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 Home >> Pilgrimage Tours >> South India Temple Tour

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.

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 Hotel.

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, Darasuram,

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 the temple.

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 River Ganges.

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 traditional blue-black.

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 music.

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 (prayer )ceremony.

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 Rameshwaram.

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 Trivandrum.

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 hrs********************************


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Tourism India Management Enterprises Pvt. Ltd.
Plot No. 78, Sector 44, Gurgaon-122002, Haryana INDIA
Phone :0091-124-4932450 Fax :0091-124-4932499