Start in Chennai (Madras) and end in Kochi (Cochin)! With the religious sites tour South India Temple Tour with Kerala, you have a 13 day tour package taking you through Chennai (Madras), India and 12 other destinations in India. South India Temple Tour with Kerala includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
Morning board the flight from Delhi to Chennai. Meet our representative at Chennai airport who would assist you at the airport and accompany you till the hotel. Checkin into the hotel & relax for a while. Afternoon proceed for half day sightseeing of Chennai visiting Marina Beach, This 12 km long beach stretch is a mesmerizing juncture of sand and sea which provides breathtaking views of sunrise and sunset. Fort St. George, the first bastion of British power in India & built in the year 1640 AD by the British East India Company. Within the Fort we visit St. Marys Church, built in the year 1680 & oldest Protestant Church in the East. Fort Museum has 10 galleries & displays armoury, old uniforms, crockery & silverware, coins, palanquins, paintings, letters, old prints, etc. Santhome Cathedral, built in 1504, is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle, who is believed to have visited Madras (Chennai) sometime during 52 AD. National Art Gallery , established in the year 1857, it is undoubtedly one of the countrys finest museums. It has sections devoted to geology, archaeology, anthropology, botany, zoology, sculpture & numismatics. Kapaleshwar Temple, located in Mylapore, the arresting architecture of the Kapaleshwar temple is of the Dravidian style. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. Overnight stay at Chennai.
In and around KanchipuramMorning drive towards Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram, one of the seven holy cities in the country. It was a city of learning for both Tamil & Sanskrit and was believed to be visited by Hsuan Tsang. In ancient times it was called Kachi. Once upon a time it had over 1,000 temples, but today there are around a hundred left. It is also known for its silk sarees. We visit Kailasanatha Temple, built in 8th Century AD. It is built in the typical Pallava style, with a pyramidal tower, a pillared hall & vestibule, enclosed by a wall. The temple is famous for exquisite carvings & attracts devotees & tourists alike. There are 58 small shrines situated around the main shrine, as a compound wall. Fresco style paintings adorn the inner walls of the temple. Next we visit Ekambaranatha, ancient temple is dedicated to lord Shiva. The 57 metres high Raj Gopuram is one of the tallest towers in South India. The 3000 year old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yielding different variety of mangoes. Later a drive to Mahabalipuram and check in the hotel. ?Rest of the day is free for leisure. Overnight stay at Mahabalipuram.
Morning after breakfast proceed for a guided tour of Mahabalipuram, visiting Shore Temple, one of the oldest temples in South India. It belongs to the 7th Century AD & is a good example of the first phase of the structure of temples constructed in the Dravidian style. Designed to catch the first rays of the rising sun & to illuminate the waters after dark, the temple ended up with an unusual lay-out. Beach Temples - The most renowned tourist attractions of the town of Mahabalipuram are its beautiful beach temples. The five rathas (chariots) are architectural precursors of the temples of south Indian. The smallest and the simplest is the Draupadi ratha and the largest is the multi-storeyed Dharmaraja ratha scopped from a monolithic rock. These small unfinished shrines ravaged by war and weather are things of undiminished beauty. The Kailasanatha temple, Sri Varadaraja temple, Sri Vaikuntaperumal temple, etc are all amamzing instances of patience, skill and labour. ?Varaha Cave - The Varaha Cave is a small rock-cut mandapam (hall), that is a faceted and finished gem with four panels of the famous Pallava doorkeepers. Arjunas Penance - Arjunas Penance, perhaps the worlds largest bas-relief, is an incredible work of art. According to the legend, King Bhagiratha had to bring down to earth the celestial Ganga to purify and redeem the cursed souls of his ancestors. But the torrential river would flood the earth, and so he had to undergo a penance to propitiate Shiva who finally received the flood in his matted locks and let it trickle down. The worlds creatures gathered around to watch. The cleft in the rock depicts the descent of Ganga, a theory supported by the ruins of a stone water tank on the hill. Shore Temple - However, it is the Shore Temple that evokes the spell of Mahabalipuram. A three-in-one abode of god-a Vishnu temple sandwiched between two Shiva temples-it is a visual delight, its precincts abounding in architectural masterpieces. Later in the afternoon drive towards Pondicherry.? Overnight stay in Pondicherry.
After breakfast proceed for full day excursion in and around Pondicherry, earlier known as Puducherry. Puducherry is situated on the eastern sea board of India. ?Although the French influence is gradually fading, it still retains a few Gallic accents. Visit Auroville City, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Promedade beach, The Pondicherry Museum, Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Manakula Vinayagar Koil Temple. Overnight stay in Pondicherry.
In and around Tanjore, ChidambaramOn the 5th day of your trip, after having the delicious breakfast you will be driving from Pondicherry to Tanjore.? En-route visit the Divine land of Chidambaram. Chidambaram is dedicated to Lord Nataraja ? (Lord Shiva in the form of a Cosmic Dancer ? known as Shiva tandava)). It is one of the few temples where Shiva and Vishnu are enshrined under one roof. This ancient temple was built by the Cholas. It is devoted solely to the art of Bharatanatyam and is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather than the customary Lingam. Spread over an area of 40 acres with a gopuram on each side, the temple is distinguished by five sabhas or courts. Apart from this, the sacred land of Chidambaram, has many exquisite temples and attractions. Later we drive to Tanjore, which is known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. ?Checkin at the hotel and proceed for the sightseeing of the city of Tanjore also known as Thanjavur. See the beautiful Chola temple of Brihadeeshwara. The temple is capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite block weighing 80 tons which was taken to the top with the help of a 6 km long ramp- an old technique used by the Egyptians for building pyramids. You will also visit the Palace and its Art Gallery, which contains several granite and bronze statues of the Chola period. Relax in the evening. Overnight at hotel. ? Overnight stay in Thanjavur.
In and around TrichyAfter breakfast drive to Madurai. Enroute visit Trichy, Trichy, short name of Tiruchirappalli. Explore Trichy by visiting Srirangam - 5 kms from Trichy, located in an island of Srirangam. Surrounded by the Kaveri water is a 600 acre island town enclosed within the seven walls on the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswamy temple. There are no less than 22 gopurams, one of which is the tallest in India. The 72 m high 13 tiered Gopuram dominates the landscape for miles around. Also visit the Rock Fort: Tirchys most famous landmark is 83 mt high rock which is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat inland of the city. The most amazing fact about the rock is that it is one of the oldest in the world. The sheer abruptness of its rise is an attention grabber. But the actual centre of attraction is not the fort itself, of which very little remains, but the temple at the summit.? After the sightseeing in Trichy continue your drive to Madurai. Upon arrival checkin into the hotel. Overnight stay in Madurai.
In and around MunnarMorning after breakfast proceed to visit the famous Madurai Meenakshi temple, Also known as Meenakshi Amman Temple. It is an ancient and one amongst the most important temples of India. Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is dedicated to Sundareswar (form of Lord Shiva) and Meenakshi (form of Goddess Parvati). The term "Sundareswar" suggests "the beautiful lord" and "Meenakshi" means "the fish-eyed goddess". As per the Hindu folklore, Madurai is the same city where Lord Sundareswar (Shiva) appeared to marry Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati). Meenakshi Temple is regarded as one of the most sacred places of Parvati, other being Kamakshi at Kanchipuram, Akilandeswari at Thiruvanaikaval and Vishalakshi at Varanasi. Later drive to Munnar & checkin at the hotel. Overnight stay in Munnar.
Morning post breakfast proceed for a full day sightseeing around Munnar. Munnar is one of the most popular hill stations in west "on" India, Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Located at 1600 Mts. above sea level, this was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make Munnar a unique experience. Munnar is essentially a tea town. Visit the worlds highest tea estates spread like a green carpet over hundreds of kilometres, Lush green hills all around - a place to be seen to be believed, and Eravikulam National Park (Park is closed in the month of January and February), the best place to see the Nilgiri Tahr (mountain goat). Rest of the day at leisure to explore the destination on your own. Overnight stay in Munnar.
In and around PeriyarToday we proceed towards Periyar Wildlife Reserve. Set on an attractive lakeside, it is South Indias most popular Wildlife Sanctuary. Periyar is a place to cruise on the lake & gives an opportunity to see wildlife. It is home to tigers, leopards, elephants, bison, antelopes, sambhar, wild boar, monkey, a wide variety of birds. Later enjoy boat ride at periyar lake, followed by Spice Plantation tour & Boat ride on "Periyar Lake.? Overnight stay in Periyar.
In and around KumarakomMorning drive to Kumarakom, it is a cluster of little islands, on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala. Kuttanad, the Wonder Land believed to have been lying below the sea level, sprang out into the marshes when the sea receded later. Kumarakom, the land of lakes, canals and paddy fields, gives you sheer ecstasy. Holiday on the houseboats, traditional Kettuvallam, are an out-of-this-world experience. Furthermore Vembanad Lake is home to several types of marine life exclusively the Karimeen (Pearl Spotted Fish), Chemeen (Prawns) & Konju (Tiger Prawns). Spend the day at leisure, relaxing and enjoying the facilities at the hotel. You can also visit Kumarakom Bird sanctuary. There are two seasons for birds: between October & February there are cormorants, teals, & other ducks & from February to July there are Darters (snake birds), night herons, Egrets, & Siberian storks. It also has the golden backed woodpecker, crow pheasant, white-breasted water hen, tree pie. Overnight stay in Kumarakom.
Today morning after breakfast board the houseboat from Kumarakom and cruise around cruise around beautiful Vembanad lake, This lake offers an enchanting experience to the tourists. The lake is the best picnic spot, where you can relax your mind and body. While the water gives the place a cooling effect, trees and shrubs act as a respite to the parched eyes. The lake is an excellent family-picnic destination too. While seniors can laze around the lake reading a book or talking, youngsters can opt for fishing and boating. Later proceed to Kumarakom through backwaters to observe and experience the daily life of the villagers along the backwaters.? Alleppey Also known as Alappuzha, Alleppey is a great favorite with those wanting to relax in the lap of nature and revive their spirits. An enamoring combination of peaceful quietude and bustling activity, Alleppey in Kerala, South India is a repository of tourist attractions, natural and architectural that allure you with their typical Alleppey appeal on your travel to Alleppey in Kerala, South India. Overnight stay in Houseboat.
Morning checkout form Houseboat & proceed towards Cochin. Cochin always had a very popular & historical sea trade connection with the Middle East, Mediterranean Europe & the Dutch. It has one of the finest natural harbours on the Arabian coastline. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the buildings & structures representing different regions of the world. Later proceed to explore Cochin city. Visit the Fort Kochi that reveals the European heritage of Kochi. Santa Cruz Basilica happens to be a landmark of Kochi and a major tourist attraction too. Visit St. Francis Church, which is the oldest European Church in India. Visit the Jewish Synagogue, built in the year 1568 and magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles & Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. Also visit the spice market, where the air is filled with the pungent smell of spices & history that brought the world to its doorstep. Chinese fishing nets, (Cheenavala) are distinctly unique to Cochin. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. In the evening enjoy Keralas most popular classical dance, Kathakali. Overnight stay in Cochin.
In time transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.