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Great Family Vacation - Extensive South India

Duration : 15 Nights / 16 Days
Places covered : Chennai - Covelong - Pondicherry - Tanjore - Trichy - Madurai - Periyar - Kumarakom - Cochin - Bangalore - Mysore - Chikmagalur - Bangalore - Mumbai
Code : FVI-017

South India Extensive Tour Day 1 : ABROAD - CHENNAI - COVELONG
Welcome to India !!! . On arrival our representative will meet you at the airport . Depart to Covelong (43 kms/1 hr). Upon arrival at hotel you will be provided with the traditional Indian welcome consisting of aarti-tikka and garlands with non-alcoholic welcome drink.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 2 : COVELONG
Fullday sightseeing tour of Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram.

Kanchipuram - Known as the Golden City of a Thousand Temples, is one of the oldest towns in India. It is famous for both its temples, many of them remarkably well preserved and for its hand-woven silks.

With the Sankara Mutt acting as the hub of Hindu activities and the temples, Kanchipuram is one of the most highly visited pilgrimage spots in India , and can rightfully be called the " Religious Capital of South India". Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities of India and it is the only one associated with both Shiva and Vishnu.

Kanchipuram Visit Ekambareshwar Temple, Kailashnath Temple, Kamakshi Temple, the Vaikunthaperumal Temple, all built in the 7th and 8th centuries. All the religious cities in India support one of the two sects in Hinduism - Vaishnavism and Shaivism, but Kanchipuram has blended itself equally to both the sects, dividing itself into Vishnu Kanchi, surrounding the Varadaraja Temple, and Shiva Kanchi, surrounding the Ekambareshwar (also spelt as Ekambareshwa) Temple, while the Kamakshi Amman Temple stands in between as a place of Shakti worship.

With a weaving tradition dating back to the Pallava era (when silk was the royal cloth), Kanchipuram is justly famous for its particularly fine silk saris, embellished with stunning patterns. Visit the local homes of the weavers and watch them create magic out of silk thread into saris.

Mahabalipuram Mahabalipuram Temples- Located at a distance of 58-km from Chennai, Mahabalipuram has everything that makes a site memorable; tradition, history, piety, western annals, and current importance as a centre of tourism.

The proper name of the site is "Mamallapuram", after Mamalla, an honorific of the Pallava king, Narasimha Varman I (630-668), who created the earliest of its monuments. But it is popularly called "Mahabalipuram", or "The city of Bali", whom Lord Vishnu chastised for his pride and of whom there is a relief in one of the excavated temples here.

This is a small, quiet seaside resort with a unique 7th-century Shore Temple, a lovely beach and some of the most beautiful rock-cut temples in the world. This, town was a workshop for temple building. Visit the seven pagoda-style shore temples, lashed by the waves of the sea and the seven rathas or temple chariots, a group of monolithic monuments & animal figures carved out of solid rock, the earliest known examples of Dravidian architecture.

End the visit by photography of the beautiful Shore temples at sunset.

Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 3 : COVELONG - PONDICHERRY
Pondicherry After breakfast drive to Pondicherry (162 kms/4 hrs)

Pondicherry- which was up until the 1950s, a far-flung outpost of the French maritime empire. It is so different from the rest of Tamil Nadu that one feels that one has entered another country!

Tour of Pondicherry - visiting Botanical garden, Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus and Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Later visit township of Auroville or the city of Dawn. Designed by a French architect Roger Arger, it is an entirely new concept in education and urban living.

Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 4 : PONDICHERRY - TANJORE
Post breakfast , drive amidst the enchanting lamdscapes to Tanjore. Upon arrival at Tanjore - check into hotel.

Explore the city of Tanjore in the Afternoon . The Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur is an architectural wonder and reflects the artistic skills of the erstwhile Chola rulers who ruled peninsular India in the early medieval period. Built by the Chola king Rajaraja I in the 11th century, it is one of the tallest temples in the world. It was so designed that the Vimana never casts a shadow at noon at any part of the year.

Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 5 : TANJORE - TRICHY - MADURAITrichi Temples
After breakfast drive to Madurai (190 kms/5½ hrs) enroute visiting Trichy

Trichy city tour includes : The most famous landmark of Tiruchirappalli is the Rock Fort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive rocky out crop which rises abruptly from the plain to tower over the old city

The city is a thriving commercial centre in Tamil Nadu and is famous for artificial diamonds, cigars, handloom cloth, glass bangles and wooden and clay toys.

Thereafter continue drive to Madurai. On arrival at Madurai - check into hotel. Madurai or the "city of nectar" is the oldest and second largest city of Tamil Nadu. This city is located on Vaigai River and was the capital of Pandyan rulers till the 14th century. The Pandyan king, Kulasekhara had built a gorgeous temple around which he created a lotus shaped city. Mythology says when city was being named; Lord Shiva blessed the city and its people. On the auspicious occasion some Divine nectar ("Madhu") fell from the matted locks of Shiva and hence the city was named "Madhurapuri". This sacred town of south attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors from India as well as abroad.

Evening visit of the Meenakshi temple - Leave the hotel for the temple by cycle rickshaws. At 9 PM, attend the night ceremony at the temple. This is a ceremony that takes place every evening when the temple bronze of Lord Shiva is carried to the bed chamber of Parvati. The procession is accompanied by religious prayer and temple music.

Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Meenakshi Temple
Day 6 : MADURAI - PERIYAR
Post breakfast drive to Periyar wild life reserve . Upon arrival at Periyar - check into hotel

Day 7 : PERIYAR
Say hi to the Tigers, at the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Trekking with a local guide familiarizes you to the rare birds, trees & flowers that are come across here.

You can even set upon a walk through the plantations filled with the heady fragrance of fresh spice. A boat safari on the Periyar Lake extends a lifetime's chance to spot exotic wildlife in its natural habitat - like the eccentric bathing habits of the wild elephants that come down to the lake. Thereafter at leisure to explore the neighboring spice market.
Overnight at hotel.

Vacation Review
StarStar
"The South India has truly amazed me with its palette of temples and archipelago coup. The cities here are matchless here with a wealth of past history and culture."
» Benjamin George, US

Day 8 : PERIYAR - KUMARAKOM (The famous Backwatwers of Kerala)
Kumarakom by road. A day at leisure at the enchanting , most natural Coconut Lagoon( Bungalow confirmed at present), Kumararakom. Day at leisure . The panaromic Back waters here offer an ideal retreat to enjoy nature at its best. Enjoy a sundowner cruise or simply relax by the poolside. You will also be able to indulge an Ayurveda therapy or a massage in your backwater resort.

Day 9 : KUMARAKOMKumarakom Resort
Full day at leisure for own activities. Overnight at hotel

Day 10 : KUMARAKOM - COCHIN
Post breakfast drive to Cochin (140 kms). Upon arrival in Cochin, check-in at hotel. Afternoon city tour of Cochin.

Cochin - Popularly known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Cochin is the oldest European settlement in India. Frilled with backwaters and rich with old world charm, this city has lured many a great voyager to its shores. Arrive Cochin & check into hotel

Tour of Cochin or "Kochi"- the palm green, commercial captial of Kerala is known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea". From time immemorial, Arabs, Chinese, Dutch, British & Portuguese seafarers followed the sea route to Kochi & left their impression on the town. Modern Kochi is thus a splendid mosaic of these myriad influences. Visit the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue, the Church of St. Francis, the Bolghatty Palace & the famous Chinese fishing nets

Evening witness the Kathakali dance performance - Kathakali is a unique dance which has a 2000 year old history with more than 100 different 'mudras' or gesture depicting deities, demons, heroes, heroines and kings - each based on episodes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, the two epic Indian myths. Overnight at hotel.

Day 11 :COCHIN - BANGALORE - MYSORE
Morning transfer to the airport for flight to Bangalore
Leave : Cochin at: 1205 hrs by: IC 909 Arrive: Bangalore at: 1420 hrs

Upon arrival in Bangalore - the guests will be met and proceed to Mysore (170 kms).Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

Nandi Hill Mysore Day 12 :MYSORE (The fragrant sandalwood city)
Post breakfast drive to Periyar wild life reserve . Upon arrival at Periyar - check into hotel

Located 770m above sea level and 140 Kms from Bangalore, Mysore, the imperial city, was the erstwhile capital of the Wodeyars. Also known as the city of Palaces, Mysore has never failed to mesmerise the tourists with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples.

Morning sight-seeing tour of Mysore -

Mysore is certainly a charming, old-fashioned and undaunting town dominated by the spectacular Maharaja's Palace, around which the boulevards of the city radiate. Nearby is the city centre with the colourful and frenetic Devaraja Market is inviting a stroll.

On the outskirts of Mysore, Srirangapatnam still harbours architectural gems from the days of the great Indian hero, Tipu Sultan, and the magnificent Hoysala temple of Somnathpur lies little more than an hour's drive away

Also visit the Zoological Garden, Mysore Arts & Crafts centre and then proceed to the Chamundi Temple on a hill above the city. Overnight at hotel.

Rajeshvari Temple Day 13 : MYSORE - CHIKMAGALUR
Morning drive to Chikmagalur (140 kms). Upon arrival, check-in at hotel

Chikmaglur - Younger Daughter's Town

The district takes its name from the head quarters town of Chikmaglur, which literally means 'Younger Daughter's Town'. It is said to have been given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna. Nestled in the Baba Budan hills, Chikmagalur is a calm, serene town full of scenic surprises hills, valleys, streams and snow-white coffee blossoms. Chikmagalur is also a trekker's delight, with its rugged mountain trails.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 14 : CHIKMAGALUR - BANGALORE
Morning at leisure. Post lunch drive to Bangalore (251 kms). Upon arrival, check-in at hotel. Evening free for shopping etc… Overnight at hotel.

Bangalore Day 15 : BANGALORE - MUMBAI
Morning transfer to the airport for flight to Mumbai
Leave: Bangalore at: 0855 hrs by: 9W 412 Arrive: Mumbai at: 1030 hrs

Upon arrival in Mumbai - the guests will be met & transferred to the hotel. Afternoon tour of Mumbai - is a great port city with its Victorian Gothic buildings from the British Raj Era mingling with the modern.

The tour includes : Gateway of India : Mumbai's principal landmark, the Gateway of India is a huge archway on the water's edge at Apollo Bunder.

Juhu Beach : Juhu is one of the largest and frequently visited beaches of India. Located 18-km north of the city centre, it's a beckoning beach on the shores of Arabian Sea and is one of the posh localities of Mumbai.

Marine Drive : Marine Drive located in the central Mumbai, built in the 1920s and 1930s on land reclaimed from the sea, is Mumbai's most famous thoroughfare.

Essel World : Perfect for a one-day holiday, Essel World offers over 40 exciting rides, games, and attractions. The Water Kingdom is said to be the largest of its kind in Asia.

Bollywood - The Film City : "Bollywood", as it is called, produces the second most number of pictures in the world every year, next only to Hollywood, U.S.A. Mumbai claims to be the world's largest production centre for films.

Day 16 : MUMBAI
Morning, one hour boat ride across Mumbai Harbour brings you to the lush green Elephanta Island. Here, visit some of the huge and intricately carved Elephanta Caves that date back to the 8th century. The rows of massive columns cut into solid rock from three magnificent avenue leads to the outstanding three-headed sculpture representing Brahma-the Creator, Vishnu-the Preserver and Shiva-the Destroyer. Dedicated to Shiva, the beauty and power of these phenomenal sculptures depicting the various manifestations of Shiva is overpowering (Closed on Mondays).

Late at night transfer to the International airport for flight back home.
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