Coast to Coast
Mahabalipuram - Puducherry - Tanjore - Chettinad - Madurai - Munnar - Marari - Kochi
Tamil Nadu is the temple state of India but these phenomenal temples, offer so much more than being astounding structures to witness. Whichever temple you visit you will witness devotions and rituals and a true sense of a rich culture and sense of community. Explore the short temple at Mahabalipuram and visit the historic French town of Puducherry. We take you off the beaten track to witness village life in Chettinad and then discover how to make tea in Munnar, there are some wonderful walks to be done here too. End with the swaying palms, lush verdant scenery, fragrant spice markets, laid-back waterways and golden beaches of Kerala.
- Spend time on the coast and see the impressive shore temple at Mahabalipuram.
- See Trichy and Tanjore's incredible temples and witness wonderful rituals.
- The French influences on Puducherry, (croissants and curry!) in this sleepy seaside town.
- Visit the villages of Chettinad, renowned for their rich cultural heritage and cuisine.
- The temple town of Madurai.
- Rolling hills and tea plantations of Munnar.
- Relaxation on the beach at Marari.
- Sunset cruise and Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and British influences in Kochi.
16 day tour which mixes the temples of Tamil Nadu with some interesting off the beaten track villages and ending with the golden beaches of Kerala
Overnight flight to Chennai.
Overnight: In flight
Arrive and transfer to your hotel on the coast at Mahabalipuram, just south of Chennai. Rest of the day at leisure.
Mahabalipuram, famous for its shore temples, is a welcoming old port city. From the 8th to the 11th century, the Pallava dynasty conducted a thriving maritime trade here with the Far East. Visit the magnificent Shore Temple, which although ravaged by the elements and the pounding ocean waves, still reflects the glorious past of these intrepid merchants.
Drive on to Puducherry (formally know as Pondicherry). With its French influences, Puducherry is unique in India with the influences evident on its architecture, language and cuisine.
Half day sightseeing tour of Puducherry. The old seafront, Beach Road, makes for a lovely morning stroll. After which saunter through the old town with its pretty houses painted in Mediterranean colours with well-tended gardens and many remnants of its colonial past. Shopping is also good (taxes are low), with particular specialities being doll making, silk weaving and papermaking.
Drive to Tanjore. Visit the Brihadiswara Temple, now a World Heritage Site. Not only an incredible feat of ancient engineering but a magical place to visit. No 2 days are the same at this temple with the pilgrims who visit, festivals which take place and incredible banking system of the temple priests.
Sightseeing of Trichy (1 hour from Tanjore). The Sri Ranganathswamy Temple is another temple town, the inner sanctum surrounded by 7 more concentric walls, the outer 3 of which house over 20,000 people.
Drive to Chettinad, the homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars, a prosperous banking and business community, many of whose members migrated to South and Southeast Asia, in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Chettinad is rich in cultural heritage, art and architecture, and is well known for its houses, embellished with marble and Burma teak, wide courtyards, spacious rooms, and for its 18th century mansions. Apart from the houses, Chettinad offers extensive antique shopping, village markets, visits to craftsmen and most importantly the renowned Chettinad cuisine.
Explore the villages, mansions and markets.
Drive to Madurai. The city of Madurai is always full of pilgrims and festivals take place throughout the year. Madurai is a colourful, extrovert city that originally evolved around the Great Temple of Sri Meenakshi and is full of the sounds of Tamil loudspeaker music and temple bells. Visit the Sri Meenakshi-temple, whose gopurams are covered in hundreds of brightly painted figures, with gold finials gleaming on top. It is worth visiting during the evening to see the rituals as the Gods are put to bed for the night.
Drive to Munnar. Munnar is surrounded by endless green rolling hills and 30 of the world’s highest tea estates. Planters live in gracious bungalows left over from the Raj and the surrounding forest is rich in wildlife.
At Munnar. Munnar is full of grand old churches and picturesque houses and offers plenty to do by way of walking in the hills and visiting working tea and cardamom factories. It is also an ideal destination for trekking and mountain biking.
Transfer to Marari, a sleepy beachfront fishing village between the Backwaters and the Arabian Sea. Check into the beach resort hotel.
Days at leisure on the beach.
Drive to Kochi (formally known as Cochin) which is Kerala’s most cosmopolitan city and also the main trading centre for spices and seafood. Fort Cochin area has an old-world charm with its blend of Dutch, Portuguese and English bungalows and quaint narrow streets and the Chinese fishing nets. The result if these cultural influences is seen in the many examples of Indo European architecture and in the cuisine offered in the restaurants. Rest of the day at leisure.
Transfer to the airport to connect with your international flight.
From £2,665 per person
Price is based on travel in mid season and on 2 people sharing. Includes international flights from the UK, accommodation and all transfers and excursions as listed.
All of our itineraries are tailor-made to your specific requirements and therefore prices do vary. The above is an indication only. Prices will vary depending on the season of travel and the standard of accommodation used. Please contact us for a quotation and to discuss your holiday requirements in more detail.