India Golden Triangle and Tamil Nadu
Embark on this cultural and spiritual journey of India on a 15-days tour to one of India’s most sought-after cultural & historical sites. This tour is a comprehensive experience of the Indian Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur) and Tamil Nadu – the land of cultural and religious heritage. The tour takes you through the famous trinity of Indian tourism – Delhi, Agra & Jaipur. The tour culminates at the Pink City “Jaipur”, an enthralling historical city and the gateway to India’s most flamboyant state – Rajasthan. The city’s colorful, chaotic streets ebb and flow with a heady brew of old and new. In the midst of this mayhem, the splendors of Jaipur’s majestic past are islands of relative calm evoking a different pace and another world.
Day 1 – Arrival at Delhi
This amazing tour kicks off on your arrival at Delhi. Welcome to the capital of India and the second-most populous city of India – Delhi. The city’s importance lies not just in its past glory as of the seat of empires and magnificent monuments, but also in the rich and diverse cultures.
You will be received by the driver at Delhi Airport and transferred to the hotel for check-in. After refreshing head out for Delhi sightseeing. Start with a visit to the famous Lotus Temple. Notable for its flower-like shape, it has become a prominent attraction in the city. Like all Baháʼí Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion or any other qualification. Afterward, drive past Rashtrapati Bhavan (the residence of President of India), and visit India Gate (a memorial to 82,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who died in the period 1914–21 in the First World War). Overnight stay will be at a hotel in Delhi. (Hotel: The Leela Ambience Convention New Delhi or similar)
Day 2 – Delhi Day Tour (B, D)
Enjoy a scrumptious breakfast to start your day of sightseeing in Delhi. A mixture of history with a taste of everyday Delhi, today’s itinerary covers all aspects of this former capital of the Mughal Empire. Stop off at the UNESCO World Heritage sites, Humayun’s Tomb. Built-in 1570, it is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. Then visit the magnificent Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656. After that visit the bustling Chandni Chowk – one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Enjoy a rickshaw ride at Chandni Chowk. Later visit the towering Qutub Minar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a 73-meter (239.5 feet) tall tapering tower of five stories. Qutb-Ud-Din Aibak, the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, started construction of the Qutb Minar’s first story around 1192.
Afterward visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most prominent Sikh temples, or Sikh house of worship in Delhi and known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan. There is also a sacred pool inside its complex, known as the “Sarovar.”
Have dinner at a nice restaurant and then reach back to the hotel. (Hotel: The Leela Ambience Convention New Delhi or similar)
Day 3 – Delhi – Agra (B, L)
After breakfast, check out from the hotel & head towards Agra. Welcome to the city of Wonder… because it’s the place of the Taj Mahal – one of the seven wonders of the world. Pictures of the Taj Mahal don’t do complete justice to its magnificence. It’s an epitome and symbol of love. You got to be here to feel your jaws drop. Agra used to be the historic capital of the Mughal empire.
Reach Agra by afternoon. Have lunch at a nice restaurant. Check-in at the hotel and freshen up. In the late afternoon visit Agra Fort, a historical fort, which remained the main residence of the Mughal emperors till 1638. Walking through courtyard after courtyard of this palatial red-sandstone and marble fortress, your amazement keeps growing as you hear about the history of this fort from the guide. In the evening visit the local market to get the true essence of Agra city. Overnight stay will be at a hotel in Agra. (Hotel: Double Tree By Hilton Agra or similar)
Day 4 – Agra – Keoladeo National Park – Jaipur (B)
Early in the morning at sunrise visit the spectacular Taj Mahal (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) built by Shah Jahan in 1560 in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
After a filling breakfast check out from the hotel, and head towards the Pink City – Jaipur, famous for its broad avenues, massive forts, magnificent palaces, exquisite temples, and royal culture.
On the way visit Keoladeo National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. It is home to over 360 bird species, including aquatic birds, visitors from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Siberia. Enjoy an eco-friendly rickshaw ride at the bird sanctuary. Then visit Chand Baori, a 13 floors stepwell built over a thousand years ago in the Abhaneri village of Rajasthan. It is one of the largest step wells in the world and also one of the most beautiful ones.
Check-in to the hotel on arrival & relax. Evening at your leisure. The overnight stay will be at a hotel in Jaipur. (Hotel: Holiday Inn City Centre Jaipur or similar)
Day 5 – Jaipur Sightseeing (B, D)
Have a sumptuous breakfast and then set out for exploring the best attractions of Jaipur. Visit Hawa Mahal (“Palace of Winds”), a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside. Then visit Jantar Mantar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). It is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments, built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh, and completed in 1738 CE. Afterward, visit the City Palace. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during the years 1729 to 1732, the vast complex of the palace occupied one-seventh of the walled city. The palace is divided into a series of courtyards, buildings, and gardens.
In the afternoon stop by Jal Mahal, a palace in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city. It was built in the 17th century. Then visit the grand Amer Fort (or Amber Fort), also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the principal tourist attraction in Jaipur and the current structure was built during the late 16th century by Rajput Kings. This magnificent fort comprises an extensive palace complex, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone, and white marble, and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. In the evening visit Nahargarh Fort, which provides a beautiful bird’s eye view of the entire Jaipur city.
Later in the evening enjoy dinner at a nice restaurant. The overnight stay will be at the hotel in Jaipur. (Hotel: Holiday Inn City Centre Jaipur or similar)
Day 6 – Jaipur – Chennai (B)
After breakfast check out from the hotel. The private car will drop you at Jaipur airport. Board your flight for Chennai. Among Chennai’s greatest assets are its people, infectiously enthusiastic about their hometown; they won’t hit you with a lot of hustle and hassle. Recent years have thrown in a new layer of cosmopolitan glamour: luxe hotels, sparkling boutiques, quirky cafes, smart contemporary restaurants, and a sprinkling of swanky bars and clubs.
With its sweltering southern heat, roaring traffic, and lack of outstanding sights, Chennai has often been seen as the dowdier sibling among India’s four biggest cities. But even if you’re just caught here between connections.
Private cars will pick-up from Chennai airport and transfer to the hotel for check-in. Evening at your leisure. Overnight stay will be at a hotel in Chennai. (Hotel: Taj Club House or similar)
Remarks: Domestic flight from Jaipur to Chennai is included.
Day 7 – Chennai – Mahabalipuram (B, D)
After breakfast check out from the hotel and head towards Mahabalipuram. The beauty of this place is not only due to the magnificent ancient architecture but the vast casuarinas trees, the silvery sandy beach the classical hand male crafts around have made them all form what is a collective splendor.
Reach Mahabalipuram by noon. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage monuments of Mahabalipuram. Visit Shore Temple, the most famous monument in the town. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th Century CE. Afterward, visit Pancha Ratha. The Pancha Ratha is a set of 5 different monuments. Each one is called a Ratha and is named after the Pandavas and their family. Then visit Cave Temples, located on the hillock of the town. They are cut and decorated with panels in the Mamalla style of the Pallava period in the 7th century.
Dinner & overnight stay at hotel in Mahabalipuram. (Hotel: Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay or similar)
Day 8 – Mahabalipuram Sightseeing (B, D)
After breakfast head out for a day trip to Kanchipuram. The city was also a religious center of advanced education for Jainism and Buddhism between the 1st and 5th centuries. Out of the 108 holy temples of the Hindu god Vishnu, 14 are located in Kanchipuram. The city is well known for its hand-woven silk sarees. Visit Kailasanatha Temple which is the oldest structure in the town dedicated to Lord Shiva. This Hindu temple in the Dravidian architectural style was built from 685-705 AD. Later visit Ekambareswarar Temple, constructed at least before 600 AD dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the biggest Hindu temples in India with a size of 25 acres. There are 5 elements earth, water, fire, air, and space. For each element, there is a temple in South India. These temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, just like most of the ancient temples in South India. Ekambareswarar Temple represents the element of Earth.
Reach Mahabalipuram by evening. Evening at your leisure. Dinner & overnight stay at hotel in Mahabalipuram. (Hotel: Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay or similar)
Day 9 – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (B)
After breakfast check out and head towards Pondicherry.
Reach Pondicherry by afternoon. The union territory of Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry, generally known as ‘Pondy’) was under French rule until 1954. Some people here still speak French (and English with French accents). Check-in at the hotel on arrival & relax.
In the late afternoon head out for sightseeing. Visit the French Quarter. Many of the structures in the French Quarter of Pondicherry are colonial buildings and were built by the French during their rule. Some of the buildings in White Town have been deemed as heritage sites and are breathtakingly beautiful.
The overnight stay will be at a hotel in Pondicherry. (Hotel: La Villa Pondicherry or similar)
Day 10 – Pondicherry Sightseeing (B)
After breakfast head out for Pondicherry sightseeing. Start with a visit to The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an oriental specimen of Gothic architecture. It contains rare stained glass panels depicting events from the life of Christ and saints of the Catholic Church. Later visit Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple, dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha. The monumental interiors of the temple are decorated with forty incarnations and forms of Lord Ganesha, carved on the stone walls of the temple. In the evening hangout at Pondicherry beaches. The Pondicherry beaches have a unique charm where its inherent serene atmosphere contrasts the wild, roaring sea rushing onto it. You can experience it yourself on any of its three famous beaches – Promenade, Paradise, and the Serenity beach.
Evening at your leisure. The overnight stay will be at a hotel in Pondicherry. (Hotel: La Villa Pondicherry or similar)
Day 11 – Pondicherry – Thanjavur (B, D)
After breakfast check out from the hotel and head towards Thanjavur. Thanjavur (or Tanjore) is a temple site in the Tamil Nadu state of southern India. Thanjavur was the capital of the great Chola (Cola) king Rajaraja I, and it was he who commissioned the site’s magnificent temple. On the way visit, Nataraj Temple Chidambaram also referred to as Thillai Nataraj Temple. The architecture of the temple represents the link between arts and spirituality. The temple was constructed during the 10th Century when Chidambaram used to be the capital of the Chola dynasty. Afterward visit Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is considered as one of the largest temples in the country and is a fine example of the grandeur of the Dravidian style of architecture of the Chola dynasty. The temple was built by Rajendra Chola I and was completed in the year 1035 CE.
Reach Thanjavur by late afternoon. Check-in at the hotel on arrival and relax. Overnight stay will be at a hotel in Thanjavur. (Hotel: Svatma Heritage Thanjavur or similar)
Day 12 – Thanjavur Day Tour (B, D)
After breakfast at the hotel, head out for a day tour to Kumbakonam. Visit Airavatesvara Temple built by Rajaraja II in 12th Century CE. It is a Lord Shiva temple located in Darasuram, near Kumbakonam. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is referred to as “Great Living Chola Temples”. Constructed in the chariot structure and built-in stone, the temple has smaller shrines dedicated to several Vedic and Puranic deities.
Reach back to Thanjavur by noon. Visit Thanjavur’s Royal Palace & Museum, a mixed bag of ruin and renovation, superb art, and random royal collections. The big complex was constructed partly by the Nayaks who took over Thanjavur in 1535, and partly by a local Maratha dynasty that ruled from 1676 to 1855. Afterward, visit Thanjavur brass-work shops. The brass idols manufacturing of Thanjavur is the traditional handicraft of Tamil Nadu. These beautiful brass idols showcase the careful workmanship of the artisans.
In the late evening head out to see the pooja ceremony at The Brihadeeshwara Temple. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this temple is a perfect illustration of the great heights achieved in the field of architecture by the Chola rulers. Overnight stay will be at a hotel in Thanjavur. (Hotel: Svatma Heritage Thanjavur or similar)
Day 13 – Thanjavur – Madurai (B)
After breakfast check out from the hotel and head towards Madurai, an energetic, ancient city on the Vaigai River in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Its skyline is dominated by the 14 colorful gopurams (gateway towers) of Meenakshi Amman Temple. On the way take a detour to Tiruchirapalli and visit Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, the largest temple compound in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world. It is one of the most illustrious temples in South India rich in legend and history.
Reach Madurai by evening. Check-in at the hotel on arrival. In the night head out for Pooja (night ceremony) at Meenakshi temple. Every night, an image of Lord Shiva (in the form of Sundareswarar) is carried out from his shrine by temple priests, in procession in a chariot, to his wife Meenakshi’s shrine where he’ll spend the night. Overnight stay will be at a hotel in Madurai. (Hotel: Heritage Madurai or similar)
Day 14 – Madurai Sightseeing (B)
After breakfast head out for exploring Madurai. Start with a visit to the Madurai Flower Market. This flower market is one of the biggest in Tamil Nadu and transacts as much as 10 tons of flowers each day. Then visit the renowned Meenakshi Amman Temple. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2,500-year-old city of Madurai. It is one of the oldest and most important temples in India. Located in the city of Madurai, the temple has a great mythological and historical significance. It is believed that Lord Shiva assumed the form of Sundareswarar (the handsome one) and married Parvati (Meenakshi) at the site where the temple is currently located. Meenakshi Temple was nominated as one of the wonders of the world, but couldn’t make it into the list of ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. However, the temple is definitely one of the ‘Wonders of India’.
Afterward visit the Gandhi Museum in Madurai, a memorial museum that was built in 1959 for Mahatma Gandhi. It is one of the five great Gandhi Museums in the country which depicts the life of the Father of the nation and India’s freedom struggle from 1757 until 1947.
In the evening enjoy a Food tour. Foodies will love this evening tour which will take you through the bustling Madurai street food scene. Go to several popular local food stalls and savor delectable south Indian flavors at famous local restaurants. Overnight stay will be at a hotel in Madurai. (Hotel: Heritage Madurai or similar)
Day 15 – Departure from Madurai (B)
After breakfast check out from the hotel. The private car will drop you at Madurai airport. Bid farewell with the memories of an amazing fun-filled 15 days trip through the Golden Triangle & Tamil Nadu worth remembering for the lifetime
Specification: India Golden Triangle and Tamil Nadu
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