>> Pilgrimage Tours
>> South India Temple Tour
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Day 01: Arrive Chennai
Meeting and assistance on arrival at the airport and
transfer to Hotel. Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 02 : Chennai – Mahabalipuram
Chennai is the cultural heartland & gateway to the South
India. Here on the east coast, ancient traditions of
classical dance, music arts, handicrafts, literature,
philosophy and religion have taken root and spread over
India and to many parts of the world. In exchange ,
global influences flowed and were integrated.
Morning city tour of Chennai.
Visit Fort St. George, completed in 1653 and today
filled with reminders of the past, including St. Mary’s,
the first church consecrated on Indian soil. The
National Art Gallery has many excellent bronzes
including the famous Chola period bronze Nataraja, the
God Shiva, in the cosmic dance pose. The Government
Museum (closed on Fridays), which contains sculpture and
architecture produced by the Dravidian dynasties. Drive
along the Marina, an elegant promenade and proceed to
the old Indian section of Mylapore. Visit San Thomas
Basilica - St Thomas, the Apostle, is said to be buried
h6re. He came here to spread the gospel, legend holds,
barely a years after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion
Afternoon transfer to Mahabalipuram enroute visiting
Kanchipuram, the ancient capital of the Pallavas, is
famous as the city of 1000 temples (still has 124
temples). Kanchipuram is also famous for silk. See the
amazingly beautiful temples of Kanchipuram famous for
their architectural richness. The first temple dedicated
to Lord Shiva was built between the 7th and 8th century
and has interesting paintings on the walls.
Later in the evening drive to Mahabalipuram. Arrive and
check in at hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 03: Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram is a beautiful beach resort which consists
of a the tiny village by the sea in which all else is
dwarfed by a dream world of awesome Tamil art, an open
air museum of sculpture in living rock. The piece de
resistance is Arjuna’s Penance or the Descent of the
Ganga, the world’s largest bas-relief, 764 ft. by 288
ft. (27m by 9m). It is a beautiful composition of
hundreds of celestial beings, human and animals all
hurrying to a natural rock cleft that divides the giant
stone. The best known landmark of Mahabalipuram, is the
Shore Temple, which has stood by the sea for 12
centuries. Its twin spires are pure poetry in granite.
The other wonders of Mahablipuram are the mandapams,
each a cave scooped from a hillside of solid rock and
ornamented with pillars, sculptured with panels and with
rathams (monolithic rock-cut shrines) that have inspired
generations of South Indian temple-builders. The five
rathas, named after the Pandava brothers, the heroes of
the Mahabharata, and their wife Draupadi, are part of an
amphitheatre of art. Each temple though incomplete,
remains a gem. Also in this area are a magnificent
elephant and an exquisite Nandi, the sacred bull.
Afternoon and evening at Leisure. Overnight at the
Day 04: Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry
Morning after breakfast drive to Pondicherry. On arrival
check in to hotel. Pondicherry has a long history dating
back 2000 years when it was an important Roman trading
post. This quaint old French town in India is also the
place where Sri Aurobindo, a well known philosopher,
patriot and savant established his Ashram, which today
is an important landmark added to the itinerary of every
tourist visiting Pondicherry.
Afternoon visit the Aurobindo Ashram located 10 km north
of Pondicherry which forms the focal point of the town
and also visit the nearby futuristic own of Auroville
designed by the French architect Roger Anger. You may
also wish to visit the Church of Our Lady of the Angels.
Built in 1865, this attractive church is home to a rare
oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption, a gift from
the French Emperor, Napoleon III.
Day 05: Pondicherry - Chidambaram -Tanjore
Morning drive to Tanjore, en-route visiting
Chidambaram, Gangaikondacholapuram, Kumbakonam,
Your first stop will be the Nataraj Temple, which is
located in the center of Chidambaram. The temple was
built over 1,000 years ago during the Chola dynasty. The
word “Nataraj” means “Lord of the Dance” and is
representative of the Dancing Shiva, the creator of the
universe. An important feature of the temple is the
carvings of 108 dancers on the great stone gateways of
Next you will stop at Gangaikondacholapuram, was
established as a capital city by the Chola ruler
Rajendra I (1012-44). There you will visit Brihadiswara
Temple, which is a large Siva temple that can be seen
from a distance because of its enormous 55m high vimana
(tower over the altar). Rajendra Chola built this temple
in 1025 to celebrate his victorious expedition to the
Kumbakonam. Although there are many temples in the city,
there are two that are particularly noteworthy. These
are the Adikumbeswarar Temple of the Saivites and the
Lord Sarangapani Temple of the Vaishnavites.
Adikumbeswarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is
situated at the center of town. It occupies an area of
about 190,000 square feet. Its main tower is 128 feet
high. The Lord Sarangapani Temple is the third most
important temple for Vaishnavites in Southern India. The
main tower of the temple rises to a height of 146 feet.
Next you will visit Darasuram, which is a small town
near Kumbakonam. It is known for the Airavatesvara
Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century
CE. This temple is a storehouse of art and architecture.
The vimana is 85 feet high. The temple has some
exquisite stone carvings.
Later proceed to Tanjore.
Thanjavur, popularly known as Tanjore, where lies the
famous Brihadishwara Temple and its sprawling palace
complex. The town is famous also for its distinctive
style, a combination of raised and painted surfaces.
"Krishna" is the most popular deity depicted, and in the
Tanjore school his skin is white, rather than the
Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 06: Tanjore – Trichy – Tanjore
Morning Half day excursion to Trichy. Sitting at the
head of the fertile Kaveri delta, Trichy has a history
stretching back over 1,000 years. Mentioned by Ptolemy
in the 2nd Century BC, Trichy gained importance from 150
AD when the Cholas built the original fortifications.
Rising to prominence under the Nayakas from Madurai who
capitalised on the site’s strategic location by building
a fort as well as a town.
Visit the ancient temples dedicated to Lord Ganapathi
434 steps cut out into the rock side and interspersed
with shrines lead to the temple yet another flight leads
to the temple of lord Shiva. The ascend is climaxed by
magnificent view of the sacred kaveri river. Visit
Srirangam a massive temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu
which contains within it’s a bazaar as well.
Afternoon proceed for the city tour of Tanjore visit the
Brihadeeswara Temple, also known as the Big Temple,
Brihadeeswara is enclosed by two courts and is topped by
a lofty tower. From there you will move on to the
Palace, which was built by the Nayakas and later
renovated by the Marathas. The Palace dates back to the
1550s and houses an art gallery, a library and a hall of
Day 07: Tanjore- Madurai
After breakfast we proceed to Madurai by surface.
The ancient city of Madurai situated on the banks of the
Vaigai River is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu
and has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage for
many centuries. One of the main centres of Tamil culture
the main attraction of this crowded but vibrant
pilgrimage centre is the temple and bazaar complex found
right in the heart of the city. More than 2500 years
old, Madurai is believed to have been founded by the
Pandyan King Kulasekara in the 6th Century BC and there
is even evidence to suggest trade with both Ancient
Greece and Rome. Famous for its poets and writers
Madurai subsequently grew under the guidance of the
Vijayanagar kings and it was through their patronage
that the architectural heritage of the town, as it is
witnessed today, was preserved and expanded.
Afternoon visit the Thirumalai Nayaka Palace built in
1636 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak. With its Indo-Mughal
style, domes and arches the original palace once had a
fully functioning shrine, armory, theatre, royal
quarters and a harem. Later proceed to the impressive
17th Century Shree Meenakshi Sundareshvara Temple which
dominates the old city. This great temple, an exact
contemporary of the Taj Mahal in Agra, is instantly
recognizable. With its nine Gopurams, pyramidal gateway
towers, profusion of multi-colored images of animals and
gods as well as flower sellers, musicians and a
decorated temple elephant, the temple is a hive of
activity from dawn until late into the night.
In the evening, revisit the Meenakshi Temple for Aarti
Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 08: Madurai - Rameshwaram - Madurai
Morning full day excursion to Rameshwaram, which also
known as the Varanasi of the south, is a major
pilgrimage center for both Shaivites and Vaishnavaites
as Lord Rama ( an incarnation of Vishnu in the Indian
epic the Ramayana ) offered thanks to Siva at
The center of the town is the Ramanathaswamy Temple, one
of the most important temples in southern India. Visit
The Ramanatha Swamy Temple, Agnitriham, Ramjharoka
Temple, Kothandaramaswamy Temple.
Later drive back to Madurai. Overnight at Madurai.
Day 09: Madurai -Trivandrum
After breakfast we drive to Trivandrum (330 km-8hrs).
Arrive and check into the hotel. Evening at leisure.
Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 10: Trivandrum - Kanyakumari - Trivandrum
After breakfast proceed for Kanyakumari by surface
(87km-2hrs). An important pilgrim centre of India, it is
famous for the Amman Temples - a symbol of unity and
sanctity - dedicated to the virgin Goddess, Kanya Kumari.
To its South - East lies the famous Vivekananda Rock
Memorial, dedicated to Indian Saint Vivekananda, who
meditated on this very rock before he proceeded to West
to propagate Hinduism, where otherwise was perceived as
a barbaric religion. Evening view the sunset at the
southern most tip of India.
Later return to Trivandrum. Overnight at the Hotel in
Day 11: Leave Trivandrum
After breakfast, in time transfer to airport to connect
flight for your onward destination. (Room at disposal
till 1200 hrs on this day)
****************** Check in & Check out time 1200
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