MUMBAI - AURANGABAD - AJANTA CAVES - ELLORA CAVES - HYDERABAD - CHENNAI - KANCHIPURAM - MAHABALIPURAM - CHENNAI - TIRUCHIRAPALLI - TANJORE - MADURAI - PERIYAR - KOCHI - BANGALORE - MYSORE - MUMBAI TOUR
The 18 days western & southern India holiday package is an interesting tour. The holiday package takes you from Mumbai to South India by train. Services International Ltd the Indian luxury travel agent offers you the best luxury holidays in South India. You are covering Mumbai, Ajanta Ellora Caves and the important cities of south India. The train lovers will adore this Indian rail tour.

Day 01 : - Arrive Mumbai
On your arrival in Mumbai, you will be transferred to your hotel. Rest of the time is at leisure. Rest of your time is at leisure. Mumbai or Bombay is the finance capital of India. Mumbai influxes a large number of people from all over and throughout the year for pilgrimage, sightseeing or employment. It gets described as the city of peopling shrouded in wealth as well as people rolling in extremely poverty, where one can say highly posh areas along with Asia’s biggest slum Dharavi. Overnight is in Mumbai.

Day 02 :- Mumbai to Aurangabad by overnight train.
This morning in your morning tour of this Bollywood city, you will be visiting the Hanging Gardens located on, the slopes of the Malabar Hills as well as Kamla Nehru Park offering a marvelous and panoramic view of the Chowpatty Beach as well as the Marine Drive. You will continue your tour and taken to Mani Bhawan, Prince of the Wales Museum, Gate of India and Dhobi-Ghat and will drive through Marine Drive, Flora Fountain and Crawford market. Check-out from the hotel is at 1200 hrs.

Your Afternoon is at leisure or you could take an optional tour to Elephanta Caves. The Caves on Elephanta Island located in the Arabian Sea; about 10 km from the Mumbai Harbor are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The caves dating back to the 5th to the 8th century AD are divided into five Hindu caves dedicated to Shiva and two Buddhist caves. The caves are closed on Monday and can be reached by boat from Gateway of India. Late evening you will be transferred to rail station in time for your Aurangabad night train. Overnight is on board train.

Day 03 :- Aurangabad Ajanta Caves Aurangabad by road.
This morning on your arrival in Aurangabad you will be transferred to your hotel. Aurangabad built in 1610 AD by Malik Ambar was named after the Emperor Aurangzeb. Some of the places of interest in Aurangabad are Bibi Ka Maqbara, Panchakki, Kali Masjid, Jumma Masjid, Quila-E-Ark, Aurangabad Caves, etc. Bibi Ka Maqbara built in 1678 is the tomb of Aurangzeb's wife Dilras Banu Begum and is called the Baby Taj as it has a similar design as Taj Mahal. Aurangabad is an ideal base for visiting Ajanta & Ellora Caves. Ajanta Caves are closed on Mondays and Ellora Caves are closed on Tuesdays.

Today you will be visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Ajanta Caves. The Ajanta sight-seeing takes you to the Buddhist Chaityas and Viharas with carvings and fantastic wall paintings. The paintings show Buddha’s life and rituals of the Mahayana Buddhism period. The Mural paintings prove that the ancient Indians had mastered a fluent style, dealing with large groups of people and were painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into a wet plaster. The paintings show in detail the life of a wealthy court. The ceilings are painted with detailed decorative motifs and some of them represent the Jataka tales showing the previous lives of Buddha as a ruler. Overnight in Aurangabad.

Day 04 :- Aurangabad Ellora Caves Aurangabad by road.
This morning, you will be visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ellora Caves dating back from 5th century to 11th century. The 34 caves with Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples and Jain temples were excavated out of the vertical face of a rock. The Kailasa Temple is the largest monolithic structure in the world. Afternoon is at leisure or you could take optional tours to discover the nearby places. Some of the places of interest are Bibi Ka Maqbara, Panchakki, Kali Masjid, Jumma Masjid, Quila-E-Ark, Aurangabad Caves, etc. Bibi Ka Maqbara built in 1678 is the tomb of Aurangzeb's wife Dilras Banu Begum and is called the Baby Taj as it has a similar design as Taj Mahal. Overnight is in Aurangabad.

Day 05 :- Aurangabad to Hyderabad by overnight train.
You have free time or you could enjoy an optional tour to Daulatabad. Daulatabad meaning abode of wealth was a fort city. Muhammad bin Tughluq shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad and moved the entire population of Delhi here but had to abandon it later due to shortage of water. The fort has been built quite strongly and the only means of access to the top is through a narrow bridge, with a small passage. At the summit, and other areas on the slope, huge old cannons. Checkout is at 1200 hrs noon. In the evening, you will be taken to the rail-station in time for your Hyderabad night train. Overnight is on board the train.

Day 06 :- Hyderabad.
This morning on your arrival in Hyderabad, you will be transferred to your hotel. Hyderabad "Lion City" was established by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591. The world famous Kohinoor diamond was mined in Golconda. A stroll in the old city through the different bazaars is quite fascinating. Hyderabad historically a pearl and diamond trading centre is called the City of Pearls and its bazaars - Laad Bazaar, Begum Bazaar and Sultan Bazaar are quite busy even today. Hyderabad is emerging as an important centre for technology. Do not forget to taste the delicious Hyderabadi biryani.

The afternoon Hyderabad tour includes visits to Char Minar, Mecca Masjid and Salarjung Museum. The Charminar an icon of the city is located in the olden part of Hyderabad and is a square structure four grand arches and four minarets. The Mecca Masjid is one of the oldest and largest Mosques and is in the old part of the city. The Salarjung Museum established in 1951 is one of the largest museums of India and houses the largest one-man collection of antiques and has a good collection of sculptures, paintings, textiles, manuscripts, etc., collected from all over the world. Overnight is in Hyderabad.

Day 07 :- Hyderabad to Chennai by overnight train.
You have time at leisure or you could take an optional tour of Golconda. The original fort was built by the Kakatiyas in 1143. The fort is on a granite hill surrounded by large ramparts & has a perfect system by which a hand clap at the fort's main gates is heard at the top - 300 ft height. The Fort contains the tombs of the Qutub Shahi kings. Golkonda was famous for its fabled diamonds and some of the world famous diamonds mined here are Kohinoor, Darya-e Nur, The Hope, Nur-Ul-Ain, Princie, Regent, etc. Check-out is at 1200 hrs. Later in the evening you will be transferred to rail station for Chennai night train. Overnight is on board the train.

Day 08:- Chennai Mahabalipuram Kanchipuram Chennai by road.
This morning on your arrival in Chennai you will be transferred to your hotel. The name Chennai was derived from Chennaipattanam, built by the English in 1639. The earlier name of Madras was a short form of Madraspattinam a fishing village. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu and an important centre for Carnatic music. The city is also famous for the Tamil movies and known as Kollywood. Chennai came into prominence because of the British who defended the town against several attacks from the French and converted it to a major naval port. Chennai has numerous places of interest and beautiful museums.

Today, you will have a full day excursion to Mamallapuram and Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram was the ancient capital of the Pallavas and was the town of a 1000 temples. Kanchipuram sight-seeing takes you through some of the known temples such as Siva temple from the 7th century, Ekambareswara temple, Sri Kailasanathar Temple from the 8th century, the Sri Vardaraja Perumal Temple, etc. Kanchipuram is a shopper’s paradise as it offers the world famous Kanchipuram silk and saris. After the visit, you will continue by road to Mamallapuram.

Mamallapuram also known as Mahabalipuram or Mamallapattana, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a historic town and seaport. It was also known by the ancient mariners as the city of "Seven Pagodas". Out of the Seven Pagodas, only the Shore Temple survives. Mahabalipuram was a bustling seaport and the traders went to South East Asia from here. It was an important port for the Pallavas and most of the monuments portray events from the Mahabharata and date back from the 7th to the 9th century.

Your tour of Mahabalipuram takes you through the cave temples and mandapams cut in the rocks showing depiction of incidents from legends, epics and mythology. The temples were built during the rule of Narasimhavarman and Rajasimhavarman. The bas relief Arjuna's Penance with life size images carved on the rock wall is the largest Bas-relief in the world. The five chariots are carved out of a single rock. The structure of the Shore Temple is one of the oldest in South India. After the visit, you will be transferred to Chennai. Overnight is in Chennai.

Day 09:- Chennai.
In Chennai you will visit the oldest museum of India - The Government Museum with 46 galleries and different sections for Archaeology, Zoology, Geology, Bronze, etc. The Museum is closed on Fridays and other public holidays. The Bronze Gallery with its beautiful statues going back to a thousand years is worth visiting. San Thome Basilica from the 16th century was originally built by the Portuguese. Drive through the Flower and Fruit market, High court, Marina Beach, and other places of interest. Check-out from the hotel is at 1200 hrs. Afternoon is at leisure. Late in the evening transfer to rail station for your Tiruchirapalli night train. Overnight is on board the train.

Day 10:- Tiruchirapalli.
This morning on your arrival in Tiruchirapalli also known as Trichy or Tiruchi you will be transferred to your hotel. Tiruchirapalli played an important role in the Carnatic Wars between the British and the French. Trichy has a large number of religious places like Rock fort temple, Samayapuram Mariamman Temple, Erumbeeswarar Temple, Nadir Shah Mosque, Christ Church, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, etc. The main festival in Trichy is a harvest festival celebrated in January "Pongal", Aadi Perukku, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Srirangam Rathyatra, Deepavali and Holi, Teppakulam float festival, Bakrid, Eid al-Fitr Christmas, etc.

Tiruchirapalli the citadel for the Cholas and developed by the Nayaks of Madurai is an eminent city as it is known for its scholars of Tamil. This afternoon tour of Tiruchirapalli will take you to the Danish Church, Rock Fort a temple complex and a fort built on a rock with 434 steps to reach the temple of Lord Ganaesha and more for the temple of Lord Shiva. This fort complex had witnessed the fierce battles in between the Bijapur and Madurai Nayaks, Marathas and Carnatic forces. It has been said that this fort plays huge role at the time of Carnatic wars that helped in the foundation layout of British Empire. Overnight is in Trichy.

Day 11:- Tiruchirapalli to Thanjavur to Madurai by road.
This morning, you will be transferred to Tanjore or Thanjavur famous for Tanjore paintings and Bharatanatyam the classical dance. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Brihadeeswara Shiva Temple from the 11th century AD is capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite block weighing 80 tons. The other places of interest are the Thanjavur Maratha Palace the Saraswati Mahal Library with 30,000 + manuscripts written on palm leaf & paper and the Raja Raja Chola art gallery with a huge collection of ancient idols. After the visit of Thanjavur, you will continue your drive towards Madurai. Overnight is in Madurai.

Day 12:- Madurai.
Madurai is one of the oldest living cities in the world and goes back to 3rd century BC. Madurai comes from the word Madhura which means sweetness. The people of Madurai celebrate many festivals and one of the important festivals is the annual 10 days Chittirai festival. Rani Mangamma's palace has been converted into Gandhi Memorial Museum. Mahatma Gandhi had adopted the loin cloth as his mode of dress after seeing agricultural laborers in Madurai wearing it. Meenakshi Temple is in the list of nominees of the "New Seven Wonders of the World".

The morning tour of Madurai includes Meenakshi Temple, Tirumala Nayak Palace, Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock temple. The 2000 years old Meenakshi Temple complex is one of the largest and oldest in India and the deities are Lord Siva and his wife Meenakshi. The temple has a Hall of Thousand Pillars with every pillar showing life like features. The outermost corridors have musical pillars of stones which when tapped, produce different musical notes. Thirumalai Nayak Palace is famous for its domes and arches. Your afternoon is at leisure. Overnight is in Madurai.

Day 13:- Madurai to Periyar (Thekkady) by road.
Today morning you will drive from Madurai to Periyar animal sanctuary which is also known as Thekkady. Your evening is free for game viewing. Periyar is famous as an Elephant and Tiger Reserve and shelters various animals like Bengal Tiger, Indian elephant, wild boar, sambar, tiger, leopard, wild dog, langur, monkeys, etc. It has an abundance of birds and plants. The Park is surrounded by various plantation regions for coffee, tea, etc. and a visit to these plantations is a worth. You have free time for selecting any of the above activities. Overnight is in Periyar.

Day 14:- Periyar to Kochi by road.
Today you will be driven from Periyar to Kochi. Rest of the day is at leisure. Kochi earlier known as Cochin is referred as the Queen of Arabian Sea. Kochi has remained the popular centre in across the world for the trade of spices for number of centuries. The name of the city comes from Malayalam term “Kochazhi” that actually means small lagoon. Kochi was put on the world map by Vasco-de-Gama. The Arabs, Portuguese, British, Dutch, all have left their impression on the history of Kochi. Rest of your day is at leisure in t his interesting city. Optionally in the evening you could enjoy a Kathakali dance show. Overnight is in Kochi.

Day 15:-Kochi to Bengaluru by overnight train.
During the morning city tour of Kochi, you will be taken to some of the renowned spots of Kochi that will include the Portuguese churches, mosques and temples along with a Jewish synagogue. You will be taken to watch the Chinese style fishing nets. It holds around 10m of height and consists of cantilever along with an outstretched net that is suspended in the sea and one huge stone suspended on other end with ropes for the counterweights. Checkout from the hotel at 1200 hrs. You have an afternoon at leisure. Later in the evening transfer to rail station for Bengaluru night train. Overnight is on board the train.

Day 16:- Bengaluru to Mysore by road.
This morning on your arrival in Bengaluru also known as Bangalore, you will be transferred to directly to Mysore. Rest of the day is free. Mysore also known as Mysooru was the capital of the Mysore Princely Kingdom and is known as the city of palaces and quite famous for its Dussehra festival. Mysore was ruled by the Wadiyars excepting for some time in the 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan ruled this place. The Wadiyars were great patrons of art and culture which benefitted the cultural growth of the city, due to which Mysore is called the Cultural capital of Karnataka. Overnight is in Mysore.

Day 17:- Mysore
The morning city tour of Mysore will take you to the Mysore Palace with archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures. Appreciate the exhibits at the Art Gallery. You will drive to the Chamundi hill to visit the Chamundeshwari Temple. From the hill enjoy the panoramic view of the city of Mysore and on return visit the Nandi bull. Your afternoon is at leisure or you could take an optional tour of Krishnarajasagar and the Brindavan Gardens. Mysore is a good place for buying the famous "Mysore silk". Overnight is in Mysore.

Day 18:- Mysore to Bangalore to Mumbai
Today you will be transferred to Bangalore airport in time for your Mumbai flight. In Mumbai you will be connecting to your flight. Accommodation is not included.

Day 19:- Departure
END OF YOUR LUXURY SOUTH INDIAN RAIL TOUR.