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Welcome to India! Once you arrive into Chennai you will be met and transferred to your hotel. An afternoon tour of the city includes a visit to St George Fort, built in 1653 and St Mary’s Church, the oldest British church in India.
En route to Pondicherry visit Kanchipuram, one of sacred cities in India and the seaside town of Mahabalipuram, famous for its shore temple. The city is also famous for handwoven silk. In Mahabalipuram, the huge rock-cut sculptures and mandapams (pillared pavilions) date from the 5th to 8th centuries. Drive south to Pondicherry, a former French colony which exudes a Mediterranean aura - whitewashed residences, ornamental gardens and excellent French-Indian restaurants.
Start the day with a sightseeing tour of Pondicherry which includes the enormous Brihadishwara Temple before continuing south. Arrive at Tanjore, also known as Thanjavur, Tanjore is an ancient fortified town, with a glorious history dating back more than 1500 years. Thanjavur was the ancient capital of the Chola kings whose origins date back to the beginning of Christianity.
Spend the morning on a sightseeing tour of Tanjore before a short drive to Trichy. Our city tour includes the enormous Brihadishwara Temple. Built by Raja Raja in 1010, the World Heritage protected temple has a dome weighing an estimated 80 tonnes which was hauled into place along an earth ramp in a manner similar to that used for the Egyptian pyramids. Trichy has been ravaged by war through the centuries. A lasting legacy is the Rock Fort and its temples. We continue south to Madurai.
Madurai has been around since the dawn of civilisation in southern India. A bustling city jam-packed with rickshawallas, pilgrims and traders and resembling a seemingly continuous bazaar crammed to the gunnels with shops, markets and lodgings for tourists and pilgrims. Sightseeing tour include the Sri Meenakshi Temple built in 1560 and the city’s busy bazaars. This evening, we will take you to witness the ceremony at a local temple.
Today we will drive you to Thekkady and check you into the hotel.
We will have a boat ride this morning in Periyar National Park (if operational - depends on weather). We drive onto Alleppey to board our houseboat. The boat will cross shallow, palm-fringed lakes and cruise along peaceful canals where copra and cashews are loaded onto local boats.
After breakfast, you'll disembark from the houseboat and be transferred to your hotel in Kochi. This afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the town including the Synagogue, Dutch Palace and St Francis' Church. In the evening you will be treated to a traditional Kathkali dance performance.
Today we will transfer you to Ernakulam train station for the train to Coimbatore, departing at 10:15 and arriving at 15:15, 2nd class air conditioned carriage. On arrival at Coimbatore, we will pick you up from the station and transfer you to Nagerhole National Park and check you into the lodge.
Today we enjoy morning and afternoon game drives through the National Park in shared jeeps. Wildlife found in Nagerhole National Park include elephant, jackal ,tiger, panther, gaur, muntjac, sambar, spotted deer and mongoose and it is considered one of the best parks in southern India for game viewing.
Enjoy a final game drive in the national park today before we drive onto Mysore and enjoy a city tour of the towns highlights including the Maharaja's Palace.
Say goodbye to Mysore and get ready for Bangalore. After breakfast you'll head for Bangalore and on enroute, we visit Somnathpur, visiting the only complete temple of the Hoysala empire in the region, the small but exquisite Keseva Temple, dating from the 11th century. On arrival into Bangalore, we will check you into the hotel.
Today you can enjoy a city tour including Tipu Summer Palace and one of Bangalore’s oldest temples and on Bugle Hill, at the southern end of Bull Temple Road is the Bull Temple. The Bull Temple is one of Bangalore’s oldest temples. We will transfer you to the train station for the overnight train to Hospet (Hampi Express, departing at 20:15 and arriving at 07:42, 1st class air conditioned carriage).
On arrival at Hospet station we will drive you to Hampi and check you into the hotel. Explore one of the largest Hindu empires in Indian history. You will be taken on a guided tour to the most beautiful parts of Hampi. The serene position next to the river and the magical atmosphere that surrounds the temples and ruins, makes Hampi one of the most fascinating historical sites of India.
We will drive you to Goa today, about an 8 hour drive. On arrival we will check you into the hotel.
This morning enjoy a brief tour of Fontainhas in Panjim and the remainder of the day is free.
We will transfer you to the airport for the flight to Chennai, departing at 17:20 and arriving at 19:20 (flight times can change dependent on the airline). Our services end with your transfer from the domestic airport to the international airport.
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