We are a team of travel enthusiasts who enjoy the spirit of India. The cultural and natural diversity present in our country leaves us spell bound. Researching the delicate mix that exists between the ancient aspects of India and her current futuristic trends is our passion. And we like to share this with everyone around the world. With more than a decade long experience in the travel industry behind each one of us, we are able to match traveler expectations in all forms -
- strong supplier relationship
- thinking from the customer's point of view
We consider these expectations to be your dreams and take pride in painting your dreams in colours a shade brighter than you envisaged. More than 80% of our business is sourced from past customer referrals. The passion we have for our country extends to the trips organized by us. We ensure that our guests experience India off the beaten path. So travelling with Shakti Holidays is not just a tour, it is an Exploration of the Spirit of India
She is truly Incredible! Now you may say that it is a cliche. But we say that it is the Truth. She is incredible even for those Indians who enjoy researching her past, present and future. This is a country that has seen many battles, struggles and landmark victories not just in the battlefield, but more so in the social, cultural, economic, spiritual fronts. All this is still evident in the lifestyle of India's people. Today, India's ancient culture thrives alongside internet and space research programs.
Each province of India has an ancient past distinct from the other. This is obvious in the various archeological sites and monuments that remain to this day. Some cultural aspects are part of the people's lifestyle, more evident in rural India - the folklore, dance, music and other art forms.
Even though India has many unique and original features, she has the ability to absorb. Since there has been foreign influence even before the time when St. Thomas landed on the shores of Cochin, other cultures have become a part of the Indian mosaic.
With all this, India makes an interesting study for all people - of course, Indians in India included! Join us in our discovery of India through travel. It is not only India that you will discover, but yourselves too.
Experiential learning trips
The above journeys have been created in a chosen region of the country around a particular theme.
Being the cultural mosaic that India is, we can create a journey of your choice around one or more
themes that interest you most. Be it anthropology, textiles, agricultural practices,
traditional crafts, ...(the list is exhaustive), we will assist you in all dimensions of your journey in India.
Do let us know which part of India you wish to explore and we will send you a detailed itinerary with cost.
Tamizhnadu in South India is the land of an ancient living culture.
This trip takes you through many ancient traditions/practices that exist today alongside the mobile phone
and the internet. The Tamizh culture comprises of a classical language, exquisite art forms such as
Bharatanatyam dance and mammoth temple architecture - notably in Mamallapuram, Kanchipuram and Thanjavur.
You can see the sheer science that has gone into the making of numerous architectural marvels such as the Big Temple
in Thanjavur and the musical pillars of Darassuram. We also visit the city of Madurai
which has existed in full cultural glory even before 3rd century BC, when Megasthenes visited, he referred to
Madurai as "Methora" in his accounts.
Our experiences in Tamizhnadu will include:
- the ritualistic aspects of daily life
- significance of ceremonies and festivals celebrated by the people today
- scientific traditions that have stood their ground through the centuries
- the aesthetics and necessity of making the kollam in front of every Tamizh home
and many more.
On the whole it is a journey where you try to understand the myriad threads that have held this ancient culture almost intact through all foreign influences over the centuries.
Rajasthan greets everyone with her variety of rich colours. The colourfulness is not only in the clothes of the people, but also in their very way of life. This is a journey that introduces you to the rural lifestyle of Rajasthani people. The interdependence of different communities in a village, with each one contributing their traditional skills ensures a symbiotic existence. The mostly arid land has made its people bring out the best of whatever is available. The best practices are deployed in managing meager water resources through well-thought out irrigation systems.
The most remarkable forms of arts and crafts make this a very vibrant land. During village visits, we enjoy Rajasthani songs that depict day-to-day relationships and chores, more often focused around fetching water from wells or ponds. We witness the Kaavad Banchana, an oral tradition of story telling still alive in Rajasthan.
This journey will give you an insight of a Rajasthan that lives in mud huts beautifully decorated with traditional wall painting. It will bring out the relationship the people have with their land.
The performing arts of Kerala offer a great window to understand the social and cultural makeup of
this beautiful part of India. In the first part of this journey you get a visual treat of important art forms
like Kathakali, Chakkiar Koothu and Mohiniattam. This is followed by visits to different parts of Kerala where
these arts originated. We will get to know the significance of the art form in binding that village community as well as
the rituals associated with the performances. An evening in the serene backwater district of Kottayam comes alive
with a visit to village temples where specific art forms are still performed as a regular ritual.
The lake district of Nainital is nestled at an altitude of 1938 mts ASL, in the Kumaon hills of Uttarakhand.
The thick forests of rhododendron, deodar and cypress are dotted with numerous lakes. Nainital gets its name
from the eye shaped Naina lake that nestles amidst seven mountains, right in the centre of this town. Naina Peak,
which is about 6 kms from the town, offers 360 degree view of the snow laden Himalayas. The sheer beauty of
the bowl shaped Nainital town with its emerald eye of a lake can be best appreciated from this peak. Also,
we can see the beautiful snow-capped Nanda Devi Parbat from this point. Nainital being a trekker's paradise,
one could explore the region's bio-diversity along Kilbury's Road, Land's End, Snow view Point, Dorothy's Seat,
to name a few. Most of these places are also accessible on horseback. A full day excursion to Bhimtal,
the largest lake in this region offers the most tranquil mountain vistas. Notable is the little island on
the lake that is reachable by boat. Those who have more time and a penchant to explore more remote parts of
the Kumaon hills can take in the beauty of Ranikhet, Almora, and the quaint region of Kausani and be rewarded
with a truly "away from it all" holiday.
Nainital is reachable from Delhi by train. The nearest station is Kathgodam which is 30 kms away from Nainital.
NAINITAL-CORBETT-MUSSOORIE 5N / 6D
Day 1 NAINITAL
Arrive Nainital by car from Kathgodam station (nearest railhead - Shatabdi Express Departure Delhi 0615 hrs., arrival Kathgodam 1140 hrs.). Rest till lunch time and then visit the Naina Devi Temple, Naina Lake and Mall road in the evening. Overnight stay in Nainital hotel.
Day 2 NAINITAL
Day excursion to Bhimtal and later visit Snow Point, Dorothy's seat and other places closer to Nainital town. Overnight stay in Nainital Hotel.
Day 3 NAINITAL-CORBETT
After breakfast drive to Corbett National Park. Jungle activities in the evening. Overnight stay in resort near Corbett.
Day 4 CORBETT
Full day for activities in Corbett. Overnight stay in resort near Corbett.
Day 5 CORBETT-MUSSOORIE
Drive to Mussoorie after breakfast. After lunch, visit Kempty falls and spend the evening at Lal Tibba. Overnight stay in Mussoorie.
Day 6 MUSSOORIE-DEHRADUN
You could take an early morning walk on Camel's back road to enjoy the views. After breakfast, visit Mall Road and also the Soham Art and Cultural Centre. After lunch leave for Dehra Dun to board Shatabdi Express at 1700 hrs. and reaches Delhi at 2240 hrs. Relive the precious images of your holiday as you travel back home...
The Valley of Flowers at Auli is a beautiful meadow located at an altitude of about eleven thousand feet in the
Garhwal Himalayas. It is the valley of the stream Pushpavati, a tributary of Alaknanda. Many varieties of
Himalayan wild flowers bloom here. Post monsoon, the floor of the valley is covered with a carpet of myriad colours!
Approach to this region is through Haridwar. From here we reach Auli through Joshimath, Govindh Ghat and then
an uphill trek to Ganghria.
The scope for trekking in this region is immense. From short walks to arduous ascents to mountaineering expeditions,
there are a lot of options for all kinds of trekkers.
The golden desert sands give Jaisalmer a unique atmosphere. A living fort, havelis with intricate art work,
deeply traditional people create an old world charm for the visitor. In addition to the cultural attractions,
the Thar desert offers ample adventure through camel safaris and desert camps. During these safaris we see
the survival techniques of the desert people in such arid land. The depth of folk culture seen here is very unique.
Join us in a cultural adventure of the Thar desert.
Jaisalmer is accessible by train and road from Jaipur.
RAJASTHAN DESERT 8N / 9D
DAY 1 JAIPUR
On arrival at Jaipur, transfer to hotel for check-in. After some rest, visit the City Palace which is the home of the Jaipur royal family. A part of this edifice houses a museum which has a collection of royal costumes, jewellery, armoury, etc. Notable are the two silver urns on display - the world heaviest silver artefacts. These were used to carry water from the River Ganga for the King's use during his trip to England to attend the coronation of King Edward VII. Also visit Jantar Mantar the astronomical observatory which has massive stone instruments designed by Maharaj Jai Singh II. Close by is the Hawa Mahal whose many windows enabled the royal womenfolk to have a view of everyday life in the markets below as they never appeared in public.
Spend the evening browsing through these local markets. Overnight in Jaipur.
DAY 2 JAIPUR
Visit Amer Fort in the morning. The most remarkable part of the fort is Sheesh Mahal - the walls and ceiling of this hall are carved with beautiful designs made of glass. The reason behind this is to give the queen the joy of sleeping under a star studded night sky. If two candles are lit inside this hall, then the reflection from multiple mirrors gives the effect of thousands of stars on a dark sky.
In the afternoon visit Sanganer famous for handmade paper and textile printing. Spend the evening in a village theme restaurant. Overnight in Jaipur.
DAY 3 JAIPUR-BIKANER
After an early breakfast proceed to Bikaner. Reach by late afternoon and check into hotel. Visit the camel farm in the evening. Overnight stay in Bikaner.
DAY 4 BIKANER-JAISALMER
Visit the Junagarh Fort, one of the most beautiful desert forts ever built. Proceed to Jaisalmer, reaching close to sunset. Overnight stay in Jaisalmer.
DAY 5 JAISALMER
Your first visit would be to the sprawling Jaisalmer Fort which is more lively than any other Rajasthani fort because it is home to a large part of the city's population. This yellow sandstone structure merges beautifully with the desert. In contrast, the costumes of the people seem more colourful - the bright red, yellow, pink and green stand out against the stark desert landscape. Later you visit Patwaon ki Haveli and Salim Singhji ki haveli. The havelis are also known as the 'mansion of brocade merchants'. This name has been given probably because the family dealt in threads of gold and silver used in embroidering dresses. The grandeur of their lifestyle is showcased in the intricate and elaborate architecture of these havelis.
After lunch, we go on a desert safari which starts with a jeep drive through remote desert villages. We stop by at Kuldhara, an abandoned village which is associated with an interesting tale. Around sunset, we enjoy a camel ride on the dunes. Overnight stay in desert camp (or return to Jaisalmer city for hotel stay).
DAY 6 JAISALMER-JODHPUR
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the desert and then drive back to the city. Spend the afternoon at leisure and drive towards Jodhpur early evening. Overnight stay .
DAY 7 JODHPUR
Mehrangarh literally means 'Majestic Fort' and so it is. The palaces in this fort were built in an informal pattern over several centuries. They have their own peculiar style, with narrow staircases, serving as the only means of access to the royal residences within. A collection of musical instruments, palanquins, furniture and cannons on the fort's ramparts are well - preserved. We visit this fort in the forenoon, and see the blue houses on our way back to the hotel. After lunch we do a village safari, visiting the traditional Dhurrie makers of Jodhpur. We also stop at a potter's place. Overnight stay in Jodhpur.
DAY 8 JODHPUR-PUSHKAR
After a leisurely breakfast, drive to Pushkar. Visit the temples around the Pushkar lake and watch the aarti and other activities around the lake close to sunset. Overnight stay in Pushkar.
DAY 9 PUSHKAR-JAIPUR
Drive to Jaipur to connect to departure train/flight. Relive the precious images of your holiday as you travel back home...
The Himalayan state of Sikkim is spread below Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world.
Based in Gangtok, one could visit the beautiful Tsangu Lake which remains frozen during the winter
Further on is Nathu La Pass, the famous Silk Route of ancient times connecting Bengal to Tibet.
The pleasant town of Pelling offers matchless vistas of the Kanchenchunga.
The sacred Khechepalri lake in this region, remains under forest cover,
but the birds ensure that no leaves float on the lake. In the more remote parts of Northern Sikkim,
the traveler is spoilt for choice of Natural scenery. Every turn on those winding mountain roads reveal
spell binding landscapes that are better than the previous one. Chopta Valley draws adventurous trekkers
as well as those seeking relaxation in nature's bountiful lap. Summer paints the valley with colourful
flowers and during winter, one could actually walk on frozen rivers! The sacred Gurudongmar Lake,
one of the highest lakes in the world, is encircled by snowy mountains.
Yumthang, the valley of flowers is draped with Rhodendron and primula flowers during the summer months.
In this extremely cold place, the numerous medicinal hot water sulphur springs are a contrast indeed!
Driving further north of Yumthang, on rugged roads, one is greeted with the heady fragrance of Azalea and
indescribably beautiful landscapes at Yumesamdong.
The exhaustive beauty of Sikkim is naturally reflected in its people and rich cultural heritage.
With Buddhism being entwined with Sikkimese culture, the numerous monasteries that dot this region are
repositories of artistic treasures like bronze images and wall paintings.
This tiny state of Sikkim has boundless appeal for all travelers. Badgogra which is the nearest airport to Sikkim is well connected to
For these who enjoy the beach, Havelock Island in the Andamans is a great gift of Nature.
Accessible by ferry service from Port Blair, Havelock Island has serene beaches and crystal clear waters.
Snorkelling and other water sports activities are possible here during the right season. For those visiting Andamans,
in addition to the usual attractions in Port Blair, a two night stay in Havelock Island will be the ideal icing on
your holiday cake.
Port Blair airport has regular flights from Kolkatta and Chennai.
ANDAMANS 6N / 7D
Day 01 PORT BLAIR
On arrival at Port Blair, transfer to Hotel for check-in. After some rest, proceed to Corbyn's Cove Beach. Later in the evening, visit the Cellular Jail, and witness the saga of the Indian Freedom struggle through the Light and Sound Show. Overnight at Port Blair.
Day 02 PORT BLAIR-HAVELOCK ISLAND
As per ferry timing transfer to Jetty to take the onward ferry to Havelock Island. On arrival at Havelock Island, you will be transferred to your resort. Visit Radhanagar Beach, one of the most picturesque beaches ranked 07th among the best beaches of Asia. Overnight at Havelock Island.
Day 03 HAVELOCK ISLAND
After breakfast proceed to Elephant beach in a sharing fibre speed boat, this beach offers snorkelers calm blue shallow waters and is the perfect spot for beginner snorkelers. The beach is very scenic with fallen trees and white sand ideal for relaxation. Overnight at Havelock Island.
Day 04 HAVELOCK ISLAND-PORT BLAIR
Check out of resort in Morning at leisure till it is time for return ferry to Port Blair as per ferry timing. Upon arrival, transfer to Hotel. Overnight at Port Blair.
Day 05 PORT BLAIR-ROSS ISLAND-PORTBLAIR
Today you visit Ross Island which was the administrative capital of Andaman and Nicobar during British presence. The Island still houses the Commissioner's Palace, the bakery, British Officer's Club, a church and an old cemetery of the British officer's on the Island though these buildings now lie in ruins. (This visit is subject to availability of tickets. Otherwise, Wandoor beach will be covered.)
Later proceed for a City Tour of Port Blair which includes the Fisheries Museum (Aquarium) - exhibits species of marine life peculiar to the islands, Anthropological Museum - displays tribal essential and artefacts, Naval Marine Museum (Samudrika) - gives a good retrospect of the history, shells, Corals marine life, geography and archaeology of these islands, visit the National Memorial-Cellular Jail, and the Water Sports complex. Overnight at Port Blair.
Day 06 PORT BLAIR-BARATANG ISLAND-PORT BLAIR
Early morning departure to Baratang Island (On sharing Basis) by road (110Kms) which has limestone caves. After the road journey you travel by boat through mangroves and for the last part, trek over to reach the caves. Return to Port Blair. Overnight in Port Blair.
Day 07 DEPARTURE
Transfer to airport for return flight from Port Blair. Relive the precious images of your holiday as you travel back home...
Dandeli is located in North Karnataka, just 125 kms from Goa.
Located on the banks of the Kali river, it is surrounded by dense deciduous forests home to the rich variety of wildlife.
Dandeli is an ideal choice for those who enjoy the tranquility of nature.
It is also a must visit place for those who enjoy adventure activities like white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing,
mountain biking, trekking and camping.
The Nilgiris have always held promise of a relaxing, laid-back atmosphere. And also unending scope for adventure!
As we drive up the winding roads, the towering mountains seem to enfold us into its enormous arms.
Apart from the usual picnic spots close to the towns of Ooty and Coonoor, one should take time to explore the outer
reaches of these Blue Mountains. As we drive towards the Avalanchi region, the sheer beauty of the winding lakes and
undulating mountain ranges fills one's senses. The clear waters of the Upper Bhavani Lake reflect the
changing colours of the sky. The evergreen rainforests with its abundant bio-diversity beckon trekkers,
nature enthusiasts, photographers and anthropologists. Yes, the Nilgiris is home to the Thodas, Irulas,
Kurumbas and the Badagas. They are communities from whom we city-dwellers have a lot to learn - the most important lesson being
that of respecting, understanding and co-existing with Nature. North of Ooty is Elephant country - Mudumalai.
Home to a large variety of wildlife, the most sighted are elephants, peacocks, bison, deer, sloth bear and the langurs!
The bathing and feeding of domestic elephants are not to be missed by all visitors to this jungle.
This region is reachable from Bangalore through Mysore and on to Mudumalai.
From Coimbatore, one drives through Mettupalayam and Coonoor to reach Ooty.
A Heritage train plying between Mettupalayam and Ooty offers the most breathtaking visuals ever!
Gliding on a houseboat across the massive Vembanad Lake,one wonders if Nature has been partial to this part of Earth.
Mellow orange sunrays at dusk playing hide and seek behind the coconut palms and the entire scene
reflected on the backwaters is a moment of a lifetime. Endowed with distinctly beautiful green vistas,
this part of Kerala offers unique holiday experiences. The tea-laden mountains of Munnar,
the wildlife sanctuary in Thekkady, the waterfalls at Athirapally, the backwater villages of Alleppey
and the heritage of Kochi make a heady cocktail of holiday destinations.
KERALA 5N / 6D
DAY 1 COCHIN
Arrive Cochin and transfer to hotel. Visit Mattanchery Palace, Jewish Synagogue and the Chinese nets. In the evening you witness the performance of Kathakali. Overnight stay in Cochin.
DAY 2 MUNNAR
Drive to Munnar. You will reach for a late lunch. Spend the evening at leisure taking in the beautiful mountain landscapes. Overnight stay in Munnar.
DAY 3 MUNNAR
Full day sightseeing in Munnar visiting Mattupetty Dam, Eravikulam Park (subject to park timings), Echo Point, Pothamedu, Nyamakulam Waterfalls, etc. Overnight stay on Munnar.
DAY 4 THEKKADY
After breakfast, drive to Thekkady. Visit the Periyar National park for a boat cruise in Periyar Lake. Later visit a Spice Plantation. Overnight stay at Thekkady.
DAY 5 ALLEPPEY HOUSEBOAT
If boat cruise was not done previous day, it can be done early morning. After early breakfast, drive to Alleppey. Check into houseboat. After a sumptuous lunch on the houseboat, you cruise through the backwaters of the scenic vembanad lake. The boat docks close to sunset. Overnight in the houseboat.
DAY 6 COCHIN-DEPARTURE
Check out of the houseboat and board your car for departure transfer to Cochin airport/train station. Relive the precious images of your holiday as you travel back home...
Tamilnadu in South India is the land of an ancient living culture. This 7 day program takes you through age old traditional practices that bind this society together. You will be astounded by the sheer number of temples you find here. Right from the 5th century rock cut edifices of the Pallavas to the massive Chola architecture, the images sculpted on these temples emphasise the importance of culture and living arts like dance and music. The folk culture of this region is showcased during our visits in Thanjavur and Madurai. Divinity is experienced not just in temples, but also in Pondicherry's Aurobindo Ashram and Aurovile.
TRADITIONAL TAMILNADU 6N / 7D
DAY 1 CHENNAI
Arrive Chennai and check into hotel. After brief rest, do a city orientation tour through the parts of the older parts dotted with British era buildings. Overnight Chennai.
DAY 2 CHENNAI
Today you visit the Connemara Museum, St.Mary's Church in Fort St.George, the Marina Beach, San Thome Church and Kapaleeswarar temple. Overnight at Chennai.
DAY 3 KANCHIPURAM-MAHABALIPURAM-PONDICHERRY
Check out of hotel and drive to Kanchipuram early morning. Visit Ekambareeswara temple and Kailasanathar Temple. Also visit a silk loom to see the process of silk weaving. Lunch at Kanchipuram. Visit Mahabalipuram in the afternoon.The bas relief of the descent of the Ganges, the Five Rathas, the Shore Temple and Krishna's Butter Ball are spell binding examples of Pallava architecture. Proceed to Pondicherry for overnight stay.
DAY 4 PONDICHERRY
Visit the Aurobindo Ashram and Pondicherry Museum. Also walk through French town, Aayi Mandapam and the waterfront. In the afternoon, visit Auroville reception centre where you get to understand the meaning behind this International township. A short walk away the magnificent gold plated Matri Mandir can be seen from a distance. Overnight at Pondicherry.
DAY 5 CHIDAMBARAM-DARASSURAM-KUMBAKONAM
Early morning departure to Chidambaram. Reach Chidambaram for breakfast. Visit the Nataraja Temple and proceed to Thanjavur. Visit Darassuram en route, a 14th century masterpiece of Chola architecture noted for the detailed sculpting. Also visit one of the bronze furnaces where artisans make the world renowned Thanjavur bronze statues. Overnight at Kumbakonam.
DAY 6 THANJAVUR-MADURAI
Morning visit to Thanjavur Big Temple and museum to see the famous Thanjavur bronzes. Proceed to Madurai. Overnight at Madurai.
DAY 7 MADURAI
Visit the magnificent and lively Madurai temple, especially its 1000 pillared hall. Later stop by at Thirumalainayak palace. Afternoon visit Gandhi Museum. On time transfer to rail way station for departure train/flight from Madurai. Leave the land of temples with fond memories of this journey into history. Relive the precious images of your holiday as you travel back home...
The above places are just a few of the many options you have across the Indian subcontinent.
You can choose one of more vacation spots and our destination experts will tailor-make your holiday just the way you need it.
This multi-hued holiday triangle showcases Dharamshala, Dalhousie which are the less frequented parts of Himachal Pradesh and the city of Amritsar in Punjab. The holiday has flavours of the Tibetan culture in Dharamshala, the breathtaking hills of Dalhousie, the symbol of human brotherhood in the Golden Temple and the romance of India and Pakistan in Wagah.
HIMACHAL-AMRITSAR 5N / 6D
DAY 1 DELHI-DHARAMSHALA
Fly from Delhi. Arrive Dharmashala by afternoon and check into hotel. Visit Norbulingka Institute, a must visit for any visitor to Dharamshala for a Tibetan cultural heritage experience. Time permitting, visit war memorial at Dharamsala, that commemorates martyrs of the area. Overnight stay in Dharmashala.
DAY 2 DHARAMSHALA
Morning visit to Mcleodgunj (6500+ ft asl, 10 kms), Dalai Lama Monastery and Bhagshunath Temple (3 kms from Mcleodgunj). You may find the local street market a great find for Tibetan artefacts. Naddi Area near Cantonment (8 kms from Mcleodgunj) has one of the best Himalayan views of the area. You also can visit Naam Art Gallery, a renowned art gallery. Overnight stay in Dharmashala.
DAY 3 DHARAMSHALA-DALHOUSIE
After breakfast, drive to Dalhousie(7000+ ft asl - 120 kms - 4 hours). Check into hotel and rest. Later visit Panchpula / Sat Dhara (confluence of 7 streams said to have medicinal effect). Stop by at the markets and Churches in Dalhousie. Overnight stay at Dalhousie.
DAY 4 DALHOUSIE
Do a full day excursion to Khajjiar Meadows (22 kms), Chamba which is a riverside pilgrim centre. Enroute visit Barkota hills. Return to your hotel in Dalhousie by late evening.
DAY 5 DALHOUSIE-AMRITSAR
Proceed to Amritsar (180 kms-4.5 hrs). After a short rest, visit the Golden Temple and later in the evening drive over to Wagah Border to witness the Flag ceremony. Overnight stay in Amritsar.
DAY 6 AMRITSAR
On time transfer to airport or train station for departure flight/train. Relive the precious images of your holiday as you travel back home...
Arupadai Veedu Tour
Depart from Chennai by car to Tiruthani, Darshan of Lord Thanikachalam
Proceed to Thiruvannamalai and check into hotel.
Evening darshan at Sri Arunachaleshwara temple.
Overnight at Thiruvannamalai.
After early breakfast, drive to Chidambaram. Visit Nataraja temple and proceed to
Swamimalai, darshan of Lord Swaminatha
After lunch, visit Darassuram, a 14th century Chola masterpiece of architecture with intricate sculptures.
In the evening visit Thanjavur Big Temple. Overnight at hotel in Thanjavur.
Depart from Thanjavur to Madurai. Visit the Pazhamudircholai temple
Late evening visit to Meenakshi temple for darshan and also to witness the night ceremony.
Overnight in Madurai
Do a full day journey to Palani. Visit Palani Andavar temple
. Return to Madurai for overnight stay.
Early morning visit Thiruparamkundram
and depart to Thiruchendur
Visit temple and proceed to Kanyakumari (2 hrs drive) for overnight stay.
Visit places of interest in Kanyakumari and board the evening train from Kanyakumari to Chennai.
Overnight on train.
Arrive Chennai early in the morning.
Dakshina Kannada Temples
Drive early morning from Bangalore to reach Kukke Subrahmanya
After darshan proceed to Dharmasthala
and check into guest house.
Visit AnnappaSwamy shrine, Bahubali Statue at Ratnagiri, and the Vintage Car Museum.
Overnight at Dharmasthala.
Have early morning darshan of Sri Manjunatha
and drive to Udupi.
Evening witness the Rathri Pooja at Sri Krishna Temple
. Overnight stay at Udupi.
Visit Udupi temple for Panchamrita Abhisheka at 6 AM.
After early breakfast, start for Kollur Thai Moogambigai temple
. Arrive on time for the Mahapooja at 11 AM.
After lunch, drive to Sringeri. Overnight stay.
Visit Sharadama Temple at Sringeri and proceed to Horanadu.
After darshan at Sri Annapoorneshwari temple, proceed to Bangalore.
If you have an extra day, you could spend Day 5 at Chikmagalur relax in a plantation homestay and
enjoy Mother Nature before proceeding to Bangalore.
Navagraha Temples of Tamilnadu
From Chennai, drive to Kumbakonam and check into hotel for a refreshing rest.
Arrival on the previous day is recommended so that you can start your Navagraha Yatra will a fresh body and mind.
After early breakfast, visit Suryanar Koil
[Sooriyan or Sun], Kanchanoor
[Sukkiran or Venus] in the forenoon.
After lunch, visit Alangudi [Guru or Jupiter], Thirunageswaram
[Rahu], Uppiliyappan Koil and Prityangara Devi Temple.
Overnight stay at Kumbakonam.
After Breakfast, visit Swamimalai, Thingaloor
[Chandran or Moon].
Also stop by at traditional bronze furnaces to see the making of the famous Thanjavur bronzes.
After lunch, visit Darasuram, a 14th
century Chola architectural masterpiece.
Make a stop for the famed Kumbakonam degree Kapi and visit Patteeswaram.
Overnight at Kumbakonam.
After breakfast, Visit Vaitheeswaran Koil
[Sevvai or Mars], Thiruvenkkadu [ Budhan or Mercury],
Keelaperumpallam [Kethu]. Stop at the historic Tarangambadi (Tranquebar or Poombuhar Beach) for lunch.
Post lunch, visit Thirunallar [Sani or Saturn] and proceed to Chennai.
Mind you, the above are just a sample of the numerous other places that you can choose for your holiday of a lifetime. We can also tailor-make make your honeymoon for different hotel categories.
The greatest result we aim for at the end of each holiday we organize is a HAPPY GUEST.
The feedback they give us are ENERGY BOOSTERS that make us want many more of the same HAPPY HOLIDAYS.
Many Many Thanks for organizing yet another delightful Corporate Outing for us. Every aspect of the tour right from the location, the food and the transport arrangements were exceptional. A special mention about the transporters, who were very meticulous and cooperative.
It was indeed a fantastic getaway for our team, brimming with fun and excitement.
Bindu | Assistant Manager - HR
K-LINK Healthcare India Pvt.Ltd., Chennai
Holidayed in Thekkady, July 2015
We thank Shakti Holidays for making our Goa holiday a very memorable one. Everything from hotel bookings, upgrades to the arrangement of transport for us in Goa was very professional and extremely well done. We enjoyed a great holiday with excellent hotel rates, complimentary upgrades etc.... Which would not have been possible had Deepa not negotiated with the hotel in advance...
Thank you once again and we look forward for our next vacation with Shakti as well.
Vinayak Pendyala, Hyderabad
Holidayed in Goa, March 2015
We recently used Shakti Holidays for our trip to Rajasthan. We visited Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur and Ranthambore National Park. Deepa helped us with our reservations and she was absolutely outstanding! The communication via email was prompt and very helpful and the actual trip itself was perfectly planned. Everything from our driver to our hotels was booked through Shakti Holidays and it was all very well planned. We especially appreciated when Deepa would call us at 5-6 o'clock in the morning to give us updates on our morning flights. It was very kind of her. I would recommend Shakti Holidays to everybody out there!
Jyotsna Ambekar, USA
Holidayed in Rajasthan, December 2014
Awesome planning, perfect execution and timely support. Shakti holidays helped me immensely with a tour to Dharamsala and dalhousie and it was perfect. My parents and child enjoyed it multiple fold..
Christina Kichenamourty, Singapore
Holidayed in Himachal Pradesh, June 2014
My family vacation to North Kerala - Calicut and Wayanad organised by Shakti Holidays was extremely good and my sincere thanks to you for that.
The resorts were good and the travel arrangements were hassle free too.
This is our second continuous year of vacationing using Shakti Holidays and we are happy to say you are getting better every year!
Kudos to you and your team and we hope you will have yet another good vacation plan in place for us next summer!
Ganesh Madhu & Family, Chennai
Holidayed in North Kerala, May 2014
One Word - Terrific !! Our experience with Shakti Holidays was exceptional. The attention to detail, care and warmth were inimitable. We enjoyed the experience, and the entire tour. We learned a lot about our homeland. Kudos !!
Prakash Mahadevan, New Jersey, USA
Holidayed in Rajasthan in June, 2012
We really appreciated the time and effort you put in to planning our trip. It was very kind of you to check in with us as we moved from place to place. Your services will be enthusiastically recommended to all our friends who are planning to come your way.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Highlights were definitely seeing the Taj Mahal and also the sunrise boat ride along the ganges looking back at the ghats at Varanasi. Thanks for planning such an interesting and varied tour.
Varny, New Zealand
Just wanted to thank you for arranging a nice holiday for my family. We had a wonderful time.
If it had not been for this Bandh, it would have been more relaxing.
I Would like to thank you for your help especially for arranging the things on the Bandh day and following it up
with phone calls, its much appreciated. I would happily recommend your services to my friends and colleagues.
And will definitely come back to you for my next holiday.
We will definitely tell people out here about your services as we had the most enjoyable trip ever..
And we had nothing to worry about with u around...
Darrel and Anca, Kuwait
Thank you for all your help to date Deepa.
You stand as a prime example of excellent service
Jan Belote, USA
Overall it was a very planned vacation and all of us had a very good time and your coordination was excellent.
The tour guide was quit knowledge able and was able to give information to us about the places we visited.
The air-conditioning of the vehicle we had in Chennai was not very effective. It took more than an hour for the vehicle to
cool when we started from the service apartment and it lead to some discomfort.
I would definitely reach out to you for my next vacation needs. And it would be great if you keep me informed about
any vacation offers that you may come to know.
Abhijith Godbole, Hyderabad
"The arrangements made for the Kerala trip and the choice of hotels were superb. Specific arrangements in a destination
like Kalathil in Kumarakom is unforgetable".
Harish CH., Hyderabad
Drop by this page whenever you wish to relax with an interesting book in hand....
Sittanavasal in Tamizh Nadu is a lesser known prehistoric site dotted with numerous dolmens, stone circles, megalithic burial sites, stone temple and forts - all of which lie within a radius of 40 km. Prominent amongst these is a 70 m high hill that has a natural cavern and a rock-cut cave temple dating to 2nd century B.C. This rock-cut Jain monastery contains artwork comparable to famous murals in Ajanta Caves.
The name "Sittanavasal" is a distorted version of "chir-ran-nal-vaa-yil" meaning in Tamizh language "the abode of great saints".
The rock cut Jain monastery is called Eladipattam. The cave is reached by stepping on seven holes cut in the rock. Inside this cave there are seventeen polished stone berths aligned into rows, each with a raised part - most likely these were beds for Jain monks with "stone pillows". The largest of these ascetic beds contains inscription in Brahmi script, Tamizh language from 1st century BC. Some more inscriptions in Tamizh language are from much later time - 8th century AD. These inscriptions name mendicants - monks, for example - Tolakunrattu Kadavulan, Tirunillan, Tiruppuranan, Tittaicbaranan, Sri Purrnacandlan, Nityakaran Pattakali. Most likely these people spent their lives in isolation in this hill. Eladipattam served as a site of very severe penance - kayotsarga (meditation in standing posture until salvation) and sallekhana (fasting until death).
This stone shelter continued to be the "Holy Sramana Abode" until 7th - 8th century AD.
The famous paintings are located in this later rock-cut temple named Arivar-Koil (temple of the Arhats) in north-western side of rock. This temple has been cut in rock in 7th - 9th c. AD.
Originally whole interior of the temple including the sculptures, was plastered and painted. Unfortunately the paintings on the walls have been lost.
Temple and paintings in it were noticed in early 20th century by S.Radhakrishna Iyer, local historian and he described this wonderful discovery in a book devoted to interesting sites of this region. The wider scientific community learned about frescoes later, after 1920.
Most paintings are made in Pandyan period - 9th century AD.
Central and most important drawing is a pond with lotuses, flowers in the pond are collected by monks, ducks, swans, fishes and animals in the pond. This scene shows Samava-sarana - important scene in Jain religion. Samava-sarvana is special, beautiful audience hall where Tirthankaras (great liberated souls in Jain religion) delivered sermons after they reached realisation (kevala-gnana). Bulls, elephants, apsaras and gods gathered in this audience hall to witness this grand scene.
Other paintings are floral patterns.
Tops of columns contain drawings of dancing women (apsaras) with lotuses. Southern pillar contains drawings of the king and queen with an umbrella over them.
Most likely the colors initially were vivid, now they are more grey. The technique of the drawing shows well developed style in art. India has long tradition of painting on rock with many Neolithic and later paintings in natural caves.
The walls of Sittanavasal Cave are not very even and thus the plaster has different thickness - from 1 to 8 mm. First layer of plaster contains coarse sand, second is more fine - this is similar to the technique of European frescoes. Pigment was mixed with the lime and possibly some gum (in the black pigment) as well. Color was put on dry plaster. It adhered to the plaster extremely well - persisting for more than 1000 years. Medieval artists had deep knowledge (which is lost now) about the natural pigments - colors did not bleach when mixed with lime and very well withstood the test of time. Artists in Sittanavasal have used black, green, yellow, orange, blue and white pigments.
Damp air in the cave facilitated growth of slime consisting of algae and lichen - throughout the centuries it covered the paintings. This slime had to be removed mechanically - with strong brushing in 1942 (Shri S.Paramasivan, K.R.Srinivasan) - happily paintings withstood this well.
Unfortunately the extremely valuable cave paintings have been vandalised. Some of the damage was done by contemporary artists secretly copying the paintings by laying tracing paper over the ancient paintings and redrawing them. As a result nowadays the paintings are barely visible and even somewhat insignificant.
Garbha griham is small square chamber, 3 m wide and deep, with 2.3 m high ceiling.
Rear wall contains sculpted images of three figures - possibly two Thirtankaras and acharya.
intricate carpet design and also a scene of Samava-sarvana with lotus pond.
The small shrine has exceptional, unique echo effect: if one is humming "ohmmm" inaudibly, the room starts echoing in audible frequencies. This does not happen if one is humming audibly.
The Manganiyars are a community of musicians originating from the remote desert villages of Barmer and Jaisalmer of Western Rajasthan. They perform during all occasions in their patron's family - during births, weddings and deaths. The Manganiyars are Muslims, but their music has Hindu themes as their patrons were Hindus. During all occasions at their patron's house, they compose songs describing the virtues and achievements of past generations of the patron's family. Traditionally, each Manganiyar family sings for a particular patron family through the generations. The genealogy of their patrons has been passed to them through songs composed by the Manganiyar's own ancestors.
In the current days, with the fragmentation of traditional community structures, the Patron-Manganiyar relationship is not as prevalent as it used to be. The Patrons' current lifestyles do not accommodate their relationship with their Manganiyar families as much as in the past.
In 1960, renowned Rajasthani writer, Padma Shri Award winner Shri Vijaydan Dehta along with Rajasthani folklorist Shri Komal Kothari established Rupayan Sansthaan in the village of Borunda near Jodhpur, Rajasthan. In this remote village, the Manganiyars were invited to perform for an attentive audience. It can be said that this was the first time they were performing to an audience which was gathered for the sole purpose of listening to their music. All these centuries, the festivities in the patron's house dominated over their music. Through the Rupayan Sansthan the Manganiyar music was recorded and produced in CDs to be distributed across the world for the first time. Stalwart musicians like Pandit Ravi Shankar found the Manganiyar music to be highly sophisticate and rich in repertoire. In the last few decades, Manganiyars have performed in music festivals across the world, notably in France, Holland, New York, Sydney, etc.
Through this strong revival of hereditary folk art, the Manganiyar youth have found great opportunities to lead a comfortable lifestyle by continuing with their traditional profession as musicians.
Written in consultation with Shri Prakash Dehta, nephew of Shri Vijaydan Dehta
India is adorned with numerous temples, many of them more than a thousand years old. Each of the ancient temples is associated with a sthala purana (stories about the origin of that temple) and annual festivals. The Vazhuvoor Temple in Tamizhnadu has a Shiva Purana associated with it.
After his union with Mohini to create Manikandan/Lord Ayyappan, Lord Shiva was roaming the forests of Tharukavanam in the form of Bikshadanar(beggar). This visit had a purpose, as the Rishis in this forest had come to believe that worship of God was not necessary and salvataion could be attained just through Karma. The handsome Lord walked the streets of the Ashramas of the Rishis begging for alms. The rishipatnis (wives of rishis) were charmed by the Lord's beauty and followed him like zombies. They passed the site where the rishis were performing yagnas around the holy fire. The rishis were shocked to see this spectacle and decided to destroy the Bikshadanar. They performed the Abichara Yagna (Black Magic sacrifice) to bring out forces to destroy the Lord. The fire emitted a hissing snake, which The Lord caught and wore around his neck. Then a ferocious tiger emerged, which the Lord killed and wore the skin around his hips. The rishis then sent out an evil fire and drum reverberating with thundering noise. This too, The Lord tamed in his two hands. Finally out of the fire came a huge angry elephant. Lord Shiva assumed a miniscule form and entered the trunk of the elephant. For a moment everyone thought that the elephant was victorious as the Lord had disappeared. Suddenly the elephant rushed around madly like a rogue elephant. It was experiencing agony due to the movement of Lord inside its body. The Lord tore out of the elephant in a huge six armed manifestation, two hands holding the torn apart elephant skin and weapons in the other four hands, one leg on the elephant's head and the other leg lifted in the air. This is the image of Gajasamharamurthi (image of one who killed the elephant). The rishis realised that it was the Lord who had played this drama to bring them closer to Him and thereafter worshipped Him. Lord Shiva gave moksha (salvation) to the elephant and the rishipatnis returned to their normal state.
It is believed that this incident took place in Pazhuvoor in Tamizhnadu. Pazhuvoor is today called Vazhuvoor and one of the important shrines of the Vazhuvoor temple is the bronze image of Gajasamharar. An annual festival is conducted in this temple where the entire episode of Gajasamharam is enacted. The bronze idol is decorated and brought to the north western corner of the Temple pond into which the rogue elephant is believed to have fallen. A huge mock elephant made of cloth is part of the panorama. The Lord performs the dance of destruction and the suddenly the bronze idol is placed inside the cloth elephant. All lights are turned off and the entire town is in darkness. Under this cover of darkness, the cloth elephant is rushed to the south western corner where the Lord is believed to have emerged out of the torn elephant. As the bronze image is brought out of the elephant, Mangala Aarti is taken and after this the lights are turned on. The moment of the Mangala Aarti (light from camphor or oil wicks) is a sight to behold. This is followed by elaborate poojas. But that moment of Mangala Aarti lingers in our mind's eye forever and ever.
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