Temples and mysterious places of India
Fascinating temples that combine different architectural styles, magic places characterized by mazy lakes, lush nature and wildlife, lively town, wonderful coastal areas and solid tradition and much more are waiting for you in this marvellous trip to India, a charming country in Southern Asia.Read more
Fascinating temples that combine different architectural styles, magic places characterized by mazy lakes, lush nature and wildlife, lively town, wonderful coastal areas and solid tradition and much more are waiting for you in this marvellous trip to India, a charming country in Southern Asia.
During this unforgettable 11 days, you'll discover:
Meeting at Chennai International airport, transfer to the hotel and check-in.
Chennai is the fourth largest city of India and the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. Here was located the first settlement of East India company’s, founded in 1639 and given by the Raja of Chandragiri, the last representative of the Vijayanagara rulers of Hampi.
The morning is devoted to the discovery of the city. Visit the St. Mary’s Church, built in 1678 - 80, it was the first English Church in Chennai; the Saint Thomas Cathedral, built in 1504 and then re-built in neo-gothic style in 1893, this Roman Catholic Church hosts the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle.
Afterwards, visit the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, in ancient Shiva Temple, constructed in pure Dravidian style; the Sri Parthasarathy Temple, devoted to Lord Krishna, dating back to the 8th century, epoch of the Pallavas reign. Other attractions include the National Art Gallery and Museum, which boast some beautiful temple friezes, the bronze gallery and archaeological section. En route it is possible to glimpse the High Court Building, Fort St. George and the famous film studios. Overnight in Chennai.
In the early morning transfer to Pondicherry (4 - 5 hours), formerly a French colony settled in the 18th century, it became part of the Indian Union in the early 50’s when the French voluntarily relinquished control.
During the travel stop at Mahabalipuram, an ancient coastal harbour, renowned due to its shore temple and beacause it was the second capital and sea port of the Pallava Kings of Kanchipuram. Mahabalipuram is a wonderful open-air museum, which encloses sculpture in living rock, Monolithic shrines, scooped out caverns magnificently sculpted within and the world’s biggest rocky bas relief. Vying with this splendour is a beach, the famous temples of the Rathas, the Penance of Bhagirath, the Shore Temple and the eight Mandapams. Continue your drive, on arrival check in. Overnight stay at Pondicherry.
After breakfast, your tour to discover Pondicherry will start. You'll enjoy the visit of the Botanical Gardens, Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus, The Promenade, Government Park, Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Romain Rolland Library, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, French Institute and other museums and art galleries. Evening is at leisure and overnight in the hotel.
Today you'll move to Madurai after breakfast (5 - 6 hours). This is one of the oldest cities in South India, has been the centre of learning and pilgrimage for centuries. En route you'll enjoy a tour of Tanjore, the capital of the powerful Chola dynasty. Today, it is the charming village surrounded by lush green rice fields of the Cauvery delta. Here it is possible to find magnificent temples, still bear witness to the splendour of Chola architecture. You'll visit Brihadeeswarar Temple, the Palace, Sangeetha Mahal, Saraswati Mahal, Library, Raja Museum, Temple Museum and Schwarz Church. Upon arrival at Madurai, check-in in the hotel and overnight.
After breakfast, you'll discover the wonderful and colourful city of Madurai. You'll visit the Meenakshi Temple, where Dravidian temple architecture may be considered to be at its best. Here it is possible to admire its fabulous hall with thousand pillars, which receives many worshippers at all hours of the day. You'll also observe the Thirumalai Nayak Palace and Thiruparankundram temple. In the evening temple ceremony at Shree Meenakshi temple. Overnight at Madurai.
Today you'll move to Thekkady, the spice capital city (4 - 5 hours). It is situated in Tamil Nadu, at the border with Kerala. This is a unique wildlife sanctuary which expands over 300 square miles and is centered on an artificial lake fed by the Periyar River. Upon arrival check in. Overnight at Thekkady.
The morning is devoted to a game viewing on board of a boat, which will carry you along twisted waterways and afford to admire elephant, bison, deer and occasionally tiger. The tropical habitat makes it one of the most important reserves of southern India enclosing abundant species of flora and fauna. At the end of the safari, return for breakfast. Then, visit spice plantation where you can learn about pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla among many other spices and plants. Overnight at Thekkady.
After breakfast, it's on to Kumarakom (4 hours). It is a wonderful peninsula covered by paddy fields, meandering lagoons and backwaters that flow out into Lake Vembanad. This area is also called Backwaters, it is a magic area characterized by mazy canals and lakes that stretch between the capital Cochin and Quilon in the south.
Upon arrival, you can enjoy your free day. You can decide to try a local ayurvedic body massage (extra cost) that will relax and reinvigorate you. It is believed that human being consists of the five elements, air, water, fire, ether and earth. Ayurveda, the traditional form of Indian medicine, was developed by ancient wises whose astute observations led to the development of constitutional medicine. Overnight at Kumarakom.
In early morning, you'll transfer to Kochi (2 hours). It is located in the coastal state of Kerala and offers one of the finest natural harbour in the world. Here it is possible to admire the reflection in the water of lush mangroves, coconut trees, ancient churches, cathedrals and fort. The city is set on a very strategic location and has always been a significant trading zone and attractive tourist destination.
Upon arrival, you'll take part in an amazing tour to discover The Dutch Palace, also known as Mattancherry Palace. It was built by Portuguese in 1555 and is famous for its murals showing scenes from the Ramayana and the puranic legends. Close to the palace is located the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays), which was built in 1568. Then, you'll discover the St. Francis Church, established by the Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. Vasco Da Gama was buried in the courtyard of this European church built in India. During the tour, you'll also admire the seaside where it is possible to see the old Chinese fishing nets still in use. In the evening check-in to the hotel and overnight at Fort Kochi.
Bid farewell. Today you'll transfer to Kochi International airport: end of services.