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Temples Backwater and Caves Tour

Duration : 12 Nights / 13 Days
Destination Covered : Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Chidambaram - Tanjore - Trichy - Madurai - Alleppey Houseboat - Kumarakom - Cochin - Wynad - Mysore - Belur - Halebid - Hassan - Bangalore - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Ajanta & Ellora - Mumbai

Chennai Tour PackagesDay 1 : Arrive Chennai
Arrive Chennai / Mahabalipuram, Drive 1.5 hrs. 60 km. Met upon arrival with flowers. Transfer to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 2 : Chennai / Mahabalipuram – (55 km., 1.5 hrs.)
Mahabalipuram / Pondicherry, (162 km. 3.5 hrs.)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Pondicherry enroute sightseeing of Mahabalipuram which was the main port of the Pallava dynasty & has exquisite Rock-cut monuments, monolithic structures & Bas-reliefs. It is also a beach resort. Visit a very interesting creation enroute Dakshin Chitra, a museum that preserves actual houses of different communities & village craftsmen from the four southern states of TamilNadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Kerala. If time permit visit Crocodile Farm. Lunch at local restaurant.

Afternoon drive to Pondicherry. Sightseeing of Pondicherry which was formerly a French Colony. Settled early in the 18th century Pondicherry became part of the Indian Union in the early 50s when the French voluntarily relinquished control. The main attraction here is the Aurobindo Ashram which was founded by Sri Aurobindo in 1926. The ashram is one of the most popular in India with westerners, and is also one of the most affluent. Also to be visited is the Pondicherry Museum which has a well displayed variety of exhibits ranging from French furniture to this history of bead making. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 3 : Pondicherry / Chidambaram (65 km., 1.5 hrs).
Chidambaram / Tanjore (104 km. , 2.5 hrs.) Tanjore / Trichy( 54 km.1.5 hrs.)
Breakfast at hotel. Proceed for sightseeing of famous Natraj Temple, depicting the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva at Chidambaram. Chidambaram Temple is one of the oldest and loveliest temples of the Chola period. Later drive to Tanjore. Lunch at local restaurant. Later sightseeing Tanjore (Thanjavur) which was the ancient capital of Chola kings. Visit the Brihadishwara temple which was built by Raja Raja and is termed as the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture. It is one of the most elegant temple with imposing proportions and permeated with a sense of peace and space this temple is one of the monuments in India with World Heritage listing. Also visit the Thanjavur Palace which was constructed in 1550 and has huge corridors, spacious halls, observation and arsenal towers. Later drive to Trichy. Arrive Trichy and check into hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4 : Trichy / Madurai, (128 km., 3 hrs.)
Breakfast at hotel. Morning sightseeing of Trichy. Visit the Rock Fort Temple in Trichy (Tiruchirapalli) and the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam - This superb temple complex is surrounded by seven concentric walls with 21 gopurams and is probably the largest in India. Most of it dates back from 14th to 17th centuries. The largest gopuram was completed as recently as 1987, and now measures an astouning 73 meters. Lunch at local restaurant.

A pleasant drive to Madurai. Madurai – one of the oldest cities in South India and has been a centre of learning & pilgrimage for centuries. Visit Madurai’s main attraction – Sri Meenakshi temple which attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over India. The temple is named after the daughter of a Pandyan King. Designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak, the present temple was substantially built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak (1623-55 AD), but its history goes back 2000 years to the time when Madurai was the capital of Pandya Kings. Sightseeing of Meenakshi Temple. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Allepey HouseboatDay 5 : Madurai / Alleppey / Backwater,( 7 – 8 hrs.)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Alleppey. Lunch enroute. Arrive Alleppey and embark to the Kettuvalam Houseboats. A short and very pleasant cruise the Vembanad Lake while enjoying tea/coffee and snacks. Overnight we anchor at some quite place. Group members come together for dinner.

BACKWATERS OF KERALA : Backwaters are one of the unique attractions of Kerala, a chain of canals extending about 1500 kms, with a network of 44 rivers, lagoons and lakes. Most of it is naturally formed. Canals are remade for continuous traffic of men and materials. Backwaters form an inherent part of life in Kerala. Newspaper, mail and milk are delivered by boats, members of political party with red flags and Christian missionaries spreading the words of God, share the same boats along with fully made up Brides and wedding party. These house boats are known for its unique design use of local material like bamboo poles, coconut finer ropes, bamboo mats, carpets etc. These house boats invite you to enjoy in a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauties of backwaters.

With their languid grace and quaint design adds another dimension to your cruise in the shimmering blue waters. These boats have single room, double room, triple room configuration with, sun deck and private balcony with comfortable chairs. The rooms are fully furnished with attached bathrooms with shower, wash basin and flushing WC with tiled floor. Each boat has a fully equipped kitchen and an experienced cook to prepare authentic Kerala cuisine with sea food specialties and fresh vegetables. Here man and nature strike up a balance of co-existing harmoniously beyond the temptations of modernization.

Day 6 : Backwaters / Kumarakom,
Breakfast in the Houseboat. After breakfast we will head for the narrow channel around Alleppey to see the daily life of local people living on Vembnand Lake. Later we disembark from the boat and check into hotel for lunch. Afternoon free. One may like to enjoy Ayurveda Massage here. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 7 : Kumarakom / Cochin, (65 km, 1.5 hrs.)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Cochin. Cochin – the city of lagoons. Visit the St. Francis Church, India's oldest European Church was constructed in 1503 by Portuguese; Chinese Fishing Nets, strung out along the top of Fort Cochin; Mattancherry Palace or The Dutch Palace, built by Portuguese in 1557, this palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin, Veera Kerala Verma. The palace's alternative name, the Dutch Palace, resulted from substantial renovations by the Dutch after 1663Palace. Afternoon, free for individual actitivities. In the evening, witness Kathakali Dance Show. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 8 : Cochin / Calicut / Wynad, (300 km., 7 – 8 hrs.)
After breakfast depart for Calicut enroute to the district of Wynad. Lunch at local restaurant at Calicut. We shall arrange KALARIPAYAT show (an old martial art of Kerala) in or around hotel at good location. Later drive to Wynad. If time permit we may drive through coffee estate. Arrive Wynad and check into hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 09 : Wynad / Mysore
Breakfast at hotel. Morning drive through very pleasant tea / coffee garden/estates. Drive to Mysore. The magnificent city on the foothills of Mount Chamundi. Visit the Mysore Palace, also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, this palace was the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore. Burnt down in 1897, the present one was completed in 1912, at a cost of Rs. 4.2 million; Chamundi Hill - overlooking Mysore from 1062m summit of the hill is the Sri Chamuneswari temple and the Brindavan Gardens. Check into hotel for lunch. Afternoon sightseeing of Mysore Evening we shall be visiting vegetable and fruit market. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 10 : Mysore / Belur / Halebid / Hassan
Breakfast at hotel. Morning sightseeing of one the best fruit, vegetables and flower market. Back to hotel for lunch. After lunch drive to Hassan enroute visit Belur and Halebid temples. The Chennakesava temple of Belur built 900 years ago is an exquisite example of Hoysala art. Halebid's 12th century Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples are master pieces of Hindu art.

Day 11 : Hassan / Bangalore / Mumbai / Aurangabad
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Bangalore enroute sightseeing of Sravanabelagola. Arrive Bangalore and transfer to airport to board flight for Mumbai. Arrive Mumbai and board to connecting flight for Aurangaband. Arrive Aurangabad and check into hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Ellora CavesDay 12 : Aurangabad / Ajanta/ Aurangabad
Breakfast at hotel. Drive 2 hours to Ajanta. Sightseeing of world famous Ajanta Caves. Lunch at local restaurant. Drive back to Aurangabad. Possibly a short sightseeing of the city. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 13 : Aurangabad / Ellora / Mumbai / Onward destination
Breakfast at hotel. Proceed for sightseeing of Ellora Caves. Enroute stop for photography of Daulatabad Fort. Back to hotel for lunch. After relaxing transfer to airport to board flight for Mumbai. Arrive Mumbai and transfer to International airport to board flight for onward destination after dinner.

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