TRAVERSING SOUTH INDIA
MADRAS(Chennai)- MADURAI- PERIYAR- COCHIN- OOTY- BANDIPUR-MYSORE-HASAN-BANGALORE
Introduction: Traversing the Deccan through the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu, through hills and waterways of Kerala and through jungles and ancient ruins in Karnataka; this tour provides an assortment of experiences. You see the prized bronze collection at Chennai museum and visit the famous Shore temple at Mahabalipuram. The Meenakshi Temple at Madurai offers an exciting opportunity to see their evening prayer ceremony. Some of the best wild life reserves are included in this tour and chances are that you may see
herds of wild elephants, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs,
wild dog, spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, chausingha, bonnet macaques and the giant squirrel. The Amba Vilas Palace in Mysore has the most exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. Hasan ….Bangalore…..
Jewels of Information:
CARNATIC MUSIC: The Classical music of South India is called Carnatic music. Though based on the general notes of melodic line and rythmic cycle, it is distinctly different from the north Indian style (Hindustani). It lays more emphasis on rhythm and is definitely more structured. Also, it is almost exclusively devotional. The instruments used are the mridangam, saraswati veena, violin, ghatam, tanpura and the nadasvaram.
Day 01 Wecome to Chennai
Arrive Chennai airport, where you will be greeted by our representative and transfered to your hotel.
Chennai was the site of the first settlement of the East India Company. It was founded in 1639, on a piece of land given by the Raja of Chandragiri, the last representative of the Vijayanagar rulers of Hampi.
Afternoon proceed for half day sightseeing tour.
Built in 1640 AD, the Fort St. George once served as the very first bastion of the East India Company. Now, it houses the Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly. The 46 metre - high flagstaff, that adorns the front of the structure, is actually a mast salvaged from a 17th century shipwreck. Another ancient landmark in the city, is the Madras Harbour, one of the finest in India, and entirely artificial, which has been around for almost a century. Mylapore in the south, is the site of the famous Kapaleeswarar Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a typical Dravidian gopuram. Visit all these sites in the afternoon.
Day 02 Chennai
Full day excursion to Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram.
Day 03 Chennai- Madurai
Drive to Madurai, 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.
Afternoon, proceed for sightseeing of Madurai. It is an important cultural and commercial center. It was once the seat of Tamil learning and still the place where the Tamil language is spoken in its purest form. The city is planned in the shape of a lotus. Modern Madurai is a burgeoning industrial center, even though the vast stretches of paddy fields, dusty roads and crowded bazaars make it seems like an overgrown village. Modernity has reached the city of Madurai, but not at the cost of its rich tradition and culture.
Sightseeing would involve the great Meenakshi temple dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva with its towering Gopurams. Later, visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace, a gracious building in the Indo-Saracenic style.
Also a visit to a primary school would be organized where the group members would have an idea of Indian education pattern.
Day 04 Madurai – Periyar
In the morning after breakfast drive to Periyar and check in at hotel.
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar lake - an artificial lake, at Thekkady. Here the high ranges of the Western Ghats are clothed in dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands. Below this thick green canopy roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.
Afternoon proceed for boat ride in the splendid artificial Periyar lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar Rive. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar, however are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.
Day 05 Periyar – Cochin
Drive to Cochin today. In the evening enjoy a sunset cruise on the backwaters to see the Chinese fishing nets.
Day 06 Cochin
In the morning after breakfast proceed for sightseeing tour of the city, which includes the Dutch palace, Jewish Synagogue, St Francis Church and also a walk through Mattenacherry to see the spice trading centre. In the evening witness kathakali dance drama performance.
Day 07 Cochin – Ooty
Embark a journey of five hours to Ooty,the "Queen of hill stations" is the capital of Nilgiri district
Rest of the day is free to explore the lush green panoramic view all around. The most sought sites to explore here comprise of Botanical gardens - a major tourist attraction which sprawl over 50-acres and lie on the lower slopes of Dodabetta peak, which is the highest point in Ooty. Then comes The beautiful Ooty Lake is a favourite haunt of tourists. It was constructed in the year 1825, through the initiatives of Mr. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. This lake was built in order to provide an irrigation tank to the people. You can also explore Govt Museum.
Overnight at hotel
Day 08 Ooty – Bandipur
Drive to bandipur today, lying in the shadow of the Western Ghats, is one of the finest habitats of the Asian elephant. Drained by the Moyar River, its open forest makes it easy for visitors to see the elephant and gaur in natural surroundings. The elephant rides are a wonderful way to get a feel of the jungle and view the birdlife.
Day 09 Bandipur
After breakfast in the morning proceed to explore the National park of Bandipur. The Tiger Reserve created here is among the first nine tiger reserve created in India at the launch of Project Tiger in 1973. It is contiguous to the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu to its south and to the Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary in the Indian state of Kerala to its south-west. To its north lies a vast stretch of cultivated lands. To its west lies cultivated land and habitation of the state of Kerala at a distance of eight kilometres separated by the Kannegala stream. To its northwest lies the Nagarahole National Park.
Day 10 Bandipur – Mysore
Drive to Mysore in the morning.
Mysore - 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. It also used to be the political capital of the Wodeyar dynasty which ruled the state of Karnataka for some 150 years till the independence of the country from the British. These kings were great patrons of art and culture and Mysore was the cultural capital of the south under the rule of the Wodeyars.
Afternoon drive upto Chamundi hill to see Chamundeshwari Temple and a panoramic view of Mysore. visit temple of Goddess Chamundeshwari, symbol of victory of Good over Evil is a 335 metre landmark with 1000 steps. Half way up along the stone steps is Nandi, a majestic 4.8 mts monolith. Atop the hill is huge statue of Mahishasura, the demon and a temple of Goddess Chamundeshwari, can also be reached by driving 13 Kms. Enroute back to Mysore also visit Bull Temple. Also see the Mysore Palace and the colourful fruit and vegetable market at Devaraja.
Day 11 Mysore
Morning excursion to the Ranganathitoo Bird Sancutry and Srirangapatnam to see the summer palace of Tipu Sultan. Afternoon visit the Hoysala temples at Somnathpur.
Day 12 Mysore – Hassan
Drive to see the Hoysala temples at Belur, Halebid. Overnight at Hassan. Hassan is an old township founded in the 11th century A.D. by Channa Krishnappa Naika Palegar This place was originally called 'SIMHASANA PURl'. The deity of the city is known as HASANAMBA being worshipped once in a year. By the side of this temple Lord SIDDESHWARA temple is also existing. Ancient paintings are spectacular on the walls and ceilings of the temple. Other than these Lord VIRUPAKSHA, KOLALU GOPALKRISHNA, CHENNAKESHWARA temple and Jain temples are also present the city..
Day 13 Hassan – Bangalore
Drive to Bangalore after a leisurely breakfast today. Afternoon at leisure to explore the city. You can take a stroll in evergreen Cubbon Park spread over an area of 500 acres dominated by the imposing granite building, the Vidhana Soudha the public library, a childrens park and an aquarium are located here. Adjoining it are the Government Museum and The Industrial and Technological Museum. Or take a leisurely walk around Lal Bagh the 250-acre botanical gardens laid out by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan over 200 years ago. Here a magnificent Victorian style glass house where flower shows are held twice a year, in August and in January. Overnight at hotel.
Day 14 Leave Bangalore
Today you will be transferred to airport for your onward journey.