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Classical Tamil Nadu

 
Code:   SI 10
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Classical Tamil Nadu

Duration : 10 Nights / 11 Days
Destinations Covered : Chennai - Kanchipuram - Thiruvannamalai - Trichy - Madurai - Tanjore - Ponicherry - Mahabalipuram
 

Day 01 – Arrive Chennai
Arrive Chennai by international flight.
Assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 02 – Chennai
Morning sightseeing tour.
Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, popularly regarded as the ‘Gateway to the South’ represents a culture that is distinctly different from that of northern India.  The places of interest are Fort St. George built in 1653 during British reign in India, - now houses the Secretariat and Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu; St. Mary’s Church, the oldest Anglican Church in India; Sri Parthasarathy Temple built by Pallavas in the 8th century AD; Kapaliswara Temple, Mylapore also an eighth century Pallava Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva; San Thomas Cathedral Basilica rebuilt in 1606 as a cathedral and in 1896 it was made a basilica; and Theosophical Society, Thousand Light Mosque, Govt. Museum and Kamraj Memorial.

Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight at the hotel.
 
Day 03 – Chennai-Kanchipuram drive, 75 km
Morning drive to Kanchipuram, check-in at the hotel.
Afternoon visit Kanchipuram.
Once it was the most sacred place with over thousand temples.  One of the seven sacred cities of Hindus, it was the capital of the early Cholas as far back as the 2nd century BC. Kanchi was a major seat of Tamil learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. The city is also famous for its silk weavers, settled here some 450 years ago and are known for their best weaving skills.  There are still large number of temples located here.  To name a few important, one must visit are Ashtbuja Perumal Temple, Ekambereswarar, Kamakshi Amman, Nanganallur Anchaneyar Temple and Varadarajan Temple.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 04 - Kanchipuram-Thiruvannamalai, 128 km
Morning drive to Thiruvannamalai.  Check-in at the hotel.

Afternoon sightseeing tour.
Thiruvannamalai, built around Arunachala hill, a mountain rising 4000 meter.  Arunachaleswar temple dedicated to Lord Arunachala (Shiva) is one of the biggest and grandest of south India temples.  Girivalam Path, one of the holiest place for Hindus and spiritual centre of India.  On full moon days and during religious festival time, devotees cover a distance of 14 km barefoot around the Girivalam.  Sri Ramana Ashram, world known spiritual centre is visited by devotees from all over India and the world.

Day 05 - Thiruvannamalai-Trichy, 216 km
After breakfast, drive to Trichy.  Check-in at the hotel.

Afternoon sightseeing tour.
Trichy (Tiruchirappalli) is known for the Rock Fort situated on the banks of the Kaveri river, the most famed landmark is an 83 m high rock, one of the oldest in the world aprox.3,800 million years. The steep climb to the summit covering 437 steps lead to the top where Uchhi Pillayar Koyil temple is located and  where are the inscriptions dating back to the 3rd century B.C. Half way to the fort Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple is located, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a 100-pillared hall, and a Vimana, covered with gold. 

Srirangam, surrounded by the Kaveri water is a 600 acre island town enclosed within the seven walls on the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswami temple.  There are 21 gopurams, one of which is the tallest in India.  The 72 m high 13 tiered gopuram dominates the landscape for miles around.  These gopurams were built between 14th and 17th centuries.

Day 06 - Trichy-Madurai drive, 142 km
After breakfast, drive to Madurai.  Check-in at the hotel.

Afternoon sightseeing tour.
Madurai is believed to be more than 2500 years old and is known for the  magnificent ‘The Meenakshi-Sundareswara Temple’.  It was substantially expanded during the regime of Thirumalai Nayak between 1623-55 AD. Covering an area of 65000 sq Meter, the temple has 12 gopurams, four of the tallest stand at the outer walls of the temple.  The 48.8 m high southern gopuram is the most spectacular and have over 1500 sculptures. The 1000 pillars hall with ornate, bold sculptures called Ayiramkaal Mandapm is unique in architecture.  From all angles, the pillars appear to be in straight line. In the Ashta Shakti Mandapam inside the Meenakshi temple, the sculpted pillars tell the story of the beautiful princess of Madurai and her marriage to Lord Shiva. Thirumalai Nayak Palace built in 1635 is another marvel in architecture.  Built of brick and mortal without use of girder, its dome with stuccowork and arches are impressive

Day 07 - Madurai-Tanjore drive, 158 km
After breakfast, drive to Tanjore.  Check-in at the hotel.

Afternoon visit Tanjore.
Tanjore,  known for one of the best temples in South India, the Brahadeeswarar.  It was built by the Chola Emperor Raja Raja Chola over 1000 years back.  It is the dynasty’s finest contribution to Dravidian temple architecture.  The 64.8 m tall, 14 tiered pyramid shaped vimanam rises from a square base is topped by a huge monolithic cupola carved out from a 81.3 tonne block of granite that was installed with the aid of a 6 km long inclined plane.  The tower is a testimony to the engineering skill of the Chola architects who planned its construction in such a way that the shadow of the cupola never falls on the ground.   Sarawati Mahal Library, established around 1700 AD, contains over 40 thousands paper and ancient palm leaves manuscripts. 4500 foreign books autographed by Kings and Scholars.

Day 08 - Tanjore-Pondicherry, 175 km
After breakfast, drive to Pondicherry. Check-in at the hotel.

Afternoon sightseeing tour.
Pondicherry’s is most known for the Rai Nivas, the Sacred Heart Church and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.  The ashram retreat was founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo. After his death the spiritual authority passed to one of his disciples, a French woman known as the Mother who was instrumental in founding the city of Dawn Auroville, 10 km from Pondicherry.  Auroville was designed by French architect Roger Anger.   Its original charter aimed at creating a city of the future where people from India and abroad could live and work together in a spiritual environment.  Besides, there are several temples, churches and heritage buildings in this city which will delight the tourists.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 09 - Pondicherry-Mahabalipuram, 132 km
After breakfast drive to Mahablipuram.
Mahabalipuram, lies on the east coast of India, south of Chennai. Also known as Mamallapuram it was ancient port of Pallavas. The Pallavas dynasty during their rule have created many marvellous monuments with sculptural panels, caves, Monolithic Rathas and Temples. The most famous Krishna Mandapam, has a big bas relief, notable for its realistic representation. The world’s largest bas relief measuring 27m x 9m, whale back shaped rock contains figures of gods, demi-gods, men, beasts, birds and representation of the entire creation. Shore Temple, one of the oldest in south dating back to 8th century AD is a fine example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in Dravidian style.  The Five Rathas, a group of five monolithic temples, each created in different style are noteworthy.

Overnight at the hotel.
 
Day 10 - Mahabalipuram
Day at leisure.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11 - Mahablipuram-Chennai airport
Transfer to Chennai airport in time for flight to onward destination.

 

 

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