Highlights of North & South India (23n/24d)

Thekkady, Periyar, Allepey, Cochin - these are the highlights of many trips to Southern India

Thekkady, Periyar, Allepey, Cochin – these are the highlights of many trips to Southern India

DAY 01 – Arrival at Chennai (Madras)
You arrive in Chennai by international flight. After a traditional ‘Swagat’ (Welcome) our representative would meet & assist you at the airport and to our hotel for check in and overnight stay.

DAY 02 – Chennai / Mahabalipuram (Mammalapuram) ( 65 km / 1 ½ Hrs.)
Morning half day sightseeing tour touching Fort St. George, San Thome Cathedral and the museums that contain the world’s most complete and impressive selection of Chola bronzes and stone sculptures from South India and the Deccan. Later drive to Mammalapuram. Built in the 7th century, this ancient city is said to be a sculptor’s delight, boasting of some of India’s most sublime rock-cut art, for which it is now a World Heritage site. On arrival we assist you to check in at our Hotel for overnight stay.

DAY 03 – Mahabalipuram / Kanchipuram / Mahabalipuram ( 65 km / 1 ½ Hrs, One way)
Post breakfast departure for sightseeing covering Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Penance & Five Rathas. Drive to Kanchipuram, the golden city of thousand temples, one of Hinduism’s seven most sacred cities of the early Cholas of the 2nd century. Drive back to Mahabalipuram. Overnight stay.

DAY 04 – Mahabalipuram / Tanjore (300 km / 6 hrs)
Early morning drive to Tanjore. Upon arrival a visit to Brihadewswara Temple also known as the ‘Big Temple’, built by the Chola dynasty. This massive temple is 216 feet high and the single spherical stone on top weighs 80 tons. Overnight stay.

DAY 05 – Tanjore / Trichy / Madurai ( 200 km / 4 hrs.)
Post breakfast departure for Madurai via Trichy. On arrival city tour of Trichy, covering Srirangam temple & Rockfort, Trichy’s most famous landmark, which has a temple perched on the outcrop of Rock. On to Madurai. Overnight stay.

DAY 06 – Madurai
Morning visit to Meenakshi Sundareshwar, one of the largest temple complexes in India built between the 16th and 18th centuries. It is estimated that 33 million sculptures are there. Leisurely afternoon. Overnight stay at hotel.

DAY 07 – Madurai / Thekkady (136 km / 3 ½ Hrs.)
(Periyar Wildlife Sanctury) Early morning drive to Thekkady. On arrival we assist you to check in at our Hotel for overnight stay. Evening game viewing at the sanctuary by boat on lake Periyar. Overnight stay.

Day 08 – At Thekkady
In the morning, go for a jungle walk with a highly experienced guide. This is a unique programme where tourists get the chance to get deep into the forest the least obtrusive way – on foot, maximising the chances of wildlife sightings. These walks can be customised depending on how long the guest wishes to spend in the park. Later, visit the local spice market, reputed to be the largest in Asia. Spices make for a unique and imaginative gift for friends and family back home.

Day 09 – Thekakdy to Munnar
Head off by road to Munnar by road. On the banks of the Periyar river, amidst coffee plantations and the fragrant cardamom hills, lie the Periyar National Park, one of India’s major wildlife reserves. Look out for the Asian elephant, antelope, the Indian bison, the elusive Bengal tiger, the dhole or wild dog, and the extremely rare and endangered Nilgiri Tahr, a species of ibex native to the region.

Day 10 – Munnar
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed for a full day excursion to Rajamala and Eravikulam National Parks, Kundala Lake and Mattupetty. Return to the hotel. The day is free for you to spend on recreational activities available at the resort. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel in Munnar.

Day 11 – Munnar to Allepey
After breakfast drive to Allepey afternoon check into the House boat for Cruise; it is the best way to explore the beauty of backwaters, Rest of the day at leisure on the House Boat. Sit back and relax while the boat cruises through the narrow serene backwater canals. In this world of simple pleasures, you’ll skim past ancient Chinese fishing nets; water Lillie’s, lush paddy fields, coir villages, rustic homes, temples and coconut groves. Innumerable lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries and Kuttanad paddy fields. Lunch, Evening Tea/Coffee with snacks, dinner and enjoy your evening .Only disturbance will be twinkle of a shining star or diving of a fish around you to say hello by waving its tail from the lake. Overnight stay in the House Boat.

Day 12 – Allepey to Cochin
Post breakfast departure for Cochin, one of the finest harbo urs on the Arabian coastline, famous as a port for foreigner traders from early times. A city of peninsulas and islands, today it is Kerala’s commercial hub. Overnight stay.

DAY 13 – Cochin
Morning tour of Cochin to visit Dutch Palace (Built by the Portuguese), Jew Town, the 1568 Jewish Synagogue, spice market, where the air is filled with the pungent smell of spices, St. Francis’ Church and Chinese fishing nets. The evening holds a show of Kerala’s most popular classical dance. Overnight stay.

DAY 14 – Cochin / Guruvayur/ Mysore (250 km / 4 hrs)
Early morning drive to Mysore via Guruvayur. On arrival we assist you to check in at our Hotel for overnight stay.

DAY 15 – Mysore
We take a full day tour of Mysore with visits to Srirangapatnam and Tipu’s Summer Palace, the Maharaja’s Palace and Chamundi Hill, which is topped with a temple of Durga with the magnificent 5m tall Nandi, carved from a single piece of granite in year 1659, one of the largest in India. Overnight stay.

DAY 16 – Mysore / 135 km / 3 hrs Bangalore / Mumbai (by air)
Early morning drive to Bangalore. The city tour would include Tipu Sultan’s Palace, one of the most remarkable Islamic Buildings of the city, now a museum, ISKCON Temple and Lal Bagh Garden. On- time transfer to the airport to board flight for Mumbai. On arrival we assist you to check in at our Hotel for overnight stay.

Day 17 – Mumbai to Aurangabad
Morning excursion to Elephanta Caves, the world famous 1200 years old Caves dedicated to Lord Shiva. The famous Trimurti sculpture signifying the trinity of the Creator, Preserver and the Destroyer is located here. In the afternoon transfer to the airport to board flight for Aurangabad. Arrive Aurangabad and transfer to hotel.

Day 18 – At Aurangabad
Day return excursion to Ajanta caves, heritage site especially related to Buddhism from the period of 200 BC to 650 AD. The caves here also have Jataka stories that are famous for their moral and religious values.

Day 19 – Aurangabad to Mumbai
Morning visit Ellora caves which house 34 monasteries and temples with some exclusive uninterrupted sequence of monuments that date back from 600 to 1000 AD. PM Fly to Mumbai for Overnight

Day 20 – Mumbai to Hyderabad
Morning flight to Hyderabad . Afternoon visit Salarjung museum.

Day 21 – Hyderabad
Full day visit of Hyderabad and Golconda Fort. Evening demonstration of Hyderabadi cuisine followed by dinner.

Day 22 – Hyderabad to Delhi
This morning you are collected from your hotel fly back to Delhi where we have a special tour of Old and New Delhi. The tour of the 17th-century old city includes the great mosque of Jama Masjid. The main street of Old Delhi is the colourful shopping bazaar known as Chandni Chowk (“Moonlit Street”). Red Fort, most spectacular pieces of mughal architecture, built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan between 1638 and 1648. Drive past Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. The tour of New Delhi includes Qutab Minar, one of the most popular landmarks in Delhi built in 1199. The Humayun’s Tomb, the precursor of the Taj Mahal. Drive down the spectacular Rajpath (“the Kingsway,”) passing the India Gate (the memorial built to commemorate the unknown soldiers,) the President’s House, and the House of Parliament. Enjoy a brief respite from the otherwise bustling city at Birla Mandir, a modern and colourful Hindu temple. Evening at leisure to perhaps venture out and discover the city or try one of its many restaurants on your own. Overnight at hotel.

Day 23 – In Delhi (Agra)
This morning you drive to Agra (220km). Agra – “The Land of Taj” was once the capital of the Mughal Empire and even today it seems to linger in the past. Not surprising, for the Mughal emperors with their passion for building, endowed the city with some of the finest structures in the world. Upon arrival in Agra, check in to your hotel. Afternoon, you are collected for half day city tour of Agra visiting The Taj Mahal – a poem, a feeling of love, in white marble, is a fine example of the fusion of many architectural styles. It has been described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love. Your tour also includes a visit to the Red Sandstone Agra Fort, seat of the Mughal dynasty in the 16th century, which lies on the bend of the River Yamuna, almost in the heart of town. Akbar built it as his citadel over the years of 1565-1573.  Return to Delhi for Overnight

Day 24 – Leave Delhi
This morning is at leisure until your departure transfer.

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