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The Southern Heritage (Kerala Tour) (10 Nights/11 Days)

Madras - Covelong - Pondicherry - Tanjore - Trichy - Madurai - Periyar - Kumarakom - Cochin - Madras

Day 01/ Arrival Madras
Welcome to India! Arrive Madras, meet assist by our tour executive at the airport and then transfer to hotel. Night stay in Madras hotel.

Day 02/ Covelong
After breakfast proceed for full day sightseeing tour of Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram (also Mamallapuram, its ancient name) is one of history’s intriguing enigmas. Situated just 60 km off Chennai on the Bay of Bengal coast in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Mahabalipuram was a flourishing port town of the Pallava rulers of South India who chiselled in stone a fabulous open-air museum of sculptures under the vault of a burning sky. Main attractions in Mahabalipuram are :- Arjuna’s Penance, Caves, Rathas, Krishna Mandapam, Shore Temple. Kanchipuram A 65-kilometre stretch of sun-scorched road connects Mahabalipuram to the fabled city of a thousand temples, Kanchipuram (also Kancheepuram). There are 650 stone inscriptions in Kanchipuram belonging to different dynasties. The temples here reflect the maturity and efflorescence of Pallava art and the ornate and often imposing embellishments were produced later by the Chola, Vijayanagara and Chalukyan kings. There is a solemn grandeur, a grandiosity of vision and ornamental excess in the temples here. A disembodied otherworldly stillness impregnates their vast inner domains where time is a captive fugitive. The Ekambaranathar temple, the Kailasanatha temple, Sri Varadaraja temple, Sri Vaikuntaperumal temple… the names stretch endlessly. The city itself is dedicated to the presiding deity, Sri Kamakshi (one with eyes of love) at the Kamakshi temple. In Sanskrit, the word Kanchi denotes girdle, and poets have allegorically characterized the city as a girdle to the earth. Night stay in Covelong hotel.

Day 03/ Covelong – Pondicherry (162 kms/4 hrs)
After leisurely breakfast in hotel, drive to Pondicherry by surface. Pondicherry is endowed with great natural beauty as well as cultural heritage. Among its many diverse attractions are a coastline of 32 kms, palm-fringed beaches, backwaters, fishing villages, resorts, the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the international city of Auroville, the French boulevard town with its French heritage, and so on. The main attractions in Pondicherry are :- Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicheery Museum, Sacred Heart Church. Night stay in Pondicherry hotel.

Day 04/ Pondicherry – Tanjore (177 kms/5 hrs)
After relaxed breakfast in hotel, drive to Tanjore. Tanjore, also known as Thanjavur, is situated in the fertile area of the Cauvery River delta, known as the rice-bowl of Tamil Nadu. It was the capital and epitome of the Chola dynasty's rule in Tamil Nadu from the 9th to the 13th century A.D. On arrival transfer to hotel after some relax, afternoon proceed for sightseeing tour, the main tourist attractions in Tanjore are :- Sri Bragadeeswarar Temple, The Palace, Art Gallery, Saraswathi Mahal Library, Hall of Music, Schwartz Church. Night stay in Tanjore hotel.

Day 05/ Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai (190 kms/6-hrs)
After relaxed breakfast in hotel drive to Madurai by surface enroute visiting Trichy. Situated on the banks of river Cauvery in the district of Tiruchirapalli, Trichy as a city is known for its educational institutions, industries and temples. The city is a commercial hub but the most famous landmark of the city is the Rock Fort Temple which is a prominent monument of Trichy. Tourist Attractions of Trichy:- Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Sri Jambukeshwara Temple, Rock Fort Temple, Viramalai Sanctuary, Sittanvasal, Rock Fort Temple. Night stay in Madurai hotel.

Day 06/ Madurai
After leisurely south Indian breakfast in hotel, proceed for sightseeing tour visit Meenakshi Temple - The temple is located at the heart of the city of Madurai and is the focus of national as well as international tourists' attention. It is central to the religious as well as to the cultural life of the city of Madurai. The temple is a very fine example of the Dravidian architecture complete with its gopurams which is nothing but large gateways and halls where you can see fine carvings of mythical figures on the walls of these multi pillared large halls otherwise known as Mandapams.

Koodal Alagar Temple - Situated only 2 km away from Madurai, it is a Vaishnavaite temple which has many beautiful sculptures depicting Lord Vishnu in various poses.

Azhagar Koil - It is situated at the distance of about 21 km from Madurai and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is located atop a hill called Alagarmalai.

Mariamman Teppakulam Tank - This enormous temple tank, which is the largest tank of its kind in entire Tamil Nadu, is located at the distance of about 5 km from the famous Meenakshi Temple of Madurai. There is a Mandapam in the centre of the tank where you can worship the image of Lord Vigneshwara. This idol was found here when the place was being dug to construct the Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace.

Gandhi Museum - This museum is located in the Tamukkam Palace of Rani Mangammal of the Nayak Dynasty. Earlier, the place used to be the official residence of the district collectors of Madurai. It was in 1955 that the building and the 12 acre land were given to Gandhi Smarak Nidhi by the then Tamil Nadu Government. The museum has a noteworthy collection of remarkable paintings, sculptures, articles and Khadi crafts.

Tirumalai Nayak Palace - Built in the 17th century by the King Thirumalai Nayak, the palace is a huge structure built in the Indo-Saracenic style. It is said that today only one-fourth part of the original structure has survived which includes the Swargavilasa and the Rangavilasa. The palace was partially renovated by the then Governor of Madras, Lord Napier. Night stay in Madurai hotel.

Day 07/ Madurai - Periyar (177 kms/5 hrs)
After breakfast in hotel drive to Periyar by surface. On arrival transfer to hotel. Evening free at leisure. Night stay in Periyar hotel.

Day 08/ Periyar
Breakfast in hotel, after relaxed breakfast proceed for boat cruise on the Lake of the famous Periyar wildlife sanctuary to see natural wild life. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary set amidst the high ranges of the Western Ghats, on the banks of the beautiful Periyar lake is the Periyar Wildlife sanctuary, a testimony to nature’s grandeur and the innovation of human minds. The beauty of this sanctuary is heightened because of the magnificent lake at the heart of it, adding to its charm and serenity. The Reservoir that is built here is the main supplying ground for drinking water of the wildlife at the periyar Wildlife sanctuary or Thekkhady. Night stay in Periyar hotel.

Day 09/ Periyar - Cochin (185 Kms/5 hrs)
After breakfast in hotel proceed for Cochin by surface. Cochin or Kochi is the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. Cochin is located on the western coast of Kerala and covers a total area of 83.52 square kms. On arrival transfer to hotel. Evening free at leisure. Night stay in Cochin hotel.

Day 10/ Cochin
After relaxed breakfast, Proceed for tourist attractions in Cochin are Willingdon Island, Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, Bolghatty Palace, Chinese fishing nets, Hill Palace Museum and Mattancherry Palace. Willingdon island is named after Lord Willingdon, a British Viceroy to India. This man-made island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The Jewish Synagogue is located very close to the Bolghatty Palace. This synagogue was built in 1568 and is the oldest synagogue in the subcontinent. St. Francis Church is located at the Fort Cochin. This church is one of the oldest European church in the subcontinent. This church was established by the Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. Night stay in Cochin hotel.

Day 11/ Cochin - Madras - Departure
Morning proceed for Madras to board International flight for onward destination or way back home.

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