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South India Temple Tour
Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Thanjavur – Trichy – Madurai – Bangalore – Mysore - Hassan (11 Days – 10 Nights)
Day 01 Arrive Chennai
Met on arrival and transfer to hotel.
Afternoon, Sightseeing tour of Chennai, captures the cultural kaleidoscope of South India with its ancient traditions, festivals, fine crafts, classical music and dance. Having begun as a British settlement 350 years ago, Chennai today still exudes the charm of a traditional lifestyle. The gateway to the south, the city provides many a fascinating vignette of its varied heritage. The Kapaleeswarar Temple, a magnificent example of Dravidian architecture, has inscriptions dating back to 1250 AD. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Parthasarthy Temple is another masterpiece originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century. The Fort St. George was built in 1640 AD and was the first bastion of British power in India. St. Thomas Mount where the Apostle St. Thomas was martyred in 72 AD is another fascinating facet of the city’s heritage.
Day 02 Chennai – Kanchipuram - Mamallapuram
(Drive: 72 + 74 km / 2 hrs)
Morning check-out of the hotel and, proceed to Kanchipuram - known as one of India’s seven sacred cities, the Golden City was the historical capital of the Pallavas, and later became the citadel of the Cholas, and the Rayas of Vijaynagar. Visit Ekambareswarar Temple, an ancient temple, the 57 meter high Rajagopuram, one of the tallest towers in South India. Other important temples are The Kamakshi Amman Temple, this is one of the three holy places of shakthi worship in India. Later drive to Mamallapuram. Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 03 Mamallapuram
Morning proceed for a sightseeing tour visiting the Shore Temple, one of the oldest temples. Unique about this temple is the fact that it houses shrines for both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Also visit The Five Rathas. There are five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They are also known as the Pancha Pandava Rathas. Four out of five Rathas are supposed to have been carved out of single rock. Arjuna’s Penance is the world’s largest bas relief measuring 27m x 9m. This huge whale-backed rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men beasts, birds and almost all of the entire creation.
Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 04 Mamallapuram - Pondicherry (210 km / 6 hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and proceed for Pondicherry Arrive and and check in at the hotel and later proceed for sightseeing tour of Pondicherry.
Pondicherry, the former French colony, houses the Aurobindo Ashram which promotes Aurobindo ideas in bringing about a synthesis of Yoga and modern science, so as to unite the spirit and matter.
Also visit Auroville - Shree Aurobindo and The Mother, his most eminent disciple, set up the Auroville in 1926. Together they explored the possibilities of yoga and meditation as a path to salvation.
Evening at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 05 Pondicherry – Thanjavur (54 km / 2 hrs)
Morning check-out of the hotel and Hotel and proceed for Thanjavur by surface (54 kms / 2 hrs), on arrival check-in at the hotel, later sightseeing tour of Thanjavur. Thanjavur is known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. The destination has a large share of the ancient temple wonders of South India. Visit Brihadeeswara or the Big Temple of God, an example of the magnificent achievements of the Cholas in the field of temple architecture. The tower over the inner sanctum sanctorum rises perpendicularly to a height of 15 meters from a square of 28.8 meters and then tapers to make a total height of 64.8 meters. The tower is capped by an 81.3 tonne
Monolithic stone slab adorned with winged niches on four sides. Also visit The Palace near the temple. It is a vast building of masonry built partly by the Nayaks around 1550 AD and partly by the Marathas. It is grand pile of buildings with huge corridors and spacious halls. Two of palace towers, the armory and the observation towers, are visible from all parts of the city. Also visit Saraswathi Mahal, a library which has over 30,000 palm leaf and paper manuscripts in Indian and European languages.
Day 06 Thanjavur – Tiruchirapalli (Drive: 128 km / 3 hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and proceed to Tiruchirapalli. Arrive and check-in at the hotel, afternoon sightseeing tour of Tiruchirapalli which is dominated by the Rock Fort, perched on a massive rock that soars 83 meters upwards from the surrounding plains. The present fort was built by the Nayak of Madurai and was the scene of Carnatic battles as late as the 18th century.
Visit the Rock Fort Temple and Srirangam, a picturesque island between the Cauvery River and its tributary Kollidam, north of Tiruchirapalli. Sri Ranganathaswamy temple is one of the largest Vaishnavite temple in south India built around the 13th and 14th centuries. With its 21 magnificent towers and stone pillars covered with a profusion of carvings. The temple is surrounded by seven walls within which the town itself is located.
Day 07 Tiruchirapalli - Madurai (Drive: 160 kms / 5 hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and proceed for Madurai. Arrive and check-in at the hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Madurai. In the heart of the town stands the overwhelming Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, with its immense gopurams towering over the city. The splendidly carved temple complex, the main attraction of the town, draws pilgrims and visitors from all over the country. Also visit Tirumalai Nayak Temple, The Palace Building, Constructed in the Indo-Sarcenic style, is considered to be an architectural feat, built in the 17th century. The palace has a number of pillars, their heights varying from 4m to 12 m, and 15 domes, three of them huge. The beautiful arches are unique in their ornamental workmanship. Also visit Vandiyur Mariamman Tank. This is a huge temple tank measuring 304.8m on each side, with a mandapam at its centre. Madurai is also a business centre famed for its traditional handicrafts in brass and bronze.
Day 08 Madurai – Chennai
(9W 3522 – 0830 / 0945 hrs)
Chennai – Bangalore
(9W 487 – 1115 / 1200 hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and transfer to the airport in time to board flight for Chennai. Arrive Chennai and connect flight for Bangalore. Assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel. Later proceed for sightseeing tour of Bangalore, one of the most pleasant cities of India takes in the central area which is studded with beautifully laid out parks, gardens, wide tree-lined avenues, imposing buildings and lively bazaars. Bangalore is famous for the Vidhan Soudha which is one of the India’s most spectacular buildings, built in granite in the neo-Dravidian style of architecture. The Cubban Park is a beautifully landscaped; full of flowering trees and covers the park is the lung of the city an area of 120 hectares. The park is the lung of the city and was laid out in 1864. Some of the other attractions in Bangalore include the Lalbagh Gardens, the Tipu Sultan’s Palace and the Bull Temple, one of the Bangalore’s oldest temples.
Day 09 Bangalore – Mysore (Drive: 130 kms / 3 hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and proceed to Mysore. En-route visit Srirangapattnam, summer Palace of Tipu Sultan, is an island fortress encircled by river Cauvery. High stone walls and moats enclose temples, palaces and a great mosque, on arrival check-in at the hotel.
Mysore sightseeing includes a visit to the Maharaja’s palace, the palace built in Indo-Sarcenic style. It is profusely decorated and gilded and has a solid jewel studded golden throne. The Jaganmohan palace converted into Art Gallery in 1875 exhibits paintings, which date back to that period.
Visit fabled Brindavan gardens with its dancing fountains. These breathtaking gardens, with their colorful lights are an important visitor attraction. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10 Mysore - Hassan (Drive: 190 kms / 5 hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and proceed to Hassan. En-route visit Shravanbelgola, a small village nestled between two hillocks. Arrive Hassan and check-in at the hotel, later visit Belur & Halebid.
BELUR - Situated on the banks of river Yagachi, Belur was the capital of the Hoysala Empire 800 years ago, before it was shifted to Dwarasamudra (Halebid). Belur is a small town basking in the glory of one of the greatest monuments of medieval India - the 12th century Chennakesava Temple at Belur commemorates the victory of the Hoysalas over the Cholas in the great battle of Talakad. The exterior is covered with a variety of intricately-carved sculptures and friezes. The interior contains exquisite panels and richly carved pillars. A tall stone pillar in the temple courtyard is balanced, amazingly, only by its centre of gravity.
HALEBID - Halebid was the ancient capital of Hoysala Empire, then known as Dwarasamudra, was founded in the early 11th century AD. It was raided by the armies of the Delhi Sultanate in 1311 and 1327. Deserted afterwards, Dwarasamudra came to be called Halebid or the Old Capital. Of the many buildings of this ancient city, only a few have survived Muslim invasion. Notable among them is the imposing Hoysaleswara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the evening return to hotel.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11 Hassan – Bangalore (Drive: 187 km / 4 hrs)
Bangalore - Mumbai
(9W 418 – 1630 / 1805 hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and drive to Bangalore. Arrive Bangalore and drop at the airport in time to board flight for Mumbai.
Assistance on arrival at Mumbai and direct transfer to the International airport in time to board flight for onward destination.
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