Package Description South India Spirituality
10 Days 09 Nights
Book Now! Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai - Chennai
Day 01 Arrive Delhi
On your arrival in Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, our Pearl Holidays representative will receive and escort you to Hotel Taj Coromandal where you will spend 2 nights.
Day 02 Chennai
You start your morning with a visit to the Kalakshetra or Temple of Art. It was founded in 1936 by Rukmini Devi Arundale to train, encourage and revive interest in Bharatanatyam, which is the classical dance form of the state. This institution was among the finest of its kind in the country and was run on the ancient gurukulam system where the students lived with their guru.
The guru imparted knowledge to his students who observed strict discipline. You will next stop at The Fort Museum which has a fascinating collection of memorabilia from the days of the East India Company and the British Raj. You will also visit St. Mary's Church built in 1678-80, which was the first English church and the oldest surviving British construction in India. Another interesting stop is the Kapaleshwara Temple, with a massive and intricately carved Gopuram towering into the sky. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is the oldest temple in the city dating back to the 7th century. Another ancient shrine is the Parthsarthy Temple dedicated to the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the creator; the main deity is Lord Krishna.
Day 03 Chennai / Kanchipuram / Mahabalipuram (Approx 2 ½ hrs drive)
On the third day you will be driven to Dakshinchitra , en route to Mahabalipuram. Located 21 kms South of Chennai, Dakshinchitra is an exciting cross cultural living museum of art, architecture, lifestyles, crafts and performing arts of India with an emphasis on South India. You can explore 17 heritage houses, amble along recreated streetscapes, explore contextual exhibitions, interact with typical village artisans and witness folk performances set in an authentic ambience. After an interesting stop you continue your onward journey. On arrival at Kanchipuram, one of the 7 holiest Hindu cities is also known as the city of a thousand temples. Many of the temples are the work of the later Cholas and of the Vijayanagar kings. These are spread out all across the city. Kanchipuram is also famous for its handwoven silk fabrics and saris woven with the best quality silk and gold thread. This industry originated during the Pallava times, when weavers were employed to produce clothing and fabrics for kings. Then you will continue on to Mahabalipuram where you will check in to Taj Fisherman Cove. The evening can be spent relaxing on the beach or walking on the sand.
Day 04 Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (Approx 3 hrs drive)
After breakfast, you will visit Mahabalipuram, famous for its shore temples. This was the second capital and sea port of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram, the first Tamil dynasty of any real consequence to emerge after the fall of the Gupta dynasty. The shore temples built between the 7th and 9th centuries AD and have been classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO and are some of the most photographed monuments in India. The temples and sculptures here are made from single large rocks. Next, you will be driven to Pondicherry three hours away. On reaching Pondicherry you will check into Hotel Le Duplex for the night.
Day 05 Pondicherry
After breakfast you will visit Aurovile-Matrimandir, the temple of the Divine Mother, where you can sit in peace and meditate. Next you visitEglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a church noted for its Gothic architecture and stained glass panels which depict the entire life of Jesus Christ. As you move on to the Pondicherry Museum you realize that the suites are furnished in the French style, since this colony was occupied by the French. It is decorated with exquisite marble sculptures. The Arms Gallery is yet another fascinating feature of this museum. The Art Gallery contains invaluable archaeological finds pertaining to Roman, French and Hindu cultures. Other important points of interest in the city are the Romain Rolland Library which has over 60,000 books, including rare French books, the Manakula Vinaynagar Temple on Rue d'Orleans, the 12th century Sri Tirukameswarar Temple at Vilayanur and the 7th century Thiruvandar Temple built in the Chola period.
Day 06 Pondicherry – Chidambaram – Dharasuram – Ranjore (Approx 6 hrs drive)
After breakfast you will be driven to Tanjore. Enroute you will visit Chidambaram, a beautiful temple, dedicated to Lord Nataraja- God Shiva in the form of a Cosmic Dancer. This is one of the few temples where Shiva and Vishnu are enshrined under one roof. Another important temple is the Gangaikondacholapuram Temple, which excels in architectural splendor. It was constructed between 1020 and1029 AD and has intricate carvings on the vimana of the temple. The temple is built on a hard southern granite stone and displays the beauty of the carvings of the temple leaving behind the simplicity, gracefulness and elegance of the Pallava and the earlier Chola empires. Anot her important temple is Darasuram, an embodiment of art and architecture and exquisite stone carvings. The Airavateshwara Temple is one of the finest examples of the Dravidian architecture and is named after the mythical white elephant, Airavata, who is known for his devotion of Lord Shiva. The temple is 85' tall and has exquisite architecture, sculptures and paintings. Although the temple is much smaller than its contemporaries like the Brihadeeshwara temple or the Gangaikondacholisvaram temple, it is far more elegant in its details. The entire temple is said to been built with nitya-vinoda or 'perpetual entertainment' in mind. Later you continue your drive to Tanjore where you check in to Hotel Parishuttam.
Day 07 Tanjore
After breakfast, visit the renowned temple of Lord Brahadeeswara, which is unique for its marvellous architecture. The Tanjore Palace is also an important tourist destination. The royal Palace near the massive Brihadeeswara temple is characterized by its vast corridors, large halls, shady courtyards and observation and arsenal towers. Built by the Nayaks in the mid-16th century, the Palace was completed by the Marathas. The Durbar Hall of the palace still retains the grandeur of the bygone era. The palace also functions as a Royal Museum housing a diverse collection of royal remnants, compilations of the early 19th century, the king's slippers, head dresses and hunting tools. The Art Gallery is another must see of Tanjore. It has a rich collection of 250 Chola Bronze statues and 150 stone statues dating from the 9th to 12th centuries. You will also visit the remains at Paluvurand, Gangaikonda ,Cholapuram, Veda schools and a bronze casting village.
Day 08 Tanjore – Same day trip of Tanjore (Approx 1 hrs drive one way)
After breakfast you will proceed for a day's excursion to Trichy where you visit Srirangam temples. The SriRanganathaswamy Temple is at Sri Rangam Island, in the middle of the Cauvery River. This temple was built by various dynasties including the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagar empire between 13th and 18th centuries. The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu has seven concentric walls and 22 Gopurams and has a north to south orientation. It is also famous as a centre for religious philosophy and learning. Situated 2-km east of Srirangam, is this beautiful Jambukeswara Temple dedicated to Lord, Shiva, with the lingam partly submerged in water. The Rockfort Temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva is located on top of a huge rock. and is the most prominent landmark in Trichy. After an extensive visit to these several temples you return to your hotel for some sleep and rest.
Day 09 : Tanjore – Madurai (Approx 5 hrs drive)
Today you will be driven to Madurai where you check in to Hotel GRT Regency. In the evening you will attend the aarti ceremony at the famous Meenakshi Temple dedicated to the fish-eyed goddess, Meenakshi and Lord Shiva. The temple contains an incredible 33 million sculptures, and comprises 12 towers up-to 46m in height , painted in vivid colors with figures of gods and goddesses, animals and demons.
Day 10 Madurai / Chennai (By Flight IT 2416 : 1815 / 1930 hrs)
: Depart Chennai
After breakfast you will visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, an excellent example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. This 16th century palace was originally four times the present-day size. The ruins today show the main entrance gate, the dancing hall and the main hall. However, it is the Light and Sound show based on the life of 'Tirumalai Nayak' and 'Silapathikaram', which is the chief attraction here. You can go back and visit the famous Meenakshi Temple again.(named after one of the daughters of a Pandyan king, who had 3 breasts). The temple is spread over 6 hectares and its enormous "gopurams" or towers are covered with gaily-colored statues, and are visible from a great distance. Palace of Rani Mangammal turned museum ,portrays the history of the Independence movement of India. Besides the rare facts related to Gandhiji, it also has the blood stained dhoti that Gandhiji wore at the time of his assassination, on display. After the sightseeing, our representative will escort you to the airport in the evening to board your flight to Chennai. On arrival at Chennai airport, you will be met by our representative and transferred to the international terminal to board your flight back home.