Tour route: Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Thanjavur – Trichy (Tiruchirappalli) – Madurai – Periyar – Alleppey – Cochin – Munnar – Ooty (Udhagamandalam) – Mysore – Hassan - Bengaluru
Upon your arrival in Chennai, you will be greeted by a private representative and transferred directly to Mamallapuram which is located on the coast on the Bay of Bengal. After hotel check-in and you will have some free time to recover from the jetlag, get ready to find something in South India!
After breakfast start your day at Mamallapuram with a visit to the 7th-century Shore Temple which is surrounded by lush gardens, followed by an exploration of the celebrated bas-relief at Arjuna’s Penance and the Five Rathas. The afternoon is at leisure on the beach.
Continue your journey down the coast to the former French colony of Pondicherry. First visit Auroville (City of Dawn) and Aurobindo Ashram that promotes the ideas to bring about a synthesis of yoga and modern science. Later take a walk through the French Quarter of Pondicherry to soak up the French flavors and feel the city's leisurely approach to life when strolling past charming colonial architecture & street side cafes, you may also take a bicycle if you prefer.
Today is free on your own leisure in this lovely town.
Travel further through the fertile region known as the 'rice bowl' of Tamil Nadu to Thanjavur. On guided afternoon tour you will discover the monumental granite Temple of Brihadeeshwara (Bull Temple) which is capped by a monolithic cupola and a symbol of power and might of the Cholas who ruled between 9th and 13th centuries. Enjoy a wonderful collection of royal remnants of early 19th century at nearby Thanjavur Palace. Observe and learn about how the exquisite bronzes and handicrafts are produced by the hands of local craftsmen. Drive to Trichy for overnight stay.
Today you will visit the Rock Fort. A climb of 434 steps leads to the ancient temple of Ganapati on top and a further climb to a Shiva temple. The rest of day is free at leisure. The car is at disposal all day.
Today you will drive to Madurai (approx. 3 hours), South India's greatest temple town and significant pilgrim site.
Madurai is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu. Today you will visit the thousand-year-old Meenakshi Temple,one of India's largest pilgrim sites with 12 towering gopurams; it's going to be unforgettable to observe the rituals and celebration during the evening puja ceremony inside the Meenakshi Temple.
Later, visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace-a gracious building revealing the power and wealth of the Nayakas who made Madurai their capital in the 16th and 17th centuries. Continue to the Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock temple.
After breakfast drive through the Western Ghats to Periyar Tiger Reserve, India’s earliest sanctuary and one of the best places to see the Asian Elephant. After checking into your hotel, you have time to stroll through one of the spice plantations this area famous for and learn about the many different uses of spices, both in medicine and food. Afternoon at leisure.
In the early morning (around 7 am), you'll enjoy a forest trek inside the National Park which takes 1-3 hours regarding to your interest. After the trekking. Take a late morning cruise on the picturesque Periyar Lake at the heart of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Afternoon free at leisure. This night you can choose to take an optional martial art performance, the ancient Kalaripayattu that is said to be 3000 years old.
After the breakfast, drive to Alleppey, embark on your houseboat and start an enchanting cruise along the reputed backwater of Kerala; just relax and lay back while you navigate slowly through the tranquil waterways. It is a wonderful opportunity to discover Kerala's rural lifestyle. You'll see that Kerala is known for its cashew nuts, coir trade, rice, pepper crops & coconuts.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Morning drive to Cochin and transfer to hotel. Afternoon visit Cochin is the natural harbour created by the famed underwater Malabar mud-banks whose quality ensures that the rougher the seas are outside the calmer the waters are within the Harbour. Vasco-de-Gama placed it on the world map. It has a Jewish synagogue, Portuguese churches, mosques & Hindu temples. Watch the Chinese Fishing Nets. Evening enjoy the Kathakali Dance Performance.
Morning drive to Munnar & transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Today’s visit to the sights of Munnar will allows you to discover the breathtaking beautiful of this idyllic destination in God’s own country. The unending of tea plantations, pristine valleys and mountains, abundant species of flora and fauna in the forests, that’s all Munnar has to offer.
Drive to Ooty this morning. After check in the hotel, you are free to explore Ooty by yourself.
Ooty is the right place for fans of nature. You will savor the “queen of all hill station” as you experience its charming flowers, lofty mountains and lush forests.
Drive to Mysore this morning and transfer to the hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure
Morning tour of Mysore, visit the City Palace, a Hindu Temple and a monolithic sculpture of the bull Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Visit the beautiful Brindayan Gardens where you can admire the amazing topiaries and the illuminated, cascading fountains. In the afternoon visit the Srirangapatnam.
After breakfast proceed to Hassan, en-route visiting Belur & Halebidu enroute. Halebidu is home to one of the best examples of Hoysala architecture in the ornate Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples. Continue to discover the main attraction in Belur, including the Chennakeshava temple complex which contains the Chennakesava Temple as the centre piece, surrounded by the Kappe Chennigraya temple built by Shantaladevi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana.
Morning drive to Bengaluru visiting Shravanabelagla en-route. The statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali at Shravanabelagola is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Jainism, one that reached a peak in architectural and sculptural activity under the patronage of Western Ganga Dynasty of Talakad. On arrive in Bengaluru for overnight.
Morning half day city tour of Bengaluru - visit the Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens, the Mysore Arts and Crafts Center, the Bull Temple, and the colorful bustling local markets. This afternoon is free for leisure.
Bid farewell, after check out from hotel, our representative will escort you to airport for your home bound flight.
Recommended Accommodation for Your Journey
Good accommodation choice will in no doubt enhance your tour experience. Our well-established partnership network with key hotel chains in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri-Lanka will bring you the benefits of competitive hotel rate and guaranteed room availability.
We pick hotels for you based on:Location: geographically convenience values for your precious holiday time. So properties we use are either in downtown area close to main city attractions and amenities, or convenient for sightseeing or transportation.
Hotel Criteria for Each Tour Class
Note: Bhutan is less developed with fewer hotels criteria for choice, and most of the hotels there aren't as high standard as those in Western society.
Hotel Arrangement for Standard Tour ClassUsually conveniently located and meet the basic requirements of a comfortable stay: decorative lobbies and nice guest rooms with AC, TV, hot water, shower and private bathrooms. On-site restaurants may be average in size but offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. In most cases, staffs have basic command of English. Usually 3 star hotels are adopted.
Hotel Arrangement for Comfortable Tour Class
Normally you'll stay at formal and large hotels conveniently located with shopping, dining and entertainment facilities nearby. Quality service, fully furnished rooms, restaurants, room service, fitness center and swimming pool (in some cases there is no pool) all together offer an above-average accommodation experience.
Usually good 4-star hotels are adopted or boutique hotels at request. Hotels best available will be arranged if no qualified choice, e.g. in remote area.
Hotel Arrangement for Superior Tour Class
Usually properties are conveniently located with shopping, dining and entertainment facilities nearby and offer a better service and hotel facility than that in hotels of Comfortable Tour Class. Usually 4-4.5 star hotels or boutique hotels are adopted.
Hotel Arrangement for First Tour Class
Deluxe hotels with high-end service and an extensive range of facilities for an excellent accommodation experience. Multiple restaurants on site with extensive menus for choice, room service available 24/7, fitness center and concierge service round out the experience. Usually 5 star hotels are adopted.
Hotel Arrangement for Deluxe Tour Class
The most luxury hotels are used and only available in some particular cities. These properties have top-notch service and unique location, such as a lake or a historic site, and usually incorporate some of the country’s most exquisite architecture traditions. Usually top 5 star or the best available hotels are adopted.
Normally, India Odyssey Tours put breakfast in your itinerary except for in Bhutan (all meals included). Lunch won’t be included for the sake of tour convenience, while dinner is also excluded as some travelers might want a little culinary adventure themselves. But surely your tour guide/driver is always glad to offer their advice.
It is normally served at the hotel where you stay. Depending on the hotel, the breakfast would be in western style, local style, or a combination.
Usually lunch won’t be included considering the fact that sometimes travelers may want to stay somewhere longer/shorter or need other minor changes during daily sightseeing, and it’s better to decide the lunch site then rather than pre-arranging it. For sure our tour guides/drivers will be happy to advice good places to you, and we strongly suggest qualified local restaurant or hotels around the scenic spots for the sake of your health.
Dinners will not be included in your meal plan unless you have that requirement. Enjoying the local food could be one of your best experiences in the incredible India & South Asia. This is why we offer you this flexibility of food choice, and you can always get advice from your tour guides/drivers.
If you have certain food allergies or special requirements such as vegetarian food, let us know. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.
Private Guide & Transfer
You will have a private tour guide, private driver, and an air-conditioned vehicle escorting you at every destination you travel across South Asia. This will provide you with maximized personal care, security, and flexibility.
All tour guides of India Odyssey Tours are qualified professionals and registered English Speaking Tourist Guides who are reassessed annually. All of our tour vehicles are clean and in excellent condition, manned with licensed & experienced drivers.
You will always be greeted punctually on arrival at each destination airport. At every departure, you’ll be escorted & assisted until you have checked in and passed through the security checkpoint.
All of our tour guides in every destination are locals. Knowing the area well, they are good at guiding you around and telling background stories of the tour sites, as well as showing you the secret spots for best photos.
If any change of itinerary is needed for unexpected reasons, your private tour guides will be more than accommodating in suggesting alternatives to ensure that you always have a wonderful experience.
With our comfortable and safe private transportation, your tour will be more relaxing and less tiresome, keeping you in the best spirits to make the most out of your journey across South Asia.
Your vehicle in each destination is air conditioned, insured, clean, and regularly maintained. Your private driver is licensed and always put your safety first.
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