brihadeeswarar-temple-tanjore

India's Southern Heritage

Tour Duration: 16 Nights / 17 Days
The vast ancestry and ethnicity of South India is well experienced while we rover across 06 UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites. Walk through the rock cut caves in Mumbai and make way to the Goan beaches and the historic churches of Goa. Witness the seventh largest mosque of the world-Mecca Masjid standing tall in Hyderabad followed by a relaxing boat ride over Kodaikanal Lake accounting for a mesmerizing experience. The toy train ride from Ooty to Coonor passes through some picturesque landscape and jaunts between the vast tea plantation spread across the Nilgiri mountain range. At last we discover the beauty of Dravidian architectures in Southern India and adjourn our journey by the Marina beach in Chennai.

Tour Highlights

Unlike the Northern States of India, Southern India encapsulates some wonderful destinations. With umbrageous landscape, pristine coastal line, boundless tea and spice plantations and the soothing air over it, one has no choice but to delve in and seep in the mystical beauty of South India. Encapsulating the states of Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, travelers who wants to experience the peculiarity of cuisines and lifestyle across the peninsular India; must join us on this unique journey

We embark our journey at the commercial capital of India: Mumbai; followed by gliding through the Portugual city of Goa, thriving at its beaches; we make way to city of Nawabs- Hyderabad. Explore the palaces in Bangalore and Mysore with beautiful gardens and imposing structures.

Further we travel to Tamil Nadu, where we discover the rich cultural heritage of south India with the grandeur of the temples at Madurai and Thanjavur. Then we proceed to see the mini France of India – Puducherry. A former French colony that still retains some bits and pieces of the French culture. The journey completes with a visit to the Shore temples of Mahabalipuram (UNESCO’s World Heritage Site) and Marina beach in the last southern city called Chennai.

World Heritage Sites

  • Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
  • Great Living Chola Temples, Chennai
  • Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Mahabalipuram
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai
  • The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Ooty
  • Churches and Convents of Goa, Goa

Tour Itinerary at Glance

Day 1: Arrive Mumbai (FlightArrive Mumbai (Flight))
Day 2: Mumbai
Day 3: Mumbai/Goa by Flight
Day 4: Goa
Day 5: Goa/Hyderabad by Flight
Day 6: Hyderabad
Day 7: Hyderabad/Bangalore by Flight
Day 8: Bangalore/Mysore (Drive: 145 Kms / 03 & ½ Hrs)
Day 9: Mysore/Ooty (Drive: 130 Kms / 03 Hrs)
Day 10: Ooty
Day 11: Ooty/Kodaikanal (Drive: 260 Kms / 07 Hrs)
Day 12: Kodaikanal/Madurai (Drive: 125 Kms / 03 Hrs)
Day 13: Madurai/Thanjavur (Drive: 200 Kms / 04 Hrs)
Day 14: Thanjavur/Pondicherry (Drive: 166 Kms / 04 Hrs)
Day 15: Pondicherry/Mahabalipuram (Drive: 110 Kms / 02 & ½ Hrs)
Day 16: Mahabalipuram/Kanchipuram/Chennai/Mahabalipuram (Drive)
Day 17: : Mahabalipuram/Chennai/Onward Destination (Drive & Flight)
  • - Breakfast
  • - Lunch
  • - Dinner

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance

The tour package booking terms and conditions

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  1. Day 1 Arrive Mumbai (FlightArrive Mumbai (Flight))
    Arrival. Namaste! We are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together at the airport and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax.
  2. Day 2 Mumbai
    gateway-of-india-mumbai We start our day with a visit to the Gateway of India, Mumbai's most famous monument. Here we embark on our excursion to the Elephanta Caves*, located on an island in the Sea of Oman. The caves contain a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly the huge high reliefs in the main cave. We return to Mumbai by motor launch and visit the Prince of Wales Museum and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus*, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival Architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. Our Next Stop is at Mani Bhawan, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed here during the Freedom Struggle. The house is now converted into a Museum. From here we leave for the Hanging Gardens, the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, the bustling Crawford Market and drive past Haji Ali, the tomb of a wealthy Muslim merchant. We end our tour at the Dhobi Ghat, the world's largest outdoor laundry. The word Dhobi Ghat is used all over India to refer to any place where many washers are present. Please Note: Elephanta Caves are closed on Monday for visitors.
     
    Meals Included
  3. Day 3 Mumbai/Goa by Flight
    Today we are transferred to airport for our flight to Goa. Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea. Its long history as a Portuguese colony prior to 1961 is evident in its preserved 16th-century churches and the area’s tropical spice plantations. Goa is also known for its beaches, ranging from popular stretches at Baga and Palolem to laid-back fishing villages such as Agonda. On arrival in Goa we are met by our local host and transferred to our hotel. Rest of the day is free for relax.
    Meals Included
  4. Day 4 Goa
    beach-goa Although best known for its miles of palm lined beaches along the Arabian Sea, Goa holds other, more important attractions. The Churches and Convents of Goa*, the former capital of the Portuguese Indies, illustrate the evangelization of Asia. These monuments were influential in spreading forms of Manueline, Mannerist and Baroque art in all the countries of Asia where missions were established. We will visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus, built in the 16th century, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are enshrined; the Se Cathedral, which is the most imposing of all churches at Old Goa. Its vaulted interior overwhelms the visitors by its sheer grandeur. The cathedral has five bells of which one is the famous Golden bell, the biggest in Goa and one of the best in the World. The remainder of the day is free to relax on the beach or enjoy the bazaars of Goa. 
    Meals Included
  5. Day 5 Goa/Hyderabad by Flight
    historic-golkonda-fort-hydreabad We are free to relax and enjoy Goa’s beaches in the morning. In the afternoon we take a short flight to Hyderabad, the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh. On arrival in Hyderabad, we are transferred to our hotel. The city and its environs are dotted with mosques, tombs, temples, forts, treasuries, armories and caravansaries. In the evening we enjoy dinner at Restaurant offering world famous Hyderabadi food.
    Meals Included
  6. Day 6 Hyderabad
    quli-qutb-shahi-tombs-hyderabad Our full day exploration of Hyderabad starts with a visit to the landmark of Hyderabad, the Charminar. A ceremonial Gateway oriented towards the cardinal directions, it was built to celebrate the foundation of Hyderabad, a new Millennial City, in the year 1000 AH (1591 A.D.) and is an acknowledged masterpiece of Islamic architecture. Next we visit the Mecca Masjid. This glorious mosque is probably the greatest edifice of the Qutb Shahi period. It took 78 years to build. It is the second largest mosque in India and reputedly the seventh largest in the world. Its enormous colonnades are monoliths, carved from single blocks of pink granite. Mecca Masjid can accommodate 10,000 worshippers quite comfortably. 
    We drive by Husain Sagar Lake, a large artificial lake built around 1550 with a statue of the Buddha on an island. Next we visit the Salar Jung Museum, one of the three National Museums of India with a collection of sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, metallic artifacts, carpets, clocks, and furniture from all over the world. We explore the Qutb Shahi tombs, outstanding example of an Indo-Muslim dynastic necropolis and the most extensive and best epigraphically documented in all of India. In the afternoon we visit to Golconda Fort. An outstanding example of military architecture, with its impregnable defense mechanism, unique water supply and distribution system, as well as the unique sewage disposal mechanisms and extraordinary acoustical system unparalleled in the architectural history of the Deccan and perhaps the military architecture of India, Golconda is one of the biggest fortresses in south India and has commanded the geo-politics of the region as well as the coveted diamond trade over seven centuries and governed the trade and destiny of South India.
    Please Note: Salar Jung Museum is closed on Friday for visitors
     
    Meals Included
  7. Day 7 Hyderabad/Bangalore by Flight
    tipu-sultan-palace-bangalore Today we are transferred to airport for our flight to Bangalore. On arrival in Bangalore we are welcomed and transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon we explore Bangalore, visiting the Vidhana Soudha, an imposing edifice built almost entirely of dressed Bangalore granite, that houses the Legislative Chambers of the state government; the 3000 acres of verdant tranquility of Cubbon Park; Tipu Sultan's Palace, now a museum, and one of the most remarkable Islamic buildings in the city; Lal Bagh Garden, India's most beautiful botanical gardens with rare trees brought from far off Persia, Afghanistan and France. The evening is free for shopping in the local bazaar. Please Note: Cubbon Park is closed on Monday for visitors
     
    Meals Included
  8. Day 8 Bangalore/Mysore (Drive: 145 Kms / 03 & ½ Hrs)
    royal-palace-mysore After breakfast we drive to Mysore, visiting Srirangapatam, the island fortress that was once the capital of the warrior-kings Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore, en-route. On arrival in Mysore, we check in our hotel. In the afternoon we visit the Maharajah's Palace, Shri Chamundeswari Temple and the Nadi Shiva's Mount. Mysore has never failed to mesmerize with its rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautiful gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples.
    Meals Included
  9. Day 9 Mysore/Ooty (Drive: 130 Kms / 03 Hrs)
    After breakfast we drive to Ooty. The verdant hills, the lush green valleys and the pristine natural beauty of the hill resort of Ooty offers the tired urban souls a chance to enjoy nature. On arrival in Ooty, we check in our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to rest and relax.
    Meals Included
  10. Day 10 Ooty
    Today we explore Ooty, visiting the Botanical Gardens, Lamb's rock and Dodabetta Peak. Later we board our steam train to enjoy a trip from Ooty to Coonoor affording some spectacular views of the precipitous eastern slopes of the rainforest. The construction of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway*, a 46-km long metre-gauge single-track railway in Tamil Nadu State was completed in 1908. This railway, scaling an elevation of 326 m to 2,203 m, represented the latest technology of the time and travels through pristine rain forests crossing streams and ravines on countless bridges and meticulously manicured tea gardens. After enjoying our train trip, we return to our hotel. 
    Meals Included
  11. Day 11 Ooty/Kodaikanal (Drive: 260 Kms / 07 Hrs)
    A scenic and refreshing drive conveys us to the peaceful hill station of Kodaikanal, located at the top of the Palini Hills. Upon arrival we take a boat ride on Kodaikanal Lake giving us a unique opportunity to experience the landscape. This evening, we spend some time with the local people.
    Meals Included
  12. Day 12 Kodaikanal/Madurai (Drive: 125 Kms / 03 Hrs)
    meenakshi-temple-madurai After breakfast we drive to Madurai, the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. The city revolves around the Meenakshi Amman Temple, a structure in the Dravidian style of architecture. The complex houses 14 gopurams(gateway towers) ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high, and two golden sculptured shrines over sanctum of the main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure was built from 1623 to 1655. There is an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple and amongst the highlights are the Hall of a Thousand Pillars, the Tirumalai Nayaka Temple and the Temple Art Museum.
    Meals Included
  13. Day 13 Madurai/Thanjavur (Drive: 200 Kms / 04 Hrs)
    meenakshi-temple-madurai After breakfast we drive to Thanjavur and check in to our hotel. Thanjavur is popularly known as Tanjore. In the afternoon we explore the Brihadisvara Temple, one of the Great Living Chola Temples*. The temple, set in spacious grounds, has several pillared halls and shrines. Inscriptions record the names of dancers, musicians and poets a reminder of the significance of this area to the development of the arts in the 11th century. We end our tour of Tanjore with a visit to the Tanjore Palace & Museum, which has an eclectic collection of regal memorabilia most of it dating from the early 19th century. Please Note: Tanjore Art Gallery is closed on Friday for visitors
     
    Meals Included
  14. Day 14 Thanjavur/Pondicherry (Drive: 166 Kms / 04 Hrs)
    matrimandir-pondicherry After breakfast we drive to Pondicherry. This former French Colonial city in Tamil Nadu didn’t come under Indian rule until 1954. Pondicherry, otherwise known as Puducherry means a “New Hamlet” and is located on the Coromandal Coast. Its main attraction is actually outside of town: the ashram at Auroville, built by followers of Sri Aurobindo, a philosopher-prophet born in 1870, famous for his Integral Yoga and philosophical literary works. In the International Town where people from all over the world reside, we will find the Matrimandir, the famous monument built by the Auroville Society representing a lotus flower. Today we will also visit the 400-year old Manakula Vinayagar Temple, which has several frescos telling the life story of a half human and half animal lord.
    Meals Included
  15. Day 15 Pondicherry/Mahabalipuram (Drive: 110 Kms / 02 & ½ Hrs)
    five-rathas-archaeological-site-mahabalipuram After breakfast we drive to Mahabalipuram. On arrival we check in at our hotel. In the afternoon we visit the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram*. This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel Coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous 'Descent of the Ganges', and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva
    Meals Included
  16. Day 16 Mahabalipuram/Kanchipuram/Chennai/Mahabalipuram (Drive)
    shore-temple-mahabalipuram After breakfast we drive to Kanchipuram, capital of the Pallava Dynasty and one of the seven sacred cities of India. Ancient Kanchipuram, the city of thousand temples, is one of the most sacred pilgrim centers for the Hindus. About 126 temples remain in Kanchipuram and a few more in the outskirts. This city was under the control of the Cholas as far back as the 2nd Century BC and a Pallava capital between the 6th and 8th centuries. In the afternoon we tour Chennai, visiting the National Art Gallery & Museum, which contains some of the best collections of bronzes in the country including the famous icon of Natraja. We continue to India's oldest surviving British church, St. Mary's Church, built in 1680. We end our tour with a visit to People’s Park and the beautiful Marina Beach and the clock towers and return to our hotel. Please Note: National Art Gallery and Museum in Chennai remains closed on Friday
     
    Meals Included
  17. Day 17 : Mahabalipuram/Chennai/Onward Destination (Drive & Flight)
    After a memorable journey through incredible India, we are transferred to the airport for our departure home or to our next exciting destination. 
    Meals Included
  • - Breakfast
  • - Lunch
  • - Dinner

* DENOTES UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES INCLUDED

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Overall Rating 5/5
5/5
Had an amazing time in India. Best itinerary for the first timer to India who is looking for a short tour to India's Southern Heritage
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