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Splendors of South India with Goa

With a glorious past, a vibrant culture, a rich tapestry of history, and natural bounty in the form of blue beaches, lakes, wildlife and clear skies, South India is a tourist's dream come true. One can enjoy on the beaches, go for backwaters, finding rare wildlife sanctuaries or let the mind search for peace in the midst of magnificent ancient temples , also making South India - The Temples Region of India

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South India is not about nature and the past only, but it has set it's site on the future. The region is developing rapidly on all the fronts whether it is economy, social, human resource, culture, and so on. No wonder that the past and present in Tamil Nadu has a harmonious coexistence.

Goa - one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Also known as ‘the pearl of the east’, it is best known for its beautiful and long palm-fringed beaches, Gothic churches, age-old ruins, coconut groves, intoxicating Feni, and laid back way of life.

Destinations Covered :Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, Tanjore, Trichy, Madurai, Periyar, Cochin, Goa, Mumbai & Back.

Duration:11 Nights/ 12 Days

Tour Cost: Per Person (On Twin Sharing) Starting From US$ 1650

Tour Programme

Day 01, ARRIVE CHENNAI
Arrive Chennai, after a traditional Welcome, our representative would assist and transfer you to hotel for check in.

Chennai (formerly known as Madras), is known for its cultural heritage & temple architecture. The region was served as an important administrative, military, & economic centre dating back to the 1st century. The first Westerners were Portuguese, who arrived in the year 1522 & built a port. It then passed on to the Dutch in 1612. In 1639 the British East India Company established a fort & trading post & since then this coastal centre of trade has drawn traffic from all over the world.

Overnight Hotel – Cochin

Day 02, CHENNAI / MAHABALIPURAM (2hours drive) Full day tour
Today, you will take a tour of Chennai, visiting 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. Mary's Church, built in the year 1680 & oldest Protestant Church in the East. Fort Museum has 10 galleries & displays armory, old uniforms, crockery & silverware, coins, palanquins, paintings, letters, old prints, etc. San Thome 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, is undoubtedly one of the country's finest museums. It has sections devoted to geology, archaeology, anthropology, botany, zoology, sculpture & numismatics. Government Museum has a fine archaeological section representing all the major South Indian periods including Chola, Vijaynagar, Hoysala & Chaulakya. The bronze gallery has a superb collection of Chola art especially the bronze statue of Ardhanareeswara, the androgynous incarnation of Shiva. Its most prized possessions are the relics from 2nd century AD Buddhist site of Amaravathi & the prehistoric antiques of South India.

Later, drive to Mahabalipuram, town of temples, sand & sea. It is world renowned for its beautiful Shore Temple & other temples. It was once the main port & naval base of the great Pallava kingdom & was later made the capital of this dynasty. Most of the temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva & Vishnu. These structures were built by three successive Pallava Kings, between 630 A.D & 728 A.D, who developed the Dravidian style of temple architecture within the short span of hundred years. The monuments are mostly rock-cut & monolithic, constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture, wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries) & giant open-air bas-reliefs & has been classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Overnight Hotel - Mahabalipuram

Day 03, MAHABALIPURAM – EXCURSION TO KANCHIPURAM
Half Day Tour
Today we take a guided tour of Mahabalipuram, visiting Shore Temple, one of the oldest temples in South India. It belongs to the 8th Century AD. 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.

Arjuna's Penance, world's largest bas-relief. This huge whale-back shaped rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts, & birds & in fact can be said to represent creation itself. Next we visit Rathas, monolithic temples fashioned as chariots. They remain an architectural mystery as each is apparently a faithful reproduction of a structure built of wood. In fact, even the grain of the timber beams & rafters has been simulated in stone. Of the eight Rathas, five have been named for the Pandava brothers, the heroes of the epic Mahabharata.

Excursion to Kanchipuram
Later we take a day excursion to Kanchipuram, is one of the seven holy cities in the country. It was a city of learning for both Tamil & Sanskrit, & was believed to be visited by Hun Tsang. In ancient times it was called Kachi. Once had over a thousand temples & today there are more than a hundred extant. It is also known for its temples & silk sarees. You will visit Kailasanatha Temple, built in 8th Century AD. It is built in the typical Pallava style, with a pyramidal tower. The temple is famous for exquisite carvings & attracts devotees & tourists alike. Fresco style paintings adorn the inner walls of the temple.

Later, visit Ekambaranatha, ancient temple 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. Also visit Kamakshi Amman, built in 12th century AD, as an important Shakthisthalam, known as Parabrahmaroonpini.

Overnight Hotel – Kumarakom

Day 04, MAHABALIPURAM / TANJORE (6hours drive)
Post breakfast, drive to Tanjore, flourished during the rule of the Nayaks & Mahrattas. It has been the treasure house of art for centuries. It is called the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is well-known throughout the world for its exquisite handicrafts like the Art Plate, pithwork, bronze icons, Thanjavur paintings & the classical South Indian musical instruments.

Later, visit Brihadeshwara temple, also known as Big Temple, built by Rajaraja Chola I was completed around 1010 CE. This 10th century CE temple, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a brilliant example of the Dravidian style of temple architecture. The beautiful Chola Fresco paintings on the inner walls of the temple are no way less than Ajanta paintings.

Overnight Hotel – Kumarakom

Day 05, TANJORE / MADURAI via TRICHY (4hours drive)
Today, leave for Madurai, rich cultural heritage passed for more than 2500 years & has been an important commercial center as early as 550 AD. It is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu & was originally known as Kadambavanam or the forest of Kadamba.

En route visit Trichy
En route, stop at Trichy, which is famous for historic temples & monuments. It was an important town in the days of the later Cholas, Nayaks as well as during the early days of the British East India Company. We start with Srirangam Temple, surrounded by the waters of the River Kaveri on one side & its tributary Kollidam on the other. It is a 600-acre island-town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple.

Later, visit Rockfort most famed landmark is an 83 m high rock which is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The most amazing fact about the rock is that it is one of the oldest in the world approximately 3,800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland & older than the Himalayas.

Overnight Hotel - Madurai

Day 06, MADURAI / PERIYAR (3hours drive)

Half Day Tour

In the morning, proceed for your tour in Madurai to Meenakshi Sundareshwar, first built 2000 years ago & was substantially expanded between the years (1623-55 AD). A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure known as Ayiramkaal mandapam or Hall of a thousand pillars in the outermost corridor.

Later, drive to Periyar, Set on an attractive lakeside, it is South India's most popular Wildlife Sanctuary. It 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.

Next explore Spice Plantation and the beauty & ecological pattern of Kerala.
Overnight at the hotel in Kovalam – Kovalam

Day 07, PERIYAR / COCHIN (4hours drive)
At sun rise, take a boat ride to view wildlife in the sanctuary on Lake Periyar. After two hours of wildlife viewing, get back to the hotel for breakfast.

Later, drive to Cochin – always was a very popular & historical sea trade connection with Middle East, Mediterranean Europe & Dutch. It has one of the finest natural harbors on the Arabian coastline. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the buildings & structures representing different regions of the world.

Evening, attend Kerala's most popular classical dance performance, Kathakali by local artists.

Overnight Hotel – Kovalam

Day 08, COCHIN SIGHTSEEING
Today, take a tour of Cochin, visiting St. Francis' Church, built in the year 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan Friars & known to be the oldest European church in India. It was restored in the year 1779 by the protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican Church by the British in 1795. Vasco da Gama's remains were buried here in 1524 & later moved to Lisbon, Portugal. We also visit Dutch Palace, originally built by the Portuguese. Later in 17th century they modified it & presented it to the Raja (King) of Kochi (Cochin). The Palace has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting scenes from Hindu epics, Mahabharata & Ramayana.

Later, visit Jew Town, synagogue, built in the year 1568, is 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.

Overnight Hotel – Kovalam

Day 09, COCHIN / GOA (Flight)
Today, fly from Cochin to Goa, once a part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BC. From 580-750 AD the Chalukyas of Badami had their sway over Goa. It is also known for its world heritage architecture including the Bom Jesus Basilica. Goa also has rich flora & fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which are classified as a biodiversity hot spot rather an absolute paradise on earth.

Overnight Hotel – Kovalam

Day 10, GOA SIGHTSEEING

Full Day Tour

Today you will embark on a tour of Goa, Visiting old Goa Churches; Basilica of Boom Jesus, built in 16th century dedicated to Infant Jesus is the most popular & famous of all churches in Goa. The mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, kept in a silver casket, are enshrined here. Sri Mangueas Temple, surrounded by rolling green hills & dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the most important of all temples in Goa & is located at Priol in Ponda Taluka. Dona Paula, a village named after Dona Paula de Menezes, the wife of a noble man Antonio de Souto Maior, who died as a young woman in 1682. Miramar Beach, an urban beach where the Mandovi River meets the Arabian Sea, a point that offers the best location to watch enchanting sunsets

Overnight Hotel – Kovalam

Day 11, GOA
Full day is at Leisure, enjoying the golden beaches, luxurious casinos & flowing spirits in Goa.

Overnight Hotel – Kovalam

Day 12, GOA / MUMBAI (Flight)
In time, transfer to airport to board flight to Mumbai and board flight back home or to next destination.

Tour Includes

» Accommodation with private facilities
» Daily Breakfast
» Arrival & departure transfers by Private Air-conditioned transport
» Road travel, excursions and sightseeing tours by Private Air-conditioned transport as per the itinerary
» Local English-speaking guides for sightseeing
» Entrance fee to monuments (Only for the places mentioned in the itinerary) and cultural events
» Elephant ride up to Amber Fort
» Train Travel from Jaipur to Jodhpur in AC 2nd Class
» Lunch at Maharani Bagh Resort in Ranakpur
» Room in Mumbai for Wash and Change
» Government Service Tax

Tour Exclusions

» Any airfare or airport tax.
» Camera fee.
» Any expense of personal nature such as hard / soft drinks, laundry, phone/fax calls, tips etc.
» Any other expense not mentioned in the "Inclusions".

 
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