South India Temple Tour

Duration: 14 Nights / 15 Days 

Places Covered:

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai – Periyar – Kumarakom – Alleppey – Cochin – Wynad – Mysore – Hassan – Bangalore

Day 01: Arrive Chennai

Arrive Chennai, assistance on arrival by our airport representative and transfer to hotel in Chennai. Overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram

Following leisurely breakfast enjoy sightseeing tour of Chennai city.
Though it was the oldest settlement of the British, Madras remained unaffected in spirit. Only the cathedral and the Fort of St. George are a reminder of its British past. Visit MGR Garden Shooting , Santhome church, Govt. Museum and Fort St.George – the first foothold of British from where Robert Clive started the expansion of British Rule.
Afternoon drive to Mahabalipuram via Kanchipuram. Known as the Golden city of a Thousand Temples, this is one of India’s sacred cities. Many early styles of temple architecture may be seen here. Visit Ekambareshwar Temple, Kailashnath Temple, Kamakshi Temple and the Vaikunthaperumal Temple. 
After visit continue drive to Mahabalipuram, on arrival check-in at hotel. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry

Following breakfast sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram. 
Mahabalipuram – an ancient coastal port South of Madras, you will see many sculptures and temples of typical South India architectural designs; the five Rathas – A group of Monolithic monuments of animal figures carved out of solid rock; the shore temple, lashed by the waves of the sea, and the Huge frescoes; the penance of Bhagirath. 
Later drive to Pondicherry, upon arrival check in to hotel. Afternoon visit Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo Ashram – see the marble ‘Samadhi’ where Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s remains are kept. Also visit Ecole Francaise d’ Extreme Orient and The French Institute. After visit stroll on the road close to sea. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Pondicherry – Tanjore

After early breakfast drive to Tanjore, en route visit Chidambaram and Darasuram Temples. 
Chidambaram Temple: Chidambaram (also Thillai) literally means the sky permeated by an atmosphere of intelligence and wisdom. According to legend, it was once a forest of tillai, a mangrove species of trees. There was once a small shrine on the banks of a tank. Lord Nataraja is said to have emerged from the sacred space and performed his Cosmic Dance before his two devotees. This city was a part of the Chola dynasty and is today, an important pilgrim centre and known for its Nataraja Temple or Chidambaram Temple. 
Darasuram: A ‘Sculptor’s dream in stone’, musical pillars, mandapam in the shape of a chariot, a wealth of sculpture and painting are synonymous with Airavateshvara Temple. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is a well-preserved example of 12th century Chola architecture. Darasuram is an ancient town and also boasts a silk weaving centre. 
After visit drive to Tanjore, on arrival check-in to hotel. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: Tanjore

Following breakfast enjoy a four hours excursion to Trichy. Trichy, situated on the banks of river Cauvery, famous for the beautifully sculpted Ranganatha temple at Srirangam, the biggest in India & which makes Trichy a very auspicious and sacred Hindu city. The attractions here include Rock Fort, SriJambukeshwara Temple, Tiruvannaikaval, Srirangam, Museums & Art Galleries.
Following excursion drive back to Tanjore. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Rajaraja Temple.
Tanjore: Famous for the Classic Dravidian style temple of Brihadishwara, built by the Cholas in the 10th century A.D., dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the giant Nandi statue. Tanjore also noted for its art and crafts; pottery, silk, jewellery, beaten copper, bronzes & silver statues.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 06: Tanjore – Madurai

After leisurely breakfast drive to Madurai, en route visit old mansions in Chettinad. Chettinad is well known for its Chettinad cuisine, mansions, and temples. Visit old and exclusive houses of native Chettiars (Original residents of Chettinad). After visit continue drive to Madurai, on arrival in Madurai check-in to hotel.
Afternoon sightseeing tour of Madurai including Meenakshi Temple and Tirumalai Nayak Palace.Madurai city: Madurai is one of the oldest cities of southern India. It has been a centre of pilgrimage, for centuries. The Meenakshi temple, the main architectural attraction here, is an excellent example of Dravidian architecture, with gopurams or multi pillared halls, covered from top to bottom, in a profusion of multicoloured images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. 
Tirumalai Nayak Palace: This Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building you see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 07: Madurai – Periyar

Following leisurely breakfast drive to Periyar, on arrival check-in at hotel. Periyar : Periyar and its cool, misty Cardamom Hills – a magnificently scenic region 4000 feet and higher, with forests and valleys, roaring streams and pristine jungles. 
Afternoon visit Spice plantation in Periyar with boat ride on Periyar Lake. Scout for statuesque sambar deer and giant wild oxen, or guar, browsing in the marshes. Search the green wooded shores for wild boars, monkeys, and an array of birdlife. Spend the night in splendid isolation at your comfortable hotel. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Periyar – Kumarakom

Following breakfast drive to Kumarakom, on arrival check-in at hotel. 
Rest of the day free at leisure to enjoy the serenity of Kerala backwaters. To experience Kerala’s famous backwaters that comprise of vast lakes and a system of narrow canals and waterways linking them to one another. Not so long ago, these waterways served as the backbone of Kerala’s transportation. Kumarakom is the ideal place to experience the fascinating lifestyles of the backwaters. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 09: Kumarakom – Alleppey

Following leisurely breakfast board the Houseboat for a unique experience through the narrow canals and channels of the backwaters of Kerala. The materials that go into the making of houseboat are all local and Eco-friendly; bamboo poles, coconut fibre ropes, bamboo mats carpets etc. The main wood used is “Anjali”. The Houseboat provides all comforts – Beds, a kitchen, western toilets and an upper deck. Traditional lanterns are used as lights. 
Overnight on Houseboat.

Day 10: Alleppey – Cochin

Following breakfast drive to Cochin, on arrival check-in at hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Fort Cochin including Mattancherry, Synagogue and St Francis church. 
Cochin: With its wealth of historical associations, and its magnificent setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, Cochin is one of the most fascinating cities of coastal South India. It is a city with indelible marks of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Jewish traditions. Visit the 16th century Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace is a fascinating fort with elegant buildings and interesting collections from the Royal traditions of the region. The unique feature of Cochin is the unexpected and isolated Jewish community, whose origins date back to AD 52. They are self-contained and have their own Synagogue. 
Evening witness traditional dance form of Kerala – Kathakali Dance. The extremely stylized gestures, the elaborate make-up, the masks and the splendid costumes of these all-male dancers, recreates an incomparable sense of pageantry. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 11: Cochin – Vythiri

Following breakfast drive to Vythiri, on arrival check-in at hotel. Rest of the day free at leisure. 
Vythiri: Situated at an altitude of about 3750-4500 ft above sea level it spreads over an area of about 150 sq km, eco-friendly and designed in the traditional Kerala architectural style. Vythiri is world famous for its evergreen rain forests and plantations of coffee, tea, rubber, cardamom and pepper. It is known for its comfortable, refreshing and pollution free environment. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 12: Vythiri – Mysore

Following breakfast drive to Mysore, on arrival check-in at hotel. Rest of the day free. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 13: Mysore ( excursion to Somnathpur)

After breakfast enjoy excursion to Somnathpur: Situated in the unobtrusive village of Somnathpur, 35 km from Mysore, the exquisitely carved, star-shaped temple with triple towers is a perfect example of Hoysala architecture. The friezes on its outer walls with their intricately carved rows of caparisoned elephants, charging horsemen, birds and beasts of mythology, will leave you spellbound. 
After visit return drive back to Mysore. Later visit Mysore Palace. . The Mysore Palace, built in Indo – Saracenic style is one of the largest and most brilliant palaces in India. It’s a kaleidoscope of stained glass, mirrors, gilt and colours. There are beautiful carved wooden doors, mosaic floors, as well as exquisite paintings. 
Afternoon visit Chamundi Hill. Halfway up the Chamundi Hill is the Nandi Bull, a 4.8 m monolith statue. It was carved out of solid rock and is one of the largest in India. Hordes of pilgrims come here throughout the year. Right on top, is the 2000-year-old Chamundeswari Temple. The temple provides atypical festive atmosphere without overwhelming religious overtures. 
Also visit Srirangapatnam. Srigangapatnam which lies within the portals of the Dariya Daulat. (Splendour of sea) once his summer place and later appropriated by Arthur Wellesley. Constructed mainly in wood, the structure rests on a vast plinth. The walls and ceilings are elaborately painted. The murals on the outer walls depict scenes from Tipu’s wars while the interior walls are ornately painted with abstract designs and floral motifs. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 14: Mysore – Hassan by surface

Following breakfast drive to Hassan, en route visit Sravanabelagola. After visit continue drive to Hassan, on arrival check-in at hotel. 
Afternoon excursion to Halebidu and Belur temples. 
Halebidu: Construction of the Hoyasleswara Temple at Halebid began around 1121. Despite more that 80 years of labour, it was never completed. Neverthless, it is easily the most outstanding example of Hoysala art. Every centimetre of the outside walls and much of the interior is covered with an endless variety of Hindu deities, sages, stylised animals and birds, and frienzes depicting the life of the Hoysala rules. 
Belur: The Channekeshava Temple at Belur is the only one at the three major Hoysala sites still in use. Begun in 1116 to commemorate the Hoysala’s victory over the Cholas at Talakad, it was worked on for over a century. Its exterior is not, in the lower friezes, as extensively sculptured as the other Hoysala temples, but the work higher up on the walls is unsurpassed in details and artistry. 
Overnight at hotel.

Day 15: Hassan – Bangalore

Following breakfast drive to Bangalore. Afternoon visit some important places in Bangalore. 
Bangalore City has a number of tourist places. Apart from the numerous gardens, it also has some historical sites and other places of interest. The Vidhan Soudha or the State Secretariat, built in 1954, is the main attraction of this city. It is a marvel of modern architecture and is a fine amalgamation of traditional Dravidian and modern styles. 
Evening transfer to Bangalore airport with assistance for your international flight with sweet memories…