- Duration: (English) 14 Days
- Availability : Jan 16’ - Dec 16’
- San Francisco
- Region : North India
- Theme : History & Culture
Day 1: Chennai
India Tours’ representative will welcome you as you arrive at the Chennai airport. You will be transferred to your pre-booked hotel and allowed to rest. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure and gorge on delicious south Indian delicacies.
Day 2: Chennai Sightseeing
The 2nd day of your tour will be dedicated to exploring the beauty of the capital of Tamil Nadu, Chennai. Formerly known as Madras, this populous city is considered as the ‘Gateway to the South’ and represents a distinct culture that is greatly in contrast with that of north India. The tourist spots that you will be visiting are Kalakshetra Foundation, an academy of art & music dedicated to the preservation of Carnatic music, Bharatanatyam, traditional designing and weaving; Fort St. George, which was built during the British rule in India in 1653; St. Mary’s Church, the oldest British building and Anglican Church in India; Sri Parthasarathy Temple and Kapaleeshwarar Temple, both of which were built in the 8th-century by the Pallavas and showcases Dravidian architecture; St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica rebuilt as a cathedral in 1606 and made a basilica in 1896; and the Theosophical Society. Return to the hotel and catch a good night’s sleep.
Day 3: Chennai to Kanchipuram to Mahabalipuram
Today, after breakfast, get ready to be driven by your guide to Kanchipuram, known as the city of many temples. This is one of the 7 sacred cities of the Hindus and the former capital of the Cholas during the 2nd-century BC. Addition to temples, this city is also renowned for its silk weavers who came and settled here approximately 400 years ago. After a tour of Kanchipuram, you will head towards Mahabalipuram, the ancient port of Pallavas. Many wonderful monuments with caves, sculptural panels and monolithic Rathas and temples have been created by the Pallavas here. You will be catching a glimpse of the Krishna Mandapam, which is the largest bas-relief in the world featuring whaleback-shaped rocks representing figures of demi-gods, gods, beasts, men, birds and so on. Shore Temple is another place of interest that you will be visiting. Dated back to the 8th-century AD, this is a brilliant example of structural temples that were constructed in Dravidian style. The Five Rathas is also nearby, which is a group of 5 monolithic temples. Return to the hotel after a wonderful day of sightseeing and rest.
Day 4: Drive to Pondicherry & Sightseeing
Post-breakfast, you will be driven to the French colonial settlement in India, Pondicherry. Rest a while once you reach and then, head out to explore this quaint Union Territory. Even though the French influence is slowly fading, this city still retains quite a few Gallic accents. The main places of interest that you will be covering are the Sacred Heart Church, Rai Nivas and Sri Aurobindo Ashram. If time permits, you will also be paying a visit to the city of Dawn Auroville located 10km from Pondicherry. Get back to your hotel in the evening and relax.
Day 5: Pondicherry to Chidambaram to Kumbakonam
Gorge on a traditional south Indian breakfast and pack your bags to be transferred to Kumbakonam. On your way, you will stop to visit Chidambaram, which is the seat of the Cosmic Dancer and dedicated to Lord Nataraja. You will be visiting the Nataraja Temple here that is spread across 40 acres and the 108 carvings on the temple are Bharatanatyam. Then, you will continue towards Kumbakonam, the erstwhile capital of the Chola Kings. This beautiful temple town is situated amidst Cauvery and Arasalar rivers. Upon arrival, check-in to your hotel and head out to the temple of Kumbakonam. Enjoy overnight hotel stay.
Day 6: Kumbakonam to Thanjavur to Tiruchirappalli
Have breakfast and then, our guide will drive you to Tiruchirappalli. You will be visiting Thanjavur on your way, which is home to musical instruments, Carnatic music, traditional handicrafts and more. Even the famous Brihadisvara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is here. The Saraswathi Mahal Library and the Art Gallery are also famous tourist attractions. Then, carry on driving towards Tiruchirappalli and check-in to the hotel when you reach. Relax for a while and then, head out to Srirangam, an island surrounded by Cauvery. This 600-acre island is within 7 walls on the massive Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. You must also visit the Rock Fort, which is 84m high rock and has inscriptions go back to the 3rd-century BC. Return to your hotel and relax.
Day 7: Drive to Rameswaram
On the 7th day of your tour, you will be transferred and checked into a hotel at Rameswaram, which is India’s most sacred pilgrimage site. For the Hindus, pilgrimage is not over if they have not visited the town of Rameswaram in the Pamban Island. According to the legends, Rameswaram is the place where Lord Rama thanked Lord Shiva for his support in triumphing over King Ravana. Located in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, Rameswaram is home to some of India’s most fascinating temples. You will first visit the Ramanathaswamy Temple, the most famous and one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples. The Ramanathaswamy Temple is built with creative contributions from a number of rulers and showcases a massive list of distinct features in its construction. The temple has a huge hallway covering 1220m in length and there are magnificently carved pillars throughout the hall. There is also a 54m tall Gopuram and 22 holy springs. Even if you are not a devotee of Lord Shiva, the breathtaking architecture will keep you hooked. Return to your hotel and get ready for the next day.
Day 8: Rameswaram Sightseeing
Today, you will be enjoying a full day tour of the temples in Rameswaram. You will start your day by paying another visit to the Ramanathaswamy Temple and after that, you will head to the Ganthamathana Parvatham, which is a hillock to the north of the temple and offers picturesque views of the island. After that, head towards Dhanushkodi, a ghost town at the south-eastern tip of the island. Lord Rama is known to have used his bow’s (Dhanush) end (Kodi) to break the Adam’s Bridge and that’s how this town gets its name. Come back to your hotel later in the evening, have dinner and enjoy a restful sleep.
Day 9: Drive to Madurai
After breakfast, our representative will drive you to Madurai. Once you arrive at your destination, you will check-in to your pre-booked hotel and allowed to rest. You can enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure and indulge in any activity that you please. Stay overnight at the hotel.
Day 10: Madurai Sightseeing
Post-breakfast, get ready for a tour of Madurai, also called Athens of the East. Situated on the banks of the River Vaigai, this city is believed to be 2,500 years old. When Lord Shiva had come here to bless the people for a temple that they had constructed for him, drops of nectar (Mathuram) from his locks fell and that’s how the city got its name. Your first stop in this city will be the stunning Meenakshi-Sundareswara Temple where you will listen to the intoxicating chant of hymns. The sculpted pillars telling the story of the beautiful Madurai princess and her marriage to Lord Shiva, 12 Gopurams and 1,500 sculptures inside the temple will keep you busy. Later in the evening, you will be transferred to the hotel where you’ll stay the night.
Day 11: Drive to Thekkady
You will be transferred to Thekkady after breakfast and check-in to a hotel after arriving at your destination. In the evening, you can choose to go for a boat ride on the Periyar Lake. Since the Periyar National Park is located here, you can expect to see different species of animals like, elephants, tigers, deer, wild boars, etc. and birds while on the boat. To witness the awe-inspiring activities of the tribal people here like, collecting honey from the super dangerous hill bees, you can opt to visit a few villages in Periyar. Return to your hotel in the evening and get rest.
Day 12: Drive to Alleppey
After breakfast in the morning, you will be driven by our guide to Alleppey. As you arrive, you will board a pre-booked houseboat for a serene and breathtaking journey along the backwaters of Kerala to Alleppey. Enjoy overnight stay.
Day 13: Drive to Cochin
Once you are done with breakfast, you will check-out of the houseboat and be transferred to Cochin. Once you arrive, you will check-in to your hotel and freshen up. After that, you will go for a sightseeing tour by boat and visit the Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, the Dutch Palace, Chinese Fishing Nets and the Bolgatty Palace. You can spend the rest of the day at leisure. Enjoy overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 14: Cochin (Departure)
The 14th day marks the end of your tour. Today, you will be transferred to the airport from where you will board your flight homewards or to any other onward destination. Our representative will bid you goodbye and hope that you had a fabulous time with us.
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