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South India Cultural Tour

DAY 01 : ARRIVE MADRAS : ARRIVE  MADRAS . On arrival transfer to hotel .Overnight at hotel

Day 02 : IN MADRAS:
Afterbreakfast City tour of Madras : Fort St. George It is at Kamaraja  road. It is the first British fort  built around 1653  AD by the British East India Company. It has a  20 feet thick wall. The present structure,is a fine example of 17th century British military architecture. The country's tallest flagstaff is here, it’s said  to be over 300 years old. The 24 black Charnockite pillars are those reclaimed by the British in 1762 of the original 32 which once formed the colonade of the present Secretariat building. It remains the symbol of the British Raj. Now it houses the Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly. The best time to visit is on a Sunday. High court Entry - Monday to Saturday from 10 to 5 with guided tour Rs.10. It is situated at  Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Road, just north of St.George fort. It is an example of Indo Saracenic architecture. It is one of the largest judicial complex in the world. The red sand stone construction, ornamental decorations on the walls and minarets add beauty to this building.  The compound has a pyramid shape tomb which belongs to the only son of  Elihu Yale, who died in infancy. Marina Beach, lining the east of the city is the famous  at Kamarajar Road, 3 Km away from Madras. This is supposed to be the second longest beach in the World and runs to a length of 12 Km. On the beach there is the Anna Park, named after the founder of D.M.K (Dravida Munnetta Kazhakam) Anna Durai and the tomb of M.G. Ramachandran who was a film star and the charismatic Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The beach can be ideally visited in the early mornings or in the late evenings when the area becomes a virtual ground; with food stalls and other entertainments..  Sri Kapaleswarar Temple, this temple is situated near Kutchery Road, Mylapore.  This ancient Siva temple is a delightful introduction to Dravidian temple sculpture and architecture. The magnificent 37 meter tall gopuram is one of the main attraction of this temple. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the inner courtyard. The outer courtyard has several bronze statues. Timing :  Daily from 0400 to 1200 and 1600 to 2000.. Overnight in HOTEL –  

DAY 03 :  MADRAS/KANCHIPURAM /MAHABAIPURAM  : In morning drive to Kanchipuram . Kanchipuram is among the most famous of the 'temple cities' of Tamil Nadu. Its temples house different Hindu sects. Though today it is only a destination for pilgrims, and a repository of major architectural monuments, in antiquity it occupied a more preeminent place in the history of South India. The city was the political capital of the Pallava rulers during the 7th - 9th centuries. It remained an important city during the succeeding Chola and Vijayanagara empires.MAMALLAMPURM ( DRIVE: 120KM/03HRS) : After visiting Kanchipuram drive  to Mamallapuram. On  arrival checkin at hotel .It’s globally renown for its shore temples, Mahabalipuram was the second capital of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. , this tiny sea - side village of Mahabalipuram, is set in a boulder - strewn landscape. Tourists are drawn to this place by its miles of unspoiled beach and rock-cut art. The sculpture, here, is particularly interesting because it shows scenes of day-to- day life, in contrast with the rest of the state of Tamil Nadu, where the carvings generally depict gods and goddesses. Mahabalipuram art can be divided into four categories : open air bas - reliefs, structured temples, man-made caves and rathas ('chariots' carved from single boulders, to resemble temples or chariots used in temple processions). The famous Arjuna's Penance and the Krishna Mandapa, adorn massive rocks near the centre of the village. The beautiful Shore Temple towers over the waves, behind a protective. Arjuna's PenanceCarved in relief on the face of a huge rock, Arjuna's Penance is the mythical story of the river Ganges, issuing from its source, high in the Himalayas. The surface of the rock has detailed carvings showing the most endearing and natural renditions of animals. It also shows deities, and other semi-divine creatures and fables from the Panchtantra. Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers and a consummate archer, is shown standing on one leg, doing penance to obtain a boon from Lord Shiva. It is said that Arjuna had made a journey to a bank on the river Ganges to do penance, in the hope that Shiva would part with his favourite weapon, the pashupatashastra, a magic staff or arrow. Mandapams (low rise, rockcut halls)In all there are eight mandapams scattered over the main hill, two of which have been left unfinished. Krishna MandapamThis is one of the earliest rock-cut temples. It features carvings of a pastoral scene, showing Lord Krishna lifting up the Govardhana mountain, to protect his people from the wrath of Indra, the God of Rain. Rathas These are architectural prototypes of all Dravidian temples, showcasing the imposing gopurams and vimanas, multi-pillared halls and sculptured walls, which dominate the landscape of Tamil Nadu. The rathas are named after the Pandavas, the heroes of the Mahabharata epic. Although they are widely known as "Five Rathas", there are actually eight of them. Overnight  at  hotel:

DAY 04 : Mahabalipuram/Pondichery( DRIVE :210KMS/04 HRS) : In morning drive to Pondicherry .On arrival chec-kin at hotel .Overnight at hotel Afternoon visit Auroville ;located 10 kms north of Pondicherry town, Auroville is envisioned as a universal town, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs, can live in peace and harmony. The construction of this 'universal town' was started in 1968 under the guidance of the mother, a paries- Born painter-musician who become sri Aurobindo's disciple and close companion from 1924 till his death in 1950. The development of this Utopia is still in progress. Several countries have offered to set up permanent pavilions, reflecting the culture and ethos of their countries. The French HeritageShri Aurobindo Ashram Shri Aurobindo, the great seer, poet and prophet of the twentieth century, made Pondicherry his home from 1910 till his death in 1950. His vision and ideals continue to draw People from all over the world. Pondicherry MuseumOn display are the findings of Arikamedu , the chola bronzes and sculptures, glimpses Of French heritage, specimens of modern and traditional handicraft, paintings, armoires, carvings and many other things of historical interest. Botanical Garden : Established by C.S perrotet in 1826, it preserves a large Varity of exotic species of plants from all over India and abroad. Villaiayanur :Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswarar tamale, architecturally the finest in Pondicherry, is located 9.5 kms away. During may- June, a ten - day annual festival (Brahmothsavam) is held here which attracts hundreds of devotees. The temple car rising to a height of 15.25 meters is profusely decorated, pulled out from its usual position and taken on a procession around the town. It is an awe - inspiring sight. Mansion of Ananda Rangapillai Built in 1773, this mansion is a fine specimen of indo - French architecture. Ananda Rangapillai was the courtier of Joseph francois dupleix , the governor.. Eglise de Sacre Coeur De Jesus : Dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus, this church is noted for its Gothic architecture and stained glass planes, which depict the entire life of Jesus Christ..  Overnight in hotel.

DAY 05 : Pondichery/Trichy ( Drive: 200 kms/04hrs): In morning drive to Trichy .On arrival chekin at hotel. Trichy also known as Tiruchirapalli was the citadel of the Chola dynasty in the medieval period. In the 18th century it witnessed the Carnatic wars fought between the French and the English. Lord Robert Clive's house is still there to see and so is the Danish Church. The Rock-Fort is the landmark of Trichy. A climb of 434  steps leads to the ancient temple of Ganapati on top and a further climb to a Shiva temple.Overnight in  Hotel.

DAY 06:   TRICHY/MADURAI( Drive 65 Km/01 hrs) : In morning drive to Madurai .Enroute visit to Thanjavour  . The beautiful Chola Temple of Brihadeshwara is capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite block weighing 80 tons which was taken to the top with the help of a 6 km long ramp, an old technique used by the Egyptians for building pyramids. Its bronzes and handicrafts make Tanjore one of the highlights of a visit to South India. On arrival checkin at Hotel.IN EVENING  Visit the great Meenakshi Temple dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva with its towering gopurams (rising high above the surrounding country side). Later, visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace - A gracious building in the Indo saracenic style, famous for the Stucco work on its domes and arches. Overnight at  hotel

:  In morning drive The island of Rameshwaram spreads out over a 56 km swell with gentle sand dunes, embellished with the delicacy of casuarina trees and stark palms. This is a sacred place for Hindus since according to Ramayana, this is where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to absolve himself of the sin of killing Ravana. A dip into the sacred waters of the Agni theertham which was calmed by Rama is a must for Hindus. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 08: RAMESHWARAM/KANYAKUMARI(DRIVE:300KMS/07HRS) : In morning drive to Kanyakumari .On arrival check-in at hotel. It is the Southern most tip of peninsular India, is where the waters of the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet. A place from where one can see spectacular sunrises and sunsets. One can visit Swami Vivekananda Memorial perched on a little rocky island close to the sea shore.Overnight at hotel  

DAY 09 : KANYAKUMARI/KOVALAM( DRIVE :85KMS/02HRS) : In morning drive to  Kovalam .On arrival check-in hotel . Kovalam, the world-renowned beach endowed with a sheltered bay safe for swimming during the off-monsoon months is about 16 kms. away from the city. It is a unique and uncluttered beach of silvery sands fringed with rows of tall palms. Overnight at hotel

DAY 10 : KOVALAM /COCHIN (DRIVE:210KMS/04HRS) : In morning drive to Alleppey to board House Boat for BACK  WATER  CRUISE .After enjoying Backwater Cruise  transfer to Cochin .On arrival check-in hotel. Overnight at hotel.

DAY 11 : IN COCHIN: Morning city tour of COCHIN, also known as Kochi, is one of the finest backwaters and beach destinations of Kerala, India. Beautifully spread across string of picturesque and lovely islands, lagoons, small rivulets and swaying coconut palm trees, Cochin is one of the most sought after and tourist destinations in Kerala. Fort Cochin: Also known as the 'Old Fort', Fort Cochin is the very first fort built by the Europeans in India. Started by the Dutch and then British, the Fort has many amazing structures. Vasco de Gama, the first European to land on Indian coasts in 1498, died in Fort Cochin on Christmas eve in 1524. The Fort houses a huge Portuguese-style Mansion, the St. Francis Church and the Santa Cruz Basilica among other attractions. Chinese Fishing Nets: They are huge cantilevered fishing nets brought by the Indian traders from the court of Kublai Khan, the famous Mongol Emperor who founded the Yuan Dynasty of China. Erected between 1350 and 1450 AD by traders, these nets are set up on teak wood and bamboo poles. The best place to enjoy the nets being lowered into the sea and its catch is the Vasco de Gama square.Jewish Synagogue: Built in the year 1568, the Jewish Synagogue is probably the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth. The greatest attractions of this synagogue are the amazing 18th century hand painted willow pattern floor tiles imported from China, the copper plates on which the privilege granted by the kings were recorded, a dock tower and Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs among many others.St. Francis Church: Built by the Portuguese in 1503 AD, it is the first church built by the Europeans in India. Vasco De Gama, the famous Portuguese trader and sailor, was buried here in 1524 before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal in 1538. Overnight at hotel  

DAY 12  :  COCHIN/OOTY(DRIVE:280KMS/08HRS)) : In morning drive to Ooty .On arrival check-in at hotel . OVERNIGHT AT HOTEL

One of the reasons people like to visit hill stations is that, they not only offer respite from the dust and pollution of the city but also give people a chance to see the undefiled beauty of nature. The green hills, the cascading waterfalls and sparkling brooks, all make the hill stations a delight for the eyes of the city-weary. Ooty is an ideal hill station since it offers all this and much more. There are many places you can tour, such as the Botanical Gardens, Lamb's rock, Dodabetta Peak, among many others.Botanical Gardens., you might want to visit the Government Botanical gardens, which were laid out in 1847.The picturesque gardens that are maintained by the Horticulture department of the state, cover an area of about 22 hectares. The Gardens have well over 650 species of plants and trees, including a fossil of a tree, which is believed to be more than 20 million years old. The garden is very popular with nature lovers and those who long to walk among greenery and see rare ferns and shrubs up close. Ooty Lake:If you love the outdoors, Ooty lake is a must see for you. It was built in 1825 and is about 2.5 km long. Visitors to this lake can go for boating on the lake or enjoy their favorite outdoor activity of fishing Dodabetta PeakThe Dodabetta Peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 meters. It is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. It is merely 10kms from Ooty so you can simply grab your camera and head straight to the peak, and click amazing pictures of he valley below. Many say that on a clear day, which is honestly not that often, one can see far off areas, even the plains of Coimbatore and the flat highlands of Mysore. Kodanadu's View Point .Kodanadu is about 16kms from Kotagiri, and is situated on the eastern edge of the Nilgiri range. It is a great vantage point that offers a breathtaking view of the Moyar river and the tea estates. There is a watchtower here that offers a view of the Rangasamy peak.  OVERNIGHT AT HOTEL

DAY 14  : OOTY/MYSORE(DRIVE:160KMS/04HRS) : In morning drive to Mysore.On arrival check-in at hotel. : The city of Mysore offers a visitor an insight into the lifestyles, cultures and traditions of its erstwhile rulers. The palaces and temples around the city speak volumes about heritage and architecture of the medieval times and the kind of patronage the city received from its rulers.Enroute visit Shrirangapatam About 15 km from the royal city of Mysore lies the town of Srirangapatnam. There are many interesting places here of which the summer palace of Tipu Sultan is a must visit. Built in 1784 in the Indo-Saracenic style, the palace also has a small museum where Tipu's trivia, including a gold-embroidered tunic, old paintings and a coin collection, are displayed. Afternoon visit Mysore Palace , Built in around AD 897 in Saracenic style, the Mysore palace has both Hindu as well as Muslim influences. The palace, designed by an English architect and completed in 1912, was built in place of an earlier palace .which was burnt down in 1897. Lalitha Mahal Palace the snow-white it  was built in the 1930s for the guests of the Wodeyars. The main attraction of the palace is a staircase of Italian marble branching off from a landing to reach.Over night at hotel 

DAY 15: MYSORE/BANGALORE: (DRIVE:139KMS/04HRS) : In morning drive to Bangalore .On arrival check-in at hotel. Rest of day for personal activities. Overnight at hotel ;

DAY 16 : IN BANGALORE: There are a number of tourist attractions to visit in and around the city of Bangalore. Of historical, religious and contemporary interests, these tourists spots are easily accessible and worth a visit. The Vidhan Soudha makes the major attraction in Bangalore. The building is a massive neo-Dravidian architecture presently functioning as the state legislative assembly. The Cubbon Park in the heart of the city, Lal Bagh (famous for the blooming red roses), and the Bangalore Palace are some of the other must see attractions of this garden city. The Venkatappa Art Gallery houses about 600 paintings on display. The Tipu's Palace and the adjoining fort are fine examples of Indo-Islamic architecture that also offer a glimpse into the Mughal lifestyle of the day. Among the religious places, the ISKCON Temple, Shiva Statue, and the Bull Temple are worth visiting. Besides, Lal Bagh Gardens Lal Bagh is a must see while visiting Bangalore. The name Lal Bagh has been given to it for the wonderfully loomed red roses that remain blooming all through the year in this garden. The garden has also a collection of famous Botanical species. Though the flow of visitors to the park is a regular affair, the garden gets a festive look during the Republic Day and on the days of flower shows that are held here.Vidhan Soudha, built in the year 1954 is one of the major centres of attraction in Bangalore. The architecture of the building is based on the neo Dravidian style and it presently houses the Legislative Assembly of the state of Karnataka. The building also houses a part of the Karnataka secretariat. Cubbon Park situated in the heart of the Bangalore city, the Cubbon Park is an interesting tourist spot which one should not miss out. The park was laid by Lord Cubbon in the year 1864. It is spread over an area of about 300 acres and the layout is absolutely exquisite.Bangalore PalaceBuilt in the year 1887, Bangalore palace is a must see tourist spot in the garden city. The architecture of the palace is based on the Tudor style. The palace is situated in the middle of the Bangalore city making it easily accessible for the tourists. Covering an area of about 800 acres, the palace gives a look of the Windsor Palace of England.. Tipu's Palace : The palace and the fort of Tipu Sultan are the must see spot in Bangalore. The architecture, the layout and the overall look of the palace gives you the idea of the ethnic Mughal lifestyle. The fort and its remains present the history of the era in which it was built. The construction of the Tipu palace was started by Haider Ali and completed by Tipu Sultan himself. ISKCON :The International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON Temple Complex of Bangalore is a marvellous building structure that has blended the Dravidian and modern architecture in its construction. The building has some of the modern facilities like the multi-vision cinema theatre, computer aided presentation theatres along with vedic library and a preaching library. The temple also has good accommodation facility for its members and non-members. Shiva Statue
Bull temple:
The Bull Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva's Vahana (vehicle), Nandi the bull. Here you can find a huge monolithic statue of the sitting bull that draws a large number of people to this place every day. The statue is 4.5 meters tall and 6 meters long and has been at this place long before the present temple was built.OVERNIGHT AT HOTEL

DAY 18:   LEAVE BANGALORE: Transfer to airport for onwards destination 

 
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