Trip Highlights :- Chennai | Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram | Chidambram - Gangekondcholapuram - Tanjore | Tiruchirapalli | Madurai | Chennai |
Tour duration : 08 Nights / 09 Days
Chennai : Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is famous for being the hub of classical National Dance of India, Bharatanatyam. Chennai is the fourth largest metropolitan city of India. It is both the commercial and cultural capital city of the south-eastern state of Tamil Nadu. The city is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. The British developed the city into a major urban centre along with a strong naval base in the 17th century, by the 20th century, it became an important administrative centre. In 1639, the British took over the place and made it the capital of the British presidency. It used to be the centre of conflict for the supremacy of the British and the French. Today, the city is developing rapidly and has become a fast growing city in India. Currently there are many major industries in the field like Automobile, Hardware manufacture, Technology, Health and Education. It is also known as the automobile capital of India. Beside these major industries, it is also top in sports and includes a number of stadiums in order to promote it. Chennai is blessed with art and literature so it is also famous for its Film Industry.
Mahabalipuram : Mahabalipuram, situated about 60 kms south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, is an ancient port town known for its stone carvings and stone temples. Built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries, the port city of Pallavas has been classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known by several names such as Mamallapattana and Mamallapuram, the town was known to ancient mariners as "Seven Pagodas" alluding to the Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram literally means 'city of the Great Bali'. Derived from Mamallapuram, Mahabalipuram is a modern name of the town. The town got its name after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler) and Mamallapuram was 'the city of great wrestler'. Pallava kings ruled Mamallapuram from their capital Kanchipuram and used the port to launch diplomatic missions to Ceylon and Southeast Asia. Chinese and Roman coins have been found at Mamallapuram revealing the port as an active hub of global trade. The city of Mahabalipuram was largely developed by the Pallava King Narasimhavarman I in the 7th century AD. The modern city of Mahabalipuram was established by the British in 1827.
Tiruchirapalli : Situated on the banks of the river Cauvery is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. It was a citadel of the early Cholas which later fell to the Pallavas. Also called as Trichy, is a fine blend of tradition and modernity built around the Rock Fort. Apart from the Fort, there are several Churches, Colleges and Missions dating back to the 1760s. The town and its fort, now in Trichy were built by the Nayaks of Madurai. This city has given great Tamil scholars whose contributions to the Tamil literature have been very significant. 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. The city is a thriving commercial centre in Tamil Nadu and is famous for artificial Diamonds, Cigars, Handloom cloth, Glass Bangles and wooden and clay toys.
Madurai : Madurai is one of the important and second largest cities in Tamil Nadu in South India. As it is endowed with a rich cultural heritage and glorious traditions, Madurai is included in the group of antique cities present in India. The history of Madurai dates back to 6th century B.C. During that period, the city was the much-acclaimed capital of the Pandya kings. Back then, it functioned as an important commercial center of South India. It held sway over many small towns in the South. Madurai is famous for its temples, monuments and ancient cultural wonders. Madurai's Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is one of the greatest architectural marvels of India. Built by the Pandya King Kulasekara and reconstructed later by Tirumalai Nayakar, the temple has patronized literature, art, music and dance ever since its inception. The entire city is built around the Meenakshi Amman temple. Madurai is firmly anchored in Tamil literature and tradition. It is home to many poets and artisans. It houses an abundance of literary wealth of both classical and modern Tamil. It was the seat of the Tamil academy in the past. The city has been a center for learning and pilgrimage for centuries.
Arrival in Chennai, our representative will meet and welcome you at the lounge and provide transfer assistance from airport to hotel. Upon reaching your hotel, you will be handed over the travel documents with a complete briefing of tour by the representative. Check-in and proceed to your room. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast and check-out from hotel. In the morning proceed for the sightseeing and visit following places of interest:-
Visit The Fort St. George Museum The fort houses a St. Mary's Church and Fort museum. St. Mary's Church the oldest Anglican Church in India built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. The museum opened to public from 31st Jan 1948, it began with a small collection of objects of the British Raj donated by the then Madras Presidency Government, the St. Mary's Church authorities, the disbanded army units and others. Over the years many objects were acquired by various means and there are now 3661 registered antiquities in the collection. The antiquities are displayed in ten galleries spread over three floors. An imposing marble statue of Lord Cornwallis (1738-1805) greets the visitors. Arms like Swords, Daggers, Rifles and Pistols, Mortars, Petard, Cannon shots, Breast plates, Helmets, baton, and fragments of shells fired at and in defence of Madras during the freak attacks during the World Wars, besides native weapons like bow and arrow.
The uniforms of various ranks of the British Army, ceremonial dress of Madras Governor's Bodyguards are displayed in the Uniform and Medals Gallery. Various porcelains used as official tableware by the East India Company and similar ware of the Arcot Nawabs are displayed in the Porcelain Gallery. The Indo-French Gallery contains exhibits like fine, decorated Porcelain, Clocks, Stamps and Coins issued by the French in India.
Kapleshwara Temple, one of the sacred shrines in Tamil Nadu is Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, it is a Siva Temple, and the name of the Lord is Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar. The name of the Goddess is Arulmigu Karpagambal. The notable feature of this structure is the 37-mt tall gopuram, A masterpiece of Dravidian style and displays the architectural elements - gopurams, mandapams and a tank. The view of the temple and the tank is picturesque. As per Hindu mythology, Parvati the consort of Siva performance penance and worshipped Kapaleeswarar in the form of Peacock [Mayil in Tamil] and hence the name of the place Mylapore.
St. Thomas Church, holy ground one which contains the tomb of St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles (that is, closest associates) of Jesus Christ. He came to India in the year 52 AD, preached on the West Coast and Chennai (formerly Madras), died in this city in 72 AD, and was buried in Santhome, This Shrine, stands over his tomb. In fact, the Basilica is so constructed that the smaller of its two towers stands exactly over the tomb of St. Thomas. This is also the shrine where the next most famous missionary to India, St. Francis Xavier (whose body is venerated in Goa), spent four months in the year 1545, and used to pray before the statue of "Our Lady of Mylapore". The structure is what is known as "Gothic," like the most famous Cathedrals of Europe (Cologne, in Germany, for instance, or the great Cathedrals of France).
The Thousand Lights Mosque, is one of the largest mosques in the country and a revered place of worship for Muslims. It was built by Nawab Umdat-ul-Umrah in 1810. There is an interesting story behind the name of the mosque. It is said that 1000 lamps needed to be lit in order to illuminate the assembly hall.
Drive past The Ripon Building, seat of the Chennai Corporation (Madras Corporation). It is a fine example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, a combination of Gothic, Ionic and Corinthian. The Ripon Building is an all-white structure commissioned in 1913, One of the main attractions of the building is the Westminster Quarter chiming clock.
Kalakshetra Foundation In Thiruvanmiyur, beyond Elliots Beach is the Kalakshetra Foundation or the Temple of Art. It was established in 1936 after the extraordinary success of Rukmini Devi's first performance of Bharata Natyam at the Theosophical Society, in Adyar, a suburb of Madras, in the South of India. The founding members, Rukmini Devi, her husband George Arundale, and their associates at the Theosophical Society, were deeply committed to Theosophy and an arts academy was an extension of this commitment. The purpose of this center was to train, encourage and revive interest in Bharatanatyam, the classical dance form of Tamil Nadu.
Also visit the Marina Beach popular place for the locales and tourist to spend evening time.
Return to hotel for overnight stay.
After breakfast check-out from hotel. In the morning drive Mahabalipuram, en-route visit Kanchipuram. Visit the three temples that exemplify this sacred town-Kailasantha and Ekambareshwara, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and Vaikuntaperumal dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Visit the most significant - Ekambareshwara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Ekambareswarar, Prithvi Lingam symbolizing earth - one of the five primordial elements (Earth, Space, Wind, Water & Fire).
The shrine's antiquity precedes 600AD, long before the temple complex was built. In fact, it was first mentioned in the lyrics of Tamil poets of the 2nd century. Kanchipuram's Pallava rulers (6th-8th centuries) pulled down the original structure and built a new temple in its place. Later dynasties like the Cholas added more structural elements; consequently it is one of the most impressive temples in South India. The temple as we see it today was built in 1509 by Krishnadeva Raya, the greatest king of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Raja Gopuram, all of 172 ft. leads into the pillared mandapam, which assimilates within it previously built shrines. The sanctum housing the presiding deity, the Prithvi Lingam is surrounded by a covered walkway or corridor.
The grand old man of Kanchipuram's innumerable temples is the Kailashnatha temple, dedicated to Shiva. A fine example of early Dravidian architecture, its simplicity and lack of ornamentation is refreshingly elegant. Construction work on the temple began towards the last quarter of the 7th century, under the Pallava king Rayasimha. The original four storey tower and octagonal shikhara complex was enriched with the addition of elaborately sculpted gopurams under Pallava kings who followed Rayasimha I and II. Highlights of the temple include the exquisitely detailed murals depicting scenes from the lives of Shiva and Parvati, including a dance competition between the two.
Goddess Parvati does have her own exclusive temple, in the Kamakshi Amman Temple, the goddess is enshrined as Kamakshi, the seductive goddess of love.
The two other temples worthy of attention are dedicated to Vishnu. Vardhamana Perumal is a major Vaishnava shrine in a region over run by Shiva temples. Legend tells us that the shrine to Vishnu commemorates the spot where Brahma performed a yajna to invoke the presence of Vishnu. Bronze idols of Vishnu and his consorts preside over the temple whose architecture features elements from 12th century Chola and 16th century Vijayanagar styles.
The other temple dedicated to Vishnu is the Vaikuntha Perumal Temple, this temple is one of the nine Hindu dedicated to Lord Vishnu and one of the 108 Divya Desams or Vishnu temples. Vaikunta Perumal Temple was built around 674 – 800 AD during the Pallava rule supposedly by the Pallava king Nandivarman II which was later modified by the Chola kings and the Vijaynagar rulers. It being nearly as old as the Kailashnatha Temple. Three different idols of Vishnu in standing, sitting and reclining positions are the premier idols of this temple. The temple's covered walkway just inside the outer perimeter is the precursor of the more famous 1000 pillar mandapams at Madurai and Rameswaram.
After the sightseeing drive to Mahabalipuram, arrive and check-in at hotel for overnight stay.
After breakfast, enjoy the sightseeing of Mahabalipuram, which will include visit to UNESCO listed world heritage site and other important locations: -
Arjuna's Penance Carved in relief on the face of a huge rock, Arjuna's Penance is the mythical story of the River Ganges issuing from its source high in the Himalaya, the panel depicts animal animals, deities and other semi-divine creatures, fable from the Panchatantra, and Arjuna doing a penance to obtain a boon from Siva.
Shore Temple This beautiful and romantic temple, ravaged by wind and sea, represents the final phase of Pallavas art and was built in the late 7th century during the reign of Rajasimha. It is believed that at one point in time there were seven such temples, six of them were victims to the natural elements of erosion. This temple has three shrines; one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the other two to Lord Shiva. The frothy waves form a striking backdrop to the temple, protected by rows of rock-carved bulls. The most unique feature of the temple is that it houses shrines to both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
Mandapams There are eight mandapams (shallow, rock-cut halls) scattered over the main hill, two of which have been left unfinished. They are mainly of interest for their internal figure sculptures. One of the earliest rock-cut temples is the Krishna Mandapam. It features carvings of a pastoral scene showing Krishna lifting up the Govardhana Mountain to protect his kinsfolk from the wrath of Indra. On the hill rests a dangerously balanced boulder named Krishna's Butterball after his legendary affinity for fresh butter.
Five Rathas These are the architectural prototypes of all Dravidian temples, demonstrating the imposing gopurams and Vimanas; multi pillared halls and sculptured walls, which dominate the landscape of Tamil Nadu.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast and check-out. Drive to Tanjore, first stop at Chidambram Golden Natraja Temple. Then drive to Gangekondcholapuram, exciting Shiva Temple built between 1012 AD and 1044 AD by King Rajendra I. The speciality of this temple and 1000 years engineering is the rays of sun falls on Nandi (bull) and it reflects and give light to the Shiva Lingam since Sunrise to Sunset.
Drive to Kumbakonam, in the 7th Century it was the Capital of Chola Kings and is picturesquely located amidst the two rivers Cauvery and Arasalar. The city is famous for the Mahamaham festival that is celebrated once in 12 years in the Mahamaham tank located in the heart of it. The town has also been well - known for its prestigious educational institutions which have turned out eminent stalwarts in diverse spheres. The town is famous for brass vessels.
Adi Kumbeswarar temple is one of the important Shiva temples dedicated to Shri Adhi Kumbeswara, a marvelous form of Lord Shiva. The temple also houses idol of Manthrapeeteswari Mangalambika, the Lord's Consort. The temple complex is amazingly huge and architecturally brilliant. The temple is attractive with artistically constructed three Gopurams and three Praharams. It is assumed that present temple is a renovated one during 16th century by the Chieftain of Achutha Nayakar of Thanjavur Govinda Theeksithan. The eastern Gopuram is 9 storied with a height of 128 ft. There are shrines dedicated to Lord Muruga, Mangalambigai and Ganapati in the temple complex.
Kasi Viswanathar Temple is located at in the neighborhood of the Mahamaham tank in the holy town of Kumbakonam. As the name suggests this Shiva temple has the prime deity as Kasi Viswanathar accompanied with Lord's consort Visalakshi. The temple architecture is praise worthy and showcases the ancient style of South Indian style of construction and design.
The prime feature and attraction of this temple is the confabulation of nine holy rivers known as the Navakanniyar, namely Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Narmada, Kaveri, Krishna, Godavari, Tungabhatra and Sarayu. The southern part of the temple houses a stala lingam, which were worshipped by Ravana. It is believed that this lingam grows with ages.
The Ramaswamy temple is located at the heart of the Kumbakonam and has a unique idol in the form of Lord Rama and his consort Sita in the Pattabhishekam Posture. The idol was surrounded by Lord Hanuman, Rama's brothers Lakshmana, Shatrugna and Bharatha.
King Raghunayak, who ruled Tanjore during 1614-1640 AD constructed this temple. It is believed that the Rama-Sita idol was found in a holy tank in Darasuram near Kumbakonam. The coronation scene in this temple is the prime attraction of the pilgrims to this temple.
There are separate sanctums devoted to Srinivasa with Sreedevi and Bhoodevi. The temple has an amazing gopuram and a sprawling Mantapam.
Airavateswarar Temple is located at Darasuram to the west of Kumbakonam. Airavat is the holy White Elephant and the temple is dedicated to the Lord of Airavat. The temple is constructed in the 12th century by Rajaraja Chola II and is an exquisite symbol of the supremacy of Chola architectural style. The temple structure is remarkable. There are many inscriptions and images in this temple. One structure shows Lord Shiva as the mendicant Kankala-murti. Other structures and inscriptions depict stories from Epics and Puranas.
Next stop at 13th century Shiva temple at Darasuram.
Afterwards drive to Tanjore, arrive and check in at hotel for overnight stay.
Breakfast and check-out. In morning proceed for the sightseeing in Tanjore, visit Brideshwarar Shiva Temple, built by King Raja Rajan from the year 985 AD - 1010 AD. 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 the regular worship here. The temple is characterized by its unique structure. Unlike the usual South Indian temples, the Brihadeeswara temple has a soaring vimana and a stunted gopuram. A huge Nandi, about 6 m long and 3.7 m high, faces the inner sanctum. The statue of Nandi was created from a single rock piece and weighs 25 tonnes. It is in fact one of the largest statues of Nandi bulls in India.
Then visit Raja Rajan art gallery to see bronze statues of 9th -16th century.
Drive to Trichy after a brief rest, arrive and check in at hotel. Afternoon visit to Srirangam Vishnu temple. It has 21 gopurmas (towers); one of the gopurma is 73 meters, highest in India. Afterwards visit Rock Fort 83 meters above the ground having 344 steps to reach on the top to see Vinayaka Temple. Return back to hotel for overnight stay.
Breakfast and check-out, early in the morning leave for Madurai, arrive and check in at hotel.
During the day proceed for the city tour of Madurai, which includes the visit to the following places:
Tirumalai Nayak Mahal This Indo-Saracenic building was constructed by King Thirumalai Nayak in 1636, one of the Madurai Nayak rulers in 1636 AD in the city of Madurai. This Palace was built with the help of an Italian architect and is an architectural masterpiece, a classic fusion of Dravidian, Islamic and European styles. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. The Palace contains some 248 towering Roman pillars standing 58-ft high, with a diameter of 5 ft. These colossal pillars surround the courtyard and support typical Mughal domes and motifs that decorate the roofs of this astounding complex. Palace is divided into two major parts: Swarga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion) and Ranga Vilasam (Stage Pavilion).
Sound and light show on the life of the Tirumalai Nayak and the story of the Silapathikaram are conduced daily
Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Breakfast at hotel. Day will be at leisure for independent activities. In the evening visit the Meenakshi Temple, dedicated to Goddess Parvati (Meenakshi) and Sundareshwara (Shiva). This temple is nearly 2000 years old placed in the heart of the old town - 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 mt. The Potrama Raikulam or the Golden Lotus Tank is the place where the Tamil literacy society, called Sangam used to meet to decide the merits of the work presented to them. The temple museum has 985 richly carved pillars and each one surpasses the other in beauty. Also attend the evening ceremony known as 'Bedtime of the God', a colourful procession, in which the image of Shiva is carried accompanied by Musicians, Temple singers and rituals performing Priests from his shrine. En-route Shiva visits the other deities before entering Parvati's (Meenakshi) Temple to sleep with her for the night. This ceremony is worth witnessing.
Note: Temple remains closed from 1200 hrs till 1530 hrs.
Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Breakfast and check-out, transfer to airport to board flight for Chennai. Upon arrival take connecting flight from International terminal to board flight back to your country.
Departure by an international flight early in the morning.
End of our services
1. Accommodation in Double room in 05 Star or 04 Star category hotels on CP Basis (Room + Breakfast Basis) inclusive of all presently applicable taxes.
2. Welcome Garlanding upon arrival in India at Chennai airport.
3. All Arrival / Departure transfers from hotel to airport and vice-versa.
4. Monument entrance fees to places of visit as per the itinerary.
5. Accompanying English speaking Guide.
6. All Transfers, City sightseeing/excursions and long drives as per itinerary using chauffeur driven air-conditioned Car / Mini Van / Coach.
7. Air ticket/s for sector MADURAI / CHENNAI in economy class.
8. 01 bottle packaged drinking water per person per day.
9. All presently applicable interstate & toll taxes.
1. Return international air tickets from the city of origin.
2. Travel Insurance and Indian Visa.
3. Personal expenses such as: Any Meals other than specified above / Drinks / Laundry bill & Telephone calls at hotel. Tips for Guides & Driver / Camera Fees at the monuments or any other expenses not included in the clause "inclusions".