Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin)
There’s a sense of accomplishment on making it to the point of the subcontinent's 'V', past the final dramatic flourish of the Western Ghats and the green fields, glinting rice paddies and slow-looping wind turbines of India's deep south. Like all edges, there is a sense of the surreal here.
Trichy to Rameswaram
The Chettiars, a community of traders based in and around Karaikkudi, 95km south of Trichy, really hit the big time back in the 19th century as financiers and entrepreneurs in colonial Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. They lavished their fortunes on building at least 10,000, maybe 20,000 opulent mansions in the 90-odd towns and villages of their rural homeland, Chettinadu.
Pudukkottai & Around
Hotels can give cooking demos or classes, and provide bicycles or bullock carts for rural rambles. They can also arrange visits to sari-weavers, temples, the Athangudi tileworks (producing the colourful handmade tiles you see in many Chettiar mansions), and shrines of the popular pre-Hindu deity Ayyanar (identifiable by their large terracotta horses, Ayyanar's vehicle).