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Southern Heritage Tour

Madras - Covelong - Pondicherry - Tanjore - Trichy - Madurai - Periyar - Kumarakom - Cochin - Madras (10 Nights / 11 Days)

Day 01 / Arrival Madras
Arrive Madras, meet assist at the airport and transfer to hotel. Night stay in Madras.

Day 02 / Covelong
After breakfast proceed for full day sightseeing tour of Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram:
Kanchipuram known as the Golden City of a Thousand Temples, is one of the oldest towns in India. It is famous for both its temples, many of them remarkably well preserved and for its hand-woven silks. Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities of India and it is the only one associated with both Shiva and Vishnu. Visit Ekambareshwar Temple, Kailashnath Temple, Kamakshi Temple, the Vaikunthaperumal Temple, all built in the 7th and 8th centuries. With a weaving tradition dating back to the Pallava era (when silk was the royal cloth), Kanchipuram is justly famous for its particularly fine silk saris, embellished with stunning patterns. Visit the local homes of the weavers and watch them create magic out of silk thread into saris.

Mahabalipuram -This is a small, quiet seaside resort with a unique 7th century Shore Temple, a lovely beach and some of the most beautiful rock cut temples in the world.Situated on the shore of the Bay of Bengal, Mahabalipuram was already a famous seaport in the 1st century AD. This, town was a workshop for temple building. Visit the seven pagoda style shore temples, lashed by the waves of the sea and the seven rathas or temple chariots, a group of monolithic monuments & animal figures carved out of solid rock, the earliest known examples of Dravidian architecture. They were constructed in a single century long burst of creative enthusiasm, starting in the reign of Narasimhavarman 1 (AD 63068). End the visit by photography of the beautiful Shore temples at sunset. Night stay in Covelong.
kanchipuram temple south india
Day 03 / Covelong – Pondicherry
After breakfast drive to Pondicherry (162 kms/4 hrs) Pondicherry, which was up until the 1950s, a far-flung outpost of the French maritime empire. It is so different from the rest of Tamil Nadu that one feels that one has entered another country! This busy coastal town is divided roughly into two: the old White Town of elegant French houses, restaurants & administrative buildings and the Black Town west of the canal where India takes over again. Also visit Botanical garden, Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus and Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Later visit township of Auroville or the city of Dawn. Designed by a French architect Roger Arger, it is an entirely new concept in education and urban living. Night stay in Pondicherry.

Day 04 / Pondicherry – Tanjore
After breakfast drive to Tanjore (177-kms/4-½ hrs) Arrive Tanjore and transferto hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Tanjore- the capital of the Chola Empire from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries. A Chola king, Raja Chola, who held the throne from 985 to 1016, built the greatest of the empire's 74 temples, the Brahadeeswarar, with its soaring tower over the inner sanctum. This tower rises more than 62 meters (200 feet). On its dome rests a single block of granite weighing 80 tons. Night stay in Tanjore.

Day 05 / Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai
After breakfast drive to Madurai (190-kms/5½-hrs) enroute visiting Trichy. City tour of Trichy includes visit to the ‘Rock Fort Temple which rises abruptly to a height of 273 ft. A steep staircase cut into the rock leads upto the Fort. At the first level are the remnants of a huge hall blasted into ruins in 1772. The next storey is the Mathrubhuteshwarer Shrine dedicated to Shiva. Finally at the top of the hill, the 'Uchhi Pillayar Koil' - a Ganesh Temple offering a commanding view of the city. Arrive Madurai and transfer to hotel. Later visit the Meenakshi temple - Leave the hotel for the temple by cycle rickshaws. At 9 PM, attend the night ceremony at the 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. Night stay in Madurai.

Day 06 / Madurai
Morning, visit the Meenakshi temple one of the biggest temple complexes in India 46 ft. long by 790 ft broad built in the 17th Century. It is a rectangular twin shrine : the southern temple dedicated to Meenakshi (the consort of Shiva) and the other to Shiva. It is Madurai's greatest landmark a virtual city within a city: the complex includes a bazaar that bustles from dawn to nightfall. The high point of the Meenakshi temple is Hall of a "Thousand Pillars", built in the 16th centuary which is as great a work of structural engineering as it is of art. Also visit the palace of Tirumala Nayak which is an example of the architectural mastery of the Nayaks a blend of Hindu and Saracen architecture. It's enormous roofed arcade supported by 48 foot high stoned pillar still stands. Evening at leisure. Night stay in Madurai.

Day 07 / Madurai - Periyar
After breakfast drive to Periyar (177 kms/5 hrs).Arrive Periyar and transfer to hotel. Later proceed for sightseeing covering Periyar - Sprawling across 777 sq. kms. of the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats, Thekkady is the home to one of the largest wildlife reserves in India. Alive with exotic flora and vibrant wildlife, it is the perfect getaway tucked away among hills. Night stay in Periyar.
periyar wildlife kerela
Day 08 / Periyar – Kumarakom
Early morning boat cruise on the Lake of the famous Periyar wildlife sanctuary to see wild life. Periyar an artificial lake or reservoir created by a dam on Periyar River is the heart of the Wildlife Sanctuary wild elephants, Asiatic Deer, Black Buck and even Tigers come to shores of the lake for a drink. Return to hotel for breakfast. Thereafter drive through the winding "Ghats" lined with prosperous tea plantations & then arrive the fascinating countryside of low-lying palms and paddy fields to Kumarakom (150 kms/ 4 hrs) enroute visit the tea estates.
Kumarakom- a beautiful backwater village on the shores of the enchanting Vembanad Lake, criss crossed with meandering waterways and ancient cottages. Night stay in Periyar.

Day 09 / Kumarakom - Cochin
Morning at leisure. Then take a speed boat to Alleppey & disembark at Puthenagady Jetty. On arrival proceed directly to Cochin
Cochin - Popularly known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Cochin is the oldest European settlement in India. Frilled with backwaters and rich with old world charm, this city has lured many a great voyager to its shores. From time immemorial, Arabs, Chinese, Dutch, British & Portuguese seafarers followed the sea route to Kochi & left their impression on the town. Modern Kochi is thus a splendid mosaic of these myriad influences. Arrive Cochin & transfer to hotel. Night stay in Cochin.

Day 10 / Cochin
Morning tour of Cochin or "Kochi" the palm green, commercial captial of Kerala. Visit the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue, the Church of St. Francis, the Bolghatty Palace & the famous Chinese fishing nets. Evening witness the Kathakali dance performance + make up demonstration - Kathkali is a unique dance which has a 2000 year old history with more than 100 different ‘mudras’ or gesture depicting deities, demons, heroes, heroines and kings - each based on episodes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, the two epic Indian myths. Night stay in Cochin.

Day 11 / Cochin - Madras - Departure
Morning at leisure. Afternoon transfer from hotel to the airport to board the onward flight.

Includes:
» 10 Nights accommodation as per the itinerary with daily breakfast.
» Surface Travel by exclusive air-conditioned car.
» Safari and all meals at National park
» All Meals in Air-condition Houseboat
» All transfers & sightseeing as per the itinerary by air-conditioned car.
» Local English speaking guides.
» All taxes, driver allowances, Parking etc.

Does not include:
» Entrance fee to monuments.
» Any airfare
» Tips, laundry.
» Any item not shown in Cost Includes.

Hotels Selected – Luxury
Chennai: GRT Raddison
Mahabalipuram/Covelong : Taj Fisherman’s Cove
Pondichery: Le Dupleix
Thanjavur: Parisutham
Madurai: Taj –Pasumalai
Periyar: Spice Village
Kumarakkom: Kummarakkom Lake Resort

Hotels Selected - Royal
Chennai: GRT Raddison
Mahabalipuram: GRT Temple Bay
Pondichery: Le Dupleix
Thanjavur: Sangam
Madurai: Sangam
Periyar: Spice Village
Kumarakkom: Coconut Lagoon

Hotels Selected - Classic
Chennai: Ambassodor Pallava
Mahabalipuram: Chariot Beach resort
Pondichery: Promenade
Thanjavur: Sangam
Madurai: Sangam
Periyar: Muthoot Cardmom County
Kumarakkom: Coconut Lagoon

Hotels Selected – Jewel
Chennai: Ambassodor Pallava
Mahabalipuram: Ideal Beach Resort
Pondichery: Richmond
Thanjavur: Ideal River view
Madurai:Fortune Pandian
Periyar: Muthoot Cardmom County
Kumarakkom: Waterscapes

Hotels Selected - Economy
Chennai: Breeze Hotel
Mahabalipuram: Sea Breeze
Pondichery: Hotel Annamalai
Thanjavur: Oreintal towers
Madurai: Germanus
Periyar : Silver Crest
Kumarakom : Cocobay Resort

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