Destination covered – chennai, mahabalipuram, pondicherry, tanjore, trichy, chettinad, madurai,kumarakom, alleppey, cochin, ooty, coonoor, mysore, hassan, bangalore and Vellore.
Day 01 arrival at chennai:
Ganges Travels representatives will receive you on arrival at the international airport in chennai. Transfer to your hotel. Relax.the first british warehouse came up in 1639 when the british acquired the sandy beach from the local nayakas on lease. It was called madraspatinam then. Later by 1654, the fort st. George was built. Still later the neighboring villages were included in the city which came either as grants or gifts. Triplicane was rented from the sultan of golconda in 1676. In 1744 robert clive worked as a writer from the fort, later to become a military man of british army. The fort house, which housed the governor and his council, were added in the 17th century, the assembly hall in 1910 and the secretariat in 1925.
Overnight will be at hotel.
Day 02 chennai – kanchipuram – mahabalipuram
After breakfast and check out Proceed for city tour of chennai .visit santhome cathedral was built by the portuguese in the 14th and 15th century and is named after st. Thomas. Historically important, it is one of the pilgrimages for the christian community.
Fort st. George, one the first few bastions built by the east india company, marks the beginning of chennai as a modern city. It occupies a place of pride and prominence in chennai.kapaleeswarar temple is dedicated to lord shiva; kapaleeswarar temple has inscriptions from the 13th century a.d. The temple ‘gopuram’ (tower) is in the characteristic dravidian style of architecture. The walls and pillars of temple have very delicate and intricate carvings which depict the scenes from hindu mythology.
Lunch and drive to mahabalipuram via kanchipuram –Kanchipuram is the ancient capital of the pallavas famous as a city of 1000 temples and still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings on the walls. Temples of ekambaswara, kailasanatha. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks.
drive to mamallapooram (mahabalipuram) and check in at hotel.
A few miles south of chennai, at mahabalipuram, on the sandy shores of the bay of bengal, a beautiful group of rock-cut monuments evokes the past. This ancient seaport was once the main harbor and naval base of the great pallava empire and is today the site of an enchanting seaside assemblage of temples and shrines. It was well known in the 1st century known to greek traders, and was the pallava’s second city. Though their power waned nearly 1200 years ago, they left a breathtaking legacy in four distinct kinds of sculpture, rathas (temple chariots), bas-relief sculptural panels, rock-cut caves, and free standing temples.
Overnight will be at hotel.
Day 03 mahabalipuram:
Breakfast will be at the hotel.s. The mahishasuramardhini cave, depicting the goddess fighting a demon on one side and lord vishnu’s cosmic sleep on the other, is a particularly remarkable one.
Krishna mandapam: a bas-relief, notable for its realistic representation. The panel relates to one of the stories of lord krishna.
Arjuna penance: this is the world’s largest bas relief measuring 27m x 9m. This huge whale-backed rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts, birds and almost all of the entire creation. And, this is easily the pride of mamallapooram.
The five rathas: there are the five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They are also known as the pancha pandava rathas – and four out of the five rathas are supposed to have been carved out of a single rock.
The shore temple: this is one of the oldest temples. Unique about this temple is the fact that it houses shrines for both lord shiva and lord vishnu. This belongs to the early 8th century ad and it is a classic example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in pure dravidian style.
Relax in the afternoon. Overnight will be at the hotel.
Day 04 mahabalipuram – pondicherry:
By road 112km in 1.5hrs
Breakfast will be at hotel. Proceed to pondicherry.
French dreams of an indian empire began and ended in pondicherry. But in the scattered territories of the union territory of pondicherry there remains what little there is left of the french influence in india and that makes the territory, especially its headquarters, pondicherry, unique, something quite different from the rest of india. The union territory of pondicherry comprises of 4 coastal regions of pondicherry, karaikal, mahe and yanam. Pondicherry is on the east coast about 162 km south of chennai (madras) located on the coromandel coast of the bay of bengal. This erstwhile french colony on the east coast of south india merged with the rest of the country in 1954. Legend says that pondicherry is the place where st. Agasthaya settled down.Drive to visit aurbindo ashram which is also known as “the city of dawn”. The place is 10 km north of pondicherry. This ashram promotes shri aurbindo ideas in bringing about a synthesis of yoga and modern science, so as to unite the spirit and matter.
Enjoy the old world town in the afternoon. Overnight stay will be at the heritage hotel.
Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Drive to visit natraj temple chidambaram. lunch at local restaurant, drive to thanjavur enroute visit the brihadeeshwara temple(or the big temple of god).the temple tower rises to a height of 15mts from a square base of 29 mts and then tapers off, making a total of 66mts.
Overnight will be at tanjore.
Day 06 tanjore – trichy –chettinad-Madurai
After breakfast leave for trichy, short name of trichurapalli, situated on the banks of kaveri river is a blend of history and tradition as well as pilgrim centre. It is famous for ranganatha temple at srirangam.
Enjoy sightseeing and drive to the madurai via chettinad,The traditional chettinad houses are made on an area of 2500 sq ft having around 60 to 70 rooms. They were built almost 100 years back. They were made of lime, sand and egg yolk especially imported from rangoon. The construction material, decor items and furnishings were mostly imported from east asia europe. The chandeliers and teak came from burma, crockery from indonesia, marble from italy, wall-to-wall mirrors from belgium and crystals from europe. French and other european destinations inspired the woodwork and stonework.
Madurai’s main attraction is the famous sri meenakshi amman temple a riotously baroque example of dravidian architecture with gopurams carved from top to bottom in a breathtaking profusion of multicolored images of gods. Tamil & greek documents record the existence of madurai from the 4th century bc the city was known to the greeks via magathenes their ambassador to the court of chandraguptha muriya this city was popular in trade especially in spices. It was also the site the sangam the academy of the tamil poets. And madurai is the centre of all the cities and madurai is famous for the cotton sungudi saris.
Overnight will be at madurai.
Day 07 madurai:
After breakfast go for city tour of madurai. The ancient city of madurai, some 2600 years old is laid out in the banks of river vaigai as a lotus flower with the meenakshi temple in the centre. After lunch city tour visiting – meenakshi temple, king tirumala’s palace, great tank and gandhi museum.Sri meenakshi amman temple: dated back to 2000 years back and designed in 1560 by vishwanatha nayaka and built during the reign of tirumalai nayaka. The temple occupies an area of six hectares. There are 12 temple towers (gopurams). The outer towers are the landmarks of madurai. They are:
Vandiyur mariamman teppakulam: vandiyur mariamman teppakulam is a huge temple tank about 5 km east of the meenakshi temple. The mandapam in the centre has an idol of vigneshwara (vinayaka). It is said to have been found when the earth was being dug out from here to build the thirumalai nayakkar mahal. So, the place attained sanctity and was converted into a teppakulam (tank). This enormous temple tank is fed by water brought from the vagai through an ingenious system of underground channels. King thirumalai nayak born in ‘poosa’ star. So in commemorating the birth of the king “ float festival” is conducted in tamil month ‘thai’ (jan/feb) in the tank in a colourful way, which attracts thousands of tourists.
Gandhi museum: the gandhi memorial museum is one of the distinct places to be visited in madurai. This museum is one of the rare living memorials of “the father of india”. The museum is set in relaxing grounds and has a clear historical account of india’s struggle for independence.
Thirumalai nayak palace: this palace was built in 1636 by king thirumalai nayak with the help of an italian architect. The building we see today was the main palace where the king lived. The original palace complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely swargavilasa and rangavilasa. In these two parts, there are royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. King thirumalai nayak celebrated festivals like scepter festival, navarathri, chithirai festival, masi festival and the float festival. He conducted daily dance and music performances in the palace.
Overnight will be at madurai.
Day 08 madurai – munnar:
By road 138 km / 4.30 hr
Breakfast will be at hotel. Proceed to munnar.
Your eyes will have little time to rest while in munnar. Everywhere you look there is another natural wonder to behold. The luscious greens of the dense mountain foliage provide the perfect backdrop for the endless wonders that can be seen in the area. Waterfalls, local plantations and european architecture provide a textured sightseeing wonderland like few others.
Overnight will be at the resort.
Day 09 munnar:
After the breakfast enjoy the sightseeing tour.
Christ church: this curiously western-looking building was built in 1910 by the british settlers in munnar. The stained-glass windows are among the most interesting features, while plaques standing in memory of british tea planters offer an insight into the history of the town. Devikulam: this is arguably one of the most picturesque spots in the world. This tiny hill station located only 7kms from munnar is a paradise of flora and fauna, with spanning views of the picture perfect countryside. The crystal mineral waters of sita devi lake, teeming with freshwater trout, provide the perfect spot for an idyllic countryside picnic.
Kundale tea plantation: a fascinating insight into the production of one of the world’s most popular drinks can be discovered at the kundale tea plantation. Watch and learn the process of how tea is made starting from the plant you see covering the landscape all the way to the tea cup. Sundays the local planters gather together, making it an ideal time to visit. The lake located on the plantation is the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic and calming rest.Neelakurunji flowers: no special tour will need to be taken to see this munnar attraction. But if you are planning a trip solely to view the spectacular blue blooms, which cover the entire mountainside, you will have to wait until 2018 as the neelakurunji only blooms every 12 years.
Pothamedu: this is the location from where a number of the area’s plantations can be viewed from a single point. Coffee plantations, tea plants and cardamom fields are all here to behold. Trekking and hiking are also popular activities in the area, and with the surrounding views it is little wonder why.
Overnight will be at the resort.
Breakfast will be at the resort and drive to kochin.reach kochin and Proceed for a sightseeing tour of fort cochin. A few interesting sites included in the tour are the chinese fishing nets along the vasco da gama square, santa cruz basilica, st. Francis church, voc gate, bastion bungalow, jewish synagogue, mattancherry palace, etc. Learn the operation of the interesting chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles which work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between ad 1350 and 1450. Vasco da gama square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea.Feel the essence of kerala in kathakali dance in evening. Overnight will be at cochin.
Overnight will be in cochin.
Day 11 : cochin- backwater/houseboat -cochin
Breakfast will be at resort.
Proceed towards kumarakom/alleppy,An enchanting backwater destination.
after reach backwater area 10/10.30 am traditional houseboat of kerala style and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake on a thatched houseboat.
The backwaters act as a vital waterway for the transport of goods, people and their produce are often the only link between isolated villages and crowded towns. In kerala, the total expanse of backwater stretches over 1500 km, with a network of 44 rivers, lagoons and lakes from north to south.
Overnight will be at hotel in cochin.
Day 12 cochin – coonoor:
Breakfast will be at the hotel. long drive to coonoor enjoying the scenery and the weather. reach coonoor and relax. Coonoor is the second largest hill station in the nilgiris. It stands on a lower ridge of the main plateau at an altitude of 1839 meters. Its climate is milder than ooty. Overnight will be at coonoor.
Day 13 coonoor
After breakfast full day sightseeing of coonoor,Surrounding the town are many picnic spots. In the heart of coonoor is “sims park”. It is a park cum botanical garden. Many species of trees and shrubs not found in ooty are grown here. It is at an elevation of 1880 meters and occupies 12 hectares of land.
Sim’s park the park is situated in a deep ravine on the northern side of coonoor railway station at an elevation of 1768 to 1798 mts. The park can be divided into eight major sections. The natural shola with winding footpaths all over the higher slopes of the park is the most distinctive and picturesque feature of this park. This apart a number of individual tree specimens planted in a scattered fashion all over the place, lend a special charm to the park specially when they bloom in different seasons throughout the year.
Pomological station this is one of the three experimental fruit gardens in the nilgiris maintained by the horticultural department. The other two are burliar and kallar on the coonoor – mettupalayam ghat road. Apples, plums, peaches, lemons, apricots and pomegranates are grown here for the purpose of research. Surplus fruits and fruit based jams are sold to the public.
Silk rearing station adjoining the pasteur institute there is a silk rearing station maintained by the central silk board. The sericulture experts at this station may be contacted for special assistance.
Laws falls the place is a beautiful picnic spot, situated at coonoor – mettupalayam road at the distance of 7 km from coonoor. The height of the falls is about 180 feet. It is a paradise for naturalists.
Lamb’s rock it is 8 km from coonoor on the way to dolphin’s nose. It commands a grand view of the coimbatore plains. It is a favorite place for tourists.
Lady canning’s seat from coonoor it is 9 km. It is marked by a small house and commands panoramic view of the tea estates and the plains.
Dolphin’s nose the view point is 10 km from the town. The nose is a unique rock of tremendous proportions which looks like a dolphin.
The droog this is also a picnic spot which is used by tipu sultan as an outpost. It is 15 km from coonoor and stands 6000 feet high overlooking the plains. Three kilometers of trekking has to be done to reach the point.
overnight will be in coonoor.
Day 14 coonoor – ooty – mysore:
Breakfast will be at the resort.Drive to mysore via ooty.
Ootacamund, ooty or more recently udhagamandalam, call it what you like, still translates to a little town set on the stepped slopes of the nilgiris, the oldest mountain range in india. Located 2240 meters, above sea level, the soothing clime and rustic setting gift ooty a charm of its own. The verdant tea gardens and the rolling hills exude a pleasantness that will calm the high-strung city dweller and soothe his senses with the fragrance of eucalyptus and sandalwood that hangs in the air.
visit lake and waterfall and continue drive to mysore. Reach mysore and check in at hotel.
Overnight will be in mysore.
Day 15 msore:
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.
Visit chamundi hills – towering over the city, these hills are 13 km away from mysore. Halfway-up is the nandi bull, a 4.8 m monolith.
Visit mysore palace and sir jayachamarajendra art gallery – housed in the jaganmohan palace, this gallery has a collection of exquisite paintings dating back to 1875, the russian svetoslav roerich and the traditional mysore gold leaf style of painting. after lunch visit Daria Daulat Bagh is a palace situated in the city of Srirangapatna,It is mostly made out of teakwood. Srirangapatna is an island in the river Kaveri, about 14 km from Mysore. In Srirangapatna is the Dariya Daulat Palace that is set amidst beautiful gardens called Daria Daulat Bagh.back mysore and visit devraj market.
Overnight will be at mysore.
Day 16mysore – sharavanabelagola-hassan:
Breakfast will be at hotel.Drive to hassan enroute visit Shravanabelagola,it is a Jain pilgrim destination at an altitude of about 1000 m (3350 feet) above sea level. The town is wedged between two rocky hills- Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri. It is at a distance of It is 11 km from Channarayapatna.
There is a tank in the midst of this town called Belagola. In Kannada (the state language), “Bela” means white and “kola” means the pond, an allusion to the beautiful pond in the middle of the town. Shravanabelagola is a holy place for Jains. Their Guru is residing here in a Mutt. There is a Sanskrit Patashala to study Sanskrit and Shastras.
This town has got some historical references, which add to the importance of this place. According to the tradition of the Jain Bhadrabahu, one of the Sritakavalli as the successor of Vardhamana (Mahaveera) passed away here in a cave on Chandrabetta or Chandragiri hill, while leading a migration to the South from Ujjain due to a 12-year famine, which he had predicted.
There are ancient monuments in and around Shravanabelagola. There are monuments of rare excellence and skill got executed by the illustrious Gangas and Hoysalas who had profound sense of duty and ardent devotion to religion. The finest monuments are found in two sacred hills, Vindhyagiri and the Chandragiri.
continue drive to hassan. Reach and check in at the hotel.
Overnight will be at the hassan.
Day 17 hassan:
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.
Proceed for sightseeing and an excursion to belur & halebid.
Belur: this quaint hamlet is located on the banks of the river yagachi. It was once the capital of the hoysala empire and today made unforgettable for its exquisite temples. The chennakeshava temple is one of the finest examples of hoysala architecture. It took 103 years to complete and you can see why. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. Elephants, episodes from the epics, sensuous dancers, etc. Adorn the walls. They are all awe-inspiring in their intricate workmanship. Inside are hand-lathe-turned filigreed pillars. The veeranarayana temple and the smaller shrines are well worth a visit.
Halebid: former dwarasamudra in hassan district is in belur taluk and 27 km away from hassan and was the capital of hoysala after belur. The hoysaleswara temple, dating back to the 12th century, is astounding for its wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of gods and goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls. Yet no two facets of the temple are the same. This magnificent temple – guarded by a nandi bull – was never completed, despite 86 years of labor. The jain basadis nearby are equally rich in sculptural detail. Belur and halebid are 222 and 216 kms from bangalore, respectively. Channarayapatna, ramanathpur, gorur and manjarabad are the other places of interest around hassan.
Overnight will be at the hassan.
Day 18 banglore by road
By road 180 km / 4 hr.Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Banglore A major industrial and commercial center, with scientific and research activity, bangalore is multifaceted: modern marvels, historical monuments, bustling shopping plazas, a race course and golf courses. Called the silicon valley of india for its growing software industry, it is also known as the city of draught beer.
Have a leisurely Lunch and proceed for sightseeing.
Lal bagh: hyder ali laid out this famous botanical garden and his son added horticultural wealth to them by importing trees and plants from several countries. The garden today houses over 1000 species of flora which include rare and enchanting collection of tropical plants, trees and herbs. The glass house, modelled along london’s crystal palace, is the center of attraction in this 2400-acre park. Bi-annual flower shows attracting participants from all over india is held in the glass house.
Vidhana soubha: this splendid neo-dravidian granite building that dominates the northern boundary of the cubbon park, is the home of the state legislature and the secretariat. The massive sandalwood door of the cabinet room is a spectacular feature of this imposing building. The vidhana soudha is bedecked in illuminated glory during special periods and is a sight worth viewin.
Overnight will be at bangalore.
Day19 bangalore – vellor
after breakfast drive to vellor,firstly visit to jalakanteshwara temple was built in the year 1550 a.d. the temple is a small architectural wonder of vijayanagar. vellore fort, built by the nayakar chieftains of the vijayanagar empire is completely built of granite blocks. it was built in the 16th century and frequently exchanged hands between various strong empires.Next visit to sripuram golden temple is a mahalakshmi temple, which was inaugurated on 24th august, 2007. the temple covering and the sculptures are made of more than 1500 kg of pure gold.
night in hotel.
Day 20–vellore –chennai (140 km/3hours)
after breakfast check out from hotel and drive to hotel in chennai and 3.5 hours before your flight Proceed to the international airport for the flight home.
**********Tour ends with sweet memories of south india**********
South india,where ancient art and architecture dwells , surrounded by indian ocean, bay of bengal and arabian sea, south india has enormous gift of nature and serene beauty.The charm of South India can be best defined through mesmerising hill stations, majestic temples, lush green forests and best beaches. These four naturally occurring and diverse terrains make up the Southern India. South India is famous for its vibrant culture, delectable food, among other manmade marvels. One can rejuvenate their senses by visiting serene places like Kerala, Pondicherry, Ooty, Mysore and more. The delicate, intrinsic and detailed architecture are unparalleled and cannot be found anywhere else. This complete package of 20 days will let you unveil the beauty and ancient architecture of Indian history.