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Welcome to Tamil Nadu! Upon your arrival at Chennai International Airport, you will be warmly received and promptly transferred to your designated hotel. In the afternoon, we invite you to explore the vibrant capital city. Your first stop will be the renowned Fort St. George, a historical landmark named after St. George, who once preached in Chennai. Constructed in 1640 by the British East India Company, this fort also houses other significant monuments such as St. Mary's Church and the St. George Fort Museum.
Next, we will take a short drive to the famous Santhome Church, where the Basilica stands majestically atop the tomb of St. Thomas, one of only three such tombs in the world. Designed by Edward Fowle and built by William Dixon, St. Mary's Church is a remarkable rectangular structure made of brick and polished lime. Its distinctive curved roof sets it apart from others. Initially serving as a place of worship for the government congregation, this monument has since been recognized as a protected area by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Finally, we extend our cordial invitation for you to pay a visit to the Kapaleeswarar Temple, a revered place of worship devoted to Lord Shiva. Immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance and marvel at the architectural beauty of this temple. We hope you enjoy your time exploring these significant landmarks in Tamil Nadu.
Upon completing your initial Indian breakfast, embark on your journey to Kanchipuram. The Ekambaranathar Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva, has been praised by Tamil poets dating back to the 2nd century. The original structure was dismantled and replaced during the Pallava dynasty, while the temple was further enhanced during the Chola dynasty. The temple in its current form was constructed by Krishnadevaraya, the renowned Vijayanagar King, in 1509. The Kailasanathar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and originating from the 8th century, is one of the oldest structures in the city. The Pallava kings were renowned for their passion for architecture, and a single glance at the temple is enough to comprehend the significance they placed on the arts and architecture. The intricate stone carvings are a testament to their dedication and skill. Take some time to explore the silk weaving centers before continuing your journey to Mahabalipuram, where you can unwind in the hotel. Enjoy an overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is an esteemed historic town that holds significant mention in ancient Hindu mythology and legends. It served as a thriving port city from the 1st century BC until the era of the Pallavas in the 9th century BC. In its present state, Mahabalipuram stands as a modern town adorned with the magnificent remnants of its rich heritage. Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the awe-inspiring artistry showcased by landmarks such as the Sea Shore Temple, Five Chariots, Arjuna’s Penance, Krishna’s Butter Ball, Varaha Cave, and more. These remarkable monuments have been rightfully recognized and included in UNESCO's prestigious list of heritage sites. Additionally, guests can indulge in relaxation and rejuvenation at the resort. We invite you to extend your stay for one more night in Mahabalipuram, where you can continue to explore and appreciate the town's cultural treasures.
Commence your journey towards Pondicherry and embark on a visit to the renowned Goubert Markets, a bustling and centrally located market. Subsequently, pay a visit to the esteemed Aurobindo Ashram, where despite the presence of a multitude of individuals, the members diligently uphold discipline within the premises, thereby preserving its serene ambiance. The principles of the ashram are rooted in the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and Mira Alfassa. Proceed to explore the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was established in 1908 by French missionaries and was granted the esteemed status of a basilica in 2011. This Catholic Church stands as one of Pondicherry's most exquisite churches, showcasing exemplary Gothic architecture. In the evening, indulge in a delightful Rickshaw Ride through the French colonies and Commercial Streets. Conclude the day with an overnight stay in Puducherry.
After completing your breakfast, proceed to Thanjavur by car. 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.
Additionally, take the opportunity to visit the Darasuram Airavatesvara Temple. This temple is renowned for its exceptional art and architectural designs, featuring exquisite stone carvings. Despite being smaller in size compared to the Brihadeeswara Temple and the Gangaikondacholapuram Temple, it surpasses them in intricate detailing. This is attributed to the temple's construction being inspired by the concept of nitya-vinoda, or "perpetual entertainment".
Upon arrival in Thanjavur, check-in to your hotel and take some time to relax. It's important to highlight that all the previously mentioned temples, including the Great Living Chola Temples, have earned the distinction of being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy an overnight stay in Thanjavur.
The Thanjavur Art Gallery, located within the premises of the Thanjavur Royal Palace, stands as a prominent attraction in the town of Thanjavur. Housed in the Nayak Hall of the palace, the gallery boasts an extensive collection of stone and bronze statues and idols dating back to the Chola period (8th – 9th centuries). Additionally, bronze statues from the Pallava period are also showcased here. The Art Gallery further exhibits murals, paintings, sculptures, and various artifacts that can be traced back to the period spanning from the 8th to the 18th centuries.
A visit to the renowned Brihadeeswara Temple, also known as the Big Temple, is highly recommended. Constructed in the year 1010 AD by the illustrious Chola Emperor Raja Raja Chola, this temple stands as a testament to the magnificence of Indian architecture. It is an integral part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the 'Great Living Chola Temples'.
In the evening, a visit to the Bronze Making Artisan’s Village offers an opportunity to witness the intricate process of Bronze Casting and Tanjore Paintings. An additional night's stay in Thanjavur is suggested to fully explore and appreciate the rich cultural heritage of the town.
Commence your journey towards Tiruchchirappalli (Trichy) and make a stop at 'Amma Mandapam' - the sacred banks of River Cauvery, where you can witness the Hindu rituals performed after cremation. It is truly fascinating to observe these rituals conducted by the Hindus under the guidance of the priest.
Renowned as the largest operational Hindu temple globally, the Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam was constructed between the 6th and 9th centuries by the Azhwar Saints. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and holds the distinction of being the first among the 108 Divya Desams or Vishnu Temples worldwide.
Continue your journey to Madurai and pay a visit to the famous Thirumalai Nayak Palace, which was built in the 16th century and boasts magnificent pillars that captivate the eye. During its construction, this palace, erected by King Thirumalai Nayak in 1636, was considered an architectural marvel. It showcases a fusion of Dravidian and Islamic architectural styles. Additionally, explore the Meenakshi Temple, a revered shrine dedicated to Goddess Parvati, and marvel at the thousand-pillared hall adorned with captivating sculptures. The complex is adorned with numerous shrines and architectural wonders. Enjoy an overnight stay in Madurai.
Thekkady (Periyar), situated in the Idukki district, is renowned as one of Kerala's most exquisite and awe-inspiring destinations. Its advantageous position on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border allows Thekkady to embrace a harmonious blend of cultural and ecological elements. Upon arrival, guests are invited to check-in at the resort and partake in various wildlife activities, such as a serene Boat Ride in Forest Lake, a knowledgeable Guided Spice Plantation Walk, and an enthralling showcase of the traditional martial art form known as "Kalaripayattu". Enjoy an overnight stay in Thekkady, immersing oneself in its captivating ambiance.
Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, serves as the central hub for Kerala's breathtaking backwaters and boasts an extensive network of waterways. While the town center may be bustling, its collection of channels falls short of earning it the esteemed title of the 'Venice of the East'. However, just beyond the town center, towards the beach or the backwaters, Alappuzha unveils a completely different panorama.
Upon arrival, guests are invited to check-in to their designated houseboat, where they will have the opportunity to indulge in a delectable lunch featuring authentic Kerala cuisine. Embarking on a leisurely cruise through the serene Vembanad lake, guests will be captivated by the tranquil surroundings until evening, when the boat will anchor in a designated location. Here, guests can relish a delightful dinner onboard before retiring for the night in the comfort of an air-conditioned houseboat. The overnight stay in the Alappuzha Houseboat promises a memorable experience, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the enchanting beauty of the region.
Following breakfast, proceed to Kochi, which is situated in the Ernakulam district and is commonly referred to as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea". It is also the commercial hub of Kerala. During your visit, explore the renowned St. Francis Church, which is believed to be the oldest European-built church in India. This church is particularly famous for being the burial site of the explorer Vasco da Gama, who passed away in Kochi in 1524. Take a brief stroll to the Santa Cruz Cathedral, which is one of the eight basilicas in India. It is not only one of the oldest churches in Kochi, but also in the entire country. In 2004, the cathedral celebrated its 500th anniversary. The Chinese Fishing Nets, which have been in use since the 14th century, are undoubtedly Kochi's most recognizable sight. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets to the area. Additionally, visit the famous Mattancherry Dutch Palace, which was originally constructed by the Portuguese. Later, in the 17th century, the Dutch modified it and presented it to the Raja of Kochi. Adjacent to the palace is the Jewish Synagogue, which was built in 1568 and is adorned with magnificent Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. In the evening, do not miss the opportunity to witness a traditional Kathakali dance show. Enjoy an overnight stay in Kochi.
This leg of your tour will encompass the lengthiest drive. Please conclude your breakfast and proceed towards Udagamandalam. Upon arrival, kindly complete the check-in process at the resort and take some time to unwind and rejuvenate. You will be staying overnight in Ooty.
Ooty, also known as the Blue Mountains, is a stunning hill station in India that is often referred to as the Queen of Hill Stations. With its breathtaking green downs and majestic hills, Ooty boasts extraordinary scenic beauty. Additionally, its pleasant climate, reminiscent of an English summer, adds to its allure.
Upon arrival at Udagamandalam railway station in the morning, you will have the opportunity to board the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. This iconic train journey is part of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, along with the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. It is a truly romantic experience, as the train traverses through numerous curves, tunnels, and bridges along the steepest track in Asia. Along the way, you will pass by quaint towns and misty railway stations that have been featured in various Indian movies.
Upon reaching Coonoor, you will be greeted by a driver who will accompany you on your journey back to Ooty. During this drive, you will have the chance to visit the famous Sim's Park, known for its natural beauty. Once back in Ooty, a visit to St. Stephen Church is highly recommended. This architectural marvel, dating back to the 19th century, is not only visually appealing but also holds religious significance.
The Botanical Gardens in Ooty are a sight to behold, with their terraced layout and a vast collection of exotic plant species. From medicinal shrubs to captivating bonsai trees, the gardens offer a diverse range of flora. Of particular interest is a fossilized tree trunk, estimated to be over 20 million years old, which stands proudly in the center of the garden.
For enthusiasts of roses, the Ooty Centenary Rose Garden is a must-visit. Spanning over 10 acres, it is the largest rose garden in the country and showcases more than 20,000 different varieties of roses. From Floribunda to Hybrid Tea Roses, Miniature Roses to Papagena and Polyanthus, the garden is a paradise for rose lovers. Wrap up your Ooty expedition with an additional overnight stay, affording you the opportunity to completely engage with the allure and allure of this captivating hill station.
After completing your breakfast, proceed towards Mysuru where you can visit the renowned St. Philomena's Church. This Catholic Church, situated in the Diocese of Mysore, India, was constructed in 1956 in a Neo Gothic style by the Reverend Rene Feuge. The church's architecture was inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, and its floor plan is in the form of a cross. Within the cathedral, there is a crypt that hosts a statue of St. Philomena, a figure that was specially transported from France. In the afternoon, you have the option to explore the renowned Chamundeshwari Temple, situated atop Chamundi Hills. This temple is considered one of the many Shakti Peethas and boasts an impressive seven-storied Gopuram adorned with exquisite carvings. In the evening, you can explore the Mysore Maharaja Palace, a vast complex built by the Wodeyars in the 19th century and designed by the Italian architect Henry Irwin. This palace was the official residence of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore and features two giant durbar halls, massive courtyards, gardens, and buildings. You can spend the night in Mysuru.
In the morning, pay a visit to Devaraja Market, a suitable location to experience the daily life of the local people, known as Mysoreans. With a history spanning over 100 years, this market is deeply ingrained in the heritage of Mysore.
Begin your journey to Bengaluru. Along the way, make a stop and explore the renowned Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangapatna, dedicated to Lord Vishnu as Ranganatha. This temple is a major attraction in Srirangapatna and one of the top tourist destinations near Mysore. It is recognized as a monument of national importance and protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Also, take the opportunity to visit Daria Daulat Bagh, also known as Tipu's Summer Palace. Construction of this palace began in 1778 under the reign of Hyder Ali and was completed by his son Tippu Sultan in 1784 AD. Situated on the southern bank of the river, the palace is surrounded by a vast garden. The structure was constructed in the Indo-Saracenic architectural style, utilizing teakwood and embellished with a multitude of murals portraying conflicts involving Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan, alongside the Nizams of Hyderabad, British, and French military personnel.
Afterwards, check-in to your hotel and take some time to relax. Vidhana Soudha, located on Dr. Ambedkar road, is the state legislature building housing the Legislative Chambers of Karnataka State. Built in the Neo-Dravidian architectural style, the building incorporates elements of Indo-Saracenic, Rajasthani, and Dravidian designs. Its grand white structure features intricately carved pillars, bases, pediments, cornices, and arches.
Another noteworthy attraction is Lalbagh Botanical Garden, considered one of the finest gardens in India and a must-visit place in Bangalore city. Originally commissioned by the ruler of Mysore, Hyder Ali, in 1760, the garden was further developed by his son Tipu Sultan. Spanning across 240 acres, it boasts over 1,800 species of flora, including plants, shrubs, and trees, many of which are sourced from outside India. Enjoy an overnight stay in Bengaluru.
On this day, you will be transferred to Kempegowda International Airport (Bengaluru) in preparation for your return flight home. The tour concludes with cherished memories of India.