South India Temple Tour
Places covered: Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Tanjavur - Trichy - Rameshwaram - Kanyakumari -Trivandrum - Cochin -Thrissur
Duration: 15 nights and 16 days
Day 1: Chennai
Arrival to Chennai, the gateway to Southern India, established in 1639 by the East India Company, one of the oldest cities of the country. Met on arrival and transfer to the hotel. After lunch at the hotel, half day sightseeing tour, visiting Gandhi Memorial, Kala Kshetra, Mylapore Temple and Marine Beach. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 2: Chennai Excursion - Tirupathi
After early breakfast, proceed to Tirupathi. Tirupathi is a temple town known for the famous ancient temple of Lord Venkateswara. This temple is not only believed to be amongst the oldest temples in the country, but also the richest of them all. Legend has it that Lord Venkateswara borrowed money from the divine treasure of Kubera for his wedding expenses. He is still paying back his debt which is why the pilgrims donate generously to the temple's funds. In the evening return to Chennai and overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram
After breakfast drive to Kanchipuram, ancient capital of the Pallavas, famous as the city of the 1.000 temples and 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shive was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings on the walls. The temples of Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silk. Later drive to Mahabalipuram. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 4: Mahabalipuram
After breakfast visit the city. Built in the 7th century, this ancient Pallava port is the sight of several antique sculptural marvels. In this ancient seaside town, shrines and huge sculptures cut out of rock more than 1.200 years ago during the reign of Pallava kings in the region can be seen. The only shore temple that remains here is the spectacular two-spired shrine, unique because it houses both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in its sanctum. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 5: Mahabalipuram - Tiruvannamalai - Pondicherry
After breakfast drive to Tiruvannamalal, a pilgrimage site with a temple of Shiva. Then proceed to Pondicherry, which carries a strong whiff of the French presence in India. This ancient French colony on the east coast of South India merged with the rest of the country in 1954. Legend says that Pondicherry is the place where St. Agasthaya settled down. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 6: Pondicherry
After breakfast, drive to visit Aurbindo Ashram, which is 10 kms North of Pondicherry. This ashram promotes Aurbindo's ideas in bringing about a synthesis of Yoga and modern science, so as to unite the spirit and matter. After lunch at the hotel, visit Auroville, a unique experiment in international living and in creating a new environment where men and women of all nationalities live together in harmony. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 7: Pondicherry - Chidambaram - Tanjore
After breakfast drive to Chidambaram, which has the famous Nitraja Temple with the roots of the sanctum covered in golden plates. In the temple, sculptures depict the postures from the Bharatnatayam form of dance. Natraja is Lord Shiva as a cosmic dancer. Then drive to Tanjore. Once the capital of Chola Kings, Tanjore has the Bragadeswara temple (or the big temple of god). Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 8: Tanjore - Trichy
After breakfast leave for Trichy, situated on the banks of Kaveri River. The city is a blend of history and tradition as well as a pilgrim center, famous for its Ranganath Temple at Srirangam. After lunch city tour visiting Rock Fort and its temples at a height of over 23 mts. Also visit Srirangam and Jambukeshwar Temple. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 9: Trichy - Madurai
After breakfast proceed to Madurai. This ancient city, built some 2.600 years ago, is laid out in the banks of the river Vaigal as a lotus with the Meenakshi Temple in the center. After lunch city tour visiting Meenakshi Temple, King Tirumala's Palace, Great Tank and Gandhi Museum.Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 10: Manurai Excursion - Rameshwaram - Manurai
After breakfast proceed to Rameshwaram, the most sacred temple town of India, an insland hallowed by the epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama is said to have visited before going into battle of Sri Lanka. One of the twelve Jyotirlingam is also well known for its magnificent corridors and the massive sculpture pillars lining them. Lunch at local restaurant. Return to Madurai in the evening and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 11: Manurai - Kanyakumari
After breakfast drive to Kanyakumari, land's end of India where the water of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. An important pilgrim center of India, it is well known for its AmmanTemples, a symbol of unity and sanctity, dedicated to the virgin goddess Kanyakumari. To its south-East lies the famous Vivekananda Rock memorial, a blend of all the architectural styles of India. Enjoy the beautiful sunset and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 12: Kanyakumari - Trivandrum - Kovalam
After viewing the morning sunrise, proceed to Kovalam. En route sightseeing of Trivandrum: Museum complex, Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Science & Technology Museum, Veli tourist village, Aakulam Boat Club, Shangmugham Beach. Later check-in in a hotel in Kovalam and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 13: Kovalam
Full day of leisure. Overnight stay at Kovalam.
Day 14: Kovalam - Cochin
After breakfast proceed to Cochin. Evening visit at Ernakulam Lord Shiva Temple and famous Devi Temple Chottanikkara. Overnight at Cochin.
Day 15: Cochin - Trichur
After brakfast proceed to Guruvayoor KrishnaTemple. En route see Kalady Sri Sankara Math and pilgrim centers such as Kodungalloor Devi Temple, Triprayar Hanuman Temple and Trichur Vadakunnatha Temple. Overnight stay at Trichur.
Day 16: Trichur - Cochin
Depart as per schedule to the airport/railway station at Cochin to connect to your flight back home.