Women travelling with other women learn a lot from each other, and it is less stressful because you understand each other’s needs, you create an environment that is welcoming and comfortable. This “13 Days Women Tour of Kerala and Tamil Nadu” offers a spectacular discovery of buoyant South India. It embarks you on a fascinating journey where you explore the history of Kochi, backwaters of Kerala, wildlife at Periyar, Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, French-styled city of Pondicherry, Shore Temple of Mahabalipuram and much more. Unwind yourself in the picturesque backwaters of God’s own country Kerala - offering glimpses of the local life of villages that you won’t find anywhere else in Kerala. Enjoy a houseboat stay amidst natural settings and in the charm and comfort of the lakes, tea and spice plantations - making it an ideal combination for you. So let’s get started.
Upon arrival at Cochin Airport, our representative will meet you and transfer you to the hotel in Kochi. It also is known as Cochin and is a beautiful city in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. Over the years, the history and development of this city carry stubborn marks of the British, Arabs, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese. It is undoubtedly the best starting point on your discovery to capture the beauty of God’s own country - Kerala. On reaching, check-in at the hotel.
Today, go for Kochi sightseeing tour that begins with a visit to Fort Kochi located on the western coast of India amidst the pristine waters of the Arabian Sea. On visiting this fort, soak in the mesmerizing specimens of the bygone era. The architecture of this gorgeous fort uncovers the layers of colonial influence ingrained in this city. Visit the St. Francis Church within the middle of the fort’s complex. Built-in the year 1503, it is the oldest church built by Europeans in India. The lofty architecture of this Church is impressive in every way and has managed to retain its ancient charm, over the years.
Also, visit the Jewish Synagogue located close to Fort Kochi, which is more than 100-years old. It was built in 1568 and is a showpiece displaying hand-painted floor tiles, Belgium-imported glass chandeliers and rare antiques etc. and an exclusive gallery. We end the day with a visit to the Chinese Fishing Nets. They are a hallmark of the Fort Kochi, visible from Fort Kochi. The concept of these fishing nets is said to be introduced by Zheng He (a Chinese explorer). Here the fishing nets are made of bamboo and teakwood poles and practice the principle of balance. Almost every visitor visits here - especially during sunset - to click a few candids. End your day watching the traditional Kathakali Dance Show in Cochin.
After breakfast, drive to Alleppey, also called the 'Venice of the East'. It is located in the Alappuzha district of Kerala. This is a place where you can book an overnight houseboat stay and enjoy a relaxing ride and overnight stay soaking in the brilliant views of Kerala’s village life, lush green paddy fields and coconut lagoons. On arrival, board the houseboat. After registering, guests will receive a traditional welcome drink. As your houseboat rides on the backwaters of Alleppey, you will be served lunch, evening snacks with tea/coffee and dinner on the go. The boat will be anchored near a village for the night since cruising is not possible during the night because the local fishermen put their nets.
After breakfast at the houseboat, our representative will drive you to Periyar. It is a landscape set amidst the Western Ghats, in Kerala, that entices its visitors with its rich biodiversity and natural vistas. It is famous for its Wildlife Sanctuary, which is considered to be one of the major tiger reserves in India. Nestled in the Western Ghats, Periyar is blessed with exotic wildlife and scenic charm.
On reaching, visit the renowned Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary - a reserve of Bengal tigers, Indian elephants, Wild Boars, Tigers, Leopards, etc. It has a 100-years old artificial water lake where you can sight tigers, baby elephants and a couple of other animals in a playful mood. Go for a boat ride at the Periyar Lake to capture rich glimpses of wildlife, tea/coffee and spice plantations etc. Also, visit the famous spice plantations that display a variety of spices such as a variety of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric and curry leaves etc. cultivated in Periyar (Thekkady).
After breakfast, we will head to Madurai. It is located on the banks of River Vargai and is one of the few oldest inhabited cities in India whose origin dates back to 3rd century B.C. It was once the capital of the Pandavas - five brothers in the great Indian epic “Mahabharata”. On arrival, check-in at the hotel.
After breakfast, your Madurai sightseeing tour begins with a visit to the famous 1000-years old Meenakshi temple where Goddess Meenakshi, a form of Goddess Parvati and Sundareshwarar (a form of Lord Shiva and consort of Goddess Parvati) are worshipped here. This temple was among the top 30 nominees for the "New Seven Wonders of the World". Next, visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, a 17th-century palace that displays a beautiful fusion of Dravidian and Rajput architecture style built by King Thirumalai Nayak (1623-1659) as his royal residence. Visit the Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam - a small water tank that has underground channels with the River Vargai. It houses a 2000-years old temple dedicated to Lord Vigneshwara, in the centre. In the evening return to the Meenakshi Temple to witness the Aarti ceremony.
After breakfast, drive to Trichy located on the banks of River Cauvery. It is also called Tiruchirapalli and is the 4th largest city of Tamil Nadu. This bustling town’s landmark is the Rock Fort temple perched on a hilltop. This city is as old as 3rd century B.C that has been ruled by few most powerful dynasties of South India, namely the Pandyas, Pallavas, Nayak Dynasty and Chola Dynasty etc. Now it is a thriving town popular for silk sarees, artificial stone jewellery, wooden crafts and much more.
On reaching Trichy, visit the magnificent Rock Fort temple. Also called Ucchi Pillayar Koil, it is a temple built in the 7th century. Visitors reach here barefoot after climbing about 400 steps to capture the mesmerizing views of the city of Trichy and River Cauvery. It comprises of two temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva. Below the Rockfort temple, walk through the China Bazaar, Grand Bazaar and side streets. After sightseeing you will check-in to the hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to Thanjavur. It was one of the capitals of the Chola dynasty. It is famous for Tanjore paintings and Bharatanatya classical dance performances. It has been an important centre of religion, art and architecture, silk weaving and most of the Chola dynasty temples are present here. On arrival, check-in at the hotel. Later, proceed with Thanjavur sightseeing tour with a first visit to the Brihadeeshwara Temple - the first-ever of all Granite temples in the world. This temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built during the Chola Dynasty that captured Tanjore in 850 A.D, in 1010 AD. The presiding deity here is Nataraja (the dance form of Lord Shiva) and Nandi (Lord Shiva’s vehicle). Striking features about this temple is that it doesn’t cast a shadow on the ground at noon and there are musical pillars within the temple that create music when tapped.
Next, visit the Thanjavur Palace - the official residence of the Bhosle family that ruled Tanjore between 1674-1855. Within the palace, you will see the Sadar Mahal Palace, the queen's courtyard, the Durbar Hall, Raja Serfoji Memorial Hall and don’t miss out the Royal Palace Museum displaying sculptures, weaponry, elephant bells etc.
After breakfast, drive to Pondicherry. Pondicherry was under the rule of French till 1954. This is why it is a considered a French colony in India that showcases colonial heritage with streets dotted with yellow-walled houses and authentic street-side French cafes. This vibrant city - with a spiritual touch, French-style architecture, breezy shores and tranquil air - welcomes you with all the love. On arrival, check-in at the hotel.
After breakfast, go for Pondicherry sightseeing tour. Visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram which is quite popular. Auroville is a universal town where people of all nationalities follow the principle of harmony and peace. Also, visit the Sri Ganesha Temple and Manakula Lord Vinayagar - famous Hindu temples in Pondicherry.
Post breakfast we will drive to Mahabalipuram. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on a bank of Bay of Bengal. It is renowned for its various stone-carved monuments and ancient temples dating back to 7th & 8th centuries - mainly developed during the reign of Pallava Dynasty (275 CE to 897 CE). On arrival, check-in at the hotel.
After breakfast, proceed with Mahabalipuram sightseeing tour covering visits to the rock-cut temples and Mandapams (pavilion for public rituals) depicting incidents of the legends, Hindu epics and mythology. Visit the Panch Rathas (chariot-shaped) temples built during the reign of the Pallavas dynasty. These five temples are named after the five Pandava brothers and their wife Draupadi in the great Indian epic Mahabharata. Visit the Arjuna's Penance, a magnificent relief carved out in the mid-17th century that depicts the austerities performed by Arjuna (one of the Pandava brothers) to obtain Lord Shiva’s weapon (Trishul).
Next, head to the Shore temple - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - built in the 7th century built by Pallava King Narasimhavarman II depicting the royal grandeur of the Pallavas dynasty. It comprises of three temples - one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and other two dedicated to Lord Shiva.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to Chennai International Airport to board flight for your onward destination.
|12 Nights / 13 Days
|1158 Per Person
|Cochin - Alleppey - Periyar - Madurai - Trichy - Thanjavur - Pondicherry - Mahabalipuram - Chennai