Mahabalipuram(1) - Pondicherry(2) - Thanjavur(2) - Madurai(1) - Thekkady(2) - Alleppey(2) - Cochin (Fort Cochin)(2)
Day-1 Arrival at Mahabalipuram Arrival to Mahabalipuram. Enroute its possible to visit Crocodile Farm and Dakshinachitra (Craft village). Visit Shore Temple (UNESCO World heritage site) and other heritage sites (Pancha Ratha, Varaha Cave Temple, Tiger Cave, Krishna Mandapam, Balancing rock, Arjuna's Penance, all within 1-2 km radius) in the evening.
Day-2 Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry. Visit to the French quarters Proceed to Pondicherry (100 kms - 2.5 hours). In the evening enjoy a walk on the french quarters heritage area of Pondicherry and the promenade in the evening. A romantic evening meal at a restaurant serving French, European or Chettinad cuisine could be a good experience.
Day-3 Pondicherry During first half sightseeing options in and around Pondicherry town comprise Aurobindo Ashram, Ashram's handmade paper factory, Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Manakula Vinayagar Koil, Pondicherry Musuem, the Botanical Gardens and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. Afternoon visit to Auroville commune (15 kms North of Pondicherry). Matrimandir at the commune is a renowned architectural masterpiece. In the evening visit the Anglo-French Textiles showroom for a bit of shopping. Those looking at a bit of Boating can also head for Chunnambar (8 kms South of Pondicherry).
Day-4 Pondichery - Thanjavur via Chidambaram. Visit UNESCO World heritage site temple Proceed to Thanjavur (175 kms - 4 hrs) via Chidambaram (58 kms). Chidambaram is home to Nataraja Temple (17th century temple renowned for its architectural and religious significance) and a major pilgrim centre. Evening visit Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur, a Chola Period (9th - 13th century) Temple and a UNESCO World heritage site.
Day-5 In and around Thanjavur or Kumbakonam Temples visit Visit Vijayanagar fort (2 kms from Brahadeeswara Temple), a 16th century fort. Inside the fort is the Tanjore Palace, Sangeetha Mahal, Saraswathi Mahal Library and Art Gallery having a collection of sculptures and paintings OR undertake excursion to Kumbakonam (41 kms) to visit Adi Kumbeswara Temple, Darasuram temple and other temples of Kumbakonam, which not only have architectural significance but also are pilgrim centres on their own.
Day-6 Thanjavur - Madurai Proceed to Madurai (194 kms - 4 hrs). Enroute Visit Trichy (Rock Fort temple, Jambukeswarar Temple, Ranganathaswamy temple). In the evening visit the Meenakshi Temple at Madurai.
Day-7 Madurai - Thekkady. Sightseeing around Thekkady Proceed to Thekkady (2500 ft asl) (140 kms - 3.5 hrs). Post Lunch can go for the touristy Periyar boat cruise (on direct payment) and later Kathakali dance show. Given time Spice garden visit (Cardamom, Pepper, Cinnamon, Vanilla) can be done (Direct payment) alongwith a visit to Elephant Junction for the elephant experience (elephant ride).
Day-8 Activities inside Periyar reserve forest Guests can opt for an activity inside Periyar forest such as half day jungle walk / trek forest programme or a full day forest programme involving jungle walk / trek and Bamboo Rafting. Guest also can opt for a full day Gavi eco tourism experience programme (42 kms from Thekkady) involving Jeep Safari (Gavi trip), nature walk / hike, bamboo rafting etc. These programmes require to be reserved in advance.
Day-9 Thekkady - Alleppey Proceed to Alleppey (138 kms - 4 hrs). Enjoy a lakeside resort stay OR do an excursion to Marari Beach (16 kms from Alleppey) OR Bird Watching at Pathiramanal Island is about 1.5 km boat ride from Muhamma.
Day-10 Alleppey - Alleppey boat Cruise Jetty Proceed to houseboat jetty by 11:30 AM for overnight houseboat cruise which will sail through backwaters of Kuttanad area, a region in South Alleppey known for their undersea farming and gives Kerala the name "Venice of the East". Experience the backwater lifestyle up close and authentic Kerala Cuisine experience.
Day-11 Alleppey - Fort Cochin Alight from houseoat (9:30 AM) and get trasferred to Fort Cochin (62 kms - 1.5 hrs), a heritage area. Walk in heritage bylanes of Fort Cochin. Visit St Francis Church, Jewish Synagogue, Chinese fishing nets. Enjoy a quiet dinner at one of the charming restaurants in Fort Cochin.
Day-12 Fort Cochin Visit Matancherry Palace / Museum, Santa Cruz Basillica and Museum of Art and Kerala History. Guest can also opt for an evening speed boat ride of Islands around Fort Cochin (Bolgatty and Vypeen). Evening visit to Greenix village for evening performances of traditional dance forms of Kerala.
Day-13 Departure Depart for onward journey.
Mahabalipuram - Mahabalipuram also known as Mamallapuram is situated 60 km south Chennai on the famous East Coast Road. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th century, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pondicherry - Pondicherry is a popular destination in South India for Inbound guests on the heritage itinerary covering other areas like Mahabalipuram, Chidambaram, Thanjavur, Madurai etc. Pondicherry is a popular weekend getaway ex-Chennai and Bangalore.
Thanjavur - Thanjavur is an important center of South Indian art and architecture. The Brihadeeswara Temple is located in the center of the town, which is UNESCO World Heritage site.
Madurai - Madurai today is one of the busiest towns in Tamilnadu. The Meenakshi temple is awe-inspiring and is a must visit for any South India itinerary for both Indian as well as Overseas guests
Thekkady - Thekkady (2500 ft asl) is a stopover on the South India Itinerary on Madurai - Kottayam route known for nature centric experiences connected with Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Alleppey - Alleppey is renowned for its backwaters and is known as the Venice of the east. Overnight houseboats in Alleppey lake and backwaters are considered an experience.
Cochin (Fort Cochin) - A heritage area a few kilometers from Willingdon Island. With many charming heritage hotels in the area, its perhaps the best area of accommodation for leisure and experience oriented travelers.