Dravidian Trails

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Dravidian Trails

Trip Highlights :- Bangalore | Puttaparthi | Mysore | Chennai | Mahabalipuram | Pondicherry | Tiruchirapally | Madurai | Kanyakumari | Kovalam | Cochin | Periyar | Cochin |

Tour duration : 20 Nights / 21 Days

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Cities visited :-

Bangalore : Also known as Bengaluru, is designated as the capital of the state of Karnataka. The name of the city is synonymous with the IT (Information Technology) revolution in the country. The city has turned into a major commercial, industrial, and cultural hub in South India. Bangalore is one of the fastest developing metropolitan areas in India and houses many software companies, aerospace engineering and research institutes, telecommunication companies, and defense organizations. A number of nicknames are used to describe Bangalore including the 'Silicon Valley of India', 'City of Gardens', and 'Pub Capital of India'. The city houses a number of scenic parks, movie theater complexes, boulevards, and famous memorials and edifices. The city features an exciting nightlife with a host of exotic pubs. The weather of Bangalore is truly enjoyable and as a result, this city attracts thousands of travellers round the year and is a popular traveler destination.

Puttaparthi : Puttaparthi is the home of the spiritual guru, Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The place used to be a quiet village which gained popularity and became famous when it became the home of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, said to be the reincarnation of the Shirdi Sai Baba, a saint who lived in the beginning of the 20th century. Puttaparthi draws a large number of tourists and devotees all year around. Located in the southwest part of Andhra Pradesh. The main attraction of Puttaparthi is the Prashanti Nilayam. This is an Ashram where Sri Sathya Sai Baba resides and blesses his followers. His disciples constructed the Prashanti Nilayam meaning the abode of peace. A large number of devotees attend his birthday celebrations in Puttaparthi, where he delivers his teachings of Sathya (truth), Dharma (righteousness) Shanti (peace), Prema (universal love) and Ahimsa (non violence) to his devotees.

Mysore : Mysore is a city in the state of Karnataka, and the administrative seat of Mysore District, one of the largest districts. Patrons of art and culture the Wodeyars ruled Mysore kingdom and contributed significantly to the cultural growth of Mysore city. It was the former capital of the Kingdom of Mysore until 1947. Mysore is the name by which Karnataka State was known prior to 1973. It is the cultural capital of the Karnataka, has many educational, commercial, administrative centers and heritage monuments. It was the home for many great Musicians, Music composers, Dancers, Sanskrit scholars, Writers and in general intellectuals. The city with the majestic Mysore Palace, the Royal Mansions, Public buildings, Gardens, Water bodies and planned markets exhibit an indelible impression of the vision of the Maharajas, their Dewans and other talented luminaries on the City Municipality as early as 1862. Mysore Palace, the main palace of Mysore is one of the most visited monuments, the city receives the maximum number of tourists during the Dussara festival which signifies the triumph of good over the evil and the worship of Devi Chamundeswari, is being celebrated with much pomp and glory as a State festival.

Chennai : Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is famous for being the hub of classical National Dance of India, Bharatanatyam. Chennai is the fourth largest metropolitan city of India. It is both the commercial and cultural capital city of the south-eastern state of Tamil Nadu. The city is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. The British developed the city into a major urban centre along with a strong naval base in the 17th century, by the 20th century, it became an important administrative centre. In 1639, the British took over the place and made it the capital of the British presidency. It used to be the centre of conflict for the supremacy of the British and the French. Today, the city is developing rapidly and has become a fast growing city in India. Currently there are many major industries in the field like Automobile, Hardware manufacture, Technology, Health and Education. It is also known as the automobile capital of India. Beside these major industries, it is also top in sports and includes a number of stadiums in order to promote it. Chennai is blessed with art and literature so it is also famous for its Film Industry.

Tirupati : Tirupati is one of the ancient cities, the city is specially known for the ancient temples of which the temple of Tirupati is the mostly visited religious place located in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The temple of Tirupati is built in the foothills of the Tirumala Hills. This temple is very popular among the devotees and the tourists who visit this temple from different states of India and abroad. The Tirupati Temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara who is also popularly worshiped as Balaji. Sometimes, he is also referred as Lord Srinivas. The temple town surrounding this holy temple area is known as Tirumala – Tirupati. The Greater Tirupati that was constructed very recently extends for an area of about 1400 km from Srikalahasti to the Puttur. The temple of Lord Venkateshwara is maintained by an autonomous trust known as Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD). Shaving one's head is one of the rituals that the devotees of Venkateshwara follows after visiting this holy temple. This ritual has descended after the Vaishnavite tradition. Offering one's hair to Lord symbolizes shedding one's ego.

Mahabalipuram : Mahabalipuram, situated about 60 km south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, is an ancient port town known for its stone carvings and stone temples. Built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries, the port city of Pallavas has been classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known by several names such as Mamallapattana and Mamallapuram, the town was known to ancient mariners as "Seven Pagodas" alluding to the Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram literally means 'city of the Great Bali'. Derived from Mamallapuram, Mahabalipuram is a modern name of the town. The town got its name after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler) and Mamallapuram was 'the city of great wrestler'. Pallava kings ruled Mamallapuram from their capital Kanchipuram and used the port to launch diplomatic missions to Ceylon and Southeast Asia. Chinese and Roman coins have been found at Mamallapuram revealing the port as an active hub of global trade. The city of Mahabalipuram was largely developed by the Pallava King Narasimhavarman I in the 7th century AD. The modern city of Mahabalipuram was established by the British in 1827.

Pondicherry : Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry) is a Union Territory of India. It is a former French colony, consisting of four non-contiguous enclaves, or districts, and named for the largest, Pondicherry. In September 2006, the territory changed its official name from Pondicherry to the vernacular original, Puducherry, which means "New village" in the Tamil language. The territory is called Puducherry in Tamil, or "Pondichéry" in French. It is also known as The French Riviera of the East. 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.

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. Also called as 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. 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.

Cochin : Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin. Over the years, it has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai). Cochin is proud of its world class port and international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide. This lovely seaside city is flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. It is situated in Ernakulam district. Ernakulam is also the name of a town - the administrative capital of Ernakulam district but, for all practical purposes Ernakulam and Cochin, generally, refer to the same place.

Periyar : Synonymous with elephants, misty hills and plantations, Periyar in Idukki district captures the essence of all that is wild and wonderful. The most prestigious region on the high ranges of the Western Ghats, the Periyar Tiger Reserve is located on the Cardamom Hills of Thekkady. Sprawled majestically across 777 sq km, Periyar Sanctuary, declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978 under the Project Tiger Scheme, attracts travellers from all over. An environmental hotspot, Periyar Sanctuary is noted for its geomorphology, diverse wildlife and beautiful landscape. Encompassing a 26 sq km artificial lake, the rich jungles of Periyar is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves. The lake which serves as a watering hole for the animals during summer, harbours within itself a unique aquatic ecosystem. A cruise along it is perhaps the best way to watch the wildlife in the reserve. Exciting trekking trails and other adventure activities like tracking the tiger, jungle patrolling etc. await the tourists at this enchanting Sanctuary.

Madurai : Madurai is one of the important and second largest cities in Tamil Nadu in South India. As it is endowed with a rich cultural heritage and glorious traditions, Madurai is included in the group of antique cities present in India. The history of Madurai dates back to 6th century B.C. During that period, the city was the much-acclaimed capital of the Pandya kings. Back then, it functioned as an important commercial center of South India. It held sway over many small towns in the South. Madurai is famous for its temples, monuments and ancient cultural wonders. Madurai's Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is one of the greatest architectural marvels of India. Built by the Pandya King Kulasekara and reconstructed later by Tirumalai Nayakar, the temple has patronized literature, art, music and dance ever since its inception. The entire city is built around the Meenakshi Amman temple. Madurai is firmly anchored in Tamil literature and tradition. It is home to many poets and artisans. It houses an abundance of literary wealth of both classical and modern Tamil. It was the seat of the Tamil academy in the past. The city has been a center for learning and pilgrimage for centuries.

Day 01: Arrive Bangalore

Arrival in Bangalore, our representative will meet and welcome you at the lounge and provide transfer assistance from airport to hotel. Upon reaching your hotel, you will be handed over the travel documents with a complete briefing of tour by the representative. Check-in and proceed to your room. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 02: In Bangalore

Breakfast and check-out. Transfer to airport to board the morning flight for Bangalore, upon arrival transfer assistance and check in at hotel.
Late afternoon proceed for the sightseeing of the city to visit following places:-
Lal Bagh - Sprawling in area of 240 acres of land with colourful flower beds. The garden is a result of attempts made by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan who imported a great variety of trees and plants from across seas. You can find a great variety of tropical and sub tropical plants, trees and herbs that are abundant in their natural beauty. Lal Bagh is among one of the most beautiful gardens in India. An intricate water system of 17th century is used to irrigate the plants is observed within the garden. It also has a magnificent glass house built in 1840, on the lines of London's Crystal Palace. With marvelous collection of flowers, the Crystal Palace looks very vibrant.
Cubbon Park - The Park has been named after Mark Cubbon who was Bangalore's longest serving commissioner. Beautiful roads, blooming trees and placid plains are spread all around. Cubbon Park is a lush, grassy expanse with flowerbeds adding to the subtle beauty of the park. The park also has several elegant Greco-colonial style building showing British influence. There are a number of monuments within the park including a memorial hall located at the center of the park that is dedicated to Aeshadri Aiyar, Jawahar Bal Bhavan, Children's Park and a Museum. The museum was established in 1866 and is housing the specimens of Vijaynagar and Halebid, Mohenjadaro architecture, ancient coins and stone inscriptions which are as old as 5000 years. This, one of the oldest museum in India, can be visited on all; days except Mondays from 08:00am to 05:00pm. At the entrance you can see a diamond shaped aquarium, the second largest in the country, There is a good collection of exotic fishes in the aquarium. The park remains closed on Mondays.
Vidhan Soudha - Standing tall over Cubbon Park is the giant edifice, a granite building housing the Secretariat and the State Legislature. This building presents a breath taking picture when floodlit on Sundays. The building was built in 1954 in Dravadian style and occupies a total land area of 5,05,000 sq ft. The door of the cabinet room is made of pure Sandalwood. The four-storey building also houses a tomb that can be seen on all working days between 15:00 and 17:30 hours with permission of under secretary.
Tipu's Palace - A beautiful wooden palace which served as the summer retreat of Tipu Sultan is situated a little south of the fort near 'city market' at Krishna Rajendra Road and Albert Victor Road junctions. Kempe Gowda first raised this fort with mud in 1537. In 1761, Hyder Ali renovated it to standard stone structure. Portions of the fort got destroyed during battle between Britishers and Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan, son of Hyder Ali, repaired the damage.
A temple dedicated to Hindu deity Ganesha can be found inside the fort. There is also a museum that houses a large number of artifacts that proclaim bravery of Tipu Sultan.
Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 03: Bangalore / Puttaparthi (155 Km)

Breakfast and check-out from the hotel. In the morning depart for Puttaparthy by surface and on arrival check-in at hotel.
During the day time visit the Sathya Sai Baba Ashram - This Ashram is the major tourist attraction of Puttaparthi, this is the place where Sathya Sai Baba used to stay between the months of July to March. It was the year 1926 when the mankind was blessed with the divine soul to rely upon and the year 1950 was the one in which this ashram came into existence.
Prashanthi Mandir - This is the main temple in the Ashram, consisting of a two-storey structure built in granite. Constructed in 1950, it has a central prayer hall where bhajans (or devotional music, so strong in the Sathya Sai tradition) are held daily. The omkar (chanting of the sacred Om) and the suprabhatam (morning invocation to Sai Baba) are also held here in the early mornings at 4 am. Ornately decorated with silver and gems, the shrine contains large images of Shirdi Sai Baba (interestingly his robes here are saffron instead of white) and Sathya Sai Baba. These are flanked by columns displaying the symbols associated with the major religions of the world. There is also a large marble idol of Shirdi Sai Baba on a silver throne to one side, and an empty gold throne representing the seat of the living deity to the other side. It is particularly moving to visit the place during the omkar and bhajan when the air is resonant with the cadences of human voices united in a spirit of yearning and devotion. The morning prayers are followed by a two-minute meditative silence after which the congregation disperses and the temple lights are switched on.
Chitravati River - If you are wondering about if there is a place of immense scenic beauty in Puttaparthi then all that you need is a trip to Chitravati River.
Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 04: Puttaparthi / Mysore (304 Kms)

Early breakfast and check-out from the hotel. In the morning depart for Mysore and upon arrival check-in at hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 05: In Mysore

Breakfast. In the morning visit Srirangapatnam and visit Daria Daulat Bagh, popularly known as the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan. During the rise of Hyder Ali, the general of Mysore King, Srirangapatnam came into prominence. Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan converted Srirangapatnam into a fortified city. Tipu Sultan popularly known as the "Tiger of Mysore" ruled Mysore from Srirangapatnam for a short time. Hyder Ali started the construction of this structure, though it was completed by Tipu Sultan in 1784.
Later return and visit the Mysore Palace, it was the official residence of famed Wodeyar Maharaja's, the erstwhile royal family of Mysore state. This palace built in Indo-Saracenic style and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture and it's construction was completed in year 1912. It was designed by British architect Henry Irwin, the palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. The decedent's erstwhile royal family live in a portion of the Palace. The palace is now converted into a museum that treasures souvenirs, paintings, jewellery, royal costumes and other items, which were once possessed by the Wodeyars.
Visit, Saint Philomena's Cathedral - This beautiful Cathedral built in neo-Gothic style with beautiful stain glass windows and lofty towers is among the most majestic churches in India. Its architecture was inspired from Germany's Cologne Cathedral. The twin spires of the Cathedral, 175 feet in height, make it a distinctive city landmark. The main hall of the cathedral can seat up to 800 people and is as exquisitely conceived as the ornately crafted exterior with beautiful stained glass windows. The cathedral has a crypt that houses a beautiful statue, acquired from France, of Saint Philomena, a 3rd century saint from Greece.
Visit, Chamundi Hills, one of the prime attractions of Mysore, located at an altitude of 1065 mt. to the south-east of Mysore city. The Chamundeshwari Temple, atop Chamundi Hills, is the temple of the patron Goddess of Wodeyars, Chamundeshwari, an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi. Chamundeshwari Temple, dates back to 12th century, it was built by Hoysalas while the temple tower built by Vijayanagar Kings. The Temple has fine quadrangular structure of Dravidian style of architecture. There is a statue of demon king Mahishasura in front of Chamundeshwari Temple. The history behind the Temple is that Goddess Chamundeshwari killed demon Mahishasura at the top of Chamundi hill, so Goddess Chamundeshwari is referred as the goddess of Mysore. Now this Temple is maintained by the Royal family of Mysore.
There is a huge monolith idol of Nandi - the bull, at the Bull Temple, which is situated half way up the Chamundi Hills. The statue of Nandi, which is about 5 mt high, was carved out of single black-granite in the year 1659. The Nandi at this Bull Temple is one among the largest statues of Nandi in India. Return to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 06: Mysore / Chennai (by Train)

Train schedule: 12008 Shatabdi Express, departure from Mysore Junction at 1415 hrs / arrival at Chennai Central at 2125 hrs (Train doesn't operates on Wednesday) Breakfast at hotel. Check-out from hotel by noon. In-time transfer to railway station to board train for Chennai. Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 07: In Chennai

After breakfast and check-out from hotel. In the morning proceed for the sightseeing and visit following places of interest:-

Visit The Fort St. George Museum The fort houses a St. Mary's Church and Fort museum. St. Mary's Church the oldest Anglican Church in India built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. The museum opened to public from 31st Jan 1948, it began with a small collection of objects of the British Raj donated by the then Madras Presidency Government, the St. Mary's Church authorities, the disbanded army units and others. Over the years many objects were acquired by various means and there are now 3661 registered antiquities in the collection. The antiquities are displayed in ten galleries spread over three floors. An imposing marble statue of Lord Cornwallis (1738-1805) greets the visitors. Arms like Swords, Daggers, Rifles and Pistols, Mortars, Petard, Cannon shots, Breast plates, Helmets, baton, and fragments of shells fired at and in defence of Madras during the freak attacks during the World Wars, besides native weapons like bow and arrow.
The uniforms of various ranks of the British Army, ceremonial dress of Madras Governor's Bodyguards are displayed in the Uniform and Medals Gallery. Various porcelains used as official tableware by the East India Company and similar ware of the Arcot Nawabs are displayed in the Porcelain Gallery. The Indo-French Gallery contains exhibits like fine, decorated Porcelain, Clocks, Stamps and Coins issued by the French in India.

Kapleshwara Temple, one of the sacred shrines in Tamil Nadu is Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, it is a Siva Temple, and the name of the Lord is Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar. The name of the Goddess is Arulmigu Karpagambal. The notable feature of this structure is the 37-mt tall gopuram, A masterpiece of Dravidian style and displays the architectural elements - gopurams, mandapams and a tank. The view of the temple and the tank is picturesque. As per Hindu mythology, Parvati the consort of Siva performance penance and worshipped Kapaleeswarar in the form of Peacock [Mayil in Tamil] and hence the name of the place Mylapore.

St. Thomas Church, holy ground one which contains the tomb of St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles (that is, closest associates) of Jesus Christ. He came to India in the year 52 AD, preached on the West Coast and Chennai (formerly Madras), died in this city in 72 AD, and was buried in Santhome, This Shrine, stands over his tomb. In fact, the Basilica is so constructed that the smaller of its two towers stands exactly over the tomb of St. Thomas. This is also the shrine where the next most famous missionary to India, St. Francis Xavier (whose body is venerated in Goa), spent four months in the year 1545, and used to pray before the statue of "Our Lady of Mylapore". The structure is what is known as "Gothic," like the most famous Cathedrals of Europe (Cologne, in Germany, for instance, or the great Cathedrals of France).

The Thousand Lights Mosque, is one of the largest mosques in the country and a revered place of worship for Muslims. It was built by Nawab Umdat-ul-Umrah in 1810. There is an interesting story behind the name of the mosque. It is said that 1000 lamps needed to be lit in order to illuminate the assembly hall.

Drive past The Ripon Building, seat of the Chennai Corporation (Madras Corporation). It is a fine example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, a combination of Gothic, Ionic and Corinthian. The Ripon Building is an all-white structure commissioned in 1913, One of the main attractions of the building is the Westminster Quarter chiming clock.

Kalakshetra Foundation In Thiruvanmiyur, beyond Elliots Beach is the Kalakshetra Foundation or the Temple of Art. It was established in 1936 after the extraordinary success of Rukmini Devi's first performance of Bharata Natyam at the Theosophical Society, in Adyar, a suburb of Madras, in the South of India. The founding members, Rukmini Devi, her husband George Arundale, and their associates at the Theosophical Society, were deeply committed to Theosophy and an arts academy was an extension of this commitment. The purpose of this center was to train, encourage and revive interest in Bharatanatyam, the classical dance form of Tamil Nadu.
Also visit the Marina Beach popular place for the locales and tourist to spend evening time.
Return to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 08: Chennai / Tirupathi / Chennai (140 Kms, one way)

After breakfast, Full day excursion to Tirupathi to visit the Balaji Temple. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 09: Chennai / Kanchipuram / Mahabalipuram

Breakfast and check-out. Drive to Mahabalipuram visiting temples at Kanchipuram (73 Kms) en-route. Kanchipuram the Golden city was one of the seven sacred cities of India and once had 1000 temples. It is also famed for its hand-woven cottons and Kanjivaram Silk.
Visit the most significant - Ekambareswarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Ekambareswarar, Prithvi Lingam symbolizing earth - one of the five primordial elements (Earth, Space, Wind, Water & Fire).
The shrine's antiquity precedes 600 AD, long before the temple complex was built. In fact, it was first mentioned in the lyrics of Tamil poets of the 2nd century. Kanchipuram's Pallava rulers (6th-8th centuries) pulled down the original structure and built a new temple in its place. Later dynasties like the Cholas added more structural elements; consequently it is one of the most impressive temples. The temple as we see it today was built in 1509 by Krishnadeva Raya, the greatest king of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Raja Gopuram, all of 172 ft. leads into the pillared mandapam, which assimilates within it previously built shrines. The sanctum housing the presiding deity, the Prithvi Lingam is surrounded by a covered walkway or corridor.
The grand old man of Kanchipuram's innumerable temples is the Kailashnatha temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. A fine example of early Dravidian architecture, its simplicity and lack of ornamentation is refreshingly elegant. Construction work on the temple began towards the last quarter of the 7th century, under the Pallava king Rayasimha. The original four storey tower and octagonal shikhara complex was enriched with the addition of elaborately sculpted gopurams under Pallava kings who followed Rayasimha I and II. Highlights of the temple include the exquisitely detailed murals depicting scenes from the lives of Shiva and Parvati, including a dance competition between the two. A number of smaller shrines within the temple complex are dedicated to Shiva, Parvati and their sons Ganesha and Murugan.
The two other temples worthy of attention are dedicated to Vishnu. Vardhamana Perumal is a major Vaishnava shrine in a region over run by Shiva temples. Legend tells us that the shrine to Vishnu commemorates the spot where Brahma performed a yajna to invoke the presence of Vishnu. Bronze idols of Vishnu and his consorts preside over the temple whose architecture features elements from 12th century Chola and 16th century Vijayanagar styles.
The other temple dedicated to Vishnu is the Vaikuntha Perumal Temple, this temple is one of the nine Hindu dedicated to Lord Vishnu and one of the 108 Divya Desams or Vishnu temples. Vaikunta Perumal Temple was built around 674 – 800 AD during the Pallava rule supposedly by the Pallava king Nandivarman II which was later modified by the Chola kings and the Vijaynagar rulers. It being nearly as old as the Kailashnatha Temple. Three different idols of Vishnu in standing, sitting and reclining positions are the premier idols of this temple. The temple's covered walkway just inside the outer perimeter is the precursor of the more famous 1000 pillar mandapams at Madurai and Rameswaram.
Later drive to Mahabalipuram, on arrival check-in at hotel. Mahabalipuram was the main port of the Pallava dynasty and has exquisite rock-cut monuments, monolithic structures and bas reliefs.
Tour will include visit to the following places:-
Arjuna's Penance Carved in relief on the face of a huge rock, Arjuna's Penance is the mythical story of the River Ganges issuing from its source high in the Himalaya. the panel depicts animal animals, deities and other semi-divine creatures, fable from the Panchatantra, and Arjuna doing a penance to obtain a boon from Siva.
Shore Temple This beautiful and romantic temple, ravaged by wind and sea, represents the final phase of Pallavas art and was built in the late 7th century during the reign of Rajasimha. It is believed that at one point in time there were seven such temples, six of them were victims to the natural elements of erosion. This temple has three shrines; one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the other two to Lord Shiva. The frothy waves form a striking backdrop to the temple, protected by rows of rock-carved bulls. The most unique feature of the temple is that it houses shrines to both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
Mandapams There are eight mandapams (shallow, rock-cut halls) scattered over the main hill, two of which have been left unfinished. They are mainly of interest for their internal figure sculptures. One of the earliest rock-cut temples is the Krishna Mandapam. It features carvings of a pastoral scene showing Krishna lifting up the Govardhana Mountain to protect his kinsfolk from the wrath of Indra. On the hill rests a dangerously balanced boulder named Krishna's Butterball after his legendary affinity for fresh butter.
Five Rathas These are the architectural prototypes of all Dravidian temples, demonstrating the imposing gopurams and Vimanas; multi pillared halls and sculptured walls, which dominate the landscape of Tamil Nadu.
Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 10: Mahabalipuram / Pondicherry (138 Km)

Breakfast and check-out. Drive to Pondicherry, on arrival check-in at hotel. Afternoon half day city tour of Pondicherry whose association traces its Origin to saint Agasthya, the revered sage of the south. Visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram – the final Resting place of Sri Auribindo, a saint-cum-yogi who synthesized yoga and modern science. Also visit the Museum which has rooms furnished with period furniture of French India : Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 11: Pondicherry / Tiruchirapally (210 Km)

Breakfast and check-out. Depart for Trichy by surface and on arrival check-in at hotel. Afternoon half day city tour visiting the citadel of the Chola Dynasty in the medieval period. In the 18th century it witnessed the carnatic wars fought between the French & the English, Lord Olive's house is still there to see and so is the Danish Church. The Rock Fort - is the famous landmark, situated on a massive rock and dedicated to Lord Shiva. This huge temple has 100-pillar hall and Vimana which is covered with gold. This fort is the amalgamation of three temples which is prime attraction of this fort. You can also get many remarkable rock-cut cave temples which were made during the time of Pallava period. A climb of 434 steps leads to the ancient temple of Ganapati on top and further climb to a Shiva temple. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 12: Tiruchirapally / Thanjvur / Madurai (142 Km)

Breakfast and check-out. Drive to Madurai en-route visiting Thanjavur (Tanjore), the beautiful Chola Temple of Brihadeshwara, Its bronzes & handicrafts make Tanjore one of the highlights of a visit of the South. Later drive to Madurai, arrive and check-in at hotel.
In the evening visit the Meenakshi Temple, dedicated to Goddess Parvati (Meenakshi) and Sundareshwara (Shiva). This temple is nearly 2000 years old placed in the heart of the old town - a splendid example of Dravidian architecture. The present temple was designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak and subsequently built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak. There are four entrances to the temple with an area of six hectares. Each of its 12 towers has the height of 45 to 50 mt. The Potrama Raikulam or the Golden Lotus Tank is the place where the Tamil literacy society, called Sangam used to meet to decide the merits of the work presented to them. The temple museum has 985 richly carved pillars and each one surpasses the other in beauty. Also attend the evening ceremony known as 'Bedtime of the God', a colourful procession, in which the image of Shiva is carried accompanied by Musicians, Temple singers and rituals performing Priests from his shrine. En-route Shiva visits the other deities before entering Parvati's (Meenakshi) Temple to sleep with her for the night. This ceremony is worth witnessing.
Note: Temple remains closed from 1200 hrs till 1530 hrs.
Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 13: Madurai / Rameshwaram / Madurai

Breakfast at hotel, in the morning proceed for a full day excursion to Rameshwaram (171 Km, one away). Return to Madurai city and visit Thirumalai Nayak Mahal, this Indo-Saracenic building was constructed by King Thirumalai Nayak in 1636, one of the Madurai Nayak rulers in 1636 AD in the city of Madurai. This Palace was built with the help of an Italian architect and is an architectural masterpiece, a classic fusion of Dravidian, Islamic and European styles. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. The Palace contains some 248 towering Roman pillars standing 58-ft high, with a diameter of 5 ft. These colossal pillars surround the courtyard and support typical Mughal domes and motifs that decorate the roofs of this astounding complex. Palace is divided into two major parts: Swarga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion) and Ranga Vilasam (Stage Pavilion). Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 14: Madurai / Kanyakumari (243 Km)

Breakfast and check-out. In the morning drive to Kanyakumari by surface and on arrival check-in at hotel. Afternoon visit the beach, temple and the Vivekananda Memorial. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 15: Kanyakumari / Kovalam (84 Km)

Morning depart for Kovalam by surface and on arrival check-in at hotel. Overnight at the beach resort.

Day 16: In Kovalam

Day free to relax on the world renowned beach of Kovalam. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 17: Kovalam / Trivandrum / Cochin (By Train)

Train Schedule: 12076 Jan Shatabdi Express, departure from Trivandrum Central at 0600 hrs / arrival at Ernakulam Junction at 0915 hrs. In time transfer to Trivandrum railway station to board train for Cochin. Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

Day 18: In Cochin

Morning half day city tour. Afternoon a short backwater common cruise. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 19: Cochin / Periyar (164 Kms)

Morning depart by surface for Periyar, which lies in the shade of Periyar Cardamon Hills and is a Beautiful area of Tranquil winding roads, tea gardens, rubber estates and spice plantations. On arrival check-in at the hotel. PM - Take a boat cruise in the Periyar Lake which lies at the heart of the sanctuary which is a veritable paradise for all wildlife lovers. One can view the animals in their natural surrounding while cruising on the lake, or better still come within a few feet of a herd wild Elephants. The majestic Gaur, Deer, Wild Boar and the distinctive Nilgiri Langur are often spotted along the lake. The reserve also has attractions for the bird watcher as varieties of birds like the Hornbill, Blue Winged Parakeet, Whistling Thrush, Flycatcher and water birds are to be seen here. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 20: In Periyar

Breakfast at hotel. In the morning visit Kumily for a spice plantation tour, over twelve varieties of spices are cultivated in and around Kumily. The spice plantation tour covers spice plantations such as Cardamom, Pepper, Vanilla, Clove, Nutmeg etc. and also some Ayurvedic plants and herbs. Return to Periyar, remaining day at leisure. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 21: Periyar / Cochin

Morning depart for Cochin by surface and on arrival transfer to airport to board flight for return journey.


End of our services

Note

All train and flight timings are subject to last minute change

PACKAGE INCLUSIONS: -

1. Accommodation in Double room in 05 Star or 04 Star category hotels on CP Basis (Room + Breakfast Basis) inclusive of all presently applicable taxes.

2. Welcome Garlanding upon arrival in India at Bangalore airport.

3. All Arrival / Departure transfers from hotel to airport and vice - versa.

4. Monument entrance fees to places of visit as per the itinerary.

5. Train tickets for sectors MYSORE to CHENNAI and TRIVANDRUM to COCHIN in AC Express train.

6. Spice plantation tour in Kumily and Boat ride in Periyar Lake.

7. Accompanying English speaking Guide.

8. All Transfers, City sightseeing/excursions and long drives as per itinerary using chauffeur driven air-conditioned Car / Mini Van / Coach.

9. 01 bottle packaged drinking water per person per day.

10. All presently applicable interstate & toll taxes.

PACKAGE EXCLUSIONS: -

1. Return international air tickets from the city of origin.

2. Travel Insurance and Indian Visa.

3. Personal expenses such as: Any Meals other than specified above / Drinks / Laundry bill & Telephone calls at hotel. Tips for Guides & Driver / Camera Fees at the monuments or any other expenses not included in the clause "inclusions".

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