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South India Panorama

South India Panorama
29 Nights / 30 Days

Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram - Trichy – Tanjore – Madurai – Rameshwaram - Periyar - Kumarakom - Kovalam - Kanyakumari – Trivandrum – Cochin – Munnar – Coimbatore – Ooty – Mysore – Hassan – Bangalore – Hampi – Badami – Goa - Bombay

Day 01: Home – Chennai

Arrive Chennai International airport, assistance on arrival transfer to hotel. Day free to relax, overnight in Chennai.

Day 02: Chennai

Morning take a sightseeing tour of Chennai including Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world. The St. George Fort, built in 1653, is currently used as the state government’s secretariat. Santhome Cathedral was built around 14th/15th century and is another colonial structure worth visiting. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the kapaleeswarar Temple is the oldest temple in Chennai. Another important temple in the city dedicated to Lord Krishna is Parthasarthy Temple. The Snake Park has a large collection of snakes and many other reptiles. Evening free for individual activities, overnight at the hotel.

Day 03: Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram - Chennai

Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram - ChennaiMorning visit Kanchipuram – this is one of India’s seven sacred cities and one of its loveliest temple towns also known for its handloom silks. Visit Kailasnathar, Vaikuntaperumal, Ekambareshwara, Kamakshiamma and Sakiswarar Temples. Later in the day visit Mahabalipuram known for its Pallava Art and its beautiful long beach, visit Cave Temples, Rathas Arjuna’s Penace and Shore Temples, after sun set drive back to the hotel for overnight.

Day 04: Chennai – Chidambaram - Tanjore (150 – Kms – 3 hours)

Morning checkout and drive to Tanjore, enroute visit Chidambaram which is one of the foremost Saivite shrines; the very name Kovil refers to Chidambaram, where Natarajan is enshrined in the Chit Sabha or the Hall of Consciousness, in the Ananda Tandavam (Dance of Bliss) pose. Chidambaram is one of the Panchabhoota Stalams signifying the 5 elements of wind (Kalahasti), water (Tiruvanaikka), fire (Tiruvannamalai), earth (Kanchipuram) and space (Chidambaram). The Moovar (Sambandar, Appar and Sundarar) as well as Manikkavacakar have sung praises of Chidambaram. Several literary works praise the glory of Chidambaram. Chidambaram is one of the 5 dance Halls of Shiva (Kanakasabhai). The five dance halls are Chithambram, Madurai, Tiruvalankadu, Tirunelveli and Kutralam.

Late continue driving to Tanjore, on arrival transfer to hotel. Afternoon, visit Tanjore (Thanjavur) which was the ancient capital of Chola kings. Visit the Brihadeshwara 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 constructed in 1550 and has huge corridors, spacious halls, observation and arsenal towers.

Day 05: Tanjore – Trichy (50 kms – 1 hour)

Morning checkout and drive to Trichy, on arrival transfer to hotel. Later in the afternoon visit Trichy the most famous landmark of this bustling town - the Rock Fort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive rocky outcrop which rises abruptly from the plain to tower over the old city. It is reached by a flight of steep steps cut into the rock and from its summit you get a fantastic view of the town plus its other main landmark, the Sri Ranganathanswami Temple. This temple is one of the largest and most interesting temple complexes in India, built on an island in the middle of the Cauvery River and covering a staggering 2.5 sq km and Jambukeshwara Temples. Evening drive back to hotel or take a walk through old city particularly big bazar street and China bazar. Overnight in Trichy.

Day 06: Trichy - Madurai (165 kms – 3 hrs)

Morning checkout and drive to Madurai, on arrival transfer to hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Madurai visiting Meenakshi Temple, Tirumalai Nayak Palace and Vandiyur Mariamman Teepakulam where annual float festival takes place. Overnight at hotel in Madurai.

Day 07: Madurai

MaduraiMorning take an excursion tour to Rameshwaram – 173 kms, visit the Shore Temple of Ramanathaswamy. The main eastern entrance stands a huge Gopura of nine storeys and 38.4m high. The outermost, or third, corridor, 196m long and 120.4 wide, is one of the achievements of the Hindu artist down the ages. There are about four thousand pillars, each 3.7m high. All are located on a platform 1.5m high. They look like an orderly, Petrified Forest. Drive back to Madurai for overnight.

Day 08: Madurai – Periyar (150 kms- 3 hrs)

Morning checkout and drive to Periyar, on arrival transfer to hotel. Take a boat ride in Periyar lake at 1500 hrs to see the wild animals on the bank of the lake especially elephants who comes to bathe with their siblings. Evening visit Spice Plantations & Market, overnight in Periyar.

Day 09: Periyar – Kumarakom (130 kms - 3 hours)

Early morning take a boat ride again in the Periyar Lake, later checkout & drive to Kumarakom – back water country, on arrival transfer to resort overlooking the Vembanad Lake. Enjoy the ambiance of Kumarakom, visit Kumarakom bird sanctuary which houses different species of migratory birds. Early evening take a rice boat cruise in the canals of Kumarakom. Overnight in Kumarakom.

Day 10: Kumarakom – Alleppey (By Houseboats)

Morning board the houseboat cruise for Alleppey for an overnight journey, enjoy the cruise in Vembanad Lake. The journey will take us through the tropical countryside enchanting backwaters of Alleppey to Palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets, typical villages and regattas (snake boats) for which Kerala is very famous. The Golden Star Deluxe houseboats have Sitting Area, Dinning Area, Sun Deck to enjoy sunset and fishing, Bed room with double & twin bed with attached English toilets and running hot & cold water. Breakfast, Lunch & dinner will be served on board the houseboats, overnight cruising in the Vembanad Lake.

Day 11: Alleppey – Trivandrum / Kovalam (175 kms – 3 hrs)

Morning checkout and drive to Kovalam, on arrival transfer to hotel. Later in the day take a sightseeing tour of Trivandrum city visiting Padmanabhaswamy Temple & Palace, Chaitra Art Gallerry & Napier Museum. Evening free to relax at the beach resort overnight in Kovalam.

Day 12: Kovalam - Kanya Kumari - Kovalam (90 kms – 2 hrs)

Morning day free to relax at the Beach Resort, later take an excursion tour to Cape Camorin, visit Kumari Amman Temple - The virgin Goddess Kanyakumari has watched over the phenomenon since the beginning of time, standing at the top of the country in, as if, an unending vigil, with the water of Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal drawing to her feet. A temple stands here today, dedicated to the virgin Goddess. Visit Swami Vivekananda Statue Island. Drive back to Kovalam for overnight.

Day 13: Trivandrum – Cochin (175 kms - 4 hrs)

Morning checkout and drive to Cochin, on arrival transfer to hotel, day free to relax, early evening take a sightseeing tour of Cochin visiting Mantanacherrry Palace, Jewish Synagogue - one of the oldest in the country & Vypeen / Gundu Islands to see the Chinese Fishing Nets. Evening free to relax, overnight in Cochin.

Day 14: Cochin – Munnar (134 kms - 3 hours)

Cochin – MunnarMorning checkout and drive to Munnar, on arrival transfer to hotel. Later in the day visit Kannan Devan hills and if wish to one can visit Rajmalai wild life sanctuary to see the Indian Ibex only found in this sanctuary in India. Evening visit the lakeside. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 15: Munnar – Coimbatore – Ooty (241 kms – 6 hrs)

Morning checkout and drive to Ooty enroute visiting Coimbatore, on arrival transfer to hotel. Day free to relax in Ooty, one can visit the Lake side in the evening, overnight at the hotel.

Day 16: Ooty

Morning take a toy train to Coonoor, assistance on arrival, visit Lambs Rock, Dolphins Nose and St. Catherine’s fall in Coonoor and drive back to Ooty through lush green tea & coffee plantations. Evening visit Botanical Gardens. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 17: Ooty – Mysore (150 kms – 3 hrs)

Morning checkout and drive to Mysore enroute visit Somnathpur Temple – The star shaped temple at Somnathpur is a splendid example of Hoysala architecture. On arrival transfer to hotel. Afternoon visit Mysore Palace - Build in Indo-Saracenic style with domes turrets, arches and colonnades, the palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. The tastefully decorated and intricately carved doors open into luxuriously decorated rooms. The palace has now been converted into a museum, which treasures the souvenirs, paintings, jewellery, royal costumes of the rulers. Evening visit Brindavan Gardens, overnight in Mysore.

Day 18: Mysore – Shravanbelgola – Hassan (139 kms – 3 hrs)

Morning, checkout and drive to Hassan enroute visit Sravanabelgola a climb of 630 steps you can view the 17m high monolithic statue of Lord Gomateswara. On arrival in Hassan transfer to hotel, evening free to relax, overnight in Hassan.

Day 19: Hassan

Morning take a sight sightseeing tour of Belur and Halebid. Belur (12 kms from Halebid). Situated on the banks of Yagachi River, Belur was the capital of the dynasty before it was moved to Halebid. Visit the Chennakesava Temple and Viranarayana Temple. Halebid (31 kms from Hassan) the ancient town of the Hoysala empire. Visit the Jain Basti and the famous Hoyasaleswara temple, which is the largest Hoysala temple, it was started in 1121 and remained unfinished 85 years later. Evening at leisure. Overnight at hotel

Day 20: Hassan – Bangalore (200 kms – 4 hrs)

Morning checkout and drive to Bangalore, on arrival transfer to hotel. Bangalore - the Capital city of Karnataka, founded in the early 16th century and is also refereed to as the Garden City. It is India's one of the cosmopolitan city and has become landmark for IT industry. City tour of Bangalore visiting : Lal Bagh - the rich and beautiful Lal Bagh Garden spread over 240 acres of greens located up till southern suburbs of Bangalore. Among the many other gardens in the city, Lal Bagh is the most famous garden in Bangalore. It derives its name from the profusion of Red roses, which bloom here. Rulers of Mysore laid this garden. Haider Ali started building this garden in 1760, but his son Tipu Sultan completed it. Continue visiting the National Museum that was established in 1896, the Museum has significant collections of ancient weapons, stone carvings, pottery, painting and relics of the 5000-year-old Mohan- Je - Daro civilization. Vidhan Soudha, a magnificent post independence structure incorporating the traditional feature of architecture. The time free for souvenir shopping. Return to hotel and overnight.

Day 21: Bangalore – Hampi (350 kms – 7 to 8 hrs)

Bangalore – HampiAfter early breakfast checkout and drive to Hampi enroute visiting Chitradurga visit the famous fort and Ganesha Temple in Chitradurga. The city of Chitradurga itself is said to be named after the Fort of Seven Rounds (of walls). On arrival transfer to hotel early evening, rest of the day is kept for relaxing after this long drive, overnight at the hotel.

Day 22: Hampi

Morning visit Virupaksha temple this temple is located at the base of Hemakuta hill and has been a place of worship since the 7th century. It began as a small shrine but was enlarged by the Vijayanagara kings, Hemakuta hill temples, Bal Krishna temples, Narsimha statue, Zenana enclosures, elephant stables, stepped tanks and kings’ palace. Evening free for individual activities, overnight at the hotel.

Day 23: Hampi – Aihole - Pattadakkal - Badami (206 kms – 5 hrs)

Morning checkout and drive to Badami, enroute visit Aihole is situated 51 kms before Badami on the banks of the Malapravha River and is the next phase of the Chalukyan temple architecture. It was the first capital of the Chalukyan Empire. On the road to Aihole, just outside this town, you see two temples dating to the 6th century; buried until recently, a French archaeologist uncovered them with the help of the local villagers. The remains of the city walls tell you of the importance this city once enjoyed. In 4 sq. kms. Both inside and outside the walls, there are approx. 100 temples, varying in size and style; this is truly where the Chalukyas began experimenting with temple architecture. The banks of the river have nagara styled temples of North India as well as Dravidian styled temples of the South. Some of the temples here also have a distinct flavour of Muslim architecture. Pattadakal also lies on the banks of the Malaprabha River, 19 kms from Badami. The original name for this place was Pattada Kisuvolal, Pattada meaning coronation of kings, which was conducted here. This second capital of the Chalukyan Empire is a World Heritage site known for its temples, which were constructed in the 7th and 8th centuries. There are ten temples here; some built in the northern nagara style and some in the Dravidian style of the south, though some of the temples incorporate both styles to a certain degree. A fine example of southern architecture is the Vijayeshwara temple, renamed Sangameshwara in honour of Lord Shiva. Though unfinished, this temple exhibits a nice parapet and multi-storey tower. Proceed to Badami, on arrival transfer to hotel, evening free to relax. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 24: Badami

Morning visit Badami, the one time capital of the Chalukyas, is noted several temples, some structural & other rock-cut, of the 6th & 7th Centuries. The foundations of Badami, or Vatapi as it was called, were laid by Pulakeshi I (535 - 566 AD) his son Kirtivarman, the 1st (567 - 598 AD), beautified the town with temples & other buildings. Visit Badami Caves: this group of 4 cave temples have been carved out of the hill opposite Badami fort. The Chalukyan king, Mangalesha (598-610)AD) was responsible for the completion of these cave temples. Of the four, three are Brahmanical, while the fourth is Jain. Nearly 2000 steps have to be climbed to reach the cave. Later visit Badami Fort strategically situated on top of the hill, the fort encloses large granaries, treasury impressive temples on top of the northern end of the hill. Malegitti Shivalaya, perhaps the oldest temple of the lot, is dedicated to the benign aspect of Shiva as the garland maker. Placed on the summit of a rocky hill, the temple is built of stone, finely joined without mortar, & with Dravidian tower. The lower Shivalaya has a Dravidian tower of which only the sanctum remains now. Evening free for individual activities, overnight at the hotel.

Day 25: Badami – Goa (285 kms – 6 hrs)

Morning checkout and drive to Goa on arrival early evening transfer to hotel relax and overnight at the hotel.

Day 26: Goa

Morning free to enjoy the amenities available at the resort. In the afternoon take a sightseeing tour of Old Goa - 10 km from Panjim, the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the 16th century church dedicated to Infant Jesus and enshrining the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, is one of the most important sights of Goa. The other churches in the same area are St. Cathedral, with its vaulted interior, Church of Our Lady of Rosary and Nunnery of St. Monica. The Aguada Fort, built by the Portuguese, commands the mouth of the Mandovi River and houses a lighthouse. and in the evening enjoy Cruise over Mandovi River. Drive back to the beach resort for overnight.

Day 27: Goa

Day free to explore Goa on own.

Day 28: Goa – Bombay

Morning free at leisure, afternoon transfer to airport to board the flight for Mumbai, assistance on arrival at Mumbai transfer to hotel, day free to relax, overnight in Mumbai.

Day 29: Mumbai (Bombay)

Morning take a sightseeing tour of Mumbai (Bombay), drive to Gateway of India and from here cruise by motor boats to Elephanta Caves. A flight of 100 steps takes you to the top of the hill where it is set. The caves houses large pillars that seem to hold the ceiling which is made of cross beams. The picturesque presentation of the 9 marvelous sculptured panels, set on the walls is awe-inspiring. The most famous of the panels is the Trimurthi, or triple-headed Shiva, where the God is depicted as the destroyer, the preserver and the creator. Later in the afternoon cruise back to Gateway of India, one can have lunch at the Taj Hotel or other several good Restaurants like Leopold & Mondegar serving continental cuisines. Later visit Prince of Wales Museum, Parliament House, Marine Drive, Jain Temple, Hanging Gardens, Return back to the hotel for overnight.

Day 30: Mumbai - back home. (By air)

In time transfer to International airport to board the flight back home.

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