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South India Vacation


Duration of Trip -::- 21 Days
Key Places covered -::- Chennai, Kanchipuram, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Tanjore, Trichy, Madurai, Periyar, Kumarakom, Alleppey, Cochin, Ooty, Coonoor, Mysore, Bangalore



Fishing Net, Cochin Travel PackageDay 1: Chennai
Arrival at Chennai
Compass India Inc. Representative will meet and assist you upon your arrival at the Chennai airport. Transfer to your hotel. Check in at hotel in Chennai.

The first British Warehouse came up in 1639 when the British acquired the sandy beach from the local Nayaks on lease. It was called Madraspatinam then. Later by 1654, the Fort St. George was built. Still later the neighboring villages were included in the city which came either as grants or gifts. Triplicane was rented from the Sultan of Golconda in 1676. In 1744 Robert Clive worked as a writer from the Fort, later to become a military man of British Army. The Fort House, which housed the Governor and his council, were added in the 17thCentury, the Assembly Hall in 1910 and the Secretariat in 1925.

All the neighboring areas were merged into the city now known as Madras or as Chennai as it is officially known. Until Independence, Madras was the capital of what in British times was called the Madras Presidency, comprising nearly the whole of South India, includingthe Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada speaking areas.
Overnight will be at Hotel.

Day 2: Chennai
Proceed for city tour of Chennai in the morning after breakfast.

Santhome Cathedral was built by the Portuguese in the 14th and 15th century and is named after St. Thomas. Historically important, it is one of the pilgrimages for the Christian community.

Fort St. George, one the first few bastions built by the east India company, marks the beginning of Chennai as a modern city. It occupies a place of pride and prominence in Chennai. This bastion achieved its name from St. George, the patron saint of England. The state legislature and the secretariat are located in Fort St. George. It houses the St. Mary's church the oldest Anglican Church in India which was built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. The Fort Museum, once a building that housed Chennai's first lighthouse, first commercial bank and first 'club', is now a well-kept repository of tangible memories of early Madras.

Kapaleeswarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kapaleeswarar temple has inscriptions from the 13th century A.D. The temple 'Gopuram' (tower) is in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. The walls and pillars of temple have very delicate and intricate carvings which depict the scenes from Hindu mythology.
Visit the beach and the museum.

In the evening enjoy shopping at NALLI SAREES and then proceed for an evening of CLASSICAL DANCE & DINNER at the hotel.
Overnight will be at Hotel.
Kanchipuram Temple
Day 3: Chennai / Kanchipuram / Mahabalipuram
By Road
76 km in 2 hr
After breakfast drive to Kanchipuram - is the ancient capital of the Pallavas famous as a city of 1000 Temples and still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings on the walls. Temples of Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks.

Drive to Mamallapooram (Mahabalipuram) and check in at hotel. Enjoy lunch at the hotel and relax in the beach. 
Overnight will be at hotel.
 
Day 4: Mahabalipuram
Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Visit the city in the morning – built in 7th century, earlier called Mahabalipooram, this ancient Pallava port, is today the sight of several antique sculptural marvels. In this ancient seaside town, shrines and huge sculptures cut-out of rocks more than 1200 years back during the reign of Pallava Kings in the region can be seen. The rock carvings depicting mythological episodes – of demons, Gods and animals in battle and others - are truly poems in stone. The only shore temple which remains here is the spectacular two - spired shrine, unique because it houses both Lord Shiva and the Lord Vishnu in its sanctum-sanctorum.

Relax in the afternoon. Overnight will be at the hotel.

Day 5: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry
By Road
112km in 03hr
After breakfast drive to Pondicherry which carries a strong whiff of the French presence in India. This erstwhile French colony on the east coast of South India merged with the rest of the country in 1954. Legend says that Pondicherry is the place where St. Agasthaya settled down.

Enjoy the old world town in the afternoon. Overnight stay will be at the heritage hotel. 

Man Mandir Palace, Pondocherry VacationDay 6: Pondicherry – Tanjore
By Road
160km in 04hr
Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Drive to visit Aurobindo Ashram which is also known as “the city of dawn”. The place is 10 km north of Pondicherry. This ashram promotes Shri Aurbindo's ideas in bringing about a synthesis of Yoga and modern science, so as to unite the spirit and matter.
After lunch at local restaurant, drive to Thanjavur enroute visiting the Brass factory at Kumbakonam. Tanjore once the capital of Chola Kings, has the Brahadeswara temple(or the big temple of God).The temple tower rises to a height of 15mts from a square base of 29 mts and then tapers off, making a total of 66mts.

Overnight will be at Tanjore. 

Day 7: Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai
By Road
54km in 02hr
133km in 04hr
After breakfast leave for Trichy, short name of Trichurapalli, situated on the banks of Kaveri River is a blend of history and tradition as well as pilgrim centre. It is famous for Ranganath temple at Srirangam.

Proceed towards Madurai. Reach and check in at hotel.

Madurai’s Main attraction is the Famous Sri Meenakshi Amman temple a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with Gopurams carved from top to bottom in a breathtaking profusion of multicolored images of Gods. Tamil & Greek documents record the existence of Madurai from the 4th Century BC the city was known to the Greeks via Magathenes their ambassador to the court of Chandraguptha Muriya this city was popular in trade especially in spices. It was also the site the Sangam the academy of the Tamil Poets. And Madurai is the centre of all the cities and Madurai is famous for the cotton Sungudi Saris.
Overnight will be at Madurai.
Fishing Net, Cochin Travel Package
Day 8: Madurai
After breakfast go for city tour of Madurai.

The ancient city of Madurai, some 2600 years old is laid out in the banks of river Vaigai as a lotus flower with the Meenakshi temple in the centre. After lunch city tour visiting - Meenakshi temple, King Tirumala's Palace, Great Tank and Gandhi museum.

Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple: dated back to 2000 Years back and designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayaka and built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayaka. The Temple occupies an area of six hectares. There are 12 temple towers (Gopurams). The outer towers are the landmarks of Madurai. They are:

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam: Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is a huge temple tank about 5 km east of the Meenakshi temple. The mandapam in the centre has an idol of Vigneshwara (Vinayaka). It is said to have been found when the earth was being dug out from here to build the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. So, the place attained sanctity and was converted into a teppakulam (tank). This enormous temple tank is fed by water brought from the Vagai through an ingenious system of underground Channels. King Thirumalai Nayak born in 'Poosa' Star. so in commemorating the birth of the king “ Float Festival” is conducted in Tamil Month 'Thai' (Jan/Feb) in the tank in a colourful way, which attracts thousands of tourists.

Gandhi Museum: The Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the distinct places to be visited in Madurai. This Museum is one of the rare living memorial of "The Father of India". The Museum is set in relaxing grounds and has a clear historical account of India’s struggle for Independence.
Thirumalai Nayak Palace
Thirumalai Nayak Palace: This Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa.  In these two parts, there are royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. King Thirumalai Nayak celebrated festivals like Sceptre festival, Navarathri, Chithirai festival, Masi festival and the Float festival. He conducted daily dance and music performances in the palace. This palace was destroyed by his grandson Chokkanatha Nayak and the valuables were transferred to other places. During the British rule, in 1822, Lord Napier made several renovation works. Then the palace was utilized to house some officials of the judiciary and district administration. After independence, this palace was declared as a national monument and is now under the care ofthe Tamilnadu Archaeological Department.
Overnight will be at Madurai.

Day 9: Madurai – Periyar
By Road
133km in 04hr
Proceed for Periyar after breakfast.

The river Periyar is the longest river in Kerala. This is the only perennial river in South India with clean water. The river occupies an important place in the history of Kerala. In the Sangam age Tamil epics such as Chilapathikaram, ‘Akananuru’, ‘Purananuru’ etc much has been said about this mighty river, formerly known as the ‘Choorni Nadi’ or ‘Thamraparni Nadi’ (Sukasandesam –stanza 66). A land route existed in the Sangam age from Mussuris (present-day Kodungalloor) to Madurai, which passed near the banks of the river Periyar. The capital of the old Chera Empire presumably existed on the banks of the river Periyar. It is believed that there was a flood in the 4th century AD that severely damaged the areas along the Periyar and the people living there had to escape to safer locations, abandoning their homes and livelihoods. The flood of AD 1341 resulted in the closing of Kodungalloor port and the opening of a new port at Kochi. The huge landslide that began in the high ranges as a result of the heavy downpours sent massive flows of mud and sand which created an Island at the ‘Azhimugham’ of the Periyar which is now known as the Vyppin Islands.

Proceed for enjoying a boat cruise in Periyar Lake with lunch break. The most enjoyable part of seeing the wildlife is going around the lake in a boat. From the safety of a boat you can witness herds of wild elephants coming down to water and swim. The other prominent fauna to be seen are Tiger, Sambar, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Nilgiri Tahr, Wild Pigs, Wild dogs, Porcupine, Lion-tailed macaque, Malabar Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Sloth Bear, Gaur and Black Langur (Monkey). Tigers and Leopards seldom come to the lakeside by day. 
Relax in the evening. Overnight will be at hotel in Periyar.

Periyar Lake, Periyar Tour PackageDay 10: Periyar
Breakfast will be at the resort.
Enjoy the day taking a nature trek and then visit the spice plantations.

In the evening visit the spice market and then take a short cooking class from the chef.
Overnight will be at the resort.
 
Day 11: Periyar – Kumarokom
By Road
175km in 04hr
Breakfast will be at resort.

Proceed towards Kumarakom enjoying the beauty of the traditional Kerala houses. You will also pass through rolling tea gardens and rubber plantations. Stop at a tea factory to see the tea – making process.

Reach Kumarokom and check in at hotel. An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarokom offers visitors many other leisure options.
An unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with while lilies - this is Kumarokom.

Check into a traditional houseboat of Kerala Style and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake on a thatched houseboat.

The backwaters act as a vital waterway for the transport of goods, people and their produce are often the only link between isolated villages and crowded towns. In Kerala, the total expanse of backwater stretches over 1500 km, with a network of 44 rivers, lagoons and lakes from north to south. Alleppey which forms the main part of this network has the peculiar geographical feature of having the water in level with the land. This gives the advantage of getting a closer look at the village life on shore while on a backwater ride.

Talk to the crew and sip your tea while enjoying the backwaters and seeing life pass by. The meals and refreshments will be served on the boat.
Overnight will be at Houseboat.
 
Luxury HouseboatDay 12: Alleppey – Cochin
By Road
60 km in 01hr
Cruise through the villages after breakfast.
Disembark the boat at Alleppey.

Aleppey is one of the most important tourist centers in the state, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the east". These large networks of canals provide Alleppey its lifeline. Alleppey was one of the busiest centers of trade in the past with one of the best known ports along the Malabar Coast. Even today it retains its charm as the centre for Coir carpet industries and prawn farming. Alleppey the ideal headquarters for backwater tourism as well as for visits to the lovely church filled town of Kottayam, and the town of Aranmula, famous for its historic Aranmula Snake Boat Race which is an annual event.

The eventful history of this city began when a major flood in AD 1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi, till then a land locked region, turning it into one of the finest natural harbors in the world. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European town-ship in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.

Enjoy the boat ride in the harbour watching the dolphins playing and enjoying the city from the water.
Overnight will be in hotel.

Day 13: Cochin
Breakfast will be at the resort.
Jewish Synagogue
Proceed for a sightseeing tour of FORT COCHIN. A few interesting sites included in the tour are the Chinese fishing nets along the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow, Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry Palace, etc. Learn the operation of the interesting Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles which work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea.

Feel the essence of Kerala in Kathakali Dance in evening. Overnight will be at Cochin.
Overnight will be in Cochin.
 
Day 14 : Cochin – Ooty
By Road
280 km in 06hr
Drive to Ooty after breakfast.

Ootacamund, Ooty or more recently Udhagamandalam, call it what you like, still translates to a little town set on the stepped slopes of the Nilgiris, the oldest mountain range in India. Located 2240 meters, above sea level, the soothing clime and rustic setting gift Ooty a charm of its own. The verdant tea gardens and the rolling hills exude a pleasantness that will calm the high-strung city dweller and soothe his senses with the fragrance of eucalyptus and sandalwood that hangs in the air. What’s more, the superb 300km drive from Bangalore to the hill station takes the motorist through two dense wildlife sanctuaries. We’ve been there and done that and we’re about to tempt you to do the same.

Relax during the day and in the evening explore the small town.
Overnight will be in Ooty.
 
Tea Garden, Coonoor VacationDay 15: Ooty & Coonoor
Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Spend day at Coonoor (hop on to the toy train) enjoying the scenery and the weather. Some of the beautiful must see spots are:

Coonoor is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiris. It stands on a lower ridge of the main plateau at an altitude of 1839 metres. Its climate is milder than Ooty. Surrounding the town are many picnic spots. In the heart of Coonoor is "Sims Park". It is a park cum botanical garden. Many species of trees and shrubs not found in Ooty are grown here. It is at an elevation of 1880 metres and occupies 12 hectares of land.

Sim's Park The Park is situated in a deep ravine on the Northern side of Coonoor Railway Station at an elevation of 1768 to 1798 mts. The park can be divided into eight major sections. The natural shola with winding footpaths all over the higher slopes of the park is the most distinctive and picturesque feature of this park. This apart a number of individual tree specimens planted in a scattered fashion all over the place, lend a special charm to the park specially when they bloom in different seasons throughout the year. 

Pomological Station This is one of the three experimental fruit gardens in the Nilgiris maintained by the Horticultural Department. The other two are Burliar and Kallar on the Coonoor - Mettupalayam ghat road. Apples, Plums, Peaches, Lemons, Apricots and Pomegranates are grown here for the purpose of research. Surplus fruits and fruit based jams are sold to the public. 
 
Silk Rearing Station Adjoining the Pasteur Institute there is a Silk Rearing Station maintained by the Central Silk Board. The Sericulture experts at this station may be contacted for special assistance. 

Laws Falls The Place is a beautiful picnic spot, situated at Coonoor – Mettupalayam Road at the distance of 7 Km from Coonoor. The height of the falls is about 180 feet. It is a paradise for Naturalists. 

Lamb's Rock It is 8 Km from Coonoor on the way to Dolphin's Nose. It commands a grand view of the Coimbatore Plains. It is a favorite place for tourists. 

Lady Canning's Seat From Coonoor it is 9 Km. It is marked by a small house and commands panoramic view of the tea estates and the plains. 

Dolphin's Nose The view point is 10 Km from the town. The Nose is a unique rock of tremendous proportions which looks like a Dolphin.
 
The Droog This is also a picnic spot which is used by TIPU SULTAN as an outpost. It is 15 Km from Coonoor and stands 6000 feet high overlooking the plains. Three kilometers of trekking has to be done to reach the point.

Return by the evening and overnight will be in Ooty.
Toy Train Ooty Hill Station
Day 16: Ooty
Breakfast will be at the resort.
Enjoy and relax during the day.
Overnight will be at the resort.

Day 17: Ooty – Mysore
By 5 hr road
Breakfast will be at the resort.
Drive to Mysore.

Once you enter the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary limit, the road is almost straight, flanked on both sides by a dense forest. Seven and a half kilometres after the Bandipur reception centre, the road crosses over into Tamil Nadu and the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.

Reach Mysore and check in at hotel.
Overnight will be in Mysore.

Day 18: Mysore
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

Visit Chamundi Hills - Towering over the city, these hills are 13 km away from Mysore. Halfway-up is the Nandi Bull, a 4.8 m monolith. Right on top is the 2000-year-old Brindavan Gardens 19 km northwest of Mysore is the KRS Dam and the ornamental Brindavan Gardens. The musical fountains and colorful lights transform this palace into fairy land in the evenings.

Visit Sir Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery Housed in the Jaganmohan Palace, this gallery has a collection of exquisite paintings dating back to 1875, the Russian Svetoslav Roerich and the traditional Mysore gold leaf style of painting.
Overnight will be at Mysore.
  Srirangapatnam
Day 19: Mysore – Bangalore
By Road
150 km in 04hr
Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Start for Bangalore later in the morning.

On the way visit Srirangapatnam - 16 km before Mysore, this fort was the stronghold of Tipu Sultan, son of Haider Ali. Tipu made a last minute ditch against the British in 1799 before surrendering his kingdom. Among the many fort buildings still intact, are Tipu's airy Summer Palace and his tomb at the Darya Daulat Bagh (garden). Here, is also the celebrated Sri Ranganatha Temple.
Reach Bangalore by evening.

A major industrial and commercial center, with scientific and research activity, Bangalore is multifaceted: modern marvels, historical monuments, bustling shopping plazas, a race course and golf courses. Called the Silicon Valley of India for its growing software industry, it is also known as the city of draught beer.
Overnight will be in Bangalore.

Day 20: Bangalore
Have a leisurely breakfast and proceed for sightseeing.
Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Mysore Trip
Lal Bagh: Hyder Ali laid out this famous botanical garden and his son added horticultural wealth to them by importing trees and plants from several countries. The garden today houses over 1000 species of flora which include rare and enchanting collection of tropical plants, trees and herbs. The Glass House, modelled along London's Crystal Palace, is the center of attraction in this 2400-acre park. Bi-annual flower shows attracting participants from all over India is held in the Glass House.

Cubbon Park: This wooded and beflowered park was laid out in the heart of the cantonment in 1864. Since then, fairy fountains, an august bandstand and a wealth of atatury have been added. But the most important aspect of Cubbon Park is its newer buildings thathave added beauty and cultural wealth. Lush green lawns, shady flowering trees, vibrant flower beds,make Cubbon Park an ideal place for morning joggers and alike.

Government Museum: One of the important buildings, the Government Museum is one of the oldest in India(1886). A special attraction here is “the antiquities from Mohenjodaro period”. Situated nearby the museum is Visveshwaraya Industrial and Technological Museum named after the great engineer-statesman. Next to the VITM is the Visveshwaraya Industrial Trade Center, the first of its kind in India. In addition to its trade promotional activities, the Center has two exhibition floors housing a permanent display of all that is manufactured in Karnataka.

Near the Museum is the K. Venkatappa Art Gallery which has a permanent exhibition of the works of the great artist, K. Venkatappa. The Gallery does much to encourage art in the state.
Also in the Cubbon Park are the Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall, which houses the public library, the High Court and the Jawahar Bal Bhavan. The Bhavan, with its toy train, fairgrounds and theatre, is a recreational, hobby centre for children.

Gandhi Bhavan: The Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, housed in the Gandhi Bhavan, houses a comprehensive picture gallery and other exhibits of Gandhiji which depict the life and times of Gandhiji. The Bhavan is open on weekdays (10:30 Am to 5:00 PM).

Ulsoor Lake: A picturesque lake with several tree-shaded islands in it, is an ideal picnic spot. You can go boating or go for a swim in the nearby swimming pool that is part of the recreational complex near the lake. You can also go to the nearby Gurdhwar, the largest SikhShrine in Bangalore.
Afternoon proceed for a half-day sightseeing. Visit The Bangalore Palace, Fort & Vidhana Soubha.

Vidhana Soubha: This splendid neo-Dravidian granite building that dominates the northern boundary of the Cubbon park, is the home of the State Legislature and the Secretariat. The massive sandalwood door of the Cabinet room is a spectacular feature of this imposing building. The Vidhana Soudha is bedecked in illuminated glory during special periods and is a sight worth viewin.

The Bangalore Palace & Fort: The Bangalore Fort was built by Kempe Gowda and expanded by Tippu Sultan. Within its walls is the well preserved 16th century Ganapathi Temple. The Bangalore Palace was built by a Wodeyar king in 1887. Inspired by the Windsor castle, this palace was built in the Tudor style, complete with Gothic windows, the foiled windows, battlements and turrets resembling the Daria Daulat Palace in Srirangapatanam, this summer palace has been constructed largely of wood and is famous for it's carving and paintings.
Overnight will be at Bangalore.
 
Day 21: Bangalore – Home
Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Enjoy shopping during the day and explore the city. Proceed to airport as per time of the flight home. End tour with sweet memories of India. 

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