Rajasthan and Varanasi Tour

South India Tour - Tamilnadu and Kerala of India

SOUTH INDIA TOUR – TAMILNADU AND KERALA   

Arrive Chennai – Mahablipuram – Pondicherry – Trichy – Tanjore – Madurai –Periyar – Kumarkom – Houseboat, – Cochin – Home Town

TOUR PROGRAM:

DAY 01: Leave your Country

  • Leave your country by International Flight
  • Overnight at Board

DAY 02: ARRIVE CHENNAI

  • Arrive Chennai International Airport
  • Chennai (formerly known as Madras), is known for its cultural heritage & temple architecture. The region was served as an important administrative, military, & economic centre dating back to the 1st century. The first Westerners were Portuguese, who arrived in the year 1522 & built a port. It then passed on to the Dutch in 1612. In 1639 the British East India Company established a fort & trading post & since then this coastal centre of trade has drawn traffic from all over the world.
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  • Meet and assist at airport after customs and immigration clearance.
  • Transfer to Hotel
  • Check in hotel
  • Morning Relax at hotel
  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Afternoon local sightseeing of Chennai visiting Fort St. George, the first bastion of British power in India & built in the year 1640 AD by the British East India Company. Within the Fort we visit St. Mary's Church, built in the year 1680 & oldest Protestant Church in the East. Fort Museum has 10 galleries & displays armoury, old uniforms, crockery & silverware, coins, palanquins, paintings, letters, old prints, etc. Santhome Cathedral, built in 1504, is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle, who is believed to have visited Madras (Chennai) sometime during 52 AD.
  • National Art Gallery , established in the year 1857, is undoubtedly one of the country's finest museums. It has sections devoted to geology, archaeology, anthropology, botany, zoology, sculpture & numismatics. Kapileshwar Temple, located in Mylapore, the arresting architecture of the Kapileshwar temple is of the Dravidian style. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva.
  • Return to hotel
  • Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight at hotel

DAY 03: CHENNAI – KANCHIPURAM (80 kms / 2 hrs drive)
           KANCHIPURAM / MAHBALIPURAM (75 kms  / 2hrs drive)

  • 08.00 hrs - Breakfast at hotel
  • 08.30 hrs – Check out and transfer to Mahabalipuram and enroot visit Kanchipuram, one of the seven holy cities in the country. It was a city of learning for both Tamil & Sanskrit and was believed to be visited by Hsuan Tsang. In ancient times it was called Kachi. Once upon a time it had over 1,000 temples, but today there are around a hundred left. It is also known for its silk sarees. We visit Kailasanatha Temple, built in 8th Century AD. It is built in the typical Pallava style, with a pyramidal tower, a pillared hall & vestibule, enclosed by a wall. The temple is famous for exquisite carvings & attracts devotees & tourists alike. There are 58 small shrines situated around the main shrine, as a compound wall. Fresco style paintings adorn the inner walls of the temple. Next we visit Ekambaranatha, ancient temple is dedicated to lord Shiva. The 57 metres high Raj Gopuram is one of the tallest towers in South India. The 3000 year old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yielding different variety of mangoes.

Before returning to Mahabalipuram we visit Kamakshi Amman Temple, built in 12th century AD, as an important Shakthisthalam, known as Parabrahmaroonpini. The main deity is seated on Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Eswara & Sadasiva.
 

  • 13.30 hrs - Arrive at Mahabalipuram
  • Check in at hotel
  • Lunch at hotel
  • Afternoon Visit – Mahabalipuram-  Mahabalipuram is world renowned for its beautiful Shore Temple & other temples. It was once the main port & naval base of the great Pallava kingdom & was later made the capital of this dynasty. Most of the temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva & Vishnu. These structures were built by three successive Pallava Kings, between 630 A.D & 728 A.D, who developed the Dravidian style of temple architecture within the short span of a hundred years. The monuments are mostly rock-cut & monolithic, constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture, wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries) & giant open-air bas-reliefs & has been classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site.Today, we take a guided tour of Mahabalipuram, visiting Shore Temple, one of the oldest temples in South India. It belongs to the 7th Century AD & is a good example of the first phase of the structure of temples constructed in the Dravidian style. Designed to catch the first rays of the rising sun & to illuminate the waters after dark, the temple ended up with an unusual lay-out.
    Arjuna's Penance is the world's largest bas-relief. This huge whale-back shaped rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts, birds. Next we visit Rathas, monolithic temples fashioned as chariots. They remain an architectural mystery, for each is apparently a faithful reproduction of a structure built of wood. In fact, even the grain of the timber beams & rafters has been simulated in stone. Of the eight Rathas, five have been named for the Pandava brothers, the heroes of the epic Mahabharata.
  • Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight at hotel

DAY 04: MAHABALIPURAM / PONDICHERY (100 kms / 2 hrs drive)

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • After Breakfast check out and transfer to Pondichery .
  • Arrive at Pondichery
  • Check in at hotel After Lunch -  drive to Auroville near Pondicherry. The community of Auroville consists of Indian & International residents who aim to develop a harmonious environment through the implementation of the teachings Sri Aurobindo & the Mother. Upon arrival visit Matri Mandir which was designed to be the spiritual & physical centre of Auroville (Temple is opened between 1530-1630 hr). Further drive to Pondicherry, the land of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the serene world of distinct spiritual vibration & thus renowned as Sacred Land.
  • Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight at hotel

DAY 05: PONDICHERY / TANJORE (230 kms / 4-5 hrs drive)

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Check out and transfer to Tanjore - Tanjore, flourished during the rule of the Nayaks & Mahrattas. It has been the treasure house of art for centuries. It is called the Rice Bowl of Tamilnadu. Thanjavur is well-known throughout the world for its exquisite handicrafts like the Art Plate, pithwork, bronze icons, Thanjavur paintings & the classical South Indian musical instruments.
  • Arrive at Tanjore
  • Check in at hotel
  • Lunch at hotel
  • Afternoon visit - Brihadeshwara temple, also known as Big Temple, built by Rajaraja Chola I was completed around 1010 CE. This 10th century CE temple, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a brilliant example of the Dravidian style of temple architecture. The beautiful Chola Fresco paintings on the inner walls of the temple are no way less than Ajanta paintings
  • Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight at hotel

DAY 06: TANJORE / TRICHY / MADURAI (180 kms / 4-5 hrs drive)

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Check out and transfer to Madurai
  • Today we leave for Madurai; rich cultural heritage passed for more than 2500 years old & has been an important commercial centre as early as 550 AD. It is the oldest city in Tamilnadu & was originally known as Kadambavanam or the forest of Kadamba.
  • En route Trichy
    En route we stop at Trichy, which has very historic temples, monuments & churches. It was an important town in the days of the later Cholas, Nayaks as well as during the early days of the British East India Company. We start with Srirangam Temple surrounded by the waters of the River Kaveri and its tributaries. Kollidam is a 600-acre island-town enclosed within the 7 walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. There are not less than 21 Gopuram here in this temple, one of which is the tallest in South India.
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  • Later we visit Rock fort. The most famed landmark is an 83m high rock which is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The most amazing fact about the rock is that it is one of the oldest in the world approximately 3,800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland & older than the Himalayas.
  • Lunch at Trichy
  • Arrive at Madurai
  • Check in at hotel
  • Afternoon visit to Meenakshi Sundareshwar was first built 2000 years ago & was substantially expanded between the years (1623-55 AD). Initially there was only the Shiva temple. A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure known as Ayiramkaal mandapam or the Hall of a thousand pillars in the outermost corridor.
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  • Lunch at hotel
  • Afternoon visit - Mariamman Teppakulam - The Vandiyur Mariamman TeppakulamHosts the annual float festival in January and February. This is one

Major attraction in Madurai..Tirumalai Naik Palace - The palace and the temple here is a must visit for the tourists. The palace of Tirumalai Nayak is about a km from the temple.

  • Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight at hotel

DAY 07: MADURAI / PERIYAR (150 kms / 4 hrs drive)

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Check out and drive to Periyar (Thekkady), one of India's most fascinating natural wildlife sanctuaries, where one can watch wildlife at close range. The vegetation, the flora & fauna & the birds are uniquely rich, vast & varied that it does not bear resemblance to any other wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Even a casual visitor to this place will not fail to observe the special ecological pattern. The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hill & spice scented plantations. The sanctuary is one of the best in the country for watching & photographing wild life. Notable among the inhabitants are the tigers, majestic Asiatic wild elephants & distinctive Nilgiri Langur.
  • Arrive at Periyar
  • Check in at hotel
  • Afternoon visit Spice Plantation Tour.
  • Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight at hotel.

DAY 08: PERIYAR  / HOUSE BOAT

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • 12.00  hrs - Board the houseboat, locally called Kettuvallam, cruise around beautiful backwaters of Kumarakom  to observe & experience the daily life of the villagers along the backwaters.
  • Lunch at house Boat
  • Dinner at house Boat  
  • Overnight at House Boat

Day 09 : As per your flight Time - Check out and transfer to Cochin Airport

END OF TOUR WITH GOOD MEMORES ………….
        
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With warm regards,
Sudhir Sethi
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