South India Tour With Kerala - Kerala
20 Nights / 21 Days
Mumbai | Bangalore | Mysore | Hassan | Coorg | Calicut | Kochi | Kottayam | Kovalam | Periyar | Maduraj Tanjore | Pondicherry | Kanchipuram | Mahabalipuram | Chennai

Day 01: Arrival in Mumbai.

Our staff will be there to welcome and transfer you to the hotel (rooms on immediate occupancy)

Day 02: Mumbai

Enjoy a free and relaxed morning. Later in day visit the Gateway of India, a unique example of medieval architecture. This beautiful landmark of Mumbai was built to welcome the prince of Wales in 1905. From here board a ferry to Elephanta caves, carved in granite rocks that date back to the 7th century .Your visit includes the Mahadeva Trimurti and Ardhanarishvara sculptures, famous iconographical representations of the Hindu Lord Shiva. Evening: Enjoy a welcome cocktail dinner at the hotel.

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Day 03: Mumbai

After breakfast feel the city of Mumbai as you take a guided tour to Mani Bhawan– house where Mahatma Gandhi stayed and started his Satyagraha movement, the Malabar Hills with its tower of silence, Hanging Gardens and The Prince of Wales Museum– the largest fine art Museum in India.

Day 04: Bangalore

Transfer to the airport and fly to Bangalore. On arrival transfer to the hotel and check in. Afternoon visit the Government Secretariat– a tribute to temple architecture; this imposing edifice is built entirely of dressed Bangalore granite. Also enjoy the Lal Bagh, a beautiful botanical garden sprawling over 240 acres of land. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 05: Mysore

In the morning drive to the beautiful city of Mysore (140 kms – 04 hrs). En route stop for a quick visit of the summer palace of Tipu Sultan set amidst exquisite gardens in the town of Sri Rangapatnam built in 1784 AD. On arriving in Mysore check in at the hotel.

Day 06: Mysore

After breakfast enjoy a guided tour of the magnificent Mysore Palace. Built in 1911-12, at a cost of Rs. 4.2 million, the palace replaced an earlier edifice destroyed by fire.

Evening: Take an excursion to the Chamundi hills. Visit Sri Chamundeswari temple, a huge structure with a seven storey Gopuram 40 mts high. While driving through the hills visit the famous sculpture of Nandi (Shiva’s Bull), carved out of solid rock at a height of about 5mts, perhaps the largest sculpture of its kind.

Day 07: Drive to Hassan ( 170 kms – 04 hrs).

En route visit Shravanabelagola. The huge statue of Lord Bahubali (Goma-teshvara), standing tall at 17 mts is carved out of a single rock and said to be the world’s tallest monolithic statue. It stands atop a rocky hill known as Indragiri, below which the small town of Sravanabelagola nestles. Its simplicity is in complete contrast to the complexity of the sculptural work at the temples of Belur and Halebid. Overnight at Hassan.

Day 08: Hassan

Morning visit Belur and Halebid temples. In their decoration these temples rival the temples of Khajuraho and Konarak. They also are a match to the best representation of gothic art to be found anywhere in Europe.

The sculptural detail found on the Hoysaleswara temple at Halebid make it easily the most outstanding example of Hoysala art. The details are such that no two specimens, inside or outside are the same.

All aspects of life of the Hoysala rulers, Hindu deities and also the sensuous are represented in their finest forms. The Hoysala temples are squat and low, more human in scale than soaring temples found elsewhere in India. They are carved from soapstone, which is relatively soft and easy to cut when first quarried, but with age and exposure gradually hardens. The Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebid was constructed about 10 years after the temple at Belur, but despite 80 years labour it was never finally completed. Later drive to Coorg and see, visit and smell the innumerable coffee and spice plantation. The natives here are known to be descendents of Greek soldiers and one of the most beautiful people in the world.

Day 09: Drive to Calicut (Kozhikode) (280 kms - 07 hrs)

The town Calicut played a major role in Kerala’s history when it was the capital of the Zamorin rulers. Its name during the British period was given to the Calico cloth, a block printed cotton exported round the world. Today it is a major commercial centre. On arrival at Calicut check in at the hotel. Evening is free to relax.

Day 10: drive to Kochi (240 kms - 06 hrs)

Check in at the hotel. Evening: Experience an exciting boat ride of the island.

Day 11: Kochi

Visit the enthralling city of Kochi in the morning which has a discernible Portuguese, Dutch and Jewish influence. Visit St .Francis Church (1503 AD) where Vasco da Gama was buried for 14 years before his remains were transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone still stands.

Nearby is the Mattancherry coffee and spice plantations, exquisite boat rides, Intricately Palace or “Dutch Palace” built in 1557 AD. The central hall was the coronation hall of the rulers of Kochi. Other rooms depict scenes from the epic Ramayana and Puranic legends connected with Hindu gods. Interesting are the Chinese fishing nets along Vypeen Island ( set up between 1305 - 1450 AD ).

Also see the Jew city with the Jewish Synagogue ( 1568 AD ) with hand printed, willow-pattern, floor tiles brought from Canton in the mid - 18th century. Evening: Watch kathakali , an ancient religious pantomime dance drama handed down through generations for more than 300 years and performed by dedicated families of Kerala.

Day 12: Kottayam

Drive through the countryside to a jetty near Kottayam to board the rice boat. These rice boats are made using the local bamboo sticks and sailing on them is a unique experience. They will take you through the backwater of Kerala, a dreamlike expanse of waterways and channels shrouded by coconut palms, banana plantations, lush forests and rice fields. A once in a lifetime experience to see how people live on narrow strips of land only a few meters wide and still manage to keep cows, pigs, chicken and ducks and cultivate small vegetable gardens.

Day 13: Kovalam

After a laid back breakfast on the rice boat, drive to Kovalam. On arrival check in at the hotel. Afternoon and evening are at leisure to enjoy one of the best beaches in the country.

Day 14: Drive to Periyar (250 kms - 08 hrs)

The most famous wild life sanctuary in South India. Relax your eyes viewing the spice and rubber plantations along the way.

Day 15: Periyar

Early morning take a boat ride on Lake Periyar to see the wildlife in its natural habitat. Often herds of wild elephant are seen on the banks of the river blithely bathing or just lazing around. In the afternoon take a walk among the spice plantations.

Evening : Again take a boat ride on lake Periyar and soak in the beauty of it till sunset.

Overnight stay at Periyar.

Day 16: Drive to Madurai ( 160 kms - 04 hrs )

The famous temple city. On arrival check in at the hotel. In the afternoon visit the enthralling Sri Meenakshi Temple, a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with gopurams covered from top to bottom with a profusion of multi-coloured images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. Observe the temple activities, which last from dawn till dusk and attended by thousands of pilgrims.

Afterwards experience the splendour of the Nayyaka Palace ( 1636), a garden museum. Evening : After an early dinner enjoy a slow paced ride on a cycle rickshaw to the Meenakshi Temple again. Watch the night ceremony, in which Lord Shiva is carried in a palanquin to the temple of his consort Parvati. Musicians, temple singers and priests accompany this lively procession. Overnight stay at Madurai.

Day 17: Tanjore

In the morning leave for Tanjore to see the famous Brihadeshwara temple built by the Chola King Rajendra 1 in the 10th century.

The temple is the culmination of classic architecture in South India. The State’s Bronze Museum has one of the finest collection of bronze figures. Overnight stay at Tanjore.

Day 18: Drive to Pondicherry,

The erstwhile French colony with its distinct French aura still strongly pervading its life. On arrival check in at hotel. Evening : Visit Aurobindo Ashram ( centre for mind development - internal yoga) and Auroville, an international township for harmony. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 19: Kancheepuram

After breakfast drive to Kancheepuram– capital of the Pallavas and Cholas and one of the 7 holy cities of India. Today it has about 150 active temples, dedicated to various gods and goddesses. The most famous temple here are Kailashnatha ( 725 AD ) and Vaikunthaperumal Vishnu Temple ( 750 AD ) You can see some of the most elegant sculptures of Shiva, and remnants of mural paintings belonging to the Pallava period in these temples. The 4 branches of the ancient mango tree at the Vardaraja Temple is said to represent the 4 vedas, each with a different taste. You must try for yourself to know the truth. Later drive to Mahabalipuram. on arrival check in at the hotel.

Day 20: Kancheepuram

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In the morning visit the 5 Rathas temples, rock-cut monoliths named after the heroes of the Mahabharata epic. Some of these are unfinished but you can see the carving technique used to form temples out of living rock. Later visit the shore temple and Arjuna’s penance– a relief representing the descent of the river goddess Ganga to earth . Rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 21: In the afternoon drive to Chennai.

Visit Fort St. George, Bronze Museum, Kapaleeshwara Temple, and San Thomas Cathedral. Later transfer to the International airport and fly back home.

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