Arrival in Madurai
This morning, you’ll travel to Madurai, where you’ll stay in a simple but comfortable hotel with an excellent restaurant. Mind what you order though, the curries here are some of the hottest in the country! At dusk, you can head up to the hotel roof terrace for amazing views across the city and the Meenakshi temple complex.
You’ll start the morning bright and early with a pick up at your hotel by cycle Rickshaw for a unique view of the city. You’ll visit the Tirumalai Nayak Palace, the Ghandi Museum and the temple lake. Travelling by rickshaw will help you get your bearings for when you explore on your own. The afternoon is your own. Madurai dates back over 2500 years and the entire city is sprinkled with beautiful temples. The Meenakshi Temple has four towers each intricately decorated with thousands of coloured figures. If you knock on them, they each produce a different sound.
Madurai - Trichy - Tanjore
Today, you’ll travel from Madurai to Tanjore, stopping off at temple of Trichy, surrounded by little stalls and people selling small offerings. The main temple itself is a more like a city than a temple complex, with a tower made of pure gold. Instead of the brightly coloured temples you’ll see elsewhere, Tanjore’s holy places are made of sober sandstone. Slip into the crowd of pilgrims cramming to get to the altar and you’ll experience a real sense of devotion. At the entrance, you’ll pay your contribution to the temple elephant as he deftly fishes the rupees from your hand with his holy trunk. After the temple, head for your hotel in Tanjore.
Tanjore - Pondicherry
Pondicherry is a little slice of France with an Indian topping, with French street names, croissants lining bakery shelves and colonial houses with elegant balconies. After Tanjore, it’s like stepping into a completely different world. The French District in Pondicherry has a distinctly French feel with its little shops, wide boulevards, European churches and green parks. The best beaches are to the north of the city.
Pondicherry to Mamallapuram
From Pondicherry, you’ll continue north to Mamallapuram, a friendly coastal village where you can take it slow and soak up the sunshine. Mamallapuram is a quiet place and throughout the village, you’ll can see several workshops where craftsmen create the most amazing sculptures. You’ll stay in a simple beach resort with a lovely pool.
Mamallapuram to Chennai
The countryside around Mamallapuram village is dotted with temples many of which are hidden in caves and mainly by the wandering goats. The temple directly on the beach (Shore Temple) is one of the oldest temples in India. It’s decorated with many Nandi bulls – Shiva’s chosen mode of transport.
The next day, your trip comes to end and you can take a final dip in the hotel pool. From Mamallapuram, you’ll drive on to Chennai, where you’ll either begin your journey home or continue your India adventure.
A peek at your accommodation
A Peek at Our In Style Option
Upgrade to our In Style accommodation
If you upgrade to our In Style option you’ll stay in a peacefully located hotel just outside the centre of Madurai. The hotel is situated in landscaped gardens and decorated in colonial style. In Tanjore you can enjoy a charming cottage-type apartment in a comfortable resort on the banks of the River Cauvery. Our upgrade in Pondicherry is a real treat; a lovingly restored French villa. Finally you’ll stay in a comfortable beach resort in Mamallapuram with a large swimming pool.
Guide price: £ 515 - per person - In Style accommodation