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Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters

Tripoto
7th Nov 2014

Vivanta by Taj, Kumarakom

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Basilica San Thome, Chennai

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Fort St. George, Chennai

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Kapaleeswara Temple, Chennai

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

St. Mary's Church, Chennai

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Fisherman's Cove, Chennai

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Fisherman's Cove, Chenna

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Hotel Heritage, Madurai

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Ideal Beach Resort, Mahabalipuram

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Temple elephants at Kanchipuram

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Silk sari weaving at Kanchipuram

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Kerala houseboat

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Kodaikanal

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Kodaikanal

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Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kumarakom

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Mahabalipuram Beach

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The Penance of Arjuna, Mahabalipuram

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Shore temple, Mahabalipuram

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Pondicherry

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Vivanta by Taj, Kumarakom

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Brihadeeswara Temple, Tanjore

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Brihadeeswara Temple, Tanjore

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Mural at Brihadeeswara Temple, Tanjore

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Tanjore

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Brihadeeswara Temple, Tanjore

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

Zuri Hotel, Kumarakom

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Pondicherry

Photo of Southern Sojourn: Temples, Hills and Backwaters by Nomad Travels

South India is the seat of the ancient Dravidian civilization, and the people take pride in their tradition and culture. This is evident in their lifestyle- be it food, clothing, language, regional festivals or religion. The long coastline and forested hills form a stunning backdrop. The people are friendly and educated and can converse in English. The coconuts are plentiful, and the seafood is fresh! This fifteen day itinerary provides some of the best experiences on offer from the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
 

Is the bustling capital of Tamil Nadu with the second largest beach in India- the Marina Beach. Some of the sights to see include Fort St. George, which also houses the St. Mary’s Church and a museum. The San Thome Basilica, built over the tomb of St. Thomas is another popular attraction, as is the Kapaleeshwara Temple, built to Lord Shiva.
Photo of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
This seaside town, a short drive from the centre of Chennai, is a historical World Heritage Site famous for its rock-cut shore temples, a treasure trove of architectural splendour. The carvings depict scenes from the Mahabharata . Among the structures here are the Pancha Rathas- monolithic carvings of chariots, and Arjuna's Penance (aka Descent of the Ganges), an immense and intricate bas relief from the 7th century. Mahabalipuram also has options for bike trips, fishing trips, boat rides and trekking.
Photo of Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
According to Hindu religious belief, Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred Indian cities. A pilgrimage to one of these sites is supposed to cleanse you of your sins. The city has over a hundred temples, some of the more spectacular ones being the Ekamabaranath Temple, the Varadaraja Swamy Temple and the Kamakshi Amman Temple. Kanchipuram also has a world-renowned tradition of exquisite hand-woven silk saris (the sari is the traditional Indian garment worn by women, draped over the body).
Photo of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Was under the rule of the French for over 250 years, and the French influence is still prevalent in the town's architecture, food and culture. The beaches, churches and temples make Pondicherry an attractive destination. Sri Aurobindo established his famous ashram here, attracted by the tranquility of the place. A few kilometres away is the township of Auroville, founded in 1968 as a place for people of all nationalities to live together and realize human unity. Also nearby is the Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts Research.
Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Nomad Travels
Now known as Thanjavur, the city was the capital of the erstwhile Chola Empire which was the most immense and long-lasting empire in South India. Tanjore has a rich classical painting style all its own. It's also home to the Brihadeeswara Temple, which is India's largest. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a thousand years old and still a living temple. Go get spellbound.
Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Madurai, like Tanjore, also retains its old world charm. It's an ancient city, one that's been inhabited for two and a half thousand years. At the heart of Madurai is the Meenakshi Amman Temple. This is another important Hindu temple and the folklore and legends associated with it are truly fascinating.
Photo of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Is a honeymooner’s paradise known for its lush green hills and meadows. Surrounded by the Western Ghats which rise to 2000 metres, the climate here is always cool and pleasant. The terraced hillsides and the lakes make it one of the most picturesque hill stations of India. The surrounding countryside makes for some great hiking.
Photo of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
Photo of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Nomad Travels
180 km from Kodaikanal, Kumarakom is the most laid-back destination, set amidst the massive Lake Vembanad, Enjoy the experience of the dreamy Kerala backwaters on your houseboat cruise. And if you visit around the festival of Onam (August - September) you'll get to see some crazed boat racing.
Photo of Kumarakom, Kerala, India by Nomad Travels
Historically, Cochin (now Kochi) was a major trade centre for spices. Over the centuries, the port city was held by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. Cochin is well connected with all the major cities. Fort Cochin (the old town) has the country's oldest Jewish Synagogue, as well as a number of lovely boutique hotels. The Chinese fishing nets along the coastline are a sight not to be missed.
Photo of Cochin, Kerala, India by Nomad Travels
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