Chennai (Madras) - Mahabalipuram [60 km - 1 ½ hours by road]
Arrive Chennai, usually during the night. Drive to Mahabalipuram. Check into and spend night in hotel.
Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry [100 km - 2 hours by road]
En route see the relief carving depicting the descent of the Ganges and the Magnificent Temples on the edge of the sea. Opportunity to swim. Set off for the former French Trading post of Pondicherry. Check into and spend night in hotel.
Visit this town where the French influence is still apparent in its architecture, especially on the seafront and the French Quarter. Overnight in hotel.
Pondicherry - Thanjavur [210 km - 5-6 hours by road]
Morning departure for Thanjavur. En route visit Chidambaram and the superb temple of Nataraja , one of the best examples of Dravidian architecture. Overnight in hotel in Thanjavur.
Thanjavur - Madurai [180 km - 5-6 hours by road]
Morning visit of the temple of Brihadishwara, a masterpiece of Chola Temple architecture, and the Palace. Depart for Trichy, with its two extraordinary temples. Visit Rock Fort temple and Srirangam Temple. Moving south we come to the great holy city of Madurai in the early evening. Overnight in hotel.
Madurai is the cultural capital of the Tamul region and an important site in Hinduism. It is one of the oldest cities of southern India and also one of its holiest, as can be seen from the impressive number of devotees and sadhus. We shall visit the vast holy complex of Meenakshi, one of the most animated temples in Southern India as well as the palace of the Nayaks and the market, with its labyrinth of bustling lanes. Overnight in hotel.
Madurai - Kodaikanal (Elephant valley) [130 km -2-3 hours by road]
We enter the mountainous region of the Western Ghats, driving until we reach a wild area, straight out of Paradise, called ’Elephant Valley’ with an eco-lodge surrounded by jungle, coffee plantations,waterfalls, traditional villages and wild animals, including elephants. Check into Eco-lodge. In the afternoon the eco-lodge offers a range of activities (to be arranged at the time with the hotel): walk through coffee plantations, hike to the waterfalls, horse riding, yoga and meditation. Night in eco-lodge
Kodaikanal (Elephant valley) - Periyar [120 km - 3-4 hours by road]
We follow small winding mountain roads through beautiful lush countryside to the Periyar National Park, on the border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Check into hotel. Afternoon exploration of Periyar Reserve. A range of activities are possible: boat trips on the lake, elephant rides through the spice plantations, jeep tours or hiking in the jungle. Bamboo Rafting is available for the more adventurous or you can also relax with an Ayurvedic Massage in the hotel (not included in the price, to be arranged at the time with the hotel). Overnight in hotel.
Periyar - "Backwaters" [140 km - 4 hours by road]
We leave for Palai with its paddy fields stretching to the horizon, endless coconut palms, tiny peaceful villages and its magnificent Canals and Lagoons, the backwaters. Check into the hotel on the edge of superb Lake Vembanad. Afternoon to relax and/or explore Palai. Overnight in hotel.
Houseboat on the "Backwaters"
After a warm welcome on board by the crew, composed of captain, cook and cabin boy we set out on a traditional houseboat We explore the canals, lagoons and Lake Vembanad, enjoying the serenity of these peaceful waters. Imagine yourself in a Tropical Venice, where water takes the place of roads. Boats are constantly coming and going, propelled by the boatmen who push off from the bottom with long bamboo poles. On the banks you will see old houses made of teak, mahogany and rosewood and villages bright with hibiscus and bougainvillea as well as shimmering paddy fields and endless coconut palms. Meal and night afloat (double bedroom with bathroom). Full board.
"Backwaters" - Malabar Coast : Marari beach [30km - 1 hour by road]
Land at Allepey at the end of the morning. Drive to one of the most beautiful Beaches on the Malabar coast. Check into hotel. Relax, swim and meet the many fishermen with their Flimsy Craft. Overnight in hotel.
Marari Beach - Kochi [60km - 1 hour by road]
Travel to Fort Kochi and check into hotel. Visit the town which is an unlikey blend of Medieval Portugal, the Netherlands and an English country village, with the tropical Malabar coast as a backdrop. Discover the Oldest Church in the country, winding streets lined with mosques and old Portuguese houses dating back 500 years, Chinese fishing nets, a sixteenth century synagogue and a palace built by the Portuguese.This is also the ideal place to see a Kathakali Show. Overnight in hotel.
KochI - Airport.
Airport transfer depending on your flight time. Shanti travel says ’au revoir’.