Grand South India

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Grand Tour Of South India

Duration: 23 nights/ 24 days
Destinations: Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Tanjore, Trichy, Madurai, Periyar, Cochin, Ooty, Mysore, Bangalore, Hassan, Hospet (Hampi), Badami, Goa, Mumbai
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Connemara Library in Chennai
Day 01: Arrival Chennai
On arrival meet and assist at the airport and transfer to hotel, overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram
After breakfast, sightseeing of Chennai including of Fort Museum, Marina Beach, San Thome cathedral. Afternoon, leave for Mahabalipuram. Enroute visit Kanchipuram - (64 km from Chennai) ancient capital of the Pallavas, famous as a city of 1000 temples that still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th & 8th century & has painting on the walls. Temples of Ekambaswara, Kailasnatha, Sri Kamakshi & Vardarajaewamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silk. On arrival in Mahabalipuram check into at your prebooked hotel.

Day 03: Mahabalipuram
After breakfast, visit Mahabalipuram, which was the main port of the Pallava dynasty & has exquisite Rock-cut monuments, monolithic structures & Bas-reliefs. It is also a beach resort.

Day 04: Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry
After breakfast, leave for Pondicherry. On arrival check in at hotel. Afternoon, sightseeing of Pondicherry, which was formerly a French Colony. Settled early in the 18th century Pondicherry became part of the Indian Union in the early 50s when the French voluntarily relinquished control. The main attraction here is the Aurobindo Ashram, which was founded by Sri Aurobindo in 1926. The ashram is one of the most popular in India with westerners, and is also one of the most affluent. Also to be visited is the Pondicherry Museum, which has a well, displayed variety of exhibits ranging from French furniture to this history of bead making.

Day 05: Pondicherry - Tanjore
After breakfast, leave for Tanjore. On arrival check in at hotel. Afternoon, visit Tanjore (Thanjavur) that was the ancient capital of Chola kings. Visit the Brihadishwara temple, which was built by Raja and is termed as the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture. This temple is one of the monuments in India with World Heritage listing. Also visit the Thanjavur Palace, which was contructed in 1550 and has huge corridors, spacious halls, observation and arsenal towers.

Day 06: Tanjore - Trichy - Sri Rangam - Madurai
After breakfast, leave for Madurai. Enroute visit the Rock Fort Temple in Trichy (Tiruchirapalli) and the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam - This superb temple complex is surrounded by seven concentric walls with 21 gopurams and is probably the largest in India. Most of it dates back from 14th to 17th centuries. The largest gopuram was completed as recently as 1987, and now measures an astouning 73 metre. After visiting Srirangam, continue drive to Madurai. Arrive Madurai and check in at hotel.

Day 07: Madurai
After breakfast, visit Madurai - one of the oldest cities in South India and has been a centre of learning & pilgrimage for centuries. Visit Madurai's main attraction - Sri Meenakshi temple that attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over India. The temple is named after the daughter of a Pandyan King. Designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak, the present temple was substantially built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak (1623-55 AD), but its history goes back 2000 years to the time when Madurai was the capital of Pandya Kings.

Traditional dance of Cochin
Day 08: Madurai - Periyar
After breakfast, leave for Periyar (Thekkady). On arrival in Periyar check in at your prebooked hotel. Afternoon, game viewing at the wild life park.

Day 09: Periyar - Kottayam - Alleppey - Cochin
After breakfast, leave for Cochin. Enroute disembark from the vehicle at Kottayam to do a very pleasant stretch up to Alleppey in boats on the backwaters of Kerala. At Alleppey board our car/coach, which awaits you to drive you to Cochin. On arrival in Cochin check in at your prebooked hotel.

Day 10: Cochin
After breakfast, visit Cochin - the city of lagoons. Visit the St. Francis Church, India's oldest European Church was contructed in 1503 by Portuguese; Chinese Fishing Nets, strung out along the top of Fort Cochin; Mattancherry Palace or The Dutch Palace, Afternoon, free for individual activities. In the evening, witness Kathakali Dance Show.

Day 11. Cochin - Ooty
After breakfast, leave for Ooty a beautiful Hill station on South India, afternoon reaching to hotel, full day leisure for personal actives and boating at Lake overnight at hotel.

Day 12. Ooty - Mysore
After breakfast drive to Mysore. Afternoon, visit the magnificent city on the foothills of Mount Chamundi. Visit the Mysore Palace; also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, this palace was the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore. Burnt down in 1897, the present one was completed in 1912, at a cost of Rs. 4.2 million; Chamundi Hill - overlooking Mysore from 1062m summit of the hill is the Sri Chamuneswari temple and the Brindavan Gardens.

Day 13: Mysore - Banglore
After breakfast, leave for Banglore, Afternoon, city tour of Bangalore - "city of gardens". Visit, the Vidhan Sudha - It houses the State's Legislature and Secretariat, Nandi Temple - One of the oldest temple, popularly known as the Bull temple and overnight at hotel.

Day 14: Bangalore - Hassan
After breakfast, leave for Hassan, enroute visiting Sravanabelagola, one of the oldest and most important Jain pilgrimage centers in India, and the site of the 17m high statue of Gomateshwara, said to the world's tallest monolithic statue - an important Jain religious centre - a colossal Gomateshwara statue. Arrive Hassan & check in at hotel. Afternoon, excursion to Hoysala Temples of Halebid & Belur (16 Kms). Visit the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebid, which is the most outstanding example if Hoysala art built at 12th century. At Belur, visit the Channekeshava temple is the only one at the three Hoysala sites still in daily use.

Day 15: Hassan - Hospet (Hampi)
After breakfast, leave for Hospet, arrive at Hospet and check into hotel and overnight at hotel.

Day 16: Hospet
After breakfast, excursion to Hampi. Hampi the once beautiful capital city of Vijaynagar Empire. Some of the interesting ruins remaining are the Virupaksha, Vittala and Hazara Rama Temples, huge Ganesha & Narasimha images, the elephant stables, the queen's bath, and carvings on the Ramachandra Temple & Lotus Mahal overnight at Hospet.

Day 17: Hospet - Badami
After breakfast, leave for Badami only 150 kms from Hampi. Enroute we stop at Aihole, which was the Chalukyan regional capital between the 4th & 6th centuries. There are over 70 structures in and around and the more important structures include the Ladkhan temple, Kulinguidi & Durgigude Temples. Continue drive towards Badami. Enroute stop at Pattadakal, the second capital of Badami Chalukyans, Pattadakal reached the height of its glory during the 7th and 8th centuries. The most important monument here is the Lokeshwara or Virupaksha temple that narrates episodes from the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. After the visit continue drive to Badami. Arrive Badami and check in at hotel.

Day 18: Badami
After breakfast, visit Badami which was once the capital city of the Chalukyan empire which ruled much of the Central Deccan between the 4th and 8th centuries A.D. Badami is best known for its cave temples, cut into the cliff face of the red sandstone hill and are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, & Lord Buddha. There's one temple that will definitely take your breath away for the serenity of its location, it is the Bhutana temple on the tank's east bank. Afternoon is leisure & overnight stay at hotel.

Day 19: Badami -Goa
After breakfast, leave for Goa. Arrive Goa and check in at hotel.

Day 20: Goa
After breakfast, full day tour of North & South Goa & overnight at hotel.

Day 21: Goa
Day free for individual activities & overnight at hotel.

Day 22: Goa - Mumbai (Train)
After breakfast, free. In the afternoon, transfer to the railway station to board train for Mumbai. Arrive Mumbai and transfer to hotel.

Day 23: Mumbai
After breakfast, city tour of Mumbai - the capital city of the state Maharashtra and is the economic powerhouse of India. Visit the Gateway of India, Price of Wales Museum, Elephanta caves and Buddha images; Marine Drive, which runs along the shoreline, starting at Nariman Point and up to Malabar Hill; Hanging Gardens, evening departure to Airport for your further destination.

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