Trivandrum-Agra-Chennai by Train

#1 Mar 11th, 2006, 23:05
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My wife and I are considering a tour of South India which starts in Chennai on Christmas Eve (2006) and ends in Trivandrum on January 6 (2007). Our plan is to fly back to Canada on Jan 11 from Chennai. How feasible would it be to make this rather long side trip up to Agra by train? Would it be possible to make this trip considering the narrow timeframe?

Brendan.
#2 Mar 12th, 2006, 01:02
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Originally Posted by Mozart My wife and I are considering a tour of South India which starts in Chennai on Christmas Eve (2006) and ends in Trivandrum on January 6 (2007). Our plan is to fly back to Canada on Jan 11 from Chennai. How feasible would it be to make this rather long side trip up to Agra by train? Would it be possible to make this trip considering the narrow timeframe?

Brendan.
Seems an awful waste of time - why not save the Taj for your next trip? Hopefully, it won't be going anywhere in the meantime ! Enjoy the south instead - there's lot to see, and you'll pushed to fit the highlights in anyway on your schedule.

Come again soon!

Tim in Ireland
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#3 Mar 12th, 2006, 01:25
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Thanks Tim,

Yeah, you're probably right; it was a bit of a longshot anyway.

There's too much to see in Northern India to turn it into a daytrip. That's what you get from living in North America for too long

Still, there's a lot of time between now and December and I'm sure that (with a little help for this forum) I'll be able to come up with a suitable plan by then. As I pointed out in my earlier post, the tour ends in Kovalam on a Saturday and we're planning to fly back from Chennai the following Thursday. I'd like to get in a couple of train rides during that time. Any suggestions?

Brendan.
#4 Mar 12th, 2006, 01:47
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Originally Posted by Mozart Any suggestions?
Kind of depends where you've been already, doesn't it. I suggest you look in your guidebook and post a few places you are interested in. People will tell you if they are good or not.

Tim in Ireland.
#5 Mar 12th, 2006, 04:03
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Though there are many trains from Chennai to Agra, I don't recommend spending 4 days (to and fro) plus one day for Taj. There are plenty of opportunities to explore trains in South India. All schedules are online, let me know your tentative schedule and I can suggest some trips by train.
#6 Mar 12th, 2006, 09:51
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agree with everyone s0 far. No end of marvels to see twixt Chennai and Trivandrum!
#7 Mar 12th, 2006, 10:59
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Cochin to Chennai is about 12 hours, Trivandrum to Chennai about 16.

If you so much want to experience the Indian train, why not cancel that flight back to Chennai and go by train instead?

Southern India to Northern India by train isn't a day trip: it's a days trip!

Oh! you didn't say you were flying back to Chennai: sorry, half asleap today.

Still, you might consider the train trip
#8 Mar 12th, 2006, 17:10
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OK Guys, here's the itinerary. After the tour we have six days to get back to Chennai. Any suggestions?

TOUR ITINERARY:

DAY 01: ARR. CHENNAI TRANSFER TO HOTEL
Evening: Late evening arrival in Chennai.
Accommodation: Hotel The Residency Towers or similar

DAY 02: CHENNAI – SOUTHERN COSMOPOLITAN CITY
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Explore Chennai visiting St. George Fort, Santhome Cathedral, Kapaleeshwar Temple & Parthasarathy temple.
Afternoon: Drive to Mamallapuram and Check-in at hotel.
Evening: At leisure.
Accommodation: Hotel GRT Temple Bay or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast

About Chennai - The first city of Tamil Nadu (formerly Madras), is a comparatively new city. The erstwhile villages of Mylapore, Triplicane, Ezhambur (Egmore) etc. all now a part of Chennai, have a recorded historical past centuries older than Chennai. Chennai, the present gateway to the South of India, is itself, however, only about 350 years old. Chennai offers several sights and sounds to savor. The St. George Fort, built in 1653, is currently used as the state government’s secretariat and is a famous landmark. Another colonial structure worth visiting in the city of Chennai is Santhome Cathedral was built around 14th/15th century. In addition to above the Kapaleeshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is the oldest temple in Chennai.

DAY 03: MAMALLAPURAM – HERITAGE WALK
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Interesting ‘History walk of Mamallapuram’ - Arjuna`s Penance (Bass Relief) and onward visiting monuments of Krishnas Butterball, Rayalagopuram, Ganeshratha, Varahacave, Ottikkal mandapam, Trimurthi caves, Koneri mandapam, Lions throne, Mahishasuramardini mandapam, Dharmaraja mandapam, Ramanuja mandapam, Five rathas (symbolizes equality of men & women) & to end with at the famous Shore temple. Also visit to sculpture studio. (The above is a very mild pace walk)
Lunch: Local restaurant, Mamallapuram
Evening: At leisure.
Accommodation: Hotel GRT Temple Bay or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

About Mamallapuram – Mamallapuram lies 60 kms, South of Chennai, nestling on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, was once a port of the Pallavas. The Pallavas have created many marvellous monuments with Sculptural Panels, Caves, Monolithic Rathas and Temples. Once a thriving port trading with many distant nations, Pallava Chisels have breathed life into stone. The Pallavas art this place emphasizes robust eatherly beauty, imbibed with life. These monumental splendours and sunny beach resorts attract tourists from all over the world. The Arjuna`s Penance (Bass Relief) and onward visiting monuments of Krishnas Butterball, Rayalagopuram, Ganeshratha, Varahacave, Ottikkal mandapam, Trimurthi caves, Koneri mandapam, Lions throne, Mahishasuramardini mandapam, Dharmaraja mandapam, Ramanuja mandapam, Five rathas (symbolizes equality of men & women) & to end with at the famous Shore temple.

DAY 04: KANCHEEPURAM – BANGALORE. TEMPLES AND SILKS OF SOUTH
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Travel to Bangalore. Enroute visit Kancheepuram - One of the seven sacred cities of India. Visit temple of Varadaraja perumal and silk sari weavers society.
Lunch: Local restaurant, Kancheepuram
Evening: Check in at hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel St.Marks or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

About Kancheepuram - Kanchi is a historic city which served as the capital of some of the mightiest empires of the South. Between the 6th and 8th century it was the headquarters of the Pallava empire and several of the best temples here were built during this period. It later became the capital of the Chola and Vijayanagara empires and was a major seat of Tamil learning. It is the birth place of some of the greatest men in Indian history. The famous temples of Varadaraja perumal (dedicated to lord vishu / the 1000 pillard hall is the most attraction), Ekambareshwar(houses the 3000yrs old mango tree which is still alive) & Kailasanathar(dedicated to god Shiva / oldest temple in Kancheepruam). Onward visit to the traditional saree weavers society. Silk has been intermingled with the life and culture of the Indians. Though India is producing all the varieties of silk i.e., dress materials, scarves/stoles, readymade garments, etc., the silk Sarees are unique. The Saree is almost synonymous with the word silk. It is the traditional costume of Indian woman since time immemorial. There are innumerable references in Indian literature about this draped garment and the style of wearing differs from time to time, region to region and people to people. The silk sarees of India are among the living examples of the excellent craftsmanship of the weavers of the country.








DAY 05: BANGALORE – THE GARDEN CITY
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Explore Bangalore – Visiting Vidhan Souda, The Government Museum, Bull temple, Tipu Sultan Palace.
Afternoon: Travel to Mysore. Enroute visit to Channapatna - a small hamlet 46 kms from Bangalore on the Mysore highway, excels in lacquer ware
Evening: At Leisure
Accommodation: Hotel Sandesh The Prince or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast

About Bangalore - Bangalore, according to state historians, got its name from Bendakalooru (the town of boiled beans) after a king strayed into the area during a hunting trip in the late 14th century. A woman offered him a meal of boiled beans which the king enjoyed so much that he named the town after the dish. Bengaluru is a transliteration of the original spelling, according to state historians. Visit to ISKCON Temple (International Society For Krishna Consciousness). Visit this ornate temple built on a hillock with granite, marble and Korean glass, this huge cultural complex was established to promote Vedic culture and spiritual learning. It houses various deities, including Krishna, Balaram and Radha. Later visit to ‘Vidhan Souda’-one of India most spectacular building that houses the secretariat and the state legislature, onward we visit “The Government Museum” – one of the oldest in India established in 1864, the ‘Bull temple’ – one of the oldest temples of Bangalore built in Dravidian style and houses a monolith Nandi (bull) of huge size and the ‘Tipu Sulthan Palace’ – a palace completed of 1971 by Tippu sulthan. We complete the sight seeing tour around 12.30pm and then for a lunch break at one of the nice restaurants. After lunch drive to Mysore – the palace city of South India. Enroute visit Channapatna. Lacquerware products include brightly coloured wooden toys, door curtains, powder boxes and napkin rings, besides a range of distinctive jewellery.

DAY 06: MYSORE – SRIRANGAPATTINUM – PALACES & FORTS
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Explore Mysore – Mysore Palace, Jayachamsrajendra Art Gallery.
Afternoon: An early afternoon excursion visit to Srirangapattinum - a place with Ancient history - Island fortress town on the bank of river Cauvery.
Evening: Visit to Chamundi Hill Temple - at a height of 1062mts. The 2000-year-old temple is dedicated to
Goddess Chamundi.
Accommodation: Hotel Sandesh The Prince or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast

About Mysore - is the erstwhile capital of Wodeyars, the rulers of Mysore state. The Wodeyar family ruled Mysore since 14th century except for a short period of 40 years when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were the rulers. Mysore has never failed to mesmerize the tourists with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. The charm leaves no one untouched. Mysore traces its history into the mythological books where there is reference of Mahishasur (Mahishasura) or the buffalo-headed demon king who is believed to have lived here. Goddess Chamundeshwari of Chamundi hills killed this demon and hence the Dussehra, the festival of the victory of good over evil, is celebrated with unprecedented grandeur. Today Mysore is one of the major cities of Karnataka. Mysore has emerged as a thriving market for exotic sandalwood & incense, the Mysore silk saris and stone carved sculptures.

About Srirangapattinum - The island fortress of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan is picturesquely located in the River Cauvery. Within the fort walls that still carry the poignant scars of Tipu's last stand against the British, are a mosque and the Ranganathaswamy Temple. The 'Daria Daulat', Tipu's summer palace with a beautifully gilded and painted interior and the majestic 'Gumbaz'-his mausoleum, are located close to the river. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary at a 3km distance on one of the three islands in the Cauvery River. It’s a good place to see Storks, Ibis, Egrets, Darters, Spoonbills and Cormorants round the year.

DAY 07: MYSORE - MUDUMALAI - JUNGLE SAFARI
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Travel to Mudumalai.
Afternoon: Bush trek, in the jungles of Madumalai. (Very easy walk)
Lunch: Hotel in Mudumalai.
Evening: Visit to Elephant Pooja ceremony in Mudumalai.
Accommodation: Hotel Jungle Retreat or Similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

About Mudumalai: The Famous Mudumalai wild life Sanctuary is situated at an elevation of 1000 meters and extending over an area of 321 sq.kmts lies this sanctuary between Kerala and Karnataka states. This is one of India's best sanctuaries. Nature has been lavish in providing this sanctuary with thickly wooded hills, plateaus, deep valleys, waterfalls, rivers, marshes and streams. The varied flora and topography meet the ecological requirements of several species in habitating the sanctuary and give the visitors a sense of satisfaction. In Mudumalai the mostly dense forest is home to spotted deer, Indian Bison, tiger, panther, wild boars and sloth bear. The wild life elephant population estimated around 600 is one of the largest in the country. On arrival check in to hotel and at 01.00pm proceed for a. An approved jungle guide well versed in the ways of nature providing an illuminating insight into the realm of this forest trek will accompany you on this tour, covering some of the most beautiful areas of the park such as Singara hillock and Moyar river side, where nature is left to itself, undisturbed by outside influences. This trekking will give you many photo opportunities as well as to watch the untamed in its own habit.




DAY 08: MUDUMALAI – COONOOR – THE GREEN HILLS AND COFFE PLANTATIONS
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Jungle Safari. Later Travel to Coonoor, Enroute visit to Ooty(Udagamandalam) is the Queen of Hill Stations.
Afternoon: Board the steam train to enjoy a trip from Ooty to Coonoor affording some spectacular views of the precipitous eastern slopes of the rain-forested Nilgiris.
Evening: At Leisure
Accommodation: Hotel Kurumba Village or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast

About Ooty & Coonoor - Ooty also known as Udagamandalam is the "Queen of hill stations" and the capital of Nilgiris district. It is one of the most popular tourist resorts in India. Nilgiris means "Blue Mountains". It is a land of picturesque picnic spots. Used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britishers during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level. One can notice a marvellous change in vegetation, as one goes from Kallar to Coonoor. The establishment of numerous tea estates made Ooty famous. Lofty mountains, dense forest, sprawling grasslands and miles and miles of tea gardens greet the passengers on most routes. The annual Tea and Tourism Festival attracts crowds in huge numbers.
Train No:661 - Udagamandalam Mettupalayam Passenger /Dep UAM:15.00Hrs – Arr ONR:16.00Hrs

DAY 09: COONOOR - COCHIN
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Travel to Cochin and witness some spectacular views on the way.
Evening: At leisure
Accommodation: Hotel Abad Atrium or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast

About Cochin - Kochi or Cochin is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula, in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, dubbed 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala.


DAY 10: COCHIN – GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Explore Cochin – Visit Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, Spice market, Chinese fishing nets.
Afternoon: At leisure
Evening: Visit the famous dance drama of Kerala, the “Kathakali”
Accommodation: Hotel Abad Atrium or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast

About Cochin - Cochin visiting - ‘The Jewish Synagogue’ at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town, ‘The St. Francis Church’, the oldest European Church in India, ‘The Santa Cruz Basilica’ originally built in 1557 by the Portuguese, The Dutch Palace, Spice market at the narrow streets and the ‘Chinese fishing nets’ are huge cantilevered fishing nets believed to have brought to Kochi by Chinese traders. Return to hotel for lunch and later in the evening at 05.30pm visit the famous dance drama of Kerala, the “Kathakali”. This dance can be characterized by grotesque gesticulations, amazing costumes and very extensive make-up. The stories are mostly taken from the epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana.

DAY 11: COCHIN – KUMARAKOM. THE LUSH GREEN BACK WATERS
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Travel to Kumarakom - The village at the little islands on the Vembanad Lake
Afternoon: At Leisure to enjoy the resort facilities
Evening: Sunset Cruises at the Resort
Accommodation: Hotel Abad Whispering Palm or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast

About Kumarakom - The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and this small water world is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres is a favorite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live There in flocks are a fascination for visitors. The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands. An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom offers visitors many other leisure options. Boating and fishing facilities are available at Kumarakom.

DAY 12: KUMARAKOM TO ALLEPPEY. HOUSEBOATS, COCONUT GROVES AND BACKWATERS
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Travel to Alleppey – Land of Backwater and Board houseboat.
Lunch: On board houseboat while cruising.
Afternoon: Backwater Cruise
Evening: At leisure on board houseboat
Accommodation: Overnight on board Houseboat
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

About Alleppey - Alleppey or Alappuzha's beauty is not merely in its backwaters, but in the man-made islands that you will find amidst the waters. These islands are hedged by mud walls, a haven for migratory birds, with paddy fields inundated with water throughout the year. These fields stand below sea level. R Block is especially famous for the fresh toddy served to guests. It is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. Alappuzha remains prominent on the tourist trial of Kerela as one of the major centers for backwater boat trips. A splendid area full of canals, lakes and coves. You can sunbathe on the deck or observe the landscape from the protection of the cabin. The population’s whole life takes place here on the water. The people sail, fish, swim and bathe here. They do their washing and their washing up. They are so adapted to the water that you can see people talking for an hour, while they are up to their necks in water. Peddlers take care of the supplies and the public transport goes on the water. Countless water birds wait for their chance to catch a fish. The trip goes through a wonderful area full of palm trees, rice fields and floating water plants that surround the boat like emerald Green Island.


DAY 13: ALLEPPEY – KOVALAM. GOLDEN SANDY BEACHES
Breakfast: On Board Houseboat
Morning: Travel to Kovalam.
Afternoon: At leisure on the beach
Evening: At leisure on the beach
Accommodation: Hotel Travencore Heritage or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast

About Kovalam - One of the world's greatest beaches, now a magnificent resort of the sun, surf and sea. A beach paradise: the boundless blue of the Arabian Sea and the unwinding miles of the fine sanded beaches washed by a surf which roars and hisses at the feet of the stalwart palms. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse - sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes, Catamaran cruising etc. The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night.

DAY 14: KOVALAM - TRIVANDRUM – DEPARTURE
Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
Morning: Transfer to Trinavdrum airport.
Meals Included: Breakfast
(END OF THE SERVICES)



Brendan.
#9 Mar 12th, 2006, 17:17
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Please ignore Transfer to Trinavdrum airport on day 14 as we plan to stay on.
#10 Mar 12th, 2006, 19:28
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With the short time you have, and wanting to fit some very Indian places in, I'd spend a couple of hours in Trivandrum, then go to Kanniyakumari, Madurai, Tiruchirappali, Thanjavur, and back to Chennai.

An alternative to one of the above could be Pondicherry.

Tim in Ireland
#11 Mar 12th, 2006, 19:56
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Covering all that Chennai stuff in half a day, especially your first, is crazy! Expect nothing but a bewildering rush!
#12 Mar 13th, 2006, 13:29
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#12
Dear Mozart,
Your observation:-
"My wife and I are considering a tour of South India which starts in Chennai on Christmas Eve (2006) and ends in Trivandrum on January 6 (2007). Our plan is to fly back to Canada on Jan 11 from Chennai."
---------------
@@@While indicating your Travel Plan, kindly use DATE & DAY (**of the Week) & ARR.TIME & Dep.Time from a particular place instead of ""Day-1", "Day-2", so that it would be easy for us to understand your travel plan. You can simply indicate the Highlights of the Place you propose to visit, so as to make your travel plan crisp & clear.
=============
@@@Coming back, how do you propose to travel from Coonor to Cochin - by road or by train? This has not been indicated!!!!
==============
I assume you will get yourself freed in TVC on 6th January,2007 (Saturday) and you are free upto 10th January,2007 (Wednesday) - since you have stated that you have to take your flight to Canada on 11th January,2007.
============================== ====
If you are that interested in visiting Agra, here is the Plan. For this purpose, you have to close your plan in Ernakulam on 6th instead of Trivandrum. Please take 2645 Swarna Jayanti Express from Ernakulam on 6th Januray,2007 (Saturday) and you will arrive in Agra at 18.05 hrs on 8th January,2007 (Monday).
==========================
Visit Tajmahal on Tuesday 9th January,2007.
......
After that straightaway proceed to New Delhi Airport on 9th January,2007 itself.
......
Take IC.540 of Indian Airlines, which departs from Delhi at 19.00 hrs. and arrives in Chennai at 21.30 hrs.
........
If this is too tight, take the Chennai Flight on 10th January (Wednhesday) morning at 6.40 hrs. which arrives in Chennai at 9.10 hrs.
===========
You can walk again on the Marina Beach on 10th evening. :-)
=============
V.Srinivasa Prasad
13.3.2006/12.35 hrs.

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