India is an immensely versatile land with massive amounts of diversity, culture and eclectic traditions, all woven into a thick fabric, which runs common through the billion plus hearts, which reside in this vast nation. South India is one of the finest slices of culture, heritage and beauty which one can dive in while exploring the country. This week long trip shall give you a taste of local cuisines and thus set you on a culinary expedition, which is simply like none other! In the following itinerary of Holiday Package of The Species & Taste of South India, we have listed down a road map, which shall highlight some of the very special experiences, which you shall get the opportunity to have while on this expedition.
On your arrival at Chennai airport, you will be welcomed by our representative and transferred directly to Mahabalipuram. This ancient town and seaport is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ancient mariners called it the city of "Seven Pagodas". The twin structure of the Shore Temple, the last surviving Pagoda of the only Shore Temple survives out of all seven of the Pagodas shall be one of the most spectacular highlights of your trip. An afternoon exploration into the heart of Mahabalipuram will take you through the ancient cave temples and mandapams, which have been carved into, rocks in order to depict incidents from Hindu legends, epics and mythology. Mahabalipuram has some of the most delicious preparations to offer in order to satiate your gastronomic curiosities! Get to try the Idiyappam Kurma, a popular side dish that is quite conveniently found in most mid budgeted restaurants. Made with sweet coconut milk, mild local spices and a stewed vegetable preparation, it is hard to beat this classic evening snack! Overnight stay at the hotel in Mahabalipuram.
The following morning, hop onto your car for a ride all the way to Auroville Ashram. Auroville is an experimental city where people from multiple nationalities live together in harmony and peace. It is a place, which can only be felt and will be one of the most memorable expanses you shall have during the trip. Mirra Alfassa is the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. Evening enjoy a free walk around the small town and explore the cafes. Overnight stay at the hotel in Auroville.
This morning post breakfast, start your journey for Pondicherry. Pondicherry traces its origin to the revered sage Saint Agasthya. The city is divided into the French Quarters "Ville Blanche" and the Indian quarter "Ville Noire". Sri Aurobindo Ashram is globally quite popular. South Indian cuisine is especially known for the immense variety of gravies and curries, which one can taste. Sambhar is one of the most popular kinds of stew that is usually consumed along with rice or rice based items as staples. Sambhar is prepared with lentils, tamarind and a mixture of vegetables. Other varieties include Rasam, Kuzhambu and many more, each with its very own distinctive flavor and taste. South Indian gastronomy is truly a treasure, which holds beyond one can imagine! Overnight stay at the hotel in Pondicherry.
After having a sound sleep and filling tummy with a tasty South-India breakfast at the hotel. Walk around the French part of Pondicherry. Settle in any of the contemporary café for continental cuisine. Later, visit along the shore lies where a stunning series of temples and sculptures, carved from the living rock 1,200 years ago lie. Check-in your hotel and spend the rest of the day free relaxing on the beaches of the Coromandel Coast. Overnight stay at the hotel in Pondicherry.
This morning will take you on a drive to Thanjavur, which is also known as Tanjore. Thanjavur used to be the capital of the Chola dynasty. One of the essential cultural insights shall include exploring Tanjore paintings and Bharatanatyam, a famous form of classical dance, which had originated from this land. Thanjavur is a cultural hotspot as it is an important center of religion, art, and architecture. Most of the Chola temples are also found in this region. Thanjavur is an important silk weaving centre and has a vast number of silk weaving units present all over the city. The arts and crafts of Tanjore are immensely famous for its bronze images, Hindu idols, and musical instruments like the Veena, Tambura and Violin. Thanjavur is also popularly known as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu.
Dosa is one of the most popular South Indian dishes and can be found all over the world, due its vast demand pervading several cultures, ethnicities and diverse palettes, suiting them all with extraordinary flavour and taste. Made out of fermented rice and lentil batter, the dosa could be compared with a homemade pancake. Overnight stay at the hotel in Tanjore.
After having a healthy, tummy-filling meal, visit Brihadeeswara Shiva Temple, which is one of the prime sights, which shall be included in your itinerary in Tanjore. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Temple was built by King Raja Raja Chola in the eleventh century AD. A monolithic cupola made of a single granite block weighing 80 tons which was taken all the way to the top with the help of a 6 km long ramp is a method derived from an old technique used by the Egyptians for building pyramids.
This holiday package of the Species & taste of South India will further take you to Chettinad, and check-in to your hotel and relax a bit. Chettinad is extremely famous for its cuisine, which is very spicy and aromatic. The Chettinad mansions with huge courtyards and spacious rooms were built with extremely fine materials such as marble and teak. The furnishings were imported all the way from East Asian countries and Europe. Teak from Burma, marble was from Italy and crystals from Europe and mirrors from Belgium were specially brought in to construct these colossal mansions. A visit to the Vairavan Kovil, Karpaga Vinayakar, Kundrakudi Murugan, Kandanur Sivan and other temples shall be included in your itinerary. Overnight stay in the hotel.
This morning you travel to one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Madurai. After a relaxed breakfast, start your journey towards Madurai. Post your arrival you can start with sightseeing of Madurai by visiting the Meenakshi temple, which is in the heart of the old town and the Tirumalai Nayak Palace where dance concerts are performed daily. Your afternoon is set free for you to enjoy or relax at the hotel. In the evening you can attend night ceremony at Sri Meenakshi Temple. Overnight at the hotel in Madurai.
Today morning, after breakfast, pack and head towards the Chennai airport to board the flight back home after an experiential holiday package of the species & taste of South India