14 Days - Temple Trails and The Legendary Backwaters of Kerala
Season : September to May
Best time : January to April
This exciting tour features the very best of the south- historical monuments- cultural extravaganzas, wildlife adventures and calming waterways.
From the historical colonial environs of Madras you journey through the lively temple towns of Tamil Nadu, past culturally rejuvenating cities such as Pondicherry and Auroville, by the sea and both associated with The Mother and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Then its on to Tanjore, present-day Thanjavur, with its stunning temple and gilded religious art, then Chidamabaram with its fabulous religious architectural marvels. Passing through Trichy we halt at the legendary enclave of the Chettinad region. Heading out for jasmine-scented Madurai and over the Western Ghats, we slip into the forested environs of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary before wending our way into the glorious backwaters of Kerala and exploring the ancient harbour city of Cochin.
Day 1 - Fly to Chennai (Madras).
Day 2 - Chennai - Meet and transfer to hotel Taj Connemara. Evening - City tour.
Day 3 - Chennai - Excursion to Kanchipuram. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 4 - Chennai / Pondicherry - Morning- Drive 3 hrs to Pondicherry via Mahabalipuram and Auroville.
Stay at Le Duplex or Dune Eco resort.
Day 5 - Pondicherry / Thanjavur (Tanjore) - Drive 5 hrs into the Chola heartland to Tanjore via the
ancient temple towns of Chidambaram, Gangaikodacholapuram and Kumbakonam. Stay at Ideal River
Day 6 - Tanjore / Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) / Chettanad - After tour of city drive 4.5 hrs to Karaikkudi in
Chettanad en route visit to Tiruchirappalli.
Day 7 - Chettanad - Spend the day exploring or at leisure.
Day 8 - Chettanad / Periyar - Drive 5 to 6 hrs via Madurai Temples to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Cardamom
Hills. Stay at Spice Village or Taj Garden Retreat.
Day 9 - Periyar - Morning Jungle walk followed by a bullock cart ride. Evening - Jungle excursion by boat.
Day 10 - Periyar / Kumarakom - Visit spice plantation and drive 5 hrs to Kumarakom in Backwaters. Stay at
Coconut Lagoon or Mankota Island.
Day 11 - Kumarakom - At leisure.
Day 12 - Kumarakom / Cochin - 3 hrs backwatercruise to Alleppey and then drive 1 hr. Evening-Kathakali
Dance. Stay at Taj Malabar / Old Harbour.
Day 13 - Cochin - Morning-Tour of Fort Cochin. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 14 - Fly home via Mumbai or Chennai
Cruising the Kerala Backwaters by Kettuvallom Houseboats
The magical Kettuvallom is a traditional wooden houseboat, originally used as cargo rice boats and restored by Kerala craftsmen. This elegant boat, provides all the trapping of a luxury hotel despite the tight fit in terms of space. Rain-proof as they are you can enjoy a ride in them in all kinds of weather. The boats carry a full complement of service staff who attend to your needs. A two nights stay is definitely recommended.
SUGGESTED ADAPTATIONS TO THIS TOUR:
* From Chennai - Go directly from the airport to Mahabalipuram and have three nights there on the beach. Overnight at Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) giving you more time to visit the places of interest there.
* From Pondicherry - Have an extra night at a beach resort near Pondicherry or on the houseboat in Kerela.
* From Cochin - Finish with three nights & a Kerala beach resort after Cochin, in Boutique Home stays in backwaters or in Fort Cochin.