The South India is filled with several examples that showcase that unity in diversity prevails in the roots of Indian Culture since prehistoric times. The plethora of Hindu temples ornamented with wonderful architecture is situated in various parts in south India. These temples are apt places for religious travellers who want to soak themselves in sacred vibes coming from these holy spots.
In addition, the primeval churches founded by Europeans are present there in South India that are a display of beautiful sculpture and architect as well. This 15 Nights and 16 Days itinerary allows the traveller to explore various sacred temples of Hindus and churches of Christians in a comprehensive and gratifying manner.
The day is fixed for departure from your home country for Chennai.
After an early morning arrival in Chennai, check in at your pre-booked hotel. In the afternoon, we will visit the 7th C. Kapaleeshwara Temple, dominated by its magnificent 37 metre high Gopuram. Also, we will see the 63 Shaivate bronze carvings of Saints which are carried, in procession, during the festival of Aruvathumoovartay. An overnight stay at the hotel in Chennai.
Today, we will be visiting Santhome Cathedral and St. Thomas Mount. Christian belief holds that St. Thomas came to Kerala and thence to Tamil Nadu preaching from about 52AD to 72AD, when he was martyred at St. Thomas Mount, and a Church built over his tomb.
Later return back to the hotel for an overnight stay.
After breakfast in the morning, we will drive to the World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, on the Coromandel Coast and see the pleasant, delicate Shore Temple and extraordinary 10th century rock sculptures — including Aarjuna's Penance and the five Rathas (chariots), which are considered to be the architectural forerunners of South Indian Temples. Sadly sea, sand and wars have taken their toll on these magnificent works of art, but they still hold the viewer enthralled with their absolute beauty.
Enjoy an overnight stay in the hotel in Chennai.
Today, we will take a train ride in Vairagi Express in CC (1305-1750 hrs) to Tiruchirapalli (Trichy). On the way, we will be passing through the varied Tamil landscape. On arrival in Tiruchirapalli, check in at the hotel for an overnight stay.
In the morning after breakfast, we will climb the carved steps to see the spectacular Rock Fort with the Ucchi Pillaya Temple at the top, dedicated to Kangaala Moorthy, one of the 64 manifestations of Shiva. Later, we will be visiting the vast Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam, which is devoted to Lord Vishnu. On an island, formed by the rivers Cauvery and Coleroon, this 156 acres temple site is considered to be of immense spiritual importance among the followers of Lord Vishnu.
Enjoy an overnight stay in the hotel in Tiruchirapalli.
Early in the morning, we will be driving to Kulitalai to the Bede Griffiths' Shantivanam Ashram for a whole day to experience the meditative environment and routine of the ashram. Later return back to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Today, we will drive or take a train journey to Madurai. In Madurai, we will visit the Gandhi Museum and explore its fascinating exhibitions and collections associated with the Father of the Nation. An overnight stay in the hotel in Madurai.
In the morning, we will take a tour to the wonderful Shree Meenakshi Temple, devoted to the Lord Shiva. The stunning Gopurams of the temple soar to the skies covered with stucco deities and mythical creatures ablaze with colour. The 1000 pillared hall is a marvel and the musical pillars quite astounding. After exploring the temple, return back to the hotel for a night stay.
The day is free for leisure to meander through the pulsating streets of Madurai filled with bazaars, craft and textile markets. One can also return to absorb the atmosphere of the eclectic temple complex in Madurai. Later return back to your hotel in Madurai for an overnight stay.
Today in the morning, we will leave the frenetic temple city and drive to the cooler climes of Munnar, a delightful hill station surrounded by tea plantations, forests and soaring slopes. In the afternoon, we will proceed for a tea plantation tour. Later, return back to the hotel for an overnight stay in your hotel in Munnar.
In the morning after breakfast, we will drive through the vivid green Keralan countryside planted with scented spice trees, teak and rubber plantations. En route, we will stop for a traditional Keralan meal before continuing to the coast and the old seaport of Kochi — Cochin. Check in at the hotel in Kochi for an overnight stay.
Today in the morning, we will visit the Cathedral — the oldest European Church in India. Here, we will watch Cochin's famous Jewish Synagogue, dating from 1568, the Mattancherry Palace and the intriguing Chinese cantilevered fishing nets. In the evening, we will visit Kathakali dance performance. Later return back to the hotel for a pleasant night stay.
The day is fixed to relax on the Backwaters of Kerala on a traditional converted Rice Boat and exploring the river ways and islands of this fascinating area. The Kottayam area was and is still an important centre of the ancient Syrian Orthodox Church. An overnight stay on houseboat.
Today, we will return back to Cochin. Rest of the day is free for leisure or for shopping in the colourful local market of Cochin. In the evening, see the exciting performance of the fascinating Kathakali dance. It is suggested to arrive early in order to watch the performers applying their intricate makeup. Later return back to your hotel for an overnight stay.
In the morning, we will transfer you to the airport to catch the flight for onward destination.