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South India Tours

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Description :
The tour covers Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, Trichy, Madurai, Periyar, Cochin, Bangalore, Mysore, Belur, Halebid, Mysore, Hospet, Hampi, Badami, Goa, Mumbai
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Duration
14 Days/13 Nts

DAY 01 (CHENNAI)

Arr Chennai - On Arrival Transfer to Hotel. Chennai, (formerly known as Madras) the capital city of Tamil Nadu, is a comparatively new city and the present gateway to the South of India is itself however only about 350 years old. Particularly charming features of Chennai are its allegiance to ancient traditions, no matter how modernized it has become and its willingness to spread out further rather than develop into a multi-storey concrete jungle. The result is a widespread city still open to skies a green airy city with several vestiges of its rural past; a city that adheres to the leisurely tempo of life of a world of yesterday as well a city whose values of another day still survive midst of the humdrum bustle of today that still retains the charm, culture and courtesies of the ages. Pm. Chennai - s/s : Visit Fort St. George, completed in 1653 and today filled with reminders of the past, including St. Mary’s, the first church consecrated on Indian soil. The National Art Gallery has many excellent bronzes including the famous Chola period bronze Nataraja, the God Shiva, in the cosmic dance pose. The Government Museum (closed on Fridays), which contains sculpture and architecture produced by the Dravidian dynasties. Drive along the Marina Beach, an elegant promenade and proceed to the old Indian section of Mylapore. Visit San Thome Basilica - St Thomas, the Apostle, is said to be buried here. He came here to spread the gospel, legend holds, barely a years after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Also visit Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple, build in 8th Century by Pallava rulers. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple has some beautiful sculptures, among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivite Saints (Nayanmars) which adorn the outer courtyard are rare specimens. Non-Hindus are not allowed into the main worshipping place. Return to the hotel. Overnight stay at Chennai.

DAY 02(MAHABALIPURAM)

Am. After Breakfast check out & drive to Kanchipuram - 70 Kms - 2 Hrs drive. Kanchipuram, one of the seven sacred cities of India, which served as a capital for several dynasties. It has has numerous temples, each one unique in its own way. You will get a chance to visit three of the city’s best temples: Kailasanatha and Ekambareshwara, which are dedicated to Lord Shiva, and Sri Varadharaja Perumal, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Kailasanatha Temple, was built in the seventh century and exhibits a fresh and simple architectural style. Ekambareshwara Temple, built in the sixteenth century, boasts a 194-foot-high gopuram (tower) and a hall filled with 1,000 pillars. The Varadharaja temple is a massive and impressive edifice. The hundred-pillar hall erected during the Vijayanagar period in this temple is adorned with exquisite sculptures. The ornamental rings carved out of a single stone in a chain at the four corners are a special feature of the hall. Kanchipuram, is also used for its hand-woven, high-quality silk fabrics very well known. If you plan to buy first-class in India silk, then you should do it here. Later drive to Mahabalipuram - 65 kms - 2 Hrs Drive. On Arrival check in at hotel. Pm. At Leisure - On the Beach. Overnight stay at Mahabalipuram.

DAY 03(PONDICHERRY )

After breakfast at hotel - visit Mahablipuram Mahabalipuram, also called Mammalapuram which lies on the Coromandel Coast which faces the Bay of Bengal. This is an elegant place to watch which a well established sea port was during the 7th and 10th centuries of the Pallava dynasty. This was the second capital of the Pallavas who ruled Kanchipuram. A very rude cruel king Mahabali reined this place and in a fierce battle king Mahabali was killed by Lord Vishnu and the place was named after the death of arrogant king Mahabali. The beauty of the place is not only due to these architecture but the vast casuarinas trees, the silvery sandy beach the classical hand male crafts around have made them all to form what is a collective splendor. You will visit Shore Temple. It is believed that there were seven magnificent temples what are known as the seven pagodas, built near the sea share. But the lonely survivor is the shore temples; Arjuna’s Penance, This rock bas-relief was built by king Narasimha I. This rock is shaped like that of a huge wale. The sculpture is carved at the back portion of the whale shaped stone; The five Rathas, is a set of magnificent monolithic rock temples. They are built in the shaper of pagodas and they look similar to that of the Buddhist shrines and monasteries. Rathas in English means chariots. These chariots are constructed with towers, multipillared halls, and sculptured walls which are chissled out minutely. The Rathas have an association to the great epic Mahabharata which describes the heroes of Mahabharata with their wife Dhrupads which is termed as pancha pandava rathas. Visit Krishna Mandapam, one of the earliest rock-cut temples. It features carvings of a pastoral scene, showing Lord Krishna lifting up the Govardhana Mountain, to protect his kinsmen from the wrath of Indra, the God of Rain. Pm. Check out from hotel & drive to Pondicherry - 100 Kms - 2 Hrs Drive PONDICHERRY lies 100 kms south of Maahabalipuram on the east coast of South India, the Gulf of Bengal. The French managed in this former colonial territory until 1954 their property. Therefore, many people also speak fluent French in addition to Tamil. Even the strictly planned streets and many buildings are strongly influenced French. However, it is a typical Indian city, with its auto-rickshaws, bazaars and Hindu temples. Visit Auroville : located about 10 kms before Pondicherry, the city of Dawn was inaugurated in Feb 1968 as a unique experiment in international living, where people live and work in total harmony. The place has been converted into a lush green cover from a highly eroded area, by 25 years of sheer hard work. Auroville, at the moment, is formed of several communities, scattered along the border of Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu. Auroville, The Matri Mandir (pavilion of the Mother) is the soul, the living symbol of Auroville’s aspiration for the Divine. Drive to Pondicherry, On arrival visit, Aurobindo Ashram : The main building encompasses the houses of Shri Aurobindo and The Mother (Mirra Alfassa, a French woman who accepted Aurobindo as her spiritual mentor and guide and later became his most important disciple). In the courtyard are the samadhis of Aurobindo and The Mother where their mortal remains have been enshrined. The worth visiting at the Ashram complex are the International Education Centre, guest houses, libraries and the cottage industries. Visit Manakula Vinayagar Koil this temple is more than 300 years old and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It has a golden spire and walls portraying forty different forms of Ganesha; Visit Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this white and brown neo-gothic church is one of Pondy’s finest Catholic churches. It was built by French missionaries in the 1700’s in a contrasting Neo-Gothic manner with towers flanking a central gable and stained glass windows on the side. The church has an imposing entrance and the beautiful stained glass panels depict incidents from Jesus Christ’s life. Proceed to the Hotel. On Arrival Check in at Hotel. Overnight stay at Pondicherry.

DAY 04(TANJORE)

After breakfast at hotel - check out & drive to Chidambaram - 75 Kms - 2 Hrs drive. also called as Thillai, which has the famous Nataraja temple. The word “Nataraj” means “ Lord of the Dance” and is representative of the Dancing Shiva, the creator of the universe The temple was built over 1,000 years ago during the Chola dynasty & is located in the center of the town covering an area of 40 acres. The roof of the sanctum-sanctorum is covered with golden plates. An important feature of the temple is the carvings of 108 dancers on the great stone gateways of the temple. Later drive to Gangai konda chola puram - 60 Kms - 1 Hour & 30 Mnts drive. the city of cholas. visit the brahadeeswarar temple, - visit the magnificent temple of the eleventh century. Dedicated to Shiva. This temple was concieved & built by the chola king Rajendra 1 after his victory over kingdoms bordering the ganga river. This temple is a replica of the big temple at tanjore & is a testimony of the aristical skills of the chola builders. There are many beautiful sculptors on the walls of the temple & its enclosures. These is also a detailed freize depicting the coronation of king rajendra by shiva & parvathi. See the huge nandi made of brick & mortar located on the east gopuram of the temple. At the center of the shrine is a huge lingam on a round stand. Proceed to Tanjore - 80 kms - 2 hrs drive On Arrival Check in at Hotel. Overnight stay at Tanjore.

DAY 05(MADURAI )

After breakfast at hotel - check out & visit Tanjore Tanjore is the "Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu" and famous for the Brahadeeswarar Temple. It was the royal city of the Cholas, Nayaks and the Mahrattas & was the cultural capital of the country in 1790. This city gained prominence during the period of Chola Kings, who made it as their capital. It is a flourishing centre for bronze sculpture and painting. The Big Temple and the other famous temples in the district are known all over the world. Visit the Sri Brahadeeswarar temple built by Raja Raja in 1010 is the crowning flory of Chola temple architecture. Constructed from a single piece of granite weighing an estimated 80 tonnes, the dome was hauled into place along a 4 km earthwork ramp in a manner similar to that used for the Egyptian pyramids. Also visit the Palace, located near the temple, with huge corridors and spacious halls, the art gallery, housing granite and bronze statues of the Chola period. Drive to Trichy - 65 Kms - 1 Hour & 30 Mnts drive Trichy Situated on the banks of the river Cauvery, Trichy or Tiruchirappalli is one of the most famous temple towns of south India. Trichy is famous for its rich cultural and splendid architectural heritage and the town represents a fine blend of tradition and modernity. Visit The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam is situated 6 kilometers from the downtown Trichy. The temple here is one of the most revered shrines that are dedicated to Lord Vishnu in India. It is the largest temple in the world after the famous Angkor Vat in Cambodia. Shrouded in a haze of coconut palms away to the north, the temple is built on an island in the middle of the Kaveri. The temple complex comprises seven rectangular-walled courtyards and as many as 21 Gopurams. The temple contains some of the best rock carvings in India. Proceed to Madurai - 135 Kms - 2 Hours & 30 Mnts drive On Arrival Check in at Hotel. Overnight stay at Madurai.

DAY 06(MADURAI)

After breakfast at hotel - visit Madurai. Madurai, is one of the oldest cities of southern India. It has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage, for centuries. Legend has it, that the divine nectar falling from Lord Shiva's locks, gave the city its name - Madhurapuri, now known as Madurai. Meenakshi Amman Temple: The city of Madurai is originally built around the Meenakshi temple. It is one of the most prominent among the temples of Madurai. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva who was known here as Sundareshvara and his wife Parvati or Meenakshi. This temple was built by Kulasekara Pandya and the most impressive feature of this temple is the 12 gopurams. It also has soaring towers that stand on the granite bases and have stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters tinted in vibrant colors,


Thirumalai Nayak Palace This Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. In these two parts, there are royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. King Thirumalai Nayak celebrated festivals like Sceptre festival, Navarathri, Chithirai festival, Masi festival and the Float festival. He conducted daily dance and music performances in the palace. This palace was destroyed by his grandson Chokkanatha Nayak and the valuables were transferred to other places. During 19th century, Lord Napier, governor of Madras between 1866 and 1872 made several renovation works. Pm. At Leisure. Evening witness the religiuos night ceremony at the famous Meenakshi Temple: The evening “Aarti” ceremony is a must see for all visitors. The Consort of Goddess Durga – Shiva, is brought to her chamber in procession. This procession goes around the temple, and has various short ceremonies at different shrines, before the final prayer at the entrance of her chamber. The entire procession takes 45 mins. Return to the Hotel. Overnight stay in Madurai.

DAY 07(KOVALAM)

After breakfast at hotel - check out & drive to Kanya Kumari - 250 Kms - 4 Hours drive. Kanyakumari : Kanyakumari is located in the state of Tamil Nadu and it is the southernmost point of the Indian peninsula. The enchanting natural beauty of this place attracts hordes of tourists from far corners of India and the world at large. The tourist attractions in Kanyakumari are chiefly of religious and historic importance. The sea shore of Kanyakumari is well - known for exquisite sunset and sunrise. Visit The famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial, which protrudes into the ocean is one of the most visited attractions. Regular ferry services to the famous rocks where Swami Vivekananda meditated, are available. Another famous monument is the Gandhi Memorial, built over the spot where the urn containing the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi was kept for public viewing before immersing them in the waters. The architecture of the memorial resembles an Orissa temple. Proceed to Kovalam enroute visiting Padmanabhapuram, 40 kms from Kanya Kumari - 1 Hour drive, Padmanabhapuram was once the capital of the State of Travancore. Visit Padmanabhapuram Palace The unique wooden palace ' Teak edifice' of Marthanda Varma, in use from 1550 to 1790. Built with strategic planning and military architecture, the palace remained the seat of power for the Travancore emperors till 1790. The palace is popular for its striking aesthetic beauty, innovative designs and timeless wooden carvings, 17th and 18th century murals. Later drive to Kovalam 50 Kms - 1 Hour drive, On Arrival Check in at Hotel. Overnight stay at Kovalam.

DAY 08(KOVALAM)

After breakfast - Full day free on the beach. Kovalam is a quiet little town with green, palm fringed beaches, one of the most beautiful beaches of the world. It has a wealth of tropical fruits and vegetables like coconuts bananas, pineapples, papayas, ginger and mangoes. Two beautiful adjacent bays bestow inimitable charm to Kovalam. Overnight stay at Kovalam.

DAY 09(KUMARAKOM )

After breakfast at hotel - check out & drive to Allepey - 175 Kms - 4 Hrs Drive Alappuzha is a district immense natural beauty. Referred to as the Venice of east by travelers from across the world. This backwater country is home to diverse animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala. Alappuzha is an important backwater destination attracting several thousand foreign tourists every year. The backwaters of Kerala are a unique product of Kerala and are found nowhere else in the world. Alappuzha is also famous for its boat races, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singularity of this land is the region called “KUTTANAD” – a land of lush paddy fields referred to as the rice bowl of Kerala and one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. Over 900 km of this labyrinthine water world is navigable. Check into a traditional houseboat of Kerala Style and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake on a thatched houseboat. Cruise through the backwaters towards Kumarakom . A ride on the houseboat is a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the back - waters. These boats in the style of old rice barges are made in a style typical bark or bamboo construction and turned into comfortable houseboats have been: with bedrooms, bathrooms, shower and toilet, lounge and covered outdoor dining room. You will have lunch, dinner and break - fast in the Houseboat. The atmosphere in the famous backwaters, a charming tropical lagoon landscape of Kerala, and the colorful life of the locals, can be the best experience of a tag on a house boat. When the evening comes on the backwaters, the fishermen set fire to the oil lamps and mosquito repellent incense. Sun rows of tiny lights move slowly across the water, and the air is filled with the scent of exotic spices - a romantic adventure! The meals are served typical, delicious Kerala food on banana leaves. Night full board on the house boat. Pl note, The cruise commences at 1300 hrs (with lunch served on board) and continues till dusk. The menu for - Lunch, Dinner & next day's morning Breakfast will be simple and traditional. The cook (chef) of the boat prepares the lunch from fresh materials and even you can have a peek at the recipe. Tea and snacks would be served in the evening. At dusk the boat will anchor in the backwaters along a paddy field and you can go for a stroll into the village or relax at the deck of the boat. (The boat traffic in the backwaters will close at dusk as the fisherman lay their nets in the backwaters. Other boats are not allowed to ply in the backwaters after dusk.) Pl also note, The air conditioning system on the house boat will function from 2200 hrs (to) 0600 hrs the next day, as the house boat will be connected with electric power when it is anchored on the shore. Dinner will be on the boat. Overnight stay will be at Houseboat. On the following day the cruise commences again after breakfast and you will be dropped at Kumarakom by 1000 hrs.

DAY 10(KUMARAKOM )

After breakfast on board the house boat, transfer to your resort at Kumarakom, Full day - At leisure. Kumarakom, is a renowned bird sanctuary located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, along the backwaters of Kerala. The backwaters are a unique web of Lakes, Lagoons, canals and rivers, which forms an integral part of Kerala’s Tourism Scenario. Kumarakom is well known for its varied avian population. Migratory birds such as Siberian cranes can be seen during November to February. Local varieties such as waterfowls, cuckoos and owls are also found here. You can take walking tour inside the sanctuary. Overnight stay at Kumarakom.

DAY 11(PERIYAR )

After breakfast at hotel - check out & drive to Periyar - 135 Kms - 3 Hours & 30 Mnts drive. Periyar, South India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary, encompassing an area of 777 sq. km. The park has a picturesque lake at the heart of the sanctuary. Formed with the building of a dam in 1895, this reservoir meanders around the contours of the wooded hills, providing a perennial source of water for the local wildlife. The dense forest cover and the variety of flora are also among the tourist attractions in Periyar. There are trees more than 100 years old and over 50 m high. On arrival, check-in at the hotel. In the evening, Visit Periyar Spice Gardens: In the evening you take a walk through a spice plantation. You will learn about the traditionally coveted spices of India. Even as the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama the sea route to India (1497 - 1499) discovered, he landed on the Malabar Coast and announced openly and honestly: "I am because of Christianity and the spices," meaning mainly the pepper, but also saffron, Ginger and Cinnamon said. Return to the hotel. Overnight stay at Periyar.

DAY 12(MUNNAR)

Early Am before breakfast, Enjoy game viewing by boat, which carry you through the jungle along convoluted waterways. This biosphere reserve has a varied range of flora and fauna and you can set out for a tour of this exotic territory with camera in your hand and hope to capture the shy residents of the forest. The elephants are the most majestic among all the things to watch in Periyar. They can be spotted on the lake shores bathing and basking in the sun. However, you can come across many other mammalian species such as leopard, wild dog, barking deer, mouse deer, Nilgiri langur (an endangered primate), bonnet macaque, sambhar, porcupines, squirrels, gaur (Indian bison), wild boar, and sloth bear. In the lap of the mountains, the Periyar wildlife sanctuary's environ is like a canvas of many shades. The fresh air of the moist deciduous forest gives one a chance to experience the peace and serenity and long to return for more. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Rest of the morning is as leisure. Pm. Check out & drive to Munnar - 100 Kms - 3 Hours drive. On Arrival at Munnar check in at hotel. Overnight at stay at Munnar.

DAY 13(MUNNAR)

After breakfast - sightseeing tour of Munnar. Munnar is a beautiful hill station and is worth visiting, not just for unwinding and complete relaxation, but also for the various tourist attractions in Munnar. We bring you a list of tourist places for those who are interested in seeing Munnar attractions. So read on further to know what to see in Munnar. Anaimudi Peak - While in Munnar, visit the Anaimudi Peak, which is considered to be the highest peak in southern India. One can set up tents for camping and trekking at an altitude of about 2700 meters and enjoy the tranquil mountain atmosphere. It is a feast for nature lovers and enthusiasts. T his peak provides the ultimate high and holiday experience. Echo Point - Echo point gets its name from the natural occurrence of echo here. It is a popular place in Munnar and many people come here to listen to their echoes. It is said that if you can hear your echo calling back at you three times, it is a sign of good luck. Return to the Hotel. Remaining of the day is at Leisure. Overnight stay at Munnar.

DAY 14(COCHIN )

After breakfast - check out & drive to Cochin - 135 Kms - 3 Hours & 30 Mnts drive. On arrival check in at hotel. Pm. visit Cochin Cochin is a beautiful city situated on the western coast of India facing the Arabian Sea, and rightfully called the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea'. It has a rich network of backwaters and is the culture and heritage centre of Kerala. An enormous potential exists in Cochin for the use of Information Technology. There are a number of industries, a large number of export produces, 100% literacy, highly developed social structure, and well laid-out communication facilities and transport infrastructure. Cochin is the natural created by the famed underwater Malabar mud-banks whose quality ensures that the rougher the seas are outside, calmer the waters are within the Harbour. Vasco-de-Gama placed it on the world map. It has a Jewish synagogue, Portuguese churches, mosques and Hindu temples. Watch the Chinese Fishing Nets. Visit The Jewish Synagogue - built in 1568 AD contains Grand Scrolls of the Old Testament and the copper plates containing the privileges granted to the Jews by the Cochin rulers. The floor of the synagogue is paved with exquisite Chinese hand painted tiles. The Dutch Palace - was built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin Raja in 1555 AD. 17th century murals depicting scenes from the Indian epic, the Ramayana can be seen here. St Francis Church -, built originally by the Portuguese in 1510 AD is believed to be the first church built by Europeans in India. Vasco da Gama was originally buried here. The Chinese fishing nets - can be seen at the entrance of the harbour. The Chinese through trade contact taught this technique of catching fish. In the evening proceed to witness a Kathakali Dance Show Kathakali: - 'Katha' means story and 'Kali' means dance. As the name suggests Kathakali is a beautiful amalgamation of dance and drama. Each character is instantly recognisable by their characteristic makeup and costume. The colorful Kathakkali dances that you see this evening, are some 2,000 years old. It is a spectacular mix of drama, dance, music and ritual. Characters alive with painted faces and elaborate costumes tell stories from Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. A typical feature of Kathakali is that all roles, the female, are played by male actors. Facial expressions, gestures and choreography require a high degree of discipline. The training of Kathakali dancers typically begins in childhood and lasts up to 10 years. Watch the artists make up before their dance performance. The makeup is very elaborate. It is so elaborate that it is more like a mask than makeup in the usual sense. The materials that comprise the makeup is all locally available. The white is made from rice flour, the red is made from Vermilion (a red earth such as cinnabar). The black is made from soot. The colours are not merely decoration, but are also a means of portraying characters. For instance, red on the feet is used to symbolise evil character and evil intent. Return to the hotel. Overnight stay in Cochin.





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