Silk & Spice Route | 14 Days

Madras – Mahabalipuram – Kanchipuram - Pondichery- Tranquebar – Tanjore – Trichy – Chettinad – Madurai - Periyar – Backwater –Cochin
Previous Next

Tour Overview

South India tour is consisting of the majestic temples of South India, silk & Spice Route of South India, the beauty and charm of its cities, crossing of south India from Madras to Cochin through Pondicherry and Madurai, A visit to a region rich in history and traditions whose majestic architectural treasures make the dear gods a vibrant tribute. Then the luxuriance of Kerala, its hills covered with spice plantations and its channels fringed with coconut palms. Immersion in south Indian culture and traditions, countryside drive slowly crossed by the oxen tanks, the lagoons of kerala covered by heavy boats laden with rice. It will allow you to discover the masterpieces of Indian art at the same time as India today, that of the villages and the countryside.

Tour Highlights

  • UNESCO Heritage site of Mahabalipuram
  • Visit to Shore Temple and Arjuna's Penance
  • Architectural Treasures of Kumbakonam & Gangaikonda Cholapuram
  • Visit to UNSCO world Heritage monument Brahadeshwarar Temple
  • visit a lost-wax bronze sculpture factory
  • Explore Chettinad region and its unique heritage in India
  • Visit to Nectar City of Madurai
  • Temple Meenakshi temple Madurai
  • Game Viewing in Periyar
  • Attend the performance of the Kathakali
  • Boat ride to see the fishing net and rural lifestyle
  • Life time experience to stay in house boat

Day 01    Arrive Chennai – Mahabalipuram

Arrival at Chennai International Airport meets & greet by representative transfer to the little Sea Side town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), an hour’s drive from Chennai situated on the East Coast of Tamil Nadu has pris time beaches, spanning 20 kms, bright Sun & Crisp Sand, Wrapping up untold tales of the 7th Century. Here time stands still; and presents meet the past. A serene town nested amidst the historical stone sculptures and medieval architecture, that stands witness to the rich heritage – Mahabalipuram.

Day 02 Mahabalipuram

Today visit to Shore Temple: The most renowned landmark of Mamallapuram is the Shore Temple. Standing alone on the shore, this temple is protected by a wall constructed to minimise erosion. It is believed that at one point in time there were seven such temples, six of them were victims to the natural elements of erosion.

Arjuna's Penance: This quaint little town of Mamallapuram in enriched with ancient with ancient and splendid sculptures. Each of the beautiful works of art has a story to tell. Like the large 27 m by 9 m bas-relief that narrates the tale of Arjuna's Penance. Arjuna here is shown standing on one leg to please Lord Shiva into helping him winback the Pandava Empire. A fascinating combination of humans, animals and celestial beings seem to be rushing to the revered scene. Most prominent among them is a 4.8 m majestic elephant leading a procession. Also known as the Descent of the Ganga, this impressive canvas portrays the life giving River Ganges flowing out from its high source in the Himalayas. Enchanting stories from the Panchatantra are also a part of this magnificent bas-relief.

Day 03 Mahabalipuram – Kanchipuram - Pondichery 100 kms /2.30 hrs

After breakfast drive to Pondicherry - In 1673, a French soldier bought from the Sultan of Bijapur a village called Poudouchéry. Thus begins the epic of France "in India", rich of twists, and of which Pondicherry remains the symbol. En route visit to scares city of Kanchipuram the “City of seven Pagodas” where we see outcroppings of rock that have been delicately carved into temples and life-sized replicas of elephants, lions and bulls. The carved Penance of Bhaghirata here is the largest bas-relief in the world.

Kanchipuram was one of the main centers of diffusion of Buddhism. You begin the visit of the site to the 7th century temple of Kailashnatha, perfect example of the Dravidian style. Dedicated to Shiva, it is the first monumental temple built in South India. Its surrounding wall is one of the most richly decorated of South India. Then the temple of Ekambareshvara, the holiest of the temples of the city, dominated by its huge gopuram 58 meters high.

Kanchipuram will also tell you the colors of his saris and the art of weaving silk. This craft activity already flourishing at the time of the kings pallavas, is renowned throughout India. Overnight stay in Pondichery

Day 04 Pondichery

After breakfast A day to taste the charms of this city and its contrasts: the "black city" and its temples very lively dedicated to Ganesh, Shiva or even Durga the goddess of war, its colorful markets. In the white city the churches of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of the Angels or Our Dame of the Immaculate Conception. Visit of the ashram of Sri Aurobindo located in a beautiful residence Colonial. A walk in the city in cyclo-pousse, in the discovery of the old French districts. You pass by the ocher walls of the Alliance française and the French school created in 1826. Finally the consulate General of France which retains its authentic charm of the 18th century. In the late afternoon you will not miss making the inevitable stroll along Beach Road. Overnight stay

Day 05 Pondicherry – Tranquebar 110 kms / 2 hrs

After breakfast drive to Tranquebar en route visit temple of Chidambaram, one of the most beautiful in the south, a magnificent sanctuary dedicated to Shiva-Nataraja, the god of dance, remarkable for its large pool and high gopurams. The great Nataraja Temple of Lord Shiva as the cosmic dancer is the highlight of the Dravidian temple architecture. Chidambaram was the capital of the Cholas between 907 to 1310 and the temple was built during their late period. It is also unique in the sense that it enshrines both Shiva and Vishnu under on roof. Chidambaram is also famous for its 10 days Chariot festivals in December & January

Tranquebar, by the sea, was a Danish counter from 1613 to 1845. It soon became a rendezvous for Protestant missions. A large street, Konigsgade, leads to the Fort, in front of the sea. The New Jerusalem Church bears the mark of Frederick IV of Denmark. The tombs of the cemetery tell the story of all these nations coming to seek fortune in Indian land: Portuguese, English, French, Dutch and Danish, but also Swedes, Germans, Armenians.

Day 06 Tranquebar –Tanjore 97 km/2 hrs

After breakfast drive to Tanjore through the rice paddies of the Kavéri delta. Enroute visit to Darasuram which houses the marvelous temple of Airavateswara dedicated to Shiva, one of the masterpieces of Chola architecture. Dating from the 7th century, it has been perfectly renovated. Remarkable sculptures decorate the basement of the temple which takes the form of a carriage with its large wheels and the horses that pull it. Not far from Darasuram, the village of Swamimalai is devoted entirely to sculpture on bronze. You can see craftsmen at work and buy beautiful pieces.

Also visit of the magnificent temple of Gangaikonda Cholapuram "the city of King Chola victorious on the Ganges" that built Rajendra, the son of Rajaraja Chola (the builder of the temple of Tanjore) in 1030 to celebrate a victory over the kingdoms of the North. Our drive continued to Tanjore. Overnight stay.

Day 07 Tanjore

Tanjore - is a fertile plain, which is referred to as the 'rice bowl' of Tamil Nadu. Located on the eastern coast of central Tamil Nadu, it has the distinction of having been the capital of the Cholas - one of the greatest dynasties of the south. The Cholas were great temple builders and Tanjore bears witness to this, being dotted with no fewer than 74 temples - the most famous of which is the Chola Temple of Brahadeshwarar Temple built during the 10th Centuries, a UNESCO world Heritage monument.

In the Nayak Palace, the Art Gallery houses the most beautiful collection of bronzes in India. Dating from the 9th to the 12th centuries, they represent the great divinities of Hinduism, Vishnu, Parvati and especially Shiva in various aspects, begging, seductive young man, and god of dance (Nataraja). Overnight stay in Tanjore

Day 08   Tanjore – Trichy 60 kms/1 hr

After breakfast drive to Trichy was a Chola Citadel during the Sangam age & was also briefly ruled by the Pallavas & the Pandyas. Visit to Rock Fort the 83-meter high rock fort is in the center of the Trichy. Its 344 rock-cuts steps take one to the Uchipillayar temple dedicated to Lord Vinayaka. Half way up is the temple of Lord Shiva dedicated to Thayumanaswami Jambukeshwara Temple here has Shiva lingam almost submerged in water. From the small temple to the summit, one discovers the valley of Kavéri.

On the island of Srirangam, between two arms of the river, one will visit the impressive temple of Ranganathasvami surrounded by seven enclosures, each pierced with doors surmounted by a gopuram. These towers, 21 in number, rise further away from the center of the temple. Not far from the sanctuary, the pillars of the Cour des Chevaux are adorned with baroque sculptures depicting horses wearing a horseman chasing the tiger. They are due to Vijayanagar artists of the sixteenth century, and are striking of momentum and strength. Overnight stay in Trichy

Day 09 Trichy - Chettinad 140 kms/ 2.30 hrs

After breakfast drive to Chettinad is the country of the Chettiars, a caste of merchants who made a fortune in Burma during the colonial era. In many villages such as Kanadukattan or Kothamangalam and in the town of Karaikudi, one can see their magnificent houses, often abandoned, sometimes restored. The interior courtyards of the houses are adorned with enormous columns in teak of Burma, the wooden doors carved with art. Some houses that were built in the 1930s are inspired by the Art Nouveau style and its unique heritage in India, between forgotten hamlets, unknown sanctuaries, romantic palaces, sacred woods with lanes bordered by terracotta horses, village markets and workshops of craftsmen-artists on wood, textile or earthenware known throughout India. The community of very rich merchants, the Chattiars here built baroque houses and palaces quite singular. Overnight stay in Chettinad

Day 10    Chettinad – Madurai 80 Kms / 2 hrs

After breakfast drive to Nectar City of Madurai - is a colorful city to see its moods walk around the streets. The main city area revolves around Meenakshi temple, with its baroque example of Dravidian architecture & the four tall Gopuram (Pillars) with multi colored Gods, Goddess, Demons & deities. Madurai is surrounded by Coconut Grooves & Rice Paddies. Later we visit to Meenakshi temple where Dravidian Temple architecture may be seen in its exuberant baroque phase. Its hall of thousand pillars is fabulous & is filled with worshippers at all hours of the day. Also visit the Tirumal Nayak's Palace founded in 1636, which is in a highly decorative monument. In the evening take auto rickshaw ride passes to through the market to Meenakshi temple to see the aarti ceremony. Overnight stay

Day 11    Madurai –Periyar 135 Kms / 3 hrs

Drive to a tranquil hill retreat, the Spicy Village. Along the way we pass through Tea, Cinnamon, Clove & Cardamom plantations -beautiful to see & smell! This evening we visit the nearby Periyar Game Sanctuary; Game viewing here is like no other Safari experience. We simply relax in a Motor Launch & sail along as heard of Elephant & Bison come into view. Be sure to have plenty of film on hand. Overnight stay

Day 12    Periyar – Alleppey 125 Kms /2 hrs

After breakfast drive to Alleppey to meet your way own floating hotel in the famous backwaters. Kettuvalam (An Authentic Kerala Houseboat) - the moving masterpiece, have been plying the inland waterways of southwest India for untold centuries and originally used as cargo rice boats. The fully furnished and palm covered boats (single & double) bedrooms with attached bath, sit out, kitchen and living room made of traditional wood. In each houseboat, there are 3 men staff (crew), comprising a cook and two well trained punters throughout the cruise. Punters stand on each end of the boat for punting and directing the boat. Kerosene-lit lamps along will be available for light and mosquito nets will be provided. Traditional vegetarian and non-vegetarian Kerala cuisine is served. A journey through the backwaters of Kerala which offer one of the world's truly unforgettable experiences, myriad network of silent lagoons, freshwater river, hyacinth covered canals that wind their way through colorful corridors of forests, palms and fruit trees. A canoe expedition via an intricate network of canals, through backwater villages where daily continues unaltered, as it has for centuries. You will see lush palm groves and stretches of rice fields. Overnight stay

Day 13    Alleppey – Cochin 56 kms /1 hrs

From Alleppey we drive into the Oasis state of Kerala & on to the Malabar Coats & Kochi, one of the India's most colorful cities. This inter, connected series of Islands & shoreline presents a vivacious blend of Cultures & Religions; Kochi is the only place in the country where you can see Portuguese Churches, a Jewish Synagogue, Hindu Temples, Dutch architecture & Mosque nearly side by side. A memorable experience in any journey in Kerala is a Boat Trip along the Palm Fringed Lakes & Backwaters of the Area. As we sail along the shady canals we see cantilevered Chinese fishing nets. This evening we attend the performance of the Kathakali, one of India's most famous Classical dances. Lavish Costumes & Exotic makeup & Masks intensify the beauty of the dancers, intricate moments. Overnight stay

Day 14   Cochin – Onward Destination

Morning Say Goodbye to newly become friends of this fascinating land and transfers to Airport to board the flight for onwards destination.

Accommodation

  • 02 Night stay in Mahabalipuram
  • 02 night say in Pondicherry
  • 01 night stay in Tranquebar
  • 02 night stay in Tanjore
  • 01 night stay in Trichy
  • 01 night stay in Chettinad
  • 01 night stay in Madurai
  • 01 night stay in Periyar
  • 01 night stay in House Boat
  • 01 night stay in Cochin

Meal

  • Daily Buffet Breakfast at hotel restaurant
  • During stay in House boat breakfast  Lunch & dinner will be served

Transportation

  • All transfers, Sightseeing and excursions by Air conditioned vehicle
  • Services of local English Speaking Guides at destination
  • All State taxes, toll taxes & Parking Charges
  • All monument and park entry fees wherever applicable
  • Tuk Tuk ride to Meenakshi temple
  • Kathakali kali dance show fees
  • Game viewing in Periyar by Motor launch

Exclusions

Language guide, Laundry, Insurance, Tips, Telephone Calls and Expenses like personal nature, still & video Camera fees in Monuments