South to The Malabar Coast
Duration : 18 Nights / 19 Days
Destinations Covered : Chennai – Covelong – Pondicherry – Tanjore – Madurai – Kodaikanal – Munnar – Cochin – Mararikulam – Chennai – Tellicherry – Coorg – Mysore – Chennai
Day – 1 » Chennai – Covelong
This morning drive to the fisherman’s cove Hotel at Covelong, just 32 kms from the city. Stop en route at Dakshin Chitra cultural centre dedicated to the art, architecture and culture of the Southern Indian states. Stay for 3 nights at Fisherman’s Cove Hotel (luxury sea facing cottage).
Day – 2 & 3 » Covelong
Day – 4 » Covelong – Pondicherry
Drive south to Mahabalipuram noted for the seven monolithic temples, each carved from a single granite boulder standing on the seashore. In the village you will see a huge frieze, known as Arjuna’s Penance, which is cut on to a flat granite rock face. Continue to Pondicherry the former french colony; the centre of the town still retains a french atmosphere in its architecture and planning. Stay at the Hotel De L’ Orient an 18th century French colonial house.
Day – 5 » Pondicherry
This mornign drive out of the city of Gingee to see the remarkable 15th century Vijaynagar fort. Return to Pondicherry and in the afternoon visit the Aurobindo Ashram founded by a Bengali philosopher in the early 20th century.
Day – 6 » Pondicherry – Tanjore
Today drive via the temple towns of Chidambaram and Kumbakonam to Tanjore to stay fortwo nights at the Ideal River Resort which is situated overlooking the Cauvery river outside of the town.
Day – 7 » Tanjore
This entire area is rich in South Indian temple architecture. Today visit the great Brihadiswara temple in Tanjore, which is considered to be one of the most magnificent Chola temples in India. Drive out to Trichy which, is dominated by the rock Fort Temple. Also visit Srirangam a superbtemple complex spread over an island in the Cauvery River. The Sri Ranganathaswami temple dedicated to vishnu is one of the biggest temples in India.
Day – 8 » Tanjore – Madurai
This morning drive to Madurai, which has been a centre of learning, and pilgrimage for many centuries. Life in this bustling pilgrimage city is centred on the great Meenakshi Temple,w hich dominates the old city. This temple with its gopurams (pyramidal gateway towers) is covered with a profusion of multi coloured images of mystical figures, animals and gods. Stay overnight at the taj Garden Retreat or Hotel Sangam.
Alternatively, from Tanjore you could visit the region of Chettinad, just 90 kms east of Madurai, and home to the Nattukottai Chettiars, a prosperous banking community, who ventured overseas to Ceylon, Burma and Indo-China in the 19th and 20th centuries and amassed great fortunes. This area is noted for its grand mansions that are an archite ctural delight. We would recommended a two-night stay at The Bangala a charming 75-year-old Chettinad Bungalow belonging to the Meyyappa Chettiar family.
Day – 9 » Madurai – Kodaikanal
Today it is a scenic drive up to Kodaikanal,which is one of the most charming hillstations in South India. Kodaikanal lies on the southern crest of the Palani Hills, at an altitude of 2100 metres above sea level. Stay two nights at the Carlton Hotel.
Day – 10 » Kodaikanal
At leisure, Kodaikanal is noted for its scenery and landscaped lakes. Two of the msot spectacular views in India can be enjoyed from Coaker’s walk and pillar Rocks; however, at certain times of year the views can be restricted by the weather.
Day – 11 » Kodaikanal – Munnar
Leave today for a scenic drive through the hills to Munnar, at 1520 metres above sea level, in the high ranges of Kerala. Munnar is a genuine hill station and centre of the Kerala tea industry. It is also close to Anaimudi, at 2695 metres the highest peak in South India. In the town Christ Church with its memorial plaques to past planters is worth visiting. Stay at Windamere estate or Siena Village.
Day – 13 » Munnar – Cochin
Drive south to the Malabar Coast and to Cochin. Stay at the Brunton Boatyard Hotel overlooking the sea in Fort Cochin.
Day – 14 » Cochin
This morning visit the synagogue, dutch Palace, st Francis’ Church and the spice market. In the afternoon take a harbour cruise to see some of the nearny islands and the legendary Chinese fishing nets.
Day – 15 » Cochin – Mararikulam
This morning it is a short drive south to end your journey for three nights at the Marari Beach Resort at Mararikulam. Alternatively, before relaxing at thebeach, spend a couple of days cruising the backwaters on your own houseboat.
Day – 16 & 17 » Mararikulam
Day – 18 » Mararikulam – Chennai
Transfer by car to Cochin airport for your return flight to Chennai. Assistance on arrival end of tour.
Extension Tour to Cochin to Chennai
Day – 14 » Cochin – Tellicherry via Calicut
Today drive to Tellicherry. Stay overnight at Ayisha Manzil a 140 year-old colonial style bungalow, belonging to the Moosa family, it is situated on a hollock overlooking the Arabian Sea. The bungalow is simply furnished with family antiques and consists of six bedrooms all with en-suite bathrooms.
Day – 15 » Tellicherry – Coorg
Morning at leisure. After lunch leave for a scenic drive to coorg, nestling in the Western Ghats at 800 metres above sea level. The beautiful district of Coorg, untouched by urban development, offers crisp air, thick tropical forest, exotic spice and coffee plantations, extensive paddy fields and diverse flora and bird life. Stay for two nights at the Orange County Resort.
Day – 16 » Coorg
This morning take a short forest walk from Orange Country, with a local guide, to a tribal village. The Kurbas and Eravas tribes live in small communities in the forests of Coorg. They cultivate the fields and collect honey and herbs from the forest. In the afternoon visit a local plantation.
Day – 17 » Coorg – Mysore
Morning drive to the palce city of Mysore. Stay two nights at the Lalitha Mahal palace hotel (new wing).
Day – 18 » Mysore
Explore Mysore and the surrounding area. Places of interest include the Maharaja’s palace, the colourful vegetable and flower markets, and Chamundi Hill noted for its Nandi temple. Outside of Mysore you may wish to visit the Kesava Temple at Somnathpur.
Day – 19 » Mysore – Chennai
This mornign visit the ruins of Tipu Sultan’s capital at Srirangapatna, which is situated just outside of the city. Return to Mysore to join the ‘Shatabdi Express’ train for the 7-hour journey to chennai.