Day 1: Arrive Chennai. Arrival around midnight, meet and greet at the airport and transfer to hotel.
Day 2: Chennai - Mahabalipuram. Morning after breakfast city sightseeing in Chennai. Sightseeing to include Fort St. George built in 1653 by the British, Kalakshetra - the dance academy, St. Thomas Cathedral and drive along the Marina. Afternoon drive to Mahabalipuram.
Day 3: Mahabalipuram. Morning excursion to Kanchipuram, another holiest city for Hindus. Visit the major temples like Ekambareswara temple with thousand pillars, Kailasnath temple dedicated to Shiva, believed to be 1200 years old, Vaikunteswara temple and traditional method of silk weaving. Afternoon sightseeing in Mahabalipurm. Mahabalipuram is known world wide for its Shore temple, a relic of Pallava art, the temple is a world Heritage site. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Mahabalipuram - Tanjore. Morning drive to Tanjore, en route visit Chidambaram - the Nataraja Temple which is famous for its dancing figures and Kumbakonam. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 5: Tanjore. Morning sightseeing in Tanjore. The Cholas were great temple builder and Thanjvur bear witness to this, being dotted with no fewer than 74 temples - the most famous of which is the Brahadeeswarar. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 6: Tanjore - Trichy - Madurai. Morning drive to Madurai en route sightseeing in Trichy including excursion to Srirangam, this is well known for its Vaishnavite temple dedicated to Lord Ranganathaswamy. Evening again visit temple to attend temple ceremony in Madurai. Overnight.
Day 7: Madurai. Morning city sightseeing Madurai is synonymous with the Sri Meenakshi temple, dedicated to Sri Meenakshi, the consort of Lord Shiva. The temple complex is one of the biggest in India also visit palace, old city and temple tank. Afternoon free. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 8: Madurai - Periyar. Morning drive to Periyar. On arrival check in at hotel. Afternoon boat ride on the Peryiar Lake to view wildlife. Evening visit spice market.
Day 9: Periyar - Kottyam - Houseboat - Alleppey. Morning 2 hours trekking into NP, later drive to kottyam en route visit tea plantation and tea factory. Noon check-in Houseboat (Kettuvalom) and ride in the direction to Alleppey. Overnight on board.
Day 10: Houseboat - Alleppey - Cochin. Explore rural life in the Backwaters. Later disembark at Alleppey and drive to Cochin, evening watch Kathakali Dance performance. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 11: Cochin. Morning after breakfast start city tour which include the Dutch Palace, with its murals from the Ramayana, the Jewish Synagogue in Mattancherry and St. Francis church in Fort Cochin Evening sunset at the Chinese Fishing nets. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 12: Cochin - Ooty (281 km/8 hours). Morning drive to Ooty, on arrival check in at hotel. Ooty was first discovered by the Collector of Coimbatore John Sullivan who built a residence and then the Lake. With its green downs, gentle rains and mild temperatures all year round, it was adopted as their summer home by British officials and planters in South India. The downs of Ooty might well be in Devon of Yorshire-there are 80 km of them offering golf, hunting or pleasant walks and hikes.
Ooty still maintains its definite air of elegance and there are British Raj reminders everywhere-notably in the stone cottages with flower gardens, the beautiful Botanical gardens (6:40 pm), the Churches, tea gardens and eucalyptus plantations. Ootacamund derives its name from "Toda" term meaning village of huts". The Todas, the original settlers here before the British were an aboriginal tribe and lived in barrel-shaped huts. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 13: Ooty - Mysore. Morning drive to the Botanical gardens - 51 acres of terraced gardens and lawns housing 650 varieties of plants created by the Marquis of Twerdale. Ascending through gardens of ornamental plants, orchards, ferns, conifers and rock plants, keep an eye out for the local Toda community on the top levels. About 2000 of them lived up here, almost exclusively engaged in the cultivation of potatoes and weaving. Nearby is the Raj Bhawan (Government House).
Out of the gardens make a hairpin bend to the St. Stephens Church. Just below is the select Ooty club famous for its amazing Raj memorable and as the place where snooker was invented. A straight walk leads to the picturesque Ooty Lake (4 km circumference). Also visit Wedlock Downs, offering spectacular views down over the Coimbatore plains, Ketti Valley, the Mysore plateau and tea-estates. After lunch, drive to Mysore (158 km/5 hours). On arrival check in at hotel.
Day 14: Mysore - Hassan (115 km). Visit the beautiful city of Mysore, that is known for its fine craftsmenship in wood, ivory, sandal-wood and for its silk. Visit the Maharaja's Palace, which is lavishly decorated in a mixture of styles. Also visit the Zoological Garden, Mysore Arts and Crafts centre and then proceed to the Chamundi Temple on a hill above the city. Afternoon drive to Hassan enroute visit Srirangapatnam - Tipu Sultan`s 18th century summer palace. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 15: Hassan - Banglore (180 km). Morning excursion to Halebid and Belur. Built in the 12th and 13th Century in the super baroque style, these temples are carved of stone and are truly magnificent. As one architect and critic said "These friezes carved with a minute elaboration of detail are one of the most marvelous exhibitions of human labor to be found even in the patient East". The temple at Belur is famed for its profusely ornamented exterior, and the one at Halebid for its sculptured figures and open air museum. Also visit the colossal monolithic Jain statue, 57-ft high, which stands on top of a steep bare hill.
Afternoon drive to Bangalore en route visit Shranvanabelgola. Sravanbelgola - famous for its colossal statue of the Jain Saint Gomateshwara. 614 steps lead to his monolithic statue, 18 meters tall and standing atop the hill of Indragiri. Every 12 years Jains from all over India gather here for the spectacular bathing festival of the statue. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 16: Leave Banglore. Morning transfer to airport for your onward flight. End of the tour.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia India Local Culture Cultural Journey
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