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THE GRAND TOUR OF SOUTH INDIA

DAY 01: BANGALORE - MYSORE - MARKETS & BAZAARS

On arrival at Bangalore airport, our driver will meet you and you will be transferred to  Mysore. On arrival check  into the hotel for 02 nights. Mysore, capital of a former princely state, is a city of palaces, gardens, shady avenues and sacred temples and retains some of the charm of the old world with its many institutions that propagate Carnatic Classical music and dance. The city is famous for its silk, sandalwood and jasmine. Evening walk through the interesting markets and bazars. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 02: VISIT SRIRANGAPATNAM - MYSORE PALACE & PALACE MUSEUM - CHAMUNDI HILL & NANDHI BULL

After breakfast proceed to visit Sreerangapatna. Visit Summer Palace of Tippu Sultan, Tomb and Fort. Later proceed to visit Mysore Palace and Maharajas museum. Mysore Palace is one of the most visited monuments in India. It is one of the largest palaces in the country and was the residence of the Wodeyar Maharaja\\\'s of the Mysore state. The Palace is built in Indo-Saracenic style and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic styles of architecture.  It is a three-storied stone structure, with marble domes and a 145 ft five-storied tower. Above the central arch is an impressive sculpture of Gajalakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity, good luck and abundance. Designed  by the well-known British architect, Henry Irwin, the palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world.  Evening visit Chamundi Temple and Nandi Bull. Chamundeshwari temple is situated on the top of Chamundi hill which is about 3,489 ft. above sea level and is located at a distance of 13 kms. from Mysore. The temple is dedicated to Sri Chamundeshwari, the titular deity of the Mysore Royal Family also described as ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ for having killed the buffalo headed demon Mahishasura. The temple has a very beautiful idol of the goddess wearing a garland of skulls. Depictions of Nandi the bull, Lord Shiva’s vehicle, can be found throughout South India. But the carving here on Chamundi Hill, from 1659, minutes from Mysore, is particularly noteworthy. Nandi sits 15 feet high and 24 feet in width and is carved out of a single piece of rock, thus making it a monolith. After sightseeing return back to the Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 03: MYSORE – OOTY

After breakfast drive to Ooty. Ooty, popularly referred to as ‘Queen of Blue Mountains’ is located at a height of 2,286 mts and was the first established hill station in India.  The British founded this popular hill station in the early 19th century as the summer capital of the Madras government. On arrival check into HOTEL for 02 nights. Rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight at the Hotel.

DAY 04: MOUNTAIN TRAIN JOURNEY - OOTY SIGHTSEEING

After breakfast drive to Coonoor railway station and enjoy the mountain train ride to Ooty.  You will be passing through the Neelagiri hills in the mountain train, which is the only cog wheel train available in South India. On arrival at Ooty Railway station proceed for sightseeing which includes Botanical Garden, Ooty Lake and Doddabetta Peak.

Botanical Garden was laid out in 1847 and is spread over 22 hectares ascending the slopes on the hill at an elevation of 2,400 meters above Main Sea Level. An explicit collection of flowering trees, beautiful shrubs, and rare colored lilies are seen. Flourishing green well maintained lawns, rare trees species a 20 million year old fossil tree, a monkey’s puzzle tree – monkeys can’t climb this tree, an Italian - style garden bordering, a immense variety of flowering bushes, flowers, and plants , fern house with a vast range ferns and orchids, a clear pool are some of the highlights of this garden. The famous Ooty Lake stretches, in an irregular \\\'L\\\' shape, for about 2.75 kms in length and varying distances in width(100m – 140m). For the curious, this lake was artificially formed by John Sullivan, the founder of Ooty, in 1823-25 by damming the mountain streams flowing down Ooty valley. At the far end is the Boat House, where all kinds of boats are available for hire from eight in the morning to six in the evening.

The Doddabetta Peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 meters. It is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. It is merely 10kms from Ooty so you can simply grab your camera and head straight to the peak, and click amazing pictures of the valley below. After the sightseeing return back to the hotel. Overnight at the Hotel.

DAY 05: OOTY - COCHIN

After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Cochin which is known as the commercial capital of Kerala. On arrival check into the HOTEL for 02 nights. Cochin – Queen of Arabian seas, is one of the most interesting cities of India and has one of the finest natural harbors in the world. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin. Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay).   The ancient Temples, Churches and Synagogues in this district are of special interest to archeologists and historians.  The Chinese fishing nets, the Jewish Synagogue, the Dutch palace and the Bolghatty palace in Kochi enrich the heritage of Kerala. Evening is free to relax. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 06: COCHIN SIGHT SEEING - EVENING KATHAKALI

After breakfast proceed for half day guided sightseeing which includes the visit to St. Francis church, Mattancherry palace, Jewish Synagogue and Chinese fishing nets. St Francis Church at Fort Kochi is the oldest European church in India and was built in the year 1503, by the Portuguese traders. Today, it stands as the pride of Fort Cochin. It was here that the great explorer Vasco da Gama was buried first in 1562. His mortal remains were taken back to Portugal by his son 16 years later. Even though it is austere in its appearance, the Mattancherry Palace of Cochin has a quaint charm of its own. The credit for building this landmark monument partly goes to the Dutch, who captured Cochin city of Kerala during the pre-British period. The Jewish Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth Nations. Thus, it comprises the topmost slot in the itinerary of the tourists visiting the city. The synagogue has now a fascinating mixture of shops, warehouses and spice auction rooms around. The Chinese fishing nets make up a very popular tourist attraction since they are fixed land installations, which are used for a very unique and unusual method of fishing. After sightseeing return back to the hotel. Evening visit  ‘Kathakali’ centre, where you’ll watch the interesting Kathakali costumes followed by performance.  Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 07: COCHIN – ALLEPPEY (HOUSEBOAT)

After breakfast check out from the hotel & drive to Alleppey. On arrival you can embark in a  HOUSE BOAT to go for 01 night cruise through the world famous backwaters of Kerala.

Alleppey has a large network of canals and is a center for backwater cruises in our state.  The cruise in a house boat through backwaters is an unforgettable experience and you can enjoy the real Kerala village life. These boats are originally used for carrying goods and there were only limited facilities available in the boats for stay and for food preparations. But the modern  house boats are designed in a luxurious way without compromising on the traditional rice boat values. The cooking in the house boats are very special and it is very tasty and fresh. During the cruise you will have opportunities to enjoy typical Kettuvallam cooking. (mainly made with fish and fresh vegetables)  Overnight on board of the boat.

DAY 08: ALLEPPEY – THEKKADY- BOAT RIDE - SPICE PLANTATION VISIT

Morning have a relaxed breakfast on board. After breakfast disembark from the house boat and you’ll drive through the cardamom hills to Periyar, one of the well maintained wild life sanctuary of South India. The drive to Periyar will be an unforgettable experience through the cardamom hills. On arrival check into the HOTEL for 01 night.

Later you will be taken for a boat cruise in the lake to watch wild animals. Boat cruises make the best option to check out the wilds of Periyar Sanctuary.  Animals like Elephants, Wild Boar, and Sambar Deer can be spotted during the boat cruise. Most interesting wildlife experience here would be the sight of elephant herds playing in the lake. The sanctuary is a protected Tiger Reserve and don’t wonder if you see a lone tiger gently walking in the woods. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can see wild animals at close range sitting in the safety of a boat.

Apart from the wildlife in Periyar it is the best place in Kerala where you can see all the spices cultivated in natural surroundings. It is the prime place for the spice plantations like coffee, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, green pepper, areca nut etc. Moreover the cardamom from Periyar is the best available in India and is world famous. After boat ride proceed to nearby village where you can see the spices growing naturally. There will be also opportunities to taste some of the spices during the visit. Thereafter you can visit some of the spice markets also. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 09: THEKKADY – MADURAI - MEENAKSHI TEMPLE

After breakfast check out and drive to Madurai. Madurai known as the temple town of South India is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. One of South India\\\'s great temple towns, Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2500 years old. Madurai was an important cultural and commercial centre even as early as 550 AD. It was the capital city for the great Pandya kings. On arrival check into HOTEL for 01 night. Evening visit Meenakshi temple & witness the Pooja ceremony in the temple. Overnight stay at Hotel.

DAY 10: MADURAI- THIRUMALAI NAICKER PALACE & CYCLE RICKSHAW RIDE

After breakfast proceed for sightseeing including visit to Thirumalai Naicker Palace & enjoy the cycle rickshaw ride through the streets. Afternoon is free to relax and for your own activities. Overnight stay at Hotel.

DAY 11: MADURAI –TANJORE - SIGHTSEEING

After breakfast check out from the hotel & drive to Tanjore. On arrival check into HOTEL for 01 night. Tanjore was once the capital of Chola dynasty of temple builders who ruled South India between 10th and 14th centuries. Afternoon proceed for Tanjore sightseeing to visit The Nayak Palace, Brihadeeswara temple and Bronze casting by Tanjore craftsman. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 12: TANJORE – PONDICHERRY – AUTO RICKSHAW RIDE

After breakfast check out and drive to Pondicherry. On arrival check into the HOTEL for 01 night.  Pondicherry covers an area of 480 sq km consisting of four coastal regions of Pondicherry, Karakkal, Yanam and Mahe. These where the French possessions situated on the eastern coast along the three states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala transferred to the Indian Union in 1954. The places of Interest include Sree Aurobindo Asharm, the world famous Saint and Philosopher who came to Pondicherry and spent his life time here till death.  Auroville, is designed by the French architect Roger Anger. You will get an opportunity to have Rickshaw Ride through The Old French Quarter.  Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 13: PONDICHERRY – MAHABALIPURAM - SIGHTSEEING

After breakfast check out from the hotel & drive to Mahabalipuram.  On arrival check in to the HOTEL for 02 nights. Afternoon proceed for a half day guided sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram which includes Shore temples & Stone Monuments. Overnight at the Hotel.

DAY 14: MAHABALIPURAM

Day is free to relax on the beach or for your own activities. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 15: MAHABALIPURAM -CHENNAI DEPARTURE

After breakfast check out and proceed to Chennai airport for your onward journey after an ever memorable holiday in South India.


                                                                                                           TOUR ENDS…