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The three ancient Tamil empires of Chera, Chola, and Pandya were of ancient origins.Together they ruled over this land with a unique culture and language, contributing to the growth of some of the oldest extant literature in the world. They had extensive maritime trade contacts with the Roman empire.
Culture*Heritage*Dravidian Architecture*Temples*Beach*Forts*Hill Stations*Tea Plantations*Spice Plantations*Backwaters
The warmth of Indian hospitality and the custom of welcoming guests are as old as time itself. Proceed to check-in to your rooms (Standard check in at 14:00Hrs. Early check in is subject to availability)
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will proceed for a sightseeing tour of Chennai. Your tour will start with the visit to, Fort St. George (Closed on Fridays & Public Holidays), which is presently, is being used by the Tamil Nadu Government. Within the compound is a museum holding many remembrances of the East India Company and the British period. From the British hold of centre, you will proceed to Mylapore, which was inhabited in the 16th century by the Portuguese; visit the San Thome Church, named for the Christian disciple (“Doubting Thomas”) who lived and taught here in the first century.
Also visit Kapaleeswarar Temple, honoring Shiva, dates back to the 13th century AD and is the biggest temple in Chennai. You will also drive past the Marina Beach, the second longest in the world, stretching for several miles. Afternoon you will be driven to Mahablipuram enroute visit Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram is a busy pilgrimage centre, humming with activity around its extraordinary temple precincts. Also famous here are the world-renowned Kanchipuram hand woven silk & cotton fabrics.
After visiting Kanchipuram, you will be driven to Mahabalipuram for overnight stay. Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) built in the 7th century, is an ancient Pallava port. Today it is the site of several antique sculptural marvels. Declared as the world heritage site by UNESCO, Mahabalipuram boasts of some of India’s most sublime rock-cut art.
Overnight at the Hotel
Breakfast at the Hotel later proceed for the sightseeing tour of the city covering Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Penance & the Cave Temple. The Shore Temple: Though known as the land of Seven Pagodasm, there is only one remaining today. This is one of the oldest temples in South India. Arjuna's Penance- This skilfully carved rock of 29X7 metre, is the largest vas - relief sculpture in the world.
Mandapams/Cave temples: The temples are finely sculptured & carved out in Mahabali. Krishna Temple is the oldest temple. Ganesa Ratha, Varcha Cave, Old Light House, Krishna's Butter Ball, Gopi's Churn, Valayankuttai Ratha, Kodikal Mandapam, etc. Besides everything sea beach of Mahabalipuram is undeniable.Overnight at the Hotel
Today you will be driven to Pondicherry. Upon arrival check-in at hotel (Standard check in at 14:00Hrs. Early check in is subject to availability) Pondicherry has a rich French cultural heritage, having been the capital of the French colonies in India since the 17th century. Later you will proceed for sightseeing tour of Pondicherry - visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram, located on Rue de la Marine, is the most popular attraction in Pondicherry. The Ashram was founded by Sri Aurobindo Ghose in 1926.
Overnight at the Hotel
After buffet breakfast at hotel, you will be driven from Pondicherry to Tanjore, en-route stop at Chidambaram, the capital of the Cholas from AD 907 to 1310; Chidambaram lies 9 km north of the Coleroon River, the northern limit of the Kaveri delta.
Later Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Darasuram.
After visiting continue your drive to Tanjore. About a thousand years ago, Tanjore, or Thanjavur was the capital of the powerful Chola dynasty.
Late afternoon proceed to visit the Thanjavur Palace most of which is in ruins housing the Tamil University Museum, the Art Gallery, the Saraswati Mahal Library which houses palm leaf & paper manuscripts. Then to Brihadeeshwara Temple, built in the 10th century by Raja Chola. It is considered to be artistically the most perfect of Dravida temples.Overnight at the Hotel.
Today you will be driven to Madurai enroute visit Trichy. Tiruchirappalli, situated on the banks of the river Cauvery is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. It was a citadel of the early Cholas, which later fell to the Pallavas. Trichy is a fine blend of tradition and modernity built around the Rock Fort.
Visit the Rock Fort, which is a landmark of Trichy. The rock is one of the oldest in the worldapproximately 3.8 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland and older than the Himalayas. After the tour of Trichy, you will be driven to Madurai. Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at your hotel. One of the oldest cities in South India, Madurai has been the centre of learning and pilgrimage for centuries. Spread along the rocky banks of the river Vaigai in the state of Tamil Nadu, this modern industrial city is today famous as a temple town. Overnight at the Hotel.
After buffet breakfast, proceed for a sightseeing tour of Madurai City - The temple town. Madurai's main attraction is the famous Meenakshi temples in the heart of the old town, a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with gopurams (towers) covered from top to bottom with a breathless profusion of multi-colored images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. The temple complex is a city within a city and one can spend days exploring its labyrinthine corridors and halls.
Another attraction is the Tirumalai Nayak Palace (AD 1636) restored by Lord Napier, dance drama concerts are performed daily. Return to your hotel after the tour.
In the evening, you will proceed to the Meenakshi temple complex to witness the evening Aarti ceremony in which Lord Shiva is carried in a palanquin accompanied by musicians, temple singers and priests to the temple of his consort Parvati to spend the night.
Note: Foreigners (Non Hindus) are not allowed inside the inner sanctum of the temple.Overnight at the Hotel
Breakfast is at the hotel. In the morning proceed for a guided walk through for spice plantation to see the cultivation of cardamom, pepper, vanilla and coffee. In the afternoon proceed for common boat ride at the Lake Periyar.Overnight at the Hotel
After breakfast in the hotel, you will be driven from Periyar to Alleppey. Climb aboard the traditional Kettuvallams (rice boats) converted into houseboats with bedrooms and attached toilets. Originally these boats were used as ferries to carry rice (Standard check in at 12:30Hrs). Cruise through the backwaters of Kerala. Lunch and dinner will be served on board.
Overnight on the houseboat.
After breakfast you will be driven from Alleppey to Kochi (Standard check in at 14:00Hrs. Early check in is subject to availability).
Kochi, or more familiarly, Cochin is a city of many parts. Around for a long, long time, Kochi played a pivotal role in the development of shipping and trade in the region. Kochi's prime location on the west coast, its fine bay and protected harbor made it popular with seafarers and merchant ships who made frequent stops to stock up on spices, coffee and wood enroute to the rich markets of Europe and West Asia. Upon arrival proceed for check-in at the hotel.
Overnight on the houseboat
After breakfast at the hotel begin with the sightseeing.
First you will first proceed to Mattancherry and visit the oldest Jewish Synagogue (Closed on Saturdays & All the Jewish holidays) in India, built in 1568; it was destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch a century later. You will also visit The Dutch Palace (Closed on Fridays) which was built in 1555 and its coronation hall and murals at Ramayana are noteworthy features. Continue your drive to Chinese fishing nets. Your next stop will be St. Francis Church, originally named after Santo Antonio and dedicated to him as the Patron Saint of Portugal; St. Francis Church is the first church to have been in the new European influenced tradition. Originally a wooden building was replaced by the present stone building. Vasco De Gamma died on the site in 1524 and was originally buried in the cemetery. 14 years later his body was removed to Portugal.
In the evening, you will be taken to a Kathakali dance center where you will witness the most elaborate of the dance forms in southern India. Here you will witness the artists readying themselves up with the make up for the final performance.
Overnight on the houseboat
Today in time a Sabsan representative will meet you in the hotel lobby and transfer you to International airport to board your flight to back home