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As a part of your Extensive South India Tour you will first visit Chennai or Madras as it was known as is the capital of Tamilnadu. It is a teeming, sprawling, bustling industrial metro established on the site of a fishing village in 1639 as a first British settlement in India by the English merchant, Francis Day. Later, The East India Company developed Chennai as one of the major trading centres in India. Chennai has a blend of Dravidian and Gothic architecture in its buildings. The city might have grown but it has never lost its traditional grace and charm.
Upon clearing Customs and Immigration, you are met by our representative who will present you with a welcome pack including all necessary documentation for your South India tour and arrange for your transfer to your hotel for check-in. No activity is scheduled today, since most of the International flights arrive into India close to midnight only. Overnight at hotel
This morning embark from your hotel for a half day tour of Chennai.
This tour includes a visit to The Santhome Cathedral Church – built in 1504, then rebuilt in neo-Gothic style in 1893, this Roman Catholic Church near Kapaleeshwarar temple is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle. St Thomas Mount – is the place where the apostle is said to have been killed.
Little Mount Shrine – St. Thomas is believed to have lived in Little Mount Shrine (a tiny cave) when he came to India around 58 A.D. Known locally as Chinnamalai, the cave is entered via the Portuguese Church that was built in 1551.
Fort St George -built in the 1640 A.D., the first bastion of British power of India, the fort has undergone much alteration. The fort is now used by the Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly and the Secretariat office. The 46m high flagstaff at the front is actually a mast salvaged from a 17th century shipwreck. St Mary’s Church – built in 1678-80, was the first English Church in Chennai, and is the oldest surviving British Church in India. There are reminders in the Church of Clive, who was married here in 1753, and of Elihu Yale, the early Governor of Chennai who later founded the famous American University bearing his name.
The Fort Museum – It has a collection of objects from the tenure of the East India Company in Chennai including letters from Robert Clive. Rest of the day at leisure to explore the city on your own. Overnight at hotel.
This morning you drive to Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram – Mahabalipuram is a sleepy coastal town 60 kms south of Chennai. This tiny sea side village set in a boulder strewn landscape is a site of many ancient sculptural marvels. It was the port city of the Pallavas who had mastered the art of construction without using bricks or mortar, carving out exquisite sculptures from rocks. The best examples of the air art here are the five monolith chariots, the pride of Mahabalipuram. The various panels on the walls depict scenes from Hindu mythology and fables from the Panchtantra. The Mahabalipuram ruins, date to the seventh century and consist of a cave temple, shore temple, monolithic rathas (rock-carved temple chariots) and bas-reliefs (among the world’s finest.). It is the ideal place to purchase intricately shaped and skilfully carved statues.
Mahabalipuram , is one of the Indian towns that was devastated by the recent Tsunami waves in December 2004 , but in true Indian style , the citys inhabitants showed tremendous courage and had the city back to normal very quickly. Upon arrival check-in to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure to explore the city on your own or perhaps just relax on the beach. Overnight will be in Mahabalipuram.
Breakfast in the hotel. This morning after the breakfast drive to Tanjore. On arrival check in to the hotel. Rest of the day free at leisure.
Overnight will be in Tanjore.
Tanjore is the home of Carnatic music, musical instruments, dance and traditional handicrafts; Tanjore (Thanjavur) is famous for the Brihadeeswarar Temple. Also called the Big temple and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The great Chola king Raja Raja I (985-1012 A.D) built this temple. It is an outstanding example of the Chola architecture. Its unique architectural excellence has made the UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Monument. The 64.8m tall, 14-tiered pyramid shaped vimanam rises from a square base and is topped by a huge monolithic cupolas carved out from an 81.3 ton block of granite. It was installed with aid of a 6km long inclined plane. The tower is a testimony to the engineering skill of the Chola architects who planned its construction in a way that the shadow of the cupola never falls on the ground. The Art Gallery, Nandi Bull and the Saraswathi Mahal Library, are one of the most ancient in the world are worth visiting.
Overnight will be in Tanjore.
Breakfast in the hotel. After breakfast this morning drive to Trichy, and on arrival, visit rirangam. Surrounded by the Kaveri water is a 600-acre island town enclosed within the seven walls on the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswami temple. There are no less than 22 gopurams, one of which is the tallest in India. The 72 m high 13-tiered gopuram dominates the landscape for miles around. The Rock Fort situated on the banks of the Kaveri river, is Trichy’s most famed land mark is an 84 m high rock, one of the oldest in the world aprox.3, 800 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.
After completing the visit to Trichy continue the drive to Madurai.
Upon arrival in Madurai check in to the Hotel.
Overnight will be in Madurai.
Breakfast in the hotel. This morning embark upon the sightseeing of the city.
Madurai is known as Athens of the East, it is the second largest city on the banks of the River Vigai. The city is believed to be more than 2500 years old. The city got its name from the drops of nectar that fell from Shiva’s locs when he came to bless its people for constructing a temple for him. Madurai is proud of magnificent of The Meenakshi-Sundareswara Temple. Of its 12 gopurams, four of the tallest stand at the outer walls of the temple. The 48.8 m high southern gopuram is the most spectacular and have over 1500 sculptures. In the Ashta Shakti Mandapam inside the Meenakshi temple, the sculpted pillars tell the story of the beautiful princess of Madurai and her marriage to Lord Shiva.
Overnight stay is at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning drive to Periyar.
Periyar is 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 Upon arrival check in to Hotel. In the afternoon there is a boat cruise on Lake Periyar to view wildlife. Overnight stay will be at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning drive to Kumarakom.
On arrival you will check-in at the backwater resort.
Kumarakom is a beautiful backwater village on the shores of the enchanting Vembana Lake. Coconut Lagoon is set on an abandoned coconut plantation in the heart of idyllic backwaters.
Overnight will be in Kumarakom.
Breakfast in the hotel. This morning drive to Alleppey Jetty to go on board Kerala Houseboat called “Kettuvalam” The deluxe boat, approx, 55 feet in length consists of one bedroom, deck, pantry and a dining area. The room, well furnished with AC unit for night use, provides spacious attached bath, WC, shower area.
Traveling by boat on the backwaters in Kerala is one of the most unique experiences. The boats crosses shallow, palm-fringed lakes and travel along 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 and Kumarakom.
Overnight stay will be on Houseboat.
After breakfast proceed to Cochin.
Upon arrival check in to hotel. Rest of the day free at leisure.
Overnight will be in Cochin.
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning embark upon the sightseeing of the city. Cochin is Kerala’s commercial centre, it has a fine natural harbor. Cochin is famous for Mattanchery 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 harbor and three islands.In the evening you will witness Kathakali Dance Show in an auditorium.
Overnight will be in Cochin.
Bangalore – Hassan By Surface Approx ( 194 Kms /04 Hours ) Breakfastat the hotel. This morning assisted in the departure transfer to the airport to board the flight for Bangalore. Upon arrival in Bangalore received at the airport and then drive to Hassan, visiting enroute Sravanbelgola.
Said to be the world’s tallest monolithic statue, it rises 17 meter high of Bahubali. The statue was built in 981 AD by the sculptor Aristanmi and is most sacred to the Jain Community.
This morning after the breakfast visit Belur and Halebid temples.
Belur temple took over 103 years to build and is a classic example of the Hoysala style of architecture. It rises like a wedding cake in stone, from a star shaped plinth, one of the hallmarks of Hoysala building design. From the base upwards, there is an extraordinary wealth of decorative detail; every available inch is crammed with intricate carvings. In one frieze, 650 elephants jostle one another in a continuous line. Many of the figures of full-blossomed women depicted at Belur are believed to be portraits of King Vishnuvardhana’s queen.
Halebid is 16 km east of Belur and 27 km from Hassan.
The Hoysaleswara Temple dating back to 12th century is astounding for its wealth of sculptural detail. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of gods and goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls. Yet no two facets of the temple are the same. The magnificent temple -dedicated to Lord Shiva guarded by a Nandi Bull was never completed despite 86 years of labour. In the inner sanctum, the star black lingam, the symbol of Shiva, is still worshipped. The carving at the door is ornate with small details.
In the afternoon, drive to Mysore and upon arrival check in to the hotel.
Overnight will be in Mysore.
After breakfast at the hotel this morning embark upon the sightseeing trip of the city.
Mysore is 770 m above sea level. this imperial city was the erstwhile capital of the Wodeyars. The legend takes its name from a famous demon called Mahishasur, a great warrior who ruled as a tyrant until the goddess Chamundeshwari killed him. Mysore as we see today is most famous for the imposing Royal Palace with a magnificent Durbar Hall particularly splendid during the Dussehra Festival when the Maharaja’s jewellery, studded gold throne (weighing 200 kgs) is on display. Chamundeshwari temple perched on a hilltop is 2000 years old; Nandi Bull half way to the hill is a 4.8 metre monolith. 19 km northwest of Mysore is the KRS Dam and the ornamental Brindavan Gardens. The musical fountains and colorful lights transform this place into a fairyland in the evenings. Overnight will be in Mysore.
After breakfast at the hotel, this morning drive to Bangalore visiting Srirangapatnam, the Fort and Palace of Tippu Sultan.
Upon arrival in Bangalore, embark upon the city sightseeing tour.
Bangalore is the capital city of Karnataka. It is one of the most important metropolises of India. It is a vital centre of science, aeronautics and electronics. Situated 1000 m above sea level, this garden city has pleasant weather round the year. The Lalbagh, one of the finest botanical Gardens of India, Cubbon Park laid in 1864 sprawling across 300 acres, Vidhana Soudha built in 1956 housing The State Legislature and Secretariat are the main attractions. After completing the sightseeing of the city, assisted in the transfer to the airport to board the flight for Chennai. Upon arrive in Chennai received at the airport and assisted in the final departure transfer to the international airport to board the flight back home.