Madurai – Chennai flight cost is not included in above price. Supplement for same will be approx. $55. Offered flight fare is subject to change best available fare will be advised at the time of booking.
On arrival at Chennai airport meet with our office executive, assistance and transfer to hotel (hotel check in/ out time 1200hrs afternoon early check in subject to rooms availability). Afternoon city tour of Chennai, visit the San Thome Cathederal, on the site of a 16th century Portuguese basilica which is said to be the tomb of the apostle Thomas, who is reputed to have brought Christianity to India in the 1st century AD. The tour also includes
The Marina Beach is the second longest in the world. Walk along the surf-kissed edge, coast along the Drive, relax in your shorts, take the kids to the aquarium, sip coconut water, but worshippers of the sun, beware! You’ll offend everyone if you bring out your bikini. Rumours of sharks and sharp eddies keep all but the bravest away. The academy of classical dance and music, Kalakshetra or 'Temple of Art’ is in Thiruvanmayur. Run on the ancient lines of gurukul education, it frequently presents recitals of classical music and Bharatnatyam in town. The Government Museum and Art Gallery has objects of art, sculptures and carvings from the Chola, Pandya, Pallava, and the Vijayanagar periods. Overnight at Hotel.
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Chennai, En route visit Kanchipuram: The City of Thousand Temples and The Silk City. 70 Km away from Chennai & is well connected by good network of roads, Kanchipuram is known as city of thousand temples. It was mainly ruled by the Pallavas. It is also called as “Silk City” as silk saris are being manufactured here. Kanchipuram is known for its culture and civilization.
Visit Kailasanathar temple: It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, dates back to 8th century. This temple is noted for its architecture and sculptures. There are 58 small shrines situated around the main shrine as compound wall. Sandstone was used in the construction of this temple. Ekambareswarar temple: This temple represents one of the five elements called Earth (Prithvi). Another ancient temple of the city dedicated to Siva. The 2500-year-old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yields different varieties of mangoes. Varadharaja temple - This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is noted for its wonderful sculptures. This is one of the 108 sacred Shri Vaishnavite temples. Vaikundhaperumal temple: It is dedicated to lord Vishnu. It is also one of the 108 Divyadesams. Kamakshiamman temple: It is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi – the presiding deity. It is one of the holy Sakthi worship places in India. It is closely associated with Sri Adi Sankaracharya. Handloom industry: Kanchipuram is also famous for handloom Silk Sarees. The main profession of people in Kanchipuram is weaving silk sarees. On arrival check in at hotel.Later visit the Cave Temples: which excavated by scooping out the scarp of the hill. The scooping work starts from front to back. The cave temple is usually divided into inner & outer mandapas, distinguished by the difference in levels. The front mandapa will have pillars & plasters numbering 4,6,8,10. The inner mandapa contains single, triple or five cells. The cave temple with little modification is categorized as Mamalla style.
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Agra, check in at hotel.
Later city tour of Pondicherry. Visit Shree Aurobindo and The Mother, his most eminent disciple, set up the Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville in 1926. Together they explored the possibilities of yoga and meditation as a path to salvation. At the Ashram residents continue to practice their teachings and run a lot of the cultural activity in Pondicherry. There is an educational centre, which occasionally hosts lectures, screens films and holds play performances. The sun, surf and sand are best at the beaches a little outside town. Called Serenity, Quiet and Reppo they manage to live up to their name. The town beach has a 4-meter high statue of Mahatma Gandhi and French World War I memorial. There is a 150-year-old lighthouse also.
The French Institute is in a stylish colonial building. It has some remarkable old French books that are very rare. The Romain Rolland library has over 60,000 volumes and overlooks the sea. Along with the ‘kepis’ capped cops and its streets being called ‘rue’, it is the churches that help the town retain its European charm. The church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception or Notre Dame de la Conception is almost 300 years old. The church to Our Lady of Angels is famous for an oil painting that was gifted by Napoleon III. The most magnificent however is the grand gothic Sacred Heart Church with 3 stained glass panels of the life of Christ. Just outside town is a copy of the Basilica at Lourdes. Many temples around Pondicherry are dedicated to Ganesh, the half man half pachyderm god who is the Destroyer of all Obstacles. The oldest ones date back to the 10th century Chola Empire. The Vinaynagar Manakula temple has a golden dome and a collection of 40 beautiful friezes. The temple to the local goddess Drowpattiamman has a fire festival in July-August. Overnight at Hotel.
Breakfast at hotel drive to Thanjore enroute visit Chidambaram the Nataraj temple dedicated to the dancing God and the temples in Gangaikondacholapuram.
Breakfast at hotel drive to Madurai.
En route visit Trichy Rock Fort Temple: The 83m high Rock Fort is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The rock is one of the oldest in the world-approximately 3.800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland and older than the Himalayas. The fort played an important part during the Carnatic wars and according to an inscription, mainly contributed to lay the foundations of the British Empire in India. At the top of the rock is the Uchipillaiyar Koil, a temple dedicated to Lord Vinayaka from where one can enjoy a panoramic view of Tiruchirappalli. A flight of steps leads to the Mathrubutheswarar of Thayumanaswami temple, dedicated to Lord Siva where the lingam is a projection of the rock itself. Below the Siva temple are the two Pallava cave temples that have beautiful sculptures of the 6th and 7th centuries.
At the foot of the Rock Fort are a tank and a pavilion which are used during the float festival of the temples. Near the tank is the house where Robert Clive lived when he was in Tiruchirappalli and there is an 18th century Church built by Reverend Schwartz of Denmark. The Rock fort Hillock is said to be 230 crore years old. The materials like Quartz used in glass making and felspar used in ceramic are found in this Rock formation.
Tiruvanaikkaval: The Jambukeshwara temple, here, is dedicated to Shiva, and it houses five concentric walls, and seven gopurams. Once an elephant worshipped Lord Shiva under the holy Jambu tree and hence the name Jambukeshwar.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple: There are 22 gopurams including India’s tallest (72 meters, 13 storey high), which was built in 1987 while the others date back to the 14th century.Many people have had a hand in its construction, including the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Hoysalas and rulers from Vijayanagar. An annual Car Festival is held here in January during which a decorated wooden chariot is pulled through the streets between various walls. In mid-December, the Vaikunda Ekadasi, or Paradise Festival will be celebrated in the Vishnu Temple. Ivory sculptures of Lord Vishnu in various poses and the images of Nayak Kings with consorts donated by Nayak kings who ruled Madurai during the 17th century are available here.
Arrive Madurai check in at hotel. Evening attend Temple Aarti. Overnight at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel sightseeing in Madurai. Visit Meenakshi Temple: This temple is the city's main attraction. This temple is nearly 2000 years old placed in the heart of the old town - a splendid example of Dravidian architecture. A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure know as “Ayiramkaal Mandapam” or the Hall of Thousand Pillars and each pillar features high, ornate, bold sculptures that look life like. 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 meters. 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.
Tirumalai Nayak Mahal: This Indo-Saracenic building was built in 1636 by the ruler whose name it bears. The imposing edifice is famous for the “Stuccowork” on its domes and impressive arches. The Sorgavilasam (Celestial Pavilion), measuring 75m x 52m, constructed entirely of brick and mortar without the support of a single rafter or girder, is a marvel of indo-Saracenic architectural style. Among other striking features of the palace are the massive white pillars, several of which line the corridor that runs along the courtyard. Connected by high decorated arches, these pillars measure 20m in height and have a circumference of 4m. Elsewhere, there are polished black stone pillars of varying heights. It was King Thirumalai Nayak’s grandson who demolished much of the fine structure and removed most of the jewels and woodcarvings in order to build his own palace in Tiruchirapalli.
Vaniyur Mariamman Teppakulam: This enormous temple tank is fed by water from the Vaigai river. Mariamman Teppakulam is a beautiful square tank spread over a huge area of almost 16 acres, located about 5Kms East of Meenakshi Temple. The tank is the scene of the colourful float festival held in January/February to celebrate the birth anniversary of King Thirumalai Nayak, who built this tank. The deities of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are placed in a float, called “Teppam”, decorated with flowers and illuminated with hundreds of lights. This float is taken around the tank to the sound of traditional music. On the Northern side of the tank a temple is dedicated to Mariamman, a famous village deity of Tamil Nadu.
Rest time free & easy for personal activities relax. Overnight at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel transfer to airport to board flight for Chennai. From Chennai board connecting flight for your onward destination.