Grand Tour of South India | 18 Days

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Kanchipuram – Pondicherry – Chidambaram – Kumbakonam – Thanjavur – Madurai – Trichy – Salem –Bangalore – Srirangapatna – Mysore – Hassan –Belur -& Halebid – Sravanabelagola – Bangalore - Onward
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Tour Overview

South India is consisting of ancient cities and architectural that bear witness to the power of past sovereigns and the fervor of today's men. Lush nature and corners of paradise by the sea, you discover the traces of the exchanges with the Arabs and the European world in search of spices and exotic products. The South, welcoming, is infinitely diverse. It reveals an India strongly marked by the Brahmanic culture, a land propitious to the God and the men.

Tour Highlights

  • Traditional Welcome on arrival
  • Visit UNSCO Heritage site of Mahabalipuram
  • Visit to Kanchipuram the “City of seven Pagodas”
  • Enjoy the sights of Auroville and Aurobindo Ashram
  • Enjoy the UNESCO monument at Dharasuram
  • Visit to Shiva Nataraja and Kumbeswarar temple
  • Visit to Brahadeshwarar Temple UNESCO World Heritage Site in Thanjavur
  • Visit to Nectar City of Madurai – Meenakshi temple and Tirumal Nayak’s Palace
  • Country side drive to Tea, Cinnamon, and Clove & Cardamom plantations
  • Visit to aromatic spice plantation
  • Motor Launch safari in Periyar to see the wildlife 
  • Experience backwater of Kerala
  • Blue Mountain Ooty
  • Toy train ride
  • Game viewing in Periyar
  • Life time experience to stay in house boat
  • Kathakali Dance performance
  • Boat ride to see the rural life surround fishing net
  • Temple of Madurai

Day 01    Arrive Mahabalipuram

Today Arrive Chennai (formerly Madras) The Capital of Tamil Nadu. You are greeted & escorted transfer to Mahabalipuram hotel.  The little Sea Side town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), an hour’s drive from Chennai situated on the East Coast of Tamil Nadu has pris time beaches, spanning 20 kms. Bright Sun & Crisp Sand, Wrapping up untold tales of the 7th Century. Here time stands still; and presents meet the past. A serene town nested amidst the historical stone sculptures and medieval architecture, that stands witness to the rich heritage – Mahabalipuram. Overnight stay

Day 02 Mahabalipuram

After breakfast drive to the little Sea Side town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), known for its UNESCO-listed temples situated on the East Coast of Tamil Nadu has pris time beaches, spanning 20 kms, bright Sun & Crisp Sand, Wrapping up untold tales of the 7th Century. Here time stands still; and presents meet the past. A serene town nested amidst the historical stone sculptures and medieval architecture, that stands witness to the rich heritage – Mahabalipuram.

Shore Temple: The most renowned landmark of Mamallapuram is the Shore Temple. Standing alone on the shore, this temple is protected by a wall constructed to minimize erosion. It is believed that at one point in time there were seven such temples, six of them were victims to the natural elements of erosion.

Arjuna's Penance: This quaint little town of Mamallapuram in enriched with ancient with ancient and splendid sculptures. Each of the beautiful works of art has a story to tell. Like the large 27 m by 9 m bas-relief that narrates the tale of Arjuna's Penance. Arjuna here is shown standing on one leg to please Lord Shiva into helping him winback the Pandeva Empire. A fascinating combination of humans, animals and celestial beings seem to be rushing to the revered scene. Most prominent among them is a 4.8 m majestic elephant leading a procession. Also known as the Descent of the Ganga, this impressive canvas portrays the life giving River Ganges flowing out from its high source in the Himalayas. Enchanting stories from the Panchatantra are also a part of this magnificent bas-relief

Day 03  Mahabalipuram – Kanchipuram - Pondicherry 125 kms

After breakfast departure to Pondicherry en route visit to Kanchipuram the “City of seven Pagodas” where we see outcroppings of rock that have been delicately carved into temples and life-sized replicas of elephants, lions and bulls. The carved Penance of Bhaghirata here is the largest bas-relief in the world. Discover Trukkalikundram hill "hill of the sacred eagles", important center of popular pilgrimage where a 16th century temple is also dedicated to SHIVA of which the panorama is exceptional. Then visit the Ekambareswaram temple dedicated to SHIVA, a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture

Our drive continued to Pondicherry presents an unusual combination of European Culture & Indian traditions. An added attraction fair is the township of Auroville, an Oasis of Peace & Enlighten. Another hallowed spotted Aurobindo Ashram which drowse devotees from all over the world. After breakfast we drive to Pondicherry & visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Overnight stay Pondicherry

Day 04   Pondicherry - Chidambaram – Darasuram – Kumbakonam

After breakfast departure by road through the delta of the Kaveri to Chidambaram, You will discover the magnificent sanctuary dedicated to Shiva Nataraja, the God of dance. True religious city, it covers 13 hectares, has four Gopuram and a remarkable basin. Then, departure to Kumbakonam and visit the city, its 18 temples dedicated to Shiva or Vishnu, filled with several richly colored Gopuram. Visit the Sarangapani temple, the largest, dedicated to Vishnu, dating from the 12th century, in the shape of a trolley, with a portal 50 meters high. Visit to the biggest Kumbeswarar temple, dedicated to Shiva in which one penetrates by a huge Gopuram with 9 levels. In the temple you will see a lingam that would have been modeled by Shiva with sand and nectar of immortality.

Kumbakonam is located among the two rivers Cavery & Arasalar. The town is famous for brass, vessels, bettel leaves. It is primarily a market town for the predominately agriculture based villages surroundings it explore the unique village of Kumbakonam you will visit the UNESCO monument at Dharasuram, the famous Iravadeeswar Temple , the handicraft making units etc. Overnight stay

Day 05 Kumbakonam – Trichy –Tanjore

After breakfast drive to Tanjore en route visit to Trichy was a Chola Citadel during the Sangam age & was also briefly ruled by the Pallavas & the Pandyas. Visit to Rock Fort the 83-meter high rock fort is in the center of the Trichy. Its 344 rock-cuts steps take one to the Uchipillayar temple dedicated to Lord Vinayaka. Half way up is the temple of Lord Shiva dedicated to Thayumanaswami Jambukeshwara Temple here has Shiva lingam almost submerged in water. In Tanjore visit the 9th century Chola Temple of Brahadeshwarar Temple An UNESCO World Heritage Site in Thanjavur later drive to Kumbakonam 34 kms from Thanjavur Kumbakonam is located among the two rivers Cavery & Arasalar. The town is famous for brass, vessels, bettel leaves. It is primarily a market town for the predominately agriculture based villages surroundings. Overnight stsy

Day 06 Tanjore – Madurai

After breakfast drive to Nectar City of Madurai – Visit to Meenakshi temple where Dravidian Temple architecture may be seen in its exuberant baroque phase. Its hall of thousand pillars is fabulous & is filled with worshippers at all hours of the day, another terrific photographic opportunity. Also visit the Tirumal Nayak’s Palace, which is in a highly decorative monument. Its enormous roofed arcade supported by 48 - foot high stone pillar, still stands.

Day 07 Madurai –Periyar 130 kms/3 hrs

Drive to a tranquil hill retreat, the Spicy Village. Along the way we pass through Tea, Cinnamon, and Clove & Cardamom plantations –beautiful to see & smell!. Today's visit to an aromatic spice plantation, we enjoy a guided walking tour, uncovering the secrets of southern India's spices. This evening enjoy Safari Cruise with best trained guide in Periyar Game Sanctuary– the best way to see & enjoy the Wildlife Activities, Cruise in the Periyar Lake in the cool surroundings and the panorama spreads around tropical jungles, Wild elephants & birds of myriad varieties. With an area of 777 sq kms in the hills of Western Ghats amongst the animals are wild elephants which can be seen and photographed at close quarters, Wild boar, Sambar, Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog and langur monkey. Overnight stay

Day 08 Periyar - Backwater Cruise

After breakfast board the Kettuvalam - An Authentic Kerala House-boat - the moving master piece, have been plying the inland waterways of southwest India for untold centuries and originally used as cargo rice boats. The fully furnished and palm covered boats (single & double) bedrooms with attached bath, sit out, kitchen and living room made of traditional wood. In each house-boat, Traditional vegetarian and non-vegetarian Kerala cuisines are served. A journey through the backwaters of Kerala which offer one of the world’s truly unforgatable experiences, myriad network of silent lagoons, freshwater river, and hyacinth covered canals that wind their way through colorful corridors of forests, palms and fruit trees. A canoe expedition via an intricate network of canals, through backwater villages where daily continues unaltered, as it has for centuries. You will see lush palm groves and stretches of rice fields. Overnight stay in air condition house boat

Day 09 Alleppey – Cochin

Breakfast on board. Later drive to Cochin – Capital oasis state of Kerala & on to the Malabar Coats & Kochi, one of the India’s most colorful cities, the Dutch palace built by the Portuguese in 1557 and renovated by the Dutch from 1663 with its beautiful murals and Jew town including the antique warehouses and shops, spices trading house and the Jewish synagogue built in 1568, the oldest in the Commonwealth. This inter, connected series of Islands & shore line presents a vivacious blend of Cultures & Religions; Kochi is the only place in the country where you can see Portuguese Churches, a Jewish Synagogue, Hindu Temples, Dutch Architecture & Mosque nearly side by side. Evening we attend the performance of the Kathakali, one of India’s most famous Classical dances. Overnight stay

Day 10 Cochin - Mysore

After breakfast transfer to station to board the Shatabdi express train up to Calicut and then drive to Mysore 4 hours, the former capital of a princely kingdom with a rich heritage, through spectacular mountain landscapes, Spice plantations and eucalyptus forests. Overnight stay

Day 11 Mysore

After breakfast an excursion to Somnathpur is a small village on the banks of the river Cauvery that was founded by the commander of the Hoyasala army, Somnath. The village is famous for its splendid and grand Keshava temple that has been built in the Hoyasala style. The temple is famous for its elaborate and intricate sculpturing. The temple is enclosed in a walled courtyard that has a gate and a porch. The temple is built on an elevated star shaped platform. Overnight stay.

Day 12 Mysore –Belur –Halebid -Hassan

After breakfast drive to Hassan en route visit to Belur and Halebid. Belur - This quaint hamlets is 30 kms from Hassan-is located on the bank of the river Yagachi. It was once the capital of Hoysala Empire, Today unforgatable for its exquisite temples.  Halebid is 27 kms Northwest of Hassan and 17 kms east of Belur. The temples of Halebid - like those of Belur - bear mute testimony to the rich, culture heritage of Karnataka, which dates back to 13th century during Hoysala Dynasty, and Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebid. Overnight stay

Day 13 Hassan –Hospet 333 Kms/7 hrs

After breakfast departure to Hospet near the splendid site of Hampi, ancient capital of the last Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar, inscribed on the world heritage by UNESCO. Overnight stay

Day 14 Hospet –Hampi –Hospet UNISCO Heritage Site

After breakfast today explore the spectacular Vijaynagar ruins in the afternoon a visit to Hampi itself only 13 km away and one of the most fascinating historical sites in south India. The superb ruins are set in a strong and beautiful boulder-strewn landscape, which has an almost magical quality. One can still glimpse the splendor of Vijaynagar in its ruins where Hospet’s Virupaksha temple rises majestically. The most splendid monuments of Hampi is, undoubtedly the Vithala temple complex memories of Hampi will stay with you always. Overnight stay

Day 15 Hospet – Badami – Hubli 130 kms/2.30hrs

After breakfast drive to Hubli en route visit the sites of Aihole and Pattadakal, the religious capital of the Chalukya dynasty.
Pattadakal – a world heritage center, it has 10 major temples representing early chaluyan architecture, where coronations took place and where most of the temples were built between the 7th and 9th centuries. The Virupaksha, Mallikarjuna and join Temples are quite marvelous to behold include is a visit to Aihole where the Hindu temples architecture can be seen in its embryonic stage –50 temples within the fort wall and 50 outside.

In Badami visit the 4 caves of which the oldest one, built in the 6th century is dedicated to SHIVA. You will admire the 81 dance postures to the right of the entrance. Discovery of the ruins of the old fort that dominated the city, they offer superb views. Visit of the temple of MAHAKUTA, which is an important place of pilgrimage, because the sage AGASTYA lived there. Our drive continue to Hubli is 105 kms take 2.30 hrs. Overnight stay.

Day 16 Hubli – Goa 155 kms/4 hrs

After breakfast drive to Goa - a tiny emerald land on the west coast of India, a stretch of coastline where, from October to April, the skies are unbelievably blue and the days long, warm and Sunny. Where dolphins leap out of the Arabian Sea in the morning, and where beyond the long, sandy beaches, lay tropical gardens of flowers and coconut groves caressing hotels of charm where healthy living and good food habits come naturally. Illness & stress are banished with natural therapies like Ayurveda & Naturopathy. Where time stands still & happiness is a state of mind. This paradise is Goa!. Overnight stay.

Day 17 Goa

Today enjoy a private tour in Goa, renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. Visit beautiful temples and churches, a lush spice farm, and learn about the region's history from Portuguese administration to the present day. Overnight stay

Day 18 Goa – Onward

Morning is free for own activities later fly to Bombay to connected flight for home town or onward destination.

Accommodation

  • 02 night stay in  Mahabalipuram
  • 01 night stay in Pondicherry
  • 01 night stay in Kumbakonam
  • 01 night stay in Tanjore
  • 01 night stay in Madurai
  • 01 night stay in Periyar
  • 01 night stay in house boat
  • 01 night stay in Cochin
  • 02 night stay in Mysore
  • 01 night stay in  Hassan
  • 02 night stay in Hospet
  • 01 night stay in Hubli
  • 02 night stay in Goa

Dinning

  • Daily Buffet Breakfast at hotel restaurant
  • During stay in house boat  breakfast, lunch & dinner will b served
  • Inclusive of Taxes

Transportation

  • All transfers, Sightseeing and excursions by Air conditioned vehicle
  • Services of local English Speaking Guides at destination
  • All State taxes, toll taxes & Parking Charges
  • All monument entry fees wherever applicable
  • Motor launch both way to Elephant cave
  • Safari by motor Launch in Periyar
  • Boat ride to see the Fishing Net and village life around
  • Kathakali Dance entry fees

Exclusions

Laundry, Insurance, Tips, hard drink/beer, Telephone Calls, Still & Video Camera fees in Monuments and Expenses like personal nature