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Goa Beach & South India Tour (13 Nights/14 Days)

Chennai - Mahabalipuram -Tanjore - Madurai - Periyar- Cochin - Goa - Mumbai

Day 01 / Arrive Chennai
Welcome to India! arrive Chennai (formerly known as Madras), meet assist at the airport by our tour representative & then transfer to hotel. Overight stay in Chennai.

Day 02 / Chennai - Mahabalipuram (70 km - 02 hr)
After taking leisurely breakfast in the hotel, proceed for sightseeing tour, visiting San Thome Cathedral, built in 1504, is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle, who is believed to have visited Madras (Chennai) sometime during 52 AD. National Art Gallery, established in the year 1857, is undoubtedly one of the country's finest museums. It has sections devoted to geology, archaeology, anthropology, botany, zoology, sculpture & numismatics. Government Museum has a fine archaeological section representing all the major South Indian periods including Chola, Vijaynagar, Hoysala & Chaulakya. The bronze gallery has a superb collection of Chola art especially the bronze statue of Ardhanareeswara, the androgynous incarnation of Shiva. Its most prized possessions are the relics from 2nd century AD Buddhist site of Amaravathi & the prehistoric antiques of South India.
Fort St. George, the first bastion of British power in India & built in the year 1640 AD by the British East India Company. Within the Fort we visit St. Mary's Church, built in the year 1680 & oldest Protestant Church in the East. Fort Museum has 10 galleries & displays armory, old uniforms, crockery & silverware, coins, palanquins, paintings, letters, old prints, etc. Later drive to Mahabalipuram, town of temples, sand & sea. It is world renowned for its beautiful Shore Temple & other temples. It was once the main port & naval base of the great Pallava kingdom & was later made the capital of this dynasty. Most of the temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva & Vishnu. The monuments are mostly rock-cut & monolithic, constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture, wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries) & giant open-air bas-reliefs & has been classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Night stay in Mahabalipuram.

Day 03 / Mahabalipuram - Excursion to Kanchipuram (70 km - 02 hr)
Breakfast in the hotel, proceed for sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram, visiting Shore Temple, one of the oldest temples in South India. It belongs to the 8th Century AD. Designed to catch the first rays of the rising sun & to illuminate the waters after dark, the temple ended up with an unusual lay-out. Arjuna's Penance, world's largest bas-relief. This huge whale-back shaped rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts, & birds & in fact can be said to represent creation itself. Next we visit Rathas, monolithic temples fashioned as chariots. They remain an architectural mystery as each is apparently a faithful reproduction of a structure built of wood. Excursion to Kanchipuram: Later proceed for excursion tour to Kanchipuram, is one of the seven holy cities in the country. It was a city of learning for both Tamil & Sanskrit, & was believed to be visited by Hsuan Tsang. In ancient times it was called Kachi. Once had over a thousand temples & today there are more than a hundred extant. It is also known for its temples & silk sarees. We visit Ekambaranatha, ancient temple dedicated to lord Shiva. The 57 metres high Raj Gopuram is one of the tallest towers in South India. The 3000 year old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yielding different variety of mangoes. Next we visit Kailasanatha Temple, built in 8th Century AD. It is built in the typical Pallava style, with a pyramidal tower. The temple is famous for exquisite carvings & attracts devotees & tourists alike. Fresco style paintings adorn the inner walls of the temple. Later we also visit Kamakshi Amman, built in 12th century AD, as an important Shakthisthalam, known as Parabrahmaroonpini. Overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.

Day 04 / Mahabalipuram - Tanjore (300 km - 06 hr)
After breakfast in the hotel, drive to Tanjore, flourished during the rule of the Nayaks & Mahrattas. It has been the treasure house of art for centuries. It is called the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is well-known throughout the world for its exquisite handicrafts like the Art Plate, pithwork, bronze icons, Thanjavur paintings & the classical South Indian musical instruments. Later we visit Brihadeshwara temple, also known as Big Temple, built by Rajaraja Chola I was completed around 1010 CE. This 10th century CE temple, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a brilliant example of the Dravidian style of temple architecture. Night stay in Tanjore hotel.

Day 05 / Tanjore - Madurai via Trichy (200 km - 04 hr)
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive for Madurai the oldest city in Tamil Nadu & was originally known as Kadambavanam or the forest of Kadamba. En route Trichy: En route halt at Trichy, which has very historic temples & monuments. It was an important town in the days of the later Cholas, Nayaks as well as during the early days of the British East India Company. we visit Rockfort most famed landmark is an 83 m high rock which is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The most amazing fact about the rock is that it is one of the oldest in the world approximately 3,800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland & older than the Himalayas. Later Visit Srirangam Temple, surrounded by the waters of the River Kaveri on one side & its tributary Kollidam on the other. It is a 600-acre island-town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. Night stay in Madurai hotel.

Day 06 / Madurai - Periyar (136 km - 03 hr)
After breakfast visit to Meenakshi Sundareshwar, first built 2000 years ago & was substantially expanded between the years (1623-55 AD). A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure known as Ayiramkaal mandapam or Hall of a thousand pillars in the outermost corridor. Later drive to Periyar, Set on an attractive lakeside, it is South India's most popular Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a place to cruise on the lake & gives an opportunity to see wildlife. It is home to tigers, leopards, elephants, bison, antelopes, sambhar, wild boar, monkey, a wide variety of birds. Next we explore the sanctuary to experience the beauty & ecological pattern. Night stay in Periyar hotel.

Day 08 / Periyar - Cochin (190 km - 04 hr)
Early morning experience a boat ride to view wildlife in the sanctuary on Lake Periyar. After breakfast drive to Cochin, it has one of the finest natural harbours on the Arabian coastline. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the buildings & structures representing different regions of the world. Later we attend Kerala's most popular classical dance programme, Kathakali by local artist. Night stay in Cochin hotel.

Day 09 / Cochin
After breakfast proceed for sightseeing tour of Cochin, visiting Jew Town, synagogue, built in the year 1568, is magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles & Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. Later St. Francis' Church, built in the year 1503 by Portuguese Francisan Friars & known to be the oldest European church in India. It was restored in the year 1779 by the protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican Church by the British in 1795. The Palace has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting scenes from Hindu epics, Mahabharata & Ramayana. Also visit the spice market, where the air is filled with the pungent smell of spices. Chinese fishing nets, (Cheenavala) are distinctly unique to Cochin. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. Night stay in Cochin hotel or Optional- Boat Cruise stay.

Day 10 / Cochin - Goa
Morning transfer to airport to board flight for Goa, also has rich flora & fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which are classified as a biodiversity hotspot rather an absolute paradise on earth. Evening free at leisure. Night stay in Goa hotel.

Day 11 / Goa
After breakfast in the hotel proceed for sightseeing tour of Goa, Visiting old Goa Churches; Basilica of Boom Jesus, dedicated to Infant Jesus is the most popular & famous of all churches in Goa. Sri Mangueas Temple, surrounded by rolling green hills & dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the most important of all temples in Goa & is located at Priol in Ponda Taluka. Dona Paula, a village named after Dona Paula de Menezes, the wife of a noble man Antonio de Souto Maior, who died as a young woman in 1682. Miramar Beach, an urban beach where the Mandovi River meets the Arabian Sea, a point that offers the best location to watch enchanting sunsets. Night stay in Goa.

Day 12 & Day 13 / Goa
Day at Leisure, enjoying the golden beaches, luxurious casinos & flowing spirits in Goa. Night stay in Goa hotel.

Day 14 / Goa - Mumbai
Morning transfer to airport to board flight for onward journey or back home.

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