Day 01 :
Arrival at Bangalore
Bangalore - Mysore
By Road 150 km in 03 hr
Reach Mysore and check in at hotel.
Mysore city was the capital of the old royal Mysore province. The word Mysore expands to "Mahishasurana Ooru" which means the town of Mahishasura. The story goes that the demon Mahishasura was killed by goddess Chamundeshwari atop the Chamundi hill near Mysore, and hence the name. Ever since, the Mysore royal family has worshipped Chamundeshwari as the palace deity. Hills dedicated to her stand at the eastern end of Mysore town today.
To the people of India the word Mysore is synonymous with Sandalwood, silk and fine inlay-work using ivory. It is the home of incense sticks dipped in sandalwood oil perfume base and has two well known incense factories - the Aravinda Parimala and the Vasu and Cycle brand (together these two account for 70% of the incense stick export from India). Mysore is also the home of many well regarded musicians and artists. It is even today the hub of the tourist map of Karnataka. Nearby are several places of interest to visitors, some of these are Brindavan Gardens, Srirangapattana, Rangana Tittu bird sanctuary, Chamundi Hills, Nanjanagudu, Bandipur forest reserve, Shivanasamudra falls, and Talakaadu.
Relax at the hotel.
Overnight will be at Mysore.
Day 02 Mysore:
Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Drive to Srirangapatnam on the outskirts of the city. This fort was the stronghold of Tipu Sultan, son of Haider Ali. Tipu made a last minute ditch against the British in 1799 before surrendering his kingdom. Among the many fort buildings still intact, are Tipu's airy Summer Palace and his tomb at the Darya Daulat Bagh (garden). Here, is also the celebrated Sri Ranganatha Temple.
Enjoy the sightseeing of the city.
Within the town are several places of interest. The grand palace with its four arched entrances stands at the centre of the town. Liberally covered with golden domes and home to the most expensive royal chair (Simhasana), made of gold and studded with diamond and precious stones, this palace rivals the best in the world. During weekends the whole palace is lit with thousands of lights, a great sight. Saint Philomina's church is a fine cathedral dating back to the 18th century. The Venkatappa art gallary has inspired many an artist and conducts courses in traditional painting, drawing and woodwork. It is also the birth-place for the Mysore wooden toys, which are exported worldwide.
Visit Sir Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery - Housed in the Jaganmohan Palace, this gallery has a collection of exquisite paintings dating back to 1875, the Russian Svetoslav Roerich and the traditional Mysore gold leaf style of painting.
Visit the LALITHA MAHAL Palace. Its main staircase built with white marble, and its front-end gardens, make the Lalitha Mahal a place to visit and enjoy.
In the evening visit Chamundi Hills - Towering over the city, these hills are 13 km away from Mysore. Halfway-up is the Nandi Bull, a 4.8 m monolith. On the top is the BRINDAVAN GARDENS which is quite a sight in the evenings.
Overnight will be in Mysore.
Day 03 : Mysore - Chennai
By deluxe train
Number : 2009
Departure : 1420 hr
Arrival : 2130 hr
Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Enjoy the palace in the morning and after a nice lunch in the hotel check out.
Proceed to the station (a heritage building) to take a deluxe express train to Chennai.
Our Representative will meet and assist you upon your arrival at the Chennai airport. Transfer to your hotel. Check in at hotel in Chennai.
The first British Warehouse came up in 1639 when the British acquired the sandy beach from the local Nayaks on lease. It was called Madraspatinam then. Later by 1654, the Fort St. George was built. Still later the neighboring villages were included in the city which came either as grants or gifts. Triplicane was rented from the Sultan of Golconda in 1676. In 1744 Robert Clive worked as a writer from the Fort, later to become a military man of British Army. The Fort House, which housed the Governor and his council, were added in the 17th Century, the Assembly Hall in 1910 and the Secretariat in 1925.
All the neighboring areas were merged into the city now known as Madras or as Chennai as it is officially known. Until Independence, Madras was the capital of what in British times was called the Madras Presidency, comprising nearly the whole of South India, including the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada speaking areas.
Relax at the hotel. Overnight will be at Chennai.
Day 04 : Chennai - Mahabalipuram
By Road 30 km in ˝ hr
Proceed for city tour of Chennai in the morning after breakfast.
Santhome Cathedral. Built by Portuguese in the 14th and 15th century, this Cathedral is named after St. Thomas. Historically important, it is one of the pilgrimages for the Christian community.
Fort St. George, one the first few bastions built by the east India company, marks the beginning of Chennai as a modern city. It occupies a place of pride and prominence in Chennai. This bastion achieved its name from St. George, the patron saint of England. The state legislature and the secretariat are located in Fort St. George. It houses the St. Mary's church the oldest Anglican Church in India which was built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. The Fort Museum, once a building that housed Chennai's first lighthouse, first commercial bank and first 'club', is now a well-kept repository of tangible memories of early Madras.
Kapaleeswarar Temple Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kapaleeswarar temple has inscriptions from the 13th century A.D. The temple 'Gopuram' (tower) is in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. The walls and pillars of temple have very delicate and intricate carvings which depict the scenes from Hindu mythology.
Drive to Mahabalipuram.
A few miles south of Chennai, at Mahabalipuram, on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal, a beautiful group of rock-cut monuments evokes the past. This ancient seaport was once the main harbor and naval base of the great Pallava Empire and is today the site
of an enchanting seaside assemblage of temples and shrines. It was well known in the 1st century known to Greek traders, and was the Pallava's second city. Though their power waned nearly 1200 years ago, they left a breathtaking legacy in four distinct kinds of sculpture, rathas (temple chariots), bas-relief sculptural panels, rock-cut caves, and free standing temples.
Seventh-century carvings of the Pallava dynasty include a series of freestanding boulders carved to resemble small temples and animals. Rock - cut caves and a masterful stone bas-relief are nearby. The 'Penance of Arjuna' relief, cut on two huge rocks, shows scores of figures of deities, people and animals including, according to one interpretation, the emaciated figure of Arjuna, the great warrior of the Mahabharata, standing on one leg and doing penance, praying to Lord Shiva for the strength to destroy his enemies. Sadhus of today perform this exact act of sacrificial devotion. On the adjacent beach stands one of South India's oldest temples, the Shore Temple, its foundations washed for twelve centuries by the frothy sea.
Reach and check in at hotel. Enjoy lunch at the resort.
Spend the rest of the day enjoying the beautiful resort by the beach.
Overnight will be at Mahabalipuram.
Day 05 : Mahabalipuram:
Enjoy breakfast at the resort.
Enjoy the visit of the city in the morning. (It is a very small town so would not take time in traveling)
CAVES: There are nine rock-cut temples. The Mahishasuramardhini cave, depicting the goddess fighting a demon on one side and Lord Vishnu's cosmic sleep on the other, is a particularly remarkable one.
KRISHNA MANDAPAM: A bas-relief, notable for its realistic representation. The panel relates to one of the stories of Lord Krishna.
ARJUNA'S PENANCE: This 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. And, this is easily the pride of Mamallapuram.
THE FIVE RATHAS: There are the five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They are also known as the Pancha Pandava Rathas - and four out of the five rathas are supposed to have been carved out of a single rock.
THE SHORE TEMPLE: This is one of the oldest temples. Unique about this temple is the fact that it houses shrines for both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. This belongs to the early 8th century AD and it is a classic example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in pure Dravidian style.
Enjoy your lunch and then return to your resort.
Spend time at your private beach.
Overnight will be at hotel.
Day 06 : Mahabalipuram - Chennai
By Road 30 km in 1 hr
Chennai - Madurai:
By Air Flight : IC 671
Airline : Indian Airlines
Departure : 1205 hr
Arrival : 1300 hr
Enjoy breakfast at the resort.
Drive to Chennai later in the morning for flight to Madurai. Reach and check in at hotel.
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. Madurai was the Capital city for the great Pandyas kings. Tamil & Greek documents record the existence of Madurai from the 4th Century BC. The city was known to the Greeks through Magathenes who was their ambassador to the court of Chandraguptha Mauriya. This city was popular in trade especially in spices. It was also the site the Sangam the academy of the Tamil Poets. And Madurai is the centre of all the cities and Madurai is famous for the cotton Sungudi Saris.
Check in at the hotel on top of a small hill with a beautiful view of the city. Enjoy the hotel in the afternoon.
In the evening proceed to the beautifully lit MEENAKSHI TEMPLE.
Madurai's Main attraction is the Famous Sri Meenakshi Amman temple a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with Gopurams carved from top to bottom in a breathtaking profusion of multicolored images of Gods. The temple dates back to 2000 years and was designed and built in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayaka during the reign of Tirumalai Nayaka. The Temple occupies an area of six hectares. There are 12 temple towers (Gopurams). The outer towers are the landmarks of Madurai.
Enjoy the EVENING AARTI ceremony at the temple. Overnight will be at Madurai.
Day 07 : Madurai:
After breakfast proceed for city tour of Madurai.
Enjoy the sightseeing of the temple town.
Thousand Pillar Museum: Located inside the temple and has a variety of collections.
Gandhi Museum: The Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the distinct places to be visited in Madurai. This Museum is one of the rare living memorials of "The Father of India". The Museum is set in relaxing grounds and has a clear historical account of India's struggle for Independence.
The Vishnu Temple: There is a Vishnu Shrine called Kudal Algar (Kudal is the former names this town) and it is said that Lord Vishnu came down to this place to give away Meenakshi to God Sundareshwara. The vimana or the tower of the god in the temple is of a very fine workmanship and is known as the Ashtanga Vimana. The Marriage of the Meenakshi is to have been celebrated on the day of Panguni Uttram generally occurring on the Full moon day of the month of Panguni (March - April). And is a very important Event in this place.
Thirumalai Nayak Palace: This Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. In these two parts, there are royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. King Thirumalai Nayak celebrated festivals like Sceptre festival, Navarathri, Chithirai festival, Masi festival and the Float festival. He conducted daily dance and music performances in the palace. This palace was destroyed by his grandson Chokkanatha Nayak and the valuables were transferred to other places. During the British rule, in 1822, Lord Napier made several renovation works.
Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam: Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is a huge temple tank about 5 km east of the Meenakshi temple. The mandapam in the centre has an idol of Vigneshwara (Vinayaka). It is said to have been found when the earth was being dug out from here to build the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. So, the place attained sanctity and was converted into a teppakulam (tank). This enormous temple tank is fed by water brought from the Vagai through an ingenious system of underground Channels. King Thirumalai Nayak born in 'Poosa' Star so in commemorating the birth of the king " Float Festival" is conducted in Tamil Month 'Thai' (Jan/Feb) in the tank in a colorful way, which attracts thousands of tourists.
Overnight will be at Madurai.
Day 08 : Madurai
Chettinad & Pillayarpatti excursions
100 km 1 & ˝ hr each way
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.
Drive to Chettinad and Pialarpatti for a day excursion.
The small town of CHETTINAD is one of the richest towns in South India. It still has the old cobbled lanes and mansions. A walk in the town or a rickshaw ride is very enriching. All the houses are in earth colours. The traditional CHETTINAD houses are made on an area of 2500 sq ft having around 60 to 70 rooms. They were built almost 100 years back. They were made of lime, sand and egg yolk especially imported from Rangoon. The construction material, decor items and furnishings were mostly imported from East Asia Europe. The chandeliers and teak came from Burma, crockery from Indonesia, marble from Italy, wall-to-wall mirrors from Belgium and crystals from Europe. French and other European destinations inspired the woodwork and stonework.
Enjoy lunch at a HERITAGE HOUSE.
Drive to the Lord Ganesh Temple at PILLAYARPATTI - This image of Ganesha is bound to be familiar to anyone of Tamil origin - however, little is known to many about the fact that this is an image of the rock cut Karpaka Vinayakar Shrine at Pillayarpatti near Karaikkudi is one of the oldest Cave Temples (Rock Cut).
Return back to Madurai and relax at the hotel in the evening.
Overnight will be at Madurai.
Day 09 : Madurai - Periyar
By Road 133 km in 3 hr Proceed for Periyar after a relaxed breakfast.
The river Periyar is the longest river in Kerala. This is the only perennial river in South India with clean water. The river occupies an important place in the history of Kerala. In the Sangam age Tamil epics such as Chilapathikaram, 'Akananuru', 'Purananuru' etc much has been said about this mighty river, formerly known as the 'Choorni Nadi' or 'Thamraparni Nadi' (Sukasandesam - stanza 66). A land route existed in the Sangam age from Mussuris (present-day Kodungalloor) to Madurai, which passed near the banks of the river Periyar. The capital of the old Chera Empire presumably existed on the banks of the river Periyar. It is believed that there was a flood in the 4th century AD that severely damaged the areas along the Periyar and the people living there had to escape to safer locations, abandoning their homes and livelihoods. The flood of AD 1341 resulted in the closing of Kodungalloor port and the opening of a new port at Kochi. The huge landslide that began in the high ranges as a result of the heavy downpours sent massive flows of mud and sand which created an Island at the 'Azhimugham' of the Periyar which is now known as the Vyppin Islands.
Reach and check in at your resort.
Enjoy lunch and in the afternoon proceed for a JUNGLE WALK in the national park with your guide.
Enjoy the dinner at the resort.
Overnight will be at hotel in Periyar.
Day 10 : Periyar
Leave the resort early in the morning (7 AM) for a boating excursion in the river Periyar running through the National Park. (private boat with your forest guide)
From the safety of the raft you can witness herds of wild elephants coming down to water and swim. The other prominent fauna to be seen are Tiger, Sambar, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Nilgiri Tahr, Wild Pigs, Wild dogs, Porcupine, Lion-tailed macaque, Malabar Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Sloth Bear, Gaur and Black Langur (Monkey). Tigers and Leopards seldom come to the lakeside by day.
Return and during the day visit the SPICE PLANTATIONS.
Enjoy cooking classes in the resort and find out about herbs and spice plants.
In the evening proceed for the KATHAKALI DANCE PRESENTATION.
Visit the SPICE MARKET which is the largest in Asia.
Overnight will be at Periyar.
Day 11 : Periyar - Kumarokom:
By Road 175 km in 4 hr
Breakfast will be at resort.
Proceed towards Kumarakom enjoying the beauty of the traditional Kerala houses.
You will also pass through rolling tea gardens and rubber plantations. Stop at a tea factory to see the tea - making process.
Kumarokom is an enchanting backwater destination surrounded by small villages and water streams. An unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with while lilies - this is Kumarokom.
Enjoy a visit to the BIRD PARK.
Reach the main jetty and check into a traditional houseboat of Kerala Style (luxurious and air-conditioned) and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake on a thatched houseboat.
The backwaters act as a vital waterway for the transport of goods, people and their produce are often the only link between isolated villages and crowded towns. In Kerala, the total expanse of backwater stretches over 1500 km, with a network of 44 rivers, lagoons and lakes from north to south. Alleppey which forms the main part of this network has the peculiar geographical feature of having the water in level with the land. This gives the advantage of getting a closer look at the village life on shore while on a backwater ride.
Talk to the crew and sip your tea while enjoying the backwaters and seeing life pass by. The meals and refreshments will be served on the boat.
Overnight will be at Houseboat.
Day 12 : Aleppey - Cochin
By Road 60 km in 01hr Cruise through the villages after breakfast.
Disembark the boat at Aleppey.
Aleppey is one of the most important tourist centers in the state, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the east". These large networks of canals provide Alleppey its lifeline. Alleppey was one of the busiest centers of trade in the past with one of the best known ports along the Malabar Coast. Even today it retains its charm as the centre for Coir carpet industries and prawn farming. Alleppey the ideal headquarters for backwater tourism as well as for visits to the lovely church filled town of Kottayam, and the town of Aranmula, famous for its historic Aranmula Snake Boat Race which is an annual event.
Drive through the small town and reach Cochin.
The eventful history of this city began when a major flood in AD 1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi, till then a land locked region, turning it into one of the finest natural harbors in the world. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European town-ship in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.
The Dutch wrested Fort Kochi from the Portuguese in AD 1663 and later in the last phase of the colonial saga, the British took over, the town in 1795. During 1660's, Fort Kochi peaked in stature as a prime commercial centre and its fame spread far and wide - variously as a rich trade centre, a major military base, a vibrant cultural hub, a great ship building centre, a centre for Christianity and so on. Today, centuries later, the city is home to nearly thirteen communities.
In the early evening proceed for a private harbor cruise. Enjoy watching the dolphins, the fishing island and the Bolghatty Palace. Cruise till the mouth of the sea and enjoy the sunset.
Return to the hotel and enjoy a seafood dinner.
Overnight will be at Cochin.
Day 13 : Cochin
Breakfast will be at the resort.
Proceed for a sightseeing tour of the city visiting the following:
Old Cochin area - this is one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The Jewish community traces its history to nearly 2000 years ago. In 1948 the community numbered 2500 and today there are fewer that 30 people. The community is still centered round JEWTOWN where you will visit its crown Jewel, the Paradesi Synagogue. Built in 1568 and reconstructed after a Portugese bombardment in 1662, the synagogue is distinguished by its tile roof and bell tower. The small synagogue is also known for its hand-painted, willow-patterned, blue and white Chinese floor tiles, and the many brass and crystal lamps that hang from the ceiling. Later visit the interesting International Pepper Exchange, also located in Jewtown.
Chinese fishing nets - The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea. Learn the operation of the interesting Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles which work on the principle of balance.
Lunch will be at the harbour view restaurant in BRUNTON BOATYARD.
The other important places are the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow, Mattancherry Palace, etc. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450.
Feel the essence of Kerala in Kathakali Dance in evening. Overnight will be at Cochin.
Day 14 Cochin - Mumbai: By Air
Flight : IT 122
Airline : Kingfisher Airlines
Departure : 1350 hr
Arrival : 1535 hr
Have a leisurely breakfast and proceed to the airport for flight to the next destination. Reach and transfer to the international airport in time for connecting flight home.
End tour with sweet memories of India.