Drive to Mahabalipuram visiting Kanchipuram enroute.
Kanchipuram (64 kms from Madras) is the ancient capital of the Pallavas famous as a city of 1000 Temples and still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings on the walls. Temples of Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks. Overnight Mahabalipuram.
Morning city tour. The city of Mahabalipuram is famous for the seven pagodas. Here on the seashore is an interesting group of ancient rock hewn temples which are the examples of Dravidian style of Architecture. Later drive to Pondicherry. Overnight Pondicherry.
The capital of French India before independence, Pondicherry traces its origin to Saint Agasthya, the revered sage of the south & excavations near-by reveal that a Roman settlement existed here 2000 years ago. It was the theatre of many a battle between the British. Afternoon free. Overnight Pondicherry.
Drive to Thanjavur. Overnight Thanjavur.
Morning city tour. The beautiful Chola Temple of Brihadeeshwara is capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite block weighing 80 tons which was taken to the top with the help of a 6 km long ramp, an old technique used by the Egyptians for building pyramids. Its bronzes and handicrafts make Tanjore one of the highlights of a visit to South India. Later drive to Chettinad and transfer to hotel. Overnight Chettinad,
Drive to Rameshwaram. Overnight Rameshwaram.
Chettinad is the ancestral home of the Nattukottai Chettiyars, a prosperous banking community successful in the oversea business markets in South and Southeast Asia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There are a total of 76 villages and Karaikudi is the largest one. Chettinad is famous for its houses for its unique, spicy, and very tasty cuisine.
The island of Rameshwaram spreads out over a 56 km swell with gentle sand dunes, embellished with the delicacy of casuarina trees and stark palms. This is a sacred place for Hindus since according to Ramayana, this is where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to absolve himself of the sin of killing Ravana. A dip into the sacred waters of the Agnitheertham which was calmed by Rama is a must for Hindus. Overnight Rameshwaram.
Morning drive to Madurai. Afternoon city tour. Visit the great Meenakshi Temple dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva with its towering gopurams (rising high above the surrounding country side). Later, visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace - A gracious building in the Indo saracenic style, famous for the Stucco work on its domes & arches. Also visit the Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock temple. Overnight Madurai.
Morning drive to Munnar. Overnight Munnar.
Munnar - breathtakingly beautiful - a haven of peace and tranquility - the idyllic tourist destination in God's own country.Set at an altitude of 6000 ft in Idukki district, Munnar was the favored summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial Days. Munnar has an un-ending expanse of tea plantations - pristine valleys and mountains- exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests with aroma of spice scented cool air. Overnight Munnar.
Morning drive to Periyar. The earliest sanctuary to be set up in 1934, it extends to 777 square kms & forms part of the high mountain ranges, the Western Ghats. Wild life can be seen while cruising on Periyar Lake in a motor boat. Amongst the animals which can be seen are elephants, wild boar, sambar, tiger, leopard, wild dog, langur monkeys, etc. Overnight Periyar.
Morning drive to Alleppey. The coastal town of Alleppey on the Arabian Sea is the Venice of the East, for the numerous canals that meander through the town. Bathing in the backwaters on the Vemband Lake is refreshing. This town holds a thrilling event of snake-boat race every year in August. It is also known for its cashew nuts, coir trade, rice, pepper crops & coconuts. Overnight Alleppey.
Embark a rice houseboat. The coastal town of Alleppey on the Arabian Sea is the Venice of the East, for the numerous canals that meander through the town. Bathing in the backwaters on the Vemband Lake is refreshing. This town holds a thrilling event of snake-boat race every year in August. It is also known for its cashew nuts, coir trade, rice, pepper crops & coconuts. Night on board.
Drive to Mararikulam. Overnight Mararikulam.
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Drive to Cochin airport