Temples of South India

Temples of South India

Tourism in India

Destination Covered:

Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Trichy - Madurai - Chennai

Duration:
08 Nights / 09 Days
Tour Category:
Day 01 - Arrive Chennai
Arrive at Chennai International Airport. As a part of your South India tour you will first visit Chennai or Madras as it was known as is the capital of Tamilnadu. It is a teeming, sprawling, bustling industrial metro established on the site of a fishing village in 1639 as a first British settlement in India by the English merchant, Francis Day. Later, The East India Company developed Chennai as one of the major trading centres in India. Chennai has a blend of Dravidian and Gothic architecture in its buildings. The city might have grown but it has never lost its traditional grace and charm.

Upon clearing Customs and Immigration, you are met by our representative who will present you with a welcome pack including all necessary documentation for your South India tour and arrange for your transfer to your hotel for check-in. No activity is scheduled today, since most of the International flights arrive into India close to midnight only. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02 - In Chennai
This morning embark from your hotel for a half day tour of Chennai. This tour includes a visit to The Santhome Cathedral Church - built in 1504, then rebuilt in neo-Gothic style in 1893, this Roman Catholic Church near Kapaleeshwarar temple is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle.

St Thomas Mount- is the place where the apostle is said to have been killed. Little Mount Shrine - St. Thomas is believed to have lived in Little Mount Shrine (a tiny cave) when he came to India around 58 A.D. Known locally as Chinnamalai, the cave is entered via the Portuguese Church that was built in 1551.

Fort St George- built in the 1640 A.D., the first bastion of British power of India, the fort has undergone much alteration. The fort is now used by the Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly and the Secretariat office. The 46m high flagstaff at the front is actually a mast salvaged from a 17th century shipwreck.

St Mary's Church – built in 1678-80, was the first English Church in Chennai, and is the oldest surviving British Church in India. There are reminders in the Church of Clive, who was married here in 1753, and of Elihu Yale, the early Governor of Chennai who later founded the famous American University bearing his name.

The Fort Museum- It has a collection of objects from the tenure of the East India Company in Chennai including letters from Robert Clive. Rest of the day at leisure to explore the city on your own. Overnight at hotel.
Day 03 - Chennai – Mahabalipuram By Road ( Approx 60 Kms / 01 Hour )
This morning you drive to Mahabalipuram.

Mahabalipuram - Mahabalipuram is a sleepy coastal town 60 kms south of Chennai. This tiny sea side village set in a boulder strewn landscape is a site of many ancient sculptural marvels. It was the port city of the Pallavas who had mastered the art of construction without using bricks or mortar, carving out exquisite sculptures from rocks. The best examples of the ir art here are the five monolith chariots, the pride of Mahabalipuram. The various panels on the walls depict scenes from Hindu mythology and fables from the Panchtantra. The Mahabalipuram ruins, date to the seventh century and consist of a cave temple, shore temple, monolithic rathas (rock-carved temple chariots) and bas-reliefs (among the world's finest.). It is the ideal place to purchase intricately shaped and skilfully carved statues.

Mahabalipuram , is one of the Indian towns that was devastated by the recent Tsunami waves in December 2004 , but in true Indian style , the city’s inhabitants showed tremendous grit and courage and had the city back to normal very quickly. Upon arrival check-in to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure to explore the city on your own or perhaps just relax on the beach. Overnight at hotel.
Day 04 - Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry By Road ( Approx 100 Kms / 02 Hours )
This morning you drive to Pondicherry.

Pondicherry - Pondicherry a former French colony settled in the 18th century is now a Union territory and a beautiful seaside town with traces of French culture still intact .Apart from the charming atmosphere, excellent restaurants, and cheap beer, what attracts most travelers to Pondicherry is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The ashram, founded by Sri Aurobindo in the year 1926, has brought international reputation to this coastal town.

Upon arrival check-in to the hotel. Afternoon you embark from your hotel for a half day tour of Pondicherry. This tour includes visits to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Founded in 1926, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram has grown, under the Mother’s guidance, from a small group of two dozen disciples into a large diversified community. The Ashram is not a quiet place of retreat secluded from the world but a vibrant centre of life in a modern urban setting.

Aurobindo hand made paper factory - one of the Ashram’s most successful commercial enterprises, with the paper produced here being exported to other countries. You can actually watch the process of manufacturing quality hand made paper as you wander through the factory. The Pondicherry Museum with its various stone statues and a fossilized tree trunk is also worth a visit. Evening at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 05 - Trichy By Road ( Approx 255 Kms / 06 Hours )
This morning you drive to Trichy, enroute visiting -

Tanjore – Famous as a “Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu”, Thanjavur was the royal city of the Chola Empire which ruled from 850 to 1270. It is the home of Carnatic music, musical instruments, dance and traditional hadicrafts. It is famous for the Brahadeeswarar Temple, built by the greatest of the Chola emperors. It is also regarded as the Chola dynasty's finest contribution to the Dravidian temple architecture. Listed as a World Heritage site, the temple is visited by a large number of people for regular worship.
Later continue your drive to Trichy.

Trichy - Trichy is a fine blend of tradition and modernity built around the Rock Fort. It was one of the main centers around which the wars of the Carnatic were fought in the 18th century during the British-French struggle for supremacy in India. It was a citadel of the early Cholas kings which later fell to the Pallavas kings. This city is a thriving commercial centre in Tamilnadu, and is famous for artificial diamonds, cigars, handloom cloth, glass bangles and wooden and clay toys. This city has given great Tamil scholars whose contributions to the Tamil literature have been very significant. Upon arrival check-in to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 06 - In Trichy
This morning embark from your hotel for a half day tour of Trichy. This tour includes a visit to Rock Fort Temple -which stands on a 84 m high rock in the centre of the town. In the eighteenth century, the British fought and defeated the French at Trichy for possession of the fort. Cave-shrines and temples are built on the rock - look out for the Hall of a Thousand Pillars and the shrine of Shiva. At the top we can relax and enjoy the panoramic views of Trichy. Our next stop is the enormous Ranganathswamy Temple. Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, the temple was known as a theological seat of learning as far back as the 11th century and as a sacred site it dates back two thousand years. As it is today, the temple comprises of a series of walled courts with 21 towers – the tallest of which reaches up 72 meters. It is a busy place with street sellers offering sweets, garlands and holy images to worshippers and tourists alike. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 07 - Trichy – Madurai By Road ( Approx 200 Kms /05 Hours )
This morning you drive to Madurai Madurai - Madurai or the "city of nectar" nestled down near the southern tip of India. This 2,500-year-old city is famous for its Hindu and Tamil cultural attractions. The ancient Kingdom of Maurya on the banks of the Vaigai River is one of India’s most sacred pilgrimage centres. Originally designed in the shape of a lotus motif, the city has since spread into a colourful patchwork of temples, bazaars and narrow roads packed with shops, stalls, pilgrims and cows. A must-see is the impressive multitowered Sri Meenakshi Temple built in 1560. Menakshi Temple, a vast complex of chambers is renowned as the finest example of Dravidian architecture in southern India.
Upon arrival check-in to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 08 - In Madurai
This morning embark from your hotel for a half-day tour of Madurai. This tour includes a visit to the great Meenakshi Temple -a splendid example of Dravidian architecture. The present temple was designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak and subsequently built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak. There are four entrances to the temple with an area of six hectares. Each of its 12 towers has the height of 45 to 50 meters. Later, visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace - A gracious building in the Indo saracenic style, famous for the Stucco work on its domes & arches. Also visit the Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock temple.

Evening witness Temple ceremony at Meenakshi Temple. Overnight at hotel.
Day 09 - Madurai - Chennai ( Flight ), Chennai - Overseas
This morning met by our representative and escorted from hotel to the airport in time to connect with the flight for Chennai. On arrival in Chennai received at the domestic airport and provided departure transfer to International airport to connect flight back home.
 
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