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South India Temples and Backwater

Package price On Request

Product Code : AGORA683

South India Temples and Backwater private tour will begin with pickup from Chennai airport, and include Kanchipuram, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Chidambaram, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Darasuram, Thanjore, Trichy, Chettinad, Madurai, Thekkady, Alleppey, Marari & Cochin in its itinerary. Visit all majour active & inactive temples, monuments & museums in Tamil Nadu. Then enter Kerala, known for its coffee and spice plantations, network of canals backwaters and palm-lined beaches. Enjoy boat safari & learn about spice plantation in Thekkady, cruise along backwaters in Alleppey & unwind on the sun-kissed beaches of Marari. The tour will end with drop off at Cochin Airport.

 

Day 1: Arrive Chennai

On arrival at Chennai airport assistance & transfer to hotel. Rest time free to relax and personal activities. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 2: Chennai

Breakfast at hotel. City tour visit Fort St. George & St Mary`s Church inside the fort built by the British East India Company in 1640 AD. Kapaleeshwarar Temple a holy shrine of Lord Shiva originally built by the mighty Pallavas and rebuilt in 16th century by the Vijayanagar kings. Vadapalani Murugan Temple one of the most frequented places of worship for Hindus in Chennai. Government Museum built in the Indo-Sarcenic style it houses a rich collection of works of Raja Ravi Varma. Santhome Cathedral a historical and ancient pilgrim centre, which was built during the 14th to the 15th century AD by the then reigning Portuguese. Drive Pass Marina Beach a 13kms long natural urban beach along the Bay of Bengal. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 3: Chennai - Pondicherry (160kms)

Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Pondicherry via visiting Kanchipuram an ancient city famous as city of thousands temple. In Kanchipuam visit Kailasanathar temple 8th century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Ekambareswarar temple an ancient temple dedicated to Siva, 2500 year old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yields different varieties of mangoes. Varadharaja temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Vaikundhaperumal temple dedicated to lord Vishnu & Kamakshiamman temple the ultimate form of Goddess Parvati. Mahabalipuram, UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In Mahabalipuram visit Monolithic Temples Five Rathas an excellent examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. Krishnas Butterball a gigantic granite boulder resting on a short incline. 7th century Cave Temples cut and decorated with panels in the Mamalla style. Shore Temple built with blocks of granite in 7th century during the rule of King Narsimha-Varman II Rajasimha the temple complex consisting of two Siva temples and a carving of Anantasayana Vishnu. The Arjuna`s Penance an enormous rock-cut relief, one of the largest in the whole world. On arrival check in & Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 4: Pondicherry

Breakfast at hotel. Visit Aurovil an experimental community founded in 1968 by the spiritual leader Mirra Alfassa as a town where people from all over the world could live in harmony. Its focal point is the Matrimandir, a futuristic, spherical temple covered in gold discs. Pondicherry Museum it houses a fantastic collection of bronze sculptures of god and goddess, a wide gathering of temple lamps, handicrafts and art. Drive pass or walk through stunning French Quarters, charming mustard streets, colonial villas and vibrant Tamil settlements. Besides a very picturesque view of the lovely alleys and narrow lanes, you can also marvel at the gorgeous architecture of the French colonial settlements which include French consulate, Raj Nivas, Government Square, Churches & French schools. Evening to relax on the beach. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 5: Pondicherry - Thanjore (220kms)

Breakfast at hotel, drive to Thanjavur via visiting Nataraja Temple dedicated to the dancing posture of Lord Shiva at Chidambaram. Constructed during the 10th century when Chidambaram used to be the capital of the Chola dynasty, the architecture of temple represents the link between arts and spirituality. 
Also visit The Great Living Chola Temples at Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple built in Tamil style of architecture with a square plan. The temple complex includes Nandi Mandapa, Alankar Mandapa, Maha Mandapa, Mukha Mandapa and Ardha Mandapa. And Darasuram a storehouse of art and architecture with 85 feet high vimana. The front mandapam itself is in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses. The temple has some exquisite stone carvings. The main deitys consort Periya Nayaki Amman temple is situated adjacent to Airavateshwarar temple. 
Arrive Thanjavur check in & overnight at hotel.

 

Day 6: Thanjore

Breakfast at hotel. Visit Brihadeshwara Temple, built in the 10th century it is an outstanding example of Chola architecture and is listed in UNESCO world heritage site. The shrine is a 216 feet structure, the sanctum is dotted with paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods and the statue of Nandi the Bull welcomes at the entrance. Vijayanagar Fort built by Nayaks and partly by Maratha rulers during the early 1550 AD. Thanjavur Art Gallery, located in the Thanjavur Palace has an exquisite collection of ancient sculptures and coins. Saraswathi Mahal Library another section of the Palace where over 30, 000 palm leaf and paper manuscripts are preserved. Rest time to explore the villages nearby. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 7: Thanjore - Trichy - Chettinad (145kms)

Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Chettinad via visiting Trichy, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple the largest functional temple in the world. The temple complex along with the surrounding area covers a total area of 156 acres, there are 22 gopurams including India`s tallest 72 meters, 13 storey high. Many people have had a hand in its construction, including the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Hoysalas and rulers from Vijayanagar. Rock Fort Temple the 83m high Rock Fort is the only outcrop in the flat land of the city. The rock is one of the oldest in the world-approximately 3800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland and older than the Himalayas. Also visit Jambukeswarar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, it houses five concentric walls, and seven gopurams. 
Continue drive to Chettinad check in at hotel. Rest time free and easy to relax. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 8: Chettinad - Madurai (90kms)

Breakfast at hotel. Visit Chettinad, the region is known for its 19th-century mansions, whose wide courtyards and spacious rooms are embellished with marble and teak. Construction materials, decorative items, and furnishings were mostly imported from East Asian countries and Europe. The marble was brought from Italy, chandeliers and teak from Burma, crockery from Indonesia, crystals from Europe and wall-to-wall mirrors from Belgium. Many of these mansions were built using a type of limestone known as Karai. They were built by men who once traded in everything from salt to gems. But in the mid-20th century, most Chettiar families moved to cities. Their palatial homes were left in the custody of caretakers, who maintained them for those rare occasions, such as weddings or Pongal, the Tamil harvest festival, when the family came to visit. 
Drive to Madurai check in & Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 9: Madurai - Thekkady (160kms)

Breakfast at hotel. Visit Meenakshi Temple one of the largest temple complexes in India built between the 16th to 18th centuries. Apart from the estimated 33 million sculptures there, the temple is absolutely absorbing with the endless rounds of ceremonies, prostration of countless devotees and glittering market stalls. Thirumalai Nayakar Palace built in 1636 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak, the palace depicts the perfect blend of Dravidian and Rajput styles. Also visit Alagar Koil, Tiruparankundram Murugan Temple & Palamuthirsolai Murugan Temple drive to Thekkady via Ramakkalmedu one of the windiest places in Asia and being so, one can find here a wind farm generating electricity. Visit Frog Rock, Turtle Rock and the highest twin-statue in Kerala called Kuravan & Kurathi. On arrival check in at hotel. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 10: Thekkady

Breakfast at hotel. Explore Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary on a boat. The tropical evergreen and deciduous forests teeming with elephants, bison, sambar deer, wild dogs, jungle cats, tiger and wild boar along with various species of snake including cobras, vipers, kraits and many non-poisonous snakes is a wildlife lover`s dream. A variety of birds such as grey jungle fowl, Malabar grey hornbill, woodpeckers and bulbuls also have found a home in this sanctuary. Afterwards take a spice plantation tour to see crops of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates etc. You could stop at the local market and pick some fragrant spices. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 11: Thekkady - Alleppey (140kms)

Breakfast at hotel, transfer to Alleppey boat jetty to board houseboat and sail through the tropical countryside enchanting backwaters. While sailing enjoy palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals, the panoramic sights one can never forget. Pass through one of the few areas in the world where farming is done below sea level. Alleppey is referred as the Venice of the East, due to canals, backwaters, and lagoons. Boats are the main mode of transportation here, you can see Shikara boats, small motor boats, passenger boats, cargo boat, and houseboats. Evening enjoy sunset from the sun-deck of the houseboats. The Houseboats have generated electricity, sitting cum dining area, separate bedroom with attached English toilets, sun deck and fully loaded kitchen with a chef & driver. Lunch, dinner & overnight in houseboat.

 

Day 12: Alleppey - Marari (20kms)

After breakfast disembark from houseboat and transfer to Marari beach, check in at hotel. Rest day free and easy to relax on the beach. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 13: Marari

Breakfast at hotel. Day free and easy to relax on the beach. Overnight at hotel. (transport not included)

 

Day 14: Marari

Breakfast at hotel. Day free and easy to relax on the beach. Overnight at hotel. (transport not included)

 

Day 15: Marari - Cochin/ Departure (Flight)

Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Cochin, meet your guide and city tour of Cochin the lovely seaside city flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. You will find here a unique mix and match of traditional as well Western architecture and lifestyle. Visit Fort Cochin a charming seaside area known for its Dutch, Portuguese & British colonial architecture and elaborate bamboo fishing nets at Fort Kochi Beach. St. Francis Church was the original burial site of explorer Vasco da Gama. Upscale eateries and chic cafes serve Keralan specialties, and quaint shops sell cotton clothing and handmade souvenirs. Heritage buildings house contemporary art galleries. Also visit Jewish Synagogue & the Mattancherry Dutch`s Palace.
Later in the evening transfer to Cochin airport to board flight for onward destination.

Assistance on arrival at airport.

14 Nights' accommodation in selected price category hotels.

Daily breakfast at hotels. Any other meal (lunch/ dinner) if clearly mentioned in the itinerary).

Private air-conditioned deluxe car for airport transfer, sightseeing and excursion as per program.

English speaking tour guide on sightseeing days (local guide in each city), as per program.

Monument entrances and activities charges mentioned in the itinerary.

Bottled drinking water in car.

Government taxes.

 

Hotels used or similar for 14 nights accommodation

Chennai x 2 night
3* - Raj Park/ MGM East Woods
4* - The  Raintree/ Accord Metropolitan
5* - ITC Grand Chola/ The Leela Palace

Pondicherry x 2 night
3* - Shenbaga Hotel/ Annamalai International
4* - Le Pondy/ The Windflower Resort & Spa
5* - Palais De Mahe/ La Villa

Thnjore x 2 night
3* - Grand Gardenia/ Oriental Towers 
4* - Sangam Hotels/ Ideal River View Resort
5* - Svatma

Chettinad x 1 night 
3* & 4*- Chidambara Vilas/ Chettinadu Mansion
5* - Visalam Cgh Earth

Madurai x 1 night
3* - Astoria by Sparsa/ Madurai’s Residency
4* - GRT Regency/ Fortune Pandiyan Hotel
5* - Heritage Madurai/ The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai

Thekkady x 2 night
3* - Abad Green Forest/ Hotel Treetop
4* - The Elephant Court/ Cardamom County
5* - Spice village/ Cardamom County

Alleppey x 1 night
3* - Deluxe Houseboat (ATDC Houseboat/ Dream Boats)
4* - Premium Houseboat (Abad Premium Houseboats/ Rainbow Premium Houseboats)
5* - Luxury Houseboat (Xandari Riverscapes/ Lakes & Lagoons)

Mararikulam x 3 nights
3* - EL Oceano Beach Villas/ La Plage Marari
4* - Abad Turtle Beach Resort/ Marari Sands Beach Resort
5* - Xandari Pearl/ Marari Beach Resort

Any flight tickets.

Camera charges at monuments.

Meals other than mentioned in day plan.

Expenses of personal nature like liquor, laundry, tips, telephone, fax, internet etc. 

Gratuities & optional activities.

Anything not mentioned in inclusions.