South India Revealed
THE TOUR AT THE GLANCE
Discover the ancient temples, palatial mansions, palm-lined backwaters, spice gardens and markets, and the stunning national parks, all in one trip - the South India program
Starting in one of the seven holiest places in India, Kanchipuram, you’ll tour the Southern Indian States of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, taking in their most important sites. Tamil Nadu is famous for its temples and this 16-day tour will take you to some of its most captivating and iconic places.
From the towering 1,000-year old Brihadeeswara Temple, the windswept twin stone towers of Shore Temple to climbing up the 434 steps barefoot, to the see the temples at Rock Fort, these ancient places of worship cannot fail to enthral in their beauty and remarkable engineering feats. You’ll also learn about the region’s rich history and fascinating cultural heritage from the French city of Puducherry to the 18th century palatial homes and mansions of Chettinad.
Southern India is a region of great diversity. You’ll get the chance to see some of its ancient traditional activities that are still practised today. From the 400-centuries-old handwovenKanchi silk saris and the cascading Chinese traditional fishing nets in Cochin harbour to the vibrant colours in the spice markets. Not to mention, exploring Kumarakom’s backwaters in a Kerala-style houseboat or discovering the ancient petroglyphs in the Edakkal Caves.
This tour will takes you to the most picturesque destinations of Southern India –Wayanad, and Mysore. Rejuvenate yourself in the refreshing ambiance of the this hill stations. Unwind and relax only to gear up for a brush of history. Set out to the historical city – Mysore and explore the historical monuments that dominate it.
Rich in cultural heritage, phenomenal architecture, opulent palaces and authentic experiences, the South India tour offers a kaleidoscope of unforgettable memories.
EXPERIENCES AND VISITS IN THIS TOUR JOURNEY
- Witness the beauty of the largest beach in India.
- Appreciate the astounding beauty of the Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Chennai
- Relax and find divinity in the Shore Temple and Rejuvenate at the alluring Beaches in Mahabalipuram
- The unique 'Auroville' community at Pondicherry
- Walking around the white town area of Pondicherry with your local guide
- Enjoy a day cruise on a traditional Kerala-style houseboat and discover the traditional charm of Kumarakom
- Brihadeeshwara Temple - UNESCO world heritage site
- Hunting for antiques with your guide in Chettinad, where you feel like you’ve stepped back in time
- Marvel at the towering splendour of one of India’s oldest Hindu wonders, the Meenakshi Temple
- Explore the dense forest at Periyar National Park, stopping at Periyar Lake with the hope of spotting herds of elephants and bisons at the waterside
- Watch the fishermen of Cochin and discover the traditional Chinese fishing nets and techniques that date back to the 14th century.
- Private Houseboat cruise through the backwaters of Kerala.
- Visit Cochin on the Malabar Coast, settled by the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British.
- Enjoy the 300-year-old Indian classical dance form of Kerala- Kathakali Dance
- Potter & tribal village visit in Wayanad
- Explore the Mysore palace for its marvelous architecture.
- See India's largest collection of tropical plants in Lalbagh Botanical Garden
VIEW FULL ITINERARY
Upon arrival at Chennai International Airport receive a warm welcome by our representative who will help you with transfer to the hotel.
Complete the check-in formalities and spend the rest of the day at leisure. (Standard check-in time is 2:00 PM. Early check-in is subject to availability).
Today, visit Chennai City - Your immersion in one of the world’s oldest cultures commences by discovering Chennai’s bustling streets, passing numerous Victorian-era buildings and the famous Marine Beach, with its fish market and multi-coloured long wooden fishing boats drawn up on the sand, before arriving at the very centre of colonial Madras, Fort St George. This was one of the most vital outposts of the British Empire. Visit its fascinating museum full of poignant memories of the Raj. Also visit the National Art Gallery and Museum with a fine collection of ancient paintings. Visit to Kapaleeshwar Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva built in the architecture of the Dravidian style. Continue to visit Santhome Basilica, one of the three churches in the world which holds the tomb of Apostles of Jesus Christ.
After visit drive to Mahabalipuram, arrive and check in at Hotel.
Rest of the day Rejuvenate at the alluring Beaches - a stretch of 20 km coastline provides two fabulous attractions, Mahabalipuram Beach and Pallava Beach that help revitalize your body, mind, and soul completely.
Today, excursion to visit Kanchipuram -The Golden City of a thousand temples and one of the seven sacred cities of India. Visit VaikunthaPerumal Temple - an important Vishnu temple built by the Pallava King in the 7th century AD, Kailasanatha Temple - built by Rajasimha and his son Mahendra in the 3rdcentury AD and Ekambareswarar Temple - another ancient temple built by the Pallavas. Also visit the silk weaving cottage industries for the famous Kanchipuram hand-woven silk fabrics- which is exported throughout the world. It’s also the best place to purchase a much sought-after beautiful Kanchi silk sari.
In the afternoon, return to the Mahabalipuram. This tiny coastal village in Tamil Nadu was once a major seaport during the reign of the Pallava dynasty in the 7th century. Today you can visit its open-air gallery to discover some of the dynasty’s architecture, which includes several UNESCO World Heritage listed monuments. You get to enjoy discovering the magnificent sculptures carved into the rock face like the Descent of the Ganges, the fascinating Tamil art and the mesmerising temples here. The windswept Shore Temple on the water’s edge is considered one of the oldest stone temples in Tamil Nadu and its stone towers are a sight to be seen.
Today, drive to Pondicherry, one of the finest destinations in South India. It's a rare French enclave in India because although Britain was the main colonial power in India, Pondicherry was a French settlement until 1954. Nowadays, it's a separate Union Territory, although it's surrounded by the large state of Tamil Nadu.
On the way you will explore the unique and fascinating city of Auroville, located 10 km from Pondicherry. It's an international and universal city built for men and women from all over the world to live in peace and progressive harmony. In 1966, UNESCO declared this project to be unique in the world. One of the purposes of Auroville is to achieve the realization of human unity and to bring about an inner change in the individual. It also aims to be a model community, where constructive solutions to the difficulties faced by humanity can be found.
Continue drive to Pondicherry, arrive and check in at Hotel.
In the afternoon visit the antiquities and sculptures in Pondicherry Museum and sculpture gallery. Then you will take a Rickshaw ride along the coastline and check out the grand French colonial buildings on one side, and the sweeping sand and sea on the other.
Today, drive to Kumbakonam, you’ll stop in Chidambaram en route to visit the Nataraja Temple. This ancient Hindu temple at the heart of the city is spread over 50 acres and it’s dedicated to Shiva - the lord of dance. Its temple sculptures include the complete pose sequence of the classical South Indian Bharat Natyam dance.
On arrival into Kumbakonam, check into the Hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring this temple town. Visit AdiKumbeswarar Temple is one of the most popular and was built while the Chola Dynasty ruled. The main deity worshipped in AdiKumbeswarar Temple is Lord Shiva and you can spot a lot of pilgrims at this temple. Visit Nageswaraswamy Temple was constructed by Aditya Chola in the 9th century. Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Nageswaran in this temple.
Today, drive to Tanjore, on the way visit Swamimalai -is famous for South Indian Bronze Statue making, and the artisans here have been following a tradition that is several centuries old. It is truly a specialised artistic tradition that is unique to the town, hence the bronze idol manufacturer here are known as the ‘Swamimalai Bronze icons’, and visit Swamimalai Temple.Arrive Tanjore and check in at Hotel.
In the afternoon visit Thanjavur (Tanjore)- Considered one of the top places to visit in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Thanjavur is a cultural hub where arts and crafts have been at its heart for centuries. You’ll marvel at the Brihadeeswara Temple, which is also known as the Big Temple. At 66m in height. What makes this UNESCO World Heritage site particularly remarkable is that it’s over 1,000 years old and has withstood numerous earthquakes. What is also baffling is how the ancient world managed to put the 80,000kg solid stone dome atop its 216ft tower! Made from granite, the temple is also covered in intricate sculptures. Look out for the musical pillars, the recently discovered murals from the Chola dynasty, and the huge statue of the sacred bull. Another main landmark in Thanjavur is the Royal Palace Complex, which is just a short walk from the Big Temple. Its ornate brightly colour-striped exterior is the showstopper here, with members of the royal family still living in some of its quarters.
Today, drive to Chettinad, En route, you’ll make a short stop at the historical town of Trichy. It’s one of the oldest inhabited cities in Tamil Nadu, and its handmade cigars were made famous by Winston Churchill, who was an avid fan! But the star highlight of the town is the Rock Fort, which sits atop an impressive rock. The fort also consists of three Hindu temples. There are 434 steps to climb to the top, but the views over the city are worth it. Just three miles away is the impressive island of Srirangam, which lies in the middle of two rivers. You will get to enjoy visiting its extensive temple, which has the tallest temple tower in Asia, as well as the many shops here. After a fascinating sightseeing tour of Trichy, drive on to Chettinad. Upon arrival, check in to the Hotel
In the afternoon take a Ride into the town on the traditional bullock cart to interact with the local artisans specialising in jewellery, handicrafts and Tilework. Visit historical locations like forts and temples in the region and get a feel of centuries old traditions, lifestyles and rituals. And speaking of photography, the rustic Chettinad region is a photographers paradise with the myriad colors, amazing details and vast expanses.
Today, visit Karaikudi is the village of Athangudi, which is the centre of the local hand-produced tile industry. The workshops welcome visitors, who can also try their hand at the very precise and age-old craft. The biggest mansion in Athangudi is commonly referred to as the ‘tile house’ (although the owners like to call it a palace!). The village of Chettinad itself, 5km east of Athangudi, has a number of impressive houses near the water tank, but the Chettinad Palace is the largest and most impressive of all of them, and is open to visitors when the family is not in residence.After visit drive to Madurai, arrive and check in at Hotel.
Afternoon visit Madurai city – It is over 2500 years old and is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu – an ancient seat of learning. The city is planned in the shape of a lotus. Visit the Palace of NayakTirumalai depicting influence of Mughal art and traditional Hindu art and Thiruparankundram, one of the abodes of Lord Subramanya where you will find Shiva and Vishnu facing each other, which is rare in Hindu temples.
Evening: visit the Meenakshi temple for "aarti"
Early Morning: visit to the flower market, South India's largest fresh flower trading centre, bustling with activity and filled with seasonal flowers.
Today, drive to Periyar –a small village in the mountains of Kerala. It is surrounded by tea and spice plantations and is a must-visit spot, especially for nature lovers. Arrive and check in at Hotel.
In the afternoon go on a boat ride inside the Periyar National Park- Explore the Periyar National Park through its waterways. Set off on a boat ride over the serene artificial lake located right in the middle of the forest. Witness various wildlife of the sanctuary like gaur, sambar deer, wild boar, leopard and more. You may also capture herds of elephants skirting the banks, mud bathing or playing in the wetlands. Listen to the birds chirping and the sound of water cascading below.
Evening walking tour of the interesting Kumily market. The town is always teeming with activity. It is famous for its spice and tea plantations and is among the most important commercial centers in Kerala. Meet and interact with the locals and know about their lifestyle.
Today, drive to Kumarakom. Arrive and board on Houseboat -Set out on an enchanting overnight backwater cruise in traditionally decorated houseboats. Check-in time is 01:00 PM and cruise starts with lunch. While cruising in these floating luxury-villas, let your eyes settle for the rare and the unusual - skim past Chinese fishing nets, bowed-down paddy fields, and local inhabitants engaged in making coir products, rustic homes, and ancient temples and swaying coconut groves. Food will be served onboard. A backwater holiday on Kerala style houseboats or "Kettuvalloms". These palm-covered country boats are designed to navigate the narrowest of canals.
Today, drive to Cochin, arrive and check in at Hotel.
In the afternoon visit Cochin. – Visit St. Francis Church, built in 1562 by St. Francis; this is India’s oldestEuropean-built church. Continue on to Mattanchery Dutch Palace, a double-storied palace. The most important feature of Mattanchery Palace is the murals in the bedchambers, which depict scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata. Proceed to the Jewish Synagogue, with its exquisite interior, which was constructed in 1568 and make a stop at the Jewish cemetery. Continue along the coastline, where one can view the unique and still-in- use Chinese Fishing Nets which were introduced by Chinese traders in the 14th Century. The tour ends in the Fort Kochi area where you can walk through the historical Dutch and Portuguese buildings. Some parts of this nearly 500-year-old Fort are still amazingly well preserved.
This evening, attend a Kathakali Dance Performance – a unique Keralan experience. The dancers are elaborately made up with paint and masks, accompanied with drummers and musicians. Arriving at the theatre early affords the opportunity to see the dancers getting ready for the show and their faces being painted.
Early breakfast, drive to Wayanad, The site is at the foothills of the Vythiri range, with the majestic Chembra peak to the left and the Banasura/Kuruchermala to the right.
On the way you will visit the Edakkal Caves in the Ambukuthi Hills. After climbing 450 steps, discover this underground world that’s considered to be one of the earliest centres of human habitation. Known for its ancient collection of petroglyphs, inside the caves you will see the ancient stone scripts, pictorial wall inscriptions and cave drawings that are considered to be over 3000 years old.
Afterwards, you will be driven back to the hotel and the rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy at your own leisure.
Today, visit The Potters & Tribal village. Pottery is one of the earliest skills known to Indians, and a visit to the local pottery-making centre gives a wonderful insight into the hand-moulded toys and deities of worship that are crafted here. You will be able to chat to the local potters, as well as giving this ancient art of handling clay a go. The tribal village also has a great martial art tradition. Known as mighty warriors, the village’s ancestors were once part of the Pazhassi Raja army. Today, the descendents are still expert archers.
After taking in the traditions and charm of the tribal village, you will drive to Mysore. Upon arrival, check in at Hotel.
Today, visit the Maharajah’s Palace which artistically blends Indo-Saracenic style with foreign elements such as Scottish steel and Victorian-Edwardian era furniture. Drive up to the Chamundi Hills to be blessed alongside hundreds of jubilant pilgrims at the Chamundeshwari Temple. On your way back, visit Sri Nandi Temple to be blessed by Hindu God Lord Shiva’s faithful gatekeeper Nandi, the decorated bull. Visit famous Jagmohan Palace where exquisite artwork awaits you at the Raja Ravi Verma Gallery. St. Philomena's church: Built as a miniature reproduction of the Cologne Cathedral in 1930s, this is the largest church in Southern India. The church has white washed walls, high vaulted Gothic ceilings and color stained glass representations of different aspects from the life of Jesus.
In the afternoon visit Government Silk Weaving Factory-it is the finest silk sarees. While there are a lot of stores you can visit, the Government Silk Weaving Factory is the best place to buy every type of silk saree, later visit local market
Today, drive to Mysore, enroute visit Srirangapatnam is an island between two branches of the Cauvery River and was the capital of the Mysore Rajas from 1610 to 1799. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were its most famous denizens. Visit the ruins of Tipu’s fort, the summer pleasure palace and the Gumbaz, his mausoleum. The inside of the Palace is handsomely carved with ornate arches and ceilings, liberally gilded wall panels and charming frescoes. The cream-colouredGumbaz standing on its black marble pillars in the centre of a garden is an unforgettable sight. The interior is lacquered with Tipu’s tiger stripe emblem and the doors are of ebony inlaid with ivory. Arrive Bangalore and check in at Hotel.
In the afternoon visit Bangalore City: Visit TheLalbagh, the botanical garden spread over 240 acres and having a wide variety of exotic trees and plants. Visit Tipu Sultan’s Palace – dating back to 1790 and made mostly out of wood, it was used as the summer residence of the legendary ruler Tipu Sultan. Continue to visit the Bull temple believed to have been constructed in the 16th-century it has been carved out of a single granite block. The tour gives you an opportunity to drive past the Government Secretariat, VidhanSoudha (Legislature building).
Later in time transfer to international airport to board flight back home.
End Of Tour
WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE IN YOUR TOUR COST
- Accommodation for total 15 nights on sharing twin / double room on bed & breakfast basis.
- All Meals at on Houseboat in Alleppey
- Transfers, sightseeing/excursions as per the program by air-conditioned Vehicle
- English speaking Local guide as per program.
- All entrance fees to the monuments as mentioned in the program.
- take a Ride into the town on the traditional bullock cart to interact in Chettinad
- Visit Spice Plantation in Periyar
- Enjoy boat ride on Periyar Lake
- Evening Watch Kathakali Dance Performance in Cochin
- Private Houseboat cruise through the backwaters of Kerala.
- visit Government Silk Weaving Factory in Mysore
- Company representative for assistance on all arrival and departure transfers.
- All presently applicable taxes including the GST charges levied recently by the Government.
- Two bottles of mineral water each day during sightseeing.
TOUR COST WILL NOT INCLUDE FOLLOWING EXPENSES
- International Airfare
- Any new admission fees/taxes / fuel surcharges/Visa fees
- Meals not mentioned
- All personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, trip cancellation, and personal insurance, gratuities, excess baggage fees
- Early check-in/late check-out (except as noted)
- Camera/video fees at monuments
- Communication costs
- Any additional expenses due to unforeseen problems like natural disasters, war or strikes, cancellations or
- misconnection of flights or last-minute change of timings etc.
- Any other items not specified
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