stay which is only 3 km from Darasuram. The city holds 188 temples! Some of them are really large. We will take a look at a few of them.
Day 6: Kumbakonam - Trichy
After breakfast we will be choosy and visit only a special one: Kasi Viswanathar temple dedicated to Shiva god revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Shaiva canonical work of the 7th-8th century. After lunch, we will gear up for another wonderful journey to Trichy seeing on our journey the farming fields and visit Tanjai Brihadeeshwara Temple on our way. The Peruvudaiyar Kovil, also known as Brihadeeswara Temple, RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajeswaram. It's the temple dedicated to Shiva god, an outstanding example of Tamil architecture achieved during the Chola dynasty (Chola dynasty: 3rd century BCE to 13th century CE in southern India). The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the 'Great Living Chola Temples'.We will rest, relax and sleep at our nice hotel in Trichy.
Day 7: Trichy - Dindigul
After breakfast, we will visit Srirangam which is one of the most popular temples in India, dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Lord Vishnu. (Remember Hindu gods have several forms). We will also visit the Rock fort temple (Uchi Pillaiyaar Koil), perched atop the rock, dedicated to Lord Ganesh (the jolly elephant god). Nayaka Fort is not far away and it is worth looking at it. After lunch, we will leave to Dindigul, which is believed to be an ancient settlement ruled by many different empires. It is 100 km from Trichy, which we will reach in 2 hours. We will visit Dindigul Fort, the Huge Hill at Dindigul, was constructed in 1959. Dindigul biriani is a popular dish and Dindigul is sometimes known as 'biriani city'. We drive to our nice resort for a nights stay.
Day 8: Dindigul - Coonoor
We will get up early make a worthy journey to Mettupalayam, which is 157 km from Dindigul. On our way we will visit the 200 year old Kottai Mariyamman Temple, idol is said to be installed by the army men of Tippu Sultan (a Muslim ruler) at the fort at the mountain. Hence it is called Kottai (Fort) Mariyamman temple. We will reach Mettupalayam in the evening which is located in the foot hills of Nilgiri Hills and is 30 km north of downtown Coimbatore. Once reaching Mettupalayam, we will stay in a hotel and enjoy the facilities for a nights stay.
Day 9: Coonoor - Ooty - Coonoor
Another early start for a visit to a beautiful hill station! Let us get up early at 5 a.m., to catch the Nilgiri Mountain Toy train that goes up to Ooty. It's a 4 hours journey to reach Coonoor where we will get down. There are many beautiful sights to see traveling through the tea plantations and landscapes. We will head to Ooty for lunch which is 45 minutes drive from Coonoor. Ooty is the most popular hill station in the region. (Hill stations are where, in the time of the Raj, the British retired to, to avoid the summer heat from their own region). Ooty is also popularly known for the Kurinji flower that blooms every twelve years. Moreover the bloom is expected to last only between mid to end of October. The shops have English chocolate! We will visit the wonderful Fernhills palace, which was the summer residence of Mysore Maharaja. It was built in 1844 and it resembles a Swiss chalet. This palace spreads over a massive 50 acres of green lawn, stylish garden and dense woods with the spectacular views of Tea gardens. Green lawn is seldom seen in India because of the need for constant watering outside the monsoon season. We will move towards the lake which is a popular destination for a boat trip and we will have a small boating outing here. We will drive go to our hotel amidst misty weather and stay here for a nights stay.
Day 10: Coonoor - Arattupuzha
It's a beautiful morning and we move to Mudumalai National Park, which is 70 km far from Coonoor. It was declared in 2007 by the Tamil Nadu government as a tiger reserve. And there 68 tigers roam free and it will a treat to watch these magnificent noble animals. We will visit the striking Mudumalai Sanctuary where we can see a large variety of animals such as Primates, Elephants, Ant Eater, Black-naped hare, Shrew, Squirrel and Bats. We go back to our hotel surrounded by the forest and relax and sleep.
Day 11: Arattupuzha
Let's get ready for another memorable experience and travel to Guruvayoor Temple which is 122 km from Mudumalai. It is one of the most important places of worship for Hindus of Kerala and is often referred to as 'Bhuloka Vaikunta' which translates to the 'Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth'. After a pleasant lunch, we will visit the temple and will be amazed by the rituals performed here. The temple is one of the holiest temples of Lord Krishna and the chief Brahmin priest fasts until he performs the noon worship at 12:30 p.m. We will stay here in an interesting accommodation.
Day 12: Arattupuzha - Fort Kochi
We will move to Kochi which is well connected to beaches such as Cherai Beach, Marari Beach and Fort Kochi Beach. A slow drive around Cochin in the evening takes in St. Francis Church near Vasco Da Gama Square, the 8th Century Old Dutch Palace and the Jewish Synagogue and old Jewish town. Kochi (Cochin) is the main Harbour in Kerala and boasts historical gems such as Fort Kochi, Chinese Fishing Nets and Vasco Da Gama Square. In the evening a special treat! You will be received by MJ Tours & Travel to a Kathakali Dance Show and the Makeup session prior to the Kathakali Dance show is a must-see. The Dance show starts at 17.30 Hours and ends at 19.30 Hours. We will stay at a lovely heritage hotel here.
Day 13: Fort Kochi - Alleppey
It's the much awaited day where we will leave to Alleppey which is a popular backwater destination in Kerela. It is 140 km from Guruvayoor temple. We will check-in into a fabulous house boat for a journey on the Vembanadu Lake which is the largest lake in Kerala. The house boat travels through the lake, and we promise you it will be a memorable day and night on the houseboat.
Day 14: Alleppey - Mararikulam
Once we come back we will stay in a wonderful looking room at Mararikulam beach. It's a very quiet and clean beach. We will get there around noon and spend a relaxing time sunbathing. Mararikulam beach is also known as Marari beach and you cannot get a better beach than this one for sun, sand and relaxation.
Day 15: Mararikulam
We will make journey towards Vypin Island which is one of the group islands located near Kochi. It's about 27 km long connected to mainland by bridges and can we can access it by ferries. We check in to a very nice hotel and head towards the Cherai beach. It's a very nice beach with a serene view and a calm one in Kerala. In the evening, we will have a very nice Ayurvedic Massage which is so good people often request a repeat massage.
Day 16: Transfer to Kochi Airport
You will get transferred to Kochi Airport. We at MJ Tours and Travel hope you had many enjoyable experiences in your tour. Enjoy your memories!
|Per person||2 Persons||4 Persons||6 Persons|
|during low season|
|during peak travel season|
* Above quoted rate is Per Person. Applies to peak holiday season for 4 travelers (1st October through 31st March)
If you are traveling solo then please contact us.
Quotation is subject to change according to availability, exchange rates and government tax rise. All the rates mentioned are based on current best available rate and can be modified at the moment of the booking.
- Accommodation in 2 or 3-star hotels with breakfast included and twin-share rooms
- AC taxi with English-speaking driver
- Private English-speaking guide
Package does not include:
- The Flight tickets
- Any international airfare and airport tax
- Visa Charges
- Lunch and Dinner unless stated otherwise
- Any personal, medical and evacuation insurance
- Drinks and personal expenses
- Depending on your arrival and departure time you may have to pay for the additional nights stay.