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SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

Gods, People & Universe

INDIA - TAMIL NADU & KERALA

“My ‘Spiritual Trail’ across south India has started few years ago, when my friend and ayurveda doctor Dr. George Eassey, brought me to the small village in the middle of nowhere in Kerala. He introduced me to man called Panikar, whose ancestors were astrologers of Travancore Kingdom Maharajas. Panikar, asked for my date of birth, counted for a while, made small ritual – then he looked at me and after a while he told me that I should study more about ayurveda and spiritual practices. “There are some temples, which you should visit”, he told me. “Go there and when you visit them, find your Guru, who will teach you and only after come back to me.” So I went to Tamil Nadu with no idea, where this journey would take me and discovered ancient temples, which symbolically opened their doors for me to ancient wisdom of art, astrology, ayurveda and spirituality… and behind each door is another room with many other doors to explore…”

~ Zuzana Zwiebel

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SPIRIT to discover
DHARMA, SHRUTI A SMRITI
STORY to share
SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, TAMIL NADU, CHENNAI

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 01 - CHENNAI
Lonely Planet has named Chennai as the 9th best cosmopolitan city in the world and National Geographic ranked it as world's 2nd best food city and Chennai was the only Indian city to feature in the list. Definitely city with its own flavor, taste and history!

Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, TAMIL NADU, MAHABALIPURAM

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 02 - MAHABALIPURAM
Mahabalipuram was the major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom based at Kanchipuram. A wander round the town’s magnificent, UNESCO World Heritage Site temples and carvings inflames the imagination, especially at sunset.

Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, TAMIL NADU, PONDICHERRY

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 03 - AUROVILLE - PONDICHERRY
Pondicherry has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries. Rich markets and busy lanes give birth to a way of life found nowhere else in India.

Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, TAMIL NADU, CHIDAMBARAM

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 04 - CHIDAMBARAM - KUMBAKONAM
Chidambaram temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in his form of the cosmic dancer - Nataraja. It is said to be the birthplace of Shiva as the dancer and therefore one of the most important temples in India.

Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, TAMIL NADU, KUMBAKONAM

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 05, 06 - KUMBAKONAM
The Navagraha Temples are dedicated nine planets of Vedic Astrology: Thirunallar (Saturn), Keelperumpallam (Ketu), Vaitheeswaran (Mars), Thiruvenkadu (Mercury), Kanjanoor (Venus), Suriyanar (Sun), Tirunageswaram (Rahu), Alangudi (Jupiter), Thingaloor (Moon).

Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, TAMIL NADU, THANJAVUR

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 07 - THANJAVUR - MADURAI
Thanjavur is an important place to see. The foremost and most impressive among the great temples, the Brihadeshwara temple (UNESCO Heritage) is located in the center of the city. We will explore its secrets and start the day with morning puja.

Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, TAMIL NADU, MADURAI

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 07 - MADURAI - MUNAR
In Madurai we will visit Meenakshi Amman Temple, a labyrinthine structure ranking among the greatest temples of India. The colors, smells and the thousands of people doing their small and big ceremonies are simply a wonderful sight.

Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, KERALA, MUNAR

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 08 - MUNAR
Early morning we start the journey from Tamil Nadu to Kerala. The first experience will be in hilly Western Ghats region in Muduvankudi Ecotones Camps, born out of a passion to bring guests closer to nature and enjoy the scenic view.

Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, KERALA, BACKWATERS

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 09 - MUNARI - BACKWATERS
Float along and gaze over paddy fields of succulent green, curvaceous rice barges and village life along the banks. This is one of Kerala’s most mesmerizingly beautiful and relaxing experiences.

Photo: Ajay Menon

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, KERALA, MARARI

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 10 & 11 - MARARI
Marari Beach, rated as one of the worlds top five ‘Hammock Beach’ by National Geographic!
A windbreak of palms runs over the beach, and beyond, is only the sand, the sea and the sky all whispering their special language.

Photo: Ajay Menon

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

INDIA, KERALA, COCHIN

Gods, People & Universe

DAY 12 & 13 - COCHIN
In Cochin, you may explore the ancient harbor, with its rich colonial past, the old spice market at Mattancherry, the antique shops on Jew’s street, the Synagogue, the Dutch palace and of course, the famous Chinese fishing nets.

Foto: Zuzana Zwiebel

STORY to share

SPIRITUAL SOUTH INDIA

Spiritual South India will impress you with majestic temples in Tamil Nadu and enchants you by natural beauty of Kerala!

DAY 1: CHENNAI - MAHABALIPURAM

Lonely Planet has named Chennai as the 9th best cosmopolitan city in the world and as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2015. BBC named it among the "hottest" cities with a mixture of both modern and traditional values to live in for 2015. National Geographic ranked it as world's 2nd best food city and Chennai was the only Indian city to feature in the list. 

Definitely city with its own flavor, taste and history! We will visit Fort St George - the oldest English fortress in India (1644), Chennai's most impressive Hindu Kapaleeshwarar Temple; Christian Santhome Cathedral, is said to mark the final resting place of St Thomas the Apostle (AD 72); St Thomas' Pole, at the beach end of the street on the cathedral's south side, is said to have miraculously saved the cathedral from the 2004 tsunami. On the way to the hotel in Mahabalipuram we will enjoy scenic views of Chennai on a drive along Marina Beach, but before sunset we will stop for evening meditation at Madam Blavatsky House in Theosophical Society. 

DAY 2: MAHABALIPURAM

Mahabalipuram was the major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom based at Kanchipuram. By the 7th century it was a port city of South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas. It has a group of sanctuaries, which was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries: rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous 'Descent of the Ganges', and the Shore Temple, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. Though known as the land of Seven Pagodas, there is only one remaining today. Arjuna's Penance, carved rock, is the largest wall relief sculpture in the world. It gets its name from the figure of an ascetic who is believed to be Arjuna, the hero of Mahabharata, doing penance to obtain a boon from Lord Siva. A wander round the town’s magnificent, UNESCO World Heritage Site temples and carvings inflames the imagination, especially at sunset. 

03. DEN: MAHABALIPURAM - AUROVILLE - PONDICHERRY

On the way from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry, we will visit Sri Aurobindo Society. As a vision, "Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity and harmony across cultures.”

Pondicherry has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries. Bright plaster houses, neat narrow lanes and blue-enameled street signs mark the French Quarter. The Tamil Quarter of Pondicherry is a place where cultures not only meet but also melt. Rich markets and busy lanes give birth to a way of life found nowhere else in India.

Pondicherry is a wonderful town to be explored by foot or on cycle. We will visit the Aurobindo Ashram, the French, Christian, Hindu and Muslim quarters, the incredible colorful main market, the beach promenade and the Ganesh Temple. At the end of the day we will have a cup of coffee at the Café or some French food at La Maison Rose, a treat that reminds you of old Europe.

DAY 4: PONDICHERRY - CHIDAMBARAM – KUMBAKONAM (THE NAVAGRAHA TEMPLES)

Early morning we will start the day with puja at the great Chidambaram temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva in his form of the cosmic dancer - Nataraja. It is said to be the birthplace of Shiva as the dancer and therefore one of the most important temples in India. The place where the temple is located is the center point of world's magnetic equator and thus considered to be the center of the world. It is a great experience to witness one of the many rituals held daily in the temple, which is considered as the most important temple for all Shiva worshipers.

Kumbakonam is known as “Temple Town", it is famous for its temples and mathas (monasteries). There are around 188 Hindu temples in the town itself and several thousand temples around the. We could spend many days discovering temples, which are mentioned even in the oldest eposes Ramayana nd Mahabharata, but we will visit The Navagraha Temples, which are dedicated to nine planets of Vedic Astrology. 

DAY 5: KUMBAKONAM (THE NAVAGRAHA TEMPLES) & NADI ASTROLOGY (PALM LEAVES LIBRARY)

During the 3 days we will visit the nine The Navagraha Temples, dating to the Chola dynasty (7-11 century), situated around the town of Kumbakonam.  Each temple is dedicated to one planet of Vedic Astrology: Thirunallar (Saturn), Keelperumpallam (Ketu), Vaitheeswaran Koil (Mars), Thiruvenkadu (Mercury), Kanjanoor (Venus), Suriyanar (Sun), Tirunageswaram (Rahu), Alangudi (Jupiter), Thingaloor (Moon). 

The longest time we will spend at Vaitheeswaran Temple (Mars), where so – called “Palm Leaves Library” is situated.  In Tamil Nadu it is called Nādi Astrology or Nadi Jyotisa. These Nadi leaves were obtained by the families of astrologers at the Vaitheeswaran Temple and have been passed down the years from one generation to the other. The Palm Leaves are ancient Manuscripts that were written thousands of years ago by sages to people living today. As unbelievable as it may seem, they actually contain specific information of our past, present and future, our names, names of close relatives and partners, names of secret lovers and even our thoughts and plans. They were written to provide helpful guidance in every field of life and to help experience our life on a much healthier and happier level than we normally would. 

DAY 6: KUMBAKONAM - THANJAVUR – MADURAI

Chennai may be the capital of Tamil Nadu, but Thanjavur claims its heart and Madurai its soul. 

Thanjavur is an important place to see. Most of the great and still living Chola Temples are located in and around Thanjavur. The foremost and most impressive among the great temples, the Brihadeshwara temple (UNESCO Heritage) is located in the center of the city. We will explore its secrets and start the day with morning puja.

Madurai is Tamil-born and Tamil-rooted, one of the oldest cities in India, a metropolis that traded with ancient Rome and was a great capital long before Chennai was even dreamt of. Visitors usually come here to see the Meenakshi Amman Temple, a labyrinthine structure ranking among the greatest temples of India. The colors, smells and the thousands of people doing their small and big ceremonies are simply a wonderful sight. Its easy to get lost in the many halls and simply marvel at the faith, the energies and the art covering walls and ceiling. The temple invites you to stay and marvel. This is one place one should not miss, while travelling South India.

DAY 7: MADURAI – MUNAR

Early morning we start the journey from Tamil Nadu to Kerala. The first experience will be in hilly Western Ghats region in Muduvankudi Ecotones Camps (Munnar area).

Ecotones was born out of a passion to bring guests closer to nature. Guests can indulge in nature-oriented exploratory activities such as bird watching and nature trails or can just sit back and enjoy the scenic view. With activities such as cycling and guided nature walks, we hope to take people one step closer to nature and inculcate an interest for the natural world through observation and learning about its many intricacies.

“The Road Not Taken” will take through small hamlets and village roads, which are lovely way to observe local life and people. Spice plantation trail is a solid 3 hour walk over hillocks and glens. You will find out about the local spices cultivated by the people of Muduvankudi: from early turmeric to the spicy and pungent Bird’s Eyes Chilli or kanthari, you will learn about how farmers grow black gold: pepper. The cardamom plantations transport you to different world, with lush emerald stalks and giant tree canopies. As you walk along, check out the multi-hued bird life all around you! From the ravishing ruby-throated bulbul and chattering Malabar hornbills to the metallic blue Malabar Whistling Thrush – the forest birds you will see around are sure to leave you enthralled. Come with us: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...”

DAY 8: MUNAR

Early morning we will start trekking trip to Chokkarmudi. Trek will be starting in the tea plantations and leads to the ridge with grasslands, rocky terrain. The magnificent rocky mountain slopes on sides and the patches of shola forest all together will give a visual delight, the trek offers a beautiful view around including, Anamudi, the highest peak in South India and Idukki Dam which is listed as one of the highest arch dams in Asia. Our view will be to vast tea estates, and the other slope with lots of spices plantations and villages 

DAY 9: MUNAR - BACKWATERS

After breakfast drive to Alleppey, we will proceed to boat jetty to board the Houseboat for overnight cruise. Alappuzha – still more romantically known as Alleppey – is the hub of Kerala's backwaters, home to a vast network of waterways and more than a thousand houseboats. A backwater comprises of a unique web of rivers, lakes, bays, lagoons and canals extending into the villages and town of the city. This backwater journey through the narrow canals crossing exquisite villages of Kerala, embellished with lush green paddy fields, tall coconut grooves makes it a most spellbinding site. Float along and gaze over paddy fields of succulent green, curvaceous rice barges and village life along the banks. This is one of Kerala’s most mesmerizingly beautiful and relaxing experiences.

DAY 10 & 11: BACKWATERS - MARARI BEACH

From calm Backwaters we will drive to Marari Beach, rated as one of the worlds top five ‘Hammock Beach’ by National Geographic!

A windbreak of palms runs over the beach, and beyond, is only the sand, the sea and the sky all whispering their special language. It is not just the sand and the sea. It’s the living environment that surrounds it. It is not the place for a raucous ‘beach holiday’. There are no real parties here. No noisy water scooter but for those seeking to undue the stress of the city life and experience a completely new place, it is the perfect spot. It’s time to relax in the coconut grove, explore the area and it’s fishing villages nearby on a bicycle or take a dip in the sea. The beach usually being nearly empty except for a few other guests and local fishermen.

At Marari Beach one should pick one of the cycles and take a tour to visit the local villages, temples and churches. Take a stop at the local tea stall, observe the rituals at the temple and have a look at the small local stores. Have a chat with the shop owners, or the kids strolling home from school. What ever you do and see, its an experience for the locals and guest alike.

DAY 12 & 13: MARARI BEACH - COCHIN

Cochin, heralded as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, was an important spice trading center on the west coast of India from the 14th century. Occupied by the Portuguese Empire in 1503 until 1530, when Goa was chosen instead. The city was later occupied by the Dutch and the British, with the Kingdom of Cochin becoming a princely state. In Cochin, you may explore the ancient harbor, with its rich colonial past, the old spice market at Mattancherry, the antique shops on Jew’s street, the Synagogue, the Dutch palace and of course, the famous Chinese fishing nets and St. Francis Church, where Vasco da Gama was buried. 

SPIRIT are our local experts who share their  STORY with us and based on them we arrange your travel in STYLE

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