33 Day South Cultural India and Sri Lanka

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Bangalore - Mysore - Bandipur National Park - Ooty (Connoor) - Cochin - Alleppey - Kumarakom - Thekkady - Madurai - Trichy - Tanjore - Chidambaram - Pondicherry - Mahabalipuram - Chennai - Kandalam - Kandy - Nuwara Eliya - Yala National Park - Galle - Colombo



HIGHLIGHTS

Bangalore - Mysore - Bandipur National Park - Ooty (Connoor) - Cochin - Alleppey - Kumarakom - Thekkady - Madurai - Trichy - Tanjore - Chidambaram - Pondicherry - Mahabalipuram - Chennai - Kandalam - Kandy - Nuwara Eliya - Yala National Park - Galle - Colombo

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  • Day 1: Bangalore Arrival

    A Wild Voyager representative will meet and assist you upon your arrival at the Bangalore airport in the morning from where you will be transferred to your hotel to refresh.

     

    Bangalore or Bengaluru is the city which gets its name from an act of kindness shown by an old woman years ago when King Ballala of the Hoysala Dynasty was roaming the forest after getting lost. He was extremely tired and ravenous when he met an old woman who gave him a bowl of humble boiled beans. The king named the place Benda Kalu Ooru in remembrance of this act of generosity.

     

    Over the years this wilderness has been ruled by several dynasties, but now in the 21st century, it is the I.T. hub of India with skyscrapers towering into the clouds and offices with glass doors. This modern city is the gateway to South India.

     

    Overnight stay will be in Bangalore. 

     

  • Day 2: Bangalore – Mysore

    By Road 170kms-3hrs

     

    After breakfast, our representative will take you on the tour of the city.

     

    Vidhana Soudha is the seat of the legislative assembly of the state of Karnataka. It was sanctioned by Jawaharlal Nehru, the then prime minister of India. But it was the brainchild of Kengal Hanumanthaiah who had the blueprint made with influences of both western and Dravidian architecture, thereby giving a neo-Dravidian feel to the building.

     

    The 240 acre Lal Bagh or Red Garden was commissioned in the 18th Century by Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore, and completed by his son, the warrior Tipu Sultan. It is home to over 1000 species of flora, including rare exotic varieties, and centuries-old trees with an exquisite glass greenhouse modeled after London’s Crystal Palace and the famed Lal Bagh Rocks,  among the earth’s most ancient rock formations and estimated to be about 3000 million years old.

     

    The small but elegant fresco-adorned Tipu’s Palace is famous for its teak pillars and stands regally in the crowded City Market area. It has now been converted into a museum. Of note is a small replica of the famed Tipu’s Tiger, the lifesize original of which is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The famous but fearful mechanized toy shows Tipu's victory over the Europeans in a gruesome manner.

     

    The Government Museum of Bengaluru has 18 galleries has relics, and artifacts from the Hoysala, Vijayanagara, and the 5000-year-old Indus valley civilization. Close by is the K.Venkatappa Art Gallery. Venkatappa was the court artist of the Wodeyar Kings, and the museum houses his art as well as his personal belongings, thereby depicting his life.

     

    The 300 acre Sri Chamarajendra Park, formerly Cubbon Park, is home to over 6000 specimens of plant life with both local and exotic flora in mutual harmony. The silver oaks are sacred and the Jawahar Bhavan will take you to a magical world of toy trains and fairgrounds.

     

    The St. Marys Basilica was installed by Jean Dubois in 1811. He was a French missionary. The church is spread out like a cross and has spires heavenward, with arches and stained glass windows. This huge church has a special attraction with a statue of Mary wearing a sari in front. This statue is said to have magical powers.

     

    Drive to Mysore in a comfortable, spacious, wild voyager approved vehicle.

     

    The word Mysore is the City of the Buffalo Demon. The legend goes that the Mahishashura was the buffalo-headed demon, or a miniature if you will wreak havoc on earth and was unstoppable until the warrior goddess Chamunda killed him. The Chamundeswari temple is dedicated to her and a grand elephant procession can be seen during Dussehra festival.

     

    Initially part of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 16th Century, Mysore has since been ruled by the Wodeyar Kings more or less continually, barring the rule of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in the 18th Century. After the fall of Tipu, the British East India Company reinstated the Wodeyars to the throne of Mysore, where they continued to be titular heads with the blessings of the British Empire until India’s independence in 1947.

     

    After a carnage because of the bubonic plague, Mysore started a trust board in 1903 and also urban planning was increased to aid in stopping the spread of the disease.

     

    Now, Mysore is famous for its silk, muslin cotton, and sandalwood which is both exquisite and expensive and is imported for incense preparation. A newly established Ashtanga yoga centre has found fame worldwide.

     

    Overnight will be at Mysore.

     

  • Day 3: Mysore – Bandipur National Park

    After breakfast, the tour will start.

     

    The glorious Mysore palace is a fusion beauty in architecture with many styles combining to produce a maximum effect and increasing the regal beauty. It has artifacts, carvings and gigantic artworks adorning it. The diamond-studded gold Simhasana or throne and the elephant saddle covered with kilos of gold is a worthy beauty to see.

     

    Chamundi Hills tower over the city of Mysore and affords fresh air and magnificent views to whoever decides to undertake the short drive to the city outskirts. Halfway up the hill, one is rewarded with the sight of the 4.8m tall stone statue of Shiva’s bull, Nandi.

     

    The Brindavan Gardens is one of the prettiest in South India with its famed dancing fountains.

     

    Saint Philomena’s Church is a fine example of Neo-Gothic architecture and contains a relic of the saint in its catacombs. Stained glass windows depicting the Nativity and the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ adorn its inner chamber while above two 175 foot high spires tower over the cityscape.

     

    The 19th Century Jaganmohan Palace has now been converted into the regal and majestic Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery. Filled with renowned paintings by the Russian painter Nicolai Roerich and Raja Ravi Verma who pioneered art in India. There are rooms showing rare musical instruments and rice grain paintings which are tiny surprises under the magnifying glass.

     

    Later proceed to Bandipur.

     

    The Bandipur wildlife sanctuary is a huge expanse covered by dense forests on all sides along a straight line. It hosts several exotic indigenous animals and a local guide will help you to spot them.

     

    Bandipur National park is one the many reserves located within the forest belt between the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Mountains. Most of these reserves are demarcated more by political boundaries than by truly physical ones. Bandipur lies in the southern state of Karnataka and covers a forest area of 865 square kilometers. It was declared a National Park in 1974 and is one of the original 9 tiger reserves under the watchful eye of "Project Tiger".

     

    Underlying rocks are mainly metamorphic: gneiss, quartzite, mica, and hornblende schists are generally widespread. Igneous intrusions of granite and charnokite appear as outcrops at high levels and in the beds of watercourses (Neginhal, 1974). The soil is usually a mixture of red laterites and black cotton soil, but the latter does not show a higher concentration of salt. In some places sandstones, semi-quartz and shales are present.

     

    After refreshing at the hotel, you will be taken on the afternoon wildlife safari tour by an expert guide.

     

    Overnight will be at Bandipur.

     

  • Day 4: Bandipur National Park – Ooty

    By Road 50kms-02hrs

     

    In the morning after an early breakfast, you will begin on the safari.

     

    Afternoon – drive to Ooty. Reach Ooty and check into the hotel.

     

    Ootacamund, Udhagamandalam or Ooty is one of India’s most popular colonial era hill stations. It is located 2240 ft above sea level and is a picturesque and quaint hill station with relaxing peace all around. It might also have the Kurunji flowers in full bloom, making the hill station blue and this spectacle blooms once every 12 years.

     

    Ooty is known for its colonial charm, tea gardens, the 65 acres wide Ooty lake, Toda tribal settlements and India’s very own wax museum.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Ooty.

     

  • Day 5: Ooty – Excursion to Coonoor

    After breakfast, you will be taken for a sightseeing tour of the city.

     

    First will be the Ooty Botanical Gardens, taking a walk along the banks of the Ooty Lake, visiting the Rose Garden, and driving to Dodabetta Peak for a sublime view of the Nilgiris. There will also be a visit to the early 19th century St. Stephen’s Church, said to be the oldest in the Nilgiri. According to legend, the beams for its ceiling were taken from the Srirangapatnam palace of the warrior Sultan Tipu after his defeat at the hands of the British. The church is also the final resting place of John Sullivan, the founder of Ooty.

     

    The second largest hill station in the Nilgiris, the lush, beautiful and picturesque Coonoor served as one of the locations for David Lean’s classic adaptation of E. M. Forster’s “A Passage to India”. It is one of the most famous trails for trekkers because of the expanse of wilderness it covers and the view from the top.

     

    It is also a delightful tea plantation and one can get sampled mementos for back home.

     

    Coonoor is bird lovers’ paradise with a lucky person spotting the Nilgiri verditer flycatcher.

     

    Sim's Park is a botanical garden offering charming views of the Nilgiris and is home to over a thousand plant species including magnolia, pines, tree ferns, and camellia. Designed in part like a Japanese garden and a Zen garden lookalike, an interesting feature of Sim’s Park are it's gnarled and canopied Shola forests, a mini-ecosystem unto themselves, and typical of the Nilgiri region.

     

    The Pomological Station is a fruit garden in the Nilgiris maintained by the Horticultural Department. You can sample ripe and juicy apricots, peaches, and plums and even take back delicious handmade jams as presents for the folks back home.

     

    You will observe sericulturists at work at the Central Silk Board run Silk Rearing Station. From here, you will be taken to Laws Falls known for its 180 feet high waterfall. Lamb’s rock will provide an opportunity to see the vast rolling Coimbatore plains. A little further out is Lady Canning’s Seat, followed by the Dolphin’s Nose viewpoint, both showing picturesque views of nearby plantations and the Nilgiri Hills.

     

    Finally, we will arrive at Droog which stands 6000 feet above the surrounding plains. This former lookout for Tipu Sultan’s forces is currently a picnic spot.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Ooty.

     

     

     

  • Day 6: Ooty – Cochin

    By Road 260kms-6hrs

     

    After breakfast, our representative will accompany you on the drive to Cochin.

     

    The tour will begin with a short stop at Athirapally falls, en route to Cochin.

     

    Athirapilly is the site of Kerala’s largest waterfall, roaring down from a height of 1000m above sea level. A gorgeous green haven with lush forests and rivers and their tributaries and distributaries makes it a highly successful conservation hotspot for elephants and birds.

     

    Continue drive to Cochin. Reach and check into the hotel.

     

    The ancient port city of Cochin or Kochi comprises a cluster of islands and peninsulas in a serene saltwater lagoon. Ferries connect the islands to Ernakulam town on the mainland. Dotted with lakes and gently swaying palm groves, Kochi’s otherworldly beauty, coupled with the lure of spices and seafood, draw scores of travellers every year to this natural harbour.

     

    In the evening proceed for KATHAKALI DANCE PRESENTATION.

     

    Overnight will be at Cochin.

     

     

  • Day 7: Cochin

    After a hearty breakfast, our representative will begin the tour of Cochin.

     

    Kochi’s famed Chinese fishing nets are perhaps one of the most iconic and often photographed sights of Kerala. They are thin muslin nets mounted on teak and bamboo poles which have been credited to the Portuguese or the Chinese traders from the court of Kubla Khan.

     

    The Old Cochin area is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, and the Paradesi Synagogue built in 1568 is a must-see treasure of this eclectic corner of South India. It has distinctive tiled roof and bell towers, and the synagogue’s interiors feature intricately hand-painted blue and white Chinese willow tiles of which no two are alike. Elegant Belgian chandeliers adorn its central area. An exquisite oriental rug and gold crowns received as gifts from visitors are also on display.

     

    Also of interest is the intriguing International Pepper Exchange that deals in the global trade of black pepper.  Nearby are Vasco Da Gama Square, the Santa Cruz Basilica that counts among India’s oldest churches, St. Francis Church where Vasco Da Gama was originally interred, VOC Gate and Bastion Bungalow, all of which, according to local records, go back to between the mid-fourteenth and early fifteenth century.

     

    In the evening, our representative will take you to enjoy a Kathakali dance presentation.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Cochin.

     

  • Day 8: Cochin to Alleppey

    By road 56km-01hr

     

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and proceed to Alleppey by road.

     

    Alappuzha is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. Alappuzha remains prominent on the tourist trail of Kerala as one of the major centers for backwater boat trips. "Kuttanad" in Alappuzha is one of few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. Kuttanad is a land of lush paddy fields and is called the 'Rice Bowl' of Kerala. Kuttanad stretches for 75 Km sandwiched between the sea and the hills.

     

    Check into a traditional houseboat of Kerala Style and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake on a thatched houseboat. The houseboat with all modern comforts lets you discover the countryside at your own pace. You will have lunch, dinner and breakfast in the Houseboat. A ride on the houseboat is a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters.

     

    Cruise through the backwaters towards Kumarakom. Lunch will be served on the boat. The menu is simple and traditional. The cook (chef) of the boat prepares the lunch from fresh materials and even you can have a peek at the recipe.

     

    Tea and snacks would be served in the evening. The boat will be anchored in the backwaters along a paddy field and you can go for a stroll into the village or relax at the deck of the boat.

     

    Dinner and overnight will be at Houseboat.

     

  • Day 9: Kumarakom – Thekkady

    By road 114km-04hr

     

    Enjoy breakfast in the houseboat. Disembark the boat and drive to Thekkady.

     

    Four hours drive southwards over rolling hills and coffee plantations to the PERIYAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, one of the major wildlife reserves in India. Indian elephants, wild boars, lion-tailed monkeys, ibex, tigers, leopards and sloth bears are on the list. The park surrounds a large, many-fingered lake and a dawn or dusk foray on one of the boats will be a thrilling experience. It is from the lake rather than vehicles that the wildlife is viewed. The sanctuary is rich in bird life. Great hornbills, kites, darters, herons, egrets, owls and kingfishers are in an abundance. Surrounding the reserve are many small spice plantations and we spend an absorbing afternoon searching for pepper, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and betel.

     

    Reach and check into the hotel.

     

    Later - Visit Kumily market to buy the best spices available. Rest of the evening at leisure.

     

    Overnight will be in Thekkady.

     

  • Day 10: Thekkady

    After breakfast, you will see the exotic Flora and Fauna of Thekaddy.

     

    Enjoy the Boat ride at Periyar Lake.

     

    In the afternoon visit spice plantations like cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates etc. Kerala is famous for spices and a visit to a spice plantation is an experience that you will never forget. Take a stroll in a spice farm and see how the spices are grown in different sections of the farm. Your guide will tell you more about the spices, their medicinal value and how different combinations yield totally different flavours. Periyar also has many plantations where cardamom, coffee and vanilla are grown.

     

    Rest of the day at leisure and relax at the beautiful cottage.

     

    Overnight will be at Thekkady.

     

  • Day 11: Thekkady

    After breakfast, the tour will be started.

     

    Not to be missed is the bamboo rafting excursion down the river. This river rafting will provide you with a gorgeous way to spot animals, especially elephants when they come to the river to cool off and drink water. You can also spot sambars, macaques, but leopards and tigers are hard to spot.

     

    A jungle walk will also be provided with experienced guides were walking on foot will increase chances of leopard spotting.

     

    The local spice market, reputed to be the largest in Asia is also worth a visit. Spices make for a unique and imaginative memento for back home.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Thekkady.

     

  • Day 12: Thekkady - Madurai

    By road 136km-04hr

     

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and proceed to Madurai by road.

     

    One of South India's great temple towns, Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2500 years old. Madurai was an important cultural and commercial centre even as early as 550 AD. Madurai was the Capital city for the great Pandyan kings. Tamil & Greek documents record the existence of Madurai from the 4th Century BC. The city was known to the Greeks through Megastheneswho was their ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya. This city was popular in trade, especially in spices. It was also the site the Sangam the Academy of the Tamil Poets. And Madurai is the centre of all the cities and Madurai is famous for the cotton Sungudi Saris.

     

    Madurai's Main attraction is the Famous Sri Meenakshi Amman temple a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with Gopurams carved from top to bottom in a breathtaking profusion of multicolored images of Gods. Sri Meenakshi Amman temple dates back to 2000 Years back and designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayaka and built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayaka. The Temple occupies an area of six hectares. There are 12 temple towers (Gopurams). The outer towers are the landmarks of Madurai. The enormous temple complex is dedicated to Shiva, known here as Sundareshvara and his consort Parvati or Meenakshi. Kulasekara Pandyas, but the entire credit built the original temple for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayakas. The Nayakas ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century and left a majestic imprint of their rule in the Meenakshi - Sundareswarar Temple. The temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure, at the core of which is the two sanctums for Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and grand pillared halls. The impressive GOPURAMS (towers) rise from solid granite bases, and are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters painted in vivid colors.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Madurai.

     

  • Day 13: Madurai

    Breakfast will be at the hotel. Enjoy the sightseeing of the temple town.

     

    The Vishnu Temple: There is a Vishnu Shrine called Kudal Algar (Kudal is the former names this town) and it is said that Lord Vishnu came down to this place to give away Meenakshi to God Sundareshvara.  The vimana or the tower of the god in the temple is of a very fine workmanship and is known as the Ashtanga Vimana. The Marriage of the Meenakshi is to have been celebrated on the day of Panguni Uttram generally occurring on the Full moon day of the month of Panguni (March – April). And is a very important Event in this place.

     

    Thirumalai Nayak Palace: This Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa.  In these two parts, there are royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. King Thirumalai Nayak celebrated festivals like Sceptre festival, Navarathri, Chithirai festival, Masi festival and the Float festival. He conducted daily dance and music performances in the palace. This palace was destroyed by his grandson Chokkanatha Nayak and the valuables were transferred to other places. During the British rule, in 1822, Lord Napier made several renovations works. Then the palace was utilized to house some officials of the judiciary and district administration. After independence, this palace was declared as a national monument and is now under the care of the Tamilnadu Archaeological Department.

     

    Kochadai Ayyanar Temple: This Ayyanar temple you can see almost all the Village side. The people believe that this temple used to protect them from all Evil powers. In this Kochadai Ayyanar temple, you can find a lot of Tarakota figure (Gaint size).

     

    Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam: Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is a huge temple tank about 5 km east of the Meenakshi temple. The mandapam in the centre has an idol of Vigneshwara (Vinayaka). It is said to have been found when the earth was being dug out from here to build the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. So, the place attained sanctity and was converted into a Teppakulam (tank). This enormous temple tank is fed by water brought from the Vagai through an ingenious system of underground Channels. King Thirumalai Nayak born in 'Poosa' Star so in commemorating the birth of the king “ Float Festival” is conducted in Tamil Month 'Thai' (Jan-Feb) in the tank in a colorful way, which attracts thousands of tourists.

     

    Thirupparankundram: located south of Madurai at a distance of 11 Km is the celebrated cave to Lord Subramanian (Lord Siva’s son) he is said to have married Devayana, daughter of Indra, in this place and performed several of his miracles. 8th Century Pandyas Rock cut Cave is also here and can be visited.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Madurai.

     

  • Day 14: Madurai – Trichy – Tanjore

    By road 190km-4hr

     

    After breakfast leave for Trichy, the short name of Trichurapalli, situated on the banks of Kaveri River is a blend of history and tradition as well as the pilgrim centre. It is famous for Ranganath temple at Srirangam.

     

    After lunch at a local restaurant, drive to Thanjavur or Tanjore en route visiting the Brass factory at Kumbakonam.

     

    Tanjore once the capital of Chola Kings, has the Brahadeswara temple(or the big temple of God).The temple tower rises to a height of 15mts from a square base of 29mts and then tapers off, making a total of 66mts.

     

    Overnight will be at Tanjore. 

     

  • Day 15: Tanjore – Chidambaram - Pondicherry

    By road 160km-04hr

     

    After breakfast drive to Pondicherry stopping on the way to visit Chidambaram.

     

    Chidambaram - The capital of the Cholas from AD 907 to 1310, Chidambaram is one of the Tamil Nadu’s most important holy towns.  

     

    Nataraja temple - is dedicated to Lord Siva in his dancing avatar, the Nataraja. The Nataraja dances the dance of apocalypse that destroys the cosmos, to pave the way for new creation. The temple complex is set within a walled rectangular frame and covers an area of about 22 hectares. The corridors surrounding the sanctum contain sculptured pillared halls and numerous shrines.

     

    Continue drive to Pondicherry which carries a strong whiff of the French presence in India. This erstwhile French colony on the east coast of South India merged with the rest of the country in 1954. Legend says that Pondicherry is the place where St. Agasthaya settled down.

     

    French dreams of an Indian Empire began and ended in Pondicherry. But in the scattered territories of the Union Territory of Pondicherry there remains what little there is left of the French influence in India and that makes the territory, especially its headquarters, Pondicherry, unique, something quite different from the rest of India. The Union Territory of Pondicherry comprises of 4 coastal regions of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. Pondicherry is on the east coast about 162 km south of Chennai (Madras) located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. This erstwhile French colony on the east coast of South India merged with the rest of the country in 1954. Legend says that Pondicherry is the place where St. Agasthaya settled down.

     

    Reach and check in at your hotel. Overnight will be at Pondicherry. 

     

  • Day 16: Pondicherry

    After breakfast, go sightseeing in the city.

     

    Visit the 17th century immaculate Conception Cathedral and the Gothic Sacred Heart Church on the Southern Boulevard, stopping to admire the exquisitely stained glass panels depicting events from the life of Christ. 

     

    Drive to visit Aurobindo Ashram, a commune housing followers from the world over. The ashram aims to disseminate the philosophy of Aurobindo’s “integral yoga” to the world.

     

    Visit the paper factory and the fishermen’s village. Enjoy a walk in the city.

     

    Overnight will be at Pondicherry. 

     

  • Day 17: Pondicherry - Mahabalipuram

    By road 112km-03hr

     

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and drive to Mahabalipuram. En-route visit Auroville.

     

    A few miles south of Chennai, at Mahabalipuram, on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal, a beautiful group of rock-cut monuments evokes the past. This ancient seaport was once the main harbor and naval base of the great Pallava Empire and is today the site of an enchanting seaside assemblage of temples and shrines. It was well known in the 1st century known to Greek traders and was the Pallava's second city. Though their power waned nearly 1200 years ago, they left a breathtaking legacy in four distinct kinds of sculpture, rathas (temple chariots), bas-relief sculptural panels, rock-cut caves, and free standing temples.

     

    Seventh-century carvings of the Pallava dynasty include a Tours of freestanding boulders carved to resemble small temples and animals. Rock - cut caves and a masterful stone bas-relief are nearby. The 'Penance of Arjuna' relief, cut on two huge rocks, shows scores of figures of deities, people and animals including, according to one interpretation, the emaciated figure of Arjuna, the great warrior of the Mahabharata, standing on one leg and doing penance, praying to Lord Shiva for the strength to destroy his enemies. Sadhus of today perform this exact act of sacrificial devotion. On the adjacent beach stands one of South India's oldest temples, the Shore Temple, its foundations washed for twelve centuries by the frothy sea.

     

    Overnight will be at Mahabalipuram.

     

  • Day 18: Mahabalipuram

    Enjoy the visit to the following places post breakfast:

     

    CAVES: There are nine rock-cut temples. The Mahishasuramardhini cave, depicting the goddess fighting a demon on one side and Lord Vishnu's cosmic sleep on the other, is a particularly remarkable one.

     

    KRISHNA MANDAPAM: A bas-relief, notable for its realistic representation. The panel relates to one of the stories of Lord Krishna.

     

    ARJUNA'S PENANCE: This is the world's largest bas-relief measuring 27m X 9m. This huge whale-backed rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts, birds and almost all of the entire creation. And, this is easily the pride of Mamallapuram.

     

    THE FIVE RATHAS: There are the five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They are also known as the Pancha Pandava Rathas - and four out of the five Rathas are supposed to have been carved out of a single rock.

     

    THE SHORE TEMPLE: This is one of the oldest temples. Unique about this temple is the fact that it houses shrines for both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. This belongs to the early 8th century AD and it is a classic example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in pure Dravidian style.

     

    Overnight will be at Mahabalipuram.

     

  • Day 19: Mahabalipuram

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

     

    Spend the day at leisure.

     

    Overnight will be at Mahabalipuram.

     

  • Day 20: Mahabalipuram – Kanchipuram – Chennai

    By road 76km-02hr

     

    After the breakfast at the hotel proceed to Chennai by road visiting Kanchipuram en route.

     

    Kanchipuram is a famous world for its gorgeous hand-woven silk. The exquisite silk saris from Kanchipuram are the toast of the cocktail circuit, from Kashmir to the Kanyakumari.

     

    Drive to Chennai. Check in to the hotel upon arrival.

     

    The first British Warehouse came up in 1639 when the British acquired the sandy beach from the local Nayakas on the lease. It was called Madraspatinam then. Later by 1654, the Fort St. George was built. Still, later the neighboring villages were included in the city which came either as grants or gifts. Triplicane was rented from the Sultan of Golconda in 1676. In 1744 Robert Clive worked as a writer from the Fort, later to become a military man of the British Army. The Fort House, which housed the Governor and his council, was added in the 17th Century, the Assembly Hall in 1910 and the Secretariat in 1925.

     

    All the neighboring areas were merged into the city now known as Madras or as Chennai as it is officially known. Until Independence, Madras was the capital of what in British times was called the Madras Presidency, comprising nearly the whole of South India, including the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada speaking areas.

     

    Proceed for city tour of Chennai.

     

    San Thome Cathedral was built by the Portuguese in the 14th and 15th century and is named after St. Thomas. Historically important, it is one of the pilgrimages for the Christian community.

     

    Fort St. George, one of the first few bastions built by the East India company, marks the beginning of Chennai as a modern city. It occupies a place of pride and prominence in Chennai. This bastion achieved its name from St. George, the patron saint of England. The state legislature and the secretariat are located in Fort St. George. It houses the St. Mary's church the oldest Anglican Church in India which was built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. The Fort Museum, once a building that housed Chennai's first lighthouse, first commercial bank and first 'club', is now a well-kept repository of tangible memories of early Madras.

     

    Kapaleeswarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva; Kapaleeswarar temple has inscriptions from the 13th century A.D. The temple 'Gopuram' (tower) is in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. The walls and pillars of the temple have very delicate and intricate carvings which depict the scenes from Hindu mythology.

     

    Visit the beach and the museum.

     

    Overnight will be at Chennai.

     

  • Day 21: Chennai – Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Colombo – Dambulla –Habarana:

    By road 160kms 4.5hrs

     

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

     

    Transfer to the airport to take flight for Colombo. Reach and drive to Habarana visiting Dambulla en route.

     

    Dambulla Cave Temples are a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991. This temple, dating back to the first century BC, when hermit monks established a monastery here, is one of the most impressive in Asia. It has five caves under a large overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interior dry. Inside the caves, the ceilings are painted with religious pictures and the colorful designs continue along the contours of the rock. There are images of Buddha, bodhisattvas, and various gods and goddesses

     

    Continue drive to the hotel in Habarana. Reach and check into the hotel.

     

    Overnight will be at Habarana.

     

  • Day 22: Habarana – Excursion to Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa

    After early breakfast proceed for an excursion to Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa.

     

    The day starts early, but it’s worth it! Your guide will lead you through ancient pleasure gardens to visit the fortress of Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock, built on top of a huge boulder in the 5th century. If you are keen to see the rock at its best with panoramic views from the top, then the ideal time to visit is 7.30am.

     

    Sigiriya is a large stone and ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos), which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. It is one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

     

    Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees of the Buddhist Sangha. According to the chronicles as Mahavamsa the entire complex was built by King Kashyapa (AD 477 – 495), and after the king's death, it was used as a Buddhist monastery until 14th century.

     

    You might like to enjoy a light lunch at the Sigiriya Rest House overlooking the rock fortress.

     

    Post lunch you will proceed for The UNESCO World Heritage Site Pollonaruwa. Polonnaruwa was the second capital and the seat of government from the eleventh to the thirteenth century. Constant invasions by southern Indian warrior tribes meant that the city was abandoned and Dambadeniya became the new capital. It was not until the nineteenth century that the citadel was rediscovered by English explorers.

     

    Overnight will be at Habarana.

     

  • Day 23: Habarana – excursion to Anuradhapura and Aukana

    Breakfast will be at the hotel. Proceed for an excursion to Anuradhapura & Aukana.

     

    Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka's ancient capital, 5th century BC - 9th century AD and the centre of the island's Buddhist civilization.  In antiquity and the interest, it is the equal of any ancient 'buried city'. The island's oldest Buddhist shrines - some dating back to 3rd century BC are found here.  Impressive white 'dagabas' (relic chambers) and monuments, embellished with handsome stone carvings and sculpture, the oldest documented tree on earth - The Sri Maha Bodhi (over 2000 years old), pleasure gardens, beautifully executed stone baths and ponds, a superb irrigation system of reservoirs and canals are the attractions of Anuradhapura.

     

    According to tradition, the magnificent 12m (30ft) standing Aukana Buddha was sculpted during the reign of Dhatusena in the 5th century - though some sources date it to the 12th or 13th century. Aukana means 'sun-eating', and dawn, when the first rays light up the huge statues finely-carved features, is the best time to see it.

     

    There's a local story that the statue is so finely carved that a drop of water would fall from its nose, without any breeze, between the Buddha's feet. There's another statue nearby, inferior and incomplete but nevertheless worth a visit.

     

    Overnight will be at Habarana.

     

  • Day 24: Habarana – Matale – Kandy

    By road 100kms in 03hrs

     

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

     

    Drive to Kandy visiting Matale en route.

                                                          

    Visit a spice garden in Matale to see different spices for which Sri Lanka is famous for. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed.

     

    Continue drive to Kandy. Reach and check into the hotel.

     

    Kandy was the capital of the venerated 16th century Kandyan Kings, who fiercely and successfully defended their kingdom against Portuguese and Dutch invaders for 300 years. It eventually fell to the British in 1815, but the salubrious hill station has maintained its position as an epicenter of Sinhalese culture and the site of an important spiritual pilgrimage for Buddhists. Many of the legends, traditions, and folklore are still lovingly kept alive by the region’s friendly people.

     

    Enjoy the city sightseeing.

     

    Kandy National Museum – This building established during Sri Wickrama Rajasingha era was then known as “Palle Vahala” This was used as the palace where the Queens of the king lived. This building has been built according to the architectural features of the Kandy period. This Pallewela building was used to deposit the various items of historical value made by Kandy Art Association established in 1832 and technicians of Matale district. This was opened for the public as a museum 1942. This museum has over 5000 museum objects which are depicting various aspects of historical and cultural events of the Kandyan period. (17-19 century A.D.)

     

    We head towards the Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka’s most sacred site. Tradition relates that a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka in 4th Century A.D. and was enshrined within the Dalada Maligawa, or the Temple of the Tooth. This sacred relic has ever since been the symbol of sovereignty for the Sinhalese kings and always enshrined in great splendor. Kandy’s Dalada Maligawa is a magnificent shrine, with decorative walls, golden roof and fine woodwork. Religious services (pooja) are held daily at dawn, midday, and in the evening and can be viewed by visitors. The services are accompanied by traditional music and drumming.

     

    In the evening, enjoy walking around Kandy’s central market. Stocking a range of foods, spices, herbal tonics, crafts, textiles and factory-reject designer-brand clothing, it caters mainly to the locals.

     

    Overnight will be at Kandy.

     

  • Day 25: Kandy – Nuwara Eliya

    By road 90kms-03hrs

     

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

     

    You will start the day in Kandy with a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens. First conceived as a Queen’s pleasure garden in the 14th century and a Kandyan Prince’s residence in the 18th century the gardens were formally opened under their current guise in 1821. Walking around these tranquil, immaculately-designed lawns, borders, pavilions and plant houses, you could easily think you are in England but the heat and extraordinary diversity of the tropical plants give the game away. The Botanical Gardens are as popular with Sri Lankans and travellers alike, and they are large enough to guarantee that there is shady seating available for each visitor.

     

    Later drive to Nuwara Eliya experiencing a scenic drive en route stop at Ramboda falls watch-point.

     

    Arrive in Nuwara Eliya - the land of tea-laden hillsides, gurgling waterfalls, stirring mountains and clear hill-country air. Here, in temperatures akin to a beautiful English summer’s day, is wonderful walking country, a chance to experience Sri Lankan scenery at its finest.

     

    Enjoy the sightseeing - Sri Lanka’s hill villages, tea processing factories, Botanical Gardens etc.

     

    Overnight will be at Nuwara Eliya.

     

  • Day 26: Nuwara Eliya

    Morning – visit Horton Plains.

     

    Nuwara-Eliya is the town base for visits to Horton Plains National Park. The journey from Nuwara-Eliya to Horton Plains only takes an hour. Horton Plains National Park is the only Nations Park situated in the hill country and the highest plateau in the island consisting of grassland interspersed with patches of forest, with some unusual high altitude vegetation and an excellent excursion and a paradise for nature lovers, hikers and bird watching.

     

    The grassy plains still host many other wild lives. Species found here include Leopard, Sambar and the endemic Purple-faced Langur. Endemic highland birds include Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye, and Yellow-eared Bulbul.

     

    The most stunning place is the World's End, where the southern Horton Plains suddenly ends, and drops off to nearly 1050 meters, when is an awesome sight indeed. This shear drop offers a breathtaking view of the land below on clear days. This is a favorite place for trekkers, as there are plenty of soft and hard trails.

     

    Early morning visits are essential, both to see the wildlife and to view World's End before mists close in during the later part of the morning.

     

    Flora - Trees & shrubs; up to now 744 species of flowering plants have been identified in the area out of which 112 species are endemic, and 78 species are identified to be endangered. Being a grassland more than 50 species of grass has been identified, the majority of which are endemic.

     

    Fauna - 460 species of birds are recorded to be found in Sri Lanka, out of which 33 species are endemic - out of this number more than 100 species are confined to Horton Plains. 12 endemic species of these birds can be seen in Horton Plains. Mammals - more than 10 species of mammals could be seen in the area, and apart from these, some species of reptiles, amphibians and butterflies could be seen in the area.

     

    Afternoon – enjoy the rest of the sightseeing tour. Tombs of some distinguished Englishman who lived in Nuwara Eliya can be seen in front of the Golf Ground just a few meters away from the existing bus stand of the town. A tomb has been erected in memory of a young person called Ebenisher Golder Manro (born 01st November 1814) and was killed by a wild buffalo on 24.01.1841 at Elephant Plain. He was identified as a son of Lt. John Manro who lived in Sri Lanka.

     

    There is another tomb erected in memory of Sir William Rock who served the country as a Judge. He died at the age of 64 on 19.05.1838 in Nuwara Eliya. There is also an important tomb erected for an Englishman called Major Thomas Rodger who had a habit of hunting white elephants. He was said to be killed by an elephant in the jungle. Legends say this tomb had been continuously damaged over every four years due to highlighting on it which people believe has a mysterious curse. The tomb is now seen as cracked stone pieces.

     

    Overnight will be at Nuwara Eliya.

     

  • Day 27: Nuwara Eliya – Yala National Park

    By Road 144kms in 3.5hrs

     

    Yala is an ideal place to spot the “big four” of Sri Lankan wildlife, the elephants, the sloth bear, the elusive leopard and the wild buffalo, the unsung denizen of the park if nothing else dangerous to the extreme. The roaming elephant herds can be easily seen during dry spells at the small-scale reservoirs like Butuwe (derived from the word “Wana Butewa”) and Mahaseelawa while Uraniya is best known for its aquatic avifauna, wild buffalo, mugger or marsh crocodile & saltwater crocodiles. The black sloth bear is more difficult to spot as it’s more of a solitary animal of nocturnal habits and sightings tend to be a seasonal occurrence.

     

    Check in at the Lodge in Yala for seven nights.

     

    Dinner & Overnight will be at Yala.

     

  • Day 28: Yala

    Full day game drives into the Yala National Park in search of Leopard, Elephant, Sloth Bear and other wildlife. Yala Block one is a home to over 40 big cats and is one of the best sites in the world to see them in the wild. It is also home to around 300 elephants, other animals seen are Mugger Crocodile, Jackal, Samba, Spotted Deer, Buffalo, and Peacock. The park is also situated along the Southern coast of Sri Lanka and allows for some spectacular landscape photography especially around dawn and dusk.

     

    (The hotel will provide take away breakfast & Lunch)

     

    Dinner & overnight will be at Yala.

     

  • Day 29: Yala

    Full day game drives into the Yala National Park in search of Leopard, Elephant, Sloth Bear and other wildlife. Yala Block one is a home to over 40 big cats and is one of the best sites in the world to see them in the wild. It is also home to around 300 elephants, other animals seen are Mugger Crocodile, Jackal, Samba, Spotted Deer, Buffalo, and Peacock. The park is also situated along the Southern coast of Sri Lanka and allows for some spectacular landscape photography especially around dawn and dusk.

     

    (The hotel will provide take away breakfast & Lunch)

     

    Dinner & overnight will be at Yala.

     

  • Day 30: Yala – Galle

    By road 168kms in 03hrs

     

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

     

    Drive to Galle. Reach and check into the hotel.

     

    One of Sri Lanka’s finest colonial-era showpieces, this Dutch-built town and the 17th-century fort of Galle offer a fascinating glimpse into the colonial past of the island. Huge bastions and ramparts enclose the quaint town with its narrow streets, old villas and offer mesmerizing sunset views across the Indian Ocean.

     

    Overnight will be at Galle.

     

  • Day 31: Galle

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

     

    Visit the OLD GALLE FORT in Sri Lanka’s 04th biggest town.

     

    The best time to explore Galle Fort is in the afternoon. The 16th century Galle Fort is a world heritage site. Spanning over 90 acres, it is Asia’s best preserved and largest surviving fort built by European occupiers. It was originally built by the Portuguese in 1588 and extended to its present glory by the Dutch in 1663. The best way to soak up the charm of the Old City and to get our bearings is by taking a stroll around the thick granite walls of the fort. This one hour circuit is most enjoyable at sunrise and sunset as the air is cool and the light is long and low. The real allure is found in simply wandering through its warren of narrow alleys and side streets, replete with colonial homes with original archways and verandas, 18th-century churches, mosques, museums and impressive art galleries and clothing boutiques.

     

    Overnight will be at Galle.

     

  • Day 32: Galle – Colombo

    By road 130kms-03hrs

     

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

     

    Proceed to Colombo. Reach and check into the hotel.

     

    The capital city is spread along the shore of the Indian Ocean for some miles, where business and commerce begin and end. The Cinnamon Gardens and Pettah are Colombo’s busiest and most traditional Bazaar area. Visits to the Hindu temple with elaborate stone carvings, the Dutch Church at Wolfe dhal dating back to 1749, the historic Devatgahaha mosque and the Gangarama Temple give a good cultural feel about the country. While the city holds less obvious interest than many other parts of the island. It’s still a colorful enough place and worth a visit to see what makes Sri Lanka tick.   

     

    Learn the word ‘Estuti’ - it means thank you in Sinhalese and can go a long way in pleasing the locals.

     

    Enjoy the day sightseeing in the city.

     

    Visit the Hindu temple with elaborate stone carvings, the Dutch Church at Wolfe dhal dating back to 1749, the historic Devatgahaha Mosque, Gangarama Temple and the house of Fashion for value for money ready-made garments.

     

    Shop for ceramics or visit the Lanka Ceramic center.

     

    Overnight will be at Colombo.

     

  • Day 33: Departure from Colombo

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

     

    Spend the day in leisure… enjoy last minute shopping.

     

    As per the international flight timings you will be transferred to the airport to take the flight back home with sweet memories of INDIA & SRILANKA TOUR.

     

    TOUR ENDS