Day 1: Bangalore.
If you decided to arrive a day earlier and had us book your hotel room for the night, you will be assisted with checkout and taken to the Taj West End hotel at 3 pm. If you did not use our services for the previous night’s hotel stay, we will pick you up from your choice of location within Bangalore city limits and taken to the Taj West End hotel at 3pm. Enjoy tea at the banquet hall followed by a safety presentation. Tour the Chitrakala Parishad Art Gallery and watch a cultural performance. Board the Golden Chariot at the Bangalore Railway Station, platform number 6. Depart at 10 pm.
You have the alternate choice of meeting at the Native Village Eco Resort by 11 am. You will have lunch and take a resort tour. Then you will take an art and cultural tour followed by an herbal and organic medicine tour. After that you will explore village life with a pottery session, village games and bullock cart rides and then depart to Yeshwantpur Railway Station at 6 pm.
Day 2: Chennai.
Arrive in Chennai. Experience India’s fourth largest city. The tour of Chennai begins from St. Mary’s Church (built in 1678 – 80);
this was the first English Church in Chennai. After the church you visit the National Art Gallery & Museum and explore the beautiful temple friezes, the bronze gallery,and the Archaeological section. After the cathedral you continue on to visit the Saint Thomas Cathedral (originally built in 1504, then re-built in neo-gothic style in 1893), this Roman Catholic Church is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle. You will also visit the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, an ancient Shiva Temple, constructed in pure Dravidian style. The Sri Parat hasarathy Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, built in 8th century during the reign of the Pallavas. Drive past the High Court Building, Fort St. George and the famous film studios. After your Chennai city tour you will take an excursion to Mahabalipuram, an ancient coastal port south of Chennai famous for its shore temple. Mahabalipuram was the second capital and sea port of the Pallava Kings of Kanchipuram, the first Tamil dynasty after the fall of the Gupta Empire. The whole of Mahabalipuram is a fabulous open-air museum of sculptures, with monolithic shrines scooped out of caverns. Mahabalipuram contains the world’s largest bas relief sculpture. Tour the Five Ratha’s Temple, Shore Shiva Temple, and the caves. Enjoy lunch at the GRT Temple Bay Radisson. Drive back to the Puducherry Railway Station and stroll along the nearby beach. Enjoy dinner aboard the Golden Chariot.
Day 3: Pondicherry.
Arrive in Pondicherry, in the Northern Tamil Nadu region. Formerly a French colony settled early in the 18th century, Pondicherry became part of the Indian Union in the early 1950s, when the French voluntarily relinquished control. French is still widely spoken, and seaside villas and cobbled streets are more reminiscent of the South of France than the South of India. Enjoy breakfast aboard the Golden Chariot. Visit Auroville, which was conceived as a tribute to Sri Aurobindo, a 1920s Indian philosopher. Auroville is an entirely new concept in education and urban living. The Aurobindo Ashram is known as the "Center of Integral Yoga". Stroll along the beach and shop in Pondicherry. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 4: Trichy.
Arrive in Trichy. Enjoy breakfast on the Golden Chariot. Visit the ghats and drive towards Tanjore. The great living Chola Temples are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you will take a guided visit to the most amazing of these, the Brihadeshwara Temple. The awe-inspiring temple complex is constructed solely of granite, a material so hard no architect today, with all our current technology, would even dream of building a structure with the incredible detail and mammoth scale of the Brihadeshwara. This ancient temple’s crown is a massive granite monolithic cupola. This temple was built by the great Chola King Rajaraja Chola I. Construction commenced in 1003 AD and the height of the main structure is 216 feet, which means that the 80 ton cupola had to be raised about 200 feet and placed at the top of the structure. The temple itself is decorated with carved panels depicting mythological events. An immense Nandi (bull) stands in front of the main shrine—carved out of a single piece of granite and measuring 16 feet long and 13 feet high. The incredible detail and complexity of the carvings is matched by the vibrant colors and talented artistry of the elaborate frescoes inside the structures. The colors used are said to have lasted this long because they were achieved by locating stones in those natural shades and grinding those stones to a paste. Enjoy lunch at a city hotel. Visit the Tanjore Artifacts and Paintings Workshop. Enjoy dinner aboard the Golden Chariot.
Day 5: Madurai.
Arrive in Madurai. Enjoy breakfast aboard the Golden Chariot. Proceed for a sightseeing tour of Madurai. The main attraction of Madurai is the great Sree Meenakshi Temple. This awe-imposing monument is the finest example of Dravidian architecture on this planet. Its Hall of a Thousand Pillars is a fabulous collection of elaborately sculpted and painted deities as well as other creatures from Hindu religious annals. The temple is always a beehive of activity as pilgrims from all over India come to seek the blessings of Meenakshi (Goddess Parvati) and Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva) and is filled with worshippers at all hours of the day. You will witness Hindu priests performing various ceremonies in different parts of the temple complex as you explore this huge structure, including religious aspects of traditional weddings. According to Tamil belief, the temple has existed for about 2000 years, but this current structure is a mere four centuries old (the previous majestic temple was destroyed by Muslim invaders in the 14th century). The massive complex includes 14 magnificent Gopurams that jut into the sky from different parts of the temple. These Gopurams have thousands of elaborate sculptures carved into them and these have been colorfully painted. The most significant of these Gopurams are the two golden towers dedicated to the two main deities, the tallest one reaches 170 feet. In the evening, enjoy a light and sound show at Thirumalai Nayakar Palace, which was constructed in 1636 AD by an Italian architect and is an interesting confluence of Dravidian, Islamic and European architecture. Enjoy dinner and live classical music at the Heritage Hotel.
Day 6: Kanyakumari.
Arrive at Nagercoil Station. Depart to Kanniyakumari by coach at 5:15 am. Watch the sunrise at Kanniyakumari. At the southernmost end of Tamil Nadu, lies the land’s end of India, or the point where the three seas meet. The enchanting Kanniyakumari, or Cape Comorin, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of India. It is the tip of the Indian Peninsula, where the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. Enjoy breakfast aboard the Golden Chariot. Visit the Wooden Palace. Enjoy lunch aboard the Golden Chariot. Depart for Thiruvananthapuram. Upon arrival, drive to Kovalam beach. Enjoy a stroll on the beach. Refreshments are served. Enjoy a cultural show followed by Gala dinner at The Leela Kovalam.
Day 7: Alleppey/Kochi Backwaters.
Enjoy breakfast aboard the Golden Chariot. Arrive in Alleppey. The town was founded by Raja Keshawadasan, Divan of Trivanacore
in 1762. Alleppey is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers crossing through it. Alapphuza is a district of immense natural beauty. Referred to as the Venice of the East by travelers from across the world, this area is also home to diverse animal and bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala. Enjoy a houseboat cruise on the backwaters. Enjoy lunch at a backwater resort. Drive to Kochi. One of the least acclaimed tourist destinations in India, Kochi is known as “The Queen of the Arabian Sea”. It is a scenic, lush collection of islands capes and mainland; connected by an elaborate yet intricate system of ferries and bridges. Europeans controlled Kochi, and its thriving trade, from the early 16th century. There are many monuments, architectural features and other reminders of the Dutch, Portuguese and British who once called Kochi home. St. Francis Church, built in the early 16th century, is the oldest European church in all of India. The Pardesi synagogue was built around the same time (history records Jewish settlers in this area as far back as the 6th century). You will also see the historic Chinese fishing nets. Enjoy a Kathakali Dance and dinner this evening.
Day 8: Bangalore.
Bangalore. Enjoy breakfast aboard the train. Upon your arrival at Yeshwanthpur railway station you will disembark and bid farewell to the staff of The Golden Chariot.
Easy Tours of India
services restart here - upon your arrival in Bangalore you are greeted at the train station by an Easy Tours Facilitator & your chauffeur. This is a good time to do some last minute shopping and/or sightseeing if you are so inclined.
Your vehicle and chauffeur
stay with you until your (usually late evening) assisted check in at the airport. If your flight departs early in the morning you may want us to arrange a room for you so you can rest. Post Golden Chariot Land Tours can be facilitated from this point on, if you so desire.
Our services end at Bangalore airport.