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Tamil Nadu cordially welcomes all of you for your South India Tour. Upon your arrival in Chennai, you will be warmly received and transferred to your designated hotel. In the afternoon, commence your Chennai Metropolitan City Tour, where you will have the opportunity to explore various notable attractions. One such attraction is the renowned Fort St. George, which was constructed in 1640 by the British East India Company. This historical site also encompasses other significant monuments, including St. Mary's Church and the St. George Fort Museum. Additionally, a visit to the world-famous Marina Beach, the second longest beach globally with a sandy foreshore, is highly recommended.
Take a short drive to the St. Thomas Church, where the Basilica was erected over the tomb of St. Thomas, one of the three in the world. Conclude your day with a visit to the renowned Kapaleeswarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Head back to your accommodation, where you can unwind and enjoy a peaceful overnight stay in Chennai.
This morning, embark on your temple tour to the city of "Kanchipuram". Kanchipuram is renowned for its plethora of awe-inspiring religious and historic monuments that have captivated visitors for centuries. Begin your tour by visiting the magnificent Ekambareswarar Temple, which happens to be the largest temple in the city. Notable features of this temple include the impressive 1000-pillar hall, the grand outer stone wall, the five spacious corridors, and the towering 57-meter-high Gopuram. Afterward, take a short drive to the Kailasanathar Temple, an ancient site dating back to the 8th century. Finally, proceed to Mahabalipuram and check-in at your hotel for an overnight stay.
Today presents an opportunity to partake in the UNESCO World Heritage Monumental Sites Tour in Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram. This historic town, steeped in ancient Hindu mythology and legends, was a thriving port city from the 1st century BC until the time of the Pallavas in the 9th century BC. Present-day Mahabalipuram is a modern town that proudly showcases the remnants of its rich heritage. Visitors can marvel at the exquisite works of art, such as the Sea Shore Temple, Five Rathas (Five Chariots), Arjuna's Penance, Krishna's Butter Ball, and Varaha Cave, all of which have been included in UNESCO's heritage site lists. An additional night's stay in Mahabalipuram is highly recommended.
After you have done your breakfast, proceed to Pondicherry, formerly known as the French Colony and currently renamed as 'Puducherry'. The Old City, which was under French rule until 1954, is characterized by cobbled streets lined with mustard-yellow and sky-blue colonial townhouses and French-named landmarks, creating the impression of being in a small town in South India. Upon arrival, kindly check in at your hotel. Later, embark on a Pondicherry City Tour, visiting renowned attractions such as Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the Church of the Sacred Heart, and Notre Dame des Anges. As evening descends, enjoy a pleasant rickshaw ride through charming French colonies and bustling shopping streets. Rest assured, luxurious overnight accommodation in Puducherry awaits you.
Please complete your breakfast and proceed to embark on a sculptural tour en route to Thanjavur. Along the way, make a stop to visit the Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple. This magnificent temple was constructed by King Rajendra Chola, the son of Raja Raja Chola, with the intention of emulating his father's remarkable achievement, the Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel, and in the evening, take the opportunity to explore the Darasuram Temple. This temple is renowned for its exceptional artistry and architectural brilliance, boasting a collection of exquisite stone carvings. Despite its smaller size compared to the Brihadeeswara Temple and the Gangaikonda cholapuram Temple, it surpasses them in terms of intricate detailing.
This is attributed to the temple's construction being inspired by the concept of nitya-vinoda, or 'perpetual entertainment'. It is worth noting that both of the aforementioned temples have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Continue your journey to Thanjavur and enjoy a well-deserved rest. Overnight accommodation will be provided in Thanjavur.
Begin your day by embarking on the Heritage Tour in Tanjore. Known as Thanjavur or colloquially referred to as the 'Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu', this ancient capital of the Chola Dynasty is renowned for its aesthetic beauty. As one of the largest producers of rice in the country, Tanjore has earned its nickname.After enjoying a delightful breakfast, make your way to the famous Thanjavur Art Gallery. This gallery houses an impressive collection of sculptures and statues. Next, visit the Saraswati Mahal Library Museum, which is a treasure trove of knowledge and history. Finally, explore the Brihadeeswara Temple, also known as the Big Temple. This magnificent structure, built by the Chola Dynasty in the 10th century, is recognized as a World Heritage Monument.
Following your visit to Tanjore, embark on a short drive to Trichy. Tiruchirapalli, located at the geographical center of Tamil Nadu, may have served as the capital of the early Cholas in the 3rd century. Throughout history, it has been under the rule of various dynasties, including the Pallavas, medieval Cholas, Pandyas, the Delhi Sultanate, and Vijaynagars. However, it reached its pinnacle under the Madurai Nayaks in the 17th century. In the afternoon, partake in a Spiritual Tour by visiting the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam. This temple, the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world, is a testament to the rich spiritual heritage of the region. In the evening, explore the famous Rockfort Uchchipillayar Temple of Tiruchirapalli. Perched atop a 273-foot high rock, estimated to be at least a billion years old, this temple offers breathtaking views of the entire city. Although it requires climbing around 400 steps to reach the top, the effort is well worth it for capturing stunning photographs. Conclude your day with an overnight stay in Trichy.
Embark on a journey to experience a Traditional Tour in Chettinad, the ancestral homeland of the affluent merchant community known as the 'Chettiars' (The Nagarathars) of Tamil Nadu. These enterprising individuals ventured far and wide in pursuit of their fortunes. The architectural marvels of the early 20th century, which were constructed to cater to the social and ceremonial needs of the community, also serve as a testament to their economic prosperity. Although these houses remain closed to the public, they continue to be utilized for various family ceremonies. Engage in captivating activities such as exploring the village via a traditional bullock cart, witnessing the art of ceramic tile making in Athangudi village, visiting a weaving center, and exploring the local public school. Conclude your day with an overnight stay in the enchanting region of Chettinadu.
Situated in the southern region of India, Madurai is an ancient city that shares similarities with the illustrious city of Varanasi in the North when it comes to its rich history and continuous habitation over the centuries. Today, we invite you to embark on a captivating Heritage Tour in Madurai, where you can marvel at the renowned Thirumalai Nayak Palace. This majestic palace, constructed in the 16th century, stands tall with its impressive pillars and serves as a prime attraction for visitors. Originally built by King Thirumalai Nayak in 1636, this architectural masterpiece seamlessly blends elements of both Dravidian and Islamic styles.
To enhance your experience further, make sure to explore the Meenakshi Amman Temple in the evening, a sacred place dedicated to the worship of Goddess Parvati. Here, you'll also be captivated by the intricate sculptures housed within the thousand-pillared hall. Your journey concludes with an overnight stay in Madurai, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the city's vibrant heritage.
Thekkady, situated in the Idukki district, is considered one of the most breathtaking and enchanting destinations in Kerala. Its unique position on the border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu allows Thekkady to experience a blend of cultural and ecological influences. Visitors can enjoy a serene boat ride on the forest lake of Thekkady and also explore the scenic Spice Plantations through guided walking tours. These tours provide valuable insights into the medicinal properties of various spices such as Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Green Chillies. Visitors can conclude their experience with an overnight stay in Thekkady.
Experience the Wildlife Tour through a range of exhilarating activities such as trekking, jeep safari, elephant rides, and immersing yourself in the captivating Traditional Kerala Martial Show known as 'Kalaripayattu.' Additionally, indulge in an extra night's accommodation in Thekkady, enhancing your overall adventure.
Today is the perfect day to indulge in the Alleppey House Boat Tour. Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is renowned for its breathtaking backwaters and extensive network of waterways. While the town center may be bustling, it falls short of earning the title of the 'Venice of the East' due to its limited number of canals. However, just beyond the town center, towards the beach or backwaters, Alappuzha offers a completely different and captivating experience. Upon arrival, you will check-in to the houseboat and enjoy a delectable lunch featuring authentic Keralan cuisine.
Embark on a leisurely cruise through the picturesque Vembanad Lake aboard the houseboat, which will remain anchored in one place until evening. As the day progresses, you will have the opportunity to savor a delightful dinner on the boat, followed by a restful night's sleep in the comfort of an air-conditioned houseboat. Your overnight stay in Alappuzha promises to be a memorable experience.
Following breakfast, check out from the houseboat and proceed to Kochi. Embark on a delightful Cochin City Tour, situated in the Ernakulam district and renowned as the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea', serving as the commercial hub of Kerala. In the late afternoon, visit significant monuments and churches dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Commence with a visit to St. Francis Church, the oldest Protestant church constructed by the Portuguese in 1510, housing the tomb of Portuguese Sailor Vasco-da-Gama. Subsequently, visit Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, a Catholic Church, and the Chinese Fishing Nets. Enjoy an overnight stay in Kochi.
Embark on your Cochin City tour by commencing your visit to the renowned Mattancherry Palace, originally constructed by the Portuguese. Subsequently, in the 17th century, the Dutch made modifications to the palace and presented it to the Raja of Kochi. Adjacent to the palace lies the Jewish Synagogue, built in 1568, which boasts magnificent embellishments of Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. Take a leisurely stroll along Marine Drive, the extensive coastal pathway adorned with trees that runs parallel to the backwaters. This activity is particularly enjoyable in the late afternoon. The bustling backwaters, replete with fishing boats, speedboats, ships, tankers, and passenger boats, can be observed from this walkway that lines the coast. Additionally, do not miss the opportunity to witness a traditional Kathakali dance show in the evening. Conclude your day with another night's stay in Kochi.
On this day, you will conclude your journey with cherished memories of the Tamil Nadu and Kerala Tour. You will be escorted to Cochin International Airport, Kochi, in accordance with your flight schedule for your return home.