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South India Tour

9 days  |  Starts: Chennai  |   Ends: Trivandrum  |  from INR -------

South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana as well as the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep and Puducherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area.


Itinerary
Inclusions
Terms & Conditions

Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive Chennai

On arrival in Chennai, meet and assist at airport and transfer to hotel
Hotel check-in at 1400 hours
Rest of the day at leisure
Overnight: Chennai   |  Breakfast

Day 2 : Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram – Auroville – Pondicherry

Following breakfast at hotel, check-out from hotel and transfer by road to Pondicherry en-route Kanchipuram, Mahabalipuram and Auroville
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Kanchipuram :
One of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism, the ‘Golden City of a thousand temples 76km southwest of Chennai, is a major pilgrim centre. Hieun Tsang, the Chinese traveller visited Kanchipuram in the 7th century and the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma lived and worked here. The capital of many successive dynasties, religious dominance has fluctuated over the years: Buddhism, Jainism and later Hinduism have all contended for supremacy. The city is renowned for its temples and shrines including the Jain temples of Tiruparuttipuram, built between the 9th to the 16th century AD. Even older are the two great temples of Shiva and Vishnu, namely the Kailasnatha Temple built by the Pallava king Narasimha Varman II that is considered the most beautiful, and the Vaikuntha Perumal Temple, built by Nandivarman also a Pallava king. [The temples are closed between 1200 hours to 1600 hours and Non-Hindus are not permitted in the inner sanctum]

Mahabalipuram :
One of South India’s most visited historical sites Mahabalipuram, a seaside resort 85km from Chennai, is named after Mamalla, the Pallava ruler who made the port famous. Narasimhavarman I Pallavamalla created 14 cave temples, nine monolithic rathas, sculptured rock panels and many stone temples. The most striking monuments are the 5 rathas [shrines in the shape of chariots] and the bas-relief sculpted on a huge rock known as Arjuna's penance. This sculpture is 29m long and 7m high and depicts the decent of the Ganges River from the Himalayas. The Mahishasuramardini Mandapa from the mid-7th century also has fine bas-relief carving and intricate columns. The Krishna Mandapam shows Krishna protecting his kinsmen from Indra, the Rain God and beside the sea, surrounded by a garden is the Shore Temple, a World Heritage site that is unusual as it is dedicated to both Shiva and Vishnu.

Auroville [City of Dawn] is an experimental township in Viluppuram district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, near Puducherry in South India. It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa [known as "The Mother"] and designed by architect Roger Anger. As stated in Alfassa's first public message about the township, "Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity."
On arrival in Pondicherry, check-in at hotel

Rest of the day at leisure with vehicle and driver at disposal [no guide]

Overnight: Pondicherry   |  Breakfast

Day 3 : Pondicherry – Chidambaram – Nagore – Velankanni

[Surface: 160 kms / 3-4 hours excluding time taken for en-route sightseeing]
Following breakfast at hotel, check-out from hotel and proceed for sightseeing tour of Pondicherry
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Known as the French Riviera of the East, Pondicherry, a Union Territory was the largest French colony in India and can trace its origins back to 1500 BC when Saint Agastya Muni, a revered sage had his hermitage in ancient Vedapuri. In September 2006 the name was officially changed to the vernacular original ‘Puducherry’, which means new village in Tamil, the local language. In 1954, the French voluntarily handed the territory back to the Indian Government but even today, traces of French colonial charm remain, especially in the old quarters, where the Boulevards are still lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries continue to bake baguettes and croissants. Very much an Indian city Pondicherry is an interesting mix of East and West, where French is still spoken and understood. As well as visiting the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sri Aurbindo Ashram, [the final resting-place of Sri Aurobindo, a saint/yogi who mixed yoga and modern science] a tour of Pondicherry should include the museum. It has an interesting sculpture collection, a selection of archaeological finds from the Roman settlement at Arikamedu and the French gallery that charts the history and development of the colony.

Later transfer by road to Velankanni en-route visiting Chidambaram and Nagore
Chidambaram :
One of Tamil Nadu’s most sacred sites, the temple town of Chidambaram was the Cholas capital from AD 907 to 1310. A highly active temple with Brahmins at every shrine Chidambaram is one of the oldest, most venerated and magnificent temples in India. Seafarers once used the towering gopurams, about 45m high, as a landmark as they sailed along the Coromandel Coast. The Nataraja Temple is dedicated to the dancing Shiva and legend suggests a Kashmiri Emperor, who was on a pilgrimage built the temple. The Emperor, who suffered from leprosy, bathed in the temple tank and as a result was cured of the disease. As thanks he enlarged the temple. The dancing Shiva, Nataraja is a repeated theme in many of the temples in both sculpture and relief, and the many ceremonies held are appropriately musical in nature. The Akasa lingam represents the invisible element ‘space’ thus it is invisible. Known as the ‘secret’ of Chidabaram it is the most sacred area within the temple complex and is hidden behind a curtain. At the southern end of the temple complex is the largest shrine in India to the elephant god Ganesh.

Nagore Dargah is not only the Islamic Religious Centre but also Common Religious Gathering Point by which many Hundreds of Thousands of devotees attend to get the peerless benevolence. Whereby Hindus, Christians, Muslims,” all Triple Gems” of any other religious devotees can attend without any obstacles which “is irrespective of religion, Race, Caste”, and far beyond spiritualism, All three World’s Biggest Oceans are destined in one place that is Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, similarly all three religious devotees gathering at one place in the globe “that” is Nagore Dargah, as all known by geographically and physically. Over the past four centuries the devotees from the whole corners of the world visiting with utmost pious and get the blessings abundantly from the Holiest Saint Nagore Aandavargal, and still they follow up the Islamic Cultural Heritage without any single hesitation as common.

On arrival in Velankanni, check-in at hotel
In afternoon proceed for sightseeing tour of Velankanni visiting Roman Catholic Latin Rite Shrines – Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health

The Roman Catholic Latin Rite Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health. Devotion to Our Lady of Good Health of Velankanni can be traced to the mid-16th century and is attributed to three miracles at sites around where the Basilica stands: the apparition of Mary and the Christ Child to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the rescue of Portuguese sailors from a violent sea storm. These accounts are based on oral tradition and there are no written or attested records in support of them. The Holy See has not approved these apparitions. The chapel was finally built by Portuguese sailors. More than 500 years later, the nine-day festival and celebration is still observed and draws nearly 2 million pilgrims each year. The Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankanni, also known as the "Lourdes of the East," is one of the most-frequented religious sites in India.

Rest of the day at leisure with vehicle and driver at disposal [no guide]

Overnight: Velankanni   |  Breakfast

Day 4 : Velankanni – Tanjore – Trichy

[Surface: 155 kms / 3-4 hours excluding time taken for en-route sightseeing] Following breakfast at hotel, check-out from hotel and transfer by road to Trichy en-route visiting Tanjore
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Thanjavur, [once known as Tanjore] served as the capital of the Chola Empire and the stunning Chola temples are now UNESCO World Heritage listed monuments. The beautiful Chola temple of Brihadeeshwara is capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite block. Weighing 80 tons it was taken to the top of the temple with the help of a 6km long ramp. An ancient technique used by the Egyptians for building the pyramids. The local bronze and handicrafts are also a highlight of visiting this area.

Trichy, an ancient city was ruled by the early Cholas and subsequent dynasties. The ancient temples dedicated to Lord Ganapati have 434 steps cut into the rock face and are interspersed with shrines. A flight of stairs leads to the temple of Lord Shiva. The ascent rewards you with a magnificent view of the sacred Kaveri River. At Srirangam visit the massive temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Rest of the day at leisure with vehicle and driver at disposal [no guide]

Overnight: Trichy   |  Breakfast

Day 5 : Trichy – Kodaikanal

Following breakfast at hotel, check-out from hotel and transfer by road to Kodaikanal On arrival in Kodaikanal, check-in at hotel

Day at leisure with vehicle and driver at disposal to explore Kodaikanal on own [no guide]
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High in the Palani Hills at an altitude of 2,343 mtrs, Kodaikanal is one of India’s most beautiful hill stations. The British first surveyed the area in 1821 but the surveyors report was not published until 1837, ten years after the hill station resort of Ooty had been founded. Due to its altitude and freedom from Malaria the population increased and the town slowly developed. Sir Vere Henry Levinge planted many foreign trees, fruits and flowers, built the Bund and created the lake. Today, many of the plants he experimented with are grown in the area, which is now famous for pears. Kurinji Andavar Temple, dedicated to Murugan and the Solar Observatory are worth visiting, whilst Pillar Rocks and Coaker's walk offer stunning views; on a clear day you can see Madurai. The best time to visit Kodaikanal is between April and June or August to October.

Overnight: Kodaikanal   |  Breakfast

Day 6 : Kodaikanal – Madurai

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Following breakfast at hotel, check-out from hotel and transfer by road to Madurai On arrival in Madurai, check-in at hotel
In afternoon, proceed for sightseeing tour of Madurai including a visit to Meenakshi Temple
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According to Hindu legend, drops of nectar fell from Shiva’s locks on to the earth; the spot where it fell was named Madhuram or Madurai, the nectar city. Known as the city of festivals, Madurai’s history goes back to the 6th century. Famous for its writers and poets, the ancient city had trading links with the Greeks and Romans and was controlled at various times by the Pandiyas and the Cholas. In 1364 Hindu Vijayanagar kings captured the town. The Meenakshi Temple dominates Madurai and it is aptly named a "city within a city". Enclosed by the old town, [itself enclosed by four Veli Streets] this religious structure is testament to the skills of the Vijayanagar builders. Meenakshi, the fish-eyed goddess has her temple to the south and Sundareswarar, [Shiva] has a temple to the west. Every evening, the ‘putting to bed ceremony’ led by an elephant and a cow, sees Sundareswara carried in a procession to Meenakshi to sleep by her side. It is believed that if you place a literary work in the sacred Tank of the Golden Lotus, at the Meenakshi Temple, it will sink if it is worthless and float if worthy. Outside the temple are the musical pillars, which produce different swaras or notes when tapped. [Non-Hindus are not permitted in the inner sanctum, men are expected to wear a dhoti or long formal trousers with shirt or kurta-pyjamas and women are expected to wear saree or churidar along with dupatta or stole]
Rest of the day at leisure with vehicle and driver at disposal [no guide]

Overnight: Madurai   |  Breakfast

Day 7 : Kodaikanal – Rameshwaram

Following breakfast at hotel, check-out from hotel and transfer by road to Rameshwaram On arrival in Rameshwaram, check-in at hotel
In afternoon, proceed for sightseeing tour of Rameshwaram visiting Ramananthaswamy Temple [no guide]
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Ramanathaswamy Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines, where Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlinga meaning "pillar of light". It is also one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalam temples and is glorified in hymns by the three of the most revered Nayanar saints [7th century Saivite saints], Appar, Sundarar and Tirugnana Sambandar. The temple in its current structure was built during the 12th century by Pandya Dynasty.

The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. The breadth of these columned corridors varies from 17 to 21 feet with a height of 25 feet. Each pillar is sculpted in Nayak style as in Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. The contribution of the kings of the Sethupathy dynasty [17th century] to the temple was considerable. Large amount of money was spent during the tenure of Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai towards the restoration of the pagodas which were falling into ruins – the Chockattan Mantapam or the cloistered precincts of the temple was reconstructed by him.

The rulers of Sri Lanka contributed to the temple – Parakrama Bahu [1153–1186 CE] was involved in the construction of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The eastern tower and shrine of Nataraja were built by Dalavai Sethupathy in 1649 CE. The second enclosure is ascribed to Chinna Udayar Sethupathy and his son Ragunatha Thirumalai [1500–1540 CE]. The third enclosure was constructed by Muthu Ramalinga Sethupathy [1725–1771 CE] – his statue is located in the entrance of the corridor.

Rest of the day at leisure with vehicle and driver at disposal [no guide]

Overnight: Rameshwaram   |  Breakfast

Day 8 : Rameshwaram – Kanyakumari

Following early breakfast at hotel, check-out from hotel and transfer by road to Kanyakumari
On arrival in Kanyakumari, check-in at hotel
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In afternoon, proceed for sightseeing tour of Kanyakumari visiting Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kumari Amman Temple, Gandhi Museum & Triveni Sangamam [where 03 oceans confluence]

Cape Kanyakumari is where the waters of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. It is an important pilgrimage centre and famous for the Amman Temple, dedicated to the virgin goddess Kanyakumari. To its South East lies the famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial. The rock has been considered sacred since ancient times and in 1970 a memorial was constructed at this, the most southernmost tip of India.

Overnight: Kanyakumari   |  Breakfast

Day 9 : Depart Trivandrum

Following breakfast at hotel, check-out from hotel and own arrangements for transfer to Trivandrum Airport to board flight for onward destination.

Included

07 breakfasts
Meeting and assistance on arrival and departures
Hotel accommodation in a double room in standard / base category rooms at mentioned hotels
Daily buffet breakfast at all hotels
Chauffeur driven air-conditioned Toyota Innova car for all transfers, excursions and sightseeing tours
Traditional Indian welcome with garlanding on arrival
All applicable monument entrance fees during sightseeing at each city for single visit only
Services of English speaking local guide for sightseeing and excursions
Supply of mineral water [02 bottles of 250 ml per person per day] in vehicle during city tours / intercity travel
All currently applicable taxes

Not Included

Expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone, fax, internet, beverages, camera / video camera fee at monuments, medical expenses, airport departure tax etc.
Local payments in domestic currency, such as tips and gratuities
Lunch / dinner at hotels unless specified
India visa fees
Travel insurance
Any other services not mentioned in price inclusions above

Terms & Conditions

Booking of Tours: As soon you are ready to proceed with the reservations, you will be required to send 20% of the total tour cost as an advance payment to make the booking. Apart from the 20% of the tour price, you would also need to pay us the full amount for air/train tickets to be issued.

As soon as the advance is received,we will initiate the bookings for your hotels reservations, book your tickets and start making necessary arrangements for your trip and keep you updated.

Once this is done, a reservation status will be sent to you. You will then be required to pay another 30% of the tour cost at this point.

Balance 50% of the tour price can be paid by you upon your arrival in India by cash, but before the commencement of the services.

Alternatively you could pay by bank transfer a fortnight before your arrival.
Please note that the prices quoted are as per the prevailing foreign exchange conversion rates. The final price will therefore be subjected to fluctuations, if any, and will be accordingly adjusted at the time of receipt of payment.

** During peak season of Christmas and New Year (20 Dec to 05 Jan), the complete payment is required to be sent in advance.
** For Special Luxury Train Journeys , 25% of the fare is to be paid at the time of booking. Balance is to be 75 days prior to departure date.

Amendment to a Booked Tour
We do not encourage changes in the confirmed arrangements. But if you do need to make amendments in the arrangements already confirmed, we will do all possible to accommodate the changes, depending on the availability of various segments of the tour, for the new requirements. However, the changes will be subject to certain minimum amendment / administration charges.

Cancellation of a Booked Tour
We would deeply regret your decision to cancel your trip to India, however we realize that there are many valid reasons that this can happen. Cancellation must be notified in writing and will take effect the day it is received by India Incoming.
Cancellation of Flight Tickets: Flight Tickets booked are non refundable. Name change and date change can be considered as per the rules stipulated by the airline.
Please note that the prices quoted are as per the prevailing foreign exchange conversion rates. The final costing will therefore be subjected to fluctuations, if any, and will be accordingly adjusted at the time of receipt of payment.

Advance Payment Options
» Secure Online Payment Gateways
» Payment through “Authorisation”
» Bank Transfer

Online Payments via Gateway
Transacting online with a credit card at India Incoming website is even safer than using a credit card at a gas station as we do not retain your credit card information. You can be assured that India Incoming offers the highest standards of security currently available on the internet so as to ensure that your transaction experience is private, safe and secure.Visa, Master, American express and Diners Cards payments are processed through our online payment gateway systems. Your bank will authorize the card transaction directly without passing any information through us. In a short while, your bank will issue an authorization code and confirmation of completion of transaction.

Payment through “Authorisation”
Payments through credit card can be also be made through our OFFLINE mode. For adopting this mode, we shall require an “Authorisation” authorising us to charge your credit card.

Payment through “ Bank Transfer”
Payments can be made through direct Bank remittances to our Bankers. Details of our Bank accounts will be provided by our Sales representatives. (Further details on the above payment options will be provided upon knowing your choice of remitting payment).

BALANCE PAYMENT OPTIONS FOR TOURS
(1) For guests arriving in Mumbai, Kochi, Trivandrum, Madurai, Banglore, Hyderabad, Mangalore, Coimbatore, Kolkotta, Ahmedabad, Surat, Jaipur and Bikaner, balance payment is to be made in cash only in only in the following currencies - USD, GBP, EURO, AUD, Canadian Dollar, Singapore, Dirham, Malaysian Ringett, Japanese Yen, Swiss Franc, Bahrain Dinar, Dannish kroner, Egyptian Pound, Hong kong Dollar, Kuwati dinar, Newzealand dollar, Norway Croner, Omani Rial, Qatari Rial, Saudi Rial, Sweedish Kroner, Thai Bhat, UAE Dirham, South African Rand
For guests arriving in places other than stated above.
Balance payment is to be made one week prior to start of the tour.

For guests arriving in Delhi, following options are available :
(1) Cash
In currencies - USD, GBP, EURO, AUD, Canadian Dollar, Singapore, Dirham, Malaysian Ringett, Japanese Yen, Swiss Franc, Bahrain Dinar, Dannish kroner, Egyptian Pound, Hong kong Dollar, Kuwati dinar, Newzealand dollar, Norway Croner, Omani Rial, Qatari Rial, Saudi Rial, Sweedish Kroner, Thai Bhat, UAE Dirham, South African Rand

(2) Traveler's cheques issued by AMEX only
In USD, GBP and EURO . Should be in the name of the guest. The documents essentially required are photo copy of Passport and VISA.

(3)Through "Authorisation" only if itinerary is of more than 5 days and provided stay in Delhi is more than 2 days.

Other Terms and Conditions
The Users availing services from India Incoming shall be considered and reckoned to have read, understood and accepted the terms and conditions. Liabilities of India Incoming shall be restricted to the scope of this agreement.

The User expressly agrees that use of the services is at their sole risk to the extent that India Incoming acts only as a booking agent on behalf of third party service providers, and therefore, all services provided, shall be subject to "as is" and "as available" basis and shall be governed by the terms and conditions under which these services are provided by service providers. Further, India Incoming shall not have any liability whatsoever for any aspect of the standards of services provided by the service providers.

The user agrees that there can be "Force Maj-ure" circumstances accruing out of acts of God, fire, weather, labour unrest, insolvency, operational and technical issues, etc resulting in the service providers such as airlines, hotels, transportation providers not able to honour confirmed bookings. In such an event India Incoming shall not be responsible and shall have the right to change a schedule, booking, itinerary in the interest of safety, comfort and general well being of the user.

India Incoming hereby expressly disclaims any implied warranties imputed by the laws of any jurisdiction or country and considers itself subject to the jurisdiction only of the courts of NCR of Delhi, India.

Tour Details
Starts
Chennai
Ends
Trivandrum
Hotel Rating
3 - 4 star & heritage hotels
Meals
Breakfast: 8
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Our guide, Yusef, was terrific. He was extremely knowledgeable, gracious, and helpful. He was well organized and the arrangements were excellent.

Similarly, the driver, Mr Singh was excellent. The bus should have curtains to provide shade from the sun.

I would have liked less time in Delhi and more in Jaipur. The hotels improved during the tour, I believe a higher class Delhi hotel for an increase in cost would be well received by future guests, we thought the Delhi hotel acceptable, but could have been improved.

Sally Hawkins