20 Nights 21 Days Visiting : Chennai/ Mahabalipuram / Kanchipuram /Tiruvanamalai/Pondicherry /Trichy/Madurai /Kovlam/ Periyar/Allepey/Cochin /Ooty /Bandipur/Mysore / Hassan / Hospet/Goa
An intriguing combination of ancient dynasties and European colonial influences provide a fascinating theme for this tour. Enjoy the beauty and rich heritage of the south, contrasted with a real insight into the Dravidian roots of modern India. This journey encapsulates the very essence of the Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala regions.
Pre-departure planning is important. Here are certain things you should watch for and plan for.
Check with the appropriate consulate or embassy in your country to find out if you will need a visa to visit the country of your destination, especially for an extended period of time. Some countries have extremely detailed and complicated entry/departure laws, and treat visits of a week or two very differently from longer stays.
If you’re traveling to one area, check the cost of living there. If it’s high you’ll probably want to budget more carefully and save some money before leaving. The lower the cost of living the less you’ll have to save, but be sure to have a back up reserve in emergency cases.
Talk to other people who have done a similar trip.
If you don’t know anyone personally, try any of the dozens of online travel web sites full of first-person travel stories covering every possible type of trip.
Plan big and loose. Read everything you can about the area.
There may be sights and attractions you didn’t know about. A rough outline of your trip might have three or four target points and a variety of ways to get between them.
Some trips will allow you more leeway than others. Travel plans in Asia can often be made day-by-day while summer travel in Europe should be organized at least a few weeks ahead, unless you’re prepared to hunt around for hotel rooms and train seats.
Set up a pre-trip time-line so you don’t end up with a full todo list your last week of work or school.
Things to consider are doctor’s visits for a check up, inoculations, and prescription refills; purchasing plane tickets; renewing passports and obtaining visas and other documents.
The longer the trip, the lighter you should pack. This might seem strange, but it’s true you can afford to lug a heavy bag around for a week or two, but do you want to have anything extra for a year?
Stick to the absolute basics and know what you can and cannot buy at your destination(s). There’s no point in bringing 6 months of toothpaste to Europe or buying a sarong at home to take to the tropics. If you are visiting several climates, try to arrange it so you visit the warmer places first and coldest last. That way you can purchase sweaters and long pants and not have to carry them any more than needed. Alternately, visit cold climates first and then ship unneeded layers home — or sell them off.
Make sure everything goes with everything else (if that’s important to you), and remember that layers are always best.
Be prepared for uncomfortable trips. You will often find yourself in a busy, cramped, economy class environment and it could be for many hours – especially long plane trips.
If you want to arrive at your destination refreshed and able to enjoy the sights, then try a good quality travel pillow to support your head, some ear plugs to block out the screaming babies, and an eye cover to block out the sun or cabin lights.
Make contact with the locals before you go.
Maybe you have a friend-of-a-friend or a foreign exchange student from high school you remember, or just found a friend through a travel web site; almost everyone is happy to welcome a foreign visitor to their home town. This might be as elaborate as a home-stay for a few weeks, or just coffee in their home town or dinner at a locals restaurant.
A perfect city for exploring on foot with a shop around every corner. Much of the inner city can be walked without trouble, however, in parts walking include crowds, uneven streets, heavy traffic, and skinny sidewalks. If that’s a problem, there are plenty of taxi’s to ride in and scooters to rent.
How to Travel
- Subway – The metro is the fastest transportation. Running 5am to 10pm every day.
- Bus & Train – Operated by an independent organization, busses and trains include wifi access for the public. You can take any bus or train marked with the (B Public) sign for free.
- Taxi – Available in all parts of the city. From a restaurant or hotel you can have them call the city taxi service.
- Car – Rental cars are easy to get and hotels have good parking prices. Once in the main city, you can often walk so we suggest returning the when you arrive.
- Bike – The best way to get around, other than walking, is by bike. If you don’t mind hills, you can bike anywhere. If that’s not for you, stick to the inner city with your bike.
Just a few miles away you can explore the history and legacy, drink wine and relax. You can wander the hills or be lulled by the fountains. If you have time, the attractions can fill 3 days. We’ve highlighted the best ones here.
Because of the number of sights to see, some first-time visitors should start with an organized tour. Some things can be covered in depth, other are just useful for getting your bearings.
The leading tour operators use local historians to lead their tours. Guides offer walking tours, including visits to monuments, museums, and historic locations, as well as eating tours. Tour prices can be high, but most participants consider them a trip highlight. In addition, there are many family related tours, sights and more appealing activites to children.
Walking tours, like the 3 hour ghost tour, is an exclusive in the early evening. A bus excursion ruins special tours like you’ve never seen. Also worth consideration, a group of art historians and architects do a theatrical retelling from dramatic scripts. Go on a tour, expect guides to break out into a rendition of “Singing in the Rain”, it’s a lot of fun.
- Covelong Beaches
- Mahabalipuram – Stone Shore Temples
- Pondicherry French Heritage
- Karaikudi – Chettinad&Trichy Rock Fort
- Madurai – Meenakshi Temple
- Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary – Elephants
- Kumarakom Backwaters
- Cochin – Dutch Palace, Fishing Nets
- Ooty Hill Station & Mysore Palaces
- Banks – Open Monday to Friday 9am to 2pm. Some banks are closed for lunch.
- Emergencies – For police, dial a local phone number; for ambulance call a hospital.
- Internet Access – Wifi is standard in most hotels and free in many coffee shops.
- Mail – Buy stamps at the Post Office. Convenient post offices are located all cities. Most are open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
- Safety – Pickpocketing can be a common problem. It is suggested for men to keep wallets in their front pocket. Purse snatching also occurs at times.
This site contains information with a very personal and friendly structure. It also has great links to other related sites online.
Information, internet access, maps, and train passes are available at local Tourist Information terminals. These are located at various sites around the city. Expect a wait if you arrive late in the afternoon or during lunch time. Local travel agencies are also helpful for quick information and finding hotels. There is no service charge for these services. Hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, and Saturday 10am to 2pm.
Getting in from the airport and other arrival locations. Travel planning is about more than just knowing where you’re going. Prepares to navigate, take control and be ready for anything. This section helps you steer clear of disaster and stay open enjoy the unexpected.
- Plane – Flights arrive at the main airport near city center. If flying from European cities, you might land at a connecting airport. There is a tourist information office at the Terminal E, international arrivals, open 8am to 6pm.
- Train – A train station is on the lower level of the airport. To get into the city, follow the marked signs.
- Taxi – From the airport there is a flat-rate for the 1-hour trip, depending on traffic. Hotels charge up to $80 for shuttle service.
- Train & Bus – Trains and buses arrive a city center. This is the transportation hub for the city and is surrounded hotels.
A perfect place for exploring on foot, with local shops around every corner. You will eventually walk somewhere, it’s just going to happen. If you don’t like crowds, uneven cobblestones, heavy traffic or narrow sidewalks, take a taxi or rent a scooter.
Day 1: Arrival/Chennai
Arrival Chennai Today on reaching Chennai Airport you will meet and assist by our representative and transfer to Hotel. Check-in at Hotel.Later you will proceed for city sightseeing tour which includes a visit to the Government Museum and Art Gallery, to see the art and bronze gallery, (closed on Fridays and public holidays) and also a visit to the famous 16th century Kapaleeshwarar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, sacred to Tamil Shivaties. Non-Hindus are only allowed upto the outer courtyard. Drive past Fort St. George, Marina Beach and San Thome Cathedral. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 2 : Chennai/Mahaballipuram
Drive by surface to Mahabalipuram. Upon arrival check in at Hotel.Later you will proceed to visit Mahabalipuarm. Mahabalipuram is also called as Mamallapuram and it is a sea port built by Mahendravarman of pallava dynasty during 7th century.The monuments here are made out of solid rocks. Later in the afternoon move out for a local tour of Mahabalipuram the main attraction of Mahabalipuram is a open air rock sculpture known as “Arjuna’s Penance“, Mahishasuramardini Caves and Mandapams and few rocks cut temples. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 3: Mahabalipuram/Kanchipuram/Mahaballipuram
Proceed for excursion to Kanchipuram, It is considered as one of seven sacred cities of Hindus.Overnight at Hotel.
Drive by surface to Pondicherryenroute visit Tiruvanamalai and Gingee. On arrival check in at Hotel. Later move out for a local tour of Pondicherry. Pondicherry is a costal town ruled by French for 300 years. This city is very much known to the public by its Aurobindo Ashram visit Auroville. Raj Nivas, Government palace ,Botanical garden ,The French institute,Library of museum. Overnight at Hotel.
Drive by surface toTanjoreenroute visit Kumbakonam – a small typical Indian town and Chidambaram. Further continue the drive to Tanjore. Upon arrival check in at hotel.Overnightat Hotel.
After breakfast you will proceed for sightseeing of Tanjore. Tanjore was the capital of great Cholaempire who built more than 70 temples between 10th and 14th century. We visit here one of the world heritage monument, Brihadeshwara Temple (11th century), which is also known as big temple. Later drive by surface to Trichy. Upon arrival check in at hotel. Later you will proceed to visit Trichy, Here you will climb up the stairs to the famous Rock Fort which was built on 84 m high rock in the centre of town in about 1660. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 7: Trichy/Madurai
Drive by surface to Madurai. On arrival check in at Hotel.Later you will proceed to 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 TirumalaNayak Palace – A gracious building in the Indo saracenic style, famous for the Stucco work on its domes & arches. Also visit the Alagar Hills and TiruparaKundran Rock temple.Overnight at Hotel.
Day 8: Madurai/Periyar
Morning leave for Periyar. Upon arrival check in at Hotel.Later take anBoat ride on Periyar lake. The lake of Periyar is the central point of the famous 780 sq.2 Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary which was designated as a part of project Tiger in 1973. After the Boat ride we drive through the Park and observe the elephants, bison, sambar, wild oxen, wild boar and spotted deer which are common here. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 9: Periyar/ Kovalam
Drive by surface to Kovalam.On arrival check in at Hotel.Overnight at Hotel.
Day 10: Kovalam/Allepey
Drive by surface to Allepey.On arrival check in at Hotel.Overnight at Hotel.
Day 11: Allepey
After breakfast checkout from the hotel and board the house boat on Backwater of Kerala for a Night. Overnight on House Boat.
Day 12: Allepey/Cochin
After breakfast de board the House boat and drive by surface to Cochin. On arrival check in at Hotel.Later you will proceed for sightseeing of Cochin, visit Fort Cochin, Santa Cruz Basilica, Dutch Palace at Mattancherry, St. Francis Church and Chinese fishing net. Finally, the Willingdon Island, named after Lord Willingdon, is the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command of India. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 13: Cochin/Ooty
Drive by surface to Ooty. Upon arrival check in at Hotel.Overnight at Hotel.
Day 14: Ooty/Bandipur
Morning proceed to visit the Botanical garden built in 1847 and the Ooty Lake were boating facility is available. Horse-back riding around the lake also is available. Later drive by surface to Bandiur. Upon arrival check in at Hotel.Later proceed to evening Safari in to the Park. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 15: Bandipur/Somnath/Mysore
After breakfastproceed to morning Safari in to the Park.Laterdrive by surface to Mysore enroute visit Somnathpur. Upon arrival check in at Hotel.Lateryou will proceed to visit Mysore Palace, one of the major attractions of Mysore. Then to Mysore Zoo were you can see some of the rare species of wildlife. Then proceed to world famous Brindavan Gardens expanded over 150 acres. The musical fountain and light show adds attraction to the gardens. Return back to the hotel.Overnight at Hotel.
Day 16: Mysore/Srirangapatnam/Gomateshwara/Hassan
After breakfast drive by surface to Hassan enroute visit Srirangapatnam and Gomateshwara. Upon arrival check in at Hotel.Overnight at Hotel.
Day 17: Hassan/Halebid/Belur/Hospet
After breakfast you will proceed to visitBelur and Halebid. The ChennaKesava temple of Belur built 900 years ago is an exquisite example of Hoysala art. Halebid’s 12th century Hoysaleswara. Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples are master pieces of Hindu art. Later drive by surface to Hospet. On arrival check in at Hotel.Overnight at Hotel.
Day 18: Hospet
After breakfast you will proceed to visit Hampi, Hampi is nestled within the ruins of medieval city of Vijayanagar in the state of Karnataka, on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. Set in a surreal and beautiful boulder-strewn landscape, Vijayanagara (the City of Victory) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and although the city was destroyed by marauding Moghulinvanders in the 16th century.Overnight at Hotel.
Day 19: Hospet/Goa
After breakfast drive by surface to Goa. On arrival check in at hotel.Overnight at hotel.
Day 20: Goa
After breakfast full day relax on beach. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 21: Goa/Departure
After breakfast you will be transferred to Airport to board the flight for onward journey.
- Shirdi Bombay Tour
- Jewish Heritage Tour of India
- Churches of South India
- Christian Pilgrims Tour
- Jyotirlinga Darshan
- Ardh Kumbh Special at Allahabad
- Kathmandu and Chitwan
- Buddhist Tour in Nepal