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17 Days India Drávida (India Dravid)

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Day 1: ARRIVAL CHENNAI

Pass By: Chennai International Airport, GST Rd, Meenambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600027, India
Once you arrive at Chennai Airport, you’ll be met by a tour representative and transferred to your hotel for check-in (preferably book a flight arriving at noon). Chennai (formerly Madras), the capital of Tamil Nadu, is located along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, and was established after 1639, when the British East India Company founded a fortress and a port. It was developed around the fortress of St. George. Many buildings are still reminiscent of the Colonial kingdom. The remainder of this day is free for you to explore the city at leisure.
Overnight in Chennai in selected hotel and board basis

No meals included on this day.
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = Accord Metropolitan or similar 5*
Superior Hotel Category = Hyatt Regency or similar 5*

Day 2: CHENNAI:SIGHTSEEING TOUR

Pass By: The Accord Metropolitan, 35, Gopathi Narayanaswami Chetty Rd, Lakshimi Colony, T. Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600017, India
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel before you leave for a sightseeing tour of Chennai, which includes a visit to Fort St. George, completed in 1653 and today filled with reminders of the past, including St. Mary’s, the first church consecrated on Indian soil. Then continue to the National Art Gallery, where you can see excellent bronzes including the famous Nataraja, the God Shiva in the cosmic dance pose. The next stop is at the Government Museum which contains sculptures and architecture produced by the Dravidian dynasties. In the afternoon, drive along the Marina, an elegant promenade, and proceed to the old Indian section of Mylapore, where you will visit San Thome Basilica. It’s dedicated to the legendary Thomas Didymus, the apostle who doubted and who is believed to have lived and preached on Mylapore’s shores. Afterwards, return to the hotel where you will enjoy the remainder of the afternoon free at leisure.
Overnight in Chennai in selected hotel and board basis

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = Accord Metropolitan or similar 5*
Superior Hotel Category = Hyatt Regency or similar 5*

Day 3: CHENNAI – KANCHIPURAM – MAHABALIPURAM (60km – 1 hr)

Pass By: Grande Bay Resort And Spa, Kovalam Road ( Off ECR ), Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu 603104, India
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel before you leave Chennai and head to Mahabalipuram, with a stop en route to visit the ‘Golden City’ of Kanchipuram, which contains about 125 shrines dating back to the early Cholas of 200 BC. It was successively the capital of the Cholas, the Pallavas and the Rayas of Vijayanagara, and a testimony to this are its magnificent temples. Kanchipuram’s other claim to fame is its silk, renowned for more than four centuries. A unique system of weavers makes and sells Kanchi saris, the most sought-after saris in India (temples in Kanchipuram are closed from 12:00-16:00 and visiting hours are only until 12:00). Later, continue with the drive to Mahabalipuram, and on arrival check in at the hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a tour of Mahabalipuram, located on a stunning rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon, a dreamworld of awesome Tamil art, an open-air museum of sculpture in living rock. The piece de resistance is Arjuna’s Penance or the Descent of the Ganga, the world’s largest bas-relief. It is a beautiful composition of hundreds of celestial beings, human and animals all hurrying to a natural rock cleft that divides the giant stone. The best-known landmark of Mahabalipuram, is the Shore Temple which has stood by the sea for 12 centuries and was recently listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Overnight in Mahabalipuram in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel = Grande Bay Resort or similar 4*
Superior Hotel = Radisson Temple Bay Resort or similar 5*

Day 4: MAHABALIPURAM – PUDUCHERRY (105km – 3 hrs)

Pass By: Accord Puducherry, No. 1, Thilagar Nagar, Ellaipillaichavady, Aruthra Nagar, Puducherry, 605009, India
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel before you leave Chennai and head to Pondicherry, a spiritual seaside location. Its ancient French flavour remains visible in the well-kept gardens, the magnificent churches, the historical monuments, the palaces and the clean and wide streets that still retain their French names. Upon arrival, check in at the hotel before enjoying an afternoon visit of Pondicherry's landmarks: the Raj Nivas; the residence of the Lt. Governor of Pondicherry, a handsome 200-year-old building which faces Government Park with its well-laid-out paths, lawns, fountains and sculptures; the Romain Rolland Library and the 60,000 plus volumes on its shelves; the Pondicherry Museum, with its outstanding collection of artefacts relating to all aspects of the French Indian past; and the church of Notre Dame des Anges, built around 1865, which has a rare oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption, a gift from Napoleon III. Later, visit the Aurobindo Ashram, the best-known landmark of Pondicherry. Here followers come from all over the world to practice yoga and practical activities like construction, farming, shoe-making and laundering. Auroville, an extension of the Aurobindo Ashram, in a voluntary commune where around 800 people from 28 nations live. It looks like a city of the future as its architecture is the result of diverse experiments in building materials, techniques and styles.
Overnight in Puducherry in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = Accord Puducherry or similar 5*
Superior Hotel Category = The Promenade or similar 5*

Day 5: PUDUCHERRY – CHIDAMBARAM – GANGAIKONDACHOLAPURAM – SWAMIMALAI – THANJAVUR (200 km – 5 hrs)

Pass By: Sangam Hotel, Trichy Road, Parisutham Nagar, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007, India
Breakfast at the hotel is followed by a drive to Tanjore. En route, stop at Chidambaram, an important pilgrimage centre for the followers of Shiva known for its famous Nataraja temple, an excellent example of the Dravidian architecture of Tamil Nadu. Then continue your drive to Gangaikonda Cholapuram, a Hindu Temple dedicated to Shiva with an imposing gopuram that can be seen from afar, followed by a stop at Swamimalai. After the visit, proceed onward for Tanjore, where you’ll check in upon arrival. In the afternoon, visit the Brihadeeswara Temple. The corridors around the shrine have many sculptures and frescoes from the period of the kingdom of Chola that were only recently discovered. The palace and the remains of the fort surrounding temple number 6 are still visible. Members of the former royal family of Thanjavur still occupy apartments on the inside, but the palace is now mainly used as an art gallery. After the tour, return to the hotel.
Overnight in Tanjore in selected hotel and board option.

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = Sangam or similar 3*
Superior Hotel Category = Ideal River View or similar 3*

Day 6: THANJAVUR – TRICHY – MADURAI (200km – 5.5 hrs)

Pass By: OYO 1794 Hotel Heritage Residency, 144/1ANH-7, Bye Pass Road, K.Salai Pudur, Rail Marutham Nagar, Simmakkal, Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001, India
Enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel before you proceed for an excursion in the historical town of Trichy. Your first stop of the tour is at Rock Fort, which dominates the landscape at an altitude of 90 metres, followed by the ancient temples dedicated to Lord Ganapathi. 434 steps carved into rock interspersed with shrines lead to this temple, while yet another flight leads to the temple of Lord Shiva. The ascent is rewarded with a magnificent view of the sacred Kaveri River. Then visit the island of Srirangam, a massive temple dedicated to Vishnu, which contains a bazaar within its walls. Its annual winter festival attracts thousands of devotees. After the tour, proceed on your journey to Madurai and, upon arrival, check in at the hotel with the remainder of the day free for you to enjoy on your own.
Overnight in Madurai in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = Sangam or similar 3*
Superior Hotel Category = Heritage or similar 5*

Day 7: MADURAI

Pass By: OYO 11954 Hotel Heritage Residency, 144/1A NH-7,By-Pass Road,K Salai Pudur, Vilangudi, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625018, India
After a leisurely breakfast, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the holy city of Madurai, found in the heart of Tamil Nadu. The whole life of this teeming city converges on the magnificent temple of Menakshi-Sundareshwara, rebuilt in the 17th century by King Tirumalai-Nayak. It is a real masterpiece, where you can admire an astonishing proliferation of columns and corridors embellished with countless statues in an atmosphere full of life and faith. Afterwards, visit the Tirumalai Nayak Palace, founded in 1636 and built in the style of Indo-Muslim art with Italian influence. Yet another Nayakar legacy is the Mariammam Teppakulam, a tank which was fed from the waters of the river Vaigai, north of the city. Spend the remainder of the day free at leisure exploring this spell-binding location at your own rhythm.
Overnight in Madurai in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = Sangam or similar 3*
Superior Hotel Category = Heritage or similar 5*

Day 8: MADURAI – PERIYAR (145km – 4 hrs.)

Pass By: Greenwoods Resort, K.K .Road, Kumily, Thekkady, Vazhayil, Kumily, Tamil Nadu 685509, India
After breakfast, depart to Periyar, where you’ll check in at around noon. After lunch, prepare to discover this land of elephants, unending hills and spice-scented plantations. The flora and fauna of Periyar’s wildlife sanctuary is absolutely thrilling, and the Periyar Lake is a paradise for nature lovers, the greatest delight it offers being the herds of elephants that come down to play in its waters. Enjoy an afternoon boat ride on Periyar Lake and contemplate the wildlife (subject to water level). Keep an eye out for sambhar, bison, spotted deer, tigers, leopards, malabar flying squirrels, stripe-necked mongooses and more. In the evening, watch a Kerala martial arts performance called Kalaripatitty at a theatre in Periyar. Known as the mother of all martial arts, Kalaripayattu originated in South India and is one of the oldest fighting systems in existence. It includes strikes, kicks, grappling, weaponry and healing methods.
Overnight in Periyar in selected hotel and board basis

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard % Superior Hotel Category = Greenwoods Periyar or similar 4*

Day 9: PERIYAR – KOCHI (150km – 4 hrs)

Pass By: Casino Hotel, KPK Menon Rd, Willingdon Island, Kochi, Kerala 682003, India
After breakfast, transfer to Kochi and upon arrival check in at the hotel. Enjoy an afternoon of sightseeing in Kochi with a tour that includes a visit to the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555 and renovated by the Dutch in 1663. In these ancient rooms are 17th-century murals that relate in vibrant colour the story of the epic Ramayana. If possible, visit from the outside a Jewish Synagogue in Jew Town and Fort Cochin Area – legend dates Jewish trade with Kerala as far back as the times of King Solomon. Later, marvel at St. Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India. It contains several antiquities and a wealth of records that include a palm-leaf title deed the local Raja gave the Portuguese in 1503. End the tour with the Chinese Fishing Nets, unique to this part of Kerala and living symbols of the centuries-old Chinese influence on this coast.
Overnight in Cochin in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = Casino Hotel or similar 3*
Superior Hotel Category = Le Meridien or similar 5*

Day 10: KOCHI: DAY AT LEISURE

Pass By: Casino Hotel, KPK Menon Rd, Willingdon Island, Kochi, Kerala 682003, India
After a leisurely breakfast in the hotel, step out into the vibrant streets of Kochi and enjoy a whole day exploring this fascinating location at your own rhythm. You can either wander around its colourful streets, sightseeing, shopping and trying local food, or relaxing at the hotel making the most of the available services. Today, you set the pace.
Overnight in Cochin in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = Casino Hotel or similar 3*
Superior Hotel Category = Le Meridien or similar 5*

Day 11: KOCHI – CONOOR / CONOOR -OOTY BY TRAIN (280 km – 5.5 hrs)

Pass By: Gem Park Ooty, Sheddon Road, Pudumund, Ooty, Tamil Nadu 643001, India
Breakfast at the hotel is followed by a transfer to Conoor, also known as the Nilgiri ('Blue Mountains'), a captivating terrain surrounded by rolling green hills. Once in Connor, board the train to Ooty, a truly unforgettable ride with breath-taking views. At an altitude of 2286 metres, Ooty is famed for its healthy climate, fabulous gardens and pretty cottages. Founded in 1819 by John Sullivan, the former Collector of Coimbatore who was the first European to build his house there, Ooty prides in its natural beauty and retains its old-world charm. Landscaped over 22 hectares, its Botanical Gardens (laid out 120 years ago) are covered with blossoming trees, shrubs and colourful flower beds. On arrival, check in at the hotel and spend the remainder of the day enjoying this wonderful location at leisure.
Overnight in Ooty in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = Hotel Gem Park or similar 4*
Superior Hotel Category = Savoy Ooty or similar 4*

Day 12: OOTY – MYSORE (140 km – 3.5 hrs)

Pass By: The Windflower Resorts and Spa, Maharanapratap Road, Nazarbad, Mysuru, Karnataka 570010, India
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel before you leave Ooty and head to Mysore. En route, make a stop at Somnathpur. Its exquisite temple of the Hoysala dynasty, built in the 13th century, is located on the banks of the Kaveri River. The temple has a closed courtyard and a well-carved and sculpted flat roof with rows of friezes around its walls representing intricate scenes of the time, starring dancers, musicians, warriors and nature. Afterwards proceed to Mysore; on arrival, check in at the hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a city tour of Mysore, known as the ‘City of Palaces and Oriental Splendour’. It is the principal residence of the royal family. This tour will take you to visit the Maharajas’s Palace, a synthesis of Hindu and Muslim styles, with a profusion of gateways, domes, arches, turrets, colonnades and sculpture. Then continue to Chamundi Hill, named after the Royal Family’s patron goddess and the site of summer palaces, an ancient temple and the 16-foot Nandi (Shiva’s bull) carved out of a single huge boulder. The view from the hill offers a beautiful panorama of not only all of Mysore, but also of the surrounding hills, lakes and the turrets of temples and churches
Overnight in Mysore in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = The Windflower or similar 4*
Superior Hotel Category = Radisson Blu or similar 5*

Day 13: MYSORE – BELUR Y HALEBIDU – MYSORE (150 km – 3.5 hrs)

Pass By: The Windflower Resorts and Spa, Maharanapratap Road, Nazarbad, Mysuru, Karnataka 570010, India
Wake up to breakfast at hotel before setting off on a full-day excursion to the Belur and Halebidu temples, a city which flourished under the Hoysala Kings around 800 years ago, the sole reminder of this grandeur being the Chennakesava Temple. It stands in a perfect state of preservation and is an outstanding testament to the skill of Hoysala craftsmen. Its polished black stone exterior is profusely carved with scenes from the epics, each figure sculpted with fine detail. A short distance away at Halebid is a sister temple, the Hoysalesvara, dedicated to Shiva. Here too, the art is remarkable, with endless exquisite details: frieze upon frieze of gods, goddesses, animals and humans. It was constructed a decade after the Belur Temple by the same king but left uncompleted after 80 years of labour.
Overnight in Mysore in hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = The Windflower or similar 4*
Superior Hotel Category = Radisson Blu or similar 5*

Day 14: MYSORE – BANGALORE( 150km, 3hrs) / BANGALORE – MUMBAI ( FLIGHT: 2hrs) / MUMBAI -AURANGABAD (FLIGHT:1 hr)

Pass By: Welcomhotel Rama International, Aurangabad, R-3, Jalna Road, Town Center, Chilkalthana, Aurangabad, Maharashtra 431003, India
Breakfast at the hotel is followed by a morning transfer to Bangalore Airport, where you’ll board a flight to Aurangabad (flight not included in tour price). Once there, you’ll be met by a tour representative and transferred to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is free for you to rest or explore Aurangabad at leisure.
Overnight in Aurangabad in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard & Superior Hotel Category = WelcomHotel Rama International or similar 4*

Day 15: AURANGABAD – ELLORA - AURANGABAD (35km – 1 hr)

Pass By: Welcomhotel Rama International, Aurangabad, R-3, Jalna Road, Town Center, Chilkalthana, Aurangabad, Maharashtra 431003, India
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel and continue with a morning excursion to Ellora, one of the finest examples of Indian sculpture. The awe-inspiring mammoth Kailash Temple, carved out of solid rock, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This monolithic structure is a very rare phenomenon that demanded the most careful planning, based not on what was added but what was removed! Ellora is a repository of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religious expression: thirty-four shrines synthesise Indian religion and India’s passion for sculpture. The Ramayana and Mahabharata are also depicted here in carvings, as are the many-faceted personalities of Lord Shiva. In the afternoon, upon returning to Aurangabad, enjoy a tour of this city names after the Mughal emperor Aurangazeb who made it his capital. Aurangazeb was a megalomaniac who had his father Shah Jehan imprisoned. Visit the Bibi-ka-Maqbara, built in memory of Aurangazeb’s wife Rabia Durrani, which was meant to surpass the Taj Mahal (built by his father Shah Jehan) in grandeur. Continue with the Panchakki, or ‘Water Mill’, an ingenious creation of Mughal engineers who used it to harness water to run large grinding stones which served as a flour mill. The tomb of a Muslim saint lies in the garden beyond the mill. End the tour with a visit to Aurangabad Caves. The most interesting is Cave 7, containing a huge figure of Bohisattva Padmapani, who is praying for deliverance from eight fears illustrated dramatically in stone.
Overnight in Aurangabad in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard & Superior Hotel Category = WelcomHotel Rama International or similar 4*

Day 16: AURANGABAD – AJANTA CAVES (105km – 2 hrs) / AURANGABAD – MUMBAI (FLIGHT: 1.5 hrs)

Pass By: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM), Mumbai, Maharashtra 400099, India
After your breakfast at the hotel in Aurangabad before the start of your morning excursion to the Ajanta Caves, which are hewn out of rock by Buddhist monks who found the sanctuary and left a legend for posterity. These thirty caves containing twenty-six monasteries and four temples have wall paintings and sculptures of a timeless aesthetic appeal. Some of the most exquisite paintings depict the life and teachings of Buddha, as well as his earlier life as a prince. The Ajanta Caves are like chapters of a splendid epic tale in visual form. Marvel at how the natural light brightens the caves at different times of the day, an awe-inspiring feat. Afterwards, transfer to the airport to board your connecting flight for Mumbai, where, upon arrival late at night, you will be met by a tour representative and transferred to your hotel for check-in.
Overnight in Mumbai in selected hotel and board option

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Standard Hotel Category = Holiday Inn Airport or similar 4*
Superior Hotel Category = Hilton Mumbai or similar 5*

Day 17: DEPART MUMBAI

Pass By: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM), Mumbai, Maharashtra 400099, India
Enjoy your last breakfast at hotel before you depart on your morning excursion by motor launch (1hr from Mumbai) to the island of Elephanta, where the Elephanta Caves are located (closed on Mondays). . This island was so named by the Portuguese after the large stone elephant near the landing place and which now stands at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the mainland. The caves are reached by a stairway up the hillside from the ferry landing.
Return to the mainland and in the afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Mumbai. Visit the Gateway of India, Mumbai’s principal landmark, Afghan Church built in memory of those who fell in the First Afghan War. Drive past the Bombay High Court and the Old secretariat. The ornamental university building with its 280 ft. high Rajabhai Clock Tower, the ornate Victoria Terminus, the colourful Crawford Market, the Flora Fountain in the large bustling square at the heart of the city, the Prince of Wales Museum (Closed on Mondays) which houses a varied collection of China-ware, miniature paintings and sculpture. Drive along the Marine Drive which is known as the Queen’s Necklace. View the memorial to Haji Ali, a Muslim Saint. Stop at the Jain Temple and also visit Mani Bhavan where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his visits to Mumbai.
Later in time transfer to airport to connect flight for onward destination.
Breakfast included

Meals included:
• Breakfast
No accommodation included on this day.
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Key Details
  • Indian Escape
  • Duration: 17 days
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  • Languages Offered: English, Spanish
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