A sweeping tour of the South hitting all the tourist highlights along the way - from the beaches of the Bay of Bengal to the shores of the Arabian Seacoast with hill stations, backwaters, and architectural marvels along the way. Stunning South India at its best.
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Duration: 19 Nights / 20 Days
Route: Chennai -Mamallapuram -Pondicherry -Tanjore -Madurai -Periyar -Alleppey -Cochin -Coonoor -Mudumalai -Mysore -Hassan -Hospet -Badami -Goa
You will be greeted by a KeralaToursco Representative and then driven to Mamallapuram where you will spend the next two nights. Venture down to the beach and treat yourself to fresh fish in beachside restaurants while listening to the sounds of the surf.
Spend the day sightseeing. By far and away, the most popular tourist attraction is Arjuna Penance - one of the largest bas relief works of art in existence - carved out of the hillside rock it never fails to impress. Mamallapuram is famous as a pilgrimage town as well as being the seat of stone carving in South India and you will see evidence of this especially on the way to the Five Rathas. Don't miss the Shore Temple, a rare item as it's the only monument in Mamallapuram
Take a drive down the coast to the former French colony of Pondicherry. Along the way, stop in Auroville and pay a visit to the Matrimandir - an architectural marvel as well as the point from which all things in Auroville radiate - solar-powered, peaceful, welcoming, beautiful surroundings. In Pondicherry, enjoy the rocky beachfront which leads down to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a beautiful example of French-influcenced architecture.
Proceed to Tanjore - the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu - which also enjoys the reputation of being the cultural center of Tamil Nadu. Tour the town and see the Brihadishwara Temple (Big Temple) - the most important place to see due to it's marvelous architecture and gardens. Pay a visit to the Palace & Saraswathi Mahal Library which houses ancient Tamil and Sanskrit manuscripts. The Siva Ganga Garden is wonderful little park for family outings - train rides and boat rides are available.
Arrive in Madurai and spend the day touring the city. Don't miss the Meenakshi Temple, the Koodal Alagar Temple, Thiruparankundram, Gandhi Museum, and the Kazimar Big Mosque and Maqbara. Catch the evening Sound and Light Show at the Thirumalai Nayak Palace.
Enjoy a scenic drive through the Western Ghats to Periyar. Visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve. Spend the evening exploring nearby Kumily where every spice grown in Kerala is sold - you'll know you've arrived by the aromatic atmosphere.
Enjoy the downhill drive into the backwaters of Alleppey where you'll spend the night. Kick back and relax on the shores of this beautiful backwater slice of paradise.
Drive up to the lovely heritage harbor town of Cochin. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Kathakali Dance overlooking the Cochin Harbor.
Spend the day seeing the sights which may include a visit to the Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica or a boat tour of the harbor islands.
Spend the morning driving up into the Nilgiri Hills to the hill station of Coonoor. the tea plantations of Coonoor scramble up the side of the surrounding steep hills. Visit the plantations to see the tea-pickers patiently plucking the young leaves from the neat bushes. Admire the verdant scenery covered in wild flowers and home to colorful birds.
Head to the foothills of the Nilgiris to the Mudumalai National Park, one of the best places to spot wildlife in Tamil Nadu. The lush grasslands and vast semi-evergreen forests are home to wild boars, sloth bears and elephants. The sharp-eyed may even spot the elusive tiger and panther, but we make no promises .Wildlife spotting is best carried out in the early morning or late afternoon when the animals are at their most active. Rise early for a jeep safari and bring binoculars to make the most of the experience. The keen-eyed driver will help you locate elephants, jackals, mongoose and porcupines and the many birds of prey who fly overhead.
Drive down to Mysore and spend the day taking in the sights.Head up Chamundi Hill for panoramic views of the city spread out below before exploring the exquisite hilltop temple dedicated to the goddess, Chamundi and dominated by a 40m-high gopuram (tower). Make a short stop at the huge statue dedicated to Nandi, the bull of Lord Shiva, on the way down
Start your day with a visit to Devaraj market – Most colourful Local market; Mysore Palace you can't fail to be impressed by this vast palace, with its turrets, domes and arches and an opulent interior with intricately carved doors and ceilings. Wander through the luxuriously furnished rooms, once home to the royal family, and admire this treasure trove of works of art from all over the world. If you are in Mysore on a Sunday or national holiday don't miss the spectacle of the palace illuminated by thousands of light bulbs. Jaganmohan Palace Spend time perusing the collection of 19th century paintings in this former palace. The skill of the Indian artists, using natural vegetable and mineral dyes, is extraordinary. Enjoy the traditional Mysore 'gold leaf' paintings which are on display here.
Stop off in Saravanabelagola on the drive up to Hassan - one of the oldest Jain pilgrimage centers in India and considered one of the greatest monuments of Jain art. The colossal 57-foot high statue of Gomateswara, carved out of a mountain, is second only to the Collosus Ramses II in Egypt. The status is surrouned by numerous granite temples and shrines.
Spend the morning driving to Hospet. Its proximity to Hampi makes it an ideal place to stay while touring the temples, palaces, monuments and sculptures spread all over the city. Spend the night.
Hampi is the medieval capital of the Hindu empire Vijayanagara (the City of Victory). With more than 500 monuments dotting the surrounding area, Hampi occupies a place among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Included are beautiful temples, basement of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings plus many more.
Take a morning drive to Badami.. During the afternoon pay a visit to the spectacular Badami Caves with their intricate carvings. These ancient caves house the magnificent images and sculptures of Hindu and Jain Gods while also forming an important pilgrimage destination. The exquisite architectural work has made this one of the most popular tourist attractions in Karnataka. Also take time to explore other parts of Badami such as the Badami Fort and Agasthya Tirtha, an artificial lake.
Depart for the beaches of Goa. Stay in Candolim - home to the Aguada Fort, a structure built entirely of red laterite stone on the edge of a cliff.
Spend the day as you wish.
You will be driven to your point of departure in Goa.
Extend or Customize Your Tour
We would be happy to assist with additional travel and hotel arrangements. Changes to this tour can be added as an inclusive part of the package.
|Coonoor||MGM Hill worth|
|Hospet||Ranjana Guest House|
|Candolim, Coa||Par Avel|
Rooms are on a twin sharing basis
Daily breakfast included
All hotels are in the Standard range - all modern amenities are provided including attached private bathrooms with hot/cold water.
Note: If you prefer higher standard accommodations we would be happy to make the arrangements.