The Spirit of Tamil Nadu 8 Days

$2,499.00

Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Puducherry, Thanjavur, Chettinad, Madurai

The Tamil Nadu region is a potpourri of spirituality and cultural riches, and is home to a magnificent ensemble of natural and architectural wonders that have been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. Discover the enigmatic and little-known hidden gems of Southern India, from the vibrant Meenakshi Amman Temple – the 'heart and soul of Madurai' – to the heritage township of Chettinad, where the region’s renovated palatial homes retain much of their former grandeur.

Highlights:

  • Marvel at the intricate and vibrant Meenakshi Amman Temple, a testament to South India’s outstanding architecture, where the temple’s towers are engraved with thousands of colourful stone figures of gods, goddesses and demons
  • Indulge in a unique local experience at a special Chettinad cooking demo class well-known for their aromatic and fiery cuisine
  • Escape to Mahabalipuram and wander around the seaside town’s group of magnificent stone-cut monuments and ancient UNESCO World Heritage-listed relics
  • Discover the mysteries surrounding the mind-boggling Krishna’s Butterball a huge boulder suspended on a 45-degree incline for centuries
  • Get in touch with your inner spirituality in 'the French Riviera of the East' at Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry, and discover all there is to know about yoga, meditation and natural therapies

This is a brand new tour itinerary perfect for those travellers who have done the Golden Triangle itinerary and wish to visit the little known gems of the incredible South India region. Offers a fantastic blend of culture, history and heritage, authentic culinary insights, and a chance to learn about and take part in traditional yoga, meditation and natural therapy teachings.

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Departures

2018 Package Price
01 Apr 16 Sep From $2,499
Land Only from $1,999
per person twin share



Single Supplement $550

Package Inclusions:

  • Malaysia Airlines or Thai Airways economy class international airfares, taxes and fuel surcharges departing Sydney or Melbourne (subject to availability)
  • 7 nights hotel accommodation
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • One lunch and dinner served at a special cooking demo class in Chettinad
  • Transportation & transfers
  • Admissions to scenic attractions
  • Local English-speaking tour guide

Package Exclusions:

  • Tipping prepaid in Australia: $120
  • India visa (mandatory)
  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Personal expenditure and anything else not stated

Hotel Accommodation

Area Hotel Local Rating
Chennai Raintree Hotel Anna Salai or similar
Mahabalipuram MGM Beach Resort or similar
Puducherry The Promenade or similar
Thanjavur (Tanjore) Sangam Hotel or similar
Chettinad Chidambara Vilas or similar
Madurai Fortune Pandiyan Madurai or similar

Optional Post-Tour Extension

South India Highlights with Kerala Backwaters 9 Days

From $2,199 pp twin share
Kochi, Munnar, Thekkady, Kovalam, Changanssery & Kumarakom

Tour Highlights:

  • Tour Kochi and take in the local and colonial heritage of this ancient city
  • Watch the intriguing Kathakali cultural dance performance unique to South India
  • Sail through the serene backwaters of Kerala in a houseboat, and observe the daily activities of the locals
  • Escape to the lush, rolling hills of Munnar, well-known as one of South India’s largest tea and spice growing regions
  • Explore Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and discover a wealth of fauna and flora on display
  • Relax on the palm-fringed beaches of Kovalam

Please click here for further pricing details and itinerary.

Note: If combining this optional tour extension flights must be upgraded to Singapore Airlines from an additional $500 pp (subject to applicable fare difference) due to limited airline flight routing.

Arrive in Chennai, the soulful seaside capital of Tamil Nadu. A tour representative will meet you at the airport on arrival and then transfer you to your hotel.

Please note: Depending on the city of departure chosen, some flights may depart the night before on Day 0. Flights to Chennai will be via connecting cities and may involve more than one transit.

Group of Indian Boys
Set out to explore the famous 16th century Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai’s most famous temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Shiva. Then, visit the Roman Catholic Santhome Cathedral Basilica. Drive onwards to the suburbs of Chennai and admire the arts, architecture, lifestyle, crafts, and performing arts heart of Southern India at Kalakshetra Cultural Academy. Learn about classical dance, film, music, theatre and fine arts and the academy’s movement to preserve the traditional values of performing arts in India. Drive to the beach temple town of Mahabalipuram this evening.
Traditional Indian Dance Performance
Rise early to witness a mesmerising sunrise over the Bay of Bengal. The highlight today is a visit to the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shore Temple overlooking the sea. Along the way see Arjuna’s Penance, two massive stonework masterpieces depicting myths of ancient India, and the mysterious Krishna’s Butterball, a gigantic boulder that has rested on a 45-degree incline for centuries. Drive to Kanchipuram, a city well-known for its weavers of high-quality silk saris. Discover a colourful melange of silk clothes and weaving on display. Wander around the city and explore a rich ensemble of temples in the area, many of which have musical pillars.
Krishna's Butterball
Proceed to the spiritual seaside town and ‘French Riviera of the East’, Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry). Visit the Aurobindo Ashram where you can learn about spirituality, yoga, meditation, and natural therapies, and even join in some workshops (at your own expense).
Lotus Flower
Proceed to Kumbakonam, a gorgeous temple town located between the two great rivers of southern India, Cauvery and Arsala. Kumbakonam is also a town for history lovers due to its sizeable collection of temples. Some of the most popular temples include the Mahamaham Tank and Nageshwara Temple, among others. Later, travel onwards to Thanjavor or Tanjore, the cultural headquarters of Tamil Nadu.
Temple Figures in Kumbakonam
See the famous UNESCO World Heritage-listed Brihadeeswara Temple, a 1000 year old, 60,000 ton monument made out of interlocking granite blocks without any binding materials, which is remarkably in excellent condition. Also visit Tanjore Palace, which contains a labyrinth of museums, halls and libraries showcasing the best of the city’s history and culture. Afterwards, drive to Tiruchirapalli or Trichy, most famous for its myriad of churches and the ancient Rock Fort Temple perched on an 83m high outcrop. Proceed to Chettinad, a region well known for its vibrant, fiery and aromatic cuisine.
Brihadeeswara Temple
Take part in a special cooking demo class and enjoy your own delicious cooked food for lunch. The Chettiars were once a large community of wealthy traders that are known for having travelled across many parts of India, South and Southeast Asia, including Sri Lanka, Burma and Vietnam, to do business. Their cuisine today incorporates various influences learned from their travels, from the exotic herbs and spices of Vietnam to the famous cooking styles of the Malaysian Chinese. Enjoy the rest of the day to explore the charming neighbouring villages, many of which are of UNESCO World-Heritage significance.
Chettinad cuisine
Head to the Meenakshi Amman Temple and witness the rituals taking place*. Beside the temple is a colourful flower market where you can wander around and see the various flowers sold. Later, visit the grand Tirumalai Nayak Palace, which was built with the help of an Italian architect. The palace is a fusion of Dravidian (South Indian) and Islamic architectural styles. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Chennai which will connect to your international flights home.

* Note: Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the main/part of the building complex but can see the whole procession from the outside.

Meenakshi Amman Temple
Arrive home today.