you now want to experience the real heart and soul of
sacred India? Because on our amazing South India Tour,
we will now have that rare opportunity in an awesome
On our awesome tour
to South India, we will visit amazing sacred temples,
experience profound sacred ceremonies, get astounding
astrology readings, get the darshan of many holy men
and women (blessings and grace that come from being
in the presence of these holy people), and see all the
colorful and beautiful sights. Our expert tour guides,
who will attend to all of your needs meticulously, will
take us on an extraordinary tour that will meet and
exceed our every expectation.
On Christmas will visit
Satya Sai Baba's ashram in Puttaparthi near Bangalore.
We will also see Ramana Maharishi's ashram and Arunachala
at Thiru Annamalai, Tamil Nadu. On New Years we will
visit Amritanandamayi (Ammachi--the "hugging saint")
in Amritapuri, south of Cochin, Kerala.
Day 01 / Welcome
Fly overnight to India, arriving in the late evening.
Your tour leader will accompany you to your hotel in
the heart of Delhi, followed by the Traditional Indian
Welcome at the hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Hotel: The Oberoi Maidens or Similar
Day 02 / Explore
Old Delhi and New Delhi
Meet your group over the late breakfast, then enjoy
a walking tour of Old Delhi, featuring Raj Ghat, where
Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. In the afternoon,
drive through New Delhi to visit the India Gate and
the old residences of British Viceroys.Visit the powerful,
majestic Hindu Temples of Delhi: Chattarpur Temple,
Yogmaya Temple & Lakshmi Narayan Temple.
Hotel: The Oberoi Maidens or Similar (Meals: Breakfast
& Welcome Dinner at Chor Bizarre)
Old Delhi: The
350 years old walled city was built by Emperor Shah
Jehan in 1648 as his capital. Opposite the fort are
the black and white onion dome and minarets of the Jama
Masjid, the most elegant mosque in India. Raj Ghat is
worth a visit where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948.
The new capital designed by Sir Edward Lutyens. An interesting
drive in the one passing through the impressive Rajpath
from the World War I memorial arch, the India Gate towards
the Presidential Palace. Visit Humayun's Tomb built
in 1565 AD, Safdarjung's Tomb, the Qutab Minar, 72 meters
high and the most curious antique, the uncorroded Iron
Pillar, which dates back to the 4th century AD.
Day 03 / Delhi
- Bangalore - Puttaparthi
After late breakfast, transfer to Domestic Airport for
flight to Bangalore, and continue to Puttaparthy by
surface. Reach Puttaparthy. Transfer to hotel. Dinner
& overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Sri Sathya Sai Village (Meals - Breakfast &
04 / Puttaparthi (Christmas with Sathya Sai Baba)
After breakfast, full day at Puttaparthi and visit Sri
Sathya Sai Baba Ashram. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Sri Sathya Sai Village (Meals - Breakfast &
Day 05 / Puttaparthi
After breakfast, drive to Tirupati and transfer to hotel.
Visit to Lord Balaji Temple. Dinner & overnight
Hotel: Guestline or Similar (Meals Breakfast &
Tirupati is a dusty
bustling little town at the foot of the Tirumalai Hills
in the southern tip of Andhra Pradesh. Every day thousands
of pilgrims descend on Tirupati spilling out of buses,
cars, taxis and trains. They are all on their way up
to the temple of the Lord Venkatswara up in the Tirumalai
hills. It is an old temple, that has witnessed the rise
and fall of powerful dynasties. The Pallavas, Cholas
and Pandayas were all patrons of the shrine and they
endowed it with jewels and wealth. Later in the 16th
century the great Vijayanagar kings enriched and embellished
the temple and gave it a new lease of life. Today this
shrine probably attracts more devotees than any other
temple in India and about 25,000 people coming from
all over the country visit it daily, firm in the belief
that any wish expressed before this image of the Lord
Venkateswara will be granted. The temple is located
in the cool of the verdant hills at a height of 890
metres. It nestles in a hollow surrounded by the peaks
of the 7 hills of Tirumalai and legend has it that these
are the seven hoods of the serpent god Adishesha, the
vahanam or the mount of the Lord Venkateswara.
It is a pleasant drive
from Tirupati up to Tirumalai and as the road winds
its way up the forested slopes there are splendid views
of Tirupati and the plains. In earlier times people
climbed to the temple on foot, many do even today making
the 11 kilometer trek a part of their pilgrimage. They
start the ascent from Alipiri, and as the groups of
devotees go up the hills echo with the chant of "Govinda
Govinda" and "Om Namoh Venkatesaiya"
Up at Tirumalai is a sparkling little township, beautifully
maintained, with its guest houses, hotels and gardens.
The imposing gopurams or gateways of the temple dominate
Around the temple itself
are colourful stalls selling souvenirs and handicrafts,
brass lamps, copper ritual vessels and all the paraphernalia
needed for the rituals. The air is full of the indefinable
fragrance that surrounds a temple, of flowers, incense
sticks a flickering oil lamps. All around is a shifting
mosaic of cour as people move towards the temples. Yet
there is order in all this chaos and devotees are directed
to well-equipped sheds where they form orderly queues
as they wait patiently for a darshan or a glimpse of
The temple is a perfect
example of the Dravidian style of temple architecture.
Within the three parakarams or enclosures of the temple
complex is the main shrine with its exquisitely worked
and gilded vimana above it, gleaming in the sun. Within
the sanctum is the majestic "swayambhu" or
naturally formed image of the Lord Venkateswara. He
is seen standing on a lotus with his symbols the shankh
conch and the chakra or discus in his hands and on the
chest are the image of the goddesses Lakhsmi and Padmavati,
the figure is laden with jewels. Worship at the temple
starts in early hours of the morning before dawn, with
the "Suprabhatham" when the Lord Venkateswara
is woken from his rest. This early morning ritual is
an unforgettable experience - as the myriad flickering
oil lamps light up the sanctum and the majesty of the
deity decked in glittering ornaments, the absolute silence
is broken by the chant of the priests. It is the beginning
of another day at the temple.
Day 06 / Tirupati
After breakfast, drive to Chennai. Reach Chennai and
later on half-day city tour of Chennai. Dinner &
overnight at hotel.
Hotel: The Trident or Similar (Meals - Breakfast &
known as Madras), the first city of South India and
the capital of Tamilnadu state, is a historic land of
ancient culture. India's most southerly city brims with
magnificent architecture, exotic pageantry, and age-old
traditions. The Dravidian dynasties of Pallavas, the
Cholas and the Pandiyas, all left their marks on the
culture and architecture of the region. Chennai, a thriving
seaboard that did business with the Chinese, Greeks,
Phoenicians, Romans, and Babylonians 2000 years ago
and later the French, Portugese, Armenians, and Arabs.
Chennai remembered history goes back to the 4th Century.
Immensely proud and
aware of the classic antiquty of their three thousand
years old Dravidian Culture, respected by the Aryans
when they came in 1500 B.C., many modern day Tamils
still live largely the same life in many ways, not only
in their culture and language, but in their food and
clothes as well. Tamil -- one of the oldest languages
known on the earth -- spoken by majority of the people,
today Chennai is a city that still sustains a pure Tamil
culture vibrantly alive with modern participation. Inspite
of successive invasions, the Tamil art, scriptures,
religion, dance, drama, vocal and instrumental music
and architecture have remained essentially untouched.
Modern day Chennai sprawls
over 174 square kilometers and is home of more than
5 million people. This modern metropolis of Chennai,
Tamilnadu's principal port, offers excellent hotels
and transport, a terrfic range of food and some serious
shopping for silks, cottons, jewellery and handicrafts.
And of course, magnificent old Hindu temples that offer
more than just a fabulous photo opportunity to the discerning.
More, you will hear the splendid strains of classical
music and sniff a heady compound of jasmines and spices
living traditions that are still savored from Chennai's
07 / Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram
After breakfast, leave for Mahabalipuram, en route visiting
Kanchipuram and Kamakshi Temple. Reach Mahabalipuram
in the evening. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Quality Inn -- MGM Beach Resort Or Similar (Meals
Breakfast & Dinner)
renown for its shore temples, Mahabalipuram was the
second capital of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram.
58 kilometres from Madras on the Bay of Bengal, this
tiny sea - side village of Mahabalipuram, is set in
a boulder - strewn landscape. Tourists are drawn to
this place by its miles of unspoiled beach and rock-cut
The sculpture here is
particularly interesting because it shows scenes of
day-to- day life, in contrast with the rest of the state
of Tamil Nadu, where the carvings generally depict gods
and goddesses. Mahabalipuram art can be divided into
four categories : open air bas - reliefs structured
temples, man-made caves and rathas ('chariots' carved
from single boulders, to resemble temples or chariots
used in temple processions). The famous Arjuna's Penance
and the Krishna Mandapa, adorn massive rocks near the
centre of the village. The beautiful Shore Temple towers
over the waves, behind a protective breakwater. Sixteen
man-made caves in different stages of completion are
also seen, scattered through the area.
Kanchipuram is among
the most famous of the 'temple cities' of Tamil Nadu.
Its temples house different Hindu sects. Though today
it is only a destination for pilgrims, and a repository
of major architectural monuments, in antiquity it occupied
a more preeminent place in the history of South India.
The city was the political capital of the Pallava rulers
during the 7th - 9th centuries. It remained an important
city during the succeeding Chola and Vijayanagara periods.The
Kailasanatha temple is the finest structural project
of the Pallava ruler Rajasimha. The temple is almost
entirely constructed of sandstone and is integrated
into a coherent complex. A large variety of Shaiva images
adorns the outer walls; the inner walls were once painted.
A polished linga (phallus, the symbol of regeneration
associated with Shiva) is enshrined within.
The Ekambareshvara temple
is the principle Shaiva sanctuary and its soaring gopuras
dominate the city's skyline. This temple was erected
in 1509 by the Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadeva Raya.
The temple is preceded by a long columned mandapa into
which earlier shrines and altars have been incorporated.
A corridor surrounds the principle shrine on four sides,
presenting a continuous sequence of receding piers.The
Vardhamana temple is the most important Vaishanava temple.
Local legend has it that the temple commemorates the
site where the Lord Brahma performed a yajna (fire sacrifice)
to invoke the presence of Vishnu. It has a long history
spanning the Chola and the Vijayanagara periods. One
of the two high towered gopuras resemble 12th-13th century
Chola projects while the other is characteristic of
the 16th century Vijayanagara period. The main sanctuary
enshrines bronze images of Vishnu flanked by his consorts.
Some specimens of Vijayanagara paintings are still preserved
on the walls.
Day 8 / Optional
Day Trip to Thiru Annamalai and Ramana Maharishi Ashram.
OPTIONAL: Visit to Thiru Annamalai and the ashram in
Arunachala of famous Vedanta Advaita (Non-dualism philosophy)
saint, Ramana Maharishi.
Day 09 /
Mahabalipuram - Chennai - Madurai
After breakfast, transfer to Domestic Airport for flight
to Madurai, Reach Madurai. Afterwards, visit to the
Meenakshi Temple and transfer to hotel. Dinner and overnight
Hotel: Pandyan Or Similar (Meals - Breakfast and Dinner)
Day 10 / Madurai
After breakfast, half-day sightseeing of Madurai and
continue to Kanyakumari. Reach Kanyakumari and transfer
to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Madhini Or Similar (Meals - Breakfast and Dinner)
Madurai, situated in
southern Tamil Nadu, is a district with its headquarters
in Madurai city, on the banks of Vaigai river. Madurai
is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. It is more
than 2,500 years old and is an important cultural and
commercial centre. Madurai, once the seat of Tamil learning
and still the place where Tamil language is spoken in
its purest form, is an ancient city planned in the shape
Day 11/ Explore
Kanyakumari - New Years Eve at Mata Amritanandamayi
After breakfast, full day sightseeing of Kanyakumari
and Vivekenanda Memorial Rock. Dinner and overnight
Hotel: Maadhini Or Similar (Meals - Breakfast and Dinner)
Cape Comorin, Land's
End mainland India's southernmost point, where
three seas meet and where the shore temple to the virgin
goddess Kanyakumari stands. It is one of the sacred
pilgrimage places of the hindus. There are two significant
memorials here. One is the Gandhi Mandapam, built to
commemorate the immersion of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi
in the waters by the temple. The other memorial, dedicated
to Swami Vivekananda, is built on the rock 656 ft. from
the shore where he meditated in 1892 before taking the
message of the Hindu philosophy to the west. Swami Vivekananda
was the foremost disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Day 12 / New
Years Day at Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram - Trivendrum
New Year's Eve and / New Year's Day at Mata Amritanandamayi
Ashram and later on continue to Trivandrum. Transfer
to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: The South Park (Meals - Breakfast & Dinner)
is believed to be an avatar--an incarnation of Mother
Divine in human form. She is the first Indian saint
to give her blessings by hugging each aspirant who visits
her. To receive a hug from "Ammachi," as she
is called by her devotees, is to experience the nectar
of divine love flowing into your heart and illuminating
your mind. This is something that has to be experienced
in order to understand its power. A feeling of true
spiritual grace is bestowed upon every person who visits
this wonderful saint. We will have the honor of spending
New Years Eve and New Years Day with her.
/ Trivandrum - Delhi
After late breakfast, transfer to Airport for flight
to Delhi After reaching Delhi, transfer to Village
BISTRO for Farewell Dinner and later on transfer to
IGI Airport and tour terminates.