|Tour Name||Saffron and Sandalwood Tour|
|Tour Duration||16 Nights / 17 Days|
|Destinations covered||Mumbai – Madurai – Trichy – Tanjore – Chidambaram – Pondicherry – Chennai – Bangalore – Nagarhole – Mysore|
|Tour Price||On Request|
Day 01: Arrival at Mumbai
On the first day of your Saffron and Sandalwood Tour of India, on arrival at Mumbai you will be welcomed by the staff of India Tourism Travel and assist you to check in at your comfortable hotel in Mumbai. Rest of the day will be all yours. We shall start our sightseeing of Mumbai the next day.
Day 02: Mumbai sightseeing
Also known with many sobriquets like “The Gateway of India”, “City of Dream” “Bollywood” and “The Financial Capital of India”, Mumbai is a very lively and vibrant city that presents a true reflection of the Unity in Diversity of India. Long known as Bombay, the capital city of Maharashtra is situated on lovely Konkan Coast and is famous for its “Bollywood” film industry. We shall visit the following attractions of this metropolitan city of India during the day:
Gateway of India – The imposing structure was created to mark the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to “Bombay” in December 1911. It is representative of Indo-Saracenic architectural style and is flanked by Arabian Sea and the magnificent Taj hotel on either side. Gateway of India is a popular picnic spot for the tourists and locals.
Elephanta Caves – The centuries’ old caves are situated on Gharapuri Island. The caves have wall paintings of 9th century and a temple dedicated to Ardhanarishvara, which is a deity made with the half body of man and half of woman. Trinity is another attraction of the cave which is a sculpture that has three faces representing Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. The caves have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Marine Drive – The picturesque six lane wide drive runs along the Arabian Coast. Officially known as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road, the C shaped drive has well laid pathways. It connects Malabar Hills with Nariman Point and is a popular hangout destination for tourists.
Chowpatty Beach – The beach is located at one end of Marine Drive. It is a popular picnic destination from where you can have an amusing view of the azure waters of Arabian Sea and stroll leisurely on its sun drenched golden sands. During Ganesh Chaturthi Festival, the beach is crowded with devotees who come here to immerse the idols of Lord Ganesha. You can relish the traditional “Bhelpuri” dish of Mumbai at Chowpatty Beach.
Mahalaxmi Temple – The eighteenth century temple is located on Bhulabhai Desai Road. It is dedicated to Goddess Mahalaxmi, the consort of Lord Mahavishnu. Large number of devotees throng the temple during grand prayers held on Fridays and during Durga Puja festival.
Other attractions of Mumbai for tourists are – Mahakali Caves, Hanging Gardens, Colaba Causeway, Borivali National Park (Sanjay Gandhi National Park) and Victoria Terminus (CST Terminus).
Your overnight stay will be at a hotel in Mumbai where you will be served continental delicacies.
Day 03: Mumbai – Madurai (By flight)
We shall depart for Madurai on the third day of our Saffron and Sandalwood tour of India. The revered temple town of South India is situated on the banks of Vaigai River in Tamil Nadu. The beautiful city was constructed in the shape of a Lotus Flower by Pandaya King who was great patrons of art and temple architecture. We will visit the following sightseeing’s of Madurai on this day:
Koodal Azhagar Temple – The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is one of the 108 revered abodes of Lord Vishnu located all over India. It is one of the oldest temples of South India which is thronged by devotees in large numbers.
Thirumalai Nayak Mahal – The seventeenth century palace is a blend of Muslim and Hindu architectural styles. Several other monuments in Madurai are constructed with similar architectural styles.
Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple – The magnificent temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan (one of the six abodes of lord Murugan). Devotees organize marriages in the temple which is considered auspicious as the legend has it the marriage of Lord Subrahmanya was also solemnized in the temple complex.
Alagar Kovil, Pazhamudhir Solai (one of the six abodes of lord Murugan) and Mariamman Teppakulam.
Our overnight stay will be in Madurai and we will continue sightseeing of the temple town for one more day tomorrow.
Day 04: Madurai sightseeing
We will continue sightseeing of Madurai after breakfast with a visit to world famous Meenakshi Temple, which is the prime draw for tourists to this celebrated temple town of South India.
Meenakshi Temple – Also known as Meenakshi- Sundareswarar Temple, the foundation of original modest temple was laid down by Pandiyan King Kulasekara in 6th century BC. It was brought to its present glory of Nayak rulers during 16th to 18th centuries, who were great patrons of art and architecture. It is famous for its Thousand Pillars Hall. There are huge Gopurams (temple towers) in the temple, the tallest one being 50 m high. Ashta Shakthi Mandapam is a big hall where food is distributed to the devotees. The sanctum sanctorum of Meenakshi Temple has statues of Lord Shiva and Meenakshi. Only Hindus are allowed access to the sanctum sanctorum and all women and men are required to be dressed elegantly. We will explore Meenakshi Temple attractions for few hours.
After lunch, we shall visit Gandhi Museum: The museum building was originally a Tamukkam bungalow which now has been converted into a museum. It is built by the Government of India in memory of Mahatma Gandhi.
Our overnight stay will be at a hotel in Madurai where you will be served traditional south Indian delicacies.
Day 05: Madurai-Trichy-Tanjore (180 km / 05 hrs)
We will drive to Trichy (also known as Tiruchirapalli and Trichy) on the fifth day of our saffron and sandalwood tour. Trichy is another famous temple town of Tamil Nadu. It was established by Nayak rulers of Tamil Nadu in late seventeenth century. We shall explore the following attractions of Tiruchirapalli during the day:
Srirangam Temple – Also known as Ranganatha Temple, the fourteenth century temple is situated on the banks of Cauvery River. It has large Gopurams, the largest one being 73 m high, which is 0.5 m more than the height of Delhi’s Qutub Minar. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Vaikuntha Ekadashi festival celebrated with much fanfare in the temple during the month of December.
Rock Fort Temple – Also known as Rock Fort Ganapathi Temple, the 83 m high temple is located on a hillock which is 83 million years old. You can reach to the temple by scaling a fleet of 344 steps. Uchi Pillayar Koil is the peak point of the hillock from where you can have a panoramic view of the adjoining areas. Rock Fort Temple is the highest landmark of Trichy.
Thiruvanaikoil – one of the oldest temple in Tamil Nadu, this temple belongs to one of the five elements temple (represents the Water)
Other attractions of Trichy are: Samayapuram Amman Temple and Vekkaliamman Temple.
We shall drive to Tanjore in the evening and have our overnight stay at a hotel there.
Day 06: Thanjavur (Tanjore)
Tanjore rose to prominence during the reign of Chola rulers. The highly fertile region of Tanjore is situated on Cauvery Delta and the city is also known with the sobriquet “The Rice Bowl of South India”. It is famous for Tanjore Paintings and handloom silk saris. We shall see the following attractions of Thanjavur during the day:
Brihadeeswarar Temple – Also known as the Big Temple, the magnificent temple was built by Emperor Raja Raja Chola in tenth century AD. There is a 14 storey Gopurams in the temple which is 216 m high. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and there is huge lingam in it which is the second largest in the world. There is a 250 ton heavy Nandi Bull sculpture in the temple complex. The temple remains open from 5.00 am to 12.00 noon and also from 4.00 pm to 8.00 pm.
Chandra Begawan Temple – The temple is dedicated to Moon God and is the second most important temple of the Navagraha Group of Temples. It is located 25 km off Thanjavur and devotees pay obeisance to Moon God in the temple to get rid of their supernatural bad effects.
Vijayanagar Fort – The fort is located 2 km off Brihadeshwara Temple. It was built by Nayak and Maratha rulers during sixteenth century. Tanjore Palace, Saraswathi Mahal and Sangeetha Mahal are main attractions of Vijayanagar Fort.
Siva Ganga Garden – The beautiful garden is located near Tanjore Palace. It has blooming flowers and is a good destination to spend some relaxing moments during your busy travel schedule.
Other attractions of Tanjore are: Schwartz Church
Our overnight stay will be at a resort in Tanjore.
Day 07: Thanjavur (Tanjore) – Chidambaram – Puducherry (Pondicherry) – (225 km / 6 hrs)
Chidambaram city of Tamil Nadu is known for its magnificent temple architectures and historical buildings. It is a great pilgrimage centre for Shiva devotees. There are several families in the city who have been in the business of making golden and silvery ornaments in traditional ways since centuries. We shall visit the following attractions of Chidambaram:
Nataraja Temple – It is the most prominent draw for tourists to Chidambaram. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is enshrined here in the form of Nataraja or the Cosmic Dancer. The temple was renovated to a large extent in 1213 AD by Aragalur Udaya Iraratevan Ponparappinan. There are huge Gopurams in the temple with devotional inscriptions and ornate carvings on the walls.
Thillai Kali Amman Temple – The temple is located to the north of Nataraja Temple. It is dedicated to Goddess Kali Amman who is a form of Shakti or Goddess Parvathi. She is worshipped here in her angry manifestation of Thillai Kali.
Pichavaram Backwaters – The enchanting backwaters are spread over a vast expanse of 1100 hectares against the backdrop of 3000 acres of dense mangroves. The region is rich in flora and fauna.
At evening, we shall drive to Pondicherry and have our overnight stay at a hotel there.
Day 08: Puducherry (Pondicherry)
Pondicherry’s culture is an amalgamation of European and Indian lifestyles. The vibrant city has several historical monuments which are reminiscent of the French colonial rule. The picturesque town, situated on the Coromandel Coast is known for its beautiful beaches. We shall visit the following attractions of the city on the eighth day of our Saffron and Sandalwood tour of India:
Pondicherry Museum – The museum is located in Bharathi Park and has a rich collection of Roman settlement’s artifacts and bronze and golden statues of gods and goddesses built during the reign of Chola and Pallava rulers.
Arikamedu – The place has great archaeological importance. Ancient Roman coins have been found here, suggesting the presence of Roman settlements in the region some 2000 years ago.
Aurobindo Ashram – It was founded in 1920 in reverence to freedom fighter turned saint Aurobindo. Mother Mirra Richard, who was the most revered disciple of Sri Aurobindo spend most part of her life in the Ashram. It attracts thousands of faithful all year round.
Pondicherry Beach – You can spend some relaxing moments in the soft cool breeze of the beach. The beach provides you seclusion and there are cafeterias around where you can enjoy some mouth watering cuisines of the region.
Auroville – International society and famous for its Meditation hall
Other worthwhile attractions of Pondicherry are: French War Memorial, Jawahar Toy Museum, Botanical Garden & Aquarium, Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Statue of Dupleix
Over overnight stay will be at a beach side resort in Pondicherry where you will be served sumptuous dinner at night.
Day 09: Pondicherry – Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) – Chennai (170 km / 05 hrs)
We shall depart of Mahabalipuram after our breakfast. It is a famous temple town of Tamil Nadu which is situated on Coromandel Coast, near to the Bay of Bengal. The erstwhile capital of Pallava rulers has several magnificent temples and historically important buildings. We will visit the following destinations of Mahabalipuram during our Saffron and Sandalwood tour:
Shore Temple – The world famous temple was built in 7th century by Narasimhavarman II. There are two Shiva temples and one Vishnu temple here that are the part of Shore Temple complex. Shore Temple is an excellent example of ancient Dravidian style of architecture and is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Five Rathas – These are a group of five rock cut temples that signify five chariots of Pandavas. Bhim Ratha is the most massive of all Rathas which is 25 ft high, 42 ft long and 24 ft wide.
Arjuna’s Penance – It is a 9 m high and 27 m long sculpture of a saint, believed to be of Arjuna. Figures of gods, demigods and other mythological deities are also carved on a massive rock.
Cove long – There is a lovely beach where you can enjoy a casual stroll and other water sports activities like wind surfing, boating and fishing.
We shall drive to Chennai in the evening and have our overnight stay at a comforting hotel in Chennai city.
Day 10: Chennai
Chennai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu. It is the political and cultural hub of Tamil Nadu and epitome of Dravidian movement in India. There are several temples, churches, forts, mosques, palaces and natural attractions in Chennai. We will visit the following main attractions of Chennai during our Saffron and Sandalwood tour:
Marina Beach – It is the second largest beach of the world and pride of Chennai. You can have a leisure stroll on its drenched golden sands or enjoy swimming in its shallow waters. There is an aquarium nearby. One should stay to enjoy the romantic sunset view during his/her visit to Marina Beach.
Fort St. George – It is a medieval era landmark of Chennai. It was built in 1640 AD by East India Company under the supervision of Andrew Cogon and named after Saint George. It houses St. Mary’s Church and a museum that displays medieval era artifacts and armory.
Vivekananda House (Ice House) – It is a shrine that was built in 1877. It is dedicated to Swami Vivekananda and some of his physical reminders are on display here for public view. It is built in Victorian style of architecture.
Kapaleeswarar temple – one of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu and worth visit for its wonderful architecture.
Other attractions of Chennai are – MGR Film City, National Art Gallery, Ripon Building and Valluvar Kottam.
Our overnight stay will be at a hotel in Chennai.
Day 11: Chennai – Bengaluru (Bangalore) – (350 km / 06 hrs)
We shall drive to Bengaluru (Bangalore) after our delicious breakfast. Bangalore is the thriving capital city of Karnataka and has several historical monuments, palaces, forts, temples and other natural attractions for tourists. We will visit the following main destinations of Bangalore during our tour:
Bangalore Palace – It was built in 1887 by Chamaraja Wodeyar with Tudor-style of architecture. It has fortifying towers and intricately carved interiors. The palace remains open from 10 am to 6 pm except Sundays and you will have to buy a ticket to explore its charms.
Lal Bagh – It is a botanical garden which was originally built by Hyder Ali. The park is spread over 2400 acres and there are more than 1000 species of plants in it.
Bull Temple – It is one of the oldest temples of Bangalore. It is dedicated to Nandi Bull, the mount of Lord Shiva. There is a 6 m long and 4.5 m high statue of Nandi Bull in the temple complex.
Tipu Sultan’s Palace – The palace was built as a summer resort by Tipu Sultan in 1791. There are wooden screens and lovely gardens in it, known as the Abode of Happiness. It is now converted into a museum where you can view some personal effects of Tipu Sultan, including his sword.
Other attractions of Bangalore are: Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park, ISKCON Temple and Venkatappa Art Gallery.
Our overnight stay will be at a hotel in Bangalore.
Day 12: Bangalore – Nagarhole (250 km / 06 hrs)
Nagarhole is a picturesque area which is rich with natural beauty all around. There are gurgling water streams, rolling hills and verdant valleys in the region. The area is home to some rare species of animals, birds, reptiles and plants. We shall visit the following attractions of Nagarhole during the day:
Nagarhole National Park – Officially known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, it is part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It was set in 1955 amid dense vegetation all around. The park is home to wild boars, elephants, sambhars, panthers, tigers and other exotic species of animals, birds and plants.
We will enjoy our overnight stay in a forest lodge in Nagarhole and continue our sightseeing of this picturesque town for one more day.
Day 13: Nagarhole sightseeing
We shall enjoy a hearty breakfast in our forest lodge and then start sightseeing of Nagarhole attractions during the thirteenth day of our Saffron and Sandalwood tour of India. We shall explore the following destinations of the region:
Rameshwara Temple – It is located on the banks of Lakshmana Tirtha River. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and a large number of faithful throng it during Shivratri Festival.
Irupu Falls – Also known as Lakshmana Tirtha Falls, the 60 m high picturesque waterfalls are situated in Brahmagiri forest range. A Shiva temple is located close to the waterfalls.
Kutta – The picturesque town is known for its vast expanses of coffee, spices, and banana and paddy plantations. The tropical forests of the region are home to variety of exotic flora and fauna.
Trekking – There are several trekking trails in Nagarhole where adventurists can spend some lovely day outings exploring the charms of the region.
Our overnight stay will be at a hotel in Nagarhole.
Day 14: Nagarhole – Mysore (85 km / 02 hrs)
We shall drive to Mysore soon after having our delicious breakfast. The thriving city is situated at the base of Chamundi Hills in Karnataka. There are several historically important buildings and temples in Mysore. We shall visit the following destinations of the city during the day:
Mysore Palace – The elegant palace is synonymous with Mysore. It is the most prominent landmark of the city. It is open to the public from 10.00 am to 05.30 pm and you will have to purchase a ticket to view its splendor and intricate interiors.. The palace is built in Indo-Saracen architectural style. It is illuminated every day between 07.00 pm to 08.00 pm when its grandeur and splendor provides a great visual delight to the onlookers. The palace is also brilliantly illuminated during 10 days long Dussehra festivities.
Brindavan Gardens – It is the most beautiful garden of Mysore. The gardens are situated near Krishnarajasagar Dam and have beautiful fountains and a large variety of colorful flowers. It is a popular picnic destination.
Chamundeshwari Temple – The temple is situated on a hill near Mysore. It was built by Krishna raja III in eighteenth century. There is a colossal Nandi Bull structure in the temple which is 24 ft long and 15 ft wide.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary – The bird sanctuary is spread over 57 acres on the banks of River Kaveri. You can view a variety of bird species here like egrets, cormorants, whit ibis, storks and herons.
We shall have our overnight stay in Mysore and will continue our exploration of its destinations for one more day tomorrow.
Day 15: Mysore sightseeing
We shall continue sightseeing of remaining attractions of Mysore this day also. Some of the destinations that will be visited by us during the day include:
Srirangapatna Fort – Also known as Tipu’s Palace, the imposing fort was constructed in 1537. It has Indo-Islamic style of architecture and there are Persian inscriptions on its gateways. It is located on an island of Kaveri river and has four main entrances called as Delhi Gate, Bangalore Gate, Mysore Gate and Elephant Gate.
Gumbaz – It is the tomb of Tipu Sultan, built by his father Haider Ali and mother Fatima Begum. It has magnificent ebony gates with ivory work.
St. Philomena’s Church – The church was built in 1933 in Neo Gothic style of architecture. It has two conspicuous steeples, each measuring 53 m in heights that are visible from miles away.
Balmuri Falls – The beautiful waterfalls are 11 km from Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and 14 km from Mysore. It is an ideal picnic destination and riverside cottage facilities are available for the tourists.
Day 16: Mysore – Chennai (By Train)
We shall leave for Chennai by train on the sixteenth day of our Saffron and Sandalwood tour. We shall reach the city in evening. You will be helped in your lodging at a comforting hotel in Chennai. Rest of the day will be at your leisure. You can spend the time in hanging out in the city’s market places, trying some delicacies or just relaxing in your hotel room. Your will be served delicious South Indian cuisines in your hotel. Enjoy your dinner and a sound sleep in the hotel.
Day 17: Chennai – Departure
On the last day of your saffron and sandalwood tour, executives of India Tourism Travel will escort you to the airport / railway station after you had your hearty breakfast for onward journey to way back your home.