Beyond the Taj

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A Tour of South Indian Culture, Art and Architecture

There are times when North India receives much more attention than its southern counterpart and we aren’t quite sure why. South India is home to India’s first British settlement in Chennai and some of the world’s most prolific art and architecture. We have created this itinerary to take you through some of the region’s most incredible sights while also allowing you to experience what luxury travel in India is like.

Madras:

To start off with, we land in Chennai, one of the biggest cities of Tamil Nadu. Featuring great examples of 18th and 19th century art, there is a strong mix of tradition and modernization here. You will find skyscrapers and luxury hotels amongst the tolling of temple bells and freshly brewed filter coffee. From here we will visit the Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts, the Chennai Museum and Kapaleeshwarar Temple. The next day we will drive to Puducherry, one of India’s most eclectic cities. Puducherry was home to a French colony for over 300 years and was only ceded to India in 1954. This Mediterranean inspired town is home to leafy, tree-shaded avenues and brightly coloured buildings, transporting you to a part of France you never knew existed. You will find multiple heritage hotels and bungalows here and a slow, lazy pace of life that always seems to exist on the fringes of larger cities

Puducherry:

Moving to our next holiday destination in India, our small group tour will carry on to Kumbakonam via Chidambaram where we visit the famous Thillai Nataraj Temple which is well known for its representation of Chola architecture and its mystical connection to Lord Shiva. Walk along the temple walls to find all 108 karanas, the postures which form the foundation of the classical dance form, bharatnatyam. It was built in the 10th century making it one of the oldest and longest surviving relics in South India. We will then go to Thanjavur to see the famous Brihideeshwara Temple an exceptional example of Dravidian architecture. This are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also discover the royal palace which is home to many sculptures, carvings and art works from the Chola dynasty.

Thanjavur Temple:

From Thanjavur, we will take our small group tour to Madurai which is home to the renowned Meenakshi Temple. This temple pays homage to the goddess Meenakshi and it is considered one of the finest displays of South Indian architecture in the country. After spending some time admiring the craftsmanship of this site, you can wander about through the buzzing markets and stalls that line the roads leading up to the temple.

Meenakshi Temple:

For those of you on a family holiday in India, this next part will definitely be your favourite. The Periyar National Park is a great way to experience the wildlife in India as you will see herds of elephants navigating through lush greenery along with deer, sambar and wild boars. The serenity and tranquility that you will find here will be a welcome change from the commotion of the big city. This itinerary carries on for a week further and we would be happy to share the details with you! Please email us at info@beyondthetaj.com