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Enchanting South India -- Incredible India

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Arrive Chennai, after you clear all your customs & immigration formalities you will met by our representative and at the airport a traditional 'Swagat' (Welcome) by our representatives and later transfer to your hotel. Check in at hotel. Chennai is known for its cultural heritage & temple architecture. The region was served as an important administrative, military, & economic centre dating back to the 1st century. When the Portuguese arrived in 1522, they built a port, the region then passed into the hands of the Dutch, who established themselves near north of the city in 1612. On 22 August 1639, British East India Company was granted land, as a base for a permanent settlement.Overnight at hotel.

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today we take a tour of Chennai, touching Fort St. George, built in the year 1640 AD by the British East India Company, under the direct supervision of Francis Day & Andrew Cogon. This bastion achieved its name from St. George. Within the fort we visit St. Mary's Church, built in the year 1680 & oldest Protestant Church in the East contains several antiquities, not the least being the oldest British tombstones in India. Fort Museum, with 10 rooms displaying the old uniforms, coins, padlocks, old prints & palanquins. Santhome Cathedral derives its name from St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ who is believed to have visited Madras sometime during 52 AD. He was killed on St. Thomas Mount just in 78 AD & was interned in Santhome beach, where church was built. Several years later, another church was built & his mortal remains were transferred to the new one. Museums, established in 1857, it is undoubtedly one of the country's finest museums. It has sections devoted to geology, archaeology, anthropology, botany, zoology, sculpture & numismatics. Its most prized possessions are the relics from 2nd century AD Buddhist site of Amaravathi & the prehistoric antiques of South India.

Later drive to Mahabalipuram, 7th century port city of the South Indian. It is believed to have been named after the Pallava king Mamalla. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th & the 9th century, & has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monuments are mostly rock-cut & monolithic, constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible.

Overnight at hotel.

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today, we take a guided tour of Mahabalipuram, visiting Shore Temple, one of the oldest temples in South India. It belongs to the 8th Century A.D. & is a good example of the first phase of the structure of temples constructed in the Dravidian style. Designed to catch the first rays of the rising sun & to illuminate the waters after dark, the temple ended up with an unusual lay-out.
Arjuna's Penance, world's largest bas-relief. This huge whale-back shaped rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts, & birds & in fact, can be said to represent creation itself. Next we visit Rathas, monolithic temples fashioned as chariots. They remain an architectural mystery, for each is apparently a faithful reproduction of a structure built of wood. In fact, even the grain of the timber beams & rafters has been simulated in stone. Of the eight Rathas, five have been named for the Pandava brothers, the heroes of the epic Mahabharata.

Later we take a day excursion to Kanchipuram, is one of the seven holy cities in the country. It was a city of learning for both Tamil & Sanskrit, & was believed to be visited by Hsuan Tsang. In ancient times it was called Kachi. Once had over a thousand temples & today there are more than a hundred extant. It is also known for its temples & silk sarees. We visit Kailasanatha Temple, built in 8th Century AD. It is built in the typical Pallava style, with a pyramidal tower, a pillared hall & vestibule, enclosed by a wall. The temple is famous for exquisite carvings & attracts devotees & tourists alike. There are 58 small shrines situated around the main shrine, as a compound wall. Fresco style paintings adorn the inner walls of the temple. Next we visit Ekambaranatha, ancient temple is dedicated to lord Shiva. The 57 metres high Raj Gopuram is one of the tallest towers in South India. The 3000 year old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yielding different variety of mangoes.
Before returning to Mahabalipuram we visit Kamakshi Amman Temple, built in 12th century AD, as an important Shakthisthalam, known as Parabrahmaroonpini. The main deity is seated on Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Eswara & Sadasiva.

Overnight at hotel.

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today we drive to Auroville near Pondicherry. The community of Auroville consists of Indian & International residents who aim to develop a harmonious environment through the implementation of the teachings Sri Aurobindo & The Mother. Upon arrival visit Matri Mandir which was designed to be the spiritual & physical centre of Auroville (Temple is opened between 1530-1630 hr).

Further drive to Pondicherry, the land of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the serene world of distinct spiritual vibration & thus renowned as Sacred Land. Upon arrival check-in hotel.

Overnight at hotel

Breakfast t the hotel.

Today we drive to Tanjore, flourished during the rule of the Nayaks & Mahrattas. It has been the treasure house of art for centuries. It is called the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is well-known throughout the world for its exquisite handicrafts like the Art Plate, pithwork, bronze icons, Thanjavur paintings & the classical South Indian musical instruments.

Later we visit Brihadeshwara temple, also known as Big Temple, built by Rajaraja Chola I was completed around 1010 CE. This 10th century CE temple, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a brilliant example of the Dravidian style of temple architecture. The beautiful Chola Fresco paintings on the inner walls of the temple are no way less than Ajanta paintings.

Overnight at hotel

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today we leave for Madurai, rich cultural heritage passed for more than 2500 years old & has been an important commercial centre as early as 550 AD. It is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu & was originally known as Kadambavanam or the forest of Kadamba.
En route Trichy
En route we stop at Trichy, which has very historic temples, monuments & churches. It was an important town in the days of the later Cholas, Nayaks as well as during the early days of the British East India Company. We start with Srirangam Temple, surrounded by the waters of the River Kaveri on one side & its tributary Kollidam on the other is a 600-acre island-town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. There are not less than 21 Gopuram here in this temple, one of which is the tallest in South India.

Later we visit Rockfort most famed landmark is an 83 m high rock which is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The most amazing fact about the rock is that it is one of the oldest in the world approximately 3,800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland & older than the Himalayas.

Overnight at hotel

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today we visit to Meenakshi Sundareshwar was first built 2000 years ago & was substantially expanded between the years (1623-55 AD). Initially there was only the Shiva temple. A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure known as Ayiramkaal mandapam or the Hall of a thousand pillars in the outermost corridor.

Overnight at hotel

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today we proceed for Periyar Wildlife Reserve. Set on an attractive lakeside, it is South India's most popular Wildlife Sanctuary. Periyar is a place to cruise on the lake & gives an opportunity to see wildlife. It is home to tigers, leopards, elephants, bison, antelopes, sambhar, wild boar, monkey, a wide variety of birds.
Optional : Boat Ride on Periyar Lake

Overnight at hotel

Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning, we will take you for an Elephant safari in Periyar, followed by a Plantation Tour. Later we drive to Kumarkom, on arrival board the houseboat, locally called Kettuvallam, cruise around beautiful backwaters of Thothapalli to Alleppey to observe & experience the daily life of the villagers along the backwaters.
Overnight Houseboat 

Breakfast at houseboat.

Today we disembark the boat at Alleppey and drive to Cochin always had a very popular & historical sea trade connection with Middle East, Mediterranean Europe & Dutch. It has one of the finest natural harbours on the Arabian coastline. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the buildings & structures representing different regions of the world.
On arrival check into your hotel. 

Later we take a tour of Cochin, visiting St. Francis' Church, built in the year 1503 by Portuguese Francisan Friars & known to be the oldest European church in India. It was restored in the year 1779 by the protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican Church by the British in 1795. Vasco da Gama's remains were buried here in 1524 & later moved to Lisbon, Portugal. We also visit Dutch Palace, originally built by the Portuguese. Later in 17th century they modified it & presented it to the Raja (King) of Kochi (Cochin). The Palace has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting scenes from Hindu epics, Mahabharata & Ramayana.
Later we visit Jew Town, synagogue, built in the year 1568, is magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles & Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. Also visit the spice market, where the air is filled with the pungent smell of spices & history that brought the world to its doorstep. 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.
Later we attend Kerala's most popular classical dance performance, Kathakali by local     artist.

Overnight at hotel

After breakfast transfer to airport in time board the flight for onward destination

The Exotic South India

Mumbai-Goa-Belgaum-Badami-Aihole-Pattadakal-Hospet-Hassan-Madikeri-Mysore-Srirangapatnam–Bangalore ( 14 Nights/ 15 Days )

Day 01 / Arrive Mumbai
Arrive Mumbai, meet assist at the airport and transfer to hotel. Night stay in Mumbai.

Day 02 / Mumbai
After breakfast proceed for half day tour of Mumbai covering Gateway of India – The stone archway designed by Wittett in the 16th century Gujarati style, Prince of Whales Museum , Chowpatty Beach, Dhobhi Ghat, Marine Drive. Night stay in Bombay.

Day 03 / Mumbai - Goa ( By flight )
Morning transfer to airport for flight to Goa. On arrival transfer to hotel Day at leisure. Night stay in Goa.

Day 04 / Goa
After breakfast, proceed on a half day sightseeing tour of Goa, visiting Miramar Beach, Basilica of Bom Jesus and the city of Panjim-bustling with shops and tourists. The afternoon is at leisure to relax on the beach. Night stay in Goa.

Day 05 / Goa
Day at leisure. Laze on the beach, go for swim, explore the shops for cashewnuts. Night stay in Goa.

Day 06 / Goa - Belgaum – Badami (By road, 275 kms 6 hrs)
After breakfast drive to Badami enroute visiting Belgaum - a total picture of contrasts. On one side is the old town area and modern on other, in the heart of Belgaum is the Fort. Inside it are most famous Kamala Basti, the Jain Temple & the Jama Masjid. The Kapileshwar Temple, the Ananthashayana. Night stay in Badami.

Day 07 / Badami
Rock–cut cave Temples, Gateways, Forts, Inscriptions, Sculptures that seem to come alive before your eyes. Badami has to be seen to be believed. Climb a flight of steps to reach the ancient caves – all hewn out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill. Also a must see are Bhutanatha temples that lend their names to the lake just beneath the cave temples. Take a dip in this green tranquil river. It is said to have the healing properties. Badami also has the eighteen inscriptions ranging from 06th to 09th century. Night stay in Badami.

Day 08 / Badami – Aihole – Pattadakal – Hospet ( By road )
After breakfast drive to Hospet enroute visiting Aihole and Pattadakal, and for that nothing can be said as everything is self explanatory. Aihole which is famous as the "cradle of the Indian Architecture". Also visit Pattadakal – Situated on the left bank of the Malaprabha river, a world heritage centre, has 10 major temples representing early Chalukyan architecture, later continue towards Hospet. Night stay in Hospet.

Day 09 / Hospet
Morning explore the beautiful world of Hospet. The touristic importance of this lies in its proximity to Hampi, the site of the Medieval Vijaynagar Empire, (13 kms) is the most evocative of all the ruins in Karnataka. Night stay in Hospet.

Day 10 / Hospet - Hassan ( By road )
After a relaxed breakfast drive to Hassan. Later excursion to Belur & Halebid, a beautiful example of Hoysala architecture. Famous of them is The Chennakesava Temple : which took 103 years to complete. The temples of Halebid bear mute testimony to the rich, cultural heritage of Karnataka. Night stay in Hassan.

Day 11 / Hassan - Shravanbelagola – Hassan
Morning visit Shravanbelgola. 51 kms south – east of Hassan, one of most important Jain Pilgrim centers. Here is the 17m high monolith of Lord Bahubali – the world's tallest monolithic statue. Rest of the day you will remain free to explore the surroundings. Night stay in Hassan.

Day 12 / Hassan – Madikeri ( By road )
After breakfast drive to Madikeri, a place which is called as the "Scotland Of India". In Madikeri visit Madikeri Fort , Abbey Falls , Nisargadhama – Known for its calm, serene beauty, this place is an ideal picnic spot visited by hundreds of tourists throughout the year. Night stay in Madikeri.

Day 13 / Madikeri – Mysore ( By road )
Morning drive to Mysore and transfer to hotel. Later visit :Mysore Palace, Chamundi hills – Towering over the city, these hills are 13 kms away from Mysore. Halfway up is the Nandi bull, a 4.8m monolith. Brindavan Gardens – A site to be loved. The musical fountains & colourful lights transform this place into a fairy land. Night stay in Mysore.

Day 14 / Mysore
After breakfast visit Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery – Housed in the Jag Mohan Palace, the gallery has a collection of exquisite paintings. In the afternoon visit Somnathpur. It is a little village where you can see the famous 13th century temple well known for its great architectural beauty. The star shaped temple with three shrines is the latest & well preserved heritage of Hoysala architecture. Night stay in Mysore.

Day 15 / Mysore - Srirangapatnam – Bangalore - Departure
Morning drive to Bangalore enroute visiting Srirangapatnam, capital of the warrior – King Hyder Ali & his son Tipu Sultan, has magnificent monuments that are well worth a visit. Continue drive to Bangalore and transfer to airport for onward flight.

Cost includes:
» 14 nights accommodation as per the itinerary with daily breakfast.
» Surface Travel by exclusive air-conditioned car.
» All transfers & sightseeing as per the itinerary by air-conditioned car.
» Local English speaking guides.
» All taxes, driver allowances, Parking etc.

Cost does not include:
» Entrance fee to monuments.
» Any airfare 
» Tips, laundry.
» Any item not shown in Cost Includes.

Hotels Selected - Royal
Mumbai: Trident
Goa: Raddison
Badami: Hotel Badami Court
Hospet: Hotel Malligai
Hassan: Hoyshala Village
Madikeri: Orange County
Mysore: Royal Orchid

Hotels Selected - Classic
Mumbai: Ambassdor
Goa: Cidadi Goa
Badami: Hotel Badami Court
Hospet: Hotel Malligai
Hassan: Southern Star
Madikeri: Club Mahendra
Mysore: Sandesh The Prince

Hotels Selected - Economy
Mumbai: Godwin
Goa: Marquis
Badami: Badami Court
Hospet: Malligai
Hassan: Southern Star
Madikeri: Coorg International
Mysore: Viceroy

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