International Tours - South India Tours

General Information

India's Great Divide is the Vindhya Mountains. They run from east to west, separating the fertile river valley of the Ganges called the Ganga, from the Deccan Plateau which occupies much of the peninsula of India. It also separates the north, where the predominant languages are Sanskrit - based (brought in by the Indo Iranian herds people about 3,500 years ago), from the Dravidian tongues brought in by a long headed race from the Mediterranean about a thousand years earlier.

The South India's coastal plains are backed by the mountains rimming the wedge of the Deccan plateau. On these plains lie the best beaches in South India. On the rimming mountains, the western and eastern ghats are the tea, coffee and spice lands. Beyond these mountains, in the wedge shaped plateau, are great old cities supported by rich farm lands and a culture that has its roots in the almost historical Kumari Continent from where, they claim, civilization spread across the world. The south is gracious, graceful, Old India. The delightful south; almost untouched by invasions throughout its history, the Indian heritage is more intact here than in other regions of the country.

   Best of South India Tour (19 Days / 18 Nights)  
   Day 01: Chennai
Arrive Madras. Transfer to Hotel. Overnight stay at Chennai.
   Day 02: Chennai-Kancheepuram- Mahabalipuram
Breakfast at the hotel. Half day city tour of Chennai covering visit to Fort St. George, St. Mary’s Church, Santhome Basilica, Marina Beach, a round around the city. Proceed on to Kancheepuram, visit to Ekambareswar temple, Kailasanathar temple, Sri Kamakshi temple and Varadarajaswamy temple. Proceed on to Mamallapuram. Overnight stay at hotel.
   Day 03: Mahabalipuram-Trichy
After Breakfast, tour of Mahabalipuram. The city of Mahabalipuram is famous for the seven pagodas. Here on the seashore is an interesting group of ancient rock hewn temples which are the examples of Dravidian style of Architecture. Evening transfer to railway station for Trichy night train. Night on board the train.
   Day 04: Trichy
Morning arrive Trichy and transfer to hotel. Afternoon city tour. Trichy was the citadel of the Chola dynasty in the medieval period. In the 18th century it witnessed the Carnatic wars fought between the French and the English. Lord Robert Clive's house is still there to see and so is the Danish Church. The Rock-Fort is the landmark of Trichy. A climb of 434 steps leads to the ancient temple of Ganapati on top and a further climb to a Shiva temple. Overnight stay at Trichy.
   Day 05: Trichy-Tanjavur-Madurai
Drive to Madurai enroute Tanjavur. At Tanjore, visit the beautiful Chola Temple of Brihadeeshwara which is capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite block weighing 80 tons which was taken to the top with the help of a 6 km long ramp, an old technique used by the Egyptians for building pyramids. Its bronzes and handicrafts make Tanjore one of the highlights of a visit to South India. Proceed on to Madurai. Arrive and check-in Hotel. Overnight stay at Madurai.
   Day 06: Madurai
Morning visit the great Meenakshi Amman Temple dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva with its towering gopurams (rising high above the surrounding country side). Later, visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace - A gracious building in the Indo Saracen style, famous for the Stucco work on its domes & arches. Also visit the Alagar Hills and Tiruparam Kundram Rock temple. Afternoon free for personal activities. Overnight stay at Madurai.
   Day 07: Maduri - Periyar
Morning drive to Periyar. The earliest sanctuary to be set up in 1934, it extends to 777sq.kms and forms part of the high mountain ranges, the Western Ghats. Wild life can be seen while cruising on Periyar Lake in a motor boat. Amongst the animals which can be seen are elephants, wild boar, sambar, tiger, leopard, wild dog, langur monkeys, etc. Overnight stay at Periyar.
   Day 08: Periyar - Kumarakom-Alleppey
After Breakfast, drive to Kumarakom. Arrive and embark on to the houseboat. Cruise in the backwaters, traversing the narrow canals, witnessing the village life of Kerala. Evening the boat will anchor on the Vembunad Lake.
   Day 09: Alleppey - Cochin
Morning disembark from the houseboat and proceed to Cochin. On arrival enjoy a tour of Cochin. Cochin is the natural harbour created by the famed underwater Malabar mud-banks. Vasco-de-Gama placed it on the world map. Visit the Fort Cochin, Mattancherry Palace, Jewish synagogue, St. Francis Church and view the operation of the Chinese fishing nets. Evening visit to Cochin cultural centre for viewing the Kathakalli Opera. Overnight stay at Cochin.
   Day 10: Cochin - Bangalore-Mysore
Morning transfer to airport for Bangalore flight. Arrive & drive directly to Mysore. Enroute visit to Srirangapatinam, the city established by King Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. The city fell after three repeated wars fought against the British forces. Arrive Mysore and check-in Hotel. Overnight stay at Mysore.
   Day 11: Mysore
Morning tour of Mysore. Visit the palace of the Maharaja built in 1911-12. The palace is of harmonious syntheses of the hindu and Saracen styles of architecture with archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures which are magnificent. Visit the Art Gallery; drive upto Chamundi hill to see Chamundeshwari Temple & a panoramic view of Mysore. On the way back, see the Nandi Bull. Overnight stay at Mysore.
   Day 12: Mysore - Belur - Halabid - Hassan
Full day tour of Belur and Halebid. The Chenna Kesava temple of Belur built 900 years ago is an exquisite example of Hoysala art. Halebid's 12th century Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples are master pieces of Hindu art. On the way also visit Sravanabelgola. At Sravanbelgola, hewn out of a single rock and visible from a distance of 25kms is the statue of Lord Gomteshwara which is bathed with milk and honey once every 12 years. Overnight stay at Hassan.
   Day 13: Hampi
Morning drive to Hospet. Visit Hampi. The once beautiful capital city of Vijayanagar Empire - greater than Rome, had palaces, temples & sculptures, spread all over. The city was razed to the ground by the Sultanates of South in 1565.
   Day 14: Hampi
After breakfast, visit Some of the interesting ruins remaining are the Virupaksha, Vittala and Hazara Rama temples huge Ganesha and Narasimha images, the elephant stables, the Queen's Bath, carvings on the Ramachandra temple & Lotus Mahal. Overnight Stay at Hotel.
   Day 15: Badami - Hampi - Aihole & Pattadakal
Morning drive to Badami stopping at Aihole & Pattadakal on the way. Aihole is the cradle of stone temple architecture of the southern Dravida School. The oldest temple, Lad Khan goes back to the 5th century A.D. There are 70 temples in this group. The Durga temple is noted for its sculptures. The Meguti temple is built of 630 small stone blocks. The Ravanaphadi Cave has some beautiful carvings. Pattadakal, referred to as Petrigal, reached its pinnacle of glory under the Chalukya kings from 7th to 9th centuries. The oldest in this group is the Sanghameswara Temple. The Mallikarjuna Temple has pillars depicting life of Krishna. Virupaksha temple has sculptures and panel scenes from the epics, the Ramayana & Mahabharata. The Papanatha Temple has impressive carvings on pillars and ceiling. Overnight at Badami.
   Day 16: Tour of Badami
Morning tour of Badami. Badami also known as Vatapi is rich with Hindu and Jain temples carved out of sand stone hills. The carved temples date back to the 6th century. Of these, three are Hindu and one Jain. Sculptured out of solid rock they are adorned with carvings. The Fort, on top of a hill encloses large granaries, treasury & a watch tower. The Malegitti Shivalaya temple set on the summit of a hill is built of stones without mortar. Overnight at Badami.
   Day 17: Goa
Morning drive to Goa. Arrive and check-in Hotel. Evening free at the beaches. Overnight at hotel.
   Day 18: Goa
Also visit the Church of Bom Jesus where the uncorrupt body of St. Francis Xavier is kept. Evening boat cruise. Overnight at hotel.
   Day 19: Goa - Departure
Departure to onward destination.
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