22N/23D Enchanting South India Tour

temples-at-Halebid

This offbeat tour of South India is an enchanting journey through the amazing forts, palaces and temples of South India. Experience the unique culture and colorful traditions. Explore the past, walk through the spice gardens, ride and elephant and cruise through the famous Kerala backwaters in comfort and style. This extended tour of South India is a must for couples, families and small groups.

Destinations – Bangalore – Hassan – Coorg – Mysore – Wayanad – Calicut – Cochin – Munnar – Madurai – Periyar – Kumarakom – Kovalam

Itinerary

Day 01 – Arrival in Bangalore Airport

Arrive in Bangalore Airport. Following Customs, Immigration formalities and baggage collection, an INDUS TRIPS Airport Representative will meet you outside the Arrival Hall, after which you will transferred to your hotel. Check-in time is 1200 Noon, early check-in would be subject to availability.

Bangalore Airport

Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight at Bangalore

Day 2 Bangalore – Shravanabelagola –  Hassan

After Breakfast at residing hotel proceed to Hassan enroute visit shravanabelagola, a famous Jain pilgrim site.

shravanabelagola

A 17m high monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara standing atop the Vindhyagiri hills makes this site world famous later drive to Hassan, the name of the city derives from the name of the goddess Hassanamba. The city was founded by Channa Krishnappa Naik in the eleventh century. The tenth to the thirteenth century, the beauty of Hoysala art could flourish.

Overnight at Hassan

Day 3 Hassan – Belur – Halibedu – Hassan

After Breakfast visit Belur and Halebedu,this day is dedicated to visit major art sites of the Hindus and especially the Hoysala dynasty.

Hoysala Temple at Belur

Located a few kilometres from Hassan, Belur is the first site built by the Hoysala dynasty (eleventh and twelfth centuries), a star.

Hoysala Temple at Belur

The many and admirable reliefs recount battle scenes between the Cholas Vishnuvardhana, neighboring Tamil Nadu.

temples-at-Halebid

A Halebid, Hoysaleshwara temple listed as a jewel in the quality of its sculptures. No detail is overlooked in this breath-taking panorama of the great Hindu monuments.

Overnight at Hassan

Day 04 Hassan – Coorg

After breakfast drive to Coorg, A hedonist’s paradise, Coorg is a dream you’ll never forget. Hills, old-world charm, coffee, amazing food, vivid cultures and warm hospitality – there’s something in the air of Coorg that makes all things beautiful.

Remainder of the day at leisure to relax.

Overnight at Coorg

Day 05 Coorg

After breakfast, visit to the Byalkuppe Tibetan settlements in India

Byalkuppe Tibetan settlements

The town is mainly inhabited by Tibetans, an estimated 7,000 Tibetans live in the settlements; these were established on land leased by the state government to accommodate some of the Tibetan expatriates who came to resettle in India after 1959. Bylakuppe consists of a number of agricultural settlements, colonies are close to each other, and has number of monasteries and temples in all the major Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Most notable among them are the large educational monastic institution Sera Monastery, the smaller Tashilunpo Monastery (both in the Gelug tradition) and Namdroling Monastery (in the Nyingma tradition). Bylakuppe also has many Buddhist universities for advanced Buddhist practices.

Overnight at Coorg

Day 06 Coorg – Mysore

After the breakfast have a drive to the silk city “Mysore”.

Devaraja Market

In the evening if you feel free have a walk to Devaraja Market to see the eye-catching flowers, colour powders, vegetables, spices, incense oils, well arranged fruit market housed in an old heritage building.

Overnight at Mysore.

Day 07 Mysore

After breakfast, full day Sightseeing of “Mysore” – the heritage city.  In the morning, have a visit to the famous Mysore Maharaja Palace built in Indo Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades.

Mysore Maharaja Palace

This palace is the treasure house of exquisite art, carvings and paintings from all over the World. Then drive to Chamundi Hills to visit the famous Chamundeshwari temple and the Bull temple.

In the evening drive to Srirangapatna – an historic site, the capital city of great Muslim warrior Tipu Sultan.  The main attractions here are Ranganathaswamy temple, Tipu’s summer palace (Daria Dalut Bagh) and Gumbaz.

Palace-of-Tipu-Sultan

Overnight at Mysore.

Day 08 Mysore –Wayanad

After breakfast at residing hotel, proceed to Wayanad (141 kms ; 4.5 hrs ).

Karalad Lake

Wayanad set in the picturesque Western Ghats and mountains at an altitude of about 2000 meters above sea level. Littered with tropical rain forests, dense hills, rolling paddy fields, spice plantations and valleys, Wayanad is a hitherto undiscovered location offering breathtaking views.

Edakal Caves

Evening visit Edakal Caves, the Caves are two natural rock formations believed to have been formed by a large split in a huge rock. The carvings inside are extremely beautiful. A trek up the majestic Ambukuthi Hills is required to reach these caves. The aroma of coffee stays with you the entire way. It is truly a surreal experience as we step into the palms of history.

Overnight at Wayanad

Day 09 Wayanad – Calicut

After breakfast, drive to Calicut (220 Kms/05 Hours) en-route visit Pookode Lake, a scenic fresh water lake surrounded by forest, where you can take a gentle walk around. Upon arrival, check-in at your hotel.  Afternoon, proceed for visit to same famous places like Kappad beach, the place where Vasco da Gama set foot for the first time when he came to India on May 27, 1498. There is a small stone monument at the beach to commemorate that event.

Kappad beach

Pazhassiraja Museum is located on the East Hill. It is run by the State Archeological Department. Ancient mural paintings, antique bronzes, old coins, models of temples, and megalithic structures are on display here.Situated next to Pazhassirajah Museum is an art gallery displaying paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. On this beach are also situated Calicut Town Center, Lions Club, and a lighthouse.

Pazhassiraja Museum

Two crumbling piers, more than hundred years old, stand out into sea at Kozhikode beach. The beach is easily accessible from the city and provides a good view of the setting sun. The place also has a Marine Life Aquarium open whole day. Mananchira, which was the palace tank of King Mana Vikrama, has been now turned into a traditional architectural splendor with carpeted green grass and surrounded by ethnic buildings. The place also has a musical fountain.

mananchira calicut

Overnight at Calicut

Day 10 Calicut – Cochin

After the breakfast, drive to Cochin (190 Kms/04 Hours) Fort Cochin – the mix of culture of Portuguese, Dutch and British.

Jewish-Synagogue-Cochin

In the afternoon have a visit to 16th century Jewish Synagogue and Mattancherry palace also known as Dutch Palace.

Mattancherry Dutch Palace

Have a walk in the Jew Town.

Overnight at Cochin.

Day 11 Cochin

After breakfast, full day sightseeing of Cochin.  First, have a visit to Chinese Fishing nets and fish markets.

Kochi chinese fishnets

Near to this place, have a visit to St.Francis Church, where you can see the tomb of Portuguese sailor Vasco-da-gama, then to Santa Cruz Basilica – a catholic church and Dutch cemetery.

Kathakali-dance

In the evening, attend the traditional dance show of Kerala”Kathakali”.

Overnight at Cochin.

Day 12 Cochin – Munnar

After breakfast, drive to “Munnar”- the meeting point of three rivers. Munnar has beautiful landscapes with a view of natural tea plantations, waterfalls, greeny mountains, the villages on the sloppy areas.

tea gardens munnar

Upon arrival check-in at hotel

Overnight at Munnar

Day 13 Munnar

After Breakfast, visit Eravikulam park – the main inhabitant of the Eravikulam park is Nilgiri Tahr. Now the park has the largest known population of Tahrs existing in the world.

eravikulam national park munnar

Visit Tea museum followed by a tea plantation visit. :- The museum set up at the Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea in Munnar The Tata Tea Museum diligently portrays the growth of Munnar tea estates, veritably conveyed through some of the displays like the rudimentary tea roller to the modern fully automated tea factory. Visitors to the museum can satiate their curiosity on various stages of tea processing and also learn a thing or two about the production of black tea. Have a visit to the famous Eravikulam National Park and Mattupatty Dam.  Have a walk in the spice markets.

Overnight at Munnar

Day 14 Munnar – Madurai

After breakfast, drive to Madurai (180 Kms/04 Hours) Upon arrival, check-in at your hotel. Afternoon, proceed for sightseeing tour of Madurai.

meenakshi temple madurai

Visit to pilgrimage site Meenakshi Amman Temple, historical monument Tirumalai Nayak Palace being the most prominent. Back to hotel relax for while. Post dinner take you to Meenakshi Temple once again to attend Madurai temple night ceremony.

Bedtime of the God

Overnight at Madurai.

Day 15 Madurai – Periyar

Post a leisure breakfast drive to Periyar and check in at hotel.

Spice Plantation Periyar

Periyar is on 1000 meters above the sea level and is rich in spice growing. 95% pepper in India is produced from here. Vasco de Gama was the first European to land at the Malabar Coast in 1498 A.D. in search of spices. Pepper in those days was exported against the equal weight of gold, so in the beginning of 15th century pepper was called black gold.

Later afternoon visits a Spice Garden to see different varieties of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, clove, vanilla, ginger, tea and coffee growing in their natural environment.

Overnight at Periyar

Day 16 Periyar

Morning enjoy Elephant package which is 02-hour activity with Timber dragging, Elephant bath & shower, Elephant feeding, Photo session and command and a short Elephant joy ride.

Afternoon enjoy common boat ride at Periyar Lake which has a unique aquatic ecosystem the numerous little islets in the lake are witness to the intricate inherent interrelationship among the terrestrial aquatic and subterranean life forms. A boat cruise on the Lake is perhaps the best way to watch the wildlife in the reserve.

Overnight at Periyar

Day 17 Periyar – Kumarakom

After breakfast drive to Kumarakom, enjoy the real country side of Kerala with amazing Backwaters, Day at leisure today, relax in nature or enjoy the hotel amenities.

Kumarakom

Overnight in Kumarakom.

Day 18 Kumarakom – Alleppey Houseboat

After Breakfast at residing hotel drive to Alleppey to Board your Houseboat. The houseboat cruise takes you through the intricate maze of backwaters, mesmerizing and surprising you at every turn with its serene beauty & simple charm.

houseboat-from-Kumarakom-to-Alleppey

Enjoy the countryside of Kerala at its best. Soak your eyes & soul with array of coconut trees & endless paddy fields. You will also get chance to take a small stroll through the villages & interact with the locals. Have a cruise in the backwaters of “Vembanadu” Lake.  Your boat will be stopped at one place around 5 :30 PM and have a dinner in the houseboat (AC will work in night only and authentic Kerala Cuisine will be served)

Overnight on board

Day 19 Alleppey – Kovalam

kovalam kerala

After breakfast drive to Kovalam via Trivandrum, On arrival check-in at hotel and rest of the day at leisure / Overnight at Kovalam

Day 20 Kovalam

After breakfast, day at leisure (No Transportation envisaged)

Kovalam Beach

Overnight at Kovalam

Day 21 Kovalam

After breakfast, day at leisure (No Transportation envisaged)

Overnight at Kovalam

Day 22 Kovalam – Bangalore (by Flight)

Post Breakfast Drop at Trivandrum Airport to catch flight to Bangalore

Upon arrival at Bangalore Airport transfer to Hotel and Check-in

Afternoon, you will proceed for sightseeing tour of Bangalore – you will take a tour to Vidhan Soudha, the Nandi Temple, the Lal Bagh Garden and Iskon Temple. The rich heritage, beautiful gardens, magnificent palaces, broad avenues & sacred temples attracts the visitors.

bull temple bangaloreBangalores-botanical-gardens

Overnight at Bangalore

Day 23 Bangalore Airport Drop

After Breakfast drop at Bangalore Airport to Catch the flight to Home.

End of Tour

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13N/14D Treasures of South India Tour

meenakshi temple madurai

Bordered by sea from the 3 sides, South India attracts tourists with its lakes, beaches, waterfalls, forts, culture, temples, nature, cities and hill stations. This enchanting tour of South India is a cultural extravaganza which promises to deliver rich and unforgettable holiday experiences.

Destinations: Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai – Thekkady – Kumarakom – Cochin – Goa – Mumbai

Itinerary

DAY 01:    ARRRIVE CHENNAI    BY: INT. FLIGHT

On Arrival at the Chennai airport, an INDUS TRIPS representative will receive you and transfer you to the hotel.

Chennai International Airport

Chennai – More than a city, Madras is a potpourri of impressions: a fistful of color, a whiff of jasmine, the rustling of silk. It brings to mind the subtle, intricate variations of classical music, the evocative grace of Bharatanatyam and a spontaneity of bronzed Dravidian faces. Stray images chase one another: bold colour drawn into the pleats of the Kancheepuram sari; a neat, swaying, ebony plait crowned with a spray of flowers; complicated and exuberant sculpture lacing temple walls. The gateway to the south and the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, Madras or Chennai is a vibrant metropolis and a combination of old world charm and modern day efficiency.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 02:   CHENNAI – MAHABALIPURAM     BY: SURFACE

Morning after breakfast at the hotel, proceed for sightseeing tour of Chennai visiting fort St. George, the seat of the state government and the legislative assembly. The fort was built in 1652 by the British East India Company. The fort contains the fort museum with its collection of memorabilia of the East India co.

fort st. george chennai

Also see St. Mary`s church the oldest surviving Anglican church in India. Very near to Fort St.George is the Indo Saracenic High Court building, said to be the largest judicial building in the world after the Courts of London.

Opposite the high courts lies the beautiful Marina beach. Proceed on to the Kapaleeswarar temple, a pure dravidian temple and one of the most ancient in Madras. Drive on to the Government museum with its galleries off chola Bronzes

kapaleeswarar temple chennai

Later leave for Mahabalipuram (58 kms / 1.5 hrs) enroute visiting Kanchipuram.

kailasanatha temple kanchipuram

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.

On arrival proceed to check in at the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 03:    MAHABALIPURAM – PONDICHEERY       BY: SURFACE

After buffet breakfast visit the magnificent rock temples and carvings in Mahabalipuram.

rathasmahabalipuramFive Rathas (chariots), ceremonial chariots, rock-cut monoliths, named after the 5 Pandavas.  The Shore Temple by the sea surrounded by gardens designed according to descriptions of the original layout from ancient times. Built in sandstone in the 7th century. Bhagiratha’s Penance is a bas- relief (27 to 9m) sculptured on the face of two enormous adjacent rocks, depicts, the penance of Arjuna, myraid characters from the Mahabharata, realistic life-size figures of animals, gods and saints watching the descent of the river goddess Ganga to earth.

arjuna's penance mahabalipuram

Later you will be driven from Mahabalipuram – Pondichery (120 kms / 04 – 05 hrs).

On arrival check in at hotel

Pondicherry was a French settlement that comprised Pondy, Yanam, Karaikal, and Mahe. There is a strong influence of French culture on Pondicherry town, especially on it’s architecture, a result of the centuries-old relations this place maintained with France.

pondicherry french colony 1

Afternoon sightseeing tour of Pondicherry visiting :-

Sri Aurobindo Ashram

auroville ashram pondicherry

The ashram was founded in 1920 when Sri Aurobindo reached Pondicherry, a French colony and put in place his ideas of peaceful community. The ashram, for long, was run by his French companion Mirra Alfassa, universally known as the Mother. The ashram houses the samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and the mother and open to everybody for fixed hours every day.

Pondicherry Museum

Situated in the Government Park, the Pondicherry Museum has a very good sculpture gallery and a section of archaeological finds from the Roman settlement at Arikamedu. There is also a French section charting the history of the colony. The objects include the four-poster bed in which Dupleix is believed to have slept. There is also a superb collection of the snail shells from the Pondicherry Region.

Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Built in the Gothic style, this massive church is one of the most beautiful churches in Pondicherry.

church of the sacred heart of jesus pondicherry

After visit return back to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 04:      PONDICHERRY – TRICHY         BY: SURFACE

Buffet breakfast at the hotel drive to Tanjore (180 kms / 06 – 07 hrs) enroute visiting Chidambaram. Continue your drive to Tanjore & upon arrival, check-in at hotel.

The Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

Thanjavur:   was the ancient capital of the Chola kings whose origins, go back to the beginning of the Christian era. Power struggles between these groups were a constant feature of their early history, with one or other gaining the ascendancy at various times. The Cholas’ turn for empire building came between 850 and 1270 AD and, at the height of their power. Probably the greatest chola emperors were Raja who was responsible for building the Brihadishwara Temple (Thanjavur main attraction) and his son Rajendra- I whose navy competed with the Arabs for controls of the Indian Ocean trade routes and who was responsible for bringing Srivijaya under Chola control.

Bridhdiswara-Temple-tanjore

Proceed for sightseeing tour of Tanjore – was the capital of the Chola Empire from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries. A Chola king, Raja Chola, who held the throne from 985 to 1016, built the greatest of the empire’s 74 temples, the Brahadeeswarar, with its soaring tower over the inner sanctum. This tower rises more than 62 meters (200 feet). On its dome rests a single block of granite weighing 80 tons

Royal Museum Tanjore

Later drive to Trichy (55 kms / 01 hrs)

Tiruchirappalli is situated in center Tamil Nadu, on the banks of the Cauvery river. It is 320 km from Madras and 150 km from Madurai. It was a Chola citadel during the Sangam Age and was also briefly ruled by the Pallavas and the Pandyas. Today, Trichy is a blend of history, a pilgrim center and a thriving commercial city.

Rock Fort Temple

 Proceed for sightseeing tour of Trichy visit the ‘Rock Fort Temple which rises abruptly to a height of 273 ft. A steep staircase cut into the rock leads upto the Fort. At the first level are the remnants of a huge hall blasted into ruins in 1772. The next storey is the Mathrubhuteshwarer Shrine dedicated to Shiva. Finally at the top of the hill, the ‘Uchhi Pillayar Koil’ – a Ganesh Temple offering a commanding view of the city.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Later you will visit Island of Srirangam. Tiruchirapalli, called Tiruchi or Trichy in Short, was built by the Nayak rulers of Madurai around a rock fort. Tiruchi is on the banks of the Kaveri river and is famous for the Ranganatha Temple at Srirangam, 10 km away. The Rock fort is the center of the city and is a remarkable structure. About 83 meters high, the fort dominates the landscape. The Uchi pillaiyer Temple dedicated to lord Vinayaka or Ganesha. A total of 344 steps, cut into the rock lead to the temple. There is also the Tyaumanaswami Temple of lord Shiva half way up the hillock. There are also two cave temples in the fort with sculptures dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries. The Sri Jambukeswara Temple, at Tiruvankkaikaval, Srirangam is an island in the Kaveri river, north of Tiruchirapalli. The Ranganathaswami Temple here, built around 13th-14th centuries has 21 towers and stone pillars covered with fine carvings.

Sri-Ranganathaswami-Temple-1

Overnight at hotel

DAY 05:      TRICHY – MADURAI        BY: SURFACE

After buffet breakfast you will be driven to Madurai (130 kms / 04 hrs)

Madurai – Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai is more than 2,500 years old and has a rich cultural heritage and history. Madurai was an important cultural and commercial centre even as early as 550 AD. Madurai was the capital city for the great Pandya kings.

On arrival proceed to check in at the hotel.

Afternoon you will proceed for the sightseeing tour of Madurai City.

meenakshi temple madurai

Madurai’s main attraction is the famous Meenakshi temple located in the heart of the old town, a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with gopurams (towers) covered from top to bottom with a breathless profusion of multi-colored images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures.   The temple complex is a city within a city and one can spend days exploring its labyrinthine corridors and halls.  

Thirumalai-Nayaka-Palace

Another attraction is the Thirumalai Nayak Palace (1636) restored by Lord Napier, dance drama concerts are performed daily.

Bedtime of the God

In the evening, you will once again proceed to the Meenakshi temple complex to witness the evening Aarti ceremony in which Lord Shiva is carried in a palanquin accompanied by musicians, temple singers and priests to the temple of his consort Parvati to spend the night.

Special note:Non- Hindus are not allowed inside the inner sanctum of the temple.

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 06:               MADURAI – THEKKADY                           BY: SURFACE

After buffet breakfast you will proceed for Periyar (160 kms / 4.5 hrs).

The name Thekkady, brings to mind images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice-scented plantations. Moreover, the flora and fauna of the Periyar wildlife sanctuary is absolutely thrilling. The wildlife sanctuary here is the natural habitat of a wide variety of animal species.

wildlife-sanctuary-of-Periyar

The Periyar Lake is a paradise for the nature lovers. It gives you an opportunity to observe the wild animals roaming in the jungle. The greatest attraction of Periyar Lake, however, is the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. Moreover, the Sanctuary Watch Tower situated in the forest interior gives you a panoramic view of the park.

Periyar

Other attractions of the sanctuary are the Sambhar, Bison, Spotted Deer, Tigers, Leopards, Malabar Flying Squirrels, Stripe necked Mongooses, etc. There are over 260 species of birds here including Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, blue-winged Parakeets, White bellied Tree Pies, laughing Thrushes and Fly Catchers.

On arrival proceed to check in at the hotel.

In the afternoon, proceed to Periyar National Park to view the wildlife by boat. Situated within the confines of the Western Ghats in the southern Indian state of Kerala, PeriyarNational Park and Tiger.

Periyar-Lake-Boat-Ride

Reserve is one of the most captivating wildlife parks in the world. The park has a picturesque lake at the heart of the sanctuary. Herds of elephant and sambar, gaur and wild pigs and wander down to the lakeside and can be observed from the launches that cruise the lake. Periyar also harbours the leopard, wild dog, barking deer and mouse deer.

Return to the hotel after your boat ride.

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 07:    THEKKADY –  KUMARAKOM BY: SURFACE

After buffet breakfast you will proceed for Kumarakom (180 kms / 4.5 hrs)

On arrival proceed to check in at the hotel. 

Kumarakom-Bird-Sanctuary

Twelve kilometres to the west of Kottayam town lies a small village called Kumarakom. The village is a part of Kuttanad, the wonderland which lies below sea level. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, spread over 14 acres of lush greenery and blue waters, is located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake. The sanctuary is home to local varieties of waterfowl, cuckoo, and water ducks, as well as migrating Siberian storks.

Rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 08:   KUMARAKOM – ALLEPPY

After buffet breakfast you will proceed to board your houseboat.

Kettuvallom

Kettuvallams are huge, tapering barges which were traditionally used to cargo rice and other goods across Kerala. It has a portion covered with bamboo and coir serving as kitchen and rest rooms for the crew. These boats are entirely built without the use of nails. Planks of jack wood are woven together with coir ropes and coated with a black resin made from boiled cashew kernels

kettuvallamModern-day Kettuvallams called houseboats, carry finished bedrooms, modern toilets, cosy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony where tourists can laze on cushions. Sections of the carved roof of wood and plaited palms open out to provide shade and allow an uninterrupted view. Most of the boats are poled by local oarsmen. Some are powered by engines. Gliding on serene backwaters, visitors can witness an unspoilt Kerala

Overnight on board houseboat

DAY 09:    ALLEPPY – COCHIN

Morning disembark Houseboat and depart for Cochin by surface (90 Kms/2 Hrs).

Spice market Cochin

Cochin (Kochi) is spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters. The city was founded in 1341 when a flood created a natural safe port, which became the principal harbour for Malabar Coast’s spice trade. Cochin was on the main trade route between Europe and China. The rulers invited people of various religions to settle here, attracting the Jews and the Christians who built places of worship and their own communities.

Afternoon, you will proceed for the sightseeing tour of Cochin.

Jewish-Synagogue-Cochin

You will first proceed to Mattancherry and visit the oldest Jewish Synagogue (Closed on Saturdays & All the Jewish holidays)in India, built in 1568; it was destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch a century later.

Mattancherry Dutch Palace

You will also visit The Dutch Palace(Closed on Fridays)- which was built in 1555 and its coronation hall and murals at Ramayana are noteworthy features.

Kochi chinese fishnets

Chinese fishing nets. The cantilevered fishing nets line the entrance to the harbour mouth. Chinese traders are believed to have originally introduced them in the 14th century although, today parts of the nets are known by Portuguese names.

St. Francis ChurchYour next stop will be St. Francis Church, originally named after Santo Antonio and dedicated to him as the Patron Saint of Portugal, St. Francis Church is the first church to have been in the new European influenced tradition. Originally a wooden building was replaced by the present stone building. Vasco De Gamma died on the site in 1524 and was originally buried in the cemetery. 14 years later his body was removed to Portugal. The church was renamed St. Francis in 1663.

Kathakali-dance

In the evening, you will be taken to a Kathakali dance centre where you will witness the most elaborate of the dance forms in southern India. Here you will witness the artists readying themselves up with the make up for the final performance.   Kerala owes its transnational fame to this nearly 300 years old classical dance form, which combines facets of ballet, opera, masque and the pantomime. It is said to have evolved from other performing arts like Kootiyattam, Krishnanattam and Kalarippayattu. Kathakali explicates ideas and stories from the Indian epics and Puranas. Presented in the temple precincts after dusk falls Kathakali is heralded by the Kelikottu or the beating of drums in accompaniment of the Chengila (gong).

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 10:    COCHIN – GOA     BY FLIGHT                       

After buffet breakfast, you will be transferred to Cochin airport to board your flight to Goa via Mumbai/Bangalore.

Goa Beach

Upon arrival in Goa, a representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 11:  GOA

After buffet breakfast, you will proceed for sightseeing tour of Goa.

Take a half day tour of Goa, starting from the slopes of Altinho hill for a breath-taking view of Panjim and river Mandovi.

Goa Beach

Drive to Donapaula for a view of India’s largest natural harbour, Marmagoa. Then on to Old Goa, the spiritual heart of Portuguese Goa to visit Basilica of Bom Jesus wherein is enshrined the body of St. Francis Xavier in an ornate silver casket.

se cathedral goa

Also visit St. Cathedral; the biggest Church in the East, St. Catejan built like St Peter’s of Rome, the Church of Lady Rosary and St. Monica.

basilica of bom jesus goa

Return to your hotel after the tour.

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 12:   GOA

After buffet breakfast, remainder of the day at leisure.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 13:    GOA – MUMBAI         BY FLIGHT

After buffet breakfast, you will board the flight to Mumbai

Upon arrival, you will proceed for the sightseeing tour of Mumbai city.

Bombay, or Mumbai, is the capital of Maharashtra and the economic powerhouse of India. It’s the fastest moving, most affluent and the most industrialized city in India. Yet, once upon a time, Bombay was nothing more than a group of low-lying, swampy and malarial mud flats presented to the British by its Portuguese occupiers as a wedding gift in 1661.

Dhobi Ghats mumbai

During your tour you will be driven to the Dhobi Ghats for a photo stop, that is a huge open-air laundry, which makes an interesting viewing.

Tower of Silence mumbai

You will be then driven to Malabar Hill (drive past) via the Tower of Silence (drive past) – a round stone construction on which Parsis place their dead to be eaten by the vultures and Hanging Gardens which is built over Bombay’s reservoir.

Marine Drive Mumbai

You will be then driven along Marine Drive, the sea – Front Boulevard. It is also known as the Queen’s Necklace as in the evening, the breeze from the Arabian Sea comes over Marine Drive and as the streetlights on this U-shaped road light up, the view from south Bombay’s skyscrapers or from the exclusive residential area, is that of a Queen’s Necklace. 

Victoria Terminus mumbai

You will than photo-stop at Victoria Terminus which is now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. This magnificent building was constructed for a period of 10 years. The construction work started in 1878 and was completed in the year 1888. The building was designed by F.W .Stevens, a famous architect of Britain. In 1882, on the occasion of New Year’s Eve this railway station started its operation in Mumbai.

Victoria Terminus is undoubtedly the Raj’s piece de resistance, Complete with carved stone friezes, stained glass windows and flying buttresses.

clock tower mumbaiYou will drive past Rajabai Tower is situated within the premises of the Fort campus of the Mumbai University. It is basically a clock tower that rises to a height of 85 m (280 ft) and houses the University Library. The top of the cupola is ornamented with sixteen statues depicting various Indian castes. The tower has been modelled after the Big Ben Clock Tower of the UK houses of Parliament, situated in London, and was built as per the designs of Sir George Gilbert Scott, an English architect. It was in March 1869 that the foundation stone of the Rajabai Clock Tower of Bombay was laid down.

mumbaiYou next stop will be to Gateway of India –the landmark of Bombay, which, was before the advent of air travel, the only gateway to India. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George and Queen Mary to India in 1911.

After sightseeing tour, you will have transferred to Mumbai airport for your final departure.

DAY 14  DEPARTURE MUMBAI  BY: INT FLIGHT

In early hours, you will check-out of your rooms and a INDUS TRIPS representative will meet you and transfer you to International airport to board your flight for back hom.

End of Tour

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11 Days Highlights of South India Tour

meenakshi temple madurai

Unique history, ancient temples, enchanting traditions, dance forms, delightful cuisine, beautiful beaches and architectural wonders have made South India one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.

Our Highlights of South India Tour from Cochin is an enchanting journey where you will meet tribals of South India, walk through spice gardens, enjoy a boat ride through backwaters, visit an Elephant Camp , discover an ancient civilization, an alternate way of life, stunning temples, old monoliths and also watch Kathakali dance performance. This tour is great for couples, families and small groups.

Duration:  11 days / 10 Nights

Places:  Cochin > Madurai > Tanjore > Trichy > Mahabalipuram > Chennai

11 Days Highlights of South India Tour from Cochin

Itinerary:

DAY 01:  ARRIVE COCHIN 

Arrive Cochin. Cochin has been variously hailed as Queen of the Arabian Sea, Venice of Orient, etc. Some choose to call it simply a museum city for its rich past and colorful present.

Cochin-International-Airport-1024x433

On arrival, transfer to the hotel (Rooms will be available from 1200 hrs)

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 02:  COCHIN       

Today enjoy the city tour, which includes the visit to the following:

St. Francis ChurchSt. Francis Church: 

It is the oldest church built by Europeans in India. On his 3rd visit to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese trader who reached India from Europe by sea, fell ill and died in Kochi. He was buried in the St. Francis Church. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal. In spite of that, his burial spot inside the church has been clearly marked out.

Jewish-Synagogue-CochinJewish Synagogue: 

The synagogue, built in 1568, is magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. It is located near the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry.

Mattancherry Dutch Palace

Note: It remains closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Timings for the visit: 0900 hrs to 1200 hrs and from 1500 hrs to 1700 hrs.

Dutch Palace: 

The Dutch Palace was originally built by the Portuguese. Later, in 17th century, the Dutch modified it and presented it to the Raja of Kochi.

Mattancherry Dutch PalaceCoronation of many Rajas of Kochi were held here. The palace has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana. The palace is located in Mattancherry.

Note: It remains closed on Fridays. Timings for the visit: 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs.

Chinese Fishing Nets:

The Chinese fishing nets (Cheenavala) are distinctly unique to Cochin. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. Oddly, these nets are found only in Kochi, outside China! Many fishermen earn their livelihood by fishing using these massive nets. A whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen are dotted with these nets.

Kochi chinese fishnets

 

In the evening enthrall yourself with a special presentation of the colorfully costumed Kathakali Dance Drama in a local theater. Kathakali is a traditional dance form of Kerala and the impressive facial expressions, hand gestures and dance moves will leave one spellbound.

Kathakali-dance

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 03: COCHIN – BACKWATERS (65 Kms /01 hr 30 min)           

After breakfast,drive to the jetty to board House-boat (Kettuvallom) on the World famous Backwaters of Kerala.

Kettuvallom

“Kettu” literally means to tie up and “Vallom” means ” boats”. The boats played a major role in the economic development of ancient Kerala, moving cargo and men from the very nook and corner of otherwise unreachable area, cutting across the length and breadth of the land.

Overnight on Houseboat

DAY 04:  BACKWATERS – PERIYAR

After breakfast on the rice boat (Kettuvallom) get down at jetty and drive to Periyar. On arrival in Periyar, transfer to hotel.

tribal village periyar

Later drive to a tribal village. This will be a very nice and interesting 01 hour visit whereby the clients will be able to observe the lifestyle of the Tribals from close quarters.

Elephant Camp periyar

After the visit, drive to an Elephant Camp where we will organize elephant bathing and elephant feeding. We will also organize a 30 min Elephant ride. After visiting Elephant Camp, visit a Spice Plantation.

Spice Plantation Periyar Spice Plantation Periyar

You will walk through the aromatic spice gardens where the air is laden with the fragrance of nature’s bounty. Spices can be defined as “aromatic substances of vegetable origin, used for Flavoring food or as a preservative.” Many spices are also known to have medicinal value, for instance turmeric is a known anti-oxidant and curry leaf can control and prevent diabetes.

The spice plantations of Kerala are fascinating farms to wander in, for different sections of each plantation are dedicated to different spices. Apart from spices traditionally grown in India such as pepper, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom farmers in Kerala have taken to growing spices that are used worldwide. Some of the spices cultivated in spice plantations are vanilla, oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, bay leaf and sage.

Overnight at the Hotel

DAY 05:         PERIYAR – MADURAI        (160 Kms /4 hr 30 min)

After breakfast, drive to Madurai. On arrival in Madurai, transfer to hotel and check in

meenakshi temple madurai

In the evening, visit the Meenakshi Temple to attend the evening ceremony known as ‘Bedtime of the God’. A colorful procession, in which the image of Shiva is carried accompanied by musicians, temple singers and priests from his shrine. Enroute Shiva visits the other deities before entering Parvati’s (Meenakshi) temple to sleep with her for the night. This ceremony is worth witnessing.

Bedtime of the God

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 06:  MADURAI    

After breakfast, enjoy the city tour of Madurai, which includes the visit to the following:

Meenakshi Temple:

meenakshi temple madurai 1

This temple is nearly 2000 years old placed in the heart of the old town – a splendid example of Dravidian architecture. The present temple was designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak and subsequently built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak.

Meenakshi TempleThere are four entrances to the temple with an area of six hectares. Each of its 12 towers has the height of 45 to 50 meters. The Potrama Raikulam or the Golden Lotus Tank is the place where the Tamil literacy society, called Sangam used to meet to decide the merits of the work presented to them. The temple museum has 985 richly carved pillars and each one surpasses the other in beauty.

Note: Meenakshi Temple remains closed from 1200 hrs till 1530 hrs.

Thirumalai Nayak MahalTirumalai Nayak Mahal:

This Indo-Saracenic building was constructed in 1523 and was originally four times large are today. Sound and light show on the life of the Tirumalai Nayak and the story of the Silapathikaram are conduced daily.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 07:  MADURAI – TANJORE -TRICHY  ( 130 Kms / 04 hr)

After breakfast, drive to Trichy. Enroute visit Tanjore.

Bridhdiswara-Temple-tanjore-1024x576

Brihadeshwara Temple & Fort:

Built by great Chola king in the 10th century it is an outstanding example of Chola architecture and is listed in world heritage. On the top of the apex of 63 metres high, a dome is said to be constructed from a single piece of granite, weighing an estimated 81 tones. The dome was hauled into place along a 6 km earthwork ramp in a manner similar to the one used by the Egyptian Pyramids. The temple has been the sense of continuous worship for over thousand years. Only Hindus are allowed inside.

Note: Brihadeshwara Temple remains closed from 1200 to 1600 hrs.

Later continue your drive to Trichy. On arrival in Trichy, transfer to hotel.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 08:  TRICHY – MAHABALIPURAM ( 265 Kms / 06 hrs) 

After breakfast,visit of the following-

Rock Fort TempleRock Fort Temple:

The temple tops an 83m high outcrop. This smooth rock was first hewn by the Pallavas who cut small cave temples into the southern face, but it was the Nayakas who made use of its naturally climb up the 437 steps cut into the stone to the top but well worth it for the views. Non-Hindus are not allowed into the Vinayaka Temple at the summit nor did the bigger Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple dedicate to Siva, halfway up. Occasionally temple priest waive this regulation.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple:

This superb temple complex at Srirangam, about three km from the Rock Fort, is surrounded by seven concentric walls with 21 gopurams and is probably the largest in India. Most of it dates from the 14th to 17th centuries, and many people have had a hand in its construction, including the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagars. The largest gopuram in the first wall on the southern side was completed as recently as 1987 and now measures an astounding 73m.  The temple complex is very well preserved, with excellent carvings throughout and numerous shrines to various gods, though the main temple is dedicated to Vishnu. Even the Muslims are said to have prayed here after the fall of Vijayanagar Empire.

Note: Temples remains closed from 1200 hrs till 1500 hrs.

After the sightseeing, drive to Mahabalipuram. On arrival, transfer to hotel

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 09:  MAHABALIPURAM           

After breakfast, enjoy the sightseeing of Mahabalipuram, which includes the following-

arjuna's penance mahabalipuram

Arjuna’s Penance :

Carved in relief on the face of a huge rock, Arjuna’s Penance is the mythical story of the River Ganges issuing from its source high in the Himalaya . the panel depicts animal animals, deities and other semi-divine creatures, fable from the Panchatantra, and Arjuna doing a penance to obtain a boon from Siva.

Shore Temple

Shore Temple:

This beautiful and romantic temple, ravaged by wind and sea, represents the final phase of Pallavas art and was built in the late 7th century during the reign of Rajasimha. It is believed that at one point in time there were seven such temples, six of them were victims to the natural elements of erosion. This temple has three shrines; one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the other two to Lord Shiva. The frothy waves form a striking backdrop to the temple, protected by rows of rock-carved bulls. The most unique feature of the temple is that it houses shrines to both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.

krishna mandapam mahabalipuram

Mandapams:

There are eight mandapams (shallow, rock-cut halls) scattered over the main hill, two of which have been left unfinished. They are mainly of interest for their internal figure sculptures. One of the earliest rock-cut temples is the Krishna Mandapam. It features carvings of a pastoral scene showing Krishna lifting up the Govardhana Mountain to protect his kinsfolk from the wrath of

Indra. On the hill rests a dangerously balanced boulder named Krishna’s Butterball after his legendary affinity for fresh butter.

rathasmahabalipuramFive Rathas

These are the architectural prototypes of all Dravidian temples, demonstrating the imposing gopurams and Vimanas; multi pillared halls and sculptured walls, which dominate the landscape of Tamil Nadu.

Rest of the day is free to relax on beach.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 10:  MAHABALIPURAM – CHENNAI (55 Kms /01 hr)    

After breakfast, drive to Chennai. On arrival in Chennai, transfer to the hotel.

Later enjoy the visit to the following:

Santhome Cathedral ChurchThe Santhome Cathedral Church:

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.

marina beach chennaiMarina Beach:

The stretch of beach known as the Marina extends for 13km. South of the pitiful aquarium is the Ice House, once used to store massive ice blocks transported by ship from North America. It later became the venue from which Vivekananda preached his ascetic philosophy.

kapaleeswarar temple chennaiKapaleeswarar:

Kapaleeswarar, an ancient Shiva temple, is the biggest temple in Chennai. A masterpiece of Dravidian style and displays the architectural elements – gopurams, mandapams and a tank. There are some fragmentary inscriptions dating back to 1250 AD.

fort st. george chennaiFort St. George & Museum:

St. George fort was built by the British East India Company. the fort was built in 1640 AD, under the direct supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon. Today it is used as an office of Tamil Nadu Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly. The fort houses a St. Mary’s Church and fort museum.St. Mary’s Church the oldest Anglican Church in India built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. This ancient prayer house solemnized the marriages of Robert Clive and Governor Elinu-Yale, who later founded the Yale University in the States.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 11:  CHENNAI  DEPARTURE

Today you will be transferred to the airport to connect the flight for onward journey.

End of Tour

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