Arrive in the southeast Indian city of Chennai shortly after midnight. Meet your guide and transfer to The Leela Palace Chennai.
Spend a relaxing morning at leisure, before your afternoon tour of this vibrant city. Visit the National Art Gallery and Museum, which houses some beautiful temple friezes and South Indian bronzes. Next stop is the San Thome Basilica, before the Mylapore Temple and then St Mary's Church. Learn more about the colourful history of Chennai over a delightfully authentic dinner.
Fly to Madurai where you’ll be transferred directly to the Gateway Hotel Pasumalai. After a little while to settle in, it’s time to witness the fascinating rituals and immersive musical performances which begin the Night Ceremony at Meenakshi Temple. Marvel as the Idol of Shiva is carried by the procession to Meenakshi's bedroom.
Rise early and head to the flower market, the perfect place to see the city awaken. Afterwards, visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum and the Thirumalai Nayak Mahal to get acquainted with this historic hot spot. Take the rest of the day at your leisure to explore the local market and traditional shops among the many other sights in amazing city.
Today begins with a scenic drive to Chettinad. On your walking tour of the city, you’ll visit the region’s many ornate mansions and intriguing temples. Another attraction here, particularly for spice lovers, is the chance to sample Chettinad’s famous cuisine.
After breakfast head to Trichy by car, once again entering this incredibly picturesque countryside. As well as natural wonder, your route also showcases two breath-taking phenomena. Witness Tiruchirappalli Rock Fort, a formidable structure carved into the very landscape. The next stop is the impressive temple complex of Srirangam, dedicated to the Hindu god of Ranganatha.
Head out to explore Thanjavur, one of the most important cultural centres in India. Visits the Brihadishvara Temple, a staggering architectural wonder, as well as the Royal Palace compound where some of the world’s finest Chola bronzes can be seen. As you move through these historic streets, gaze at the intricate artworks, traditional instruments and ornate Thanjavur plates on sale at local markets and bazaars.
Today your journey takes you to Pondicherry via the extraordinary temples of Dharasuram and Chidamabaram. Some of the region’s most famous temple architecture, these buildings take you back in time to the golden age of India. Continue to Pondicherry, the former French capital of the country, where an array of enchanting discoveries awaits.
Traverse the tree-lined boulevards, charming markets and elegant colonial buildings such as the Hotel de Ville and the Aurobindo Ashram. At the latter you can peruse the rare book collections and explore the exotic botanical gardens. Afterwards, trace French influences and contemporary responses as you survey the sculptures and paintings of the Pondicherry Museums.
This morning, take the coastal drive up to the UNESCO-site town of Mahabalipuram. In the 1st millennium, this was a busy seaport of crucial importance to traders. Now a seaside town endowed with inviting beaches, Mahabalipuram is teeming with the wondrous remnants of historic eras.
Take a morning tour of this exciting destination to visit the town’s many bas-reliefs, man-made caves and beautifully embellished temples. Here you’ll see the spectacular accomplishments of Buddhist and Hindu architectural traditions alike. Spend the afternoon at leisure, continuing your journey through the past or else getting acquainted with sun, sea and sand.
Spend your last day in Tamil at leisure. With so many historic attractions, you can choose from a range of different tours. Beach lovers can get their sunbathing hours in or enjoy the many water-sports options. One unique experience available here is a visit to Kanchipuram, a local weavers’ house where you can understand the everyday experiences that make up local life in this remarkable part of India.
After so many adventures and discoveries in this sunny land, transfer to Chennai Airport for your flight home.