Golden Triangle & South India Temples
Experience a taste of India on this outstanding tour of the country’s most fabled sights. Explore the Golden Triangle that combines the country’s capital city Delhi to the wondrous sites of the Mughal capital of Agra, the legendary Fatehpur Sikri, and the Pink City of Jaipur. Then fly to South India colonial port city Chennai. Explore the city and advance to visit Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry. Continue to visit UNESCO WHS of Gangaikonda Cholapuram built in Tamil style of architecture with a square plan. The temple complex includes Nandi Mandapa, Alankar Mandapa, Maha Mandapa, Mukha Mandapa, and Ardha Mandapa., Darasuram Temple a storehouse of art and architecture with 85 feet high vimana. The front mandapam itself is in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses. The temple has some exquisite stone carvings. The main deity’s consort Periya Nayaki Amman temple is situated adjacent to Airavateshwarar temple. & Thanjavur. See some largest active temples in India at Trichy and Madurai.
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi
On arrival at Delhi airport assistance & transfer to hotel (hotel check-in/ out time 12pm). Rest time free for personal activities. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Delhi (B)
City tour of Delhi. In Old, Delhi visits the majestic Red Fort (closed on Monday) the residence of the Mughal emperor for nearly 200 years until 1857. Jama Masjid one of the largest mosques in the world built by Shah Jahan. Cycle Rickshaw ride in Chandni chowk & Khari Baoli Spice Market a busy shopping area with markets full of spices, dried fruit, silver jewelry, and vivid saris, while the narrow side streets are crowded with tiny shops selling essential oils, stationery, and traditional Indian sweets. Raj Gath the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi where he was cremated after his assassination.
In New Delhi visit Humayun Tomb the first garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent and an early example of Mughal architecture commissioned by Humayun`s first wife Empress Bega Begum in 1569-70. Qutab Minar a 73-meter tall minaret that forms part of the Qutb complex fine examples of Afghan architecture. Lotus Temple a Bahai House of Worship notable for its flower-like shape. Also, drive and pass President House, Parliament & India Gate, etc. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Delhi – Agra (210kms) (B)
Drive to Agra check-in at the hotel. Later visit Taj Mahal an ivory-white marble mausoleum commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. Agra Fort the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638. And Itmad-ud-Daula Tomb commissioned by Nur Jahan for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Agra – Jaipur (245kms) (B)
Drive to Jaipur via visiting Fatehpur Sikri an abandoned predominately red sandstone construction sprawling over a huge area. See the graceful buildings including Diwan-E-Khas hall, Jodha Bai Palace, Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal & Buland Darwaza. Next visit Abhaneri a small village popular for India`s deepest, largest, and amazing stepwell & a Hindu Temple. Continue to drive to Jaipur check-in at the hotel. Evening explores the local market of Pink City. Overnight at hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Jaipur (B)
City tour of Jaipur the first planned city of India. Established in 1727 by Jai Singh II, the king of Amber when he shifted his capital from Amber to the new city because of the rapidly-growing population and increasing water scarcity. Noted architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya used the established principles of Vastu Shastra to build the city. In 1876, the Prince of Wales visited Jaipur and the entire Jaipur city was painted in pink the symbolic colors of hospitality to welcome him. Jaipur rises up majestically against the backdrop of the forts Nahargarh, Jaigarh, and Garh Ganesh Temple. In the morning visit Amber Fort followed by Jaigarh Fort. Later visit City Palace, Observatory, Hawa Mahal, Sisodia Rani Garden & Birla temple. Explore the famous bazaars of Pink City with its rich history and heritage exudes an amazing mix of royalty and art. Overnight at hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Jaipur – Chennai (B)
Transfer to airport to board flight for Chennai. On arrival transfer to hotel. Later visit Fort St. George & St Mary’s Church inside the fort built by the British East India Company in 1640 AD. Kapaleeshwarar Temple a holy shrine of Lord Shiva originally built by the mighty Pallavas and rebuilt in the 16th century by the Vijayanagar kings. Vadapalani Murugan Temple one of the most frequented places of worship for Hindus in Chennai. Government Museum built in the Indo-Saracenic style houses a rich collection of works of Raja Ravi Varma. Dakshinachitra Museum, one of the living-history museums. Santhome Cathedral a historical and ancient pilgrim center, which was built during the 14th to the 15th century AD by the then reigning Portuguese. Drive Pass Marina Beach a 13kms long natural urban beach along the Bay of Bengal. Overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Chennai – Mahabalipuram (120kms) (B)
Drive to Mahabalipuram via Kanchipuram the city of thousand temples. In Kanchipuram visit Kailasanathar temple 8th-century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Ekambareswarar temple an ancient temple dedicated to Siva, 2500 year old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yields different varieties of mangoes. Varadharaja temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Vaikundhaperumal temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu & Kamakshiamman temple the ultimate form of Goddess Parvati.
Continue drive to Mahabalipuram check-in at hotel. Later visit Monolithic Temples Five Rathas an excellent example of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. Krishnas Butterball a gigantic granite boulder resting on a short incline. 7th century Cave Temples cut and decorated with panels in the Mamalla style. Shore Temple built with blocks of granite in the 7th century during the rule of King Narsimha-Varman II Rajasimha the temple complex consisting of two Siva temples and a carving of Anantasayana Vishnu. The Arjuna’s Penance an enormous rock-cut relief, one of the largest in the whole world. Overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (120kms) (B)
Visit Auroville an experimental community founded in 1968 by the spiritual leader Mirra Alfassa as a town where people from all over the world could live in harmony. Its focal point is the Matrimandir, a futuristic, spherical temple covered in gold discs. Pondicherry Museum houses a fantastic collection of bronze sculptures of god and goddess, a wide gathering of temple lamps, handicrafts, and art. Drive and pass or walk through stunning French Quarters, charming mustard streets, colonial villas, and vibrant Tamil settlements. Besides a very picturesque view of the lovely alleys and narrow lanes, you can also marvel at the gorgeous architecture of the French colonial settlements which include the French consulate, Raj Nivas, Government Square, Churches & French schools. An evening to relax on the beach. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Pondicherry – Thanjavur (180kms) (B)
Drive to Thanjavur via visiting Nataraja Temple dedicated to the dancing posture of Lord Shiva at Chidambaram. Constructed during the 10th century when Chidambaram used to be the capital of the Chola dynasty, the architecture of the temple represents the link between arts and spirituality.
Also, visit The Great Living Chola Temples at Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple built in Tamil style of architecture with a square plan. The temple complex includes Nandi Mandapa, Alankar Mandapa, Maha Mandapa, Mukha Mandapa, and Ardha Mandapa. And Darasuram a storehouse of art and architecture with 85 feet high vimana. The front mandapam itself is in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses. The temple has some exquisite stone carvings. The main deity’s consort Periya Nayaki Amman temple is situated adjacent to Airavateshwarar temple. Arrive Thanjavur check-in & overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Thanjavur – Trichy (60kms) (B)
Visit Brihadeshwara Temple, built in the 10th century it is an outstanding example of Chola architecture and is listed in UNESCO world heritage site. The shrine is a 216 feet structure, the sanctum is dotted with paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods, and the statue of Nandi the Bull welcomes at the entrance. Vijayanagar Fort built by Nayaks and partly by Maratha rulers during the early 1550 AD. Thanjavur Art Gallery, located in the Thanjavur Palace has an exquisite collection of ancient sculptures and coins. Saraswathi Mahal Library another section of the Palace where over 30,000 palm leaf and paper manuscripts are preserved.
Drive to Trichy check-in at the hotel. Visit Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple the largest functional temple in the world. The temple complex along with the surrounding area covers a total area of 156 acres, there are 22 gopurams including India`s tallest 72 meters, 13 stories high. Many people have had a hand in its construction, including the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Hoysalas, and rulers from Vijayanagar. Rock Fort Temple the 83m high Rock Fort is the only outcrop in the flat land of the city. The rock is one of the oldest in the world-approximately 3800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland and older than the Himalayas. Also, visit Jambukeswarar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, it houses five concentric walls and seven gopurams. Overnight at hotel.
Day 11: Trichy – Madurai (135kms) (B)
Drive to Madurai check-in at the hotel. Later visit Meenakshi Temple one of the largest temple complexes in India built between the 16th to 18th centuries. Apart from the estimated 33 million sculptures there, the temple is absolutely absorbing with the endless rounds of ceremonies, prostration of countless devotees, and glittering market stalls. Thirumalai Nayakar Palace built in 1636 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak, the palace depicts the perfect blend of Dravidian and Rajput styles. Also visit Alagar Koil, Tiruparankundram Murugan Temple & Palamuthirsolai Murugan Temple. Overnight at hotel.
Day 12: Madurai – Delhi (B)
As per flight schedule transfer to airport to board flight for Delhi. On arrival at Delhi airport assistance & transfer to hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 13: Delhi – Departure (B)
As per flight schedule Departure transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.
Specification: Golden Triangle & South India Temples
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