Treasure of South India | 15 days

Madras – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Swamimalai – Tanjore –Trichy – Madurai - Periyar – Kumarakom – Cochin – Ooty – Mysore –Hassan – Belur – Halebid – Madras
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Tour Overview

Tour Highlights

  • Traditional Indian welcome
  • UNESCO Heritage site of Mahabalipuram
  • Visit the shore temple  and Arjuna’s Peace
  • See the ancient temple of Kanchipuram
  • Visit to City of Seven Pagoda
  • Enjoy Tuk Tuk ride to see the colorful market or to stroll
  • Visit the Auroville & Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  • Enjoy the sea side in Pondicherry
  • UNSECO sites of Brahadeshwarar Temple
  • Experience backwater of Kerala
  • Blue Mountain Ooty
  • Explore the Kettu village
  • 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
  • Visit to Meenakshi Temple & Tirumal Nayaks Palace in Madurai
  • Explore Architectural sites of Belur and Halebid
  • Visit to village Somnathpur to see temple of Kesava

Day 01    Arrive Madras

Today Arrive Chennai (formerly Madras) The Capital of Tamil Nadu. You are greeted & escorted transfer to hotel.

Day 02    Chennai (Madras) – Mahabalipuram

Chennai is the gateway of South India will put you in touch with a different phase of India – Classical, Ancient, Gentle and the 4th largest city in India. Spread over 50 miles and features a large and beautiful waterfront on the Bay of Bengal. Inside the Fort we see Saint Mary’s Church, the oldest Anglican Church in India, and the grave of Saint Thomas the Apostle. Also visit the National Art Gallery, Museum, which house some beautiful temple friezes and South Indian bronzes & the Cathedral of San Thome. Later visit to the Mylapore Temple, Marina Beach & Famous Golden Beach. Overnight stay

Later drive to 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 Mahabalipuram.

Day 03     Mahabalipuram – Kanchipuram - Pondicherry 125 kms

After breakfast drive to Pondicherry en route visit to scares city of 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. 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. Auroville - or the ‘City of Dawn’ - was conceived as a place of research into the ideal of human unity by the Mother, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. The idea is to build a futuristic city where people of goodwill can live together in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. Auroville came into existence in 1968. Its Charter says, “To live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness”, and describes it as “belonging to nobody in particular, but to humanity as a whole”; as a place “of constant progress”; and as “a bridge between the past and the future.” Overnight stay Pondichery

Day 04 Pondichery

After breakfast A day to taste the charms of this city and its contrasts: the "black city" and its temples very lively dedicated to Ganesh, Shiva or even Durga the goddess of war, its colorful markets. In the white city the churches of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of the Angels or Our Dame of the Immaculate Conception. A walk in the city in cyclo-pousse, in the discovery of the old French districts. You pass by the ocher walls of the Alliance française and the French school created in 1826. Finally the consulate General of France which retains its authentic charm of the 18th century.

Visit to Sri Aurobindo Ashram whose buildings sprawl throughout the town: they also make paper and books, often beautifully bound in silk. The old seafront - Beach Road - makes a lovely morning stroll, there is a museum, several elaborate Catholic churches and 19th century Botanical Gardens planted with around 900 species of plants. In the late afternoon you will not miss making the inevitable stroll along Beach Road. Overnight stay in Pondichery

Enjoy this charming town, You can hier the Tuk Tuk enjoy the colorful market or to stroll at leisure or to enjoy the seaside.

Day 05    Pondicherry –Tanjore 170 kms

After breakfast drive to Thanjavur enroute visit to Gangaikonda, Cholapuram, and Swamimalai. Thanjavur is located on eastern coast of Central Tamil Nadu. This ancient city enjoys the distinction of having been the Capital of the Cholas – One of the greatest Dynasties of the South. This morning visit Parasuram Temple and the Institute of Iconography. Later drive to Thanjavur. Afternoon visit the 9th century Chola Temple of UNSECO sites of Brahadeshwarar Temple Overnight stay

Day 06     Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai 160 kms

Trichy was a Chola Citadel during the Sangam age & was also briefly ruled by the Pallavas & the Pandyas. Today, Trichy is a blend of history, a pilgrim centre and a thriving commercial city. Madurai is a colorful city to see its moods walk around the streets. The main city area revolves around Meenakshi temple, with its baroque example of Dravidian architecture & the four tall Gopurams (Pillars) with multi colored Gods, Goddess, Demons & deities. Madurai is surrounded by Coconut Grooves & Rice Paddies.

This morning disembark at Thanjavur. En route 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 Thaymanaswami Jambukeshwara Temple here has Shiva lingam almost submerged in water. Later we travel by Motor Coach to Nectar City of Madurai – 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 Nayaks Palace which is in a highly decorative monument. Its enormous roofed arcade supported by 48 - foot high stone pillar, still stands.  Overnight stay

Day 07      Madurai-Periyar 137 kms

We leave Madurai & 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! Our hotel is set in a Spicy Garden & has been molded after the Tribal dwellings of the area; each Cottage has thatched roof & a deep, Airy Verandah. This evening we visit the nearby Periyar Game Sanctuary; Game viewing here is like no other Safari experience. We simply relax in a Motor Launch & sail along as heards of Elephant & Bison come into view. During the dry season Tigers & Panthers come down to the Lake shore for a drink – be sure to have plenty of film on hand. Overnight stay

Day 08    Periyar – Kumarakom 110 kms

Early this morning we enjoy another Safari Cruise 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. Later we travel by surface to board the Houseboat (Kettuvalam). Cruise the backwaters & explore the rural life in & around Kumarakorm to Alleppey. Overnight stay at Houseboat

Day 09      Alleppey – Cochin 63 kms

From Alleppey we drive into the Oasis state of Kerala & on to the Malabar Coats & Kochi, one of the India’s most colorful cities. This inter, connected series of Islands & shoreline 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. This evening we attend the performance of the Kathakali, one of India’s most famous Classical dances. Lavish Costumes & Exotic makeup & Masks intensify the beauty of the dancers, intricate moments. Overnight stay

Afternoon visit to Fort Cochin & St. Frances Church to see the town of Vasco da Gama. We also see the Jewish Synagogue & the Mattancherry “Dutch” Palace. Late afternoon a memorable experience in any journey in Kerala is a Boat Trip along the Palm Fringed Lakes & Backwaters of the Area; we enjoy this extraordinary excursion today. As we sail along the shady canals we see cantilevered Chinese fishing nets. From our launch, we enjoy use of narrow produced –Laden dugouts & the everyday life of families living on narrow spits of land between the waters. The evening is free to spend as you like. Overnight Stay

Day 10     Cochin –Coonoor 270 kms

Today drive to Cool Hill Station of Coonoor with its world famous teas, is a tourist destination in itself.

Afternoon visit to Ketti is a large valley in the Nilgiris and a town as well. It is one the most beautiful sightseeing places in Ooty. Ketti Valley is home to several tribes, such as Todas and Badagas. These tribal people are experts in cultivating fresh vegetables and fruits in the valley. There are over 14 villages in this valley that belong to the tribes of Badagas

Ketti valley is a heaven for nature lovers and photographers. It is one of the most visited tourist sites of Ooty. It offers one of the best views of the valley. Nature lovers, adventurists, experience seekers and even casual travelers will love the view from the Ketti valley viewpoint. There is also a telescope room to get a closer view of the valley and surroundings. Overnight stay in Coonoor

Day 11 Ooty & Tea Estate

After breakfast visit to Doddabetta Park and he Nilgiri region is renowned for its tea and most of the areas in Ooty are surrounded with the tea plantation. The tea estate or plantation is one of attractions and you can enjoys to go for a walk in the tea estate which gives them peacefully. The place which is most popular for its tea estates is Glenmorgan which is one of the old tea estates and also Glenmorgan is one of the famous picnic spots.

In Ooty, there are own tea factories for their tea plantations. The tourist is even allowed inside the tea factories and has ainflict. You can snap photographes and make it as a memorable moment in your lifetime, so that you can enjoy the view of the tea estate.Don’t miss the lovely Government Botanical Gardens that were laid out 120 yrs. ago. Overnight stay in Coonoor

Day 12   Ooty – Mysore 155 kms

After breakfast drive to Mysore is the Sandalwood and Incense Capital of the World & some of India’s finest Crafts, such as Printed Silk, Inlaid, and Furniture & Ivory Carvings are also found here. Also known as the city of Palaces, Mysore retains a quaint charm that never fails to enchant. Evening visit to the Chamudishree Temple which is home to an enormous sculpture of Nandi the sacred bull. The 16-foot bull was carved from a single boulder & is traditionally laden with flower garlands each day. Overnight stay

Day 13  Mysore

Early morning visit the charming Devaraja Market, the fruit and vegetable market After breakfast excursion to village the temple of Somnathpur. 40 km east of Mysore, Somnathpur is a small village by the road, famous for its 13th century temple. In 1268, an officer of the Hoysala kings built there the temple of Kesava, dedicated to Vishnu. The particular interest of Somnathpur is that one sees in it an integrally preserved temple, with its roof, while it lacks to Halebid and Belur. The temple is built in the shape of a star with 16 branches, around three sanctuaries, each surmounted by a vimana. Splendid friezes run throughout the building, depicting episodes of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.

Afternoon visit Srirangapatna on this island surrounded by the Kaveri, which precipitates its tumultuous stream in the midst of the rocks, Haider Ali built important fortifications, which made it all round. Several times besieged, the fortress was finally taken by the English troops in 1799. Tippu Sultan was killed there during the assault. The place where his body was discovered is marked by a stele. Outside the compound is the pretty summer palace of Tippu Sultan, surrounded by a garden, the Daria Daulat Bagh. It is built in the Indo-Saracen style of the 17th century. Overnight stay in Mysore

Day 14      Mysore – Hassan 115 kms

Hassan – is quite & peaceful town is a convenient base to visit Sravanabelagola, Belur & Halebid. Morning city sightseeing tour of Mysore including the Palace of the Maharaja of Mysore including the Darbar & Marriage Halls & the Government house Later depart for Hassan en route visit Sravanabelagola - 51 kms south east of Hassan. This is the most important Jain Pilgrim centre. Here is the 17 mtr. High monolith of Lord Bahubali – the World’s tallest Monolithic statue. Overnight stay

Afternoon excursion to the 11th century temple of Belur and Halebid Belur - This quaint hemlet is 30 kms from Hassan-is located on the bank of the river Yagachi. It was once the capital of Hoysala Empire, Today unforgettable for its exquisite temples.

Halebid - is 27 kms north-west of Hassan and 17 kms east of Belure. The temples of Halebid – like those of Belure – bear mute testimony to the rich, culture heritage of Karnataka. Later proceed to Mysore to board the Shatabdi Express at 1420 hrs for Chennai. Arrive Chennai at 21:25 hrs upon arrival check in hotel. Overnight stay

Day 15    Hassan – Mysore – Madras –Onward

After breakfast say good bye to this fascinating and memorable tour departure transfer to Mysore railway station to board the Shatabadi express at 14.15 hrs arrive Madras central at 21.25 hrs

Accommodation

  • 01 Night stay in Madras
  • 01 Night stay in Mahabalipuram
  • 02 Night stay in Pondichery
  • 01 Night stay in Tanjore
  • 01 Night stay in Madurai
  • 01 Night stay in Periyar
  • 01 Night stay in Deluxe House boat
  • 01 Night stay in Cochin
  • 02 Night stay in Coonoor
  • 02 Night stay in Mysore
  • 01 Night stay in Hassan

Dinning

  • Daily Buffet Breakfast at hotel restaurant
  • During stay in House boat breakfast  Lunch & dinner will be 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 and park entry fees wherever applicable
  • Motor lunch safari in Periyar
  • Kathakali Dance in cochin
  • Tuk Tuk ride in Pondicherry

Exclusions

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