16
Days South India Trip (I-46)

Bangalore - Hassan - Belur - Halebid - Kozhikode - Thrissur - Cochin- Periyar - Alleppey - Varkala - Kovalam- Kanyakumari - Trivandrum

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HIGHLIGHTS-

Day 01:- Arrive Bangalore. Drive to Hassan (183 kms).

On your arrival in Bangalore, you will be transferred directly by road to Hassan. Hassan is a city in Karnataka. Karnataka derived from the Kannada words karu and nadu meaning "elevated land" has been home to the powerful empires of India. Karnataka has one of the highest numbers of nationally protected monuments in India and is one of the most visited states of India. Some of the important places in Karnataka are Bangalore, Mysore, Sravanbelgola, Hampi, Badami, Bijapur, etc. This state is famous for its food and Bisibele bhath, Uppittu, Benne Dosa, Masala Dosa, Vade, Mysore Pak, etc. are some of the famous dishes you could enjoy.Overnight is in Hassan.

Today, you will be taking a full day excursion to Belur & Halebid. Belur was the capital of Hoysala Empire and has one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture - the Chennakesava Vishnu Temple which was built by king Vishnuvardhana in celebration of his victory over the Cholas in the 12th century. It took 103 years to complete the temple and sculptures include elephants, lions, horses, stories from the Indian legends and dancers. Halebid or Halibeedu meaning the Old City was also known as Dwarasamudra and was the capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century.

In front of the Hoysaleshawara and Kedareshwara temples there is a big lake - Dwara Samudhra which means entrance of the ocean and the city derives its name from this lake. The walls of the temple are covered with depictions of Hindu mythology, animals, birds and dancing damsels. The sculptures of the temple are different from each other and there is a museum in the complex. Even after 86 years of work, the Nandi Bull was incomplete. The nearby Jain temples are also quite beautiful. After the visit of Belur and Halebid, return to Hassan. Overnight is in Hassan.

Today you will be transferred by road from Hassan to Kozhikode. Kozhikode earlier known as Calicut means "fortified palace" and was called the "City of Spices" as it was a major trading point for spices like black pepper, cardamom, etc. Calicut was a famous cotton-weaving center and gave its name to the Calico cloth. In 1948 the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed arrived in Calicut and opened a trade route between Europe and India. Kozhikode is known for its historic temples and churches. Your tour of Kozhikode will take you to Kappad where Vasco da Gama set foot in India, Pazhassirajah Museum, with paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Dolphin's Point and the Science Planetarium. Overnight is in Kozhikode.

This morning you will drive to Thrissur earlier known as Trichur. The name Thrissur is derived from Thrishivaperur meaning "the place of three Shiva Temples". Thrissur has a number of religious places like Vadakkumnathan temple, Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple, Our Lady of Lourdes Syro-Malabar Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, Our Lady of Dolores Syro-Malabar Catholic Basilica, etc. The colorful Thrissur Pooram festival is held here. This city is the Cultural Capital of Kerala and is the centre for the Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy, Kerala Lalithakala Academy and Kerala Sahitya Academy. Overnight is in Thrissur.

Today morning you will drive from Thrissur to Kochi earlier known as Kochi. Rest of the day is at leisure to discover this 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. Overnight is in Kochi.

During the morning city tour of Kochi, you will be taken to some of the renowned spots of Kochi that will include the Portuguese churches, mosques and temples along with the Jewish synagogue. You will be taken to watch the Chinese style fishing nets which are mostly seen in Kerala. It holds around 10m of height and consists of cantilever along with an outstretched net that is suspended in the sea and one huge stone suspended on other end with ropes for the counterweights. Every installation of this fishing-net gets operated by group of six fishermen. You have a free time in the afternoon. You could visit the other popular destinations of Kochi like Kochi Fort, Hill Palace, Marine Drive, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi International Marina, Cherai Beach, etc. In the evening, you could also enjoy a Kathakali dance show. Overnight is in Kochi.

In the morning, you are transferred from Kochi to Periyar National Park also called Thekkady. 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. You have free time for selecting any of the above activities. Overnight in Periyar.

You have a free day in Periyar to watch animals, or go for a soft trek, take a boat on Lake Periyar or visit the local bazaars. Periyar National Park spread across more than 700 km is famous for its dense deciduous forests and savanna grass lands. This park is the home to a large number of animals and birds. A boat ride to watch the herds of elephants and other animals in the lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River is worth every moment. The nearby places of interest are Murikkady with spices and coffee plantations, Chellar Kovil with its picturesque waterfalls, etc. Overnight is in Periyar.

This morning you will be transferred from Periyar to Alappuzha which was earlier known as Alleppey. This picturesque town also known as Venice of the East is crisscrossed with canals and offers you backwaters, beaches, and lagoons. 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.

Alleppey on the Arabian Sea with numerous canals meandering through the town is a very important destination for tourists visiting Kerala. 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’s 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 the houseboat.

This morning you will drive to Varkala. You will have the rest of the time at leisure. One myth about the origin of Varkala is that a Pandyan king who had sinned was ordered by Lord Brahma to construct a temple a temple here to absolve himself of his sins. The second legend is that a group of devotees who had sinned went to Narada who threw his loin cloth which is called valkalam here. The devotees prayed here to absolve themselves of their sins. Varkala has cliffs adjacent to the Arabian Sea with a number of water spouts. The Varkala Beach also known as Papanasam beach is a beautiful place for sun-bathing and swimming and has a lot of Ayurvedic treatment centers nearby. Overnight is in Varkala.

You will have a full day at leisure in Varkala. Varkala is a calm and quiet hamlet and the beach is a quiet sea resort rich in mineral water springs. Varkala is known as Dakshin Kashi - Benares of the South due to its 2000 year old Janardana Swami Vishnu Temple. The mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru who established the Sivagiri Mutt has a huge number of devotees visiting here. This place is the centre of the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham which teaches 'One Caste, One Religion, and One God'. The nearby Anjengo Fort was selected by the British in 1684 as their first business settlement. There is a cemetery in the fort with the remains of the first occupants and the oldest burial site dates to 1704. Varkala Tunnel is a 924 ft long tunnel built in 1867 and took 14 years to complete. Overnight is in Varkala.

This morning you will drive from Varkala to the beautiful beaches of Kovalam. Your rest of the day is at leisure for relaxing at the beaches. Kovalam meaning a grove of coconut trees is a town at the Arabian Sea and is a paradise of the south. Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore had built the Halcyon Castle here in the 1920s. Kovalam has a lot of salons for Ayurvedic treatments for all. Kovalam has many beach resorts offering Ayurvedic treatment for recuperation and regeneration. Kovalam has one of the best beaches of India. Overnight is in Kovalam.

You will have a full day free at Kovalam Beach for relaxation. Kovalam is an important city in Kerala's honeymoon tours packages. Kovalam has three beaches which form a crescent of the Kovalam beach. The Lighthouse Beach derives its name from the Vizhinjam Lighthouse located on a rocky promontory. Eve’s Beach also known as Hawa Beach offers calm blue waters. The Samudra Beach is used more by the local fishermen. Vizhinjam sea port is only 3 km away and known for its temples, churches and a mosque. It offers a huge variety of fish. The surf at Kovalam is ideal for surf-riding and the water invites you to take a cool swim. You could enjoy an Ayurvedic oil massages and oil bath given by experts. Overnight is in Kovalam.

Today you will drive from Kovalam to Kanyakumari also known as Cape Comorin is the southernmost tip of India where the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. Kanya Kumari is a holy place for Hindus with two of the 51 Shakti Peethas Bhagavathy temple and Shuchindram present here. The legend goes that Kanya Devi an incarnation of Parvati was to marry Siva. As Siva failed to show up at the wedding, rice and other grains meant for the feast remained uncooked. The uncooked grain turned into stones and it is believed that the stones on the shore look like un-cooked rice. You will take a ferry to reach the Vivekananda Rock Memorial with a 133 feet tall statue of Tamil saint–poet Thiruvalluvar. Swami Vivekananda had meditated here for three days. Gandhi Memorial was built where the urn with Gandhi's ashes was kept for public viewing before immersion. Kanya Kumari is known for its spectacular sunrise and sunset. Overnight is in Kanyakumari.

This morning you will be transferred from Kanyakumari to Trivandrum also known as Thiruvananthapuram. Thiruvananthapuram earlier known as Trivandrum means the "City of Lord Ananta". The name comes from the deity of Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple. In the temple, Padmanabaha (Vishnu) is reclining on Anantha (Sheshanag). The city shot into fame globally recently as when some of the vaults of the temple were opened, a treasure worth billions was discovered making it one of the richest temples of this world. A few more vaults still are to be opened. Only those who profess faith in Hindu religion are permitted and you have to adhere to a dress code for entering the temple.

The tour of Thiruvananthapuram will take you to Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple and Napier Museum. Napier Museum an art and natural history museum was named after Lord Napier, an erstwhile Governor of , is closed on Mondays, Wednesday afternoons and also on some public holidays like January 26, August 15, etc. The rulers of Travancore took a lot of interest in art and culture. Some of the famous artists from here are Maharaja Swathe Thirumalai, Drayman Hampi and Raja Ravi Varma. Raja Ravi Varma is known globally for his paintings. You could see his paintings as well as paintings of Nicholas Roerich at the Sree Chithra Art Gallery in the city which is a part of the Napiers Museum. The museum has a good collection of bronze idols, old ornaments, etc. and also a temple chariot. One of the oldest zoos of India is also a part of the museum. Overnight is in Thiruvananthapuram.

This morning you will be transferred to airport for your connecting flight.
END OF YOUR SOUTH INDIA VACATION PACKAGE.