The temple trail

Tamil Nadu has all that a visitor could look for. A dramatic coastline, beautiful beaches and dense forests. Apart from this, Tamil Nadu has also some of India's most magnificent temples, many still active centres of religious practice.

The magnificent temples and their towering gopurams (entrance towers) dominate the landscape just as Hindu religion permeates Tamil life.


Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is the state capital of Tamil Nadu and the gateway to the rich and varied culture of the South Indian peninsula. The Fort St. George area contains many reminders of the time when the British established the East India Trading Company in the 17th century.

At Mamallapuram, barely an hour's drive from Chennai, the 7th-century complex of monolithic rock-cut shrines, and the legendary Shore Temple, are now a World Heritage Site. The stunning archeological remains co-exist with a long white sand beach, making Mamallapuram a favourite destination for travelers.

The coastal road from Mamallapuram leads to the former French colony of Pondicherry. There are some delightful small heritage hotels reflecting the French influence. Further south from Pondicherry is Tranquebar, a former Danish settlement, where you can stay in the Bungalow on the Beach. A perfect place to chill and relax.

From Tranquebar an inland road puts you back on the temple trail, leading to Chidambaram, Kumbakonam and Darasuram. The best bronzes and paintings can be found in Thanjavur, a city which boasts of almost a hundred temples including the monumental Brihadeshwari Temple, built entirely from granite.

The next major temple town is Tiruchirapalli. The Srirangam Temple in Trichy is probably the largest temple complex in India. It remains a functional temple with colourful bazaars in the first layer and Bhrahmins' houses in the second.

Moving southwards from Trichy you reach Karaikudi, the bastion of the Chettinads. and home to some of the most exquisite heritage homes which provide genuine home-cooked Chettinad food.

From Karaikudi, Madurai is just a two hour drive. Here you find the magnificent Meenakshi Temple complex whose soaring temple towers are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters, painted in vivid colours.

In the west of the state, the hill stations of Kodaikanal, Coonoor and Ootacamund are the premier destinations. Verdant hills offer mountain views and a network of trails winds through forests and tea and coffee plantations.

6 tours found




Chennai Gateway to South India

Formerly known as Madras, this is the fourth largest city in India and the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. Chennai boasts one of the longest city beaches in the world, and the Marina provides a refreshing contrast to the busy city centre. The Fort St. George area contains many reminders from the time the British established East India Trading Company in the 17th century, including the oldes

3 Days

EUR 159

The Temple Trail Mamallapuram, Thanjavur & Madurai

Tamil Nadu, in south India, is a fascinating state full of ancient Dravidian architecture. Intricately crafted temples, rock carvings, and classical dance are some of the attractions. Starting at the beach side retreat of Mamallapuram, you relax in the historic `French' town of Pondicherry before exploring the main temple cities of Thanjavur and Madurai.

6 Days

EUR 589

Spices & Sandalwood Wayanad, Mudumalai & Mysore

The Western Ghats are a magnificent range of hills, rising up from India's Malabar Coast. It is an area that is hidden away in the southern reaches of Karnataka and in northern Kerala. You travel from Kozhikode to Wayanad, known for its evergreen rain forest and coffee, tea, cardamom and pepper plantations. From here you continue to the sandalwood city of Mysore with its beautiful palace. Your t

5 Days

EUR 557

South Indian Highlights Tamil Nadu and Kerala

This leisurely journey through Tamil Nadu and Kerala encompasses all the highlights of South India. The beach side retreat of Mamallapuram is your initial base and from here you explore the historic `French' town of Pondicherry and the temple cities of Tamil Nadu. Next is the lush tropical land of Kerala with wildlife and palm-fringed backwaters and the harbour city of Cochin, with its diverse a

15 Days

EUR 1,694

South Indian Adventure Journey along India's west coast

Starting by the beach at Kovalam, in the wonderful state of Kerala, your journey takes you through palm-lined backwaters, hiking in the mountains, exploring the most exotic temple city in South India, the magnificent Maharajah's Palace in Mysore, and the fascinating ruins at Hampi. You finish with a few days in the former Portuguese colony of Goa lying on the exotic west coast of India. A tropi

18 Days

EUR 1,540

Hills & backwaters of Southern India Adventures in the Western Ghats

Kerala is separated from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu by the magnificent forested hills of the Western Ghats, a bright green mountainous region with a great deal of scenic appeal. This meandering journey is designed for those with a love of nature and a thirst for discovery as it leads you to some of the more unexplored areas of southern India. During the trip you will enjoy homestays and tradition

15 Days

EUR 1,322