BEST OF SOUTHERN INDIA TOUR

Places: Bangalore, Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Madurai, Thekkady, Alleppey, Houseboat, Kochi, Hassan, Mysore, Bangalore

Explore the most fascinating historical sites in Southern India in this amazing journey. This interesting exploration starts with sightseeing of Chennai, the capital of Tamilnadu state. Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) is renowned for its rock cut shore temples dating from 7th and 8th centuries – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was a flourishing port where traders from Middle East and as far as Rome used to frequent in ancient times. Kanchipuram is one of the four seats of Shankaracharyas the heads of Hindu religion. Pondicherry was a French colony where Shri Aurobindo established his Ashram. Thanjavur is famous for its 10th century Brihadeeshwar Temple that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its collection of 8th to 10th century Chola Dynasty period sculptures. Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is among the most famous and most popular Hindu temples of southern India. The highway between Madurai and Thekkady passing through the verdant Eastern Ghats is perhaps the most enchanting landscapes in southern India. Thekkady is located in the heart of south India’s spice gardens. Alleppey is located on the shores of Kerala Back Waters where you will enjoy a day and overnight on the traditional Kerala Houseboat. The last sightseeing in Kerala is in Fort Kochi where Jewish traders established in ancient times followed by the Dutch and Portuguese traders. They all left their mark in the architecture of this famous trading town. Near Hassan are the famous temples of Belur and Halebidu on the way to the rich princely state of Mysore, where Tipu Sultan ruled for a short but dynamic period.

Day 1, Wednesday, December 29, 2021 FTA to Bangalore:

Board the international flight in San Francisco (there may be change in schedule depending on airline and Coronavirus situation in USA and India)

Day 2, Thursday, December 30, 2021, Arrive in Bangalore

Arrive in Bangalore, transfer to hotel for overnight stay Taj Bangalore Airport.

Day 3, Friday, December 31, 2021, Flight Bangalore to Chennai – Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) (57 Kilometers or 35 Miles):

After breakfast transfer to airport for flight to Chennai, arrive Chennai in transfer to city for visits, Lunch.

Afternoon visit St. Thomas Basilica, Fort St. George including museum, and National Art Gallery in Edgemore area. Later drive 57 kilometers or 35 miles in about 1 hour to Mamallapuram for overnight in Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram.

Day 4, Saturday, January 01, 2022, Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram):

Full day sightseeing of the famous Shore Temples (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Mahabalipuram was the second capital of the Pallava rulers of Kanchipuram. The village has revived the ancient craft of the Pallava sculptors and there are many shops selling fine sculptures chiseled out of granite by the local craftsmen. Some of the impressive sites that are included: the Descent of the Ganges (Arjuna’s Penance), which has intricate rock carving, small cave temples and the Five Rathas. Mahabalipuram also has a most beautiful shoreline and fine beaches. Overnight in Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram.

Day 5, Sunday, January 02, 2022, Mahabalipuram – Kanchipuram (69 kilometers or 43 miles)- Pondicherry (124 kilometers or 77 miles):

AM: Kanchipuram: Afternoon visit to this ancient temple town. This spectacular temple city is one of the seven sacred cities of India. The temples and Gopurams are reminders of the beauty of Dravidian architecture. The Ekambaresvara Temple, dedicated to Hindu deity Shiva, covers nine hectares, has a 59 Meters high Gopuram, a 1000-pillared hall and a sacred mango tree that is said to be 3500 years old. Two temples - Kailasanatha and VaikuntaPerumal Temple - finely reflect the early Dravidian architecture. Later drive 57 kilometers or 35 miles in about one hour to Pondicherry, the former French colony enclave in Tamil Nadu. Check-in to Palais de Mahe Hotel for overnight.

Day 6, Monday, January 03, 2022, Pondicherry – Thanjavur:

AM: Visit Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville, Prominade by Bay of Bengal, Eglise de Notre Dame de la Conception Immaculee Church (oldest church in Pondicherry built initially in 1686 CE, Arikamedu archaeological site and Pondicherry Museum. After lunch drive 167 Kilometers or 104 Miles to Thanjavur (Tanjore). In the afternoon visit the Brihadeeshwar Temple and enjoy the Sayaratchai evening puja (prayers). Overnight in Mantra CGH.

Day 7, Friday, January 04, 2022, Thanjavur:

The Art Gallery in Thanjavur has a superb collection of bronze statues from the 9th to 12th centuries CE. The Brihadeeswar Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is an outstanding example of the Chola architecture built by the great king, Raja Raja I in the 10th century CE. Guarding the inner shrine of the temple is the gigantic statue of Nandi, the Bull. The courtyard walls of the sanctum are covered with wall paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods, comparable to the famous Ajanta cave frescoes. Later visit the Palace of Nayak rulers and the Serforji'sSaraswathi Mahal Museum and Library. Overnight in Mantra CGH.

Day 8, Saturday, January 05, 2022, Thanjavur to Madurai:

After breakfast drive about 3 hours (190 kilometers or 118 miles) to Tamilnadu's most famous temple town, Madurai. Madurai is a pilgrimage city and its biggest attraction is the Sri Meenakshi temple, which is an epitome of Dravidian architecture, covered from top to bottom with multi colored sculptures of Gods, animals and mythical figures.It has huge and well-decorated entrance gateways and sprawling premises full of activity with a colourful temple elephant, flower sellers and performing temple musicians. Later visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, built in 1636. In the evening enjoy the Sound & Light Show in Thirumalai Nayak Palace Overnight in Gateway Pasumalai Hotel.

Day 9, Sunday, January 06, 2022, Madurai - Thekkady:

After breakfast enjoy south India's most scenic highway through the hilly region between Tamilnadu& Kerala. The 140 Kilometers or 87 Mile journey with hair-pin curves takes about 5 hours. The small town lies surrounded by tea and spice plantations, a typical south Indian mountain landscape. It is one of the best places to buy high quality Indian spices. In a Spice Garden traditional spice varieties like cardamom, pepper, anis, and many others can be seen on a guided tour. Overnight stay at PoetreeSarovar, Thekkady.

Day 10, Monday, January 07, 2022, Thekkady – Periyar Boat Ride - Alleppey :

Periyar National Park is one of the most famous Nature and Animal reserves in south India. In the 77 square kilometers protected area live 800 elephants and around 35 tigers. Early morning boat ride on the Periyar Lake running through the sanctuary provides an opportunity to watch wild animals like elephants, deer and scores of water birds. After lunch drive about 136 kilometers or 86 miles in about 2.5 hours to Alleppey. On arrival check-in to Lake Canopy Hotel for overnight.

Day 11, Tuesday, January 08, 2022, Alleppey – House Boat Overnight Ride

After breakfast transfer to a romantic, typical Kerala rice boat for viewing the backwaters, a unique experience in Kerala. Lunch, dinner and overnight on the boat.

Day 12, Wednesday, January 09, 2022, Alleppey – Kochi:

After breakfast on the houseboat drive 76 Kilometers or 47 miles to Kochi. After lunch boat ride in Arabian Sea and visit to Bolghati Palace. After dinner a spectacular Kerala Culture Evening with Kathakali Dance-Drama performance in Kerala Culture Center. Overnight in Vivanta by Taj Malabar Hotel.

Day 13, Thursday, January 10, 2022, Kochi:

After breakfast sightseeing of the winding narrow lanes Kochi that are home to some Old Dutch houses, spice markets, the Dutch Palace, India’s oldest St. Francis church built in1503 (Vasco de Gama, the Portuguese explorer died in 1524 while on his 3rd. trip to Kerala and was buried here for 14 years when his son took his body back to Portugal to be buried in Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon), the famous Paradesi Jewish synagogue and the huge, elegant Chinese fishing nets that line the tip of Fort Cochin are some of the highlights of this historic city. Overnight in Vivanta by Taj Malabar Hotel.

Day 14, Friday, January 11, 2022, Kochi – Bangalore –Shravanbelagola – Belur/Halebidu – Hassan:

Early morning transfer to Kochi Airport to board the Indigo flight 6E-521 departing at 5.25 AM and arrive in Bangalore at 6.30 AM. Breakfast in some hotel near airport and drive to Shravanbelagola (Palanquin carrying facility to the hilltop temple is available only up to 10.30 AM). Drive further to Hassan for check-in and lunch at Hoysala Village Resort. PM: Belur and Halebidu Temple sightseeing. Overnight in Hoysala Village Resort.

Day 15, Saturday, January 12, 2022, Hassan – Mysore:

After breakfast drive to Ranganatittu Bird and Crocodile Sanctuary on the way to Ranganathaswami Temple in Srirangapatnam (open 7.30 am to 1 pm & 4 to 8 pm) and Tipu Sultan’s summer palace; then drive further to Mysore for sightseeing of Mysore Palace (open 10 am to 5.30 pm). End the day’s sightseeing with visit to the Nandi Bull Temple on Chamundi Hills. Overnight in Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in Mysore.

Day 16, Sunday, January 13, 2022, Mysore – Bangalore

After breakfast visit of Palace.

Afternoon drive 185 kilometers or 115 miles in about 3.5 hours to Bangalore. Upon arrival check in at hotel for wash & change.

Farewell dinner at hotel. Midnight assistance and transfer to airport for flight to FAT.

Day 17, Monday, January 14, 2022, Departure Bangalore

Transfer to airport for flight to FAT

Day 18, Tuesday, January 15, 2022, Arrive FAT

CITY

HOTEL

No./Nights

Bangalore

Taj Bangalore Airport

1

Mamallapuram

Radisson Blu Temple Bay

2

Pondicherry

Palais de Mahe

1

Thanjavur

Mantra CGH

2

Madurai

Pasumalai Gateway Hotel

1

Thekkady

PoetreeSarovar Hotel

1

Alleppey

Lake Canopy Hotel

1

Kerala Back Waters

Houseboat

1

Kochi

Taj Malabar Hotel

2

Hassan

Hoysala Village Resort

1

Mysore

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel

1

Bangalore

A hotel near airport for wash & change before boarding flight

 

Price per person

US$ 5,175.00

 

Single room occupancy supplement

US$ 1,450.00

 

INCLUDED IN ABOVE PRICE:

  • Roundtrip international airfare from Fresno to Bengalore in economy class
  • 15 overnights accommodation in double/twin bedroom occupancy in the mentioned or similar hotels inclusive of taxes.
  • All meals: Daily breakfasts and dinners at hotel, lunches in city restaurants during sightseeing.
  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high traffic public areas
  • Gear and equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Regular temperature check for staff
  • New Year eve gala dinner
  • Air-conditioned deluxe vehicle as per group strength.
  • Bottled water 2 per day in coach
  • Entrances to monuments
  • English speaking local guides at each city for city tour only as per program
  • English language Sound & Light Show in Thirumalai Nayak Mahal in Madurai
  • Boat ride in Periyar + wildlife tour
  • Kerala cultural night with Kathakali dance-drama performance
  • Domestic flight for Bangalore / Chennai and Cochin / Bangalore sectors in economy class
  • All taxes, parking fees, interstate taxes, state taxes, driver’s allowance etc.
  • Valid from 29 Dec 2021 till 16 Jan 2022

EXCLUDED IN ABOVE PRICE:

  • Visa Fees (India visa on arrival at Indian airport can be applied for online in USA)
  • International airfare (we will inform the best available air tariff at the time of booking)
  • Expenses of personal nature such as drinks, telephone, laundry bills etc.
  • Tips to drivers, guides and hotel porters
  • Any additional expenses incurred due to any flight delay or cancellation, weather conditions, political closures, technical faults etc.
  • Any other service/s not specified above

PAYMENT:

A non-refundable advance payment of US$ 1,850 is due and payable with completed reservation form (the form will be sent). The balance amount (also non-refundable) is due and payable on or before September 29, 2020.

"Our 'California Seller of Travel' registration # is 2083736-40 since June 2006. We participate in the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation as per the rules of the State of California."

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