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Temples and Backwaters Tour

temples and backwaters tour

Duration :15 Days

Destination :Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram – Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai – Periyar – Alleppey – Kumarakom – Marari Beach - Cochin

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Day 1 : Arrive Madras (Chennai)
Meeting and greetings on arrival at Chennai’s international Airport and transfer to the hotel. Rest of the evening / afternoon at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 02 : At Chennai
Morning after relaxed breakfast at hotel leisurely proceed fo sightseeing tour of Madras city or Chennai visiting Kalakshetra - art and music school that encourages exponents of Bharatnatyam, Carnatic music, traditional weaving and designing, Fort St. George - built in 1653 during British reign in India, - it houses the Secretariat and Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu now; St. Mary's Church, the oldest Anglican Church in India with its premises, Sri Parthasarathy Temple - built by Pallavas in the 8th century AD; Kapaliswara Temple, Mylapore – 8th century Pallava Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, San Thomas Cathedral Basilica - rebuilt in 1606 as a cathedral and in 1896 it was made a basilica; Also visit Theosophical Society - the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society formed to encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science.

Rest of the evening at leisure. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 3 : Madras - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram, 140 km
Morning breakfast at the hotel and than leave for Mahabalipuram via visiting Kanchipuram - a city of a thousand temples. One of the seven sacred cities of the Hinduism, During 2nd Century BC Kanchipuram was the capital of Cholas dinesty. Kanchi was a major seat of Tamil learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. Apart from temples, the city is also famous for its silk weavers, settled here some 400 years ago who have given it an enviable reputation.

Later leave for Mahablipuram and check into the hotel on arrival. Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram is an ancient port where Pallavas have created many marvelous monuments with sculptural panels, caves, Monolithic Rathas and Temples. Krishna Mandapam has a big bas relief, notable for its realistic representation. The world's largest bas relief measuring 27m x 9m, whale-back shaped rock contains figures of gods, demi-gods, men, beasts, birds and representation of the entire creation.

Shore Temple is one of the oldest in southern India dating back to the eighth century AD and is a excellent example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in Dravidian style. The Five Rathas, a group of five monolithic temples, each created in different style are another attraction. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 4 : Mahabalipuram - Tanjore, 300 km
Morning post breakfast at your stay hotel leave to Tanjore or Thanjavur visiting enroute visiting Chidambaram for Lord Natraja Temple. Check into the hotel on arrival.

Afternoon sightseeing tour of Tanjore city know for Carnatic music, musical instruments, dance and traditional handicrafts, Tanjore (Thanjavur) is famous for the Brahadeeswarar Temple. Visit The Art Gallery and the Saraswathi Mahal Library and other interesting sites. Overnight at the hotel.

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Day 5 : Tanjore - Trichy - Madurai, 201 km
Morning after relaxed breakfast leave to Madurai via visiting Srirangam at Trichy. Sriragam temple is located on an island 5 kms from Trichy city. Surrounded by the Kaveri river is a 600 acre island town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswami temple. There are no less than 22 gopurams, one of which is the tallest in India. The 72 m high 13-tiered gopuram dominates the landscape for miles around. The Rock Fort situated on the banks of the Kaveri River, Trichy's most famed landmark is an 84 m high rock, one of the oldest in the world aprox. 3,800 million years old. The attraction is not for the fort itself but the temple at the summit. 344 steps hewn out of rock lead to the top where are the inscriptions dating back to the 3rd century B.C.

Later drive to Madurai and on arrival, check-in at the hotel overnight stay.

Day 6 : Madurai
Morning breakfast and leave for tour of Madurai city- well known as Athens of the East. Madurai is the second largest city situated on the banks of Vaigai River. Madurai is said to be over 2500 years old. The city got its name from the drops of nectar (Mathuram) that fell from Shiva's locks when he came to bless its people for constructing a temple for him. People of the city wake up to the chant of hymns of the Holy Meenakshi-Sundareswara Temple. The 48.8 meter high southern gopuram is the most spectacular and has over 1500 sculptures. In the Ashta Shakti Mandapam inside the Meenakshi temple, the sculpted pillars tell the story of the beautiful princess of Madurai and her marriage to Lord Shiva.

Rest fo the afternoon at leisure. Evening visit Mennakshi – Sundereswara Temple again to witness not to be missed Temple closing ceremony. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7 : Madurai - Periyar
Morning after breakfast drive to Periyar National Park. Check into the Jungle Lodge on arrival

Thekkedy or Periyar sanctuary is spread over an area of 777 sq km and houses around 35 tigers and leopards.

Afternoon guided tour to visit Spice Plantation fields and see its processing. Overnight at the lodge.

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Day 8 – At Periyar
Morning visit National Park by boat. Periyar park has a 26 sq km Manmade lake and is the home of sambars, wild boars, elephants and antelopes, Wild Dogs which can be seen on the banks of the Lake during a boat trip.

Rest of the afternoon at leisure. You may opt to walk around the town or jungle. You can also enjoy an Elephant ride if interested.
Overnight at the lodge.

Day 9 : Periyar-Kumarakom, 136 km
Morning breakfast and drive to Alleppey and board your waiting houseboat and sail through back waters of Kerala to Kumarakom. Traveling by boat on the backwaters in Kerala is one of the most unique experiences. The boats cross shallow, palm-fringed lakes and travel along narrow shady canals providing glimpses of small settlements on the narrow land, shops, schools and trading on boat, lush green rice fields. These canals are well connected between Kottayam-Alleppey-Changancherry-Quilon and Kumarakom. Overnight on houseboat. Kumarakom is a beautiful backwater village on the shores of the enchanting Vembanad Lake. Coconut Lagoon is set on an abandoned coconut plantation in the heart of idyllic backwaters. Rest of the day free.

Day 10 : At Kumarakom Morning after breakfast at the hotel check out from house boat and check in at backwater resort where calm, emerald backwaters reflect hundreds of thousands of gently swaying palms where the primary attraction however, is its lazy ambience. Later proceed to explore the bird sanctuary of Kumarakom and explore a whole new world of feathered species. For an inquisitive bird watcher it is an ideal place that echoes with the chirping of birds including a variety of migratory birds. Take a walk around the sanctuary while experiencing the sights and sounds of these birds. Kumarakom offers visitors many other leisure options. Either you are free at leisure, or enjoy the backwaters with paddleboats, canoe and Kayaks at the lagoon available at the resort. Overnight at the Resort.

Day 11 : Kumarakom to Marari Beach
Morning after breakfast proceed to Marari Beach and check in at the Resort. Rest of the day at leisure to relax and enjoy the facilities available. You may opt ayurveda treatment / massage being offered by the hotel.

Day 12 : At Marari Beach
Full Day at leisure. Overnight at the Resort.

Day 13 : At Marari Beach
Full Day at leisure. New Year celebration and Overnight at the Resort.

Day 14 : Marai to Cochin
Morning after leisurely breakfast at the resort drive to Cochin and check in at the hotel on arrival. Afternoon proceed for sightseeing tour of Cochin. Cochin, Kerala's commercial center, has a fine natural harbor. Cochin is famous for Mattanchery Palace, St. Francis Church, Wellington Island, Bolghatty Island, Chinese Fishing nets and Jewish Synagogue. Cruising on the backwaters provides glimpses of the rural life, fine view of the harbor and three islands. Evening witness a Kathakali Dance Show in an auditorium.

Day 15 : Depart Cochin
Transfer to the airport in time to board homebound flight.

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