After a tour of Chennai (Madras), we head south by train to Tiruchirapalli to see the great Rock Fort, and on to reach Madurai, with its soaring towers. Here we mix with the swirling crowds who pack into the Hall of 1000 Pillars within the Meenakshi Temple, a place of unceasing festive pandemonium.
A scenic bus drive takes us to Thekkady, where we may search for wildlife in the National Park or visit a spice plantation before descending the Ghats to embark on a by riverboat cruise, chugging through the exotic Malabar backwaters to Alappuzha. The palm-fringed waterways are alive with picturesque fishing boats, huge butterfly fishing nets and local ferries.
Mysore & Mamallapuram
After time in Fort Kochi we drive to Metupalayam, then climb by rack-rail train through the Nilgiri Hills to the scenic hill station of Udhagamandalam (Ooty) at 2268m. In the princely city of Mysore we see the Maharaja's Palace and giant Nandi Bull. Finally, we head back to Chennai and straight out to the wide sweeping beaches at Mamallapuram on the Bay of Bengal to relax, swim in the Indian Ocean and admire the shore temples.
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