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South India Vacation


Duration : 25 Days
Destinations Covered :Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Tranquebar, Tanjore, Trichy, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Kovalam, Aleppey, Kumarokom, Periyar, Cochin, Ooty, Coonoor, Mysore, Bangalore


Day 1 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 17th Century, 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, including the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada speaking areas.

Overnight will be at Hotel.

Day 2 Chennai / Kanchipuram / Mahabalipuram:
By Road 76 km in 2 hr
Santhome Cathedral, 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.

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.

Enjoy lunch and sightseeing. Continue drive to Mahabalipuram – A few miles south of Chennai, at Mahabalipuram, on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal, a beautiful group of rock-cut monuments evokes the past. This ancient seaport was once the main harbor and naval base of the great Pallava Empire and is today the site of an enchanting seaside assemblage of temples and shrines. It was well known in the 1st century known to Greek traders, and was the Pallava’s second city. Though their power waned nearly 1200 years ago, they left a breathtaking legacy in four distinct kinds of sculpture, rathas (temple chariots), bas-relief sculptural panels, rock-cut caves, and free standing temples.

Seventh-century carvings of the Pallava dynasty include a series of freestanding boulders carved to resemble small temples and animals. Rock – cut caves and a masterful stone bas-relief are nearby. The 'Penance of Arjuna' relief, cut on two huge rocks, shows scores of figures of deities, people and animals including, according to one interpretation, the emaciated figure of Arjuna, the great warrior of the Mahabharata, standing on one leg and doing penance, praying to Lord Shiva for the strength to destroy his enemies. Sadhus of today perform this exact act of sacrificial devotion. On the adjacent beach stands one of South India's oldest temples, the Shore Temple, its foundations washed for twelve centuries by the frothy sea.

Relax in the beach. 

Overnight will be at hotel.
 
Day 3 Mahabalipuram:

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Enjoy sightseeing of the city.

CAVES: There are nine rock-cut temples. The Mahishasuramardhini cave, depicting the goddess fighting a demon on one side and Lord Vishnu's cosmic sleep on the other, is a particularly remarkable one.

KRISHNA MANDAPAM: A bas-relief, notable for its realistic representation. The panel relates to one of the stories of Lord Krishna.

ARJUNA’S PENANCE: This is the world's largest bas relief measuring 27m X 9m. This huge whale-backed rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts, birds and almost all of the entire creation. And, this is easily the pride of Mamallapuram.

THE FIVE RATHAS: There are the five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They are also known as the Pancha Pandava Rathas – and four out of the five rathas are supposed to have been carved out of a single rock.

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram TripTHE SHORE TEMPLE: This is one of the oldest temples. Unique about this temple is the fact that it houses shrines for both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. This belongs to the early 8th century AD and it is a classic example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in pure Dravidian style.

Crocodile bank: Various pits in this center have thousands of crocodiles and alligators of different species from round the world. There is also a Tribal society, which runs a snake venom extraction centre.

The Government College of Architecture and Sculpture: Here training is imparted in the various branches of temple art and architecture, according to Silpa Sastra.

Relax in the evening. Overnight will be at the hotel.
 
Day 4 Mahabalipuram – Gingee Fort – Pondicherry:
By Road
260km in 06hr

After breakfast drive to Pondicherry.

Take a detour to visit the GINGEE FORT. (Visit would take 2 hr)

Nestled on three hills, and enclosed by a huge rampart 60 feet thick, stands the majestic GINGEE Fort, in the Villuppuram district, which is located on the Thindivanam to Thiruvannamalai road about 25 km from Thindivanam and 130 km from Chidambaram. 

The indomitable courage and valour of its erstwhile rulers caused Father PIMENTA, a Jesuit priest to call the GINGEE Fort the Troy of the East. Besieged by the Mughals and battered by the British, the fort still stands at 800ft. in height, guarded by a moat, eighty feet wide. Much of the early history of this 800 year old fort is shrouded in mystery as the fort seems to have changed many hands times before it was annexed to the Vijayanagar Empire. 

The small town of GINGEE was once a capital city, with its province extending from Nellore in the north to the Coleroon (Kollidam) in the south. According to local legend, GINGEE AMMAN, was one of the seven virgins who were the guardian deities of the Village. Legend has it that at around 1200 AD, GINGEE was fortified by Ananda Kone, chief of the local shepherd community. In 1240 AD Krishna Kone, his successor is said to have fortified the northern hill which later came to be known as KRISHNAGIRI. The KONE dynasty gave way to the KURUMBARS, who established their headquarters at Sendamangalam, which later came under the powerful CHOLA EMPIRE. Recorded history goes back to the 16th century, when GINGEE became the seat of the Nayaka rulers, who were under the lordship of the expanding Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadevaraya appointed Krishnappa Nayaka, and he was considered the founder of the Nayaka line of GINGEE.

Most of the structures, fortification walls and temples were built during this period. The fortifications and defenses were further strengthened under chatrapati shivaji, the great Maratha ruler, was captured Gingee in 1677 AD Gingee came under the hegemony of the Moghul emperor Aurangazeb in 1691 AD, and SARUP SINGH was appointed as the chief of GINGEE by the emperor, under the control of the Nawab of Arcot.

Sarup Singhs son, Raja De Singh, revolted against the Nawab of Arcot, and was defeated and killed in the war that followed. Though GINGEE became a part of the Nawabs territory in 1714 AD the young and courageous De Singh became a legend and his heroic deeds were sung in the form of popular ballads. Thus GINGEE too became quite well known and in 1750 AD it came under the French rule and remained so till it was surrendered to the British in 1761.

GINGEE today, with its ruined forts, temples and granaries, presents a different picture from the glorious splendor of its bygone days. But the remains of that valorous past, speak volumes about the numerous invasions, warfare and bravery that it witnessed. We invite you to this land of the brave and mighty, to witness a glorious past that still lives in the ruins of the GINGEE fort.

Continue drive to Pondicherry.

French dreams of an Indian Empire began and ended in Pondicherry. But in the scattered territories of the Union Territory of Pondicherry there remains what little there is left of the French influence in India and that makes the territory, especially its headquarters, Pondicherry, unique, something quite different from the rest of India. The Union Territory of Pondicherry comprises of 4 coastal regions of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. Pondicherry is on the east coast about 162 km south of Chennai (Madras) located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. 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. 

Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry Travel PackageDay 5 Pondicherry – Tranquebar:
By Road
120km in 03hr

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Drive to visit Aurobindo Ashram.

This Ashram has been created with another object that that ordinarily common to such institutions, not for the renunciation of the world but as a centre and a field of practice for the evolution of another kind and form of life which would in the final end be moved by a higher spiritual consciousness and embody a greater life of the spirit.

Founded in 1926, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram has grown, under the Mother’s guidance, from a small group of two dozen disciples into a large diversified community with around 1500 members.  Including the students of the Centre of institutes and the devotees who live nearby, the community as a whole consists of several thousands.

Situated in a bustling city of 7,00,000 people, the Ashram is not a quiet place of retreat secluded from the world but a vibrant centre of life in a modern urban setting.  The dynamic character of the community reflects the life-affirming aim of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga.  Work as an offering to the Divine is an essential aspect of the Yoga, and Ashramites do some useful work every day in the various departments.

The Ashram is located in the eastern part of Pondicherry.  Ashramites live and work in a large number of buildings spread throughout the area.  The focus of community life is the Ashram main building, usually called simply “the Ashram”, which consists of an interconnected black of houses, including those in which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother dwelt for most of their lives.  At its centre under a tree-shaded courtyard lies the Samadhi, a white-marble shrine where their bodies are laid to rest.

Drive to TRANQUEBAR visiting CHIDAMBARAM on your way.

Danish Forts, British bungalows, German missionaries, Portuguese trade – Clearly, this has to be India. This place is very different from any other place in India and has been overlooked by all in favour of the “tourist – itinerary” which is very common and does not let one discover India.

Tranquebar (Tarangambadi) is a coastal town 24km south of Chidambaram, close to Srikazhi.  Interestingly this sleepy little town was an important Danish settlement.  The Danish East India Company purchased this piece of land from Raghunatha Nayaka in 1620 and it was transferred to King Christian IV in 1624.  Tranquebar continued to be the base for all Danish commercial activities in South India, till the British gained control of the territory in 1807.  Denmark finally regained control in 1814, but in the years to come Tranquebar could not regain its former glory and faded into oblivion.  The remarkably intact Danesborg Fort, which overlooks the sea, was built in 1620 by the first Danish Governor, Ovo Gedde.  The fort has a small museum, which has an interesting collection of maps, documents, weapons and other artefacts.  Tranquebar is also home to the New Jerusalem Church of the Evangelical Lutherans, which was associated with Bartolomeus Ziegenbalg, the first Lutheran missionary in South India, who was responsible for the translation of the New Testament into Tamil.  The Danish Church and the Town Gateway are the other reminders of the Danish adventures in India.  The Beach here is clean and inviting. 

Check in at the BUNGALOW ON THE BEACH – It is not a building constructed as some activity-laden resort for beach hoppers, but a building that was there organically as part of this small port’s heritage and has now been nicely restored from its state of dilapidation. It has fat round columns, large wooden doors, ventilators, pillared portico, wooden rafters holding up the ceiling and lot of charm.

Enjoy the hotel and the beach. Overnight will be at TRANQUEBAR.

Day 6 Tranquebar:

Enjoy breakfast and then the day at the peaceful destination.

Visit the Danish Fort and the Shore Temple. It is best to feel the culture of the place and know of the history.

Overnight will be at Tranquebar.

Sri Rangam, Tanjore TourDay 7 Tranquebar – Tanjore:
By Road
105 km in 02 hr

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

Drive to Thanjavur enroute visiting the Brass factory at Kumbakonam.

Tanjore or Tanjavur as it was earlier called, was the capital of the chola empire from the 10th century to the 14th century A.D. later is become part of the vijaynagar kingdom, then passed into the hands of the Marathas and later still went to the British. For ages it has been the chief political. Literary and religious centre of the South. The celebrated temple Brihadeshra built by the Chola King during the 11th century is its major attraction. The Saraswati Mahal library, dating back from the time of the Marathas, containing a rare collection of books and manuscripts on paper and palm leaves. The home of carnatic music, musical instruments, dance, and the traditional Handicrafts. Tanjore is famous for the lord Brahadiswara temple {lord Siva}. Tanjore is the rice bowl of India. It is well contacted by air, train, and road transport.

Check in at the hotel and in the afternoon proceed for sightseeing.

Brihadeshwara Temple or Big temple – The Brihadeeswara Temple is the main attraction of Tanjore. The massive temple built by Raja Raja Chola reflects the Cholas’ contribution to the development of arts in this area. It is also regarded as the Chola dynasty's finest contribution to the Dravidian temple architecture. Listed as a World Heritage site, the temple is visited by a large number of people for the regular worship here. The temple is characterised by its unique structure. Unlike the usual South Indian temples, the Brihadeeswara temple has a soaring vimana and a stunted gopuram. It was constructed from a single piece of granite weighing an estimated 80 tonnes and the dome was hauled into place along a 4 km earthwork ramp in a manner similar to the Egyptian pyramids. A huge Nandi, about 6 m long and 3.7 m high, faces the inner sanctum. The statue of Nandi was created from a single rock piece and weighs 25 tonnes. It is in fact one of the largest statues of Nandi bulls in India. The temple also has a spacious ground, number of pillared halls, shrines and 250 lingams.

The Palace – The Palace of Tanjore also makes an important tourist destination. The royal Palace near the massive Brihadeshwara temple is characterized by its vast corridors, large halls, shady courtyards and observation and arsenal towers. Built by the Nayak in the mid-16th century, the Palace was completed by the Marathas. The Durbar Hall of the palace still retains the grandeur of the bygone era. The palace also functions as a Royal Museum housing a diverse collection of royal remnants, compilations of the early 19th century, the king’s slippers, head dresses and hunting tools.

Saraswathi Mahal library – Located just by the side of the art gallery, the Saraswati Mahal Library has a huge collection of about 30,000 palm leaf and paper manuscripts in Indian and European languages. It also has some Tamil works including treatises on medicine, and commentaries on works from the Sangam period. It was built during 1700 AD. You can visit the nearby museum that houses some interesting exhibits like the entire range of the Ramayana written on palm leaf. Checkout the time and entry fee before you visit the Saraswati Mahal library

The Art Gallery and the Saraboji palace – The Art Gallery is another must see of Tanjore. It has a rich collection of 250 Chola Bronze statues and 150 stone statues dating from the 9th to 12th century. These statues belong to the many groups namely the Bhairava, Umasahita Shiva, Kali and the Rama Lakshmana. You can have a look at all these wonderful collections by paying a nominal entry fee. large and excellent collection of chola bronzes, granite pieces. look for bhairavas, umasahista Siva, kali, somaskandha and the Ramalakshmana group.

Overnight will be at Tanjore. 

Rock Fort, Trichy TripDay 8 Tanjore – Trichy – Chettinad:
By Road
120 km in 04 hr

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.

Trichy is an ancient city famous for its beauty of architectural monuments and culture and a must visit place for a tourist. It is considered as the India's top city for temples and monuments. The 83m high Rock Fort is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The rock is one of the oldest in the world-approximately 3.800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland and older than the Himalayas. 417 steps hewn out of rock lead to the top where there are inscriptions dating back to the 3rd Century BC.

At the top of the rock is the Uchipilaiyar Koil, a temple dedicated to Lord Vinayaka from where one can enjoy a panoramic view of Tiruchirapalli. A flight of steps leads to the Mathrubutheswarar of Thayumanaswami temple, dedicated to Lord Siva where the lingam is a projection of the rock itself. At the foot of the Rock Fort are a tank and a pavilion, which are used during the float festival of the temples. Near the tank is the house where Robert Clive lived when he was in Tiruchirapalli and there is an 18th Century Church said to be 230 million years old. The materials like Quartz used in glass making and feldspar used in ceramic are found in this Rock formation.

Sightseeing of Trichy includes visiting the Rock fort, a climb up its stone steps to the 'Hall of Hundred pillars' The Mathurbhuteshwar shrine and finally at the very top of the Rock Fort – a GANESH temple. Visit the Island of Srirangam, a massive Vishnu Temple with seven walls.

Rock fort temple or Malaikottai: this at a height over 85 meters the main Temple built inside the Rock is dedicated to Siva and the Ganesha temple is on top of Rock open to all with great views over the city and the Cavery river The Most amazing fact about the rock is that it is one of oldest in the world – Approximately 3,800 Million years old which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland and older then the Himalayas Some of the inscriptions dating back to 3rd century B.C.

Sri Rangam: (10Kms from Trichy) main area this vishnava temple {Vishnu} also called Sri Renganathar swamy temple One of the important temples of vishnavam. And it’s a very big temple of its kind. This Place is surrounded by the rivers called Cavery and Kollidam. And the temples gopuram (The tower) is one of the south Asia’s biggest. 

Enjoy sightseeing and drive to Chettinad.

The traditional CHETTINAD houses are made on an area of 2500 sq ft having around 60 to 70 rooms. They were built almost 100 years back. They were made of lime, sand and egg yolk especially imported from Rangoon. The construction material, decor items and furnishings were mostly imported from East Asia Europe. The chandeliers and teak came from Burma, crockery from Indonesia, marble from Italy, wall-to-wall mirrors from Belgium and crystals from Europe. French and other European destinations inspired the woodwork and stonework.

Overnight will be at the mansion in Chettinad.

Day 9 Chettinad:

Enjoy breakfast at the mansion.

Walk around and enjoy the rickshaw ride through the streets.

Sightseeing will include Lord Ganesh Temple at PILLAYARPATTI – This image of Ganesha is bound to be familiar to anyone of Tamil origin; however, little is known to many about the fact that this is an image of the rock cut Karpaka Vinayakar Shrine at Pillayarpatti near Karaikkudi at one of the oldest Cave Temples (Rock Cut) temples of Tamilnadu.

Overnight will be at Chettinad.

Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai Tour & TravelDay 10 Chettinad – Madurai:
By Road
100 km in 02 hr

Proceed towards Madurai after breakfast.

Reach and check in at hotel.

One of South India's great temple towns, Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2500 years old. Madurai was an important cultural and commercial centre even as early as 550 AD. Madurai was the Capital city for the great Pandyas kings. Tamil & Greek documents record the existence of Madurai from the 4th Century BC. The city was known to the Greeks through Magathenes who was their ambassador to the court of Chandraguptha Mauriya. 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.

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. Sri Meenakshi Amman temple dates 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. The enormous temple complex is dedicated to Shiva, known here as Sundareshvara and his consort Parvati or Meenakshi. Kulasekara Pandyas, but the entire credit built the original temple for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayaks. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century and left a majestic imprint of their rule in the Meenakshi - Sundareswarar Temple. The temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure, at the core of which is the two sanctums for Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and grand pillared halls. The impressive GOPURAMS (towers) rise from solid granite bases, and are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters painted in vivid colors.

Enjoy the day at the hotel and in the early evening visit the flower market.

Enjoy the evening celebrations at the temple.

Overnight will be at Madurai.

Day 11 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: 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 of the Tamilnadu Archaeological Department.

Overnight will be at Madurai.

Kanyakumari Islands, Kanyakumari TourDay 12 Madurai – Kanyakumari – Kovalam:
By Road
280 km in 03 hr

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and drive to Kanyakumari.

By its very location, Kanyakumari occupies a unique place among the tourist centres of India. It is one of the important pilgrim centres of India. This is the only place in India where one can enjoy the unique experience of watching the sunset and moonrise simultaneously on a full moon evening. A fine beach landscape with sands of different colors is another interesting aspect of Kanyakumari.

Kanyakumari was once referred to as the "ALEXANDRIA OF THE EAST”. This place has been a great centre for art, culture, civilization and pilgrimage for years. It was also a famous centre for commerce and trade. During the early part of the 8th century A.D, Islam entered the southern part of India through the sea route with traders and Missionaries. Through Saint Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, Christianity arrived in this area in 52 A.D. Islam. Christianity and Jainism religions have greatly contributed to the Architectural wealth and literal heritage of this place. Kanyakumari was also under the control of the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks who were the great rulers of South India. The architectural beauties of the temples are the beautiful work of these rulers.    

Enjoy sightseeing of the following places and lunch.

Gandhi Memorial Hall: This striking memorial has been built on the spot where the urn containing Mahatma’s ashes was kept for public viewing before immerssion. It resembles an Orissan temple and was designed so that on Gandhiji’s birthday (2nd October), the suns rays fall on the place where his ashes were kept.

Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial: This grand memorial to the great Indian Philosopher Swami Vivekananda is on one of the twin rocks jutting out from the sea about 200 metres offshore. There is a Dhyana Mandapam (Meditation hall) where one can sit in a serene atmosphere and meditate. Ferry services are available to reach the memorial. It is about 500 meters away from mainland. It was built in 1970. Swamy Vivekanada was supposed to have medicated on the rock where the memorial stands today. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. 

Thiruvalluvar Statue: Thiruvalluvar is the immortal poet of Tamil Nadu and has given to the world Thirukkural. The memorial statue of Thiruvalluvar is in Kanyakumari.The pedestal of the statue is of 38 feet height and the statue over it is 95 feet tall with a grand total of 133 feet for the entire sculpture.  The 3-tier pedestal known as Atharapeedam is surrounded by an artistic Mandapa known as Alankara Mandapam with 38 feet height surrounding the Alankara Mandapa stand 10 elephant statues signifying 8 directions with earth and space down.  To help the tourists to worship the holy feet of Thiruvalluvar 140 steps are constructed inside the Mandapa.

Drive to PADMANABHAN PALACE.

PADMANABHAPURAM: Capital of Travancore until 1798 A.D.It is an ancient seat of Travancore rulers; situated at a distance of 45 Km from Kanyakumari. There is a palace inside the fort, which covers an area of 6 acres. On display in this palace are many antiquities, including the armoury of the royal family. In the Ramaswamy temple adjoining the palace, scenes from the Ramayana have been carved in 45 panels.

Continue drive to Kovalam and stay the night at TRAVANCORE HERITAGE.
 
Day 13 Kovalam – Aleppey:
By Road
150 km in 03 hr

Drive to Aleppey after breakfast to board your houseboat.

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.

Board a traditional boat of Kerala and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake. Discover the countryside at your own pace.

You will have lunch in the boat.

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.

End cruise before sunset (the fishing boats operate after that) and anchor close to a small village. Take a walk of the village and then return to the boat for an evening under the stars with chilled beer.

The crew would cook a hot dinner for you and you could also get some first hand cooking classes from them. Enjoy dinner and retire early.

Overnight will be on the houseboat.

Periyar Lake, Periyar Tour & TravelDay 14 Kumarokom – Periyar:
By Road
175 km in 04 hr

Breakfast will be on the boat.

Continue cruise towards Kumarokom. 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.

Disembark your boat and drive to Periyar enjoying the beauty of the traditional Kerala houses. You will also pass through paddy fields, rubber plantations and finally through rolling tea gardens. Stop at a tea factory to see the tea – making process.

Reach Periyar and check in at hotel.

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.

Relax in the evening. Overnight will be at hotel in Periyar.

Day 15 Periyar:

Breakfast will be at the resort.

Later in the morning proceed for enjoying a boat cruise in Periyar Lake with packed lunch and guide (from wild animals).

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. 

Return by evening and overnight will be at the resort in Periyar.

Day 16 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 17 Periyar – Cochin:
By Road
201 km in 05 hr

Enjoy breakfast at the resort.

Drive to Cochin.

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.

The Dutch wrested Fort Kochi from the Portuguese in AD 1663 and later in the last phase of the colonial saga, the British took over, the town in 1795. During 1660's, Fort Kochi peaked in stature as a prime commercial centre and its fame spread far and wide - variously as a rich trade centre, a major military base, a vibrant cultural hub, a great ship building centre, a centre for Christianity and so on. Today, centuries later, the city is home to nearly thirteen communities.

In the evening proceed for KATHAKALI DANCE PRESENTATION. Over night stay at hotel.

Dutch Palace, Cochin Tour PackageDay 18 Cochin:

Breakfast will be at hotel.

Proceed for a sightseeing tour of the city.

Old Cochin area – this is one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The Jewish community traces its history to nearly 2000 years ago. In 1948 the community numbered 2500 and today there are fewer that 30 people. The community is still centered round JEWTOWN where you will visit its crown Jewel, the Paradesi Synagogue. Built in 1568 and reconstructed after a Portugese bombardment in 1662, the synagogue is distinguished by its tile roof and bell tower. The small synagogue is also known for its hand-painted, willow-patterned, blue and white Chinese floor tiles, and the many brass and crystal lamps that hang from the ceiling. Later visit the interesting International Pepper Exchange, also located in Jewtown.

Chinese fishing nets – The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles 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. Learn the operation of the interesting Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles which work on the principle of balance.

The other important places are the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow, Mattancherry Palace, etc. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450.

In the early evening proceed for a private harbor cruise. Enjoy watching the dolphins, the fishing island and the Bolghatty Palace. Cruise till the mouth of the sea and enjoy the sunset.

Return to the hotel and overnight will be at Cochin.

Day 19 Cochin – Ooty:
By Road
280 km in 06 hr

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.

Day 20 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, Ooty Travel Package 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.

Day 21 Ooty:

Breakfast will be at the resort.

Enjoy and relax during the day.

Overnight will be at the resort.

Day 22 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 23 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.

Day 24 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 25 Bangalore – Home:

Have a leisurely breakfast and proceed for sightseeing.

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, Bangalore VacationsCubbon 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 that have 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 and 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).

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. Check out and enjoy shopping during the evening and proceed to airport as per time of the flight home. End tour with sweet memories of India.

TOUR ENDS


THE TOUR INCLUDES:
  • ACCOMMODATION AT SUGGESTED HOTELS,
  • SIGHTSEEING TOURS AS MENTIONED IN THE ITINERARY,
  • ALL TOURS AND TRANSFERS IN AIR-CONDITIONED CAR,
  • ENGLISH SPEAKING GUIDE FOR ALL MENTIONED TOURS,
  • ASSISTANCE AT THE AIRPORTS ON ARRIVAL / DEPARTURE,
  • OVERNIGHT AC HOUSEBOAT CRUISE IN BACKWATERS,
  • TOY TRAIN RIDE AT OOTY & COONOOR,
  • HARBOUR CRUISE AT COCHIN,
  • KATHAKALI DANCE PRESENTATION AT COCHIN,
  • BHARAT NATYAM DANCE AT CHENNAI WITH WELCOME DINNER,
  • ALL MEALS ON HOUSEBOAT,
  • DINNERS AT TRANQUEBAR & CHETTINAD,
  • SPICE PLANTATION TOUR IN PERIYAR,
  • AARTI CEREMONY AT MADURAI,
  • ALL APPLICABLE TAXES AND SERVICE CHARGES,
  • ALL MONUMENT ENTRANCES AND
  • ALL ROAD TAXES, GOVERNMENT TAXES AND DRIVER ALLOWANCES

SUGGESTED HOTELS :

City Suggested Hotels Nights
Chennai The Park 01
Mahabalipuram GRT Temple Bay 02
Pondicherry D LE’orient 01
Tranquebar Bungalow on The Beach 02
Tanjore Sangam 01
Chettinad The Mansion 02
Madurai Taj Garden Retreat 02
Kovalam Travancore Heritage 01
Backwaters Private 2 BR Houseboat 01
Periyar Spice Village 03
Cochin Brunton Boatyard (Harbour View) 02
Ooty Taj Savoy 03
Mysore Metropole 02
Bangalore The Park 01

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