Temples & Backwater Tour of South India
Package price On Request
Product Code : AGORA45
In this Temples & Backwater Tour of south India will visit the two states of India. Tamil Nadu famous for its exquisite temples of which some are UNESCO World Heritage sites. See the largest & oldest active temples of Hindus in Thanjavur, Trichy & Madurai. Explore Tea-growing region of Munnar & picturesque Periyar National Park. Learn about spice plantation & cruise along backwaters, before ending the tour at world famous Kovalam beach.
Day 1: Arrive Chennai
Arrival transfer to hotel (Standard hotel check in time 12pm, early check in subject to room availability). Later city tour of Chennai. 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. Dakshinachitra Museum, one of the living-history museums. Santhome Cathedral a historical and ancient pilgrim centre, which was built during the 14th to the 15th century AD by the then reigning Portuguese. Prakasam Salai an impressive stylish building in Indo-Saracenic style with eminence in red bricks. It has a cluster of old shrines that include Kandaswamy Koil, Tucker's Church, a Wesleyan Chapel and the Anderson's Church. Drive Pass Marina Beach a 13kms long natural urban beach along the Bay of Bengal. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Chennai - Mahabalipuram (120kms)
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Mahabalipuram 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.
On arrival check in at hotel. 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. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry (120kms)
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Pondicherry check in 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 4: Pondicherry - Chidambaram - Gangaikonda Cholapuram - Darasuram - Thanjavur (180kms)
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 5: Thanjavur - Trichy (60kms)
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.
Drive to Trichy check in at hotel. Visit 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. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Trichy - Madurai (135kms)
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Madurai check in 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. Overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Madurai - Munnar (160kms)
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Munnar, check in at hotel. During the British rule in India, Munnar was the summer resort of the Government officials. The natural beauty, calmness and mild cold climate throughout the year make it the favorite tourist places. The tea estates, hills, lakes and forests inside Munnar range expose its beauty. Later tea estate visit and tea testing. Overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Munnar
Breakfast at hotel. Visit Pothamedu which offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. Mattupetty dam and its reservoir, a concrete gravity dam built between the hill ranges for water storage for hydroelectric projects. Rajamala a hill station in Eravikulam National Park a natural habitat of the Niligiri tahr 2695 Mts above sea level. Half the world`s population of the rare mountain goat or tahr which is fast becoming extinct, is now found here. Mattupedi Dairy Farm, famous for the Indo-Swiss Farm, a highly specialized dairy farm which comes under Indo-Swiss Livestock Project. Echo Point, go there and scream as loud as you can and wait for a minute to hear your echo back! Also visit Tea Museum to know more about the century old culture a lively glimpse of how the tea culture flourished across South India. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Munnar - Thekkady (110kms)
Breakfast at hotel, 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. Evening watch Martial Arts & Kathakali Dance show. 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.
Drive to Kumarakom check in. Overnight at hotel.
Day 11: Thekaddy - Alleppey (135kms)
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 - Cochin (60kms)
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Cochin check in at hotel.
Later 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. In the evening enjoy Kathakali, a traditional dance form of Kerala with lavish costumes, exotic makeup, masks etc. Overnight at hotel.
Day 13: Cochin - Kovalam (200kms)
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Kovalam check in at hotel. Rest day free and easy for personal activities & relax on the beach. Overnight at hotel.
Day 14: Kovalam
Breakfast at hotel, city tour of Trivandrum & Kovalam. Visit Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple embellished in gold-plated covering, the temple sanctom is opened only to Hindu. Attukal Temple, rich in cultural heritage and adorned by impeccable Tamil architecture. The city has a rich tradition of nurturing art and culture since ancient times, witness same by visiting Museums. Napier Museum, renowned for its fine collection of sculptures, paintings and musical instruments. Kuthira Malika built in the 1840 is an iconic monument that gives you a curious insight into the glorious history of Kerala. The museum houses artifacts like the ethnic jewelry that was once worn by the queens, wooden paintings and carvings, armory and idols made of the purest metal. Sri Chitra Art Gallery a perfect place for art lovers housing some of the famous work of Raja Ravi Verma and art objects belonging to the Mughals, Rajputs and Tanjore art schools. Drive through famous beaches which include Shankumugham Beach, Kovalam Beach, Vizhinjam Beach & Light House Beach Road. Overnight at hotel.
Day 15: Kovalam - Departure
Breakfast at hotel. Departure transfer to airport.
Assistance on arrival at airport.
14 Nights' accommodation in selected price category hotels.
Daily breakfast at hotels.
Full board (All meal included) during the houseboat stay in Alleppey
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.
Hotels used or similar for 14 nights accommodation
Chennai x 1 night
3* - Raj Park/ MGM East Woods
4* - The Raintree/ Accord Metropolitan
5* - ITC Grand Chola/ The Leela Palace
Mahabalipuram x 1 night
3* - INDeco Hotels/ Mamalla Beach Resort
4* - Ideal Beach Resort/ Confluence The Banquet & Resort
5* - Radisson BLU Resort Temple Bay/ Fisherman's Cove
Pondicherry x 1 night
3* - Shenbaga Hotel/ Annamalai International
4* - Le Pondy/ The Windflower Resort & Spa
5* - Palais De Mahe/ La Villa
Thanjore x 1 night
3* - Grand Gardenia/ Oriental Towers
4* - Le Pondy/ The Windflower Resort & Spa
5* - Svatma
Trichy x 1 night
3* - Red Fox Hotel/ Grand Gardenia
4* & 5* - Sangam Hotels/ Ideal River View Resort
Madurai x 1 night
3* - Astoria by Sparsa/ Madurai’s Residency
4* - GRT Regency/ Fortune Pandiyan Hotel
5* - Heritage Madurai/ The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai
Munnar x 2 nights
3* - Fort Munnar/ Abad Copper Castle
4* - Nature Zone Jungle Resort/ Fragrant Nature Munnar
5* - Chandys Windy Woods/ Tea County
Pariyar (Thekkady) x 2 nights
3* - Abad Green Forest/ Hotel Treetop
4* - The Elephant Court/ Cardamom County
5* - Spice village/ Cardamom County
Day cruise in 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)
Cochin x 1 night
3* - The Dune Hotel/ Abad Plaza
4* - Casino Hotel/ The Avenue Regent
5* - Xandari Harbour/ Le Meridien
Kovalam x 2 nights
3* - Harmonia Beach Resort/ Sagara Beach Resort
4* - Estuary Island Resort/Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel
5* - Vivanta by Taj - Green Cove/ The Leela Kovalam Beach
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.