The southern state of Tamil Nadu is India's temple heartland. Bordered by the central Ghats Mountains and the Bay of Bengal, this Tamil-speaking state has traditionally been protected from northern influence by distance and the military might of successive Deccan Kingdoms. Here, religious ritual is lived and breathed on the streets and along the temple trail it is rare to find a religious building which has outlived its purpose.
Temples of Tamil Nadu
From the 11th-century sculpted stonework of Brihadishvara to the great gateway towers of Madurai, the great Tamil temples of the south pierce the sky of just about every town. We'll organise tours with the most knowledgable local guides as you explore this great network of sacred sites including shrines, holy trees, rocks and rivers, and ancient pilgrimage routes.
Formerly Pondicherry, this little slice of France overlooks the Indian Ocean on India's east coast. Indeed, this once off-the-beaten-track gem was under French rule as recently as 1954. And, it's a wonderful concoction of Indian spirit and gallic charm, played out against faded, flower-draped townhouses and a seafront made for strolling. The food, and even the accents, have a distinctly French lilt, and there's plenty of places to simply chill out, whether in a café overlooking the sea, or at an ashram for some serious meditation.
Fine examples of Raj and Indo-Saracenic architecture combine with the complex local dances that are still widely practiced in India’s fourth-largest city. Museums and temples abound in this bustling metropolis, which serves up southern India's cultural and culinary traditions with boundless enthusiasm and no little panache. Indeed, once you push aside that searing tropical heat, you'll be treated to everything from colourful street-food markets to bohemian cafes, ending action-packed days with sunset strolls along what is the world's second-longest urban beach.