14 Days South India Tour
DAY 01 ARRIVE MADRAS
Arrive Madras by International flight. Assistance upon arrival and check-in at the hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Chennai
(Madras) - Origins of Chennai go back to the colonial period. It was established in 1639 as East India Company's fort and trading post and later it became the political and economic capital of British territory in South India. Thus, it has a very distinct colonial character. Drive past the High Court was built in late 19th century in Indo Saracenic style, through the local markets; visit the Museum which houses one of the world's finest collections of South Indian bronzes (closed on Fridays & Public holidays). Overnight.
DAY 02 MADRAS
Morning tour of Mahabalipuram - The seashore of Mahabalipuram is famous for ancient rock temples examples of Dravidian
style of architecture most of them built in early 7th century. Bhagirath's Penance (descent of the Ganga), also referred as Arjuna's penance is a bas relief depicts life size figures of animals, gods & saints watching the descent of Ganga; there are 10 cave temples or mandapas on the hill which are cut out of rock to make shallow halls having monolithic figures and bas relieves depicting various gods and stories from their lives; the Five Rathas are monolithic temples and the Shore temple which has shrines of both Siva and Vishnu.
Kanchipuram Kanchipuram, famous for its high quality silk, is the golden city of a thousand temples which date from the 2nd century. Today only about 100 remain and the important ones include the Ekambaresvara Temple (non Hindus not permitted entry) dedicated to Siva; Kailasantha temple is one of the most beautiful temples of the town with intricately carved panels depicting legends about Siva; the other interesting temples are Varadaraja Swami temple and Vaikuntha Perumal temple. Overnight.
DAY 03 MADRAS I BANGALORE
Morning transfer to airport to connect the flight to Bangalore. 9W445 Depart Madras at 1005 hrs / Arrive Bangalore at 1050 hrs
Assistance upon arrival and check-in at the hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Bangalore • Known as the Garden City is also
the electronics and computer capital of India. The city founded in 16th century has various places of interest including the summer Palace of Tipu Sultan, the famous warrior who died fighting the British; Vidhan Soudha which houses the State Legislature and Secretariat is a post Independence granite building in neo-Dravidian style and the Lalbagh gardens laid down by Hyder Ali in 18th century contain more than 1800 species of tropical and sub-tropical plants, a a variety of old trees, fountains, lotus pools and terraces. Overnight.
DAY 04 BAN GALORE I MYSORE
Morning transfer to railway station to connect the train to Mysore.
Shatabadi Express Depart Bangalore at 1100 hrs / Arrive Mysore at 1300 hrs.
Assistance upon arrival and check-in at the hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Mysore - Former capital of the princely state,
Mysore, is the city of royal palaces. City Palace built in Indo-saracenic style in 1897, is one of the largest palaces in the country. It has some art treasures, fabulous collection of jewels, ivory inlaid doors, wall paintings from the various mythologies specially the exquisitely decorated Amber Vilas. Visit the Chamundi hill to see the Chamundeshwari temple dedicated to Goddess Durga; and the giant Nandi carved out of a single stone. Overnight.
DAY 05 MYSORE/MADRAS
Transfer to railway station to connect the train to Madras.
Shatabadi Express Depart Mysore at 1420 hrs / Arrive Madras at 2130 hrs. Assistance upon arrival and check-in at the hotel. Overnight.
DAY 06 MADRAS/PONDICHERRY
Morning drive to Pondicherry (168 kms, app. 3 hours drive). Assistance upon arrival and transfer to hotel. Afternoon sightseeing
tour of Pondicherry· it has a distinct French ambience to it amidst the surrounding Tamil country. Although, it's believed to be the site of ancient Vedapuri in 14th century BC, today it is famous for the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a philosopher who developed a system of internal yoga combining the ancient yogic philosophy with his knowledge of modern science. Auroville or the 'City of Dawn' was set up as a tribute to him. The town has number of colonial buildings, Catholic churches and temples. Overnight.
DAY 07 PONDICHERRY ITRICHY
Morning drive to Trichy (231 kms, app. 5 hrs drive). Assistance arrival. Afternoon tour of Trichy, an ancient town in the Kaveri
delta was a Chola citadel in 2 B.C. Laterthe Nayak Kings of Madurai built the magnificent Rock Fort that dominates the city. 437 steps cut out into the rock side and interspersed with shrines, lead to the Vinayaka Temple built at its highest point. The ascent is climaxed by a magnificent view of the sacred Kaveri River. At a lower level along the rock is the Tayumanaswamy temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Later visit Srirangam a massive temple on an island in the cauvery dedicated to Lord Ranganathaswamy. The temple has 21 magnificent gopurams and is adorned with exquisite sculpture. Overnight.
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DAY 08 TRICHY I MADURAI
Morning drive to Madurai (128 kms, approx. 3 hrs drive) en-route visiting Tanjore, once the great capital of the Chola Empire.
Visit the most spectacularofTanjore temples, the Brihadeeshwarar, capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite rock weighing 80 tons. The temple itself is decorated with carved panels depicting mythological events. An immense Nandi 6 mts long carved out of a single piece of granite stands in front of the shrine. Also visit Saraswati Mahal Library and Art Gallery with a large collection of Chola bronzes - a unique example of Hindu architecture. Assistance upon arrival and check-in at the hotel. Overnight.
DAY 09 MADURAI
Morning sightseeing tour of Madurai • This is another ancient city and was the great capital of the Pandya Kings and centre of
Tamil culture and learning 2000 years ago. Today a commercial centre, Madurai is known for the magnificent Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple. Its immense gopurams are crowded with stucco figures of Gods and Goddesses and mythical animals. The temple has numerous mandapas decorated with exquisite sculptures. The thousand pillar hall is a museum that displays temple architecture. Also visit the Tirumalai Nayak Palace built in the Indo-Saracenic style and the Mariamman Tank where a spectacularfloatfestival is held. Overnight.
DAY 10 MADURAII PERIYAR
Morning drive to Periyar (146 kms, 04 hrs drive). Assistance upon arrival and check-in at the hotel. Afternoon boat cruises on Lake Periyar. Periyar sanctuary was the earliest sanctuary to be set up in 1934. The sanctuary extends to 800 sq. km., and forms a part of the high mountain ranges in the Western Ghats. Wildlife can be seen whilst cruising on Periyar Lake in a motor-boat. Amongst the animals are wild elephants, which can be seen and photographed at close quarters, wild boar, sambar, tiger, leopard, wild dog and langurs (Monkeys). Overnight.
DAY 11 PERIYAR/KUMARAKOM
Morning drive to Kumarakom (130 kms, 05 hrs drive).Assistance upon arrival and check-in atthe hotel. Overnight.
DAY 12 KUMARAKOM/COCHIN
Morning drive to Cochin (83 kms, 03 hrs drive). Assistance upon arrival and check-in at the hotel. Evening Cochin· Evening
Kathakali dance performance - it is the traditional dance-drama of the state of Kerala. Dance, music, song, discourse - comic and serious, and drama are combined to bring alive well known sequences from the epics. They wear elaborate costumes and mask like make up to mime stories. The story is of secondary importance. Traditionally, all dancers were male. Overnight.
DAY 13 COCHIN
Morning sightseeing tour of Cochin -The spirit of the Portuguese, Dutch and the English lingers in the narrow streets and the houses of Cochin. The city was put on the World Map by Vasco da Gama, who was also buried here in the St. Francis Church. The Mattencherry Palace, also called the Dutch Palace, houses a museum which has a collection of portraits of Maharajas of Cochin, their costumes, jewelry and seventeenth century depicting lively scenes from the Hindu mythologies.
One of the oldest Jewish Synagogue of the Commonwealth is located here, built in 1568; it was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and was rebuilt by the Dutch in 1664. The floor of the synagogue is paved with hand-printed tiles of willow pattern brought from China and each of these tiles is different. The interiors of the Synagogue glitters with nineteenth century chandeliers and a brass pulpit. Also see the Chinese fishing nets on the harbour. Overnight.
DAY 14 DEPART COCHIN
Transfer to International airport in time to connect the flight to onward destination