A 12-day vacation to the most attractive and culturally rich destinations in Southern India. This South India tour covers the best of Kerala, the metropolitan Harbor city of Cochin, the famed backwaters of Kumarakom, and Kerala’s best known National Park, Periyar. After visiting the wonders of Kerala, you continue your South India tour, moving on to Trichy, famous for the Rockfort Temple, on to the Indo-French settlement of Pondicherry, to the Temple town of Mahabalipuram, ending up in Chennai , Southern India’s most populous and culturally rich city.
Your South India Vacation Package starts with your arrival into Cochin, where you will be received at the airport by Trans India Holidays representative and he will then escort you to the hotel and help you with the check in formalities. Cochin: - Widely known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Cochin has one of the world’s most attractive natural ports. Cochin is well known for its spices, silks, ivory and sandalwood. It has traditionally rich heritage, but at the same time it is one of the most fast-paced and contemporary cities in India. It is very easy to be hypnotized by the magic of Cochin. It is the beauty and comparatively the good infrastructure that makes Cochin the ideal gateway to the state. Overnight stay in Cochin
After a relaxing breakfast at the hotel, the tour guide will pick you up from the hotel and take you for a guided sightseeing tour of Cochin. Tour includes the following places of interest: Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace): The Portuguese constructed The Mattancherry Palace in 1557, and presented to the Maharaja of Cochin, Veera Kerala Varma (1537-61) as sign of goodwill. After 1663, the Dutch carried out some constructions and renovations in the palace, and from that day it was widely called as the ‘Dutch Palace’. The most significant thing about this palace is the amazing paintings in the bedrooms and other rooms. The paintings portray scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends connected with Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Kumara and Durga. These paintings are certainly the most extensive and attractive paintings to be seen anywhere in India. The Jewish Synagogue The Jewish Synagogue: The Jewish Synagogue is located near the Dutch Palace. This synagogue was constructed in 1568 and was brilliantly decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. The Synagogue has a giant scroll of the Old Testament. Cochin Harbor: The very popular tourist attraction in Cochin Harbor is the Chinese Fishing nets. These fishing nets are one of its kind and are found only in India. The fishing nets were popularized in Cochin Harbor by the traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan. St Francis Church: St. Francis church was constructed by the Europeans in 1503. St. Francis Church is the oldest European church in India. The Portuguese trader, Vasco da Gama died in Kochi, during his third visit to Kerala. Initially, his body was buried in this church, but after a few years his remains were moved to Portugal. In spite of all this the place where he was buried has been marked out inside the church. Fort Kochi Beach: Fort Kochi beach is an ideal location to saunter in a peaceful and relaxing way. This beach happens to be one of the favorite tourist spots in Kerala. The view of the sunset with the Chinese fishing net and the sailing ships in the background is a fine experience. Many European style bungalows can be seen alongside the shoreline. Later in the evening you will be picked up by the guide and will be taken to a Kathakali Dance Performance at a local theatre. Kathakali is a classical dance form, portraying Indian epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata). The costumes of the dancers are very colorful and elaborate. Dancers with painted faces depict the various characters of the ancient epics. The Kathakali dancers portray a lot of facial expressions and articulate body movements. Overnight stay in Cochin.
After a relaxing breakfast at the hotel, you will be assisted with check out formalities and start your drive to Kumarakom, the next destination on your South India Tour. Kumarakom:Kumarakom is a small village on the Vembanad Lake in Kerela. This beautiful paradise stocked with mangrove forests, beryl green paddy fields and coconut groves comprises with water ways and canals adorned with while lilies. Kumarakom charms the tourist from all over the world. It offers a wide variety of flora, beautiful sightseeing, boating and fishing experiences. It is a part of Kuttanad region and the bird sanctuary spread over 14 acres is a safe home for many migratory birds. It is a fascinating sight for the visitors. The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat ride round the islands, as hundreds of swaying verdant coconut palms lining the rivers lean to brush the tops of your heads. On your arrival at Kumarakom, check in at your Backwater Resort. No activities are scheduled for this day. Spend the rest of the day either relaxing or enjoying the facilities of the resort. Overnight in Kumarakom.
After a relaxing breakfast at the resort, check out of the resort and start your drive to Periyar which is the next destination on your South India Tour. Periyar: Periyar is one of the most popular National Parks in Southern India, but these days this is more famous for its serene feel than sightings of wildlife. The uniqueness of the sanctuary extends around the banks of a huge artificial lake that was created by the damming of the Periyar River a century ago. The sanctuary is known for the Tigers. It has a wide range of animals, including the elephants, bison, macaque leopards, jungle cats, wild dogs, mouse deer, gaur, sambar deer, barking deer. The sanctuary treasures a wide variety of rich flora and rare fauna. On your arrival in Periyar, check in to the resort.
To experience the incredible sanctuary, early morning you will be picked up for a boat ride on the Periyar Lake. Most of the tourist activities are focused around the Lake. There are roughly 700 elephants roaming in the forest, and they are generally seen on the banks of the Periyar Lake. Later, in the evening the guide will pick you up from the hotel for a guided tour to the nearby spice plantation. Cinnamom and ginger, pepper and cardamom, and various other spices grown on the Periyar hill made it nature’s taste factory in the 14th century, as Cochin became nature’s harbor, the shipping port for a spice hungry world. Later, the area came under the kingdom of Travancore, and many of its plantations, orchards and hunting lodges date from that time. The British Raj also left its mark on the Cardamom hills. Overnight stay in Periyar
After a relaxing breakfast, check out from the hotel and then start your drive to Madurai, your next destination on the South India Tour. Madurai is known as the soul of Tamil Nadu. This city has a rich heritage, culture and historical background in the sense that Lord Shiva himself performed 64 wonders called "Thiruvilaiyadals" here many centuries ago. Madurai was the capital of Pandya kingdom and is located on the bank of Vaigai River. Madurai is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. It is famous for the Meenakshi Temple, with its elaborate example of the Dravidian architecture and the four tall gopurams (pillars) with its multicolored Gods, Goddesses, demons and deities. The 1000 pillared hall has stone figures engraved on it, some of which sounds like metal when it hits a thing. Other places of interests include the Tirumalai Nayaka Temple and the Temple Art Museum. Madurai has reference in the great epics like Ramayana, Kautilyas and Arthasastra. Megasthanes visited Madurai in the early 320BC. The travel historians like Pliny (77 AD) and Ptolemy (140AD) have mentioned about Madurai in their travelogues. Marco Polo visited Madurai in 1293 AD followed by Ibn Batuta in 1333 AD. Many traders from Rome and Greece later visited Madurai and established trade with the Pandya kings. The city is surrounded by three small hills, which are called the Anaimalai, Pasumalai and Nagamalai. These hills are so named because of their resemblance to an Elephant, a Cow and a Snake respectively. On your arrival in Madurai, check in at the hotel. The rest of the day is free for you. You can either relax or explore the city. Overnight stay in Madurai.
After a relaxing breakfast at the hotel, you will be picked up from your hotel and will be taken for a guided sightseeing tour of Madurai. Tour includes visits to the following places of interest: Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple: The Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple is located at the heart of the city and is a major Hindu pilgrim spot and an international tourist attraction. This temple reflects the cultural and religious life of the people of the city. It is also said that the people of the city start their daily chores with the chanting of hymns at the temple. This pre-Christian era temple, initially constructed by Kulasekara Pandya, was in ruins before Tirumalai Nayak renovated this outstanding structure to its original glory. Tirumalai Nayakar Mahal: This palace is about 1 km away from the Meenakshi-Sundareshwar temple. This Indo-Saracenic building was constructed in 1523, and was initially four times larger than its present size. The most amazing thing about this building is the audience hall, Swarga Vilasam. The Swarga Vilasam has a roof that is 20m high, without any kind of support and this is a true engineering wonder. Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam: Enshrining Lord Vigneshwara, Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is a tank with a Mandapam (covered platform) at the center. Between January and February, the Float festival is conducted here. The Gandhi Museum: The old city palace in Madurai has been dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. Thirupparankundram: Situated 8 km away from the center of the city, Thirupparankundram is one of the six dwelling places of Lord Subramanya. Ancient Koodal Azhagar Shrine: The Ancient Koodal Azhagar shrine is well known for its sculptures of Vishnu in sitting, standing and reclining positions placed one above the other. Your sightseeing tour is followed by a drive to Trichy, the next destination on your South India Tour. Trichy Trichy is a perfect combination of the culture and modernity constructed around the Rock Fort. During the British-French struggle for supremacy in India in the 18th century , Trichy was one of the major centers around which the wars of the Carnatic was fought. Trichy may have been the capital of the early Cholas, but it was passed through the hands of the Pallavas. Trichy is a flourishing trade center in Tamil Nadu. This city is also famous for artificial diamonds, handloom, cigars, cloth, glass bangles, wooden and clay toys. Many famous scholars from this city have contributed a lot to the Tamil literature. On your arrival in Trichy, check in at the hotel. Overnight stay in Trichy.
After a relaxing breakfast at the hotel, you will be picked up from your hotel and will be taken for a guided sightseeing tour of Trichy. Tour includes visits to the following places of interest: Rock Fort Temple : The Rock Fort Temple stands on an 84 m tall rock in the center of the town. In the 18th century, for the possession of the Fort the British fought and defeated the French at Trichy. The cave-shrines and temples are constructed on the rock. The Hall of a Thousand Pillars and the shrine of Shiva are something worth seeing. One can relax and enjoy the panoramic views of Trichy from the top of the temple. Ranganathswamy Temple The Ranganathswamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was well known as the religious seat of learning as far back as the 11th century. Presently the temple includes a series of walled courts with 21 towers, and the tallest of these towers reaches up to 72 meters. The temple is surrounded by busy streets with some street vendors selling sweets, garlands and holy images to the worshippers and the tourists. Your sightseeing tour is followed by a drive to your next destination on the South India Tour, Pondicherry. Pondicherry :Pondicherry is a former French colony settled in the 18th century and is now a union territory and an attractive seaside town, still with a Anglo–French flavour. What attracts most of the travelers, apart from the beautiful atmosphere, exceptional restaurants and the cheap beer, is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The Aurobindo Ashram was established by Sri Aurobindo in 1926 and this ashram has brought international reputation to this coastal town. On arrival in Pondicherry, check in at the hotel. Overnight in Pondicherry.
After a relaxing breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel and taken for a guided sightseeing tour of Pondicherry. Tour includes visits to the following places of interest: Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Sri Aurobindo Ashram was established in 1926, and has grown under the Mother’s direction, from a small group of two dozen disciples into a large branched out community. The Ashram is not a quiet place of retreat secluded from the world but a vibrant center of life in an urban setting. Aurobindo Hand Made Paper Factory - With the paper produced here being exported to other countries, Aurobindo Hand Made Paper factory is one of the most successful commercial enterprises of the Ashram. You could actually see the process of developing quality hand made papers, as you roam around the factory. The Pondicherry Museum The Pondicherry Museum is famous for the various stone statues and a fossilized tree trunk. Your sightseeing tour of P0ondicherry is followed by a drive to Mahabalipuram, the next destination on your South India Tour package. Mahabalipuram: Mahabalipuram, a small town with vibrant history dates back to the Tamil Pallava dynasty in the 7th and the 9th century in South India. This town is famous for its rock carved temples, sculptures and the world’s largest stone bas relief. The extravagant shore temples are the most famous spots in Mahabalipuram for photography in the country. The structures here are mostly carved out of granite and are one of the oldest existing examples of the Dravidian architecture. There are nine rock-cut cave temples in the area. These temples have interesting carvings on them portraying the Hindu Gods and Goddesses i8n various postures, some mythological relating incidents. There is a carving of the celebrated fight between Mahishasura and Goddess Durga and a carving of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The major attraction here is the carving of the magnificient Pandava Rathas (dedicated to the pandava brothers of Mahabharata) all carved out of a single rock. There is also a huge rock known as the Arjuna’s Penance, where the Mahabharata hero was said to have paid for his worldly sins. There are also famous ‘Mandapams’, which are rock-cut galleries with sculpted figures inside them. On your arrival in Mahabalipuram, check in at the hotel. Overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.
After a relaxing breakfast at the hotel, you will be picked up from your hotel and will be taken for a guided sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. Mahabalipuram is a port city of the Pallavas, who mastered the art of construction without using bricks or mortar, just carving out exquisite sculptors from rocks. The extravagant shore temples are the most famous spots in Mahabalipuram for photography in the country. This city is a place of ancient sculptural wonders. The best samples of their art are the five pillared chariots, the pride of Mahabalipuram. The various carving on the walls portrays scenes from the Hindu mythology and stories from Panchtantra. Later, visit Kanchipuram where the trip includes visits to the Kamakshi Amman, dedicated to Goddess Parvati, the Kailashanathar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Ekambareswar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the largest temple of the city. Overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.
After a relaxing breakfast at the hotel, check out of the hotel and start your drive to Chennai, the last stop of your South India tour. Chennai Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is the capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu, and the fourth largest city in India. In 1639, when the East India Company chose to select a new location for settlement, the erstwhile fishing village called Madraspatnam was born and renamed Madras On your arrival in Chennai, you will be met by our representative and he will assist you with the Check in formalities. Later, in the afternoon you will be picked up from the hotel and will be taken for a guided sightseeing tour of Chennai. The tour includes the following places of interest: Fort St. George: Fort St. George was constructed in 1640 A.D. by the British East India Company, under the direction of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon. Fort St. George occupies a place of pride and status in Chennai. The Fort was named after the patron saint of England, St. George. The Fort has a Museum and a St. Mary’s church. Marina Beach: Marina Beach is the second largest beach in the world and is one of the main tourist attractions of the city. The experience of viewing the sun rise and set is very enchanting. Close to Marina beach, is the Aquarium, and also there are several attractive historical buildings including the University of Madras, Senate-House, Chepauk Palace etc. The Fort Museum: The Fort Museum, dating back to the British period, was a vault of the rare display to a number of weapons, uniforms, coins, costumes, medals and other artifacts. The tallest flag staff in India is the flag staff at the St. George Fort. In the South of the Fort, a war memorial was constructed in 1939, in the memory of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the First World War. The biggest lung space in the city is situated on an island formed by the river Cooum. This space is the venue for the Trade and the tourist fairs help periodically which are seasonal attractions. Santhome Cathedral Basilica: Santhome Cathedral Basilica at the southern end of the Marina Beach derives its name from St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ, who is believed to have come to Madras sometime during 52 A.D. He was killed on the St. Thomas mount just outside the city in 78 A.D. and was interned in the SanThome beach, where a church was built. After many years, a different church was constructed and his mortal remains were transferred to the new church from he old one. This church was rebuilt in 1606 as a cathedral and in 1896 it was made a basilica. The beautiful tainted glass window at the basilica reveals the story of St. Thomas. The central hall has 14 wooden memorials portraying the scenes from the last days of Christ. The Cathedral has a 3 ft. high statue of Virgin Mary, which is believed to have been brought from Portugal in 1543. Overnight stay in Chennai.
The morning is free for you to relax and enjoy the facilities of the hotel. Later in the day, you will be met by our representative and he will help you with the check out formalities. After all this he will escort you to the airport for your flight back home.
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