Choice of standard, first class, deluxe & luxury hotels with private bath/shower.
American breakfast daily.
Personal assistance by an ACTC representative at airports, train stations and hotels.
Local English speaking guides for sightseeing tours.
Baggage handling and porterage.
Day to Day Program:
DAY 1 – CHENNAI (MADRAS)
On arrival, you will be greeted with a traditional Indian welcome and escorted to the hotel. Chennai is a metropolis with a distinct old world charm.
DAY 2 – CHENNAI (MADRAS)
Visit Fort St. George, built in 1640 AD, St. Mary’s Church, oldest surviving British building. See Kapaleeswarar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and San Thome Cathedral. Parathasarathy Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna; Government Museum and Art Gallery to view exhibits from major South Indian eras. Visit Kalakshetra, an artists’ colony where ancient arts and crafts are practiced and imparted to students. Continue to Mahabalipuram set on a boulder-strewn landscape, to see the famous rock cut temples, 2nd capital of the Pallava kings.
DAY 3 – CHENNAI (MADRAS) / KOCHI (COCHIN)
Fly to Kochi, set on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas. The influence of Chinese, Jews, Arabs and Europeans is evident in Kochi and its people. Tour the Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1557. Continue to the Jewish Synagogue, constructed in 1568. Proceed to St. Francis Church, built in 1503 by the Portuguese Franciscan friars; Parishath Thampuram Museum, to see traditional Kerala homes.
DAY 4 – KOCHIN (COCHIN)
Morning enjoy a boat ride through a series of canals and lagoons snaking their way through tiny villages.
DAY 5 – KOCHI (COCHIN) / MYSORE
Morning fly to Bangalore. Travel overland to Mysore en route stop at Srirangapatnam where Tipu Sultan built his summer palace. Mysore was the capital of a princely state where there are palaces and festivals of yester years is celebrated.
DAY 6 – MYSORE
Tour the palace, built between 1897 and 1907, mixture of Hindu and Sarcanic styles. Visit Chamundu Hill named after goddess Chamundi. Halfway up the hill is the 17th century statue of Nandi Shiva’s mount, carved out of one rock. Afternoon is at leisure.
DAY 7 – BELUR & HALEBID
Travel overland to Belur and Halebid, where the temples are from the most artistic period of Hindu cultural development. At Belur the Channekeshava Temple is a Hoysala masterpiece where the carvings match the equality of the architecture
DAY 8 – HALEBID / BANGALORE / HYDERABAD
Travel overland to Bangalore. Tour Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Arts and Crafts Center and the Bull Temple. Visit a unique Indian dance village, Nrityagram, where seven classical Indian dance styles and two martial arts are practiced. This evening, fly to Hyderabad. During India’s independence, it was the richest and largest state.
DAY 9 – HYDERABAD
Tour of Hyderabad reveals an amalgam of old world charm coupled with modernity. Visit Char Minar, Mecca Masjid, Birla Temple and Salar Jung Museum housing the Nizam’s private art collection. The Golconda Fort, former capital of the Qutab Shahi dynasty, a mud structure evolving into a magnificent citadel fortress.
DAY 10 – HYDERABAD / BHUBANESHWAR
Fly to Bhubaneshwar. There were 7,000 temples of which 500 stand testimony to a glorious past, built mostly during the 8th and 11th centuries, some of the best architecture. Visit Lingaraj, Rajarani, Mukteswar, Brahmeswar and Parasurameswar temples. Tribal Museum offers an insight into Orissa’s rich tribal culture, lifestyle, housing and ornaments. Continue to the twin hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri honeycombed with caves, built around the 2nd century BC, represents the architecture of ancient Orissa.
DAY 11 – KONARK EXCURSION
The Sun Temple built in the 13th century is dedicated to the Sun God. Carvings, life sized lions and elephants, figures of warriors on horses, battle scenes and chase is testimonial to the high standard of ancient Indian art and engineering skills.
DAY 12 – BHUBANESHWAR / KOLKATA (CALCUTTA)
Morning fly to Kolkata founded by the English in the late 1600s. It is named after Kalikata, a local rice-growing village and goddess Kali.
DAY 13 – KOLKATA (CALCUTTA)
Visit the Secretariat, High Court, Legislative Assembly building, Victoria Memorial, Jain Temple and New Market. Mother Teresa’s work demonstrates true conviction is accompanied by action and love in action is service. Tour the ashram to see her work and meet with her followers.
Afternoon is at leisure.
DAY 14 – KOLKATTA (CALCUTTA) / FLIGHT BACK HOME
Board your flight home with fond memories, sights, sounds and spiritual facets of Ancient India.