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Mahabalipuram

Best Of South India


DURATION : 15 NIGHTS / 16 DAYS (CONFLUENCE OF THREE STATES)

DESTINATION COVERED : CHENNAI - MAHABALIPURAM - PONDICHERRY - TRICHY - MADURAI - PERIYAR - KUMARAKOM - COCHIN - BANGALORE - MYSORE



DAY 01 ARRIVE CHENNAI

Arrive Chennai Airport by International flight. Meeting, assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel and overnight.


DAY 02 CHENNAI

After breakfast sightseeing tour of Chennai.

The capital city, popularly regarded as the "Gateway to the South" represents a culture that is distinctly different from that of Northern India. The places of interest are Kalaksheta, a school of art and music that encourages exponents of Bharatnatyam, Caranatic Music, traditional weaving and designing; Fort St.George built in 1653 during Birtish reign in India - now houses the Secretariat and Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu; St.Mary Church, the oldest Angelican Church in India with its premise; Sri Parthasarthy Temple built by Pallavas in the 8th century AD; Kapaliswara Temple, Mylapore also an eight century Pallava Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva; San Thomas Cathedral Basilica rebuilt in 1606 as a cathedral and in 1896 it was made a basilica; and Theosophical Society - the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society formed to encourage the study of comparative religion philosophy and science.

Afternoon at leisure & overnight at the hotel.


DAY 03 CHENNAI-KANCHIPURAM-MAHABALIPURAM DRIVE 134 KMS

After breakfast drive to Mahabalipuram enroute visiting Kanchipuram.

Kanchipuram - 70 km West of Mahabalipuram, this city of thousand temples lies. One of the seven scared cities of Hindus, it was the capital of the early Cholas as far back as the 2nd century BC. Kanchi was a major seat of Tamil learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. Apart from temples, the city is also famous for its silk weavers, settled here some 400 years ago and have given it an enviable reputation as the producer of the best silk sarees in the country. Temple festivals are held throughout the year apart from the Temple car (Ratha) festivals which are held in January, April & May. Out of remaining 126 temples in Kanchi, the most important are Ekambareswarar spread over in an area of 20 acres and has a tall 58.5 south gopuram adorned with beautiful sculptures, Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Varadaraja Temple, Kailasanathar Temple and Kamakshi Amman Temple.

On arrival check-in at hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.


DAY 04 MAHABALIPURAM

Full day excursion to Mahabalipuram Temples.

Mahabalipuram - Driving South of Madras on the coastal lies Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), the ancient port of Pallavas. The pallavas have created many marvelous monuments with sculptural panels, caves, monolithic rathas and temples. Krishna Mandapam, has a big base relief, notable for its realistic representation. The world's largest bas relief measuring 27 m x 9m, whale back shaped rock contains figures of gods, demi gods, men, beasts, birds and representation of the entire creation. Shore temple, one of the oldes in South dating back to 8th century AD is a good example faith first phase of structural temples constructed in Dravidian style. The Five Rathas, a group of five monolithic temples, each created in different style.


DAY 05 MAHABALIPURAM-PONDICHERRY DRIVE 132 KMS

After breakfast drive to Pondicherry.

On arrival check-in at hotel.

Afternoon sightseeing tour of Pondicherry.

Pondicherry - 162 kms from Madras situated on the Coromandel. It is the French connection that made Pondicherry famous. Francois Martin, a Frenchman, established the modern city of Pondicherry between 1672 and 1680 when most of the trade to Franc was through this port. Some of the famous Frenchmen who ruled from Pondicherry were Dupleix, De Sufferin, De Lally & Dumas. This quaint old town is also the place where Sri Aurobindo, a well known philosopher, patriort and savant established his Ashram.

Overnight at the hotel.


DAY 06 PONDICHERRY-TRICHY DRIVE 243 KMS

After breakfast drive to Trichy via Kumbakonam, Swamimalai, Tanjore.

Kumbakonam - 36 km from Tanjore is famous for its four large temples dedicated to Sarangapani, Kumbeshwarar, Brahma and Nageswarar. The very important Mahamakham festival takes place at Mahamakham tank once in 12 years when it is believed that the waters of 9 sacred rivers flow into the tank.

Tanjore - Lies 56 kms to the West of Trichy, one of the best temples in South Indfia, the Brahadeeshwarar built by the Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola, is the dynasty's finest contribution to the Dravidian temple architecture. The 64.8 m tall, 14 tiered pyramid shaped vimanam rises from a square base is topped by a huge monolithic cupola caved out from 81.3 tonne block of granite that was installed with the aid of a 6 km long inclined plane. The Tower is a testimony to the engierring skill of the Chola architects who planned its construction in such a way that the shadow of the cupola never falls on the ground.

Swamimalai - 30 kms from Tanjore is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. Situated on a 30m high platform, it marks the spot where young Subramanya explained to Siva, the meaning of Om which precedes every Hindu prayer. Swamimalai is also famous for its sculptors. On arrival check-in at hotel & Overnight.

On arrival check-in at hotel & Overnight.


DAY 07 TRICHY

After breakfast sightseeing tour of Trichy.

Trichy - The city of the Rock Fort situated on the banks of the Kaveri river. Trichy's most famed land mark is an 84 m high rock, one of the oldest in the world approximately 3800 million years. The attraction is not for fort itself but the temple at the summit. 344 steps hewn out of rock lead to the top where are the inscriptions dating back to the 3rd century B.C.5 km from Trichy, located in an island is Srirangam. Surrounded by the Kaveri water is a 600 acres island town enclosed within the sevel walls on the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswami temple. There are no less than 22 gopurams, one of the which is the tallest in India. The 72 m high 13 tiered gopuram dominates the landscape for miles around.

Afternoon car at disposal & overnight.


DAY 08 TRICHY-MADURAI DRIVE 142 KMS

After breakfast drive to Madurai.

On arrival check-in at hotel.

Afternoon sightseeing tour of Madurai which terminates witnessing night ceremony at Minakshi Temple

Madurai - Known as Athens of the East, it is the second largest city on the banks of the River Vigai. The city believed to be more than 2500 year old. The city got its name from the drops of nectar (Mathuram) that fell from Shiva's locs when he came to bless its people for constructing a temple for him. Madurai where the people wake up at the chant of hymns is proud of magnificent. The Meenakshi-Sundareswara Temple. Of its 12 gopurams, four of the tallest stand at the outer walls of the temple. The 48.8 high southern gopuram is the most spectacular and have over 1500 sculptures. In the Astha Shakti Mandapam inside the Meenakshi temple, the sculpted pillars tell the story of the beautiful princess of Madurai and her marriage to Lord Shiva.

Ovenright at the hotel.


DAY 09 MADURAI

Full day excursion to Rameshwaram

Rameswaram - 167 kms from Madurai is connected to mainland India by the Pamban bridge. The temple here is one of the grandest in the country with the longest corridor (1220 m), the Ramanathaswami temple is built at the spot where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva after he slayed Ravana, the King of Lanka.

Overnight at the hotel.


DAY 10 MADURAI-PERIYAR DRIVE 160 KMS

After breakfast drive to Periyar.

On arrival check-in at hotel.

Afternoon sharing boat cruise on Lake Periyar to see Periyar Sanctuary.

Periyar - Spread over an area of 777 sq.km, this sanctuary has about 35 tigers and leopards. However, sighting a tiger in Periyar is a fortune for one out of thousand. The park encompasses a 26 sq.km artificial lake and is the home of sambars, wild boars, elephants and antelopes which can be occasionally seen on the banks of the river during a boat cruise. Periyar, otherwise, blessed by nature has enormous tea, coffee, pepper and cardamom plantations and is lush green.

Overnight at the hotel.


DAY 11 PERIYAR-KUMARAKOM DRIVE 114 KMS


After breakfast drive to Kumarakom.

On arrival check-in at hotel & overnight.


DAY 12 KUMARAKOM

Full day at leisure

Kumarakom - 64 kms from Cochin, it is another commercial center of Kerala. Dotted with churches and covered with rubber plantations, Kottayam is just 16 kms away from Kumarakom and Vembanand Lake. To the city's west are delightful backwaters and to its east is the most fertile and scenic part of the Western Ghats having rubber, tea, coffee, pepper and cardamom plantations.


DAY 13 KUMARAKOM-ALLEPPEY-COCHIN

After breakfast backwater cruise from Kumarakom to Alleppey. Travelling by boat on the backwaters in Kerala is one of the most unique experience. The boats cross, shallow, palm-fringed lakes and travel along narrow shady canals providing glimpses of small settlement on the narrow land, shops, schools and trading on boat, lush green rice fields. These canals are well connected between Kottayam-Alleppey-Changancherry-Quilon & Kumarakom on the edge of Asthamudi Lake. The delightful backwaters of Kerala begin from this picturesque town.

Later drive Alleppey to Cochin 64 kms, check-in at hotel.

Afternoon sightseeing tour of Cochin.

Cochin - Kerala's commercial center, it has a fine natural harbour. Cochin (Kochi) gateway for Kerala is famous for Mattancherry (Dutch) Palace, St. Francis Church, Wellington Island, Bolghatty Island, Chinese Fishing nets and Jewish Synagogue. Cruising on the backwaters provides glimpses of the rural life, fine view of the harbour and three islands. Evening sunset cruise in Cochin.


DAY 14 COCHIN-BANGALORE-MYSORE

After breakfast transfer to Cochin airport in time to board flight for Bangalore.

Assistance upon arrival and proceed for sightseeing tour of Bangalore.

Bangalore - A modern, bustling city and an important industrial center, is pleasant round the year. It is also one of India's mosr progressive and liberal cities. Vidhan Soudha constructed of granite in the noe-Dravidian style of architecture is one of the most spectacular buildings. Cubbon Park, covers 120 hectres, laid out in 1864 is a beautiful shady park, full of flowering trees. The Government Museum, one of the oldest in India, established in 1886 and houses collections on geology, art, numismatics and relics from Mohenjodaro, dating back 5000 years. Lalbagh covering 96 hectres was laid out in the 18th century by Hyder Ali.

Later drive to Mysore enroute visiting Srirangapatnam.

Srirangapatnam - 16 kms from Mysore, is situated on the banks of Cauvery River. Once the capital of Hyder Ali and Tippu Sulta, it is from here that Tippu Sultan, in alliance with French, fought the British. Inside the Fortress there is a Tippu's Mosque with its twin minarets. The famous Ranganathaswammay temple is also at Srirangapatnam.

On arrival check-in at hotel for overnight.


DAY 15 MYSORE

After breakfast full day tour of Mysore and visit to Somnathpur.

Mysore - The seat of Maharaja of Mysore until independence is most famous for Indo-Saaracenic Palace. Just south of the city is Chamundi Hill, toped by an important Siva Temple. North of the city lie the ruins of the fortress of Srirangapatnam, built by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. To the east is the beautiful temple of Somnathpur while to the West, below the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam, are the Brindavan Gardens.

Somnathpur - 45 kms from Mysore is known for its Hoysala architecture. Built in 1268 AD the temple is seated on a star shaped base, set on a chiseled plinth and guarded at intervals by miniature elephants. The temple wall depicts from Ramayana, Mahabharata & Bhagvata.

Overnight at the hotel.


DAY 16 MYSORE-BANGALORE

After breakfast drive to Bangalore airport for onward flight.






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