Day 01: Arrive Chennai
Assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel.
Check-in time is 12 Noon.
Day 02: Chennai
Morning sightseeing tour:
Chennai, the capital city, 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 with its premises; 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 – the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society formed to encourage the study of comparative religion philosophy and science.
Afternoon at leisure
Morning drive to Kanchipuram.
Kanchipuram, 70 km west of Mahabalipuram, this city of thousand temples lies. 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. Apart from temples, the city is also famous for its silk weavers, settled here some 400 years ago and has given it an enviable reputation.
Later proceed to Mahablipuram
Mahabalipuram, driving south of Madras on the coast lies Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), the ancient port of Pallavas. The pallavas have created many marvellous monuments with sculptural panels, caves, Monolithic Rathas and Temples. 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, semi-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 good 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.
Overnight at the hotel in Mahabalipuram
Day 04: Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry
Drive Morning drive to Pondicherry.
Afternoon visit Pondicherry.
Pondicherry – Although the French influence is gradually fading, Pondicherry retains a few Gallic accents.Pondicherry’s main sights are the Rai Nivas, the Sacred Heart Church and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The ashram retreat was founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo after whose death the spiritual authority passed to one of his disciples, a French woman known as the Mother. The Mother was also instrumental in founding the city of Dawn Auroville, 10 km from Pondicherry. 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. On arrival, check-in at the hotel.
Drive to Tranquebar via Chidambaram.
Chidambaram, the seat of the Cosmic Dancer; dedicated to Lord Nataraja. Spread over an area of 40 acres with a gopuram on each side, the temple is distinguished by the five sabhas or counts. The towering gopurams, the tallest one on the north is 42.4 m are carved on it with 108 dance poses of Bharatanatiyam.
On arrival, check-in at THE BUNGALOW
Tharangambadi (or Tranquebar) is a town in Nagapattinam district. It was a Danish colony in India from 1620-1845. Founded by the Danish East India Company in 1620 when the main fort in Trankebar city, known as Fort Dansborg, was built by a Danish captain named Ove Gjedde as the residence of the governor and other officials for about 150 years. It is now a museum hosting a collection of arte facts from the time of Danish presence in the region. A Danish factory was opened here as early as 1620.
Tranquebar was controlled by the British in 1801 due to the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, and restored to Denmark following the Kiel Peace in 1814. It was sold, along with the other Danish settlements in India, Serampore and the Nicobars, to Great Britain in 1845.
Day 06 : Tranquebar
Visit Fort built in 1620, now houses an archaeological Museum, Zion’s church built in 1701, Town Gateway, Masinamani Nathar Temple built in 1305 and Danish Governor Bungalow, got its names being residence of the Danish Governor in 1784.
Afternoon excursion to Vailankanni, approx. 80 km.
Vailankanni is also recalled as the ‘Lourdes of the East’. Millions of pilgrims visit the Shrine throughout the year, praying to Our Lady for various needs and thanking her for the favors received through her intercession. As per legends, Mother Mary appeared with the Infant Jesus in this small hamlet at the end of the 16th or in the early 17th century. Ever since, Vailankanni is the most important pilgrimage centre for scores of the people from all over the world. The pilgrims come here regardless of creeds and languages to pay respect and homage to the Mother Mary.
Day 07 : Tranquebar-Tanjore
Morning drive to Tanjore (Thanjavur).
Enroute visit Kumbhkonam.
Kumbakonam is the temple city of South India situated in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. The city is famous for the Mahamaham festival that is celebrated once in 12 years in the Mahamaham tank located in the heart of it. The town has several temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and other deities. The town has also earned name for several small scale industries and also as one of prominent educational centre in south India.
Darasuram, 4 km from Kumbhkonam
The temple of Airavatesvara in Darasuram (Tamil Nadu), dating from the second half of the twelfth century is one of the 4 biggest temples erected by the Chola Dynasty with those of Tanjore, Gangaikondacholapuram and Tribhuvanam. Remarkable monument for its architecture and its great decorative wealth, it has been registered in the world heritage list of the UNESCO in 2004. Other temples of Darasuram are also represented, as those devoted to Virabhadra, Kamaksi, Cakkrayi, Dharalamma and Molaccalaya, for example.
On arrival, check-in at the hotel.
Afternoon visit Tanjore.
Tanjore – The home of Carnatic music, musical instruments, dance and traditional handicrafts, Tanjore (Thanjavur) is famous for the Brahadeeswarar Temple. The temple constructed more than a thousand years ago by the Chola King Raja Rajan is an architect’s marvel. The Art Gallery and the Saraswathi Mahal Library are also well known places of interest.
Day 08: Tanjore-Trichy-Madurai
Morning drive to Trichy for sightseeing.
Srirangam – 5 kms from Trichy, located in an island is 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 no less than 22 gopurams, one of which is the tallest in India. The 72 m high 13 tiered gopuram dominates the landscape for miles around.
The Rock Fort situated on the banks of the Kaveri river, Trichy’s most famed land mark is an 84 m high rock, one of the oldest in the world approximately 3, 800 million years. The attraction is not for fort itself but the temple at the summit. 344 steps hewn out of rock lead to the top where are the inscriptions dating back to the 3rd century B.C.
Later drive to Madurai and on arrival, check-in at the hotel.
Overnight stay in Madurai.
Day 09: Madurai
Morning sightseeing tour of Madurai
Madurai, known as Athens of the East, it is the second largest city on the banks of the River Vigai. The city believed to be more than 2500 years old. The city got its name from the drops of nectar (Mathuram) that fell from Shiva’s locs when he came to bless its people for constructing a temple for him. Madurai where the people wake up at the chant of hymns is proud of magnificent ‘The Meenakshi-Sundareswara Temple. Of its 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. 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.
Afternoon at leisure.
Evening witness Prayer Ceremony at the Meenakshi Temple.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10: Madurai-Chennai flight
Transfer to the airport for flight to Chennai.