Grand Tour Of South India



DAY 01 - ARRIVE CHENNAI


Arrive Chennai international airport

Meeting and assistance at the airport

Transfer by car to your hotel in Chennai

Check in and relax a bit after the long flight

In the afternoon we will start the tour with a visit to Government Bronze museum, drive along the old part of Chennai, a short walking tour of George Town and the surroundings, drive along Marina Beach, visit St. Thomas cathedral and late in the evening visit Kapaleeshwar temple and the market

In the evening you will get introduced to South India cuisine - the ideal place is the rain tree restaurant in Connemara hotel

Overnight at the hotel in Chennai



DAY 02 - CHENNAI / KANCHEEPURAM / MAHABALIPURAM


Breakfast at the hotel

You will have to start little early in the morning say around 0730 hrs as you need to cross the city to take the highway to Kancheepuram and morning traffic in Chennai sometimes would be heavy

Arrive Kancheepuram after two hours drive

Visit Ekambareshwar, Kailasanathar temple and Varatharaja Perumal temple

You can also have a look on how Kancheepuram silk sarees are weaved - the silk here is mostly used for sarees and are very detailed and elaborate

Drive to Mahabalipuram

On arrival check in at the beach resort in Mahabalipuram

In the evening walk around the main street

You can try a sea food dinner at one of the many restaurants on the main street

Overnight at the resort in Mahabalipuram



DAY 03 - MAHABALIPURAM


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning visit Arjuna Penance

Climb up the rock behind this monument to have a panoramic view of the seas

Later walk up to light house

Climb down the rock to visit Five Rathas

Return to the hotel

You can spend some time near the pool or on the beach

In the evening visit Shore Temple

Optional visit to a nearby hill lock to see the villages around Mahabalipuram

Overnight at the beach resort in Mahabalipuram



DAY 04 - MAHABALIPURAM / PONDIHCERRY


Breakfast at the beach resort

In the morning leave for Pondicherry

Arrive Pondicherry at noon

If you want to visit Auroville - you can start little early from Mahabalipuram and visit Auroville on the way - may be you can have lunch there

You will not be able to visit the meditation chambers at Matri Mandir but you can go on a guided visit of the gardens

Arrive Pondicherry and check in at the hotel

In the early evening walk along the old part of the town - which was once the main administrative city for the French in India?

In the evening visit Aurbindo Ashram and later walk along the beach promenade

Overnight at the hotel in Pondicherry



DAY 05 - PONDICHERRY / TANJORE


This is a very long day but also an interesting day. As there is no good place or a convenient one in-between to stay, you will be doing this in one day -though you will be visiting very interesting temples enroute

After breakfast leave around 0730 hrs

Your first stop will be at Chidambaram to visit Natraja Temple

Later drive to Gangaikondacholapuram.

Continue your drive to Tanjore with a visit to Darasuram - an excellent example of Dravidian style temple

Arrive Tanjore and check in at the hotel

Evening free

Overnight at the hotel in Tanjore



DAY 06 - TANJORE / TRICHY


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning visit Brihadeeshwara Temple - an architectural marvel built more than 1000 years ago

Later visit the Government Bronze galley at the Palace

After lunch leave for Trichy - an hours drive

Arrive Trichy and check in at the hotel

In the evening visit Rock Fort temple and the market

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Trichy



DAY 07 - TRICHY / CHETTINADU / MADURAI


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning visit Amma mandapam on the banks of river Kaveri where you can witness Hindus performing religious rituals

Later visit Sriranganthaswamy temple complex

Drive to Chettinadu - a sleepy little town

You will have an authentic Chettinadu lunch at an old mansion now turned to a hotel and you will also marvel at the architecture of Chettinadu houses - each house is furnished with expensive teaks, rose woods, Italian marbles and Belgium glasses - there are more than 1000 palatial houses in this area

Drive to Madurai

Arrive Madurai and check in at the hotel

Overnight at the hotel in Madurai



DAY 08 - MADURAI / PERIYAR


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning visit Meenakshi Amman temple and palace of Tirumalai Nayak

Drive to Periyar

Arrive Periyar in the evening and check in at the hotel

Visit Kalaripattu martial arts performance at the theatre

Overnight at the hotel in Periyar



DAY 09 - PERIYAR


Early morning boat ride or trekking to the forest

Return to the hotel for breakfast

In the afternoon spend couple of hours with an elephant and later visit spices garden

Overnight at the hotel in Periyar


DAY 10 - PERIYAR / ALLEPEY


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning leave for Allepey

On arrival at Allepey, transfer by small boat to an island village

Check in at a guest house in the island

Later in the evening proceed on a boat ride over small canals exploring the backwater life of Kerala

Overnight at the hotel in Allepey



DAY 11 - ALLEPEY


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning walk around the village

Check out from the guest house and check in on board the house boat

Lunch on check in

Cruise along the backwaters - it is a unique experience spending a night on the house boat cruising along the backwaters

The boat will be anchored near a village at around 1700 hrs

Walk around the village

Dinner and overnight on board the house boat



DAY 12 - ALLEPEY / COCHIN


Breakfast on board the house boat

Check out and proceed to Cochin

You will drive on the coastal road from Allepey to Cochin

Beaches near Marari are absolutely stunning and you can spend some time on the beach

Arrive Cochin and check in at the hotel

In the evening visit Kathakali arts show at the theatre

Overnight at the hotel in Cochin



DAY 13 - COCHIN


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning leave for a sight seeing tour of Cochin.

Visit Dutch Palace and Jewish Synagogue.

Later walk around Jew Town.

You can either go to a market or to a sea food shop and shop for sea food

The sea food which you will buy will be cooked at a local restaurant for dinner

In the evening walk around Chinese fishing nets

Overnight at the hotel in Cochin



DAY 14 - COCHIN / METTUPALAYAM


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning you will be transferred by a local car to Cochin railway station where you will take a train to Coimbatore.

The best way to explore India is to travel by train. You will travel in an air-conditioned coach and you will not have any baggage to worry about. Just experience the train journey talking to the local people

Arrive Coimbatore and you will be met by your driver

After lunch in the city, you will arrive Mettupalayam

In the evening walk around the market

Overnight at the hotel in Mettupalayam



DAY 15 - METTUPALAYAM / OOTY


In the morning transfer to Mettupalayam railway station

You will board the UNESCO certified 125 years old steam engine pulled toy train which will take you up on the Nilgiri hills via enchanting views of the mountain

Arrive Conoor railway station

You will be met by the driver and a local guide who will take you on a short tour to visit the traditional mountain people

Check in at the hotel

Overnight at the hotel in Ooty



DAY 16 - OOTY / MYSORE


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning leave for Mysore

Arrive Mysore and check in at the hotel

In the evening visit Devaraja fruit and vegetable market - considered to be one of the most colourful markets in India

Overnight at the hotel in Mysore



DAY 17 - MYSORE


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning at around 0800hrs proceed to Somnathpur to visit the Hoysala type temple. When you drive back to Mysore you will see a lot of activities in the villages

Arrive Mysore and after lunch visit Maharaja Palace and the museum

In the evening visit Nandhi Hills and bull temple

This evening you can dine at Lalitha Mahal Palace

Overnight at the hotel in Mysore



DAY 18 - MYSORE / HASSAN


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning leave for Hassan

On the way you will visit Saravanabelagola. You need to climb up the hills - say around 20 minutes and on the top of the hill you will see a 16 meter naked statue of Lord Gomateeshwara - also you can see the rituals performed by the Jains

Drive to Hassan and check in at the hotel

In the evening visit Belur and Halebid

Overnight at the hotel in Hassan



DAY 19 - HASSAN / HAMPI


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning leave for Hassan

In the morning leave for Hampi

You will arrive Hampi late in the afternoon

Check in at the hotel in Hampi

You have to take note that there no good accommodation available at Hampi and hence you have to stay at Hospet or in Toranagallu - suggest staying at Toranagallu as it would be easier with less traffic to reach Hampi

On arrival check in at the hotel

In the evening visit Photo museum near the hotel on Hampi sites

Overnight at the hotel in Hampi



DAY 20 - HAMPI


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning leave for Hampi

Start the tour of Hampi empire ruins by visiting the sacred part and after lunch cover the Royal part of the ruins

Wait till evening to see the sun setting on the village. You can see the sunset from one of the boulders

Return to your hotel

Overnight at the hotel in Hampi



DAY 21 - HAMPI / BADAMI


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning leave for Badami

You will drive directly to Aihole and visit the temples.

You need to carry packed lunch as there are no good restaurants in Aihole

Later visit Patadkal

Arrive Badami late in the evening

Check in at the hotel

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Badami



DAY 22 - BADAMI / GOA


Before breakfast visit Badami caves with a guide

Return to the hotel for breakfast

After breakfast you will commence a very long drive say around 08 hours to Goa

Arrive Goa and check in at the hotel

Overnight at the hotel in Goa



DAY 23 - GOA


Full day free at Goa

Overnight at the hotel in Goa



DAY 24 - GOA


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning drive to old Goa - visit old Goa

You can either return to the same hotel or stay near the airport depending your departure time the next day

Overnight at the hotel in Goa



DAY 25 - GOA / MUMBAI


Breakfast at the hotel

Transfer to the airport in time to connect your flight to Mumbai

Arrive Mumbai and check in at the hotel

In the evening proceed on a walking tour around Fort Mumbai

Dinner at a restaurant in the area of Coloba

Overnight at the hotel in Mumbai



DAY 26 - MUMBAI


Breakfast at the hotel

In the morning, take the first boat to elephanta

Return to the main land

Lunch at Britannia - a very old Parsi restaurant in Fort Mumbai

Later in the afternoon proceed on a sight seeing tour of Mumbai

Overnight at the hotel in Mumbai



DAY 27 - MUMBAI - DEPARTURE




Note - Extension to Aurangabad to visit Ajantha and Ellora can be included in this tour The tour can be shortened without the visit of Mumbai