Best of India Tour
DAY 01 : ARRIVE DELHI BY: INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
You will arrive at New Delhi's International Airport. Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you as you EXIT the ARRIVALS TERMINAL building after which you would be transferred to your hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, proceed for check-in at the hotel.
India's capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds - the ancient with the modern. Amidst the fast spiraling skyscrapers the remnants of a bygone time in the form of its many monuments stand as silent reminders to the region's ancient legacy. The first impressions for any visitor traveling in from the airport are of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks. Overnight at the hotel
DAY 02 : DELHI
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will proceed for full day city tour of Old & New Delhi. You will first visit Old Delhi. The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat & Shanti Vana, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; drive past the Red Fort continuing to the Jama Masjid, It is the largest mosque in India, accommodating up to 25,000 worshippers at one time. Designed by Shah Jahan, this grand red sandstone and white marble mosque was said to have been built by 5,000 artisans from 1644 to 1656. The broad red sandstone steps lead up to gates to the east, north and south.
After visiting Old Delhi, you will be driven to New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. The division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colours and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.
The tour to Imperial Delhi will include a visit to the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Qutub-ud-din Aibak started it in 1199. Pulling down 27 Hindu and Jain temples and using their columns erected the attached Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque also built by him. The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President's residence. Continue driving to Laxmi Narayan Temple - a Modern Hindu Temple. The Lakshmi Narayan Temple or the Birla Temple as it is popularly known enshrines Lord Vishnu - the preserver of the Hindu Trinity. The Temple is one of the major attractions of the capital city - Delhi. The divine tranquillity of the temple is interrupted only by the melodious kirtans that echoes in the sanctum sanctorum. The temple enshrines almost all the deities of the Hindu Pantheon.
Last but not the least you will stop at Delhi's main Shopping centre in Connaught Place for Shopping.
Overnight at the hotel
DAY 03 : DELHI - VARANASI BY: FLIGHT
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will transfer you to Airport to board your flight to Varanasi. An ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you upon arrival at Varanasi airport & transfer you to your hotel. Arrive and proceed for check in. The antiquity of Varanasi is veiled in immortal times and has been the centre of religion, learning and civilization since ages. It has an endearing universal mystique, which has to be experienced to be understood. The city gets its inherent charm from the location as it's situated on west side of the Holy Ganges. The principal attraction being the bathing ghats that are always bustling with life at any given time of the day. There is no Indian attraction like Varanasi. There are no architectural splendours, no exquisitely carved palaces or impregnable forts, and yet the city has an inherent charm. Situated on the west bank from the riverbank ghats to a winding maze of picturesque alleys overlooking tall houses alongside, dotted with temples. It is a fascinating area to wander around.
Afternoon, you will proceed for an excursion to Sarnath, a major Buddhist centre in the world. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Buddha, the Awakened One', delivered his first sermon here. It was sixth century then, when he also set in motion the wheel of law, the Dharmachakra. This dwelling place of the rishis, it was also known as Rishipatana' (the place of the Rishis or sages). Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park where he initiated his first five disciples into Buddhist monkshood. Buddhism found its roots in Sarnath, the birthplace of this way of life.
Overnight at the hotel
DAY 04 : VARANASI - KHAJURAHO BY: FLIGHT
Early morning boat-ride in the holy River Ganges and see the various Ghats (the banks of the river) with people ritually cleansing their sins' in hope of attaining eternal salvation or Nirvana". This will be the backdrop to your early morning boat ride when the river is bathed in a magical light and pilgrims come to perform pooja to the rising sun.
Return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast enjoy city tour of Varanasi, including a visit to Vishwanath Temple, the Benaras Hindu University and the Bharat Mata Temple.
Viswanath Temple Dedicated to Lord Shiva; this temple is the most sacred shrine in Varanasi. The original temple was destroyed by the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb which was later restored by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore in the 18th century. The Gold plating of the dome was done during the 19th century by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab. Foreigner's entry inside the temple is restricted.
Banaras Hindu University was founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya it is considered to be the largest residential university in Asia. Within the university campus, Vishwanath Temple and Bharat Kala Kendra (Museum) are well worth a visit.
After the tour, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will transfer you to airport to board flight for Khajuraho:
An ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you upon arrival at Khajuraho airport & transfer you to your hotel. Arrive and proceed for check in. In the realm of architecture, Khajuraho holds a unique position. The temples here were built between 950 and 1050 A.D. by the Chandela dynasty, who claims descent from the Moon God and a mortal, Hemavati, with whom the god fell in love.
Most of the temples of the north were destroyed by invaders, but Khajuraho escaped and stands today as an island of beauty. The Chandelas built 85 temples and some 22 survive today. Architecturally the temples have some unique features. They stand on high platforms and do not have customary enclosures. Each temple has a large number of spires in ascending order representing man's aspirations towards spiritual goals. They are ornately carved, with each frieze and sculpture depicting the genius of the men who carved it and the king who inspired them. Although famous for erotic depictions, these form only a small part of the wealth of the site. Taken in totality, the sculptures of Khajuraho depict the everyday life of the people and the court in the 10th and 11th centuries.
Khajuraho is not something that can be described in words; it has to be experienced. Afternoon, visit the Chandela Temple Complex. The tour of Khajuraho this morning concentrates on the famous erotic temples, which represent some of the finest examples of temple architecture in Northern India. The remote location of Khajuraho meant that the temples were unharmed by Muslim invaders and as a result, the intricately fine carvings are in very good condition and are said to represent life in heaven. They were built during the mighty Chandela dynasty, the majority were constructed in a sudden burst of creative and religious energy, between the mid-10th and 11th centuries. After ruling for about 500 years the Chandela dynasty fell to the might of Islam and consequently the religious centre of Khajuraho was abandoned. The temples remain as a reminder of a society that believed in the full enjoyment of life, with all the senses being a path to nirvana. Of the eighty-five original temples only 22 remain, but many are in very good condition. You visit the Kandariya Mahadeva, the Chatrabhuj, Parswanath and Ghantai Temples, each remarkable for its beautiful design and architecture.
Overnight at the hotel
DAY 05 : KHAJURAHO - JHANSI - AGRA BY:SURFACE/TRAIN
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven to Jhansi Railway Station to board train for Agra enroute visit Orchha.(195 KMS/6 HRS) Once the capital of Bundelas, Orchha is now just a village, set amongst a complex of well preserved palace and temples. It was founded in the early 16th century by Rajput chieftain, Radra Pratap and remained the capital of powerful Rajput Kingdom from 1583 till 1783. Orcha's golden age was during the first half of the 17th century when Jehangir visited the city in 1606, a special palace, the Jehangir Mahal, was specially built for him. Later both Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb raided the city. Orchha today is little more than a village with a population of only a couple of thousands and is definitely worth a visit.
You will visit the Orchha Fort. The fort is reached by an arched bridge and the three palaces set in an open courtyard within the fort are the first buildings to explore. The tiered Jahangir Mahal was built in 1606 to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jahangir in 1606. The Raj Mahal, to the right of the courtyard, was built by Madhukar Shah and has bold colorful murals inside. The third palace, is the Rai Praveen Mahal, which is a two storey brick structure set in the gardens of Anand Mahal.
Of the many temples within the fort, three are especially worth visiting. The Ram Raja Mandir was originally a palace and became a temple more by accident than design. An image of Ram was installed while the temple, The Chaturbhuj was being built for it. For some reason the image could not be moved from the palace and despite its spires and ornate decoration became a sacred place. Linked to the Ram Raja is the Lakshminarayan temple, the interiors of which have some of the best preserved murals and wall paintings in Orcha. After the tour continue the drive to Jhansi Railway Station to board train to Agra. Departure: Jhansi at: 1805 Hours By: Shatabdi Express Arrive: Agra at: 2035 Hours
An ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you upon arrival & transfer you to your hotel. Arrive and proceed for check in. Agra in terms of ambiance is still associated with its Mughal period. The Mughals besides being great rulers were also great builders and they preserved their best architectural wonders for Agra & its neighbourhood. It has many wonderful monuments and the Taj Mahal, the greatest of them all, is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture at its best. The massive but elegant Agra Fort, the magnificent Taj, are each unique and outstanding. Their architectural genius can also be seen in the forts, palaces and aesthetically laid out gardens - each one a silent witness to a grand style of a golden era.
Great empires have flourished in Agra and then grown to engulf the whole country. Great battles were fought on this soil, as can be gathered from its chequered history. It's line-up of monuments today stand mute testimony to the splendour of a bygone era and the visionary far-sightedness of the many monarchs who once ruled different parts of this state.
As visitors walk down the narrow, bustling streets, they can't help but wonder if the man contentedly smoking a hookah is a direct descendant of some bygone Mughal. Even the majority of the buildings in the modern areas of town such as the cantonment, date back over a hundred years.
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 06 : AGRA - FATEHPUR SIKRI - JAIPUR
Today early in the morning you will proceed for a sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal (closed on Fridays). Midway Tonga's horse carriages would be waiting for you and will drop you at the gates of the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid 17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is really astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture.
Come back to your hotel after your visit for buffet breakfast. After buffet breakfast in the hotel you will visit the Agra Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture. Agra Fort - the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions. Afternoon, you will be driven to Jaipur (235 Kms / 6 hours), en-route visiting Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city, built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago. It is complete with palaces and mosques and used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed. Now it is an extraordinary place to wander around with its buildings in near perfect condition. After your visit, continue your drive to Jaipur and upon arrival, proceed for check-in at your hotel. Rajasthan's kingdoms are an enduring legacy to India's history. A land endowed with invincible forts, magnificent palaces ad waves of sand dunes and serene lakes. No other region in the country assembles the many paradoxes of India, as does the desert land of Rajasthan. By far it is the most colourful region in India.
Jaipur's past is never too far from hand. The city of victory, Jaipur presides over the fascinating desert state and its people: surrounded by rugged hills, each crowned by a formidable fort; and beautiful palaces, mansions and gardens dotted throughout its precincts. The palaces and forts of yesteryear that were witness to royal processions and splendour are now living monuments, accepted quite naturally into the lifestyles of the people of the pink city. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars and buses, little seems to have changed. There is a timeless quality to Jaipur's bazaars and its people. With its historical past, Jaipur revives legends of the ancient Rajputs. The dresses of the women and the turbans of the men add colour to this fascinating city. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY : 07 JAIPUR
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven just outside Jaipur to the ancient capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar's most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. The fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake. Ruins and remains are spread over the Aravalli hills and sprawling crenulated walls lattice the surrounding area.
An elephant (alternatively by jeeps) will spare you the trouble of reaching up to the fortress. Once on top, stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Many of the rooms have delightful wall paintings, with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in the many mirrors, lighting up the room. En-route to Amber you will stop and see the `Palace of Winds', otherwise known as Hawa Mahal. It is really an elaborate facade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below. It is extremely intricate in its pink sandstone carving. The cool wind blows through its facade of windows and latticed screens through which the queens of the court once viewed the streets of the city.
In the afternoon, you will visit the city of Jaipur. Among the highlights to be seen while touring Jaipur include the City Palace, which is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armoury, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings. Walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar or Astronomical Observatory made by the Maharaja of Jaipur, built in 1726 and is one of the five such astronomical wonders built by Sawai Jai Singh and makes accurate predictions even to this day. You will also have the opportunity to wander about the local markets. Return to your hotel after the sightseeing tour of Jaipur City. Return to your hotel after the sightseeing tour.
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 08 : JAIPUR - UDAIPUR
Early morning, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will transfer you to Airport in time for your flight to Udaipur.
An ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you at the airport upon arrival and transfer you to your hotel, where you will proceed straight for buffet breakfast.
Important Note: Please be informed that standard check-in time is 1200 noon & early check-in is subject to availability.
Rajasthan is romantic with tales of valour and chivalry, and a history that brings to life forts and palaces and court intrigues. But Udaipur is different - an interlude for the diehard romantics. A splash of colour in colourful Rajasthan that's brighter, tinged with the tones of local legends and lores. Here are lakes that come as a surprise in sandy Rajasthan, and forested hills where wildlife still abounds. And in the lakes or by their edges are palaces straight out of fairy tales, each more beautiful than the other. There are rugged fortresses too Chittaurgarh and Kumbalgarh, where the history of Udaipur is told as if it were but a page from yesterday. For in Udaipur the past lives and breathes with the present. Set on the shores of Lake Pichola and surrounded by hills, Udaipur grew in complete contrast to the harsh deserts of the rest of Rajasthan. As capital of the old Mewar State it was the only Rajput stronghold to uphold its Hindu allegiance in the face of Muslim invasion. From the late 16th century, peace brought about an era of renaissance in the arts and encouraged the building of beautiful palaces around the lake, culminating in the City Palace, one of the largest palace complexes in the world. The lake itself is a romantic setting surrounding the gleaming white Lake Palace and the Jag Mandir, a refuge of the rebel Mughal prince, Shah Jahan, soon to be the creator of the incomparable Taj Mahal.
After buffet breakfast, proceed for a sightseeing tour of Udaipur City, also known as the City of Sunrise First on your sightseeing tour you will proceed for a tour of the City Palace, which overlooks the Lake Pichola. The City Palace was built in 1725 of granite and marble with filigreed balconies, ornate windows and craftsmanship in glass. The royal palace walls stretch over a mile on the eastern side of the lake. Within the palace is a maze of courtyards, apartments and decorated halls. The rooms are covered with frescoes, displays of royal processions, stone and glass mosaics and ornamental doors and painted windows. The marble throne in the coronation rooms was last used during the time Maharana Sangram Singh II (1710-30) and nearby is the Sun Window installed by Maharaja Bhim Singh (1778-1828). This is the divine symbol of the house of Mewar, which traces its lineage to the Surya Vansha, descendants of the Sun. Each palace within is an outstanding creation of art. Visit the hall of public audiences, the private chambers of the royal ladies at the palace and Sahelion-ki-Badi.
In the afternoon, experience the hustle bustle of the old market at Udaipur. Walk past the spice shops, jewellery shops, utensil shops, jaggery shops, silver market, local meat and food shop. You shall walk through the areas where The Octopussy -James Bond film was shot. Later you will be taken on a boat-ride on the placid waters of Lake Pichola visiting the bathing ghats, the City Palace and the Jag Mandir. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 09 : UDAIPUR - MUMBAI
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will transfer you to Airport to board your flight to Mumbai.
An ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you upon arrival & you will be proceed straight to Gateway to India to board motor-boat for the tour of Elephanta Caves.
Elephanta Island (closed on Mondays) was known in ancient times as Gharapuri or The Place of Caves. The Portuguese took possession of the island and named it Elephanta after the great statue which they found on the seashore. There are seven caves of which the most important is the Mahesha-Murti Cave. The main body of the cave, excluding the porticoes on the three open sides and the back aisle, is 27 m square and is supported by rows of six columns. The gigantic figures of Dvarapalas, or doorkeepers are very impressive. The cave temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was excavated some time in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta Kings who ruled the area between AD 757-973. Elephanta closely follows the pattern of the Dumar Lena cave in Ellora. After the visit return to Gateway of India by motorboat and proceed for check-in at your hotel. Bombay (as it was called earlier) was once a group of seven islands whose inhabitants, the Kolis, have given the city its Indian name, MUMBAI, after their goddess, Mother Mumbai. Bombay is a city of paradoxes: renowned as the country's financial nerve center, it is an important center of theatre, art, music and classical dance. Late in the afternoon, proceed for sightseeing tour of Mumbai. The tour starts from the Gateway of India.
Gateway of India is the landmark of Bombay, which, was before the advent of air travel, the only gateway to India. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George and Queen Mary to India in 1911. You will be then driven along Marine Drive, the sea - Front Boulevard. It is also known as the Queen's Necklace as in the evening, the breeze from the Arabian Sea comes over Marine Drive and as the streetlights on this U-shaped road light up, the view from south Bombay's skyscrapers or from the exclusive residential area, is that of a Queen's Necklace. Your first stop will be the Jain Temples, built of marble and dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara. From the temples you will be driven along Malabar Hill via the Tower of Silence - a round stone construction on which Parsis place their dead to be eaten by the vultures and Hanging Gardens which is built over Bombay's reservoir. From here one can get a panoramic view of picturesque Marine Drive. From Malabar Hill you will be driven to the Dhobi Ghats a huge open-air laundry, which makes an interesting viewing. Continue to Mani Bhawan (Gandhi Memorial), the house where the Father of the Nation stayed on his early visits to the city. The room, in which Gandhi stayed, preserved as it was, and the scenes of Gandhi's life in photographs and models are of special interest.
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 10 : MUMBAI - CHENNAI
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will transfer you to Airport to board your flight to Chennai. An ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you upon arrival at Chennai airport & transfer you to your hotel. Arrive and proceed for check in. Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at the hotel. Chennai formerly known as Madras is the capital city of Tamil Nadu state and is the fourth largest metro city in India. The city grew up around the English settlement of Fort Saint George and gradually absorbed the surrounding towns and villages. However, despite the strong British influence, Chennai has retained its traditional Tamil Hindu culture and effectively blended it with the foreign influence. The city is widely spread in about 180 Sq. Kms. It is a major trade center, being well linked by road, rail and air to important cities besides being a seaport. Compared to the other major metros of India, it is far less congested and polluted.
Afternoon, You will start your city tour with the visit of British outpost in India - Fort St. George and the commercial center, George Town. Visit the Fort house and the museum housing a vast collection of portraits, regimental flags, weapons, coins minted by the East India Company, medals, letters written by figures such as Robert Clive. From the British hold of center you will proceed to Mylapore, inhabited in the 16th century by the Portuguese, visit the San Thome Church. Continue to visit the Kapalesswarar temple - the biggest temple in Madras where you can watch the priest perform ritual `aarti' - a prayer invoking blessings of the Supreme Being. The tour ends at the Government State Museum and the National Art Gallery. The museum has section on mineralogy, geology, zoology and botany; displaying numerous skeletons of mammals, fish, reptiles, birds and then like. There is a gallery of musical instruments and one housing stamp collection. The two most important galleries are those displaying sculptures from Amaravati (in Andhra Pradesh) and the bronze sculptures respectively.
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 11 : CHENNAI - KANCHIPURAM - MAHABALIPURAM - CHENNAI
After buffet breakfast at the hotel you will visit Kanchipuram - known, as the Golden City of a Thousand Temples, is one of the oldest towns in India. It is famous for both its temples, many of them remarkably well preserved and for its hand-woven silks. Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities of India and it is the only one associated with both Shiva and Vishnu. Visit Ekambareshwar Temple, Kailashnath Temple, Kamakshi Temple, the Vaikunthaperumal Temple, all built in the 7th and 8th centuries. With a weaving tradition dating back to the Pallava era (when silk was the royal cloth), Kanchipuram is justly famous for its particularly fine silk saris, embellished with stunning patterns. Visit the local homes of the weavers and watch them create magic out of silk thread into saris. Apart from the temples, you will also have an opportunity to visit the homes of traditional Kanchipuram weavers specializing in silk fabric.for a city tour. After the tour you will be driven to Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram, built in the 7th century, is an ancient Pallava port, 64 km from Madras. Today it is the site of several antique sculptural marvels. Declared as the world heritage site by UNESCO, Mahabalipuram boasts of some of India's most sublime rock-cut art. The town was earlier called Mahabalipuram, but was later renamed as Mamallapuram or the place of the great wrestler - Narasimhavarmam I. He made this port a flourishing trade center. The only shore temple, which remains here, is the spectacular two-spired shrine, which is unique in that it houses both Vishnu and Shiva in its sanctum. Return to your hotel after the tour.
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY : 12 CHENNAI - MADURAI
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will transfer you to Airport to board your flight to Madurai. An ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you upon arrival at Madurai airport & transfer you to your hotel. Arrive and proceed for check in. Afternoon proceed for a sightseeing tour of Madurai City.
The ancient city of Madurai is one of southern India's oldest with a recorded history going back to the 6th century B.C., has been a seat of learning from time immemorial and the centre from which the Tamil language developed and flourished. It was well known to the Greeks and Romans with whom the city carried on active trade. The town has been patterned on the lotus flower with the temple of Goddess Meenakshi at the centre. The temple town is unique in that all its temples are living temples and it remains a major religious center attracting pilgrims the year round. The most spectacular of all its temples is Meenakshi and its boundaries include most of the city. Its bazaars sell temple offering, garlands and spices. You can visit its museum and climb up the gapuras for a superb view of the town. Another attraction is the Tirumalai Palace (1636) restored by Lord Napier, dance drama concerts are performed daily. You will then drive to Tiruparankudram rock cut temples, which though smaller than the Meenakshi has a huge facade of blue and yellow dragons. Inside there is a maze of dark rooms filled with multi-limited sculptures. In the evening, witness aarti ceremony at Meenakshi temple (Please note foreigners are not allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple). Return to your hotel after the tour. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 13 : MADURAI - THEKKADY
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven from Madurai to Thekkady (145 Kms/ 4 Hrs.30 Min) Upon arrival, proceed to check-in at your hotel.
Late afternoon, proceed to Periyar National Park to view the wildlife by boat. Set in the heart of the Cardamom Hills of Kerala the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve, offers a rare opportunity to enjoy South India's wild life and beauty. The park has a picturesque lake at the heart of the sanctuary. Herds of elephant and sambar, gaur and wild pigs and wander down to the lakeside and can be observed from the launches that cruise the lake. Periyar also harbours the leopard, wild dog, barking deer and mouse deer. On the rocky outcrops along the lake, monitor lizards can be seen basking in the sun.
Overnight at the hotel
DAY 14 : THEKKADY - ALLEPPEY - COCHIN
After buffet breakfast at the hotel proceed for the second boat ride. After the tour you will be driven to Alleppey where, you will embark Houseboat a sojourn in Kettuvallams, the House boats of Kerala, offers a panoramic view of one of the most picturesque aspects of the God's Own Country. One can cruise in it through the palm-fringed backwaters, throughout a night in waxing moonlights. The lullaby of the waves and the dazzling delights of the moonlit night can be experienced by spending a couple of nights aboard the Kettuvallam. The traditional houseboat of Kerala is one of the most enduring images of the backwaters. These houseboats are converted version of the Kuttanadan Kettuvallams. After the boat cruise you will continue your drive to Cochin. Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at the hotel.
Cochin, a commercial city of the state of Kerala, has one of the best natural harbours in the country. It is set amidst lagoons and backwaters with aromatic backdrop of swaying coconut palms. Kochi, a commercial capital city of the state where land and water share extraordinary kinship. This land which is believed to have sprung forth from the sea womb, continues to bask in the tender life giving care of the waters that lap gently on its coast, cascade, down its hills and valleys and collect into exotic backwaters and lagoons.
Traders from the west came to Kerala as far back as the 3rd century BC and took back with them spices, ivory and teak. Much later, in the 15th century, the Portuguese, Dutch, French and British came to this region in the guise of merchants, some to stay on as colonial rulers. Each nationality left its imprint on this coast; Cochin itself became home and safe harbour to Jews down through the centuries, specially following the inquisition in Iberia. Evening you will visit a local theatre to watch Kathakali dance performance.
Kathakali represents a synthesis of all that is best in dance, drama and music and has been recognized by connoisseurs of art, the world over as a `total art form of immense sophistication and power'. It is the impression created by make-up and the costumes that make Kathakali a visual par excellence. Return to your hotel after the dance performance.
Overnight at the hotel
DAY 15 : COCHIN - BANGALORE - MYSORE
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will proceed on a sightseeing tour of Cochin City. Proceed to Mattancherry, where you will visit the oldest Jewish Synagogue in India, built in 1568, it was destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch a century later. In 1776 a wealthy Dutch Jewish trader, Ezekiel Rahabi added a clock tower and a exquisite Chinese Blue and white porcelain floor tiles, each hand painted in a different design. Its fascinating interior includes 19th Century Belgian Chandeliers, a ladies gallery and an elegant brass pulpit. The Dutch Palace at Mattancherry was built in 1555 and its coronation hall and murals at Ramayana are noteworthy features.
From Jewish Synagogue you will visit Chinese fishing nets, the cantilevered fishing nets line the entrance to the harbour mouth. Chinese traders are believed to have originally introduced them in the 14th century although, today parts of the nets are known by Portuguese names. From the Chinese fishing nets you will visit St. Francis Church, originally named after Santo Antonio and dedicated to him as the Patron Saint of Portugal, St. Francis Church is the first church to have been in the new European influenced tradition. Originally a wooden building was replaced by the present stone building. Vasco De Gamma died on the site in 1524 and was originally buried in the cemetery. 14 years later his body was removed to Portugal. The church was renamed St. Francis in 1663.
Afternoon, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will transfer you to Airport to board your flight to Bangalore. An ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you upon arrival at Bangalore airport & you will be driven straight to Mysore(150 KMS/03 Hours). Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at the hotel.
Once the capital of a princely state, Mysore still carries on its placid shoulders the aura and glamour of palaces, the grandeur of festivals of times gone by, but all of it with a quiet, unhurried dignity. Mysore is often called the Jewel of Karnataka - its arts, culture, buildings, festivals, gardens and parks being the quintessence of the state's heritage. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 16 : MYSORE
After buffet breakfast at the hotel you will be driven for a half day excursion to Somnathpur's Keshava Temple. Return to Mysore after the tour. Afternoon proceed for a city tour of Mysore. Your infatuation with Mysore begins with the Maharaja's Palace, at the heart of the city. It is a veritable treasure trove of exquisite carvings and works of art from the world over. Proceed to the Rajendra Art Gallery has some remarkable selections of paintings by Raja Ravi Verma, Nicholas Roerich and traditional paintings in the Mysore style. Later you will visit Brindavan Gardens. Return to the hotel after the tour. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 17 : MYSORE - BANGALORE
After buffet breakfast at the hotel you will be driven from Mysore to Bangalore enroute visit the Gomateshwara statue located inside the Jain Temple at Sravanabelagola.
After the visit continue your drive to Bangalore.
Built in the 16th century by the feudal lord, enlarged by the legendary Tipu Sultan and later laid out by the British, Bangalore is undoubtedly one of India's most gracious cities. The wide roads and open spaces, architectural landmarks and beautiful gardens lend it a deceptively unhurried appearance. But contrary to that, India's Silicon Valley' is one of Asia's fastest growing cities.Fortunately the gardens are still there as is the ambiance of a graceful, gracious township, a legacy of the Wodeyars, the erstwhile rulers of Mysore state. Its gardens, sprawling parks and tree-lined roads give it a green and fresh appearance. It has a pleasant climate nearly all the year round.
Your afternoon city tour of the garden city begins with a visit to Lalbagh, the botanical garden spread over 240 acres and having a wide variety of exotic trees and plants. You will drive past The Vidhan Sudha which houses the State Legislative assembly and part of the secretariat and the Tipu Sultan's Palace constructed between 1781 - 1791 was once the summer residence of Tipu Sultan. Finally visit the Bull Temple believed to have been constructed in the 16th century, has been carved out of a single granite block. Also drive past, the Maharaja Palace, Indian Institute of Science and the Public library.
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 18 : BANGALORE - GOA
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will transfer you to Airport to board your flight to Goa. An ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you upon arrival at Goa airport & transfer you to your hotel. Arrive and proceed for check in. Goa, this drop of golden sun on the West coast of India is bestowed upon by innumerable gifts: picturesque landscape, sun drenched beaches, historic monuments, pleasant climate, culinary expertise and above all hospitable people. You can create your own kind of holiday at the Idyllic seaside stretches - sun bathing in quiet secluded spot or choosing the exhilarating thrills of parasailing, speed boating, water skiing, wind surfing and deep-sea diving. Goa, a heady blend of serenity and excitement down a 100 km coastline, studded with some of the world's most beautiful beaches. Idyllic seaside stretches where you can create your own kind of holiday. Sun bathing in a quiet secluded spot or choosing the exhilarating thrills of parasailing, speed boating, water skiing, wind surfing and deep-sea diving. Rest of the evening is free at leisure.
Overnight at the hotel
DAY 19 - DAY 20 : GOA
After leisurely buffet breakfast at the hotel you are free for independent activities.
Overnight at the hotel
DAY 21 : GOA - MUMBAI BY:FLIGHT DEPART MUMBAI BY : INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT After leisurely buffet breakfast you are free for independent activities. Afternoon, you will be met by an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative who will transfer you to the airport to board flight for Mumbai. Upon arrival, you will be met by an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative who will transfer you to the International Airport to board your flight back home.