The Story

Best time to go: October - March
Best for: Repeat Visitors, Historical, Cultural & Immersive

One of the most important things to do when travelling through Tamil Nadu is to get the balance right between seeing the amazing Hindu architecture, and blend this with a chance to see the colourful, cultural side to this corner of India by getting off-the-beaten track into the rural villages and towns. When you have a balanced tour, this itinerary becomes simply magical.

This journey through Tamil Nadu begins in Chennai, formerly Madras, and once the initial base for the English East India Company in the 17th Century.  Explore the city before flying to Madurai and heading into the hills to spend two nights at Rajakkad, a delightful teak bungalow that allows you to take leisurely walks in the breathtaking surrounding countryside. Head back to Madurai to see the superb Meenakshi Amman Temple during the afternoon pooja. Again, sip into the countryside and explore the Chettinad region, famous for its glorious mansions that were built by rich merchants in the 19th century, and also known for its superb local cuisine. Dip back into the cities, and see Trichy and Tanjore, famous for their Chola-era temples. Work your way up the coast to see Pondicherry, once home to the French East India Company, and still a remarkable Franco-Indian fusion that even can be seen in the superb food served up in the restaurants. Finally, end on the beach just south of Chennai where you can see the superb shore temples of Mahabalipuram before you return home.

Guide Pricing

Starting At

£2005
Price per person including all accommodation, private transfers, unique experiences and excluding international flights.

Highlights

  • Explore the wonderful Chola-era Hindu Temples that can be found throughout Tamil Nadu
  • See the Shore Temples at Mahabalipuram, the superb architecture in Tanjore and Trichy
  • See the stunning Meenakshi Temple in Madurai during the afternoon pooja ceremony
  • Blend this with more cultural, immersive experiences such as the rural delights of Chettinad and Rajakkad
  • See the French influences in Pondicherry
  • Have a private driver and guides throughout your tour, and stay in characterful boutique hotels

Suggested Hotels

Day 1-2

Vivanta by Taj – Connemara

$ $ $ $ $  

Chennai’s only luxury heritage hotel, the Vivanta by Taj Connemara offers superb dining, a spectacular swimming pool and a wide range of spa treatments.

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Day 1-2

Vivanta by Taj – Connemara

$ $ $ $ $  

Chennai’s only luxury heritage hotel, the Vivanta by Taj Connemara offers superb dining, a spectacular swimming pool and a wide range of spa treatments.

View hotel
Day 3-4
Rajakkad Estate Photo credit: Christophe Bosset/Rajakkad Estate

Rajakkad Estate

$ $ $ $ $  

A heavenly off-the-beaten-track escape in Tamil Nadu’s wooded Palani Hills, Rajakkad Estate offers a very civilised immersion into rural Tamil Nadu life.

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Day 3-4
Rajakkad Estate Photo credit: Christophe Bosset/Rajakkad Estate

Rajakkad Estate

$ $ $ $ $  

A heavenly off-the-beaten-track escape in Tamil Nadu’s wooded Palani Hills, Rajakkad Estate offers a very civilised immersion into rural Tamil Nadu life.

View hotel
Day 5
Heritage Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Heritage Madurai

$ $ $ $ $  

The Heritage, Madurai’s top hotel, is a peaceful colonial-style retreat ideally located for cultural adventures in Tamil Nadu’s most famous temple city.

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Day 5
Heritage Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Heritage Madurai

$ $ $ $ $  

The Heritage, Madurai’s top hotel, is a peaceful colonial-style retreat ideally located for cultural adventures in Tamil Nadu’s most famous temple city.

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Day 6-7

Visalam

$ $ $ $ $  

The small heritage hotel of Visalam in Chettinad is a delight, offering a truly authentic glimpse into the rural rhythms and ancient culture of Tamil Nadu.

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Day 6-7

Visalam

$ $ $ $ $  

The small heritage hotel of Visalam in Chettinad is a delight, offering a truly authentic glimpse into the rural rhythms and ancient culture of Tamil Nadu.

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Day 8-9

Svatma Tanjore

$ $ $ $ $  

Located in Tanjore, Svatma boutique hotel offers an exquisitely luxurious base for exploring ancient Tamil Nadu’s magnificent Chola heritage.

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Day 8-9

Svatma Tanjore

$ $ $ $ $  

Located in Tanjore, Svatma boutique hotel offers an exquisitely luxurious base for exploring ancient Tamil Nadu’s magnificent Chola heritage.

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Day 10-11

Palais De Mahe

$ $ $ $ $  

Superbly located in Pondicherry’s French Quarter, Palais de Mahe makes a charming boutique retreat with swimming pool, spa and great French-Indian cuisine.

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Day 10-11

Palais De Mahe

$ $ $ $ $  

Superbly located in Pondicherry’s French Quarter, Palais de Mahe makes a charming boutique retreat with swimming pool, spa and great French-Indian cuisine.

View hotel
Day 12-14

Vivanta by Taj – Fisherman’s Cove

$ $ $ $ $  

The Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s Cove hotel is a stylish spa retreat near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, offering relaxing beachfront comfort and delicious food.

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Day 12-14

Vivanta by Taj – Fisherman’s Cove

$ $ $ $ $  

The Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s Cove hotel is a stylish spa retreat near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, offering relaxing beachfront comfort and delicious food.

View hotel

Customise Your Itinerary

We can tweak and change any element of this itinerary and you can depart on any day you want, add nights here and there, and we can fully customise your day-to-day experiences depending on your interests. Here are just a few ideas of many that we can look at and discuss when we come to plan your tailor-made itinerary.

Idea 1

Add on a visit to Tranquebar (now called Tarangambadi) for a stay at Bungalow on the Beach, once the home of the Danish East India Company.

Idea 2

Extent your stay and head to the Andaman Islands with a flight to and from Chennai

Idea 3

Continue into Kerala to visit the tea fields, backwaters and Cochin

Further Itinerary Suggestions

Southern Trader: a tour of Kerala and Tamil Nadu

Chennai - Pondicherry - Tanjore - Madurai - Rajakkad - Munnar - Backwaters - Cochin  

This classic route takes you from Chennai (Madras) in Tamil Nadu, through the hills and into the Kerala to see the tea estates, backwaters and ending on the beach.

16 days from £2270 p. p.

Classic Kerala

Cochin - Munnar - Periyar - Lake Vembenad - Backwaters - Marari Beach  

Kerala is exceptionally laid-back, and a leisurely private tour allows you to see the markets and history of Cochin, tea estates, wildlife, spice plantations, backwaters and end on the Indian Ocean.

13 days from £1595 p. p.