Day 05 : Hyderabad - Bangalore -
Fly to Bangalore (1 hr), one of the most beautiful cities of India. Tour the
"Garden City," including a visit to Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens,
the Mysore Arts and Crafts Center, the bull temple, and the colorful and
bustling markets. From Bangalore, drive to Mysore ( 140 kms / 4 hrs.)
wending along through verdant and hilly countryside, stop at Srirangapatnam,
where the legendary warrior Tipu Sultan built the island fortress and Summer
Palace entirely of wood, with exquisitely painted walls. Tonight view the
illuminated City Palace.
Day 06 : Mysore City Tour
Mysore is a beautiful city of stately palaces, gardens, parks and museums.
Your tour includes visits to City Palace; Nandi (Shiva's Bull) -a huge
monolithic image always garlanded with flowers; and the colorful and
aromatic spice markets. Your afternoon is at leisure. This evening, enjoy
the beautiful and exquisitely illuminated Brindavan Gardens, sprawling amid
gorgeous cascading fountains. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 07 : Mysore - Shrawanabelgoa - Belur - Halebid - Bangalore
Morning drive to Shravanabelgoa (120 kms / 3 hrs drive). This is one of the
most important Jain pilgrim centre, here visit the 17 meter high monolith of
Lord Bahubali. Later drive to Belur which is approx. 45 kms from here and is
located at river Yagchi. This place was once the capital of the Hoysala
Empire. Here visit the Chennakeshava Temple (one of the finest examples of
Hoysala architecture) & Veeranarayana Temple (which has exquisite
carvings of various Hindu Gods).
Later visit Halebid (16 kms form Belur), the ancient capital of Hoysalas,
here visit the Hoysleswara Temple. Later in the afternoon leave for
Bangalore which is approx. 220 kms from here. On arrival in Bangalore check
into your hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 08 : Bangalore - Cochin
Fly to Cochin (about 1 hr) in the state of Kerala. Apart from being the
most progressive state in the nation, Kerala is also known for its numerous
canals and waterways and its verdant forests and mangrove swamps. Cochin is
a city of waterways with a varied history. Notable here is the Jewish
population, arriving over 2,000 years ago and maintaining a strong community
ever since. Hungry for spices, the Portuguese, Dutch and British all left
their mark on this scenic seaport.
After an afternoon of leisure, enjoy a special presentation of the
colorfully costumed Kathakali dance drama. Overnight in hotel.
Day 09 : The Backwaters Cruise
Your tour of Cochin this morning includes a visit to the Portuguese church
built by St. Francis in 1562, the Jewish Synagogue and the famed
Mattancherry Palace. This afternoon enjoy a boat ride through the series of
canals and lagoons snaking their way through several tiny villages and
tropical vegetation. Cochin is linked with Ernakulum and the rest of the
state of Kerala through the "backwaters." Stop en route to see
fishermen and their villages, Chinese fishing nets and the beautiful Dutch
palace at Bolghatty. Overnight in hotel.
Day 10 : Cochin - Kumarakom
Drive to Kumarakom (80 kms / 2 hrs)experiencing the rich culture and active
lifestyle that has evolved over the centuries in and around the backwaters
and waterways that thread this region. Set in one of the most idyllic
locations in Kerala, Kumarakom is a tiny settlement, nestled in the
backwaters and evoking images of Kashmir. Your afternoon is at leisure.
Perhaps take advantage of the rich waters with a bit of fishing, or just.
Overnight in hotel.
Day 11 : Kumarakom
Take a boat ride on Vembanad lake to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Part of
the forest is submerged in the lake, offering an irresistible habitat to
both migratory and local birds. Water fowl, cormorants, egrets and teals are
seen in abundance. This afternoon experience an Ayurvedic therapeutic
massage, indigenous to this region, which is both relaxing and healing.
Day 12 : Kumarakom - Thekkady
Your exploration of south India continues as you travel to Thekkady (145 km
/ 4.30 hrs) located on the Tamil Nadu / Kerala border. This unique wildlife
sanctuary is about 300 square miles and centered around an artificial lake
fed by the Periyar River. Game viewing this afternoon is onboard boats which
carry you along convoluted waterways and afford sightings of elephant,
bison, deer and occasionally, tiger. All manner of flora and fauna flourish
in this tropical habitat, making it one of premiere reserves of Southern
India. Overnight stay in hotel.
Day 13 : Thekkady - Madurai
Venture on a game viewing, cruise this morning before continuing on to
Madurai (140 kms / 4hrs ) a bustling city packed with pilgrims, bullock
carts and legions of rickshaw wallahs. Its narrow overcrowded streets seem
to be bursting at the seams with activity. This is Southern India's oldest
center of pilgrimage and learning. Visit Shree Meenakshi Temple, a riotously
baroque example of Dravidian architecture. Your next two stops are
Thirumalai Nayak Palace -built in 1636 in Indo-Saracenic style, and the
Gandhi Museum -containing memorabilia of the father of the nation. Continue
to Mariamman Teppakkulam Tank, site of the Teppam or Float festival in
January each year. Built in 1646, the tank is fed by underground channels
from the Vaigai River. Overnight stay in hotel.
Day 14 : Madurai / Tanjore
Travel to Tanjore, ancient capital of the Chola Kings, whose patronage and
philanthropy rendered. Tanjore a veritable haven for artists, musicians and
craftsmen. The golden age of Dravidian culture is exemplified in
Brihadeshwara Temple, built in the 10th Century. The dome on the apex of the
central tower, 206 feet tall, is a single piece of granite weighing an
estimated 81 tons, which was put in place using a ramp 3 miles long, similar
to the technique used in building the Pyramids of Egypt. Evening transfer to
Railway Station to connect overnight transfer for Chennai.
Day 15 : Tanjore - Chennai (Madras)
Arrive Chennai (formerly Madras), the fourth largest city in India, located
on the warm shores of the Bay of Bengal. Modern Chennai traces its origins
to 1639, when the British East India Company was first awarded a trading
post and commenced building Fort St. George. Afternoon excursion to
Mahabalipuram (40 kms/ 1 hrs).Visit the ancient Pallavan port of
Mamallapuram and its 7th Century rock-hewn monuments, including a massive
bas-relief carved on a cliff face. Overnight in hotel.
Day 16 : Chennai
Morning tour of Chennai takes you to Victoria Art Gallery, Bronze Gallery
and Chennai Museum. Drive through Egmore to Georgetown stopping at Fort St.
George, housing the State Parliament. Located within the ramparts of the
fort is St. Mary's Church, the oldest Anglican church in Asia, consecrated
in 1680. The fort museum features relics of the Raj. Drive along Marina
Beach, visiting San Thome Cathedral, where lie the mortal remains of St.
Thomas, Christ's apostle and the earliest Christian missionary in Asia. Your
final stop is colorful Kapaleeswarar Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva, where
you have an opportunity to mingle with the devotees and observe the various
rituals of Hinduism. Overnight in hotel.
Day 17 : Chennai - Tour Ends.
Transfer to airport to connect Flight for home (hotel checkout 12 : 00