Best of Tamil Nadu (12D/11N)
Tamil Nadu in South India is the homeland of one of humanity’s living classical civilisations with more than 4,000 years of continuous cultural history. The state depicts the heart of Dravidian culture in India, and is very much alive today in the Tamil language, dance, poetry and forms of Hinduism.
Tamil Nadu has some of the most remarkable temple architecture in India, from the sculpted stonework at Thanjavur to the sprawling halls in Madurai. Apart from boasting cultural opulence at heritage sites and in temple towns, the state is also renowned for its beautiful coastline, hill stations, waterfalls, national parks, French colonial B&Bs, mansions, yoga and meditation retreats, and local cuisine.
This tour covers Chennai, Kanchipuram, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Thanjavur, Madurai & Tiruchirappalli (Trichy). The tour can be further customised to include other places, for example, Kumbakonam, Chidambaram, Coimbatore, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, etc to suit your interests/tour purposes. Customization may change the duration of the tour accordingly.
Best time to travel: Sept & Oct, Dec – Mar
To enquire and/or book, email us at email@example.com
Day 1: Arrival in Chennai
On your arrival at Chennai International Airport, you will be greeted by our representative who will assist you to transfer to your hotel.
Check in hotel and overnight stay in Chennai.
Day 2: Chennai city tour (B)
Morning breakfast at hotel and post breakfast, proceed with city tour of Chennai.
Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is the capital of Tamil Nadu and the commercial soul of South India. You will be visiting some of the historic sites of the city including the remnants of Fort St. George which currently houses the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly, official buildings, St. Mary’s Church (the oldest Anglican church in India), and Wellesley House.
Among the popular places to visit in Chennai is Mylapore, a bustling district where Chennai’s oldest and renowned temple is located - Kapaleeshwara Temple. The temple features remarkable Dravidian architecture while the main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva.
Later visit St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica (also known as Santhome). Built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Santhome Church houses the mortal remains of St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. The church is one of the only three known churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus, the other two are located in Vatican City and Spain.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 03: Drive to Mahabalipuram and tour (B)
Morning breakfast at hotel and post breakfast check out from the hotel. Proceed with journey to Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram is a town situated on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. Visit Hindu religious monuments consisting of a giant open-air rock relief (Arjuna’s Penance), monolithic structures (Pancha Rathas), Krishna’s Butter Ball (gigantic rock boulder), cave temples and the famous structure of all, the Shore Temple.
Transfer to beach resort and overnight stay at hotel.
Day 04: Kanchipuram tour (2 hours’ drive) (B)
Morning breakfast at hotel and post breakfast drive to Kanchipuram.
Kanchipuram (sometimes called Kanchi), a small town in Tamil Nadu but is one of the seven holiest cities in India and an important spiritual centre of Hinduism. You’ll be visiting two important temples in Kanchipuram – Kamakshi Amman Temple and Ekambareswarar Temple.
Kanchipuram is also widely known for their high-quality handwoven silk sarees weaved from pure mulberry silk thread. Ranging in length from 6-9 yards, these silk sarees are worn by women during auspicious occasions such as weddings or birthdays. There are more than 5,000 families in Kanchipuram who are in the business of silk weaving.
We will visit a weaver in action and see how silk sarees are made on the loom. Any trip to Kanchipuram is incomplete without shopping for these silk sarees. Time spent in the afternoon is available for your shopping.
Transfer back to Mahabalipuram and overnight stay at hotel.
Day 05: Drive to Pondicherry (2 hours’ drive) (B)
Morning breakfast at hotel and post breakfast check out from the hotel. Proceed with transfer to Pondicherry. Upon arrival in Pondicherry, check in at hotel and rest in the afternoon.
Pondicherry was the largest French colony in India until the 1950s. Pondicherry, also known as Pondy, is officially called Puducherry; it’s a Union Territory in South India. French influence is still strong in this coastal town especially in the old quarters with Rues and Boulevards lined with colonial mansions and houses, bakeries and cafes, though the town centre remains very much Indian.
Enjoy a heritage walking tour of Pondicherry’s French colonial past as you traverse through its quaint boulevards and sleepy streets, and visit attractions such as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Barathi Park, Government Park and Old Town. The walk also includes a visit to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram which was set up by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
Post-walking tour, do take an evening stroll by Pondicherry Beach and promenade.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 06: Tour of Auroville (B)
Morning breakfast at hotel. Drive to Auroville (12km from Pondicherry) – an experiential spiritual community set up in 1968 with the objective of human unity free of religion, politics and nationality.
Auroville was founded by a French woman, Mirra Alfassa (known as “The Mother”) who was the successor of Sri Aurobindo, a renowned Indian spiritual leader whose teachings were based on the concept of integral yoga and surrendering to a higher consciousness.
Return to Pondicherry and the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 07: Drive to Thanjavur (4 hours) (B)
Morning breakfast at hotel and post-breakfast, check out from the hotel. Proceed with drive to Thanjavur.
Thanjavur or Tanjore thrived as the ancient capital of the Chola kingdom, later of Marathas and Nayaks. Thanjavur was at the height of its glory during the Chola period between the 10th and 14th century, and became a great centre of learning and culture.
Upon arrival in Thanjavur, proceed to hotel and check-in. Rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight stay in hotel.
Day 08: Tour of Thanjavur (B)
Morning breakfast at hotel and then, enjoy a tour of Thanjavur.
Visit the important landmark in Thanjavur – the Brihadeeswara Temple, also known as the Big Temple. Made entirely of granite, the temple is already 1000 years old and is known as one of the Great Living Chola Temples. The temple tower is about 200 feet high and is the tallest in the world.
Later, visit the Royal Palace Museum Thanjavur to explore its Art Gallery of bronze and stone Chola sculptures from the 9th to 13th centuries; the Saraswathi Mahal Museum (library) which contains a priceless collection of more than 60,000 volumes of rare books and manuscripts including palm-leaf manuscripts; and the royal palace’s colourful Durbar Hall.
Your tour ends with a visit to the bronze-casting workshop where you can see how artisans make beautiful handicrafts. You may also shop for Thanjavur paintings and dancing dolls.
Rest of the afternoon at leisure. In the evening, you may return to Brihadeeswara Temple to experience the site at sundown.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 09: Drive to Madurai (3.5 hours) (B)
Morning breakfast at hotel and post breakfast, check out from hotel. Proceed with transfer to Madurai. Upon arrival in Madurai, proceed to hotel for check-in.
Madurai is the third largest city in Tamil Nadu, and has been a major settlement for two millennia, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city is famous for its rich heritage and promotion of Tamil language through sangam literature.
You will be visiting the Thirumalai Nayak Palace which was originally built as a residential palace for King Thirumalai Nayak in 1636. With the input of an Italian architect, the palace is a classic fusion of Dravidian and Islamic styles.
Evening at leisure. Overnight stay in hotel.
Day 10: Tour of Meenakshi Amman Temple (B)
Morning breakfast at hotel and then enjoy a tour of the Meenakshi Amman Temple.
Meenakshi Amman Temple which is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Shiva. The temple is situated right in the heart of Madurai, and forms the heart and lifeline of the city for 2,500 years. The temple is a major pilgrimage destination, its shrine is enclosed within huge stonewalls and elaborately sculptured towering gopurams. Inside the temple walls are pillared halls, carved sculptures and stone iconography.
Rest of the day at leisure and overnight stay at hotel.
Day 11: Drive to Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) (2 hours) (B)
Morning breakfast at hotel and post breakfast, check out from hotel. Proceed with transfer to Trichy. Upon arrival in Trichy, proceed to hotel and check-in. Rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Tiruchirappalli (commonly known as Trichy) has an ancient and diverse history that can be traced as far back as the early Chola dynasty in the 3rd century BC. This makes it one of the oldest inhabited cities in the state. Over the course of time, Trichy has had 10 different rulers who have left their mark on it, including the British.
In the late afternoon/early evening, visit the Rock Fort Temple Complex which presides over Trichy, perched on an immense rock that is said to be 3.8 billion years old! The Rock Fort Temple is the city’s most prominent landmark, and it comprises three Hindu temples as well as a fort. The temple complex provides an ideal sunset spot with a captivating view over the city.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 12: Transfer to International Airport for departure flight to Kuala Lumpur
Proceed for departure transfer to Trichy Airport to board flight for onward journey home.
***END OF TOUR***
For full private tour details and bookings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org