Explore Southern India’s legacies on a captivating 13-day guided tour
For the longest part of India’s history you will see great powers which were able to secure power in large swathes of Southern India. The three most popular Dravidian dynasties from ancient India’s Sangam age included Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas. Let’s dig up the socio-political roots and archaic ruins that act as memorable monuments for these legendry kingdoms and flamboyant grandeur of Southern India.
Country Region:- Southern India
Return TimePlease arrive by 9:15 AM for a departure at 9:30 AM
Dress CodeApproximately 8:30 PM
Day 1 Arrive Chennai
Day 1 Arrive Chennai
Tour Guests will arrive at Chennai Airport as per their Scheduled flight. Upon arrival get transferred to your pre-booked hotel in Chennai. Overnight stay is in Chennai
Day 2 Chennai – Mahabalipuram
Today we proceed to Mahabalipuram - historically important town situated on the Coromandel Coast, along the Bay of Bengal in the state of Tamil Nadu. We visit the most famous Shore Temple, legendary Panch Rath, exquisite Varah Caves, awe-inspiring Arjuna's Penance and fascinating Krishna's Butter Ball.
Evening is for leisure and rest.
Day 3 Mahabalipuram – Trichy
Morning time is to explore Mahabalipuram on your own. In time you will be transferred to a railway nearby and board train for Trichy. On the way have scenic views of the passing areas by train. Have dinner and sleep overnight at the hotel in Trichy
Day 4 In Trichy
After breakfast you will visit one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tiruchirappalli is the Rockfort temple Only five kilometres separate the shrine from Trichy Railway Station. It is an old fort, and big rocks make up its framework. Thayumanavar temple, Manikka Vinayagar temple, and Ucchi Pillayar Temple are three well-known Hindu temples located inside the Rockfort. One of the oldest buildings in Tamil Nadu, this temple is a must-see for its remarkable architecture.
Continue your visit to Sri Ranganathaswamy temple is one of the other well-known Trichy tourist places in Srirangam Town. This prominent Lord Vishnu temple is constructed in the Dravidian architectural style and is a must-see for all Nirvana seekers and photo enthusiasts. In addition, the temple contains a royal temple tower and a hall with around 1,000 ornamented pillars.
If interested then you can continue to Jambukeshwar Temple - one of the most sacred locations to visit in Trichy is the Jambukeshwar temple, popularly known as the Thiruvanaikoil temple. It is one of Tamil Nadu’s five principal temples to Lord Shiva. The temples were constructed by the Chola in the Dravidian architectural style during the second century AD. For anyone interested in the local religion or who wants to learn more about Tamil Nadu’s culture, this temple is a must-see tourist place in Trichy.
In the evening opt to visit lively markets of Trichy. Night stay is in Trichy.
Day 5 Trichy – Tanjore
After breakfast we will have a 2 hours drive to Tanjore which is known for its historical importance and cultural significance. This city is home to some of the famous architectural marvels which reflect the rich heritage of the place. The list of places to visit in Thanjavuris endless, and taking a tour of these will give a glimpse of the cherished history of dynasties that have ruled here. Visit astonishing places such as Vijayanagar fort & Brihadeeswarar Temple.
Pay a quick visit to Vijayanagar Fort. The fascinating architecture of the fort was built during the 1550 AD by the Nayaks and the Maratha’s. Visit Tanjore Palace, Sangeetha Mahal, an art gallery along with a library. Alongside you will find Shiva Ganga garden which adds a touch of beauty.
Later have a stopover at UNESCO World Heritage site - Brihadeeswarar Temple which is a Chola architectural masterpiece.
The premises has a temple tower called “Vimana”, almost 66 meters long. The round apex structure is alleged to be built out of a carving on a single stone. Upon entry, you are greeted with the huge Nandi figurine, almost 13 feet in height. Back in 2010, it completed 1,000 years of its existence.
Return back to your hotel for overnight stay.
Day 6 Thanjavur – Madurai
Day will start with a leisurely breakfast and will then drive to Madurai. Situated on the banks of River Vagai, Madurai is an ancient city, boasting rich culture and traditions with finest examples of architecture is also surrounded by scenic beauty and spiritual environment.
Visit some of the important sites which are not be missed and are as Meenakshi Temple – is one of the oldest temples of India, it is not only religiously significant but also presents an excellent example of Dravidian architecture. Built during the Pandyan reign, this temple has seen various contributions from rulers of other dynasties as well. Its intricate carvings and majestic structures mesmerises everyone while its spiritual aura and associated legends enthral every devotee who come here to offer prayers.
Continue your visit to Thirumalai Nayak Palace which was constructed in 1635 is a beautiful amalgamation of Dravidian and Islamic architectural styles.
Rest of the day is at leisure. Night stay is in Madurai
Day 7 Madurai – Mysore
Day is to spend at your own space. Visit lively markets of Madurai or can opt for rickshaw ride and can enjoy South Indian dishes at local restaurant. In the evening you will board overnight train for Mysore. Overnight will be on board.
Day 8 In Mysore
Arrive at Mysore railway station and get transferred to your hotel. After getting fresh and change visit Mysore which talks about the glories of the bygone era and places of worship with rich cultural heritage to magnificent monuments and museums, every nook and cranny of Mysore has a story to say. On this day you will explore Mysore Palace which was royal residence of the Woodiyar dynasty and is known for its Indo-Saracenic architectural design.
Also visit Philomena’s Cathedral which is the only British structure in the city, this church is one of the tallest in Asia, was erected to honor St. Philomena, a Catholic saint. The cathedral is built in the Neo-Gothic style with breathtakingly beautiful twin spires on either side, which are 175 ft. high. From captivating stained glass windows from France to the eye-catching marble altar under which the relic of St. Philomena is placed, the church will leave you enraptured.
Return to your hotel for leisure and rest.
Day 9 Mysore - Srvanebelolga - Belur - Halebid – Hassan
Morning, check out the hotel and drive to Shravanabelagola which is 57 feet tall monolith statue of Bhagawan Bahubali located a top of Vindhyagiri Hill. The statue is regarded as world tallest monolith statue and was installed in 981 AD by Chavundraya.
Then drive to Belur, which is located on the banks of the River Yagachi, a star shaped temple with hand lathe-turned filigreed pillars and sculptures will take your breath away. The temple, perched on a star shaped base amidst lawns, is a sculptural extravaganza.
Continue to visit Halebidu, the 12th century capital of the Hoysalas. The Hoysaleswara temple was built during this time by Ketamala and attributed to Vishnuvardhana, the Hoysala ruler. Halebid enshrines Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswara, named after the temple builder Vishnuvardhana Hoysala and his wife, Queen Shantala.
Then drive to Hassan, known as the temple-architecture capital of Karnataka. On arrival at Hassan, check in to the hotel and overnight stay at hotel.
Day 10 Hassan – Hampi
In the morning, after breakfast, check out the hotel at Hospet and drive to Chitradurga, a place gets popularity for the fort built between the 10th and 18th centuries. Chitradurga Fort is also called Kallina Kote or Yelu Suttina kote (in Kannada language) because it comprises a series of seven enclosure walls. This seemingly impregnable fort has 18 ancient temples, 19 gateways, 38 posterior entrances, a palace, a mosque, granaries, oil pits, four secret entrances and water tanks. Visit the beautiful fort.
Continue to Hospet, known for exquisite temples, the ruins of famous monuments built during the Vijayanagar empirical rule. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi. On arrival at Hospet, check in to the hotel and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 11 In Hampi
Hampi's main tourist attractions are in two broad areas: the Hampi Bazaar area and the Royal center
Monuments to be visited in Hampi Bazaar area
Virupaksha Temple - The 15th-century Virupaksha Temple is located in the Hampi Bazaar area. It is one of the oldest monuments in the town. The top of the temple rises about 50 m from the ground, and the main shrine is dedicated to Virupaksha, a form of Lord Shiva.
Hemakuta Hill - It is located south of the Virupaksha temple and contains ancient ruins, Jain temples, and a monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha, a look of Lord Vishnu. Hemakuta Hill offers an excellent view of Hampi Bazaar.
Vittal Temple - Two kilometers east of Hampi Bazaar, you will find the World Heritage Vittal temple, built in the 16th century. The carvings on this temple give an insight into the architectural splendor of the Vijayanagara Empire's artisans. The outer pillars of this temple are said to produce music when tapped. Hence, they are also known as musical pillars.
Achyutaraya Temple - Between Hampi Bazaar and Vittal temple, the deserted Sule Bazaar and the Achyutaraya temple can be seen.
The Monolithic statue of Lord Ganesh, Nandi, the Kodandarama temple, and the Krishna temple are other places to visit in the Hampi Bazaar area.
Monuments to be explored in The Royal Center
Lotus Mahal - This palace is an intricately designed pavilion within a walled compound, known as the Zenana Enclosure. It displays a blend of Indo-Islamic architecture and gets its name from the lotus bud carved on its domed and vaulted ceiling.
The Elephant Quarter - It is adjacent to the Zenana Enclosure. It is a domed building that housed the royal elephants.
Archeological Museum - This museum at Kamalapuram has a good collection of sculptures belonging to the Vijayanagara Empire.
With its unique Islamic architecture, the Queen's Bath and the Underground Virupaksha temple are other important places to visit within the royal center with its unique Islamic architecture.
Day 12 Hampi – Badami – Aihole – Pattadkal – Badami
Badami and the Cave Temples
Badami is one of the largest treasure trove of architectural wealth the Chalukya dynasty left behind. Badami built in the sixth century have been maintained quite well. You wil find many murals, sculptures and inscriptions in the four caves even today.
In addition to the Badami caves, there is the Agastya lake and Bhootanatha temple complex which are worth to visit.
Carry on for Aihole, an ancient temple town which is also the least visited. It is small but it’s features are one of the best in the world. Visit Vishnu temple [Durga Temple in local language] which has curved walls unlike the usual architectural trends of its time. Also explore few other temples in Aihole complex.
Great Pattadakal monuments are part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has ten temples with many smaller shrines around. Pattadakal literally means ‘jewels of the crown’. They were built during the Chalukya dynasty and feature north Indian architecture and classic dravidian styles. The temple complex is located on the west bank of the Malaprabha river. The sprawling gardens and sandstone structures merge well to form a very beautiful scene.
Return back to your hotel for overnight stay.
Day 13 Badami – Hubli Depart
In time you will be transferred to Kochi airport to board your flights for onward journey. Tour Ends