12 Days 11 Nights
Day 01: Chennai
Upon arrival at Chennai International airport meet with our representative and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 02: Chennai – Tirupati – Chennai
Morning after an early breakfast we will go on an excursion to Tirupati. Upon arrival in Tirupati proceed for Tirupati Temple Darshan.
Tirupati is located in Andhra Pradesh. Tirupati is an ancient Hindu temple town having historical references in Puranas. The temple of Lord Venkateswara is located on the Tirumala hill and Tirupati is at the footsteps of the Tirumala hills. Every day around 1 lakh people visit this place. It has great reputation for famous temples.
Temples located in and around Tirupati include: Sri Padmavathi Devi temple at Tiruchanoor, Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy Temple at Srinivasa Mangapuram. According to legend, Lord Venkateswara stayed here after his marriage with Sri Padmavathi Devi, before proceeding to Tirumala. Govindaraja Swamy Temple, Saint Ramanujacharya consecrated this temple in 1130 AD. Kapila Theertham in Tirupati town at the base of Tirumala Hills dedicated to Lord Siva, Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple, Tirupati built by Chola kings during the tenth century AD, Sri Kalahasteeswara Temple at Srikalahasti and Sri Kalyana venkateswara swamy temple at Narayanavanam (40 km from Tirupati). Lord Sri Venkateswara Swamy and Sri Padmavathi Ammavari, daughter of Akasa Maharaja were married here.
Later in the afternoon return to Chennai for night stay.
Day 03: Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mamallapuram
Today we will leave for Mamallapuram, earlier known as Mahabalipuram. En-route we will visit Kanchipuram, known as the city of thousand temples. It is one of the seven sacred cities of Hindus, and was the capital of the early Cholas as far back as the 2nd century BC. Kanchipuram was a major seat of Tamil learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. Apart from temples, the city is also famous for its silk weavers, who settled here some 400 years ago and have given it an enviable reputation.
Later continue drive to Mamallapuram. Upon arrival check into the hotel. After fresh-n-up we will proceed sightseeing around Mamallapuram, the ancient port of Pallavas. The pallavas have created many marvellous monuments with sculptural panels, caves, Monolithic Rathas and Temples. Krishna Mandapam has a big bas relief, notable for its realistic representation. The world’s largest bas relief measuring 27m x 9m, whale back shaped rock contains figures of gods, demi-gods, men beasts, birds and representation of the entire creation. Shore Temple, one of the oldest in south dating back to 8th century AD is a good example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in Dravidian style. The Five Rathas are a group of five monolithic temples, each created in different style.
In the evening transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 04: Mamallapuram – Tiruvannamalai – Pondicherry
Today we will have an excursion to Tiruvannamalai. One of the holiest towns of Tamil Nadu, its name meaning the “red mountain” derives from the spectacular extinct volcano behind it. The temple town of Tiruvannamalai is one of the most ancient heritage sites of India and is a centre of the Saiva religion. The Arunachala hill and its environs have been held in great regard by the Tamils for centuries. The temple is grand in conception and architecture and is rich in tradition, history and festivals.
Arunachala Temple: The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was built between the 9th and the 10th centuries by the Chola kings of the Tamil empire. The temple is famous for its massive gopurams. This has been determined from an inscription in the structure that was made during the reign of Chola kings who ruled in the ninth century A.D.
Later in the afternoon drive to Pondicherry. Upon arrival check into the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 05: Puducherry
Today we will have full day excursion around Pondicherry, earlier known as Puducherry. Puducherry is situated on the eastern sea board of India. Although the French influence is gradually fading, it still retains a few Gallic accents. Main sights are the Rai Nivas, the Sacre Coeur church, Sri Aurobindo ashram.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram: The Sri Aurobindo Ashram located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well-known ashrams in India. The ashram was set up in 1926 by one of India???s famous sons Sri Aurobindo, who originally came to Pondicherry to escape persecution by the British. Sri Aurobindo, a saint-yogi, philosopher-poet, taught Integral Yoga, a new system of mind development, a synthesis of yoga and modern science. Madame Mirra Richard Alfassa, a French painter-sculptor-musician who had followed the same path on her own, joined him later. She is now known as the Mother. After the death of Sri Aurobindo, “the Mother” continued the social work till she died in 1973 at the age of 93. The idea of Auroville or the ???City of Down??? was conceived by ???The Mother???.
The Pondicherry Museum: The Pondicherry Museum is located on Saint Louis street and is open between 10.00-17.00 hrs on all days except Mondays and national holidays. The museum is located in the former residence of the French Administrator. The museum has a collection of rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties, objects found in Arikamedu site (an ancient port just 7km from city that traded with the Roman empire), Greek and Roman jars, 200 year old beads made from glass and precious stones, a wide collection of temple lamps and even objects from the Tsung period in China.
Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, located on the South Boulevard, Subbayah Salai, is a white and brown neo-gothic church. It was built by French missionaries in the 1700???s. It is one of Pondicherry???s finest Catholic churches.
Manakula Vinayagar Koil Temple: This temple is more than 300 years old and is dedicated to Ganesha. It has a golden spire.
Evening return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 06: Puducherry – Chidambaram – Thanjavur
After breakfast we will leave for Thanjavur, earlier known as Tanjore. En-route we will visit the Divine land of Chidambaram. Chidambaram is dedicated to Lord Nataraja ??? (God Siva in the form of a Cosmic Dancer ??? known as Shiva tandava)). It is one of the few temples where Siva and Vishnu are enshrined under one roof. This ancient temple was built by the Cholas. It is devoted solely to the art of Bharatanatyam and is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather than the customary Lingam. Spread over an area of 40 acres with a gopuram on each side, the temple is distinguished by five sabhas or courts. Apart from this, the sacred land of Chidambaram, has many exquisite temples and attractions.
Further continue drive to Thanjavur. Upon arrival check into the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 07: Thanjavur – Tiruchirappalli (Tichy)
Today we will go for temple tour of Thanjavur visiting Brihadeeswara Temple, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, this temple, perhaps the oldest Shiva temple in India has welcomed all from powerful kings passing through its hallowed portals seeking divine blessings for the good of their subjects, to the commoner
Thanjavur is the birthplace of the Carnatic music, musical instruments, dance and traditional handicrafts. It is an important center of South Indian art and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples which are UNESCO World heritage monuments are located in and around Thanjavur. The foremost among the Great Living Chola temples, the Brihadeeswara Temple, is located in the center of the city. Thanjavur is also the home of the Tanjore painting, a painting style unique to the region. The city is an important agricultural center located at the heart of the region, known as the “Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu”.
In the afternoon leave for Trichy. Upon arrival check into the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 08: Trichy – Madurai
After breakfast temple tour of Trichy (short name of Tiruchirappalli) visiting Srirangam – 5 kms from Trichy, located in an island of Srirangam. Surrounded by the Kaveri water is a 600 acre island town enclosed within the seven walls on the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswamy temple. There are no less than 22 gopurams, one of which is the tallest in India. The 72 m high 13 tiered Gopuram dominates the landscape for miles around.
Also visit the Rock Fort: Tirchy’s most famous landmark is 83 mt high rock which is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat inland of the city. The most amazing fact about the rock is that it is one of the oldest in the world. The sheer abruptness of its rise is an attention grabber. But the actual centre of attraction is not the fort itself, of which very little remains, but the temple at the summit.
Later in the afternoon drive to Madurai. Upon arrival check into the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 09: Madurai
Morning after breakfast temple tour of the sacred city of Madurai. It is situated on the bank of river Vaigai and has been the kingdom of Pandya kings in the past century. The place has a great cultural heritage and strong mythological history to be passed on to the next coming generations. The place is more than 2500 years old and the commercial center was developed in 550 AD.
The city is constructed in the form of a lotus and is known as lotus city too. There is a beautiful temple constructed by the Pandyan kings and Lord Shiva is worshiped here. It was believed that divine nectar was showered at that place and due to it the Jasmine flowers bloom in the place all around.
In the evening witness the Prayer Ceremony at the Meenakshi Temple. Overnight stay at hotel.
Meenakshi temple: Also known as Meenakshi Amman Temple is an ancient and one amongst the most important temples of India. Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is dedicated to Sundareswar (form of Lord Shiva) and Meenakshi (form of Goddess Parvati). The term “Sundareswar” suggests “the beautiful lord” and “Meenakshi” means “the fish-eyed goddess”. As per the Hindu folklore, Madurai is the same city where Lord Sundareswar (Shiva) appeared to marry Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati). Meenakshi Temple is regarded as one of the most sacred places of Parvati, other being Kamakshi at Kanchipuram, Akilandeswari at Thiruvanaikaval and Vishalakshi at Varanasi.
Day 10: Madurai – Kanyakumari
Today we will drive to the shore of Kanyakumari. Upon arrival check into the hotel. After fresh-n-up explore the heritage city of Kanyakumari. Overnight stay at hotel.
Kanyakumari, The name of has been christened after the virgin goddess – Kanyakumari Amman. Mythological stories depict that Goddess parvati under the disguise of Devi Kanya did a penance in one of the rocks in this area to reach the hand of Lord Shiva. The enthusiastic scenes of the sunset & sunrise are very enjoyable here, (especially on full moon days).
Swami Vivekananda’s Memorial: The great Indian Philosopher Swami Vivekananda’s memorial is built in a small island like rock 200 meters from the shore. A very great building and other halls are constructed in this rock.
Kumari Amman Temple: This temple is located near the sea shore and it is a beautiful scene for visitors who visit this site. Mythology says that Goddess Devi performed prayers to get Lord Shiva’s hand for marriage. When she did not get in hand to marry Lord Shiva, she promised ever to be a virgin which means Kanya in Tamil. The idol of the goddess in this temple has a nose ring studded with diamond which is visible even from the sea.
Thiruvalluvar Statue: Thirukkural is a precious gem among the classics, unique in the deliverance of code of conduct to the mankind to follow for all time to come. It enshrines in it 1330 couplets under 133 chapters, each chapter comprising 10 verses. The chapters again fall under three major divisions Virtue, Wealth and Love.
Day 11: Kanyakumari – Trivandrum
Today we will leave for Trivandrum. Upon arrival check into the hotel. In the afternoon explore the temples of Trivandrum visiting the Padmanabha Swamy temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Exquisite carvings and age old murals adorn the walls of the temple also visit Napier Museum, This is a 19th century monument which comprises of a collection which is quite rare and unique. Considered to be an important destination amongst the tourist attractions of Thiruvananthapuram it reflects the features of Indo Saracenic architecture.
Later return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 12: Trivandrum – Departure
Transfer to the Trivandrum international airport to board the flight for onward destination.