Madurai- Rameswaram- Thanjavur- Trichy
Day 1: Arrive at Chennai
Upon your arrival at the airport our representative will brief you about tour starting day after.
British East India Company founded Chennai as a trading post in 1639 and the city has since then emerged as a centre of education, commerce and industries. While the heart of the city values business and commercial activities, the south Mylapore is decked with age old temples and other sightseeing attractions. Towards the north the city is laced with some crowded streets lined with interesting architecture of both Hindu and Jain temples & vibrant bazaars around the temples. With beauteous ornamented temples with grand sculptures Chennai is a popular destination amongst both devotees and travellers.
On arrival in the city one is availed a half day tour of the city to visit Gandhi memorial- a graceful edifice constructed in the memory of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Next on the city tour you will come across Kalakshetra, a cultural academy dedicated to the preservation of traditional values of Indian art. The academy founded in 1936 trains in the classical forms of performing art forms such as Bharatnatyam dance and Gandharveda music. While in the vicinity a visit to the temple town of Mylapore is a must. A visit to this town will provide an opportunity to visit a 7 CE construction, Kapaleashwarar Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva the temple looks magnificent with its beautifully carved Gopurams (upper part of the temple) and extravagant temple festivals. A drive past picturesque Marina Beach in the evening will conclude the day’s activities.
Day 2: Chennai to Tirupathi
(Driving time: 3 ½ hours)
Proceed to Tirupathi in the morning. A small drive will take you to one of the most holy shrines of Hindus the temple of Tirupathi. This famous abode of Lord Venkateshwara is the oldest and richest temple in India. The sacred hill of Tirumala is one of the highly visited pilgrimage centers for the hill is mounted by Tirupathi temple. The temple has a self-manifested idol of Lord Venkateswara and as the legend goes the deity had once resided in the temple. Thousands of pilgrims and crowds of architectural enthusiasts visit the temple each year partially to rejuvenate amidst a divine ambiance and partially to explore the intriguing architecture of the temple.
Day 3: Tirupati – Chennai- Mamallapuram
(Driving time: 5 hours)
Drive to Mamallapuram via Chennai is planned for the day. Situated down south of Chennai and overlooking the Bay of Bengal, this is an ancient seaport. This coastal retreat captivates all with its breathtaking views of long stretches of silvery sands. The view is only enhanced further with the presence of volcanic rocks by the shore. The town has been regarded as a jewel of a sculpture center ever since 5th century (during Pallava dynasty) when most of its temples were constructed. The carvings on rock depicting demons, gods and animals are poetic in nature. Out of many temples, “The Shore Temple” overlooking the sea is the most intriguing sight for it entices every onlooker’s eye with its exquisite ornately carved figures. Arjuna’s Penance and Krishna Mandapa are two of the massive rock structures. All this and interesting rock cut caves has won Mamallapuram the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One can also indulge in water activities at its beaches before returning to the hotel in the evening.
Day 4: Mamallapuram-Tiruvannaamalai-Pondicherry
(Driving time: 3hrs & 3 ½ hrs)
Drive to Tiruvannaamalai to view Arunachala Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located on the Annamalai hill, the temple is one of the most striking and famous Shiva temples for which it has always been a hub of sadhus (sacred men). The temple built in 16th and 17th century looks magnificent with its stunning gopurams, the ornate monumental towers. The temple is highly significant for Hindu devotees for it represents fire one of the five basic elements of Panchabhoota Sthalam others being water, earth, air and space. Later proceed to Pondicherry (also called Puducherry), a place which still carries a strong whiff of the French presence in India.
Day 5: Pondicherry
A former French colony, Pondicherry today stands as the ultimate educational hub with its innumerable educational institutions accredited by Indian Government. The city cherishes its colonial buildings, Gothic churches, French style avenues and even its temples and statues. Morning in Pondicherry will begin with a drive to visit Aurbindo Ashram- which is the perfect place to learn about a unique synthesis of Yoga and modern science aiming at uniting spirit and matter as stated in Shri Bhagvat Geeta (the sacred text of Hindus). Afternoon visit to Auroville-a unique experiment in international living and in creating a new environment where men and women of all nationalities live together in harmony. Indulge in colonial charms of Pondicherry for the whole day.
Day 6: Pondicherry – Chidambaram- Thanjavur
(Driving time: 1 ½ hrs & 3 hrs)
Drive to Chidambaram to visit famous Natraja Temple. The city which exudes serenity and spirituality, Chidambaram is a major pilgrimage site which houses one of the holiest and ancient shrines of cosmic dancing form of Lord Shiva. The temple also hosts the famous Natyanjali festival held in Natraja temple every year during which Bharatnatyam dancers from all parts of the world perform their art in order to offer prayers to Lord Natraja.
Afternoon drive to Thanjavur Tanjore an important centre of South Indian art and architecture. The city came into limelight under the rule of Chola dynasty when most of its grand temples were built. These Great Living Chola Temples are now a site which amazes and inspires people of the world and thus have been accredited by UNESCO. Amongst the greatest creations of Great Living Chola Temples, the Brihadeeswara Temple beautifully showcases the architectural brilliance of that age. The temple also known as ‘Big Temple’ is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Day 7: Thanjavur – Trichy
(Driving time: 2 hrs)
Drive to Trichy, located on the banks of the River Kaveri. The Srirangam Temple situated on an island, is the biggest functioning Hindu temple of the world, spread over 156 acres. Rockfort Temple is another famous landmark of the city and is perched on a huge rocky out crop. Also visit Jambukeshwar temple built around 1,800 years ago this creation of Chola dynasty still manages to catch every onlooker’s eyes. Adjacent to Rangathaswamy temple this is one of the famed major Shiva temples and represents water out of the five sacred elements of Panchabhoota Sthalams.
Day 8: Trichy to Madurai
(Driving time: 3 ½ hrs)
Madurai is full of colorful bazaars, throngs of pilgrims and exhilarated religious processions. Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple is one of the grandest specimens of Dravidan architecture. The musical pillars carved out of single block of granite are constructed in such a way that when tapped let out musical notes. Also, the temple Hall of a Thousand Pillars is now converted into a museum showcasing antique treasures. The evening closing ceremony in which image of Shiva is carried in procession to Goddess Parvati’s shrine is magnificent with chanting of priests, drummers and torch bearers. The King Tirumalai’s Palace (17th century) was built with help of an Italian architect which resulted into its unique fusion of Dravidian, Islamic and European architectural elements. The circular pillars and elegant ceilings & massive courtyards blend with vintage interiors inclusive of royal residence, apartments, dance hall, palanquin place, theatre, pond and garden area.
Day 9: Madurai to Rameshwaram
(Driving time: 4 hrs)
Proceed for Rameshwaram – the most sacred temple town of India. As per legend, the temple was built at the place where Lord Rama came before going into battle at Sri Lanka. One of the twelve Jyotirlingam shrines that are well known for its magnificent corridors and massive sculptured pillars the temple of Rameshwaram is perched on Pamban Island which separates it from the chaotic reaches of cities. This renowned Hindu holy city is a significant pilgrimage site and showcases the magnum opus of South Indian architecture.
Day 10: Madurai – Chennai- Departure
Transfer to Madurai airport to catch flight to Chennai. Fly to Chennai to get connected to your onward flight.
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