OVERVIEW- Tamil Nadu has a very rich history of cultural enrichment and architecture, art and literature have been patronised by successive rulers in this region. This has resulted in temples that are marvels of architecture and stand till today as testaments of the devotion of the people. There are over thirty thousand temples in Tamil Nadu built in the Dravida style of ancient temple architecture. Temples are also places of social and cultural gathering and have vast halls that host dances and music performances dedicated to the gods. Mahabalipuram, Gangaikondacholapuram, Brihideshwara, Nataraja, Tanjore and Meenakshipuram are some of the famous temples located in temple towns all over the state. Many of these temples have been declared as UNESCO world heritage sites.
CHENNAI- Chennai the fifth most populous city in India and the capital of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is situated on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal and was initially known as Madras. Chennai is also known as the automobile capital of India and it has the maximum number of automobile industry in India. It is city with a blend of old and new in the right proportion. Chennai is housed with a number of historic landmarks and beaches.
MAHABALIPURAM- Mahabalipuram also called as Mamallapuram is a famous coastal town and was earlier a sea port founded by a Pallavan King in the 17th century. Today it is a fascinating archeological site and a pleasant sea resort. Mahabalipuram washed by the shores of the Bay of Bengal is noted for its coastline. This golden sandy beach has striking interesting features in an unusual way bounded by the gleam of the sea and rolling hills.
PONDICHERRY- The city of Puducherry is the Capital of this Union Territory. It is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. There are no hills or forests in this region. Pondicherry offers glimpse of France in India. The unmistakable French connection, the tree lined boulevards, the quaint colonial heritage buildings, the spiritual sceneries, the endless stretches of unspoilt virgin beaches and backwaters and French style architecture makes this a perfect place.
TANJORE- One of the major cities in Tamil Nadu, Tanjore or Thanjavur is renowned as the ‘Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu’ and ‘Art Capital of South India’. Historically, Tanjore was the regal city of the Cholas, Nayaks and the Mahrattas. It is also noted for its exquisite handicraft, bronze statue casting, pith temple models, and musical instruments. The temple, fort and palaces have been silent witness to the great culture of India.
TRICHY- Tiruchirappalli or Trichy, 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. Today, this city is a thriving commercial centre in Tamil Nadu. This ancient city is famous for its architectural monuments and culture.
MADURAI- The temple city of Madurai, poised on the banks of the Vaigai River, stands testimony to the fact that the Sangam age was the golden era of architecture in the history of South India. The history of Madurai goes back over 2400 years, and it is known to be the only city to be continuously inhabited, in the Southern peninsula. Madurai is the third largest city in Tamil Nadu and has been poetically referred to as the Athens of the East and the City of Festivals.
Tour Destination: Chennai –Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai - Chennai
Travel Duration: 09 Nights/10 Days
DAY 1: CHENNAI- Arrive in Chennai and later transfer to the hotel. After freshen up, evening free for leisure. One can visit the famous
MARINA BEACH- This is naturally the instant choice for everyone that visits Chennai. This is the second longest beach in the world. The large expanse of silver sand allows for a great walk along the seashore. Sunrise and sun set views are picturesque in this perfect setting. Some of the sports activities possible in Marina Beach include fishing, wind surfing and beach volley ball.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 2: CHENNAI- After breakfast, full day city tour of The Capital City of Tamil Nadu- Chennai
FORT ST.GEORGE- It was built in 1640 AD, by the British East India Company under the direct supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon. The flag staff at Fort St. George is still the tallest in India. South of the Fort is the War Memorial, built in 1939 in memory of the warriors who sacrificed their lives during the First World War.
KAPELESHWAR TEMPLE- Located in Mylapore, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the oldest temples in the city. It is not clear as to who built the temple. Going by the songs by Nayanmars, it is believed that Kapaleshwar Temple was built during the 7th century by Pallava Kings.
DAKSHINACHITRA- Located in the heart of Chennai city, DakshinaChitra , or "a picture of the south", as it is meant in English, is a hub of living art traditions , conventional performing arts, crafts and architectural works of the country with due emphasis on South Indian customs and practices.
PARTHASARTHY TEMPLE- It is located at Triplicane, near the famous Marina beach in Chennai. Spread over an area of 1.5 acres, it was built by the Pallavas in the 8th century. The temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna (Parthasarathy), houses images of the five incarnations of Vishnu.
RAJIV GHANDHI MEMORIAL- Rajiv Gandhi Memorial is another must visit spot on your tour to Madras. It is located at a distance of about 40 km from the main city. The memorial is precisely situated at Sriperumbudur and is dedicated to the former Prime Minster of India, Raiiv Gandhi.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 3: CHENNAI - MAHABALIPURAM- Today, drive towards Mahabalipuram. Straight transfer to hotel. After freshen up at the hotel, visit Mahabalipuram viewing
SHORE TEMPLE- The oldest structure in the area, build c. 700 AD, this temple has been here for more than 1400 years. A Shiva lingam is enshrined in the central building and the site can get very crowded on weekends.
FIVE RATHAS- This site contains five Rathas, literally chariots, dating from the 7th century. The sculptures are complemented by some enormous stone animals, including a large elephant.
THIRUKADALMALLAI- This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was also built by Pallava King in order to safeguard the sculptures from the ocean.
SCULPTURE MUESEUM- East Raja Street has hundreds of sculptures in stone, wood etc. The following structures like Arjuna's Penance, Krishna's Butterball, Mahishamardini Cave. Varaha Cave having four impressive carvings of Vishnu, Gajalakshmi, Trivikrama and Durga are all carved straight out of rock in the central hillside area, so you can travel between them on foot.
In the evening you can sit back and relax on the sandy beach or can enjoy Boat rides in the Bay of Bengal with life guards, fishing trips to the sea & Turtle walk at the sea shore.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 4: MAHABALIPURAM - PONDICHERRY- Next morning drive towards Pondicherry. Transfer to hotel. In the evening take a leisurely walk to the local market of Pondicherry.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 5: PONDICHERRY (PUDUCHERRY)- After breakfast, full day city tour of the Pondicherry
SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM- This was founded in 1920 by Sri Aurobindo when Pondicherry was a French colony with the aim of putting in place his ideas of a peaceful community.
PONDICHERRY MUSEUM- The Pondicherry Museum situated in the Government Park has a fine sculpture gallery and a section for archaeological findings dating back to the Roman settlement at Arikamedu.
ARIKAMEDU- The Arikamedu archeological excavation site, which is around 7 km from Pondicherry, gives you a glimpse of ancient Roman trading in this part of the world.
AUROVILLE- This beautiful dome is synonymous with Auroville, and represents its very essence with a quiet hall for meditation. The dome is covered on the outside by golden discs that reflect the sun, giving it a surreal radiance.
PROMENADE BEACH- This lovely beach with a 1.5-km-long promenade, within a biking range from the heart of the city is one of the most delightful places in Pondicherry for a stroll, a sunbath or a swim.
PARADISE BEACH- A beautiful coastline, with the sun out most of the year. The beach is accessible only through a boat ride. The backwaters at Chunnambar along the Cuddalore Main road will guarantee you a pleasure ride - be it on one of those larger ferries or a jet ski.
CHURCH OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS- This massive church built in the Gothic style, is one of the most beautiful in Pondicherry.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 6: PONDICHERRY (PUDUCHERRY) – SWAMIMALAI TEMPLE - TANJORE- Next morning drive towards Tanjore. Enroute visit Swamimalai Temple.
SWAMIMALAI TEMPLE- The temple is located in Thanjavur district on the northern banks of the river Cauvery. It is one of the six famous abodes (Arupadaiveedu) dedicated to Lord Muruga (also spelt Murugan). Lord Muruga preached Pranava mantra “ OM ” to Lord shiva and that why he is called “Swaminathan”. The temple is built on an artificial hill and is reached by a flight of steps. It is believed that the sixty steps of the temple ascending to the sanctum sanctorum represent the sixty months of the ancient Tamil calendar.
Continue your drive to Tanjore. Transfer to hotel. Evening free for leisure.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 7: TANJORE – TRICHY- After breakfast visit the city
BRIHADEESWARAR TEMPLE- Also called the Big Temple; this is one of the best temples in South India. This temple was built by the greatest Chola emperor Raja I in 10th century AD.
THE ROYAL PALACE- This vast building of masonry is near the Big Temple. It has an Art Gallery comprising of many granite and bronze statues of the Chola period, and the ancient Hall of Music. SIVAGANAGA TANK- Renowned for its sweet water, this tank is situated near the palace.
RAJARAJAN MANI MANDAPAM- Built during the 8th World Tamil Conference, this mandapam has a small garden with children's play materials.
MARIAMMAN TEMPLE (PUNNAI NALLUR)- This famous temple, located 6 km from Tanjore, is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman.
Later continue your drive towards Trichy (Tiruchirapalli). Straight transfer to hotel. Evening free for leisure.
Overnight at hotel.
DAY 8: TRICHY –MADURAI- After breakfast visit the city
ROCK FORT TEMPLE- Among the many spectacular sites to visit in Trichy, the Rock Fort Temple is a must visit. The fort is a massive rocky structure built at an altitude of 83 m above sea level. Located on the banks of the river Cauvery, it is Trichy's most famous landmark.
THAYUMANASWAMY TEMPLE- Halfway to the fort lies the Thayumanaswamy Temple, also known as the Rock Fort Temple. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is an important pilgrimage site of the Hindus. This beautifully carved rock-cut cave temple of the Pallava period has a 100-pillar hall and a Vimana covered with gold.
SRI RANGANATHASWAMI TEMPLE- 7 km from Trichy, Srirangam is said to be the abode of Lord Sri Ranganatha, the reclining form of Lord Vishnu. The temple of Ranganatha is said to be the largest in India.
JAMBUKESHWARAR TEMPLE- Just 2 km from Srirangam, this beautiful Shiva temple overshadows the larger Ranganathaswami temple due to its excellent architectural design. It is named after the elephant believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva here.
In the evening, continue your drive towards Madurai. Straight transfer to hotel. Evening free for leisure.
Overnight at hotel.
DAY 9: MADURAI- After breakfast, full day city tour of the Athens of the East- Madurai
SRI MEENAKSHI TEMPLE- A historic Hindu temple, Meenakshi Amman Temple, is situated on the bank of Vaigai River. The enormous temple is dedicated to Parvati, who is also known as Meenakshi, and her consort, Shiva. This temple is among the most famous temples of India which is known throughout the world for its outstanding and impressive architectural beauty.
VAIGAI DAM- Built across the Vaigai River, the Vaigai Dam is located around 70 km from Madurai. The Vaigai dam is a lifeline for the people of Madurai, Theni and Dindgul.
THIRUMALAI NAYAK PALACE- This Palace was built with the help of an Italian Architect and is a classic fusion of Dravidian, Islamic and European styles. Thirumalai Nayak's Palace at Madurai was considered to be one of the wonders of the South.
KOODAL ALAGAR TEMPLE- Dedicated to Vishnu, Koodal Alagar Temple is located in the heart of the city. The temple is an ancient Temple and very close to the famous Meenakshi Aman Temple.
THIRUPARANKUNDRAM TEMPLE- Dedicated to Murugan or Karthikeya, Thiruparankundram temple is located on a hillock approximately 8 km from the city. The temple is one of the six abodes of Murugan and is a pilgrimage site for devotees.
KALLAZHAGAR TEMPLE- One of the 108 sacred Divyadesam pilgrimage sites dedicated to the god Vishnu, the Kallazhagar temple is mentioned in the Divya Prabandha of the Azhwar saints. The temple is surrounded by granite walls, with a seven-story Gopuram rising above in the style of Dravidian architecture.
Overnight at hotel.
DAY 10: MADURAI - CHENNAI- In the morning drive back to Chennai to catch your flights towards onward destination.
Distance & Time (Approx)
Chennai at a Glance
Mahabalipuram at a Glance
Pondicherry at a Glance
Tanjore at a Glance
Trichy at a Glance
Madurai at a Glance
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