15 Days - South India Temple tour

Duration : 14 Nights / 15 Days
Destination : Bangalore - Mysore - Ootty - Cochin - Trivandrum - Kanyakumari - Madurai - Trichy - Pondichery - Mahabalipuram - Chennai
South India is peninsular region bounded by the sea on three sides and separated by a northern river from rest of India.   South India has been ruled by various native dynasties since times immemorial till its colonization in modern era.  The kings being native were steeped in the local culture and ethos. 
Whenever a king established his kingdom, he raised a fabulous temple engaging the best of the artisans and artists to raise the structure in the prevalent architecture form.  
Temple architecture in South India with its various forms developed to its perfection unlike in other parts of India.  The native rulers paid less attention to their forts as compared to the temples. 

Day 01 :  Bangalore
On arrival at Bangalore airport, our representative will receive you and transport you to the hotel to fresh up and be ready in the morning for sightseeing tour to places on our itinerary.

Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka, is centre of science, aeronautics and electronics. Situated 1000 m above sea level, Bangalore is called the garden city. Weather is pleasant round the year. The places to visit here include Lalbagh (the finest botanical Gardens of India), Cubbon Park covering 300 acres of land and Vidhana Soudha housing The State Legislature and Secretariat are the main attractions.

Day 02 : Mysore - Srirangapatanam
From Bangalore, our initerary includes visit to Srirangapatanam in the forenoon lying en-route on our drive to of Mysore.
Srirangapatnam
Srirangapatanam falls en-route at the outskirts of Mysore city. Places to visit here are the Palance and Museum of Tipu Sultan, a hero of 1857 revolt against the British Empire. Famous  Hoysala temple of Somnathpur lies around an hour's drive further.
seringapatam
Mysore
In the afternoon, we explore this city located at an altitude of 770m above Sea Level.  It is a royal city known as ‘city of Sandalwood fragrance’ and also as ‘the city of Palaces’

Mysore is the erstwhile capital of Wodeyar dynastic rulers. The Wodeyar kings  ruled Mysore since 14th century at a stretch before the advent of British Empure except for a short period of 40 years when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan wrested the control of Mysore. Tenth century Mysore was known as "Mahishur Ooru"(town of Mahishasura)  According to Hindu religious belief, mytholocal demon king Mahishashur was slain by the goddess Durga atop Chamundi Hill. Mysore royal family worshipped Chamundeshwari as their palace deity. So the main tourist attraction of Mysore is it two millennium old Chamundeshwari temple on a hilltop as well as Nandi Bull half way to the temple.  Nandi Bull is a rock-cut 4.8 metre sculture.
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Mysore is a city of magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. This city, with its crowed Devaraja Market,  lies around the spectacular Maharaja's Palace. Today Mysore is one of the major cities of Karnataka. Thick sandalwood forests lie in  Mysore has emerged as a thriving market for exotic sandalwood and incense besies the Mysore silk sarees and stone-carved sculptures. The other places of tourist attraction in Mysore are Royal Palace with a Durbar Hall displaying the then Maharaja's jewellery, studded gold throne (weighing 200 kgs) during Dussehra Festival.   19 km north-west of Mysore, you visit KRS Dam and the ornamental Brindavan Gardens with  musical fountains and colourful lights.

Day 03 : Mysore - Ooty
After utilizing the forenoon sightseeing of Mysore, we are scheduled to depart for Ootty covering a distance of 165 kms in around three hours. On arrival at Ootty, check- in a hotel.  Fresh up quickly to have your lunch since afternoon is scheduled for sightseeing around before overnight stay in Ooty.

Day 04 : Ootty
Ootty Since Ooty is located at the highest of Nilgiri Hills, the travel through the winding hilly roads is a delight. Scenic beauty around the winding green hill forests makes the travel itself sightseeing. 
  
Located at the high plateau hills at 2240m above sea level at the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats, Ooty is the headquarters of the Nilgris district. Fields in step-farming with coffee and tea plantations amidst the hill forests with trees like confiers, eucalyptus, pine and the wattle makes Ooty a superb place of natural beauty. The places to visit in Ooty are Botanical Gardens, the artificial lake and Dodabetta Peak located at the highest point in the district (at a height of 2623m from sea-level) . In Botanical Garden, "summer Festival" is held annually during the month of May.

Day 05 :  Arrival at Cochin
From Ooty, we transport you to Cochin covering a distanceof  320 kms in 6 hrs by road and check in a hotel for  an overnight stay at Cochin.

Day 06 : Cochin
Cochin (Kochi), gateway to Kerala, has a fine natural harbour. Places to visit in Cochin are Mattanchery Palace, St. Francis Church, Wellington Island, Bolghatty Island and Jewish Synagogue.  Besides the visit to places of monumental value, can cruise through the back-waters to get the glimpses of the rural life, fish-catching with Chinese nets and view the harbour and three islands.

Day 07 : Trivandrum (Thiruvandrum)
From Kchin, we drive direct to Trivandrum covering  a distance of 250 kms in five hours.  On arrival at Trivandrum, we chick-in a hotel and proceed for afternoon tour of Trivandrum.
trivandrum backwaters Located on the low coastal hills, Trivandrum is a green city with the backwaters splashing deep inside along its beaches (Sankhumugham Beach, Kovalam and Varkala Beach).

The Temples and Churches 
Aaranmula Parthasarathy Temple : Dedicated to Parthasarathi or Lord Krishna is said to date back to the days of the Mahabharata and as depicted in the glorifying songs of Vaishnavite Alwar Saints.

 Kulathupuzha Temple : It is situated in the forest range on the Trivandrum- Shenkotta road, Kulathupuzha.

Sivagiri Temple :  Located in  'Sivagiri Mutt'' founded by the great Hindu reformer and philosopher, Sree Naravana Guru. His 'Samadhi' (restling place) is also located there.

Sri Ananthapadmanabhaswamy Temple : Overlooking the Padma Theertham Tank,       This ancient templeis devoted to Lord Vishnu reclining on Sri Anantha( the hooded snake from which the city derives its name). With exquisite stone carvings and pavilions, the temple is open only to Hindus with a dress code strictly enforced.

Vettukad Church : 7 kms from Trivandrum, the 'Madre De Deus' Church popularly known as the Vettukad Church attracts thousands of devotees from all religions. The annual celebration here is called the 'Feast Of Christ, The King'.
Besides the temples,  Napier Museum is a place of tourist interest. The museum contains a fine collection of Kerala's bronzes, ornaments and costumes, and a model of "Tharawad' the traditional Nair family home.  Besides, there are two other Museiums namely Kuthiramalika Palace Museum ( The palace with excellent carvings architectural designs displaying exhibits of the erstwhile state of Travancore) and  Science & Technology Museum( participatory type of galleries with exhibits relating to various disciplines of Science and Technology).

Enquire About This Trip Day 08 : Kanyakumari
From Trivandrum, two-hours drive covering 85 km lands us to Kanyakumari, located at the southernmost end of India in Tamil Nadu, is a meeting point of Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. It locates Kumariamman temple dedicated to the virgin goddess Kanyakumari (Parvati). The temple is built at the spot where the goddess is believed to have waited for Lord Siva to meet.  Other places to visit here are Gandhi Memorial erected at a spot where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were kept for public view in an urn before being immersed into the three seas and  Vivekanand Memorial built on the Vivekananda Rock where the great Indian sage Swami Vivekananda went into meditated.

Day 09 : Madurai
From Kanyakumari, four-hour drive covering 220 km carries us Madurai, known as Athens of the East.  Second largest city on the banks of the River Vigai, Madurai is 2500 years old city of temples. The city is named after nectar (Mathuram) that fell from Shiva's locks when he came to bless its people for constructing a temple for him. Meenakshi-Sundareswara Temple with 12 gopurams(gateways to the temple with pyramid-like structures). Four of its tallest gopurams stand at the outer walls of the temple. The 48.8 m high gopuram in South of the temple has over 1500 sculptures. In the Ashta Shakti Mandapam inside the Meenakshi temple, the sculpted pillars tell the tale of princess of Madurai and her marriage to Lord Shiva.

Day 10 : Trichy
From Madurai, 3-4 hour drives covering 165 km take us to Trichy.  Check-in the hotel and fresh up to visit to temples.  Just 5 kms drive from Trichy transports you to an island called Srirangam. Within the Kaveri river, Srirangam  is a 600 acre island town.  Here stands Sri Ranganathaswami temple enclosed within the seven walls.  This temple has 22 gopurams (gate-ways with pyramid-like structures) including the tallest( 72 m) 13 storied-gopuram in South India .
Overnight stay in the hotel.
pondicherry
Day 11 : Pondichery
From Trichi, 3-4 hours drive covering 180 km, we reach Pondichery, check-in the hotel and start our visits to the temples of Pondichery.

Pondicherry, once a French Colony,  presents a different socio-cultural milieu unlike the other parts of Indian territory remained under British empire. French influence on the monumental structures in Pondicherry. Pondicherry's main places to visit are the Rai Nivas, the Sacred Heart Church and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.  Aurobindo Ashram was founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo, an Indian revolutionary turned spiritual master .  After his death, the spiritual authority passed to a French woman known as the Mother. The Mother  established another Ashram Retreat called city of Dawn Auroville, 10 km from Pondicherry  called a city of the future.  Disciplies from India and abroad  live and work together in a spiritual environment.
Stay in the hotel overnight.

Day 12 :  Mahabalipuram
Three-hour drive covering 150 km from Chennai transports us to Mahabalipuram. On arrival, we check-in the hotel and after refreshing, we start our visit to the best of South Indian temples in Mahabalipuram located on the coast-line. Explore here the relics of the ancient-most port and ruins of city besides the monumental remains of an ancient Pallavas dynasty. Watch these monumental temples with sculptural panels, caves, rock-cut temples and Rathas(Chariots).  Krishna Mandapam (open space enclosed within high walls)  with the world's largest bas relief measuring 27m x 9m, whale- back shaped rock with cut-out  figures of gods, demi-gods, men .beasts, birds etc. Shore Temple, one of the oldest in south dating back to 8th century AD is a good example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in Dravidian style. Explore also a cluster of five temples, each created in different Dravidian architectural styles.

Day 13 : Chennai
south indian temple One hour drive covering  65 km from Mahabalipuram to Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu.  This city is called the 'Gateway to the South'. The rest of the day is at your leisure and overnight stay at a hotel before the hectic tour scheduled from the morning next day.

Day 14 : Chennai
Starting from Fort St. George built in 1653 housing the Secretariat and Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu,  we will visit St. Mary's Church, the oldest Anglican Church in India and Shri Parthasarathy Temple built by Pallavas in the 8th century AD.  Other temples to visit are Kapaliswara Temple, Mylapore( eighth century Pallava Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva),  San Thomas Cathedral Basilica rebuilt in 1606 as a cathedral and  made a basilica in 1896  and Theosophical Society Centre ( the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society)  - a spiritual shrine synthesizing  all religious teachings on rational grounds. philosophy and science. Our last day of the tour concludes with a drive to airport for onward journey. Enquire About This Trip