2010 South India

Dav has always wanted to go to India. Our plan was to wait until Dav’s good friend’s wedding in India and then take the opportunity to travel around. So when we received the good news in October 2009, we jumped at the chance to head to India even though it has only been 2.5 months since we got back from the Trans-Siberian trip.

For this trip, we will be attending Dav’s good friend’s wedding in his hometown and then travel around South India with 10 other Malaysian friends. Dav’s friends have graciously planned everything from booking the van, accommodation and tour guide to choosing the places we should visit. All we had to do is pay, get ourselves to the village where the wedding will be held and then make sure we find our way back to Chennai for our flight back to London.

Click here to view Dav’s photo.
Click here to view Steph’s photo.

Below is a summary of our itinerary:

Sat 16 Jan – Tue 2 Feb 2010

January 16-17th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
London – Chennai 9hrs 55mins NA
Chennai – Madurai 1hr 20mins NA
Madurai – Karaikudi 2hrs NA
January 18-19th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Karaikudi NA Free & Easy
January 20th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Karaikudi NA PT’s pre-wedding feast
January 21st
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Karaikudi NA PT’s wedding!!!
Karaikudi NA Chettinad mansions Chettinad is well known for its houses, embellished with marble and Burma teak, wide courtyards, spacious rooms, and for its 18th century mansions.
Karpaka Vinayakar Temple An ancient rock-cut cave shrine dedicated to Ganesha. In the cave temple, there are rock-cut images of Shiva and other gods as well as several shrines. The Agama texts found on stones in the temple date the temple between the years of 1091 and 1238.
Karaikudi – Rameswaram 3.5 hrs
January 22nd
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Rameswaram Island NA Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple Situated near the sea on the eastern side of the island, renowned for its magnificent prakaras or corridors with massive sculptured pillars on either side. The longest corridor in the world is here and it is 197 metres long from East to West and is 133 metres wide from South-North.
Rameswaram – Thiruchendur 5 hrs
Thiruchendur – Kanyakumari 1.5 hrs Vivekanandapuram beach A town on the southernmost tip of India, the confluence of three great seas – The Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Due to its geographical location, one can witness both the sunset and sunrise at the same beach.
January 23rd
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Kanyakumari NA Vivekanandapuram beach Headquarters of the Vivekananda Kendra, absolutely breathtaking views of sunrise from the beaches of Vivekanandapuram.
Thiruvalluvar Statue A 133 feet tall statue, dedicated to the greatest Tamil poet. Tourists can climb up to the feet of the statue for a breathtaking view.
Vivekananda Rock Hundred meters from the shore and accessible by regular ferry services. The Rock has two halls, one belonging to Swami Vivekananda and the other belonging to a Holy Foot, believed to be the footprint of Goddess Kumari who stood on this rock on one leg and performed the Tapasya.
Our Lady of Ransom Church Located on the shoreline of the Bay of Bengal, the 100-year-old church was built in the Gothic style of architecture with a strong Portuguese influence. Its Central Tower is 153 feet high and is crowned with a cross of pure gold. The church boasts a beautiful statue of Mother Mary clad in a sari.
Kanyakumari – Allepey 3.5 hrs Kerala backwaters The backwaters are a network of 1500 km of canals both manmade and natural, 38 rivers and 5 big lakes extending from one end of Kerala to the other. Allepey’s criss-crossing canals evoke comparisons with Venice. Nearby notable sights include the palm covered Pathiramanal Island in Vembanad Kayal and Kuttanad, a backwater paradise lined with dense tropical greenery. Cruise the backwaters on houseboats, while savouring Kerala flavoured cuisine onboard.
January 24th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Allepey – Coimbatore 3.5 hrs Ayurvedic massage Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine native to the Indian Subcontinent and practiced in other parts of the world as a form of alternative medicine.
January 25th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Coimbatore – Mysore 3 hrs Mysore Palace The official residence of the Wodeyar dynasty, boasting Indo-Saracenic architecture, a blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles. It is a three-storied stone structure, with marble domes and a 145 ft five-storied tower. The palace is surrounded by a large garden.
Brindavan Gardens A beautiful garden full of fountains, it has a musical fountain light and music show every 7PM.
January 26th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Mysore – Bangalore 3 hrs Vidhana Soudha The legislative House of the State of Karnataka. The architecture of the building is based on Dravidian style, comprising richly carved bases and capitals for pillars, deep friezes, kapotha cornices, chaithya arches, pediments and domical finials.
Vikasa Soudha Adjacent to the majestic Vidhana Soudha, this ultra modern construction is built in the same classic style.
Tipu Sultan’s Palace This palace dates back to about 1790, and was the summer retreat for Tipu sultan. The two story structure is made mostly out of wood with finely embellished balconies, pillars and arches.
Lal Bagh A meticulously cared for 97 ha garden with lotus ponds, fountains, glass houses and stone formations that date back over 3 billion years. Described as the most beautiful garden in India, it was laid during the 18th century by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
Shiva Temple@Kemp Fort This temple has a massive monolith of Lord Shiva, located in the middle of an artificial pool. There is a cave-like walkthrough behind the statue.
Ooty Botanical Garden
January 27th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Bangalore – Vellore 3.5 hrs Golden Temple The golden temple of Sripuram is situated at the foot of a small range of green hills. The temple, covering 55,000 sq ft, has intricate carvings and sculptures in gold. The lighting is arranged in such a way that the temple glitters even at night.
Vellore – Kanchipuram 3 hrs Silk sarees shopping Kanchipuram is famous for its silk sarees, which are hand woven.
Kanchipuram – Chennai 2 hrs
January 28th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Chennai Marina Beach A beach situated along a 14km shoreline of the city. It is the longest beach in India and the second longest in the world.
Chennai – Mahabalipuram 1 hr
January 29th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Mahabalipuram NA Mamallapuram monuments This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas, temples in the form of chariots (Ganesh Pancha Rathas, Nandi Pancha Rathas), mandapas or cave sanctuaries (Varaha Cave Temple), giant open-air reliefs (Descent of the Ganges, Arjuna’s Penance), the Shore Temple and Thirukadalmallai temple. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry 2 hrs French Old Quarter Pondicherry still retains much evidence of its history as a French colony. The entire town is divided into two sections, the French Quarter (‘Ville Blanche’ or ‘White town’) and the Indian quarter (‘Ville Noire’ or ‘Black Town’).
Pondicherry – Chidambaram 2 hrs Nataraja Temple A famous temple enshrining the Nataraja form of Lord Shiva. This ancient temple had undergone many renovations during the reign of Pallava and Chola Kings. In Hindu literature, Chidambaram is one of the five holiest Shiva temples, each representing one of the five natural elements; Chidambaram is space.
January 30th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Chidambaram – Velankanni 1.5 hrs Velankanni Church Devoted to Our Lady of Good Health, and can be traced to the mid-16th century, and is attributed to three miracles at different sites around where the Bacilica currently stands. Our Lady’s Pond and the Nadu Thittu Shrine are the sites of the first two miracles, said to be apparitions of Our Lady to two local children. The Bacilica itself started as chapel, built by Portuguese sailors rescued from a violent sea storm.
Velankanni – Thanjavur 2 hrs Great Living Chola Temple The Great Living Chola Temples were built by kings of the Chola Empire. The Brihadisvara Temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is the world’s first complete granite temple and a testament to the Vishwakarmas architectural cognizance in planning and sculpting. The ‘Vimana’ or the temple tower is 216 ft high and is among the tallest of its kind in the world. The Kalash (the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is of monolithic granite weighing 81.25 tons. There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock, at the entrance measuring about 16 feet long and 13 feet high.
Thanjavur – Trichy 1.5 hrs Rockfort Temple Rockfort or Ucchi Pillayar koil, is a combination of two famous 7th century Hindu temples, one dedicated to Lord Ganesh and the other dedicated to Lord Shiva, located a top of a small rock in Trichy, India. Geologically the 83m high rock is said to be one of the oldest in the world, dating over 3 billion years ago, and mythologically this rock is the place where Lord Ganesh ran from King Vibishana, after establishing the Ranganathaswamy deity in Srirangam.
January 31th
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Tiruchchirapali to Chennai Egmore 5.5hrs NA Pallavan Exp (Train# 2606)

Depart 06:30 , 31 Jan Tiruchchirapali (TPJ)

Arrive 12:00 , 31 Jan Chennai Egmore (MS)

Chennai NA Free & Easy
February 1st
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Chennai NA Free & Easy
February 2nd
Route Travel Time See/Do Notes
Chennai – London 9hrs 55mins NA

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