Southern Delights

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Southern Delights

Trip Highlights :- Bangalore - Shravanabelagola | Chikmagalur - Belur - Halebid | Mysore - Bangalore | Cochin | Alleppey | Kumarakom | Periyar | Madurai | Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram |

Tour duration : 12 Nights / 13 Days

Bhutan and Sikkim Tours, East India Tour Packages, East India Tourism, India Tourism

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.

Chikmagalur : Chikmagalur is a district situated in South-Western part of Karnataka, India. It was in Chikmagalur that coffee was first cultivated in India. Rivers like Tunga and Bhadra have their sources in the mountains here which are part of the Western Ghats. Chikmagalur district also contains Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka. Carved against a mountainous canvas this beautiful district is full of surprises. The hill stations, the waterfalls, the historical temples and the wildlife sanctuaries make this region a tourist paradise. It is alternatively spelled Chikkamagaluru, which literally means 'The town of the younger daughter' in the native Kannada language.

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.

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.

Alleppey : Built in the 9th century AD, Alleppey called Alappuzha lies on the edge of the great Ashtamudi Lake. With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast labyrinth of Lakes, Lagoons and several freshwater rivers criss-crossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Related to the Venice of the East by travellers from around the world, this Backwater Country is also home to diverse range of animals and birds. It has always been honoured a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala for its proximity to the sea. Alleppey has earned fame in the commercial world as the world's premier supplier of coir. It has emerged as a Backwater Tourist Centre, beckoning thousands of foreign tourists each year. Also famous for its Boat races, Houseboat Holidays, Beaches, Marine Products and Coir Industry. Every year, during August-September, Alleppey wakes up to the pulsating Nehru Cup Snake Boat Race, a water sport unique to Kerala.

Kumarakom : Kumarakom is a serene, emerald green peninsula set in the backdrop of Vembanad Lake which is dotted with numerous traditional rice boats, rafts and canoes. This backwater spot is abundant with flora and fauna, being especially rich in marine life. Kumarakom is a breathtakingly beautiful paradise stocked with divine mangroves and coconut groves, lush green paddy fields, gushing waters snaking through the dense forests. This small town lies on the shores of the enchanting Vembanad Lake, 14 kms from Kottayam. The most interesting area in the backwaters is the "Kuttanad region" called the rice bowl of Kerala. The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake. The bird sanctuary in Kumarakom is spread across 14 acres is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands.

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.

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.

Day 01: Arrive Bangalore

Arrival at Bangalore International airport. 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 at hotel, Sightseeing tour of the Garden City, 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, a 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 Prak is the giant edifice, a granite building housing the Secretariat and the State Legislature. The buildings 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.The fort has five intricately sculpted arches. The walls and ceilings were once covered with bright paintings that have now faded into pale whisper over the centuries.
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. Visiting Hours: 0800 to 1800 hrs.
Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 03: Bangalore / Shravanabelagola / Chikmagalur (247 Kms)

Breakfast at hotel and check-out. Later, depart for Chikmagalur, en route visiting Shravanabelagola, located 143 Kms from Bangalore. Here the statue of Lord Gomteshwara is hewn out of a single rock, it is said to be the world tallest monolithic statue. Every 12 years it is bathed with milk and honey. The statue is located at the top of the Vindhyagiri hill and to reach here one has to climb up 614 rock - cut steps.
Afterwards continue your drive to Chikmagalur. Arrive and check-in at hotel. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 03: Chikmagalur / Belur / Halebid / Mysore (178 Kms)

Breakfast at hotel and later check-out, Afterwards drive to Belur to visit the magnificent carved temples. The Channekeshava temple of Belur built 900 years ago is an exquisite example of Hoysala art, This Magnificent shrine is dedicated to Lord Vijayanarayan, one of the twenty four incarnations of Vishnu, was built to commemorate the victory of Hoysalas over the Cholas in the great battle of Talakkad. Later visit Halebid's 12th century Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples, which are masterpieces of Hindu art with elaborate and ornate carving of Deities and scenes from the epics. After the visit drive to Mysore, upon arrival check in at hotel for overnight stay.

Day 04: In Mysore

Breakfast at hotel. This morning set out for the sightseeing of Mysore, 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 is a three-storied stone structure, with deep pink marble domes and a 145 ft five-storied tower. Above the central arch is an impressive sculpture of Goddess Gajalakshmi. The palace is surrounded by a large garden. 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, jewelery, 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, it was a small temple then later it was built as a huge temple by Hoysalas. When Mysore Maharajas ruled the state they made expansions to the Temple. 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.
Later drive to Srirangapatnam, located 14 Kms from Mysore 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. Daria Daulat Bagh exhibits Indo-Islamic architecture style, it is mostly made of teakwood and is set amidst beautiful gardens. Today it stands as a museum, dedicated to the collections of Tipu's era. The inside rooms of the palace and ceilings are painted with floral pattern designs. The museum inside the palace showcases weapons and paintings depicting Tipu Sultan's battle campaigns against the British, French, etc.
Return to Mysore for overnight stay at hotel.

Day 05: Mysore / Bangalore / Cochin (By Flight)

Breakfast at hotel and later check-out, afterwards drive to Bangalore airport (195 Kms) to board flight for Cochin. (Flight AI 510 departure at 1435 hrs / arrival at 1530 hrs). Arrival transfer assistance from airport to hotel. Check-in at hotel.
In the evening visit the cultural centre to see Kathakali Dance Show. Kathakali is the classical dance form of Kerala, the word Kathakali means 'story play', it is a combination of dance and drama, the performers wear make-up and colorful costumes. This dance form showcases themes derived from Ramayana, Mahabharata and other Hindu epics, mythologies and legends.
Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 06: In Cochin

Breakfast at hotel. This morning proceed for the sightseeing of Cochin, visit the Portuguese St. Francis Church, it is the oldest European Church in India, built by the Portuguese in 1503, initially this shrine was made of wood, it was replaced by the new Church structure in year 1516, Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama was buried in this Church, later his remains were taken back to Portugal.
Visit the Chinese Fishing Nets, which owe their origin to China. These fishing nets were introduced in Cochin by Chinese traveler Zheng He. These nets were set up in the Cochin Harbor sometime in the 14th century and have been in use ever since. The singularity of these nets lies in the fact that they are suspended in mid-air resembling hammocks. The nets hang by poles that are prepared from bamboo or teak woods. A whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen are dotted with these nets.
Visit the Jewish Synagogue, situated at one end of the Jew Street in the Jew Town enclave of Mattancherry in Fort Kochi. This synagogue was built in 1568 by Cochin Jewish community. Synagogue is adorned with Belgian glass chandeliers and Chinese hand-painted porcelain tiles laid on the floor. Also of interest are the Scrolls of the Law housed here and the several gold crowns received as gifts and the brass-railed pulpit.
Visit the Mattancherry Palace, it is one of the oldest examples of the Portuguese architecture, the palace was built around 1545 AD. It underwent major repairs at the hands of Dutch and hence the palace is also known as 'Dutch Palace'. This two-storied quadrangular building has long and spacious halls. The palace represents the blending of the European and indigenous styles of architecture. The upper story of the palace where the present museum is housed consists of a coronation hall, bed chamber, ladies chamber, dining hall and other rooms. Mural paintings are on display inside the palace, the themes depict scenes from Ramayana. The themes from contemporary literature of Kerala are also depicted here. The present museum was established in May 1985 housing a variety of exhibits such as portraits of the Cochin Kings, Palanquins, Dresses, Weapons, Stamps and Coins.
Return to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 07: Cochin / Alleppey (55 Kms)

Breakfast at hotel and later check-out, afterwards drive to Alleppy, This town is considered to be the oldest planned town in this region and the lighthouse built on the coast of the town is the first of its kind along the Arabian coast. Alleppey is one of the exotic backwater sites in Kerala. Washed by the Arabian Sea and interlocked by a number of canals and bridges, this stunningly gorgeous 'Venice of the East' has more than the boat races, houseboats, beaches, marine products and the Coir industry; It is home to the diverse bird life. It is also referred to as the rice bowl of Kerala. On arrival check-in at Deluxe house boat along Kerala's scenic backwaters. House boat will take you a fascinating cruise at a leisurely and relaxing pace. Overnight stay at House Boat.

Day 08: Alleppey / Kumarakom

After breakfast check-out from the house boat and transfer to hotel in Kumarakom. Day at leisure for independent activities. Kumarakom slumbers on the banks of the famous Vembanad Lake, which is a part of Kuttanad. The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and tributaries along its banks weave an intricate beautiful web. The gorgeous green of the fringed palms ripple in the blue waters and blend into wavelets.
On the southern bank of Kavanar river, is a small bird sanctuary where numerous species of birds including - Darters, Bitterns, Brahminy Kites, Marsh Harries, Teals and several varieties of Herons roost.
Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 09: Kumarakom / Periyar (132 Kms)

After breakfast check-out from hotel. This morning drive to Periyar, best known for its wildlife, is a must place to be and visit for all visitors to Kerala. Upon arrival proceed to hotel for check-in.
In the afternoon 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.
Periyar's wildlife variety includes the Tiger, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Nilgiri Tahr, Wild Dog, Porcupine, Lion tailed Macaque, Malabar Squirrel and the Sloth Bear. 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 10: Periyar / Madurai (169 Kms)

Breakfast at hotel and check-out. This morning drive to Madurai, en-route visit Kumily for 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.
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 meters. 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.
Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 11: Madurai / Chennai (By Flight)

Breakfast at hotel. This morning visit Thirumalai Nayak Mahal (Palace) - built 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).
Afterwards visit Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple.
In the evening transfer to airport to board flight for Chennai. (Flight SG 296 departure 1840 hrs/ arrival 1940 hrs). Arrival transfer assistance from airport to hotel.
Check-in at hotel for overnight stay.

Day 12: Excursion to Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram (73 Kms/67 Kms)

After breakfast, take an excursion to Kanchipuram located 73 Kms from Chennai, with its many temples and visit the three that exemplify this sacred town-Kailasantha and Ekambareshwara, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and Vaikuntaperumal dedicated to Lord Vishnu. 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 worshipped here as Ekambareswarar, Prithvi Lingam symbolizing earth - one of the five primordial elements (Earth, Space, Water, Wind & Fire). The shrine's antiquity precedes 600AD, 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 in South India. 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 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 and visit following places of interest
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.
Return to Chennai for overnight stay at hotel.

Day 13 - Depart from 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.
In the evening you will be transferred to international airport to board flight for return journey.


End of our services

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. 01 night stay in traditional houseboat on AP basis (Full board) overnight cruise from Alleppey to Kumarakom.

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

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

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

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

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. Air tickets for sector BANGALORE / COCHIN and MADURAI / CHENNAI in economy class.

10. 01 bottle packaged drinking water per person per day.

11. 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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