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CLASSICAL DAKSHIN
Chennai (01 nt)– Mahabalipuram (01 nt) – Pondicherry (01 nt) – Tanjore (02 nts) – Madurai (01 nt) – Periyar (01 nt) – Kumarakom (01 nt) – Cochin (01 nt) – out from Cochin
 
Day 01 - Arrive Chennai
Arrive in Chennai, meet & greet services at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Capital of the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is one of the four major metropolitan cities in India. The city also has its share of forts and palaces reminding the tourists the glory of bygone eras. Chennai was developed as a British trading post, and as such, most of its attractions have a distinct colonial influence. Stretched over an area of 13 km, MARINA BEACH is the second longest beach in the world. The ST. GEORGE FORT, built in 1653, is currently used as the state government/’s secretariat. SAN THOME Cathedral was built around 14th/15th century and is another colonial structure worth visiting. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the KAPALESHWAR TEMPLE is the oldest temple in Chennai. Relax at the hotel and overcome the jetlag. Overnight at hotel at Chennai.
 
Day 02 - To Kancheepuram & Mahabalipuram (120 Kms)
After a leisurely breakfast proceed for a tour of Chennai city. Then drive to KANCHIPURAM, the fabled city of a thousand temples. There are 650 stone inscriptions here belonging to different dynasties. The temples reflect the maturity and efflorescence of Pallava art and the ornate and often imposing embellishments were produced later by the Chola, Vijayanagar and Chalukyan kings. There is solemn grandeur, a grandiosity of vision and ornamental excess in the temples here. Continue to Mahabalipuram for overnight at your beach resort.

Mahabalipuram with its picturesque location on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon is a happy combination of history, good beaches, hassle-free tourism and fabulous fish and lobster. It is renowned for its series of charming RATHAS and the spectacular carved relief depicting ARJUNA’S PENANCE. The magnificent SHORE TEMPLE built by king Rajasimha in the seventh century houses the shrines of both Shiva and Vishnu while the Varaha Cave is a rock-cut mandapam with two incarnations of Vishnu — Varaha and Vamana—besides scenes of kings and queens. The KRISHNA MANADAPAM has a bas-relief of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan hill on his fingertips. Return to your hotel late by evening for overnight stay.
 
Day 03 - To Pondicherry (140 Kms)
After breakfast drive to Pondicherry (or Puducheri) meaning ’the new settlement’. It was a French settlement comprising of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam besides Pondicherry. A unique thing about Pondicherry is that it spreads into several states. On arrival check in at your city hotel. During your afternoon tour visit SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM, where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother lived for the most parts of their lives. The PONDICHERRY MUSEUM is home to some of the most exquisite collections on architecture and sculpture. Pondicherry also has a pleasant beach alongside promenade and historical monuments.
 
Day 04 - To Tanjore via Chidambaram
We drive to Tanjore. En-route visit CHIDAMBARAM, famous for its NATARAJA TEMPLE. Chidambaram is a temple town situated in Tamil Nadu around 58 km off Pondicherry. The place is famous for its temple complex where the renowned Nataraja Temple is housed. Arrive Tanjore in the afternoon to check in at your hotel. It is primarily a place for the art lovers, especially for those who love temple architecture and wonder about kings who erected these magnificent monuments.

During their reign, the Cholas made significant contribution to the various fields of art and architecture. The BRIHADEESWARA TEMPLE, the wonderful PALACE, ART GALLERY and the SARASWATI MAHAL LIBRARY are some of the other things to see in Tanjore.
 
Day 05 - To Trichy and back (110 Kms)
This morning you will drive to the city of Trichy (Thiruchirappally). In Trichy visit ROCK FORT, from where the view is spectacular. The VINAYAKA TEMPLE at the top is reached by climbing a tunnel in rock. Half way up is the SRI THAYUMANASWAMY TEMPLE, dedicated to Lord Siva having a 100-pillar hall and a Vimana covered with gold. Also visit TIRUVANAIKKAVAL or JAMBUKESWARA TEMPLE named after the elephant, which is believed to have worshipped Lord Siva here. Installed under an ancient Jambu tree, the lingam is partially submerged by water and meant to represent God incarnate as water. Later return drive to Tanjore by afternoon. Overnight at Tanjore.
 
Day 06 - To Madurai via Chettinadu (170 Kms)
After breakfast continue your drive to Madurai. Enroute visiting Chettinadu, Chettinadu or the land of Nattukottai Chettiars, is famous for its fortress like homes and temples that are architectural marvels. rural town houses many stylish heritage homes, which took years to build, and has courtyards, halls and corridors that are quiet, cool and beautifully decorated with intricate artwork, Burmese teak and Italian marble. Try out the local Chettinad cuisine for lunch. Later proceed to Madurai 90 km known as the temple town of South India is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. On arrival, check into the hotel for 01 night stay. Madurai is famous for the Meenakshi Temple, with its towering gopurams and rare sculptures.Here the architectural marvels of the temples and the exquisite sculptures fascinate all those who have a look at them. You can also participate in the many festivals and regale in the rich tradition of the locals. Evening visit Sri Meenakshi Temple and attend the Pooja ceremony. Overnight stay at Madurai.
 
Day 07 - To Periyar / Thekkady (160 Kms)
After breakfast, proceed for a city tour of Madurai. Some of the major attractions in the city are the MEENAKSHI TEMPLE, TIRUMALAI NAYAK MAHAL, GANDHI MUSEUM, KOODAL AZHAGAR TMEPLE, VANDIYUR MARIAMMAN TEPPAKULAM etc. Other important attractions include Thirumalai Naicker Palace, Koodal Azhagar Temple and the Gandhi Museum. Later drive to Periyar the land of unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. It houses the famous wildlife sanctuary in South India and has also been declared as a Tiger Reserve. On arrival, check into the hotel for 01 night stay. Later visit the spice plantations with a naturalist. Periyar is famous for the wide variety of spices ranging from pepper, cardamom, nutmeg etc. Overnight at Periyar.
 
Day 08 - To Kumarakom (120 Kms)
Proceed for a boatride (public) to lake periyar in the early morning for viewing the wild life. Return to hotel for breakfast. Check out and drive to Kumarakom, the land of lakes and lagoons. Check in to the lake side resort at kumarakom and relax. Optional – ayurveda massage / sunset cruise / bird sanctuary visit. Overnight stay at the resort in kumarakom.
 
Day 09 - To Cochin / Kochi (80 Kms)
After a leisurely breakfast, check out from hotel (Optional – half day cruise to alleppey with lunch on a traditional houseboat or Kettuvallam) and drive to Cochin, the financial capital and the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala. Check in to your hotel at Cochin. Later proceeds for a sightseeing tour of Cochin covering - The Dutch Palace at Mattancherry is renowned for its wall murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana. The Jewish Synagogue at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town. The St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. The Santa Cruz Basilica originally built in 1557 by the Portuguese. The Chinese fishing nets are huge cantilevered fishing nets believed to have brought to Kochi by Chinese trade. By evening witness the world famous Kathakali dance at a local theatre, a traditional art form of kerala and one among the national dances of India. Overnight at hotel in Cochin.
 
Day 10 - Departure from Cochin
In time departure transfer to the Cochin Airport (1 hour drive) assisted by our representative.