Sparkling South India

 

 

Sparkling South India 10 Days
Chennai * Mahabalipuram * Pondicherry * Thanjavur Madurai * Thekkaddy * Alleppy * Cochin

CHENNAI

Welcome to India!! Upon arrival and after you exit from the International Airport, you will be greeted by our local representative and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel
Chennai- formerly known as Madras, is rich in traditional classical music, architecture, art and dance.

CHENNAI

Enjoy your breakfast and then take a tour of Chennai. Visit Fort St George, built in the 17th century. Visit St. Mary’s Church, the oldest Anglican Church in India. Visit the Kapeeleshwara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Gopuram, or entrance tower, has a profusion of sculptured images depicting stories from Puranic legends. Next, visit the San Thome Cathedral, named after St Thomas, the doubting disciple of Christ. Located at the southern tip of Marina Beach, is a beautiful stained glass window at the basilica, depicting the story of St Thomas. Later, drive past Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world.
Overnight at the Hotel

CHENNAI/MAHABALIPURAM/ PONDICHERRY

After breakfast drive to Pondicherry (155kms.) En route in Mahabalipuram, visit the Panch Rathas or Five Ratha Temples. Of the nine monolithic rock-cut temples found in Mahabalipuram, the most important are dedicated to the five Pandava brothers from the epic Mahabharata. The Dharmaraja Ratha is named after the eldest Pandava, and is the largest one. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Visit Arjuna’s Penance, the massive rock cut bas relief sculpture. It measures 27 meters in length and 9 meters in height, and depicts the story of Arjuna. Later, visit the Shore Temple … a five-storied structure made out of finely cut granite, and one of the earliest and most important structured temples. It is a world heritage site. Later drive to Pondicherry, arrive and check into the Hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel
Pondicherry is referred to as ‘India’s Little France’ and ‘The French Riviera of the East’, as the French ruled this place for around 280 years. The French flavor, are still now seen in the colonial mansions, promenades, and street names on signboards.

PONDICHERRY/THANJAVUR

Breakfast at hotel followed by a city tour of Pondicherry. Visit the Shri Aurobindo Ashram. This world-renowned ashram was founded in the year 1926, by Shri Aurobindo, a revolutionary turned Yogi from Bengal along with The Mother (Mira Alfassa), a French painter and sculptor. Later, visit the Government Museum, which houses sculptures from Pallava, Chola andVijaynagara temples and drive past the beach promenade. Afternoon drive to Thanjavur (166kms.,) arrive and check into the Hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel
Thanjavur is the focal point of Tamil learning and culture. Thanjavur was the royal city of the Cholas, Nayaks and the Marathas, and the original home of Dravidian art and architecture.

THANJAVUR/MADURAI

In the afternoon, in Thanjavur, visit the Brihadeshwara temple of Chola dynasty. The temple has gigantic lingam cut from a monolithic rock, about 8.7m high. There is a huge Nandi Bull within the inner shrine of the temple. It is the second largest monolithic Nandi in the country. Next visit Tanjore Palace & Museum, which houses an art gallery, a library, the hall of music, and the audience hall. On display here, are relics of royalty – clothes, hunting weapons, headgear and much more. The other two great Chola Temples in Thanjavur are the Temple of Gangaikondacholapuram and the Airavatesvara Temple. In the afternoon drive to Madurai (189kms) and on arrival check- in at hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel.

MADURAI

In the morning after breakfast go sightseeing in Maduari and visit the Meenakshi Temple. The complex houses 14 magnificent Gopurams or towers, including two golden Gopurams for the main deities. Also visit Gandhi Memorial Museum at the Tamukkam Palace. The museum houses the history and relics of the freedom movement. Continue to the Koodal Azhagar Temple, one of the 108 temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Three separate altars feature three figures of Vishnu, in standing, sitting and reclining postures.
Overnight at the Hotel
Madurai- situated on the banks of river Vaigai, was the capital of the Pandya kings, and an important cultural and commercial center as early as 550 AD.

MADURAI/THEKKADDY

Morning after breakfast at hotel, check out and drive to Thekkaddy (139kms.) In the afternoon visit Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary. It is one of India’s most fascinating natural wildlife sanctuaries, where one can watch wildlife at close range. The vegetation, flora & fauna and birds are uniquely rich & varied and do not bear semblance to any other wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Even a casual visitor to this place will not fail to observe the special ecological pattern. The sanctuary is one of the best in the country for watching & photographing wild life. Notable among the inhabitants are the tigers, majestic Asiatic wild elephants & distinctive Nilgiri Langur.
Evening attend the “Kalaripayattu” martial arts show, known as the mother of all martial art. Overnight at the Hotel.

THEKKADDY/ALLEPPY

Morning after breakfast drive to Alleppy (157kms.,) arrive and transfer to the jetty to board your Houseboat. Enjoy a houseboat cruise through Alleppey, “Venice of the East” which has a large network of canals that wander through the town and surrounding villages. The Snake Boat Race held every year in August in the backwaters is a major attraction. The Kerala Backwaters are a vital waterway for the transportation of goods, people and their produce, and are often the only link between isolated villages and crowded towns.
Overnight at the Hotel

ALLEPPY/COCHIN

Morning after breakfast disembark and drive to Cochin (57kms.) On arrival check into the hotel. Afternoon enjoy a half-day tour of Cochin. Kochi, a vibrant city is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala. The ruler of Kochi allowed the Portuguese to construct a fort next to the waterfront here, known as Fort Kochi. Also called Fort Emmanuel, Portuguese planned their livelihood around the church. St. Francis Church, the first church of the colonial era where Vasco-Da-Gama’s body was buried before being taken to Portugal. You will also come across Dutch Cemetery & Santa Cruz Basilica. Later enjoy the classical dance show Kathakali.
Overnight at the Hotel.

COCHIN

Morning after breakfast transfer to the airport to catch your onward flight.