Arrive Chennai met with and transfer to Hotel. Chennai, the capital city, popularly considered as the Gateway to the South represents a culture that is distinctly different from that of northern India.
After breakfast proceed for a full day city tour of Chennai. The places of interest are Kalakshetra – it is also known as Temple of art is located outside the Elliots beach established in 1936 by Rukmini Devi Arundale to train, encourage and revive interest in Bharatanatyam which is the classical dance form of the state. Fort St. George - constructed in 1640 AD, by the British East India Company - now houses the Secretariat and Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu. St. Marys Church - the oldest Anglican Church in India. Sri Parthasarathy Temple - devoted to Lord Krishna was originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century AD. Kapaleswarar Temple – located in Mylapore is yet another 8th Century Pallava Temple. The temple Gopuram (tower) is in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. It is devoted to Lord Shiva. San Thome Cathedral Basilica – rebuilt in 1606 as a cathedral and in 1896 it was made a basilica; and Theosophical Society - the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society formed to encourage the study of comparative religion philosophy and science.
Drive Kanchipuram situated 76 kms away from Chennai. The little Temple Town of Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, as it is popularly recognized for one of the seven holy cities of the Hindus. It remained the capital of Pallavas from 6th to the 8th centuries. They built numerous temples here. So your trip would include all the major temples to be visited in the city.
Visit Kamakshi Temple devoted to Goddess Kamakshi. It has four colourful gopuras and the main chamber has a gold-plated roof. The Kailasanatha Temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. It is the oldest temple constructed by Pallava ruler. This temple is encircled by 58 smaller shrines, each with splendid carvings of the various images of Shiva. The Great Ekambaresh vara Temple, constructed initially by the pallavas, has a 16-pillared mandapa in front of it, was added later by the Vijayanagar Kings. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the largest & ancient temples. The Vaikuntha Perumal Temple is one of the 18 temples dedicated to Vishnu, erected by Varman II. This exceptional structure has three main chambers, built one on top of the other. Each of them enshrines an image of Vishnu in a different form - standing, sitting and reclining. The Varadaraja Temple is the towns main Vishnu temple. The chief deity in the form of Vishnu is known as Varadaraja. It is believed that the temple stands on the site where Brahma performed a Yagna (Sacrifice) to invoke Vishnus presence.Later proceed to Mahablipuram. On arrival check into hotel.
Mahabalipuram - worldwide renowned for its shore temples, it was the second capital of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram.It is located 58 kilometres from Chennai on the Bay of Bengal.
After refreshment proceed for trip to following places - Caves - There are nine rock cut cave temples. The Mahishasuramardhini cave, contrasting the goddess fighting an evil spirit on one side, and Lord Vishnus cosmic sleep on the other, is an amazing sight to view. Krishna Mandapam - This cave features carvings of a rural scene, presenting Lord Krishna lifting up the Govardhana Mountain, to protect his people from the rage of Indra, the God of Rain. Five Rathas - These rock-cut temples are rated as excellent examples of Pallava art. Fashioned in unusual styles, the five Rathas are named after the Pandava Brothers & Draupadi – the heroes of Mahabharata epic. Arjunas Penance - This huge whale-back shaped rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts, and birds and in fact, can be said to represent creation itself. It also illustrates Arjuna - one of the Pandava brothers and a skilled archer, is standing on one leg, doing penance to obtain a boon from Lord Shiva. The Shore Temple - This is one of the ancient temples in South India. They were built in 8th Century A.D. and is an excellent example of the first phase of the structure of temples constructed in the Dravidian style. The two spires of the temples contain a shrine for Lord Vishnu and for Lord Shiva.
After breakfast checkout from Hotel & drive to Pondicherry, on arrival check into hotel. Rest of the day is free for you. Later enjoy the city tour of Pondicherrys main sights are Sri Aurobindo Ashram - established in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo after whose death the religious authority passed to one of his follower, a French woman known as the Mother. In the courtyard are the Samadhi of Aurobindo and The Mother where their mortal remains have been enshrined. Auroville – located at 10 km from Pondicherry. Its original deed aimed at creating a city of the future where people from all over the world with different religions could live and work together in a spiritual environment. Beach – where you can enjoy swimming & sun bathing.
Today drive to Chidambaram, on arrival check in to the hotel. Evening at leisure.
Visit The Nataraja Temple - is located in the heart of Chidambaram town and cover an area of 40 acres. The roof of the chamber is covered with gold plates. This is the temple of the Cosmic Dancer, where the presiding divinity is called Nataraja. It has 56 pillars in the hall portraying 108 gestures of Bharat Natyam, the classical dance of Tamilnadu.
Today drive towards Thanjavur, reach & check in to the hotel.
Today visit Tanjore. Visit Sri Brihadeeswara Temple – It was constructed by the great Chola King in 10th century AD. It is brilliant example of Chola architecture.
The Palace – It is a huge building of stonework built partly by the Nayaks around 1550 AD and later completed by the Marathas. Art Gallery – It is positioned in the Thanjavur Palace only. It has some of the most magnificent and precious Granite and Bronze statues of Chola period.
Today you will take drive to Madurai enroute visiting Trichy. Enjoy sightseeing tour of Trichy: Sri Rangnathaswamy Temple - The Temple at Srirangam is positioned 6 kilometers from the city center Trichy. The temple is built on an island in the middle of the Kaveri River and devoted to Lord Vishnu. It is also the largest temple in the world. The Rock Fort –situated on the banks of the Kaveri River is an 84 m high rock which is one of the oldest in the world. The temple that is located 300 feet above the sea level is devoted to Lord Shiva. The extremely huge temple has a 100-pillar hall and a Vimana covered with gold. Later drive Madurai. Reach & check in to the hotel.
Madurai, which is recognized as Athens of the East is also the second largest city on the banks of the River Vaigai. It is a beautiful city famous for its spectacular temples that are examples of rich architecture and magnificent sculptural works. The city is believed to be on of the ancient cities of India. Later we would take you for a tour of Madurai. Visit Meenakshi Temple - devoted to Lord Shiva who was identified here as Sundareshvara and his wife Parvati or Meenakshi. The temple has 12 gateways (Gopurams), which vary in height from 45 to 50 m and the highest Gopuram is in the south. The southern gateway is nine stories high and has images of gods and goddesses. Evening witness Prayer Ceremony at the Meenakshi Temple.
Today you will take excursion to Rameshwaram Temple. The Ramanathaswamy Temple - is considered as one of the holy shrines of Hindus in India. Positioned close to the sea on the eastern side of the island, this temple is famous for its 1200 gigantic granite column. The 54 metre tall gopuram (gate-tower), 1220 metres of superb corridors and the colorful columns decorate and render fame to the temple.
Today morning you will drive towards Kanyakumari. Reach & check into the hotel. Later proceed for sightseeing of Kanyakumari - Cape Camorin which ispositioned 87 km away from Thiruvananthapuram. Kanyakumari is the Lands End of India. Here, the Bay of Bengal meets the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Also Visit: Padmanabhapuram Palace is recognized for its scheduling and military architecture and continued to be the center of power till 1790, when the capital was moved to Thiruvananthapuram. The main lure of the Padmanabhapuram Palace are its sheer artistic beauty, wall paintings, innovative designs and time tested wooden carvings. The Kumari Amman or the Kanyakumari Temple - This temple is devoted to a manifestation of Parvati, the virgin goddess who performed reparation to acquire Lord Shivas hand in marriage. Beautifully placed overlooking the shore. When she was unsuccessful, she promised to remain a virgin (kanya). Vivekananda Memorial -There are two rocks rising out of the ocean, situated southeast of the Kumari Amman temple. One among these is Sri Padaparai, where the footprints of the virgin goddess are believed to be imprinted on this rock. It is said that Swami Vivekananda sat in deep meditation here and therefore the Vivekananda Rock Memorial was built in 1970.
Today drive to Kovalam, on arrival check into hotel and after that enjoy day in the sand. Kovalam is a natural bay ideal for swimming, surfing. One can swim in the shallow blue water and have a sunbath in the exotic tropical sun which can adorn you with a good suntan. You can also pamper yourself with Ayurveda & Spa treatments available at the hotels. (optional).
Morning we would take you for a city tour of Trivandrum, A must on every tourist itinerary, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple the huge structure has an amazing 100 feet high Gopuram, the main temple tower. The temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu. This temple has an idol 18 feet long which is decorated with gold and precious stones. Within its hallowed limits, the main pavilion amaze with its 400 beautifully carved pillars of granite.
Drive towards Alleppey & en board the traditionally decorated houseboats, you will start an over night backwater cruise which will end on next day morning at Kumarakom. Houseboat cruise is the best way to explore the beauty of backwaters.
Today transfer to backwater resort from the houseboat. Kumarakom - Backwaters are one of the exclusive attractions of Kerala, a chain of canals stretching to about 1500 k.m, along with a network of 44 rivers, lagoons and lakes. Most of it is naturally formed. Take an evening boat cruise on the Kumarakom backwaters which itself is an incredibly different experience. Sail towards the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary - is located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake. The bird sanctuary is stretched over 14 acres of land. It is also recognized as the ornithologists paradise, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is one of the most desired hub of migratory birds. Every year, over 60 species of migratory birds gather here in large numbers. The prominent species include the Siberian stork, Egret, Darter, Heron, Teal, Waterfowl, Cuckoo, Owls.
Today drive to Cochin, on arrival check in to hotel. Later we will take you for a sight seeing of Cochin The Dutch palace at Mattancherry is located at 10 kms from Ernakulam is well-known for its medieval charm. It houses a gallery of interesting paintings and murals, thus signifying the rich customs of the Hindus through art. The Chinese Fishernets were introduced by Chinese traders are used for a very unique and unusual method of fishing. Jewish Synagogue - located at the Jew Street was built in 1568. It is also rated as the oldest synagogue among all commonwealth nations. St. Frances Church - first European church here the body of late Vasco Da Gama was originally buried.
After healthy breakfast, check out from the hotel transfer to Cochin International airport to fly to your home country. TOUR ENDS-