Spend your first day in Bangalore, India’s garden city. Upon arrival you are met and transferred to your hotel.
The morning tour includes a visit to Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens, the Mysore Arts and Crafts Center, the Bull Temple, and the colorful bustling markets. Later, depart for Chikmaglur, en route visiting Shravanabelagola. (B)
Visit Belur this morning. The Chennakesaya Temple with its intricate sculptures is an outstanding example of medieval Indian art. Continue on to Halebidu, to see the Hoysaleshwara Temple, covered with a succession of friezes, the tableaus of everyday life in ancient times. (B)
Explore Mysore, visiting the City Palace, a Hindu Temple and a monolithic sculpture of the bull Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Visit the beautiful Brindayan Gardens where you can admire the amazing topiaries and the illuminated, cascading fountains. (B)
Visit the island fortress and Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan in Srirangapatnam before continuing on to Bangalore. Fly to Cochin in the state of Kerala. Enjoy an evening presentation of the colorful Kathakali dance drama. (B)
In Cochin, visit the Portuguese church built by St. Francis in 1562, the Jewish Synagogue, the famed Mattancherry Palace, and learn about the Chinese fishing nets. Later, depart for Kumarakom to experience the backwaters and waterways, with the rich culture and active lifestyle of the region. (B)
Cruise along the canals and lagoons which create and maintain the ecological balance in this region. Take advantage of a free afternoon to experience an Ayurvedic therapeutic massage or enjoy a fishing expedition. (B)
Depart for Thekkady this morning.This unique wildlife sanctuary is about 300 square miles and centered around an artificial lake fed by the Periyar River. Afternoon at leisure. (B)
Enjoy the varied flora and fauna, cruising along the waterways of this tropical ecological reserve. Later drive to Madurai with it’s many pilgrims who throng the narrow streets. The Puja ceremony performed nightly at the Meenakshi Temple is an interesting activity this evening. (B)
Visit Shree Meenakshi Temple, ThirumalaiNayak Palace, the Gandhi Museum, and MariammanTeppakkulam Tank, site of the annual Teppam, or Float Festival, held in January. Fly to Chennai this evening. (B)
Journey to Kanchipuram, with its many temples and visit the three that exemplify this sacred town—Kailasantha and Ekambareshwara, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and Vaikuntaperumal dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Travel to the ancient Pallavan port of Mamallapuram and visit the last surviving shore temple, stone chariots and a bas-relief depicting Hindu legends. (B)
The morning tour of Chennai includes stops at the Victoria Art Gallery, Bronze Gallery and Chennai Museum. The Fort St. George, San Thome Cathedral and Kapaleeswarar Temple complete your visit. After a relaxing afternoon, bid India farewell and board your International flight home. (B)
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