On arrival in Chennai, you will be transferred to your hotel. The name Chennai was derived from Chennaipattanam, built by the English in 1639. The earlier name of Chennai was a short from 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 Kollywood. 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. Your holiday of South India starts from here. Overnight is in Chennai.
This morning you will be taken around Chennai for visiting the various places of interest. The Government Museum of 1857 is one of the oldest museums of India and has 46 galleries and different sections for Archaeology, Zoology, Geology, Bronze, etc. The Museum is closed on Fridays and other public holidays. The Bronze Gallery with its beautiful statues going back to a thousand years is worth visiting. San Thome Basilica from the 16th century was built by the Portuguese and later in the 19th century was rebuilt the British as a church. Drive through the Flower and Fruit market, High court, Marina Beach, and other places of interest. Afternoon is at leisure. Overnight is in Chennai.
In the morning, you will proceed for a visit of Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram. Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a historic town and seaport. It was an important port for the Pallavas and most of the monuments date back from the 7th to the 9th century. Kanchipuram was the ancient capital of the Pallavas and was the town of a 1000 temples. Kanchipuram sight-seeing takes you through some of the known temples such as Siva temple from the 7th century, Ekambareswara temple, Sri Kailasanathar Temple from the 8th century, the Sri Vardaraja Perumal Temple, the Sri Kamakshiamman Temple, etc.
Kanchipuram is a paradise for the shoppers as it offers the world famous Kanchipuram silk and saris. Mahabalipuram sight-seeing takes you through the cave temples and mandapams cut in the rocks showing depiction of incidents from Hindu legends, epics and mythology. 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. After the visits of these two important temple cities, you will proceed by road to Pondicherry which was a French colony. The French influence can still be seen in the buildings and avenues.
Pondicherry, earlier known as Pondicherry or Pondy 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. Pondicherry 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 Pondicherry. 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 Pondicherry.
This morning, you will be driven to Tanjore also known as Thanjavur. Thanjavur was the capital of the Chola dynasty. Tanjore is famous for the Tanjore paintings and Bharatanatyam a form of classical dance which 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. After Tanjore sight-seeing, you will be transferred to Tiruchirapalli by road. Overnight is in Tiruchirapalli.
Tiruchirapalli shortly referred as Trichy is located at the banks of Cauvery River and is the fourth largest city of Tamil Nadu. This city was the citadel for the Cholas and was developed by the Nayaks of Madurai and is an eminent city as it is known for its scholars of Tamil. One can feel the holiness of this city in very occasion that get celebrated over here with great grandeur and pomp. The morning tour will take you to the Danish Church, Rock Fort a temple complex and a fort built on a rock with 434 steps to reach the temple of Lord Ganaesha and more for the temple of Lord Shiva. This fort complex had witnessed the fierce battles in between the Bijapur and Madurai Nayaks, Marathas and Carnatic forces. It has been said that this fort plays huge role at the time of Carnatic wars that helped in the foundation layout of British Empire. After the visit of Tiruchirapalli, you will drive to Madurai. Overnight is in Madurai.
Madurai is one of the oldest living cities in the world and the recoded history dates back to 3rd century BC. The entire morning 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 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. Afternoon is free in Madurai the temple town. After the city tour of Madurai, you will drive to Kanyakumari. Overnight is in Kanyakumari.
Kanya Kumari also known as Cape Comorin is the land's end of India where the water of the Arabian Sea, the 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 Suchindram 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.
Later drive to Alleppey and board a houseboat. This morning you will be transferred 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. Here you will board a houseboat in Kerala's backwaters. The Alleppey to Kumarakom houseboat trip is quite interesting as you will be passing by small villages. Overnight is on board the houseboat.
Today you will be driven from Alleppey to Kochi. 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 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. Overnight is in Kochi.
Today you will drive from Kochi to Ooty, also known as Ootacamund or Udagamandalam. Udagamandalam 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. Overnight is in Ooty.
Your entire day is at leisure to discover this beautiful city of Ooty. 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.
Today you will drive from Ooty to Mysore, also known as Mysooru. Mysore served as the capital city of the Mysore Princely Kingdom for nearly from the 14th century to 1947. Mysore is known as the city of palaces and quite famous for its Dussehra festival, was the capita of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom. Mysore was ruled by the Wadiyars excepting for some time in the 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan ruled this place. The Wadiyars were great patrons of art and culture which benefitted the cultural growth of the city, due to which Mysore is called the Cultural capital of Karnataka. 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". Later drive to Bangalore. Overnight is in Bangalore.
The morning tour will take you to the important places of interest in Bangalore. The tourist spots in Bangalore are Lal Bagh, Maharaja's Palace, etc. You will also include the various temples in the Bangalore sight-seeing. Bangalore the Silicon Valley of India 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. Later transfer to Bangalore airport in time for your return/onwards flight.
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