20 Days - South India Tour ( Culture and Architecture )

Duration : 18 Nights / 19 Days
Destination : Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Kanchipuram- Trichy - Tanjore - Madurai - Periyar - Cochin - Mysore - Bangalore - Hassan - Belur - Halebid- Hospet - Hampi - Badami - Aihole - Pattadakal - Goa - Mumbai
South India is peninsular region bounded by the sea on three sides and separated from rest of India by a river in its North.  It is a cradle of art and culture. South Indian Culture and Architecture stands in contrast to Northern part 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. Temple architecture in South India with its various forms developed to its perfection unlike in other parts of India.

Day 01 : Arrival at Chennai (Earlier named Madras)
On your arrival at the Anna International Terminal at Chennai, our representative will receive and escort you to your hotel accommodation.  Take rest after journey, enjoy your dinner and stay overnight in the hotel.

Day 02 : Chennai
A hectic day- long tour starts  from early morning. The places to visit Chennai are Government Museum and National Art Gallery, Fort St. George and St. Mary's Church, Crocodile Breeding Farm, Gandhi Memorial, Kala- Kshetra ( Arts-region) and Mylapore Temple. 

In the afternoon, visit Marina Beach and enjoy adventure sports like para-sailing, gliding, windsurfing, cruising, etc.  The sea at the beach is rough and not suitable for bathing and swimming.   Then back to the hotel for overnight stay there .

Day 03 :  Mahabalipuram - Kanchipuram south indian temple
The day starts with a 60 km early morning drive from Chennai to Mahabalipuram for visiting  the Mahabalipuram Shore Temple.  This temple is a rock-cut structure with rock carvings in the typical Dravidian forms of architecture and art.  Besides, explore also the remnants of 124 rock-cut shrines and other monuments mostly excavated from deep sands.
From there, we move on towards Kanchipuram, a manufacturing centre for Silk Sari Weaving.  The hectic tour ends in the train for overnight journey by train to Trichy.

Day 04 : Visit Trichy (Tiruchirapalli)
The arrival at Trichy Railway Station in the morning is followed by visit to the Trichy city representing a fine blending of tradition with modernity.  The  next places to explore on our itinerary are Rock Fort and Ganpati Temple.  Rock  Fort located a massive rock with few local hamlets dispersed around  on the long hill range will kindle your imagination about the vibrant life in the past.   Climb  434 rock-cut steps to reach the hill-top where the ancient temple of Ganapati devoted to Lord Shiva is located.  Further monumental visits are Lord Robert Clive's house and the Danish Church.
Enquire About This Trip
Afternoon
A 30 km drive takes you to Viralimalai, a small town. Here we visit the famous Murugan Temples. Its architectural design and fine  carvings are superb. A beautiful Peacock sanctuary is also located near the temple. While watching the various peacock species, don’t miss to pick up a few of the royal features strewn around.  With another hour’s drive from here, we reach Sittanavasal town, famed for its fine fresco paintings in a rock cave.
After the hectic tour, we drive back to the hotel for your overnight stay at Trichy.

Day 05 : Trichy - Tanjore - Madurai
Fifth day starts with the morning drive to Madurai visiting Tanjore en-route.
At Tanjore, visit the Chola Temple of Brihadeeshwara,  a'World Heritage Site'. It is a rock-cut temple with a cupola chiseled out of a single granite block weighing 80 tons.  Our next destinations are Thanjavur Palace and  Tanjavur School of paintings. The Palace represents the Darvidian form of South Indian architecture. At the School of Painting, watch the dedicated artists at work on the centuries-old traditional art figuring Lord Krishna adorned with gold leaves and colourful stones. Shop here for paintings and stone studded engraved gold leaves.

Drive back to Madhurai and check- in at your hotel.  You can spend your evenings at leisure, roaming around the nearby shopping arcades on foot and interact with the local people, the best means to explore the city of your own.  People in South India are quite courteous and eager to help the tourists. Retreat back to your hotel room for an overnight stay.

Day 06 : Madurai Sightseeing
  • Madurai Whole day Sightseeing Tour.
  • Visiting Meenakshi Temple, Tirumala Nayak Palace, Museum.
  • Evenings indulge in Shopping.
  • Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel.
south india temple tour Enjoy a typical South Indian breakfast comprising of idli, vara, dosa, sambar, chatni ( stuff made of rice and pulses) and get ready for hectic day-long tour sarting with the famous Meenakshi Temple. The main attractions of the temple are 1000-pillared hall and the stone sculptures carved on the pillars. Some pillars are musical and produce metallic sounds when hit gently.
Next destinations on the itinerary are Tirumala Nayak Palace, erected in the Indo-Saracen style of architecture with Stucco-work on its domes and arches, Gandhi Museum with pictures depicting the freedom struggle and the blood stained dhoti (long unstitched cloth) worn by the Mahatama Gandhi at the time of his assassination among other articles,  handicraft section of Khadi and Village industries, Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock temple.  The evening is at leisure for your shopping around Madurai temple in retail outlets specializing in cotton and silk saris, wood-crafted items and jewelry. Enquire About This Trip
Back to your hotel for overnight stay.

Day 07 : Visit Periyar (Kerala)
Periyar wildlife Seventh day marks departure from Tamil Nadu to Kerala, called 'God's Own Country' for its scenic beauty after 3 hour’s drive covering 160 km..  Our first destination on the itinerary in Kerala is Periyar Wild Life National Park.  Stay in State Kerala Tourism Deveopment Corporation’s Lake Palace and get transported by a boat cruise to your accommodation in the premises of sanctuary itself.  After lunch, start exploring wildlife in the sanctuary which is a natural habitat for Indian tiger, elephant, sloth bear, barking deer, reptiles and about 320 avian species.  Our itinerary includes boat- cruise in Periyar Lake for watching the birds swimming on the surface of water and flying in the sky above besides spotting the wild animal species on land around the lake.    
After sunset, stay overnight at Periyar Jungle Resort.

Day 08 : Periyar - 160km
Second day at Periyar starts with a jungle safari on a jeep. Elephant in herds are a common sight here.  If lucky, you may spot a tiger.  Camera is allowed in the sanctuary to snap the wild animals and birds.

Our itinerary also includes Bamboo rafting trip in Periyar jungles involving trekking. The armed jungle securitymen and guides will accompany you to the interiors of the wild through different habitats for trekking. You may try rafting on the gushing lake. Evening is scheduled for visit to the hutments of the Mannans Tribe, one of the oldest tribes inhabiting the forest. Unlike other Indian tribes, this tribe is visitor-friendly and will receive you with warmth. Watch their life-style and get a glimpse of a tribal culture in Mannans Museums. and. As you cruise on a motor boat along the Periyar Lake, spot elephants, wild boars, sambars, tigers, leopards, langur and varied avian species.  Stay overnight at your hotel accommodation.

Day 09 : Cochin (190 kms)
Highlights: cochin spa
  • Start for Cochin Tour.
  • Unwind The Travel Tiredness Though Ayurveda and Spa.
  • Rejuvenate in Hotel Ayurveda Spa.
  • Ferry Ride from Ernakulam to Kumbalangi Village.
  • Shop at Mattancherry and Jew Street for Spices, Tea, and Coffee.
Leaving Periyar early in the morning for Cochin (Kumarakom), a 190 km drive of around three-and-half hours, we reach Cochin.  After checking in the hotel, we go strait to an Ayurveda (herbal) medicinal centre in the morning. After herbal messages or Spa followed by and herbal therapy(if needed), we come back to our hotel feeling afresh and take our  lunch.  Before lunch, you may visit hotel bar and take cocktails based on home grown Kerala liquor and health drinks.
Enquire About This Trip
After lunch, a ferry ride awaits you to transport you from Ernakulam's main jetty to the Kumbalangi Village in the south. Besides seeing the village life, you will enjoy the enchanting  view of the harbor through traditional ferries.  In the evening, walk through Mattancherry and Jew Street locating the shops in rows for antique items, spices, coffee and tea. The whole atmosphere is charged with aroma of spices. Back to the hotel for and dinner and stay overnight.

Day 10 : Cochin Tour
Highlights:
  • Half Day Sightseeing Tour the city.
  • Visiting the Portuguese Monumental Heritage.
  • Watch the Working of Chinese Fishing Nets.
  • Backwater Cruise Tour.
  • Exploring the Backwater Village.
  • Overnight stay at the Hotel.
Forenoon
After breakfast, explore the port city followed by visit to famous monuments including Jewish synagogue, Portuguese churches, mosques and Hindu temples.

Afternoon
Embark on a backwater cruise on the luxury wooden houseboats while watching  the sea birds closely flying low on the surface of the blue waters. Halt at the backwater village and interact with the villagers while enjoying the flavor of fresh coconut water extracted from flanged coconut trees.
After this backwaters trip, come back to your hotel for dinner before going to bed for your stay overnight. Enquire About This Trip

Day 11 : Cochin - Mysore (578 km)
Highlights:
  • Flying to Mysore in Karnataka State.
  • Sightseeing Tour of Mysore City.
  • Visit Mysore Palace, Chamundi Davi.
  • Shop For Mysore Silk and Sandal Wood Products.
  • Overnight Stay at the Hotel.
mysore After breakfast consisting of hot and spicy local Samber - Dosa (lentil curry with rice chappatti filled with potato), an-hour’s journey by air covering a distance of 578 km starts for yet another South Indian State - Karnataka.  We reach Mysore, 'Sandalwood City' of India.

Forenoon
On arrival, check- in the hotel and relax for some time.  After lunch, tour to explore Mysore City starts. Bypassing  the sandal wood forests through a placid green hilly terrain, visit the Mysore Palace built in 1911 in harmonious synthesis of Hindu and Saracenic styles of architecture. Our next destination is Chamundi Davi Temple built on a hilltop.  View the scenic splendor of Mysore town from the hill top.

Afternoon
Visit Mysore market and indulge in shopping  for sandal wood items and  precious Mysore silk fabric  Back to  your hotel at night.

Day 12 : Bangalore
Highlights:
  • Starting For Bangalore City.
  • Visiting Bull Temple, Tipu Sultan Palace.
  • Evenings For Shopping.
  • Overnight stay at the Hotel.
Starting early morning, two and a half-hour drive from Mysore through the green fields in the hilly terrain, will transport us to Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka State.

Forenoon
Check-in your hotel and fresh up for a hectic day tour of the city of gardens. Famous Bull temple is our first destination with a huge Bull sculpture measuring 4.57 m in height and 6.10 m in length carved out of a single granite rock. Our next destination is Tipu Sultan's Palace with carved teakwood doors and the floral patterns on the walls and ceilings of the fort.

Next comes Lal Bagh, a botanical garden. It contains a large varieties roses surrounded by the rare century old trees, tropical and sub-tropical plants, and lotus pools with fountains.

Afternoon
 Visit the famous market junction at M.G. Road and shop for some exclusive artifacts and decorative items made of bullhorns. After dinner in your hotel, have a deep sleep after hectic tour.

Day 13 : Visit to Hassan, Belur and Halebid.
Highlights:
  • Visiting Hassan Town for Jain Sculptures and Sculptures
  • Excursion to Belur and Halebid for temple architecture.
  • Overnight stay at Hassan Ashok at Hassan.
Thirteenth day starts with 222 km journey from Mysore to Hassan.  Sravanabelagola Jain Temples lie en-route. So break journey to visit the temple on the way. Climb up the 500 rock cut-out steps to reach the Jain temple on the hill-top. The diety of the temple is Lord Gomateswara.  His statue stands  17.5 m high on the hill-top.

We resume our journey and reach Hassan. Check-in your hotel accommodation here and take lunch. After lunch, we drive to nearby Belur and Halebid. At Belur, visit 900 year old Chenna Kesava temple.  The temple is built in Hoysala architectural style.  Our next destination is Halebid to visit 12th century Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples.  These temples are known for their architectural designs and carvings. Hoysaleawara temple houses sculptures of goddesses, animals, birds and a dancing girl. Also enjoy the typical Karanataka food comprising of Ragi balls with mutton or vegetable stew.  Back to the hotel for stay overnight.

Day 14 : Hassan – Hospet- Hampi
Highlights:
  • Visiting Hampi.
  • Sighting of Famous Monumental Heritage.
  • Visit Museum on the Matangi Hill.
  • Adventurous Trial up to the Matangi Hill.
  • Overnight Stay at Hospet.
Early morning drive to Hospet  covering a distance of 325 Km in 7 hours after   breakfast. Hampi  falls en-route in proximity to Hospet.  Hampi is an important tourist destination.  It contains the ruins of once a beautiful capital city of  erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire which is comparable to the ancient Roman Empire historically and in grandeur too. Its monumental ruins are the Virupaksha, Vittala and Hazara Rama temples, huge statues of Ganesha and Narasimha, the elephant stables, the Queen's Bath, carvings on the Ramachandra temple, Lotus Mahal etc. etc. Our itinerary includes further a visit to the museum in Matangi Hills.  An enlarged pictures of Hampi Town taken during 1853 by British photographer and pictures taken 130 years later from the same angle by an Australian visitor are displayed in the Museum showing the sea-change during the period. We will continue out journey to Hospet for your overnight stay at a Hotel here. Enquire About This Trip

Day 15 : Badami - Aihole - Pattadakal (200 Km / 04 hrs)
Highlights:
  • Starting for Badami.
  • En-route Visit Aihole for its 125 temple treasure.
  • Visit Pattadakal Famous for its temple architecture and Carvings.
  • Visit Pattadakal Famous for its temple architecture and Carvings.
  • Overnight stay at Badami.
badami tourFifteen day is particularly  hectic. In our morning four-hour drive covering 200 km to Badami , we stop on the way to cover the en-route visits to Aihole and Pattadakal. The Aihole is the town of 125 temples including intricately carved Durga Temple, Buddhist Temple famous for its sculptures and the Meguti temple built of 630 small stone blocks representing ancient stone temple architecture of the southern Dravida School. At Pattadakal, visit the Sanghameswara Temple and the Mallikarjuna Temple with designed pillars and carved depiction of Lord Krishna's life. At the Virupaksha temple, the sculptures and panel scenes from the epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, will amuse you. The carvings on the pillars and ceiling of the Papanatha Temple are are worth seeing. Thereafter, we resume our broken journey to Badami for overnight stay.

Day 16 : Visit  Badami
Highlights :
  • Badami Sightseeing Tour.
  • Visit Hindu and Jain Temples, Rock Caves, Image of Nataraja.
  • Visit Tipu Sultan Fort.
  • Overnight stay at Badami.
We start with the Badami city itself.  The city has various Hindu and Jain temples carved out of sand stone hill. These temples are well maintained by the archaeological survey of India. Visit the magnificent cave temples after climbing many of stairs. This temple a carved sculpture of Shiva and Vishnu emerging out from one body and carved 18 hands Nataraja sculpture and dancing Shiva in 81 different poses. Visit also  the Tipu's Fort on the hill-top with cannons at the vintage points to defend the fort. The fort has  large granaries, treasury and a watch tower. The Malegitti Shivalaya temple, built of stones without mortar, is unique. Don’t forget to eenjoy the local delicacies like fried 'Avalakk' ( soaked and dried rice, spiced and mixed with fried groundnuts).  Stay overnight at the hotel.

Day 17 :  Goa
Highlights :
  • Flying to Goa.
  • Stay at Gao Beach Resort.
  • Leisure Activities at the Goa Beach.
  • Visiting Goa Pub, Bar and Discotheque.
goa Take the morning flight to Goa and stay there in a Beach Resort. Lie down on the soft sands of the beach feeling the wet sandy touch on your back and bathe in the sun light at leisure while enjoying the view of palm trees around.  Besides the scenic natural beauty, Goa has to offer the architectural charm of Old Villas, churches, heritage mansions preserved in this old colonial town. You are sure to explore something new while visiting any of its beaches or villages. You will find domestic bars like tea stall in other parts of the country at every turn to enjoy the local fenny. Motor cycles ply as taxies in Goa to transport you singly. At night, you may visit a tavern, a pub, a bar or a discotheque before your overnight stay at the resort.

Day 18 :  Goa City Tour
Highlights :
  • Sightseeing Tour of Goa City.
  • Explore Old Goa, Churches, Fort.
  • Explore Old Goa, Churches, Fort.
  • Visiting the Rural Fishing Villages of Goa.
  • The Exotic Sea Food Delight.
  • Goa Shopping Bonanza.
  • Overnight stay at Goa.
Forenoon
After a quick breakfast early morning, start your Goa city tour exploring its monumental charms.  Visit the World Heritage site of the Churches and Convents. The Church of Bom Jesus with the tomb of St. Francis Xavier is worth seeing. Our next destinations are fishing villages to watch process of fish catching with fishing nets.

Afternoon
Our afternoon itinerary includes a boat cruise to the island in Mandovi River. The cruise will continue till the sun sets to facilitate you to watch the charm of golden horizon turning red. Enjoy the mount watering seafood delicacies on the beach restaurant. Watch the sharks in motion from the Beach. Shopping in Goa is the most integral part on your holiday trip in Goa. Shop for cashew nuts, spices and  Feni, an erotic local drink.. After tiring tour, you are back to the resort to rest for the night.

Day 19 : Visit Mumbai
Highlights :
  • Flying to Mumbai.
  • Visiting Gateway of India, Museum, Juhu Beach.
  • Cruise to Elephanta Caves.
  • Enjoy the spicy Mumbai Snacks.
  • Transfer to International Airport for Your On-words Flight.
mumbai tour Forenoon
Taking a morning flight from Goa, reach Mumbai. On arrival at Mumbai airport, get transported to the city center. Our first destination is is 'Gateway of India'. - an archival colonial structure. The next destination on our itinerary is Elephanta Caves situated at a small island formed by a series of rocks protruding from the surface of the ocean far away from the sea shore.  We need to reach Elephanta caves containing rock-cut sculptures and erotic carvings  through motor boat.

Afternoon 
Our afternoon itinerary includes visit Mumbai museum and  Juhu Beach. Enjoy the local snacks like 'Pani Puri', 'Bhel Puri' besides drinking the most refreshing coconut water. In the evening,  get transported to the international airport to board your departure flight for your onwards destination. Enquire About This Trip