• shore-temple-mahabalipuram

21 Days South India Temple Tours

21 Days South India Temple Tours

Itinerary Summary

The Cultural Karnataka & Tamil Nadu Tour with Beaches & Backwaters Tour is one of our more elaborate tours of South India. This three-week long tour covers three of the four venerated states of North India - Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. Enchanting Tamil Nadu hosts some of the grandest specimens of Dravidian Temple Architecture in the World. The endearing craftsmanship, historical significance and religious importance of the Brihadishwara Temple in Thanjavur and the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram cannot be easily put in worlds.

The other UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Tamil Nadu covered in the itinerary of the tour include the colossal structure of the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple at Mahabalipuram. The itinerary also covers the emerald backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarakom in Kerala. The Chinese Fishing Nets and Jewish Synagogue at Cochin are other tourist attractions of this self-proclaimed 'God's Own Country'. The beaches, festivities and music of Goa make it the ultimate romantic getaway destination. Karnataka lure tourists with ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire at Hampi, catchy and distinguished cave temples at Badami, the famous Mysore Palace that glows like a bride on Dussehra night.

  • Day 1:


    Explore India Representative will meet and assist you upon your arrival at the Chennai International Airport. Transfer to your hotel. Check in at hotel in Chennai.

    Overnight will be at Chennai.

  • Day 2:

    Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram

    (120 km / 5 hrs)

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Proceed for a sightseeing tour of Chennai visiting Museum (Closed on Fridays and holidays). Drive through the flower and fruit market, High Court, Fort Museum, Marina Beach, San Thom Cathedral and Snake Park.

    Proceed for Mahabalipuram by surface.

    Kanchipuram: Kanchipuram is a small rural town about 75 km from Chennai (Madras) in the state of Tamilnadu. It also serves as the district head quarters for the Chengalpattu district. Its economy is entirely dependent on tourism and the well established handloom industry. Silk sarees manufactured here are one of the best in the entire world. Is one of the India's seven sacred cities it was the historical Capital of the Pal lavas. This city is also a world renowned for the gorgeous hand woven silk. Saris of myriad rich colors, noted for their shine, finish and matchless beauty. The Exquisite silk saris are woven from the pure mulberry silk in contrasting colors and have an enviable reputation for lustre, durability and finish.

    Vaikuntha Perumal Temple: this is the one of the important Vishnu temple built by The Pallava king in the 7th century AD.

    Kailasanatha Temple: built in the 8th century this temple is noted for architecture and Sculptures. There are 58 small shrines are situated around the main shrine as well as the Compound wall paintings of fresco style adorn the inner walls of the shrines.

    Ekambareswara Temple: another ancient temple of the city dedicated to Siva. The 57 meters high Rajagopuram {tower} is one of the tallest in south India. The 2500-year-old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yields different varieties of mangoes. This temple has five spacious corridors {prakkaram} and a thousand pillar halls.

    Varadharaja Temple: is massive and impressive edifice. The hundred-pillar hall Erected during the Vijayanagara period in this temple is noted for its exquisite sculptures. The ornamental rings carved out of a single stone in a chain at the four corners are special Features of the hall.

    Kamashi Amman Temples: this is one of the three holy places of sakthi worship in India the other tow are Madurai and Varanasi.

    Overnight will be in Mahabalipuram.

  • Day 3:


    Breakfast will be at hotel.

    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 series 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.

    Enjoy visit to the following places:

    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 the hotel.


  • Day 4:

    Mahabalipuram - Trichy

    (240 km / 5 hr)

    Breakfast will be at hotel.

    Drive to Trichy a famous temple town in South India.

    Situated on the banks of river Kaveri, Trichurapalli, the fourth largest city in the state was a citadel of the early Cholas, which later fell to the Pallavas. Trichy came to be occupied in turn by the Nayaka of Madurai, the Marathas, the Nawabs of Carnatic, the French and finally the British. But it was under Nayakas of Madurai that Trichy flourished and prospered in tit's own right and grew to be the city that is today. Trichy is fine blend of tradition and modernity built round the rock fort Apart from the fort there are several Churches, Colleges and Missions dating back to the 1760s. With Excellent infrastructural facilities Trichy will serve as a good base to explore the South of Tamilnadu.

    Overnight will be in Trichy.

  • Day 5:

    Trichy - Tanjore - Madurai

    (240 km / 6 hr)

    Start sightseeing after breakfast.

    Visit the ancient temples dedicated to Lord Ganapathi, 434 steps cut out into the rock side and interspersed with shrines, lead to the temple. Visit SRIRANGAM, a massive temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu sprawled on a Island in CAUVERY RIVER which contains within its walls a Bazaar (TRADITIONAL MARKET OF INDIA) as well. Gaze up at the twenty-one magnificent towers of the temple surrounded by seven walls.

    In the afternoon drive to Tanjore also known as Thanjavur (The rice bowl of TAMIL NADU). Proceed for sight seeing of Tanjore. Visit the famous Chola Temple of Brihadeeshwara - A WORLD HERITAGE MONUMENT. Its bronze and handicrafts make Tanjore one of the highlights of the tour to South India. The majesty of the palaces and art gallery attached to the temple is really awe-inspiring. It is also famous for the silk.

    Later leave for Madurai by surface and en route visit Karaikkudi (Chettinad).

    Madurai is over 2500 years old and is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu - Ancient seat of learning. The city is planned in the shape of a lotus.

    Check into the hotel by noon. Overnight will be at Madurai.

  • Day 6:


    Breakfast will be at hotel.

    Visit the famous Madurai Meenakhshi temple (dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva with its towering GOPURAMS) - There are four entrances to this amazing temple complex set in 6 hectares. Beat some of the stone pillars in the complex with any hard object and feel incredible on hearing sweet metal sounds. The total number of pillars in the temple is a staggering one Thousand.

    Enjoy the sightseeing of this town during the day and later in the evening relax at the hotel.

    Overnight will be in Madurai.

  • Day 7:

    Madurai - Thekkady (Periyar)

    (180 km / 4 hr)

    Breakfast will be at hotel.

    Proceed to Thekkady.

    The river Periyar is the longest river in Kerala. This is the only perennial river in South India with clean water. The river occupies an important place in the history of Kerala. In the Sangam age Tamil epics such as Chilapathikaram, 'Akananuru', 'Purananuru' etc much has been said about this mighty river, formerly known as the 'Choorni Nadi' or 'Thamraparni Nadi' (Sukasandesam - stanza 66).

    A land route existed in the Sangam age from Mussuris (present-day Kodungalloor) to Madurai, which passed near the banks of the river Periyar. The capital of the old Chera Empire presumably existed on the banks of the river Periyar. It is believed that there was a flood in the 4th century AD that severely damaged the areas along the Periyar and the people living there had to escape to safer locations, abandoning their homes and livelihoods. The flood of AD 1341 resulted in the closing of Kodungalloor port and the opening of a new port at Kochi. The huge landslide that began in the high ranges as a result of the heavy downpours sent massive flows of mud and sand which created an Island at the 'Azhimugham' of the Periyar which is now known as the Vyppin Islands.

    Visit spice plantations like cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates etc. on cycle. Stop at the local market "KUMILY" and pick up some fragrant spices.

    Overnight will be spent at Thekkady.

  • Day 8:


    After early breakfast start for the Nature Trek into the forest.

    In the afternoon, proceed for the boat ride at Periyar. Today you can visit the rare species of plants and animals. Take a jungle walk and enjoy nature. Proceed for an ELEPHANT RIDE (provided elephants are available on this day as they are rounded up in the morning and released in the evening).

    In the evening relax at resort.

    Overnight will be in Thekkady.

  • Day 9:

    Thekkady - Kumarokom

    (175 km in 5 hr)

    Proceed to Kumarokom after breakfast.

    Arrive at Kumarokom, after a journey of approx. 5 hours enjoying the beauty of the traditional Keralian houses.

    The village of Kumarokom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and this small water world is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres, is a favorite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live there in flocks are a fascination for visitors. The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarokom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands.

    An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarokom offers visitors many other leisure options. Boating and fishing facilities are available at Kumarokom. An unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with while lilies - this is Kumarokom.

    Reach and visit the Bird Sanctuary. Check in at Hotel.

    Spend the night relaxing at Kumarokom.

  • Day 10:

    Houseboat Cruise

    Breakfast would be at the resort.

    Enjoy the morning at the resort taking a rejuvenation massage. Board the houseboat in the afternoon for a cruise in the backwaters.

    Our boat awaits and we begin a thrilling and colorful boat ride through the 'backwaters' to Ambalaphuza, all sitting on the deck to see more! The term 'backwaters' actually refers to the extensive network of rivers, lakes, canals and lagoons that lace the coastal plain interior coastline and stretch from Cochin almost down to Trivandrum. Small canoes, elderly sailboats, coconut-laden barges, tiny skiffs full of school children, Chinese-style Junks and thatch-covered country craft are common sights.

    Lunch will be served on the boat freshly prepared by the crew.

    In the evening the boat will anchor by the lush paddy fields and enjoy the tranquility of the water around.

    Dinner would be laid out in the boat.

    Overnight stay will be on houseboat.

  • Day 11:

    Alleppey - Cochin

    (60 km in 1 hr)

    Breakfast will be on the boat.

    Proceed to Alleppey.

    Alleppey (Alappuzha) is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. Alappuzha remains prominent on the tourist trial 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.

    Disembark from the boat and proceed to Cochin.

    The eventful history of this city began when a major flood in AD 1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi, till then a land locked region, turning it into one of the finest natural harbors in the world. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European town-ship in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.

    The Dutch wrested Fort Kochi from the Portuguese in AD 1663 and later in the last phase of the colonial saga, the British took over, the town in 1795. During 1660's, Fort Kochi peaked in stature as a prime commercial centre and its fame spread far and wide - variously as a rich trade centre, a major military base, a vibrant cultural hub, a great ship building centre, a centre for Christianity and so on. Today, centuries later, the city is home to nearly thirteen communities.

    In the evening proceed for KATHAKALI DANCE PRESENTATION. Over night stay at hotel.

    Overnight stay will be at Cochin.

  • Day 12:

    Cochin - Goa

    By Air
    Flight Number

    Enjoy breakfast in the hotel.

    Proceed to the airport as per the flight timings to Goa.

    Reach and check in to the hotel.

    Goa, variously known as "Rome of the East", "Tourist Paradise" and "Pearl of the Orient", the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan. The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendors of its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favorite with travelers around the world. Nestled on the slopes of the Western Ghats (Sahyadri ranges), Goa is bounded on the North by Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, on the East by Belgaum, on the South by Karwar Districts of Karnataka, and on the west by Arabian Sea.

    Legends from Hindu mythology credit Lord Parshuram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu with the creation of Goa. Over the centuries various dynasties have ruled Goa. Rashtrakutas, Kadambas, Silaharas, Chalukyas, Bahamani Muslims and most famously the Portuguese have been rulers of Goa. Goa was liberated by the Indian Army from Portuguese colonization on 19th of December 1961 and became a Union Territory along with the enclaves of Daman and Diu. On 30th of May 1987 Goa was conferred statehood and became the 25th state of the Indian Republic. After all, more than anywhere else on planet earth, this is a place where people really know how to relax.

    Relax at the beach during the day.

    Overnight will be at Goa.

  • Day 13:


    Breakfasts will be in hotel.

    Relax at the beach or explore the town.

    Overnight will be in Goa.

  • Day 14:


    Breakfasts will be in hotel.

    Relax at the beach or explore the town.

    Overnight will be in Goa.

  • Day 15:

    Goa - Badami

    (190 km/ 6 hrs)

    Enjoy breakfast in the hotel.

    Drive to Badami - Capital of the ancient South Indian Kingdom of the Chalukyas after breakfast.

    On arrival check in to hotel and proceed for sight seeing of Badami.

    Badami, more than anything else, it is known for its rock-cut cave temples. They have been carved out of the red sandstone hills surrounding Badami. Apart from rock-cut temples, the town also has some other temples and a beautiful tank. Finally, the Badami Fort is a good place to view the entire Badami ruins.

    Overnight will be at Hotel in Badami.

  • Day 16:

    Badami - Hospet

    (180 Km / 4 hrs)

    Check out after early breakfast from the hotel.

    Proceed for sight seeing of 'AIHOLE & PATTADAKAL'.

    'Pattadakal' was the second capital of the mighty Chalukyans and a place that hosted important state functions of the time. It is also a centre of Chalukyan architectural extravaganza. There are many temples here, mostly dating back to 6th and 7th centuries AD. 'Aihole' completes the third dimension of Chalukyan architectural centers. This place had an important position during the rule of the Chalukyas. There are a number of richly carved Hindu temples constructed in the 6th and 7th centuries. The small museum run by the archaeological department that showcases objects found in Aihole, mostly of the Chalukyan era is worth a visit too. Later drive to reach Hospet. On arrival check-in to the hotel and after refreshment we proceed for the sightseeing of Daroji bear sanctuary - only special Sanctuary in India for Bears.

    A short drive of 20 km will reach you to this sanctuary where you drive though the Shrubby forest looking out for Bears. You also have a great chance to view the bears from the view-point at a good height.

    If you are lucky it's the best place to see & enjoy the activities of bears in wild (untamed)

    Overnight will be at Hotel in Hospet.

  • Day 17:


    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Start the day excursion to HAMPI.

    HAMPI, the seat of the famed VIJAYANAGARA Empire was the capital of the largest empire in post-mogul India, covering several states. The empire reigned supreme under Krishnadevaraya, the Emperor. The Vijayanagara Empire stretched over at least three states - Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. Although in ruins today, this capital city once boasted riches known far beyond the shores of India. The ruins of Hampi of the 14th Century lie scattered in about 26 sq. km area, amidst giant boulders and vegetation and silently narrate the story of grandeur splendor and fabulous wealth.

    Every rock, every path and every monument at Hampi speaks the same language; a language of glory and beauty.

    In the afternoon enjoy you lunch at a specialty restaurant "Under the Mango Tree" Restaurant - The small sign tacked to a tree is the only indication that the narrow path through a banana plantation leads to a lovely outdoor restaurant. The best thing about the Mango Tree is the surroundings: on a packed-earth bank under a giant mango tree (with a swing!), looking out over the Tungabhadra River.

    Overnight will be at Hotel in Hospet.

  • Day 18:

    Hospet - Hassan

    (340 Km / 7.5 hrs)

    After early breakfast drive to Hassan, enroute visit the famous Hoysala temples of "Belur & Halebid".

    The 12th century temples of Belur and Halebid stands the most beautiful for its most beautiful sculptures when compared to any other temples in south India. Typically these temples are squat & star shaped. Its outstanding sculptures all over the walls and pillars state the stories from the old epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata & Bhagavath Geetha enabling to know of Hindu culture. It also describes the story of the rulers of Karnataka and their interest in dance and music.

    Later drive to reach HASSAN. Check in and rest as this would be a long day.

    Overnight will be at Hotel in Hassan.

  • Day 19:

    Hassan - Mysore via Sravanbelagola

    (140 Km / 3 hrs)

    Check out from the hotel after breakfast and drive to Mysore.

    Enroute visit Sravanbelagola, the famous Jain pilgrim center & one of the oldest in India. The place is known as one of the greatest monuments of Jain art. The collosul statue of Gomateswara with a height of 57 feet is situated on the summit of Indragiri hill. It is one of the two giant sculptures in the world, after the Collosus Ramses II in Egypt. After visiting in here we drive further to reach the hotel at "Mysore" - the palace city of South India.

    On arrival at Mysore check in to hotel and later proceed for sight seeing tour of Mysore.

    Visit the Maharaja's Palace built as recently as 1897, which is one of the biggest in India; St Philomena's Church etc; Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery housed in the Jagmohan Palace, which has a collection of exquisite paintings.

    In the evening visit the Chamundi hill temple and Bull temple.

    Overnight will be at Hotel in Mysore.

  • Day 20:


    Morning after breakfast, drive to Somnathpur - a tiny village on the banks of the Kaveri. Here in this everlasting rural stillness, like a milestone to eternity, stood one of the last and the grandest of Hoysala monuments - the Kesava Temple built 740 years ago.

    Later return to Srirangapatnam - a place with Ancient history is an Island fortress. We visit Tippu's Summer Palace & the Fort. Later drive to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary - on one of the three islands in the Cauvery River.

    It's a good place to see Storks, Ibis, Egrets, Darters, Spoonbills and Cormorants round the year. Return to hotel late afternoon and leisure.

    Overnight will be in Mysore.

  • Day 21:

    Mysore - Bangalore - Next Destination

    (130 Km/3 hrs)

    Enjoy breakfast in the hotel.

    Proceed to Bangalore. Reach and proceed to the airport for onward flight.




Please note that only lunches and dinners are not included (except where mentioned in the inclusion list) along with personal expenses and camera, etc. fees, tips, (if any) at places where applicable. All hotels are subject to availability and all flights are subject to confirmation. The airfare is also separate to the tour cost and not part of the tour price.


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Guest Experiences

Guest Name: Maria Veronica Galli 
Tour Taken: Delhi - Agra - Mumbai 


Thanks for your wishes of 2017 and the same for you. Here I am sending you the photos of my trip as requested.If you want you can add my comments to your website, delighted, the truth is that whatever I contracted surpassed my expectations. Everything even the  vehicles, were excellent, just like the drivers and the friendly guides, of quality and loving .I felt at ease and was able to enjoy my trip. You never know I might return to India , the truth is  I liked it a lot and would love to know  a lot more. Many Thanks!



Maria Veronica

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