Day 01 Arrive Chennai
Arrive Chennai the Capital city of Tamil Nadu State.
You are met, greeted and escorted to the Hotel.
Day 02 Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram
After breakfast we proceed for city tour of Chennai.
Chennai served as the economic and political capital of the East India Company from the 17th century onwards. Among the highlights of the city is Fort St George that marks the beginning of Chennai as an important centre for trade. Within the fort is St Mary’s Church, the first English church in India and the oldest British building to survive. We will spend some time in the Mylapore Temple area visiting the 16th-century Kapaleeswarar Temple and the fruit and flower market. Later we visit the Government Museum and Art Gallery, to see the art and bronze gallery, (closed on Fridays and public holidays).
Late in the afternoon, we drive to Kanchipuram, one of Hinduism’s seven most sacred cities. This “Golden City of a Thousand Temples” dates back to the early Cholas in the 7th century AD. Only around 70 temples of the original 1000 old temples are still intact and the most famous of them is the Kailasanathar Temple built with sandstone in the early seventh century A.D. Kanchipuram is also known for its silk weaving and visit the nearby villages to see the craftsmen at work on their looms is a rewarding experience.
We continue to drive to Mahabalipuram; check in at the hotel upon arrival for overnight
Day 03 Mahabalipuram
In the morning we visit the seventh-century rock-hewn monuments. The Shore Temple, a World Heritage Monument is the only surviving one of seven, is a unique example of a temple built of rock quarried elsewhere and carried to shore. The best-known of the rock carvings are the immense bas-relief which is sculpted in fascinating detail on a huge whaleback-shaped rock, depicts the descent of the Ganges to the earth, the penance of Arjuna and myriad characters from the Mahabharata.
We also visit the Five Rathas, set of monolithic rock temples located on a sandy compound are the perfect examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. The Rathas have an association with the great epic Mahabharata which describes the heroes of Mahabharata with their wife Draupadi which is termed as Pancha Pandava rathas.
Afternoon is free.
Day 04 Mahabalipuram – Puducherry (Pondicherry)
We drive to Pondicherry. (280 Kms / 06 Hrs)
Afternoon we visit the city of Puducherry. We will visit San Luis Street. Here is a collection of bronze and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties that are rare and artefacts excavated from Arikamedu. The French war memorial: located on Goubert Avenue, is a solemn reminder of those brave soldiers who gave their lives for the country during the First World War. Auroville: or the “City of Down” was conceived as a utopian paradise by “The Mother”, the spiritual successor of Sri Aurobindo. Located about 8 km northwest of Pondicherry, it came into being in 1968. The fundamental principle was to build a futuristic city in which people of good will would live together in peace.
Day 05 Puduchery – Gangai Konda Cholapuram – Swamimalai (110 Kms/ 03 Hrs)
In the morning we drive to Tanjore en route stop at Gangaikondacholapuram (We reach in time to see the Morning Prayer ceremony at the temple at 11 AM) it is architectural work of genius. In the early 11th century, the temple got built by Rajendra Chola, who was the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola. According to legends, King Rajendra Chola on one of his expeditions brought the water from the Ganges in a golden pot and consecrated the reservoir ‘Ponneri or Cholaganga’. That’s the reason behind the name “Ganagai kondan” meaning the one who brought the Ganges. The temple was erected to extol the accomplishments of a combatant king. Gangaikondacholapuram is a tribute to the architects and artisans, who created this spectacular testament. We continue with our drive to Swamimalai.
Day 06 Swamimalai – Tanjore (50 Kms/ 01 Hrs)
In the morning we drive to Tanjore, en route visit temples at Kumbakonam – Adi Kumbheswarar Temple is said to be nearly 1300years old in one of the oldest towns in Tamilnadu, Kumbakonam. The temple comprises of 3 praharas and 3 gopurams in the eastern, northern and western directions. The temple complex is huge and showcases beautiful artwork and intricate, colourful carvings.
Next, we visit the ancient town of Darasuram and the, a Hindu temple of Dravidian architecture, considered a “sculptor’s dream in stone”, and one of the oldest of the Chola temples. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, also built by Rajaraja Chola in the 12th Century, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a storehouse of art and architecture and has some exquisite stone carvings.
We continue our drive to Tanjore.
In the afternoon we start the tour of Tanjore. We first visit, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, built in the 10th century by Chola king Rajaraja 1 is a classic example of Chola architecture. The inner sanctum and gopuram of the temple were constructed in 12years from a single piece of granite weighing around 80tonnes. The Raja Museum and the Art gallery with a large collection of Chola sculptures in bronze and granite is a must visit for artefact lovers. The Sarawati Mahal library contains over 40,000 rare books and palm leaf inscriptions in Indian and European languages.
We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 07 Tanjore– Trichy – Madurai (158 Kms)
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Madurai & En-route stop at Trichy. Here we visit the spectacular, a boulder of giant proportions perched on top on an 84m high rock with images carved into it. Climb the 400-odd steps from the entrance to the summit. On the way is a tunnel said to lead to Thanjavur, now sealed. Further up is a hundred pillar halls and at the end of the last flight is the Tayumanasvami Temple dedicated to Shiva, which has a golden vimana, which houses the main deity.
Continue our visit with Sri Rangam Temple; our next stop is sprawled over a large area, on an island as the Cauvery flows on both sides. It houses the image of the sleeping Vishnu along with the mortal remains of Sri Ramanuja Acharya.
We continue drive to Madurai, Check in at the hotel upon arrival for overnight stay.
Day 08 Madurai
After breakfast in the hotel, we leave for city sightseeing tour visiting the Meenakshi Temple.
The temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati or Meenakshi. The temple with its majestic stonewalls and 12 towers known as ‘ Gopurams’ rising out of the swarming streets of the city center were built in the 17th century by Nayak rulers. The high point of the Meenakshi temple is Hall of a “Thousand Pillars”, built in the 16th century; every pillar sculptured in Dravidian architecture. Not to be missed here are ‘Musical Pillars’. Each pillar when struck, produces a different musical note.
Later, visit the – a gracious building in the Indo-Saracenic style, famous for the stucco work on its domes and arches.
Late evening you have the choice to return to Meenakshi Temple to witness the daily prayer ceremony when the temple bronze of Lord Shiva is carried to the bed chamber of Parvati. The procession is accompanied by religious prayer and temple music.
We return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 09 Madurai– Journey Home (By Flight).
Breakfast is at the hotel.
Check out from the hotel and drive to Madurai airport to board your on Word Flight.