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Treasures of Tamil Nadu & Karnataka: Temples, Palaces & More

0/5
Duration

14 Nights / 15 Days

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

10 people

Languages

English

Overview

Explore the diverse cultural tapestry of South India on our “Treasures of Tamil Nadu & Karnataka: Temples, Palaces & More” tour. Begin in Bangalore, where vibrant markets and historical landmarks beckon. Journey through Tamil Nadu, discovering the majestic temples of Thanjavur and the Chettinadu region’s opulent mansions. In Madurai, witness the grandeur of the Meenakshi Amman Temple and the regal Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace. Traverse the verdant hills of Munnar, visiting tea estates and wildlife sanctuaries, before delving into Kerala’s tranquil backwaters and the bustling port city of Cochin. This itinerary promises an unforgettable immersion into South India’s rich architectural heritage and spiritual traditions.

Highlights

  • This is a private tour/activity only for your group.
  • Enhanced cleaning/ traveler safety.
  • In-depth cultural experience.
  • Flexible sightseeing & stopover.
  • Most travelers can participate.

Bulk discount (by Percent)

Bulk discount adult
# Discount group From adult To adult Value
1 Discount on 2-person group 2 2 %
2 Discount on 3-person group 3 3 %
3 Discount on 4-person group 4 4 %
4 Discount on 5-person group 5 5 %
5 Discount on 6-person group 6 6 %
6 Discount on 7-person group 7 7 %
7 Discount on 8-person group 8 8 %

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Bangalore

Arrive at Bangalore International Airport and transfer to your hotel. Relax and refresh after your journey. Stroll through the vibrant markets of Chickpet and KR Market, known for their bustling atmosphere, colorful silk sarees, aromatic spices, and a glimpse into local life. These markets are ideal for soaking in the city's cultural essence and indulging in shopping for souvenirs. Take a leisurely stroll in Cubbon Park, Bangalore's green lung spread over 300 acres. Admire the lush greenery, beautifully landscaped gardens, and historical monuments like Attara Kacheri, housing the Karnataka High Court. The park offers a serene escape amidst the urban hustle and bustle.

Day 2: Bangalore

Start your day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel before embarking on a journey through Bangalore's historical and cultural landmarks. Explore Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace, an architectural gem showcasing Indo-Islamic style with intricately carved teakwood interiors, ornate pillars, and historical artifacts that narrate the tales of the legendary Mysorean ruler. Visit Bangalore Fort, originally built by Kempe Gowda I in the 16th century and later expanded by Tipu Sultan. The fort offers insights into Bangalore's founding history and its strategic importance during various periods of rule. Discover Lalbagh Botanical Garden, one of India's oldest botanical gardens, renowned for its diverse flora collection, iconic glass house modeled on London's Crystal Palace, and serene lakeside views. A leisurely walk amidst exotic plants and floral displays provides a tranquil retreat from the city's hustle. Visit Bull Temple, dedicated to Nandi Bull, the sacred vehicle of Lord Shiva, known for its massive monolithic statue carved from a single granite block. The temple's architecture and religious significance draw devotees and visitors alike. Explore Bangalore Palace, a magnificent Tudor-style structure resembling medieval castles, adorned with Gothic windows, turrets, and elegant woodcarvings. The palace's opulent interiors, antique furniture, and sprawling gardens offer a glimpse into the lifestyle of the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore. Drive past Vidhana Soudha, the seat of Karnataka's state legislature, an imposing edifice constructed in a neo-Dravidian style. The building's grandeur is accentuated by its illuminated facade, especially striking during evening hours. Visit ISKCON Temple Bangalore, a spiritual landmark dedicated to Lord Krishna, known for its architectural splendor, serene ambiance, and spiritual teachings. The temple complex includes an exhibition on Vedic culture and philosophy, enriching visitors' spiritual experience. Explore Commercial Street, Bangalore's vibrant shopping district famous for its trendy boutiques, traditional handicrafts, and bustling market atmosphere. Indulge in shopping for souvenirs, ethnic clothing, and local delicacies amidst the lively street ambiance. Conclude your day with a visit to Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, dedicated to the achievements of Sir M Visvesvaraya, showcasing scientific innovations, technological advancements, and interactive exhibits that educate and inspire visitors about India's industrial growth.

Day 3: Bangalore - Vellore (220kms)

After breakfast at the hotel, depart for Vellore, a journey that takes you through scenic landscapes and historical marvels. En route, visit the Golden Temple (Sripuram) in Vellore, a spiritual oasis adorned with intricate gold leaf work and elaborate carvings. The temple's architectural brilliance and tranquil ambiance make it a popular pilgrimage site and tourist attraction. Explore Jalakandeswarar Temple inside Vellore Fort, a fine example of Dravidian architecture featuring intricate sculptures, ornate gopurams (temple towers), and historical inscriptions that narrate the fort's rich history and cultural significance.

Day 4: Vellore - Chennai (145kms)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing for Chennai, a city steeped in history, culture, and maritime heritage. En route, explore Kanchipuram, renowned as the "City of Thousand Temples" and famous for its ancient Hindu temples such as Ekambareswarar Temple, Kailasanathar Temple, and Varadharaja Perumal Temple. Marvel at the exquisite architecture, intricate carvings, and vibrant rituals that reflect the city's spiritual essence and historical legacy. Upon arrival in Chennai, check-in at the hotel and unwind for a while. Explore Fort St. George, the first English fortress in India built in 1644, housing the Fort Museum. Discover relics from the British Raj era, including weapons, coins, uniforms, and historic documents that provide insights into Chennai's colonial past and military history. Visit Kapaleeshwarar Temple, a significant Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, renowned for its Dravidian architecture adorned with colorful gopurams, sculpted pillars, and religious fervor. Witness the temple's vibrant rituals and immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance.

Day 5: Chennai - Pondicherry (160kms)

Begin your day with a delicious breakfast before embarking on a scenic drive to Pondicherry, a coastal town known for its French colonial architecture, spiritual retreats, and tranquil beaches. En route, visit Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its rock-cut temples, ancient sculptures, and intricately carved monolithic structures such as the Shore Temple and Arjuna's Penance. Explore the rich cultural heritage and architectural marvels of this ancient port city. Upon reaching Pondicherry, visit Aurobindo Ashram, founded by Sri Aurobindo and known for its spiritual teachings, meditation sessions, and tranquil ambiance conducive to introspection and inner peace. Explore the French War Memorial, commemorating soldiers from French India who sacrificed their lives during World War I. Pay homage to the heroic legacy and historical significance of the memorial. Take a leisurely stroll along Promenade Beach, a picturesque stretch lined with colonial-era buildings, palm-fringed boulevards, and stunning views of the Bay of Bengal. Enjoy the cool sea breeze, sunset vistas, and a serene ambiance that makes it a favorite spot among locals and tourists alike.

Day 6: Pondicherry - Thanjavur (180kms)

Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the hotel before departing for Thanjavur, known as the "Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu" and famed for its cultural heritage, ancient temples, and artistic achievements. En route, visit Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram, UNESCO World Heritage Sites renowned for their Chola architecture, intricate sculptures, and spiritual significance. Marvel at the architectural grandeur and historical narratives depicted in these ancient temples. Upon arrival in Thanjavur, visit Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and masterpiece of Dravidian architecture dedicated to Lord Shiva. Admire the temple's towering vimana (temple tower), intricately carved sculptures, and sacred rituals that attract devotees and architectural enthusiasts from around the world. Visit Saraswathi Mahal Library, one of Asia's oldest libraries housing rare manuscripts, palm-leaf manuscripts, and ancient texts in multiple languages. Explore the rich literary treasures and cultural heritage preserved within its historic walls. Explore Schwartz Church, an architectural marvel blending Indo-Saracenic and Gothic styles, known for its serene ambiance, stained glass windows, and historical significance as one of the oldest churches in South India. Discover Rajaraja Chola Museum, dedicated to the legacy of the Chola dynasty, showcasing bronze idols, ancient artifacts, sculptures, and archaeological finds from the medieval era. Gain insights into Thanjavur's artistic heritage and cultural evolution under Chola patronage.

Day 7: Thanjavur - Chettinadu (140kms)

After breakfast, depart for Chettinadu, renowned for its unique architecture, culinary heritage, and opulent mansions belonging to the Chettiar community. En route, visit Trichy (Tiruchirappalli) to explore the iconic Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and one of the largest functioning temples in the world. Admire the temple's impressive gopurams, vibrant sculptures, and intricate carvings depicting mythological tales. Drive to Rock Fort Temple, a historic landmark perched atop a rocky hill, offering panoramic views of Trichy and the Cauvery River. Climb the stone steps to reach the ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva, and immerse yourself in spiritual vibes amidst natural surroundings. Continue your journey to Chettinadu and check-in at the hotel, known for its architectural splendor, antique furnishings, and cultural richness.

Day 8: Chettinad - Madurai (90kms)

Start with breakfast at the hotel. Visit Athmanathaswamy Temple in Karaikudi, renowned for its vibrant gopurams (temple towers) adorned with colorful sculptures depicting mythological tales. The temple is a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the region. Explore Chettinadu Mansion, an epitome of Chettinadu architecture featuring intricately carved wooden doors, spacious courtyards, and antique furniture. Learn about the affluent Chettiar community and their cultural practices. Enjoy a traditional Chettinadu lunch known for its aromatic spices, including peppercorns and cloves, used in rich curries and savory dishes. Drive to Madurai, known as the "Athens of the East," famous for its ancient temples and vibrant cultural heritage. Attend the evening ritual at Meenakshi Amman Temple, a magnificent temple dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar. Witness the colorful ceremony with traditional music and rituals, offering a glimpse into Tamil Nadu's religious traditions.

Day 9: Madurai - Munnar (160kms)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Visit Meenakshi Amman Temple, a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture with towering gopurams (temple towers) intricately adorned with thousands of colorful sculptures depicting Hindu gods, goddesses, and mythological figures. Explore Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace, built in the 17th century by King Thirumalai Nayak with impressive Indo-Saracenic architecture. Marvel at the grandeur of the palace courtyard, pillared halls, and the spectacular light and sound show in the evening narrating the history of Madurai. Visit Gandhi Memorial Museum, housed in the historic Tamukkam Palace, showcasing photographs, artifacts, and personal belongings of Mahatma Gandhi. Gain insights into India's freedom struggle and Gandhian principles. Drive to Munnar, a picturesque hill station nestled in the Western Ghats known for its sprawling tea plantations, mist-covered hills, and serene ambiance.

Day 10: Munnar

Start with breakfast at the hotel. Visit Pothamedu View Point for breathtaking panoramic views of Munnar's misty valleys, rolling hills, and lush green tea estates spread across the horizon. Explore Attukal Waterfalls, a scenic cascade nestled amidst dense forests and rocky cliffs. Enjoy the refreshing ambiance and capture memorable photographs. Visit Tea Museum, housed in a colonial-era tea factory, to learn about Munnar's rich tea heritage, tea processing techniques, and the journey from tea leaf to cup. Sample various tea flavors and enjoy sweeping views of verdant tea gardens. Explore Eravikulam National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr (mountain goat). Embark on a guided safari through the park's rolling grasslands and shola forests, spotting endemic flora and fauna. Enjoy a leisurely nature walk through Munnar's tea estates, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of nature, and capturing glimpses of colorful birds and exotic wildlife.

Day 11: Munnar - Thekkady (110kms)

After breakfast, drive to Thekkady, a scenic journey through the winding roads of the Western Ghats. Embark on a spice plantation tour, where a knowledgeable guide introduces you to an array of spices such as cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves cultivated in the region's fertile soil. Learn about their cultivation techniques and medicinal properties. Enjoy a serene boat ride on Periyar Lake, nestled in Periyar National Park, a sanctuary for elephants, sambar deer, and a variety of bird species. Cruise along the tranquil waters surrounded by dense forests and watch wildlife grazing along the shoreline. Attend a mesmerizing Kalaripayattu martial arts performance at Kadathanadan Kalari Centre, showcasing the ancient combat techniques of Kerala. Witness skilled martial artists perform acrobatic feats, swordplay, and traditional body exercises, highlighting Kerala's rich cultural heritage.

Day 12: Thekkady - Kumarakom (140kms)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before driving to Kumarakom, a serene backwater destination renowned for its lush landscapes and tranquil ambiance. Explore the scenic backwaters of Kumarakom with a leisurely houseboat cruise, drifting along narrow canals fringed with swaying coconut palms and verdant paddy fields. Witness traditional wooden houseboats gliding peacefully over the shimmering waters, offering glimpses of rural life in Kerala. Visit Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, a haven for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers, home to numerous migratory birds such as Siberian cranes, egret, heron, and teal. Stroll along the bird trails winding through dense mangrove forests and capture sightings of colorful avian species in their natural habitat.

Day 13: Kumarakom - Alleppey

Begin your day with breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Alleppey, known as the "Venice of the East," renowned for its intricate network of canals, lagoons, and houseboat cruises. Embark on a memorable overnight houseboat cruise through Alleppey's scenic backwaters, sailing past emerald rice paddies, quaint villages, and traditional toddy shops. Experience the unhurried pace of life along the tranquil waterways, encountering friendly locals engaged in fishing and coir-making activities. Indulge in a delectable dinner served onboard, featuring authentic Kerala cuisine prepared with freshly caught seafood, aromatic spices, and organic ingredients sourced from nearby villages.

Day 14: Alleppey - Cochin (60kms)

Disembark from the houseboat after a refreshing breakfast on board. Drive to Cochin (Kochi), a vibrant port city steeped in history, cultural diversity, and maritime trade. Check-in at the hotel and relax for a while. Visit the Jewish Synagogue in Jew Town, a 16th-century synagogue adorned with hand-painted Chinese porcelain tiles, ancient scrolls, and Belgian glass chandeliers. Marvel at the synagogue's architectural grandeur and historical significance as a testament to Kerala's Jewish heritage. Explore Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, renowned for its exquisite Kerala murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics. Admire the intricately carved wooden ceilings and visit the palace's royal chambers adorned with antique furniture and portraits of Kochi's erstwhile rulers.

Day 15: Cochin - Departure

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, savoring the last moments of your journey through South India. Depending on your flight schedule, explore local markets such as Broadway or MG Road, ideal for purchasing souvenirs, spices, and traditional handicrafts. Bid farewell to the enchanting land of South India as you are transferred to Cochin International Airport for your onward journey, carrying memories of a culturally rich and diverse travel experience.

Included/Excluded

  • Assistance on arrival at airport.
  • 14 Nights' accommodation in 4-star hotels.
  • Daily breakfast and meal as per day plan.
  • Private air-conditioned deluxe car for airport transfer, sightseeing and excursion as per program.
  • English speaking tour guide on sightseeing days (local guide in each city), as per program.
  • Monument entrances and activities charges mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Bottled drinking water in car.
  • Government taxes.
  • Any flight tickets.
  • Camera charges at monuments.
  • Expenses of personal nature like liquor, laundry, tips, telephone, fax, internet etc.
  • Gratuities & optional activities.
  • Anything not mentioned in inclusions.

Tour's Location

FAQs

Can travelers upgrade the accommodation to 5-star hotels?

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