Tour Kerala (God's own country), Madurai and Kanyakumari:
In the first part of our South India journey, we will visit the state of Kerala , Kanyakumari and the temple town of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Kerala is a region of pristine natural beauty and is rich in beautiful beaches, Ayurvedic spas, Hindu temples, cosmopolitan colonial coastal towns, and has unique geographical and cultural features. It has a rather laid-back atmosphere. It is also known for its wonderful artisanship as well as theatre and classical dance forms. Kerala has an overpowering tropical landscape with 44 rivers and countless waterways. We will visit luxurious ayurvedic spas, spice plantations, bathe an elephant, visit the Periyar nature reserve at Thekaddy and have the opportunity to enjoy the traditional martial art and Kathakali dance. The greatest joy of exploring Kerala is the actual traveling by boat which we will do overnight, along the enchanting backwaters; visit the hugging mother guru, Ammaji's ashram at Kollam.
We plan to 'worship' the sun on the beaches of Kovalam and experience the spectacular sunset at the southern most tip of India, Kanyakumari, where three oceans meet.
We will end this part of the journey in Madurai, the oldest inhabited city in the Indian peninsula. One of South India's great temple towns, Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple with its deity, the beautiful fish eyed Goddess, Meenakshi, the consort of Shiva. Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2500 years old. This journey gives us the opportunity to ponder about the larger questions of life, and the universe, and open ourselves to the archetypes of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Explore the ancient culture of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu, the heartland of South India is a peninsula surrounded by three oceans, a region of great natural beauty. Culturally rich, Tamil Nadu is an unforgettable panorama of unique temples and temple cities, overwhelming in their detail of sculpture and grandeur of scale. Many of them are as much a part of everyday life as they were centuries ago. It is a region vibrating with community life, bazaars, smells, colour, dance, music and worship. The people of this region are known for their friendliness and welcoming smiles.
Chennai, formerly Madras, has the relics of doubting Thomas one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, the Theosophical Society Gardens with the second largest banyan tree in the world, Kalakshetra Arts village and the Kapaleshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. We will also visit the textile town of Kanchipuram, known as one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism and 'the town of a 1000 temples', where we will visit the world famous silk weavers. A short distance away is the sea side village of Mahabalipuram, the 'city of seven pagodas' and the shore temple, a UNESCO designated world heritage site from the seventh century.
At Tiruvanmalai, we will visit the Ramana Maharishi Ashram and join thousands of local pilgrims in the annual full moon festival of Deepam Girivalam. We will circumambulate the sacred mountain of Arunachala, considered Shiva's lingam of fire. At Pondicherry, the picturesque French colonial town by the ocean, we will visit the ashram of Sri Aurobindo who tried to bring a blend of yoga and modern science. Close by, is the planned transnational utopian community of Auroville inspired by the evolutionary vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the centre of which has the beautiful golden meditation temple, the Matri Mandir. Meetings and discussions will be arranged with teachers and local people to gain further insight into the widsom and local culture. This will be an exceptional chance to see India that few travelers have the opportunity to experience. Please email us at email@example.com if you would like a detailed itinerary and a write up on each of the places and sites we will be visiting
Wisdom Traditions of South India: 10th November to 22nd November 2013 (13 days)
Tour Kerala (God's own country), Madurai and Kanyakumari
Day 01: Trivandrum - Kovalam
Day 02: Kovalam - Kanyakumari- Kovalam
Day 03: Kovalam - Kollam
Day 04: Kollam - Allepey - Kumarakom (Overnight on House Boat)
Day 05: Kumarakom - Thekkady
Day 06: Thekkady - Madurai
Day 07: Madurai - Chennai by air
Day 08: Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram
Day 09: Mahabalipuram-Tiruvanmalai
Day 10: Tiruvanmalai
Day 11: Tiruvanmalai - Pondicherry
Day 12: Pondicherry/Auroville
Day 13: Pondicherry - Chennai, Departure
( NOTE: Also open all year round )