Destinations Covered: Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Tanjore - Trichy - Madurai - Periyar - Cochin - Bangalore - Hassan - Mysore - Chennai
15 Nights / 16 Days
Day 1: Arrive Chennai
Meeting and assistance on arrival at airport and transfer to Hotel.
Chennai : At the southern tip of India in the state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai or Madras as it was known earlier is its capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is also the third largest metropolis in India. Chennai as the gateway will put you in touch with a different face of India classical, ancient, gentle. Definitely touched by colonialism but not ravaged by wars & intensely aware of its roots & traditions.
Day 2: Chennai - Mahabalipuram (By Surface)
After breakfast, half day city tour of Chennai visiting Museum to see the art and bronze gallery (Closed on public holidays). Drive through the Flower & Fruit Market, High Court, Fort Museum, Marina Beach, San Thome cathedral.
Afternoon, leave for Mahabalipuram. Enroute visit Kanchipuram - (64 km from Madras) ancient capital of the Pallavas, famous as a city of 1000 temples that still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th & 8th century & has painting on the walls. Templs of Ekambaswara, Kailasnatha, Sri Kamakshi & Vardarajaewamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silk.
On arrival in Mahabalipuram checkin at your hotel.
Day 3: Mahabalipuram
After breakfast, visit Mahabalipuram , which was the main port of the Pallava dynasty & has exquisite Rock-cut monuments, monolithic structures & Bas-reliefs. It is also a beach resort. Visit a very interesting creation enroute Dakshin Chitra , a museum that preserves actual houses of different communities & village craftsmen from the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh , Karnataka & Kerala.
Afternoon, free to relax on the beach.
Day 4: Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry (By Surface)
After breakfast, leave for Pondicherry. On arrival checkin at hotel.
Afternoon, sightseeing of Pondicherry which was formerly a French Colony. Settled early in the 18th century Pondicherry became part of the Indian Union in the early 50s when the French voluntarily relinquished control. The main attraction here is the Aurobindo Ashram which was founded by Sri Aurobindo in 1926. The ashram is one of the most popular in India with westerners, and is also one of the most affluent. Also to be visited is the Pondicherry Museum which has a well displayed variety of exhibits ranging from French furniture to this history of bead making.
Day 5: Pondicherry - Tanjore (By Surface)
After breakfast, leave for Tanjore. On arrival checkin at hotel.
Afternoon, visit Tanjore (Thanjavur) which was the ancient capital of Chola kings. Visit the Brihadishwara temple which was built by Raja Raja and is termed as the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture. This temple is one of the monuments in India with World Heritage listing. Also visit the Thanjavur Palace which was contructed in 1550 and has huge corridors, spacious halls, observation and arsenal towers.
Day 6: Tanjore - Trichy - Srirangam - Madurai (By Surface)
After breakfast, leave for Madurai. Enroute visit the Rock Fort Temple in Trichy (Tiruchirapalli) and the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam - This superb temple complex is surrounded by seven concentric walls with 21 gopurams and is probably the largest in India. Most of it dates back from 14th to 17th centuries. The largest gopuram was completed as recently as 1987, and now measures an astouning 73 metres. After visiting Srirangam, continue drive to Madurai.
Arrive Madurai, on arrival check in at the hotel.
Day 7: Madurai - Periyar (By Surface)
After breakfast, visit Madurai , one of the oldest cities in South India and has been a centre of learning & pilgrimage for centuries. Visit Madurai’s main attraction Sri Meenakshi temple which attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over India. The temple is named after the daughter of a Pandyan King. Designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak, the present temple was substantially built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak (1623-55 AD), but its history goes back 2000 years to the time when Madurai was the capital of Pandya Kings.
Afternoon, leave for Periyar (Thekkady). On arrival in Periyar check in at your hotel.
Day 8: Periyar
Afternoon, boat ride on the Lake Periyar where one can have a unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar, however are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.
After lunch, proceed for a spice plantation visit where one can see the cultivation of a whole range of spices like pepper, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, vanilla, all spice cinnamon etc. This is followed by a visit to spice shops which are found in the small town of Kumily just 01 km from the hotels.
Day 9: Periyar - Kumarakom (Overnight Backwaters Trip Till Alleppey)
After breakfast, leave for Kumarakom in time to board houseboat for overnight backwater trip from Kumarakom to Alleppey.
1300 hrs - Commence an overnight houseboat cruise, which gives one a fascinating insight into the life of a Keralan Backwater Village. As the boat glides along the backwaters one can see the daily life in the backwater villages. On the narrow strips of land, fisherman fishing, children swimming and playing in the water, women doing their daily chores, mobile shops in tiny canoes, the cultivation of paddy and it's harvesting (during harvest season), huge country barges ferrying the coconuts, rice, coir etc.
Note : The cruise commences at 1300 hrs with lunch served onboard and continues till dusk. At dusk the boat will anchor in a wide waterway or lake for the night. (The backwaters close to boat traffic at dusk as the fisherman lay their nets in the backwaters. Other boats are not allowed to ply in the backwaters after dusk.) On the following day the cruise commences again after breakfast and you will be dropped back at Allepey at 1000 hrs.
Day 10: Alleppey - Kochi (By Surface)
Arrive Alleppey at 1000 hrs and transfer to Kochi. On arrival, check in at hotel.
Afternoon, visit Cochin - the city of lagoons. Visit the St. Francis Church, India's oldest European Church was constructed in 1503 by Portuguese; Chinese Fishing Nets, strung out along the top of Fort Cochin; Mattancherry Palace or The Dutch Palace, built by Portuguese in 1557, this palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin, Veera Kerala Verma. The palace's alternative name, the Dutch Palace, resulted from substantial renovations by the Dutch after 1663.
Day 11: Kochi - Bangalore (By Flight, DN 220, 0730-0845 Hrs)
Early morning, transfer to the airport to board flight for Bangalore. On arrival, transfer to hotel.
Afternoon, city tour of Bangalore - "city of gardens". Visit, the Vidhan Sudha. It houses the State’s Legislature and Secretariat, Nandi Temple - One of the oldest temples, popularly known as the Bull temple.
Day 12: Bangalore - Hassan (By Surface)
After breakfast, leave for Hassan, en route visiting Sravanabelagola, one of the oldest and most important Jain pilgrimage centers in India, and the site of the 17m high statue of Gomateshvara, said to the world's tallest monolithic statue an important Jain religious centre a colossal Gomateshvara statue.
Arrive Hassan & check in at hotel. Rest of the day, free.
Day 13: Hassan - Mysore (By Surface)
After breakfast, excursion to Hoysala Temples of Halebid & Belur. Visit the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebid which is the most outstanding example if Hoysala art. At Belur, visit the Channekeshava temple is the only one at the three Hoysala sites still in daily use.
Afternoon, leave for Mysore. On arrival in Mysore check in at hotel.
Day 14: Mysore
After breakfast, visit the magnificent city on the foothills of Mount Chamundi. Visit the Mysore Palace, also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, this palace was the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore. Burnt down in 1897, the present one was completed in 1912, at a cost of Rs. 4.2 million; Chamundi Hill - overlooking Mysore from 1062m summit of the hill is the Sri Chamuneswari temple and the Brindavan Gardens.
Afternoon, excursion to Srirangapatnam.
Day 15: Mysore - Chennai (Train, Shatabdi Express, 1420-2130 Hrs)
Morning, free. In the afternoon, transfer to the railway station to board train for Chennai. On arrival, transfer to hotel.
Day 16: Depart Chennai
In time transfer to international airport to connect flight for onward destination.