On your arrival in Bengaluru also known as Bangalore, you will be transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. This South India holiday package covers the best tourist destinations. Bangalore is the Silicon Valley of India and is one of the top preferred entrepreneurial locations in the world. The story goes that a 12th century king lost his way and met a poor woman who offered him boiled beans. The grateful king named the place "benda-kaal-uru" which means town of boiled beans. The Karaga Shaktyotsava an important festival dedicated to Goddess Draupadi is celebrated annually over a period of nine days in March or April. Bangalore is also an important place for classical music and dance. Overnight is in Bangalore
This morning you will be enjoying a tour of Bangalore. The tourist spots in Bangalore are Lal Bagh, Maharaja's Palace, etc. You could also include the various temples in the Bangalore sight-seeing. Bangalore is known as the "Garden City of India". The Lal Bagh started by Hyder Ali and finished by his son Tipu Sultan, has India's largest collection of tropical plants - over a 1000 species of flora and also trees over 100 years old. The construction of the Bangalore Palace was started in 1862 and completed in 1944 and looks similar to the Windsor Castle in England. Drive past different Government buildings. After the Bengaluru tour, you will drive to Mysore. Overnight is in Mysore.
The morning city tour of Mysore will take you to the Mysore palace that was originally built by the Maharaja of Mysore in the year 1911-1912. The palace is of harmonious synthesis of the Hindu and Saracenic styles of architecture having archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures. Visit the art gallery. Drive to the Chamundi hill to visit the Chamundeshwari Temple. From the hill itself you will get a panoramic view of the city of Mysore. On your way back to Mysore, visit the Nandi bull. Afternoon is free in Mysore or, you could visit the Krishnarajasagar dam and the Brindavan Gardens. Mysore is a good place for buying the famous "Mysore silk". Your afternoon is at leisure. Overnight is in Mysore.
Today you will drive from Kochi to Ooty, also known as Ootacamund or Udhagamandalam. Udhagamandalam or Ooty known as the Queen of Nilgiris is a city in the Nilgiri hills - also known as The Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains name comes from the blue smoky haze given off by the eucalyptus trees and also from the kurunji flower, which blooms every twelve years giving the slopes a bluish color. Ooty was developed by one of the British Governors of Coimbatore Lord John Sullivan who encouraged the people to grow tea and teak trees. It is said that Snooker was invented by a British army officer - Sir Neville Francis Fitzgerald Chamberlain.
Afternoon is for leisure for exploring this quaint town. Ooty offers mountains, lakes, forests, grasslands, miles of tea gardens and eucalyptus trees. The Government rose garden is one of the largest rose gardens of India with thousands of varieties of roses. The Ooty Botanical Gardens has about a thousand species of plants, shrubs, trees and also a 20-million year fossilized tree. The Ooty Lake offers boating facilities and is set among groves of Eucalyptus trees. St. Stephen's Church is one of the oldest churches of this area. The other places of interest are the Wax Museum, Tribal Museum, Deer Park, etc. Nilgiri Mountain Railway is an extension to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and the Mettupalayam to Ooty rail journey offers spectacular views of the Nilgiris and is worth the trip. Overnight is in Ooty.
You will have a long drive this morning from Ooty to Kochi. In Kochi you have time at leisure for exploring the city. Kochi earlier known as Cochin is referred as the Queen of Arabian Sea. Kochi has remained the popular centre in across the world for the trade of spices for number of centuries. The name of the city comes from Malayalam term Kochazhi that actually means small lagoon. Kochi was put on the world map by Vasco-de-Gama. The Arabs, Portuguese, British, Dutch, all have left their impression on the history of Kochi. After Mumbai, Kochi is probably the second most important city on the west coast of India. In the evening, you could enjoy a Kathakali dance show. Overnight is in Kochi.
Today morning you will drive to Alappuzha and there you will embark a houseboat. This picturesque town also known as Venice of the East is crisscrossed with canals and offers you backwaters, beaches, and lagoons. Alleppey on the Arabian Sea with numerous canals meandering through the town is a very important destination for tourists visiting Kerala. A cruise in the backwaters is an unforgettable experience. Every year, on the second Saturday of August the Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held on the Punnamada Lake. Kuttanad with continuous paddy fields and lush green coconut palms is known as the rice bowl of Kerala. This is one of the few places in the world where rice is cultivated below sea level. Coir is the most important commodity manufactured in Alappuzha.
Here, you will embark a rice houseboat which is quite an experience. The Kerala backwaters are a network of large lakes linked by canals and fed by rivers. The backwaters are formed because of the waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands. Here you will board a houseboat in Kerala backwaters. The charm of staying a night in the houseboats known as kettuvallam in the backwaters is great. These boats were used to ferry the grain. Thatched roof covers provide protection from the sun and rain. The boats are like floating cottages with a sleeping area, toilets, dining area and a sit out on the deck. The food is cooked on board by staff. Overnight is on board of the houseboat.
Today morning you will drive from Alappuzha to Periyar animal sanctuary which is also known as Thekkady. Rest of your time is free for game viewing. Periyar is famous as an Elephant and Tiger Reserve and shelters various animals like Bengal Tiger, Indian elephant, wild boar, sambar, tiger, leopard, wild dog, langur, monkeys, etc. It has an abundance of birds and plants. A boat ride in the Periyar Lake gives you the possibility of watching the different animals. The Park is surrounded by various plantation regions for coffee, tea, etc and a visit to these plantations is a worth. If time permits, you could make a soft trek to the nearby areas. Overnight is in Periyar.
Today morning you will drive to Madurai. Madurai is one of the oldest living cities in the world and the recorded history dates back to 3rd century BC. The entire afternoon is for a tour of Madurai. Madurai sight-seeing includes Meenakshi Temple, Tirumala Nayak Palace, Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock temple. The Meenakshi Temple complex is one of the largest and oldest in India. The temple was built 2000 years ago and was expanded by Thirumalai Nayak. This is a temple of Lord Siva and his wife Meenakshi. The temple has a Hall of Thousand Pillars with every pillar showing life like features. The outermost corridors have musical pillars of stones which when tapped, produce different musical notes. Thirumalai Nayak Palace was built in 1636 by the king Thirumalai Nayak and is famous for its domes and arches. Overnight is in Madurai.
Today morning you will drive from Madurai to Thanjavur also known as Tanjore. Thanjavur was the capital of the Chola dynasty. Tanjore is famous for the Tanjore paintings and Bharatanatyam the famous form of classical dance has originated from this land. The Brihadeeswara Shiva Temple which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site was built by King Raja Raja Chola in the 11th century AD. The temple 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. The walls are covered with paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods. The other places of interest are the Thanjavur Maratha Palace constructed by the rulers of Thanjavur, the Saraswati Mahal Library with more than 30,000 manuscripts written on palm leaf and paper and the Raja Raja Chola art gallery with a huge collection of stone and bronze idols dating back from the 9th to the 12th centuries. Overnight is in Thanjavur.
This morning you will drive from Thanjavur to Puducherry also known as Pondicherry or Pondy. You have time at leisure for visiting this beautiful city with a colonial influence. Puducherry was acquired by the French in 1674 and has colonial buildings, churches, temples, and statues. The systematic well planned French style avenues, preserves and gives a look of the colonial ambiance. Puducherry has a number of well preserved heritage buildings and monuments. Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach are the well known beaches of Puducherry.
Pondicherry traces its origin to the revered sage Saint Agasthya. Puducherry is divided into the French Quarters "Ville Blanche" and the Indian quarter "Ville Noire". Some of the streets still have their French names. In the French Quarters, it is common to see French style villas and colonial style buildings. Sri Aurobindo Ashram is globally quite popular. Auroville is a universal town where people from all nationalities live together in harmony and peace. The Lord Ganesha Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple is a quite visited Hindu Temple. Overnight is in Puducherry.
This morning drive from Puducherry to Mamallapuram also known as Mahabalipuram or Mamallapattana. Rest of the day is at leisure. This is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a historic town and seaport. It was also known by the ancient mariners as the city of "Seven Pagodas". Out of the Seven Pagodas, only the Shore Temple survives. Mahabalipuram was a bustling seaport and the traders went to countries of South East Asia from here. It was an important port for the Pallavas and most of the monuments portray events from the Mahabharata and date back from the 7th to the 9th century. In an ancient text, this place was noted as Sea Mountain where ships rode at anchor bent to the point of breaking laden with goods. Overnight is in Mamallapuram.
Your morning tour of Mahabalipuram takes you through the cave temples and mandapams cut in the rocks showing depiction of incidents from Hindu legends, epics and mythology. The temples were built during the rule of Narasimhavarman and Rajasimhavarman. The city was mostly developed by Narasimhavarman. The bas relief Arjuna's Penance with life size images carved on the rock wall is the largest Bas-relief in the world. The five chariots are carved out of a single rock. The twin structure of the Shore Temple is one of the oldest in South India and is worth visiting. The Shore Temple built from dressed stone has bas reliefs, one 100 ft long and 45 ft. high, carved out of granite. Afternoon is at leisure. Overnight is in Mahabalipuram.
Today you will be transferred to Chennai airport to connect to your onwards flight. The name Chennai was derived from Chennaipattanam, built by the English in 1639. The earlier name of Chennai was a short form of Chennai pattinam a fishing village. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu and is the largest industrial and commercial center of South India and also an important centre for Carnatic music. The city is also famous for the Tamil movies and known as Tollywood. Chennai came into prominence because of the British who defended the town against several attacks from the French and converted it to a major naval port. Chennai has numerous places of interest and beautiful museums.
END OF YOUR SOUTH VACATION TOUR.