Cultural Tour of South India
The perfect combination of contemporary attractions and rich historic culture, South India is perfect for tourists who love to explore incredible scenic beauty. South India is well-known for majestic temples, mesmerizing hill stations, cultural monuments and scintillating beaches. Book comprehensive South India tour packages from Excursion2India to have most memorable times.
Itinerary Name: South India Cultural Tour
No. of Days: 10nights/11days
Day 1: Hyderabad: Arrive in Hyderabad and check into a hotel. Afterwards, head straight to Golconda Fort. Take a sightseeing tour of the Fort and enjoy light and sound show in the evening.
Enjoy a nice dinner at a restaurant, maybe close to Hussain Sagar Lake. Overnight in Hyderabad.
Day 2: Hyderabad: After breakfast, embark on a full day sightseeing of Hyderabad. Hyderabad has left behind a rich historical and cultural legacy and there are a number of monuments to explore. Some of the most interesting places to visit in Hyderabad are Charminar, Nizam’s Museum (Salar Jung Museum), Birla Temple, Chowmahalla Palace and Mecca Mosque.
Hyderabad is also a hub of flourishing Telugu film industry. Ramoji Film City has emerged as a tourist attraction of late in the city for those interested in films. You can choose to visit that.
Hyderabad is known for pearl related works. Anyone interested can buy pearl necklaces or ear rings or other ornamental pieces. Stay Overnight in Hyderabad.
Day 3: Hyderabad – Hampi: Check out after breakfast and leave for Hampi. This is a longish drive of close to eight hours. Check into a hotel on arrival. Spend the rest of the day at leisure in the comforts of the hotel.
Day 4: Hampi: Start on a full day sightseeing tour of the ruins of Hampi after breakfast.
Hampi once served as the flourishing capital of the Vijaynagar Kingdom in the 14th and 15th Century. Once the rulers lost in a war, Hampi was set on fire and the city was destroyed by the enemy forces.
Hampi ruins are spread around the total extent of the city of that era. This is a large area of more than 25 square kilometer. You can explore this architectural wonderland on a bike. It is best to hire local monument guide and decide on the spot what to see. A local Hampi map can prove quite handy in making decisions.
Important monuments which should not be missed in Hampi are Virupaksha Temple, Hampi Bazaar, Krishna Temple, Chandikeshwara, Laxminarsimha and Uddana Veerabhadra Temples. Stay Overnight in Hampi.
Day 5: Hampi – Overnight train to Mysore: Head off on a full day sightseeing of Hampi ruins this morning. Keep your luggage at the reception before starting your day as you have to catch overnight train to Mysore.
You should enjoy crossing Tungabhadra river in a coracle. Explore riverside ruins. This involves quite a bit of walking. Decide on the spot what to see using locally in consultation with the local guides. Return to the hotel in the evening, take your luggage and leave for Hospet railway station (the nearest railway station to Hampi). Catch overnight train to Mysore.
Day 6: Mysore: Arrive in Mysore in the morning and check into your hotel. Check into rooms if they are available early. If rooms are not ready in the morning hours, keep the luggage at the reception and get fresh in the hotel.
Afterwards, embark on sightseeing trip of Mysore by visiting Somnathpura, a small town around 35km from Mysore. Somnathpura is famous for the 13th Century Chennakeshava Temple built by Hoysala ruler Narasimha III. The temple has three shrines – all dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Have lunch at a nice restaurant. Return to the hotel in the afternoon and check into your respective rooms. Overnight in Mysore.
Day 7: Mysore: After breakfast, start full day sightseeing tour of Mysore. Go on to explore Srirangapatnam and Devaraja Market. Visit Chamundi Devi temple built on a hilltop overlooking Mysore city. If interested, you can stop at Lalitha Mahal Palace for lunch. This was a palace built by the Mysore rulers for the British Viceroy in 1921. The Palace has been converted to a hotel now.
Later, take a tour of the City Palace. This is one of the rare places where the ruling family still lives. Only a part of the Palace is open for tourists. Close to this is St. Philomena’s Church, one of the largest cathedrals in India. The Cathedral, with the relic of the 3rd century Saint Philomena, is made in Gothic style.
Get back to the hotel, take some rest and start a guided walking tour towards 5pm in the afternoon. This highly interesting tour will enrich you with the knowledge of the history, culture and foods of Mysore.
If you, by chance, are in Mysore on Sunday or any public holiday you can see half an hour of show of over hundred thousand electric bulbs lit all over Mysore City palace in the evening. This is an amazing sight. Stay Overnight in Mysore.
Day 8: Mysore – Ooty: Start on a three hours drive for Ooty. Check into a hotel on arrival.
Visit Connore and explore tea garden and tea processing plant there. Spend some time in Sims Park and board the UNESCO Heritage listed small gauge train to return to Ooty. Your vehicle driver will receive you at the railway station in Ooty. This train ride is of almost 45 minutes.
Go on to explore rose garden and a botanical garden in Ooty. There are some nice view points as well. If interested, you can visit these places. Do not forget to try some homemade chocolates in Ooty.
Have dinner and drinks at one of the several restaurants in the city. Overnight in Ooty.
Day 9: Ooty – Madurai: After breakfast, start for Madurai, a drive of more than six hours. Check into a hotel on arrival in Madurai, a city more than 2500 years old.
Take a guided tour of the famous Meenakshi Temple, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Spread over more than six hectares, the temple was renovated in its present form by the Nayak rulers who ruled in and around Madurai during 16th to 18th century. Foreigners and non-Hindus are not allowed entry into inner sanctum (garbhagriha) where main idols are kept. However, they are allowed entry to every other part of the temple complex.
The Gopuram (main entrance to temple) is renowned for several statues carved over it. Spend some time at Aayiram Kaal Mandapam, a hall of thousand pillars. Each pillar in the hall produces a musical note if you knot on them properly. What is most remarkable of this temples is that whole temple complex has been carved out of a single stone.
Have dinner and take a highly deserved comforting sleep in your room. Overnight in Madurai.
Day 10: Madurai: Get up leisurely in the morning and after a sumptuous breakfast embark on a full day sightseeing of Madurai.
Start with a visit to Thirumalai Nayak Palace, an early 17th-century palace. The Palace, as we see today, was the main Palace where the king lived. Later, visit Alagarkoil Temple, built on a hilltop around 20 kilometers from Madurai city. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, whose idol is made in a reclining posture. The temple is enclosed by granite walls. Even floors of the temple are made in granite.
Close to Alagarkoil Temple is another hilltop temple Pazhamudhir Solai. This is an interesting place as the temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan, is noted for treating mentally disturbed patients.
Thiruparankundram is yet another interesting temple. The temple, 2000 years old, is revered highly by both Hindus and Muslims. Some 1st century caves can be seen on Samanar Hills. These are Jainese caves where beautiful carvings and sculptures can be seen.
If time permits, visit St. Mary’s Cathedral, modeled on the Latin Cross. A walk in the local market can also be a great experience.
Have a nice dinner at your hotel. Overnight in Madurai.
Day 11: Madurai – Onward Destination: Check out after breakfast and drive to the airport. Catch your flight for onward destination.
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