KI - 17 Best Of South India
South India is a world in itself that needs to be explored to be understood. People are warmly and friendly and most speak English so for English speaking foreigners communicating is easy. The place is also extremely rich in culture. In fact two of the most famous dance forms of India-Bharat Natyam and Kathakali have South Indian origin.
Itourify India ensures that the traveller gets to see the major tourist attractions of this India package tour. As a result the highlights of the tour are the rock cut temples of Mahabalipuram, temples of Kanchipuram, old French colonies of Pondicherry, old Danish colonies of Tranquebar, Rockfort temple of Trichy, Meenakshi Temple of Madurai, National park of Periyar and not to forget the Kathakali dance in Cochin. Overall this trip is so enchanting for a tourist that many even come back for the same trip with more friends and family.
Day 01 :
Arrive Chennai and drive to Mahabalipuram (55 kms/01 hr) Arrive Chennai (formerly known as Madras), is known for its cultural heritage & temple architecture. The region was served as an important administrative, military, & economic centre dating back to the 1st century. The first Westerners were Portuguese, who arrived in the year 1522 & built a port. It then passed on to the Dutch in 1612. In 1639 the British East India Company established a fort & trading post & since then this coastal centre of trade has drawn traffic from all over the world.Arrive meet representative & transfer to Mahabalipuram. Overnight at Mahabalipuram.
Day 02 :
Tour of the city Mahabalipuram also known as the seven pagodas, Mahabalipuram is a pleasant seaside resort, 85 Kms from madras. Today the principal attraction of the place to the tourist lies in the wonderful monolithic monuments and stone sculptures of the ancient pallava dynasty of kings who ruled much of the territory now known as Tamil Nadu, from the 16th century a.d. these kings laid the foundations of Dravidian architecture in India and at Mahabalipuram, today, the earliest of these remarkable monuments are to be seen, all hewn out of rocks. The important monuments to be seen are the five rathas, the bas-relief on huge rock popularly known as arjuna's penance, the mahisasura mandapam, the krishna mandapam and the shore temple.Overnight at Mahabalipuram.
Day 03 :
Day tour Kanchipuram Kanchipuram is the ancient capital of the Pallavas famous as a city of 1000 Temples and still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings on the walls. Temples of Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks .Overnight at Mahabalipuram.
Day 04 :
Drive to Pondicherry (162 kms/04 hrs) Morning drive to Pondicherry. Pondicheery situated on the Coromandel coast, about 160 kms south of Chennai, lies the Union Territory of Pondicherry. The French ruled this territory for 300 years, and today, it stands as a living monument of the French culture in India. It is bound on the east by the Bay of Bengal and on the other three sides by the South Arcot District of Tamil Nadu. About 150 kilometres south of Pondicherry, on the east coast, lies Karaikal, while Mahe is situated on the Malabar coast. Yanam is situated in the adjoining East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.
Pondicherry traces its origin to Saint Agasthya, the revered sage of the south. The excavations near Pondicherry reveal, that a Roman settlement existed here, 2000 years ago. It was also the site of many a battle between the British and the French, and was the capital of French India, before it attained its independence.
This restored, attractive, former French colony, exudes a Mediterranean aura with its chic streets, elegant houses, ornamental gardens and the Hotel de Ville. Being a small and quiet enclave of Tamil Nadu, it has imbibed the Tamilian culture. Apart from the charming atmosphere, excellent restaurants and cheap beer, what attracts most travellers to Pondicherry is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its offshoot, Auroville, 10 km outside town. The ashram, founded by Sri Aurobindo in the year 1926, has brought international reputation to this coastal town. The ashram, the spiritual tenets of which combine yoga and modern science is quite popular within India and abroad.
Day 05 :
Tour of the city Morning sightseeing of Pondicheery, The community of Auroville consists of Indian & International residents who aim to develop a harmonious environment through the implementation of the teachings Sri Aurobindo & The Motherr. Upon arrival visit Matri Mandir which was designed to be the spiritual & physical centre of Auroville (Temple is opened between 1530-1630 hr). Further drive to Pondicheery, the land of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the serene world of distinct spiritual vibration & thus renowned as Sacred Land.
Day 06 :
Drive to Tranquebar. (120 kms/03 hrs) P.M. Tour Tranquebar was founded by the Danish East India Company in 1620 when the main fort in Trankebar city, known as Fort Dansborg, was built by a Danish captain named Ove Gedde as the residence of the governor and other officials for about 150 years. It is now a museum hosting a collection of artefacts from the time of Danish presence in the region. Tranquebar was taken by the British in 1801, but restored in 1814, and finally purchased, along with the other Danish settlements in India, in 1845.
Day 07 :
Drive to Tanjore. (105 kms/03 hrs). P.M. Tour Tanjore is the "Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu" and famous for the Brahadeeswarar Temple. The temple was constructed more than thousand years ago by the King Rajarajan, is an architect's marvel. It is a flourishing centre for bronze sculpture and painting.
Thanjavur was the royal city of the Cholas, Nayaks and the Mahrattas. Thanjavur was at height of its glory during Rajaraja Cholan. The Big Temple and the other famous temples in the district are known all over the world. Thanjavur was the cultural capital of the country in 1790. Thanjavur gained prominence during the period of Chola Kings, who made it as their capital. It is known as the Granary of the South India lying in the deltaic region of the famous river Cauvery and criss-crossed by lengthy network of irrigation canals.
Thanjavur lies to the east of Trichy and has the reputation as the "Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu". The Tamil University, set up recently is situated here and is devoted to the growth of Tamil literature and language. One of the best temples in South India, the Brihadeeswarar Temple or the Big Temple built by the greatest Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola, is that dynasty's finest contribution to Dravidan temple architecture. If the Big Temple is an ancient landmark of Thanjavur, the Tamil University a Temple of learning could be spoken of, as its modern counterpart with its impressive temple-like facade along with its library housed in a circular building resembling the architectural style of India's parliament.
At Tanjore, the beautiful Chola Temple of Brihadeeshwara is capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite block weighing 80 tons which was taken to the top with the help of a 6 km long ramp, an old technique used by the Egyptians for building pyramids. Its bronzes and handicrafts make Tanjore one of the highlights of a visit to South India.
Day 08 :
Drive to Trichy. (54 kms/01 hr) P.M. Tour Drive to Trichy. Tiruchirappalli, situated on the banks of the river Cauvery is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. It was a citadel of the early Cholas which later fell to the Pallavas. Trichy is a fine blend of tradition and modernity built around the Rock Fort. Apart from the Fort, there are several Churches, Colleges and Missions dating back to the 1760s. The town and its fort, now in Trichy were built by the Nayaks of Madurai. This city has given great Tamil scholars whose contributions to the Tamil literature have been very significant. The most famous land mark of this bustling town is the Rockfort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive rocky out crop which rises abruptly from the plain to tower over the old city. It was one of the main centers around which the wars of the Carnatic were fought in the 18th century during the British-French struggle for supremacy in India. 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.
Afternoon visit Srirangam Vishnu temple, Rock Fort, Puranic Vinayaka Temple. Trichy was the citadel of the Chola dynasty in the medieval period. In the 18th century it witnessed the Carnatic wars fought between the French and the English. Lord Robert Clive's house is still there to see and so is the Danish Church. The Rock-Fort is the landmark of Trichy. A climb of 434 steps leads to the ancient temple of Ganapati on top and a further climb to a Shiva temple.
Day 09 :
Drive to Madurai (128 kms/03 hrs) Drive to Madurai it is 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.
The Pandyan King Kulasekarar built a great temple and created a lotus shaped city around the temple. On the day the city was to be named, as Lord shiva blessed the land and its people, divine nectar (Madhu) was showered on the city from his matted locks. This city was henceforth known as Madhurapuri. Madurai is famous for Jasmine Flowers. Evening attend the closing ceremony at Meenkshi 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. He is taken back to his temple around 6 am each morning.
Day 10 :
Tour of the city Morning visit city. Visit the great Meenakshi Temple dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva with its towering gopurams (rising high above the surrounding country side). Later, visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace - A gracious building in the Indo saracenic style, famous for the Stucco work on its domes & arches. Also visit the Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock temple. Overnight Madurai.
Day 11 :
Drive to Periyar (160 kms/04 hrs) Morning after Proceed to Periyar check in to the Hotel and relax. at the Periyar sanctuary to be set up in 1934, it extends to 777 square kms & forms part of the high mountain ranges, the Western Ghats. Wild life can be seen while cruising on Periyar Lake in a motor boat. The park encompasses a 26 sq km artificial lake and is the home of sambars, wild boars, elephants and antelopes, which can be occasionally seen on the banks of the river during a boat cruise. Periyar, otherwise, blessed by Nature has enormous tea, coffee, pepper and cardamom plantations and has lush green hills. Overnight.
Day 12 :
Tour of the national park and boat ride in the lake Morning boat cruise on Lake Periyar to view the wildlife later visit spice shopping & back to the hotel and relax.
Day 13 :
Drive to Cochin (195 kms/05 hrs) Morning drive to Cochin . Cochin is the natural harbour created by the famed underwater Malabar mud-banks whose quality ensures that the rougher the seas are outside the calmer the waters are within the Harbour.Vasco-de-Gama placed it on the world map. Cochin is known as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea,” Kochi (Cochin) entices with a rich cultural legacy dating back to the 15th century. Overnight at Cochin.
Day 14 :
Tour of the city and in the evening kathakali dance show. Morning sightseeing of Cochin . Visit the Mattancherry Dutch Palace - open from 10.00 to 15.00 hrs.(closed on Fridays and public holidays), which was built by the Portuguese in 1555 and renovated by the Dutch in 1663. In the ancient rooms are 17th century murals that relate in vibrant colour the story of the epic Ramayana. Visit a Jewish Synagogue - open 10.00 to 12.00 hrs. & 15.00 to 17.00 hrs.(closed on all Saturdays and Jewish holidays) in Jew Town and Fort Cochin Area - Legend dates Jewish trade with Kerala from the times of King Solomon. There are a couple of streets of picture-postcard houses out of another age, in 17th century Dutch and traditional Kerala styles. Visit St. Francis Church - open from 09.00 to 13.00 hrs. and 14.30 to 17.30 hrs.(closed for visitors on Sundays from 08.00 to 11.00 hrs.) the oldest European Church in India. It has several antiquities including a wealth of records. These include a palm-leaf title deed the local Raja gave the Portuguese in 1503. See the Chinese Fishing Nets, along the tip of Fort Cochin unique to this part of Kerala and living symbols of a centuries-old Chinese influence on this coast. Evening attend a performance of the world-renowned Kathakali dancers tonight, enjoying Kerala’s highly evolved classical form of dance, drama and music dating back 400 years. The interesting part would be seeing the dress up of the performers before the dance. The way they colour themselves with natural products collected from the nature. Overnight at Cochin.
Day 15 :