Enchanting Land of South India
A 13-day tour of South India: Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Mysore, Halebid, Belur, Ooty, Cochin, Munnar, Periyar, Madurai, Poovar, Trivandrum
Check in/check out time at all hotels is 12 noon.
Air fares/schedule currently valid & subject to change without notice.
Meeting, assistance on arrival & transfer to hotel. Check in time 12 noon.
The city traces its origin to 1639 when Francis Day a trader with the British East India Company, built a trading post â€“ Fort St. George, near the village of Madraspatnam. Today Chennai is the fourth largest city of India with a population of 5,5 million people. Also called as â€œHollywood of Indiaâ€ Overnight at hotel.
Morningâ€™s excursion takes you to Mahabalipuram (58kms one way). Visit the magnificent rock temples and carvings in Mahabalipuram. ceremonial chariots, rock-cut monoliths, named after the 5 Pandavas - heroes of the Mahabharata epic and Draupadi their wife. The Shore Temple by the sea surrounded by gardens designed according to descriptions of the original layout from ancient times. Built in sandstone in the 7th century. Bhagirathaâ€™s Penance is a bas- relief (27 to 9m) sculptured on the face of two enormous adjacent rocks, depicts, the penance of Arjuna, myraid characters from the Mahabharata, realistic life-size figures of animals, gods and saints watching the descent of the river goddess Ganga to earth Afternoon city of Chennai: Visit Fort St. George â€“ a British trading post and powerful bastion and entrance to South India. The 16th century Portuguese old Cathedral of St. Thomas Church in which the remnants of St. Thomas is buried who came to India in 52 AD. Pass by the University built in Indo-Sarscenic style, as well as 5 km long Marina Beach, a lovely esplanade by the sea, and National Museum with sculptures from Pallava, Pandava and Chola time which houses archaeology, art, exceptionally beautiful bronzes statues, with exhibits of stone and iron age.
Overnight at our HotelChennai, India
Morning transfer to railway station to board your train for Mysore:
Depart: Chennai at 0600hrs (by Shatabadi Express***)
Arrive : Mysore at 1300hrs
(***Operates daily except on Wednesday)
On arrival transfer to hotel.
Mysore, the former capital of the princely state, is the second largest city in Karnataka. It is a beautiful city of stately palaces, gardens, parks and museums. Sandalwood and a centre for the manufacture of incense sticks. The city is famous for the scent of jasmine in the spring. Afternoon visit the Maharaja Palace (1857): that was once the residence of the Wodeyars, Built in Indo-Saracenic style in grand proportions, with domes, arches and colonnades of carved pillars and shiny marble floors. One of the largest palaces in the country with some art treasures, Also visit Chamundi Hill has the temple of Durga (Chamundeswari) celebrating her victory over the buffalo god. She became the guardian deity o the Wodeyars. On the road to the top is the giant Nandi Monolith carved in 1659.
Overnight at hotel.Mysore, India
Morning proceed for a full day return excursion Halebid & Bellur en route visiting Sravanabelgola, a Jain pilgrimage centre famous for the statue of Gommateshwara. The statue, an impressive site, stands on the Vindhyagiri overlooking the town of Shravanbelagola.
There on visit Halebid the last capital of Hoysala rulers in 11th-12th century. The Hoysalas were a mighty martial race, but did not let that interfere with their culture and fostering of some of the greatest masterpieces of the world. The Hoysala rulers commissioned some of the most unique temples in the south as beautiful prayers to their gods to assist them on the battlefield. Victory imbibed art with an incredible intricacy.
A few kilometers further we reach Belur. The religious capital of Hoysala. Visit the ornamental gopuram of the Chennakesava Temple dedicate to Lord Vishnu, which appears unexpectedly around a bend. It took 103 years to complete.
Late afternoon drive back to Mysore.Mysore, India      Halebid, India     Belur, India
Morning drive to Ooty (160kms/5hrs). On arrival check in at hotel.
Udhagamandalam, as Ooty is known officially is the largest and most important hill station in south India.
This principle station on the Nilgiris is at an elevation of 2286 meters and situated at the center of the district. It is an extensive valley enclosed on all sides but the west by a lofty range of hills. The name of the Ooty or Ootacamand was first mentioned in about 1821 in the Madras Gazette which was then spelt as \"Wotokymund\" by an anonymous correspondent who was one among the Europeans to set an eye on Ootacamand. It is also fondly called the Queen of Hill Stations.
Afternoon visit the garden beautifully laid out in terraces with rose tunnels, pergolas and bowers with rose creepers. To commemorate the centenary Flower Show, the Rose Park was established at Vijayanagaram in Udhagamandalam covering an area of 4 hectares in five terraces. Today this garden has the largest, Ramblers, roses of unusual colours like black and green are some of the more than 3,000 varieties of roses that will captivate your senses.
Overnight a hotel.Mysore, India      Ooty, India
Post an early breakfast drive to Cochin (300kms/7hrs) now called Kochi. On arrival check in at hotel.
If Kerala is rated by some as Indiaâ€™s most beautiful state, then the lovely port of Cochin is its jewel. It has been variously hailed as Queen of the Arabian Sea, Venice of Orient, etc. Some choose to call it simply a museum city for its rich past and colorful present. Cochin displays a blend of peoples and architecture. It is one place where you can see a Jewish synagogue, Portuguese churches, Dutch architecture, a couple of mosques, Hindu temples and Chinese fishing nets all in one day.
Evening enthrall yourself with a special presentation of the colorfully costumed Kathakali Dance Drama. This mask dance form is originally from Kerala and 1500 years old. This classical dance has 24 `mudrasâ€™ expressing the nine emotions of serenity, wonder, kindness, love, valor, fear, contempt, loathing and anger.
Overnight at hotel.Ooty, India      Cochin, India
Morning sightseeing of Cochin, a city till today influenced by medieval Portugal, Holland and England. You visit St. Francis Church, built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars where Vasco da Gama was buried for 14 years before his remains were transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone still stands. Nearby is the Mattancherry Palace or â€œDutch Palaceâ€.
The central hall on the Ist floor was the coronation hall of the rajas of Cochin. Other rooms depict scenes from the Ramayana and Puranic legends connected with Hindu gods. Amazing are the Chinese fishing nets. These cantilevered fishing nets line the entrance to the harbour mouth. They were introduced by traders from the courts of Kublai Khan. You also see the Jew City with the Jewish Synagogue, constructed in 1568, with hand- painted, willow-pattern floor tiles brought from Canton in the mid-18th century by a Rabbi, who had trading interest in that city.
Afternoon free for independent activities.
Back water cruise. Overnight at hotel.
Post breakfast check out & drive to Munnar (4hrs)
On arrival check in at hotel.
The name of this hill station traces its origins to the two south Indian language (Tamil-of Tamil Nadu) & (Malayalam of Kerala). This quaint little hill station in at the confluence of two rivers. Munnar is famous for its cool air, landscaped tea gardens & for nature lovers.
Afternoon visit Tea museum. Overnight at hotel.Cochin, India      Munnar, India
Morning drive to Periyar (5hrs). On arrival check in at hotel.
This unique wildlife sanctuary is about 780 sq. km centered around an artificial lake fed by the Periyar river.
This afternoon game viewing is on board boats (seat sharing basis) which carry you through the jungle along convoluted waterways and afford sightings of elephant, bison, deer and occasionally, tiger. Small animals include black Nilgiri langur, bonnet and lion tailed macaque, Giant and Flying squirrel. There are some 246 species of birds and 112 species of butterfly. There are trees more than 100 years old and over 50 m high.Munnar, India      Periyar Tiger Reserve, India
Morning visit a neighboring village vending local spices.
There after drive to Madurai (5hrs). On arrival check in at hotel.
Is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu. Here, the Dravidian culture reached its zenith in art, architecture, palaces and temple buildings. Once the capital of powerful Nayaka kings, a bustling city packed with pilgrims, businessmen, bullock carts and legions of rickshaw pullers. Its narrow overcrowded streets seem to be bursting at the seams with activity. Southern Indiaâ€™s oldest center for pilgrimage and learning.
Afternoon visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, a palace in Indo-Saracenic style built in 1636, with huge domes and 240 columns rising to 12 m, a beautiful garden and a attached museum. The celestial Pavilion, an arcaded octagonal structure is curiously constructed in brick and mortar without any supporting rafters. Later visit MeenakshiTemple, an outstanding example of the Dravidian temple architecture from the Vijaynagar kingdom. Meenakshi, the fish eyed goddess and the consort of Shiva has a temple to the south and Sundareswarar (Shiva) a temple to the west. One of the biggest temples of India. Its nine â€œGopuramâ€-Temple towers (23-30m ) have wonderful stucco images of gods, goddesses and animals from the Hindu mythology. Late evening, visit the Meenakshi temple to witness the `poojaâ€™ (prayer) ceremony.
Overnight at hotel.Periyar Tiger Reserve, India      Madurai, India
For the early risers we have a visit to a local flower market.
Post breakfast check out & drive to Poovar (220kms/5hrs).
On arrival check in at your resort. Rest of the day free.
Overnight at hotel.Madurai, India      Poovar, India
Afternoon relax & take your fatigue out to an Ayurvedic massage.
Overnight at resort.Poovar, India
Morning check out & drive to Trivandrum airport (30kms) to connect your flight for Onward destination.
Ask us for our post tour â€˜By the Seaâ€™ in Kovalam.Poovar, India      Thiruvananthapuram, India