If there is one single tour evoking the soothing and spicy emotions in one single go, it is Southern Splendour Temples and Spices of India. Beginning from Chennai, the tour heads towards the city of seven pagodas - Mahabalipuram where the remains of Pallava culture still entices the travellers. The tour then trails around the French culture of Pondicherry, ancient Chola capital - Tanjore, treasures of Trichy, melodies of Madurai, perennial wildlife of Periyar, Cochin’s cosmopolitan culture, Mysore’s magical retreat and concludes on the heritage of Belur and Halebid Temples. With such an immense diversity, the Southern Splendour Temples and Spices of India tour unveil the heritage of different architectural marvels, still standing tall and narrating the anecdotes of glorious past.
The gateway to the sunny south, the capital of Tamil Nadu is also the seat of an ancient civilization, rich with a heritage of fine arts, sculpture and architecture. Full day sightseeing of the city. Overnight at the hotel.
You drive today to Mahabalipuram - the "city of the seven pagodas", which was once the main harbour and naval base of the great Pallava Empire. Yoyr full day sightseeing of the city will include the breathtaking display of the pagodas or rathas, small sized shrines that have all been chiseled out of boulders in the form of temple chariots dedicated to the Pandava princes. But the masterpiece at Mahabalipuram is the "Penance of Bhagirath", the world's largest bas-relief in stone. Overnight at the hotel.
You take an excursion to the spectacular temple city of Kanchipuram which has successively been the capital of the major kingdoms of the south. Kanchi is also very famous for it's hand woven silk fabrics. You visit the the 7th century Kailasanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built during the Pallava dynasty, it reflects the simplicity and freshness of early Dravidian architecture. Also visit the. Sri Ekambaranathar Temple dedicated to Shiva and one of the largest temples in Kanchipuram, covering 9 hectares with a 59 metre high gopuram or gateway. Return to Mahabalipuram. Overnight at the hotel.
Today you drive to the lovely city of Pondicherry. Having remained the capital of the erstwhile French India, the legacies in Pondicherry have a special flavour not found anywhere in the Indian sub continent. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Afternoon sightseeing of the city.
You will drive today to the ancient capital of the Chola kingdom, Thanjavur or Tanjore. You will visit the Brihadishwara Temple and Fort, which is a reflection of the crowning glory of the Chola temple architecture and is now listed as a World Heritage site. Overnight at the hotel.
You drive today to Tiruchirapalli or Trichy, a bustling town whose famous landmark is the Rockfort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive 83 metre rocky outcrop which rises abruptly from the plains to tower over the old city. From its summit one gets a fantastic view of the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. Shrouded in a haze of coconut palms away to the north, Sri Ranganathaswamy is one of the largest and most interesting temple complexes in India, built on an island in the middle of the Cauvery River, most of which dates from the 14th to the 17th century. Full day sightseeing of the city. Ovemight at the hotel.
You will drive to one of the oldest of southern India's cities - Madurai, which was planned out in the shape of a lotus with the famous Meenakshi Temple in the centre. It is one of the biggest temple complexes in India and is a righteously baroque example of Dravidian architecture, with gopurams covered from top to bottom in a breathless profusion of multicoloured images of gods, god esses, animals and mythical figures. You will tour the city and the Meenakshi Temple and return in the evening to witness the night ceremonies. Overnight at the hotel.
Today you drive to Periyar, one of the most picturesque reserves in India. A dam constructed on the Periyar River in 1895 led to the submersion of a large forest area and the formation of a 55 sq. km lake, which assured the local wildlife a perennial source of water and led to its rapid multiplication. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a boat ride on the lake to view game. If . you are lucky, you will see elephants, tiger, sambar, barking deer, lion tailed macaque and and a rich birdlife on a government run boat ride. You will also see some spice gardens. Overnight at the hotel.
You drive today to Cochin or Kochi - a city built on scattered islands. What makes Cochin unique is that the city straddles the portion of land between the Arabian Sea and the mouth of the backwaters. A quaint system of ferries connects the various parts of the city. Cochin was born in a storm, nurtured in rivalry and established as the crossroads of the 'battling empires of Europe the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. In the 1340's, torrential rains filled the Periyar River which broke into the Arabian Sea and formed, Cochin's protected harbour. Trading ships soon sailed in and out. The much photographed Chinese fishing nets at the harbour-mouth best seen at sunset, testify to Cochin's pre-European association with China. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel, rest of the day at leisure.
On tour tour of Cochin this morning, you will visit the Jewish Synagogue. This is one of the oldest synagogues and was constructed in 1568. The original building was unfortunately destroyed by the Portuguese but was later rebuilt by the Dutch. Words cannot describe the magic of this place, the tiles are hand painted and were brought from Canton in the 18th century. There is also a beautiful clock tower on top of the building. Later tour the Dutch Palace ..... well known for it's mural
A temple in South India paintings. You see the Chinese fishing nets in operation, at the entrance of Kochi harbour. They were first brought by Chinese traders from Kublai Khan's court. In the evening you will see a traditional Kathakali dance performance. Overnight at the hotel.
You fly today to Bangalore and continue driving to Mysore, visiting en route th Somnath Temple. Mysore has a long history of eminent dynasties that ruled from here and created a city, that even today, is one of the finest in southern India with tree-lined boulevards, beautiful garde. is and stately palaces. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Morning tour of Mysore city. As the principal residence of a former royal family - Mysore offers palaces with a profusion of exquisite domes, arches and turets. On Chamundi hill, you find the summer palaces and the 2000 year old temple of Chamundeswari, dedicated to the deity of the Mysore royal family. Nearby we see the 16 foot high monolithic sculpture of the Nandi bull adorned with garlands and bells. It was carved out of a single stone.
Afternoon exvursion to the summer palace of karnataks,s ruler, Tipu Sultan at srirangapatnam and also visit the Brindavan Gardens formed by damming the River Kauvery. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Mumbai. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred airport/hotel. A beautiful harbour studded with hilly islands and a palm-fringed shore rising gradually to the peaks of mountain ranges form a fine waterfront for Mumbai, "the Gateway of India". Besides being the major port of India, Mumbai is also a great industrial centre. A cosmopolitan city, it owes it's prosperity to the industry and enterprise of it's population of about eight million. It is the commercial capital of India. Afternoon tour of Mumbai city. Visit the Gateway of India, a 262 feet highway overlooking the sea, built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. Drive past the Victorian Railway Station to the Flora Fountain. Known by the natives as Hutatma Chowk, this spot is the centre of Mumbai's life. Also visit the Hanging Gardens, the Prince of Wales Museum, the Gandhi Museum and the Dhobi Ghats- the public laundry. Overnight at the hotel.
You drive to Bangalore, visiting en route Sravanabelagola, one of the oldest and most important Jain temples in India. Depart Banglalore for your journey back home or your onward destination.