Best of Tamilnadu and Pondicherry Heritage with Kodaikanal(8 Nights)

Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Thanjavur, Kodaikanal, Madurai

for Family Traveller, Heritage Traveller

Holiday Overview

Kodaikanal Lake
Boat House
Around Elephant Valley
Silver Cascade (Photo Courtesy: Aruna)
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple (Photo Courtesy: Kramasundar)
Brihadeeswarar Temple (Nivalink Trip Dated - 2 May 2009)
Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Sacred Heart Church Pondicherry
Chunnambar Boat House
Beaches around Mahabalipuram
French War Memorial
Pondicherry Promenade
Cycle Rickshaw Heritage Ride in morning
French Quarters
Aurobindo Ashram
Krishnas Butterball (Nivalink Trip Dated - 25 July 2016)
Five Rathas (Nivalink Trip Dated - 25 July 2016)
Five Rathas (Nivalink Trip Dated - 25 July 2016)
View of Shore Temple from Sea Breeze
Shore Temple (Nivalink Trip Dated - 25 July 2016)

Best of Tamilnadu and Pondicherry Heritage with Kodaikanal is a family itinerary of Tamilnadu where one visits best of Heritage areas, renowned pilgrimages and hill station of Kodaikanal


Mahabalipuram(1) - Pondicherry(2) - Thanjavur(2) - Kodaikanal(2) - Madurai(1)

Summarised Itinerary
  • Day-1 Arrival at Mahabalipuram
  • Day-2 Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry. Visit to the French Quarters
  • Day-3 Pondicherry and around
  • Day-4 Pondichery - Thanjavur via Chidambaram. Visit UNESCO World heritage site temple
  • Day-5 In and around Thanjavur or Kumbakonam Temples visit
  • Day-6 Thanjavur - Madurai. Visit Meenakshi Temple in evening,
  • Day-7 Madurai to Kodaikanal. Visits around Kodaikanal
  • Day-8 Sightseeing in and around Kodaikanal
  • Day-9 Departure
Sightseeing Summary

Kodaikanal - Kodaikanal Lake (1.00 kms), Coakers Walk (1.30 kms)

Madurai - Meenakshi Amman Temple (1.00 kms)

Mahabalipuram - Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1.00 kms)

Pondicherry - Aurobindo Ashram (0.50 kms), Pondicherry Promenade (1.00 kms), Pondicherry Museum (6.00 kms), Auroville (8.00 kms), Chidambaram Shiva Temple (Nataraja Temple) (46.00 kms)

Thanjavur - Brihadeeswarar Temple (1.00 kms), Saraswathi Mahal Library (1.00 kms), Tanjore Painting (1.00 kms), Tanjore Palace (1.00 kms)

Preferred Arrival /Departure Destination
Arrival - Chennai Departure - Madurai
Best Season to Travel
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Popular Extensions to the Itinerary

Additional day would allow travellers to visit Pilgrimage of Rameshwaram (One of the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples

  • Chennai to Mahabalipuram -60 kms (1 hrs)
  • Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry -100 kms (2 hrs)
  • Pondicherry to Thanjavur -176 kms (4 hrs)
  • Thanjavur to Kodaikanal -252 kms (5.5 hrs)
  • Kodaikanal to Madurai -115 kms (3.5 hrs)

Chennai - Mahabalipuram(1) - Pondicherry(2) - Thanjavur(2) - Kodaikanal(2) - Madurai(1)

Detailed Itinerary

Day-1 Arrival at Mahabalipuram Arrival at 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 and around 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. Visit Meenakshi Temple in evening, Thanjavur to MAdurai (190 kms - 3.5 hrs). Madurai is renowned for the Meenakshi Temple Complex. Visit the Meenakshi Temple complex at Madurai. Given time guests have option to visit Aarupadaiveedu Temples (2 temples within 10 km radius), Gandhi Museum and experiential traveller have option for foodies walk (Optional extra).

Day-7 Madurai to Kodaikanal. Visits around Kodaikanal Travel to Kodaikanal (120 kms - 3 hours). Kodaikanal (6500 ft asl). is a renowned hill station in South India. Evening boating at the Kodai lake.

Day-8 Sightseeing in and around Kodaikanal Sightseeing options around Kodaikanal comprise Green Valley, Pillar Rocks, Coakers Walk, Bear-Shola falls, Bryant Park, Shembaganur Museum of Natural History, Silver Cascade, Kurinji Andavar Temple etc. Guests can choose options to visit accordingly to their preferences.

Day-9 Departure Travel to Madurai Airport (120 kms) or Coimbatore (170 kms) for onward journey

Detailed Sightseeing

Kodaikanal :

  • Kodaikanal Lake - Kodaikanal Lake is a manmade lake that is a central attraction of the Hill station of Kodaikanal. Guests enjoy boating, rowing and pedalling boats in the evenings.

  • Coakers Walk - Coakers walk is a 1 km paved pedestrian path running along the edge of steep slopes near approachable from the lake. There is an observatory with a telescope halfway along the walk.

Madurai :

  • Meenakshi Amman Temple - Meenakshi Amman Temple is a 17th century temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati known as Meenakshi and her consort, Lord Shiva as Sundareswarar. It is most prominent landmark of the city. The complex houses 14 gopurams, highest being about 52 meters. Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of the most visited temples of Tamilnadu and must visit for any traveller.

Mahabalipuram :

  • Monuments at Mahabalipuram - Mahabalipuram is home to 7th - 9th century monuments of Pallava kingdom which are now a designated UNESCO world heritage site. The monuments include Rock Temple, Lord Vishnu Temple, Arjuna Penance, Varaha Cave temple. Its a popular stopover on inbound heritage circuit and day visited from chennai.

Pondicherry :

  • Aurobindo Ashram - The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a well known ashram in Pondicherry with devotees from India and all over the world. The Ashram was founded by Sri Aurobindo, great philospoher and it represents a combination of yoga and modern science.

  • Pondicherry Promenade - Pondicherry has a renowned Promenade around the french quarters which is where locals converge on a sunday evening. Promenade otherwise is an excellent area for a walk and to visit in evening for some romantic restaurants in bylanes around.

  • Pondicherry Museum - Pondicherry Museum has a gallery with sculptures and has the remains of archaeological findings from the Arikamedu Roman settlement. The museum also has a collection of rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties and artifacts excavated from Arikamedu (7 kms)

  • Auroville - Auroville is an experimental township situated 8 km north of Pondicherry off East Coast Road. It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Richard (also known as The Mother), the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. The dome here is an architectural marvel and overall spread of the area and its character means that interested tourists and devotees arrive here all through the year.

  • Chidambaram Shiva Temple (Nataraja Temple) - Chidambaram is one of the five Pancha Bootha Sthalams and one of the most significant and visited temples of Shiva. Temple is spread over 40 acres and built around 10-11th century representing Chola period architecture. Chidambaram is the only known temple where Shiva is depicted performing Cosmic activities. The architecture of the temple is imposing and therefore visited by heritage traveller and those interested in temple architecture.

Thanjavur :

  • Brihadeeswarar Temple - Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur is an ancient Lord Shiva temple Shiva and is considered Landmark in South Indian temple architecture. It has a massive 66 meter temple tower and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a must visit for any heritage traveller.

  • Saraswathi Mahal Library - The Saraswathi Mahal Library established around 1700 AD and located in the premises of a palace, contains over 30,000 Indian and European manuscripts written on palm leaf and paper.

  • Tanjore Painting - Tanjore paintings are an early 17th Century art. Tanjore paintings are renowned for their richness and colors. There are number places in Thanjavur where one can purchase authentic Tanjore paintings.

  • Tanjore Palace - The Thanjavur Maratha Palace Complex, known locally as Aranmanai, is the official residence of the Bhonsle family who ruled over the Tanjore region from 1674 to 1855. The palace complex consists of the queens courtyard and the Durbar Hall. The Raja Serfoji Memorial Hall and the Royal Palace Museum are situated in the Sadar Mahal Palace. The Saraswathi Mahal Library is situated with the Thanjavur palace complex.

Destination Overview

Chennai - Located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Chennai is a metro city of India and the largest in South India. Chennai is starting point for many itineraries of Taminadu and South India.

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.

Kodaikanal - Kodaikanal (7000 ft asl) traditionally has been one of the favorite hill stations to visit in summer alongwith Ooty. It’s also a destination for corporate conferences ex-Madurai, Chennai and Bangalore

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

Prefered Arrival : No ImageChennaiNo ImageChennai
Prefered Departure : No ImageMaduraiNo ImageMadurai
  • Chennai to Mahabalipuram -60 kms (1 hrs)
  • Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry -100 kms (2 hrs)
  • Pondicherry to Thanjavur -176 kms (4 hrs)
  • Thanjavur to Kodaikanal -252 kms (5.5 hrs)
  • Kodaikanal to Madurai -115 kms (3.5 hrs)

Ready Cost estimate for this itinerary is not available.

However Nivalink would be able to readily offer a cost estimate or customise the itinerary as per specific requirements.

All Nivalink packages offer a Quality Assurance for superior recommendations and hassle free travel experience.

Call 022-6150 6363 to speak to our travel planner or email to connect with our travel planner for details on the itinerary: Best of Tamilnadu and Pondicherry Heritage with Kodaikanal.

Email to to connect with sector expert for specific ideas and recommendations.

Travel Ideas incorporated in the itinerary

Kodaikanal Getaway

Elephant Valley, Eco Farm Hotel is a 100 acres nature reserve at 20 kms from Kodaikanal and an more

Lines indicate the best available driving routes.
Arrows indicate connectivity other than Road (e.g. Waterways or Air).
Please click on the markers for more detailed Information.

  • Chennai to Mahabalipuram -60 kms (1 hrs)
  • Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry -100 kms (2 hrs)
  • Pondicherry to Thanjavur -176 kms (4 hrs)
  • Thanjavur to Kodaikanal -252 kms (5.5 hrs)
  • Kodaikanal to Madurai -115 kms (3.5 hrs)

Expert Speak

Best of Tamilnadu and Pondicherry Heritage with Kodaikanal is where travellers explore best of french heritage (Pondicherry), UNESCO world heritage sites (Mahabalipuram, Thanjavur), Temples (Chidambaram, Madurai) and Hill station (Kodaikanal)

Expert Connect

Nivalink has taken over 300 trips across India and select destinations overseas over last 10 years to verify hotels, evaluate destinations and understand its suitability with different profiles of customers across different seasons.

At Nivalink you are able to connect directly with experts who have travelled to these destinations and are able to offer novel ideas, honest perspectives and help you narrow down choices.

Email to to connect with sector expert for specific ideas and recommendations.

All Holidays /Tamil Nadu - Pondicherry/ Holidays for Tamil Nadu - Pondicherry/Best of Tamilnadu and Pondicherry Heritage with Kodaikanal