|Discover IndiaLuxury ToursLuxury TrainsSouth India ToursNorth India ToursAyurveda & SpaWildlife ToursCity Guide|
Home : South India Tours: South India Temples Tour
South India Temples Tour
Duration : 14 Nights / 15 Days
Places Covered : Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) – Puducherry (Pondicherry) – Chidambaram –Thanjavur (Tanjore) - Chettinad – Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) - Madurai – Kanyakumari - Kovalam – Alappuzha (Alleppey) – Kochi (Cochin)
You will be accorded hearty welcome on your arrival at Chennai International Airport on the first day of your South India Temple tour by the representatives of India Tourism Travel. You will be assisted in your boarding and lodging at a comfortable hotel in the city center. Relax and enjoy your delicious dinner in your hotel.
Day 02 : Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram / 150 Km – 04 Hrs Drive
This day you will proceed for the sightseeing of Kanchipuram, a sacred place for Hindus on the second day of our tour. Kanchipuram is famed for its exquisite temples. The city is also well known for its finest silk sarees the world over. The place offers a number of attractions for the tourists. Visitors can experience south Indian tradition and culture in its originality here. You can watch the processes of making silk sarees in traditional style here. you will visit some of the most revered temples of Kanchipuram this day including the below:
Kamakshi Amman temple : The temple is dedicated to goddess Kamakshi Amman, a form of goddess Parvathi. It was built by the Pallavas in 7th century but was modified and expanded further by the Chola rulers in the 14th century. The temple also has Shankaracharya shrine, the founder of Kamakoti Monastery. Golden Towers or the Gopurams here are a great draw for the tourists.
Vaikuntha Perumal temple : Vaikuntha Perumal temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was built in the 7th century. It displays fantastic art depictions and architectural grandeur of South India temple architecture. Here, sculptures of Lord Vishnu are found in all the three positions, i.e. Standing, Sitting and Reclining. The main shrine has statues of Lord Vishnu in numerous positions. The great architecture of the temple is reflected in huge structure and beautifully carved pillars. Later visit a silk weaving cottage, where you would see the local silk workers at work. This is the prime occupation of locals here. The whole process is done manually with the use of conventional equipments only. Various designs are created for printing on sarees and shawls such as those of traditional temples, peacocks, flower designs and Yali - a horse type shape. There are also depictions of the great events from the Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. At night, you will proceed to Mahabalipuram and stay there overnight.
Day 03 : Mahabalipuram
The grand Mahabalipuram temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was built by the Pallava king, Narasimha Varman I. Various monolithic monuments and grand temples can be seen here. The temple architecture is a marvel of great Pallava art and architecture. Visit to the famed Shore Temple is a must which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was constructed by King Mamalla. It has two Lord Shiva shrines that were added by Mamalla’s successor Narashimha Varman II. The historically important temples have survived the onslaught of weather extremities and enemy invasions for centuries. Visit the Five Rathas depicting the great Dravidian architecture and scenes from Mahabharata. These are five chariots among which the largest one belongs to Dharmaraja Yudishthir. There is a huge bas relief with carvings of Arjuna, gods and animals. The sculptures are carved on a bas, 27 meters long and 9 meters high. In the evening, you can stroll around at shops where you can see products made from sea shells and other impressive paintings with vivid hues. Your overnight stay will be on a beachside resort at Mahabalipuram.
After breakfast in the morning drive down the East Coast Road to Pondicherry, an ex-French colonial town, where the impact of French culture can still be witnessed in the lifestyle of the people. This township has played an important role in Indian Independence struggle as several marches were held here by the freedom fighters against the British in twentieth century. Visit Aurobindo Ashram, the abode of Sri Aurobindo and his disciple Mother Mirra Alfassa Richard or Maa. There are many buildings near the ashram, where its members and students reside. There are special departments for their essential requirements so that they can live a modest life. The students remain engaged in small scale cottage works, farming, gardening and library activities. Visit the Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus and the most attractive thing of the church is the big stained-glass panels that have pictures related to the birth of Jesus Christ and his life. The church was built in Neo-Gothic style in 17th century and has a tranquil atmosphere around it.
Later visit the Pondicherry Museum which has an exceptional compilation of artifacts belonging to the French colonial period. It has exclusive compilation of brass, bronze and stone arts belonging to the Pallava and Chola periods. Next, visit the universal town of Auroville frequently described as the ”City of Dawn”, a brainchild of Mother Mirra. It is now home to numerous foreign disciples of Sri Aurobindo. People from varied backgrounds and speaking more than 50 foreign languages reside here in perfect harmony. After this leg of your South India Temple tour, relax at your beachside resort in Pondicherry.
Day 05 : Pondicherry – Chidambaram – Tanjore / 230 Kms – 05 Hrs Drive
You will visit Chidambaram on the fifth day of our South India Temple tour which is supposed to be the place where Lord Shiva performed his cosmic dance, the “Tandava Nritya”. Visit Nadarajar temple built by the Cholas in 9th century. It has a hut-like sanctum with gold- plated cover, gigantic Ganga tank and four multi-colored Gopurams. At this place, the world renowned “Natiyanjali” traditional dance celebration takes place annually. The dance performances are held in a huge hall that attract lots of tourists from all over the world. Next place would be Gangaikonda Cholapuram. There is a temple maintained by UNESCO world heritage team. The temple here was built by Chola rulers and is the most prominent landmark of the region. The Airavateshwara temple at Darasuram is a brilliant instance of architectural wonder and is one of the oldest shrines of the region. The carvings in the temple depict the incidents of Chola period.
Day 06 : Tanjore – Chettinad / 100 Km – 02 Hrs Drive
At morning visit Tanjore, often referred as “The Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu”. It is a place which was ruled by the Cholas originally and by Nayakas and the Marathas later. A cultural package of music and dance can be witnessed here. There is the Brihadeeshwara temple which is 1000 years old and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is dedicated to Shiva and built by Raja Chola I. Engraved out of single slab of granite stands the gigantic Nandi bull statue weighing 25 tons, which is positioned near the sanctum sanctorum. Your next destination would be the Royal Palace, which was built by Nayaka rulers who used it as their regal house. It was remodeled by Marathas. The palace has the shape of a flying eagle, attracting viewers’ attention at once. Situated next to the palace are a seven-storey Observation Tower and the Durbar Hall which was built in 1684. It has plenty of paintings and beautifully adorned pillars. Connected to the palace are the Raja Raja Museum and Art Gallery. Saraswathi Mahal Library has one of its kind collections of antiques and vessels used by the rulers as well as rich collection of bronze and copper coins and medieval era weapons.
Two hours journey will take you to Chettinad, the “Land of Chettiyars”. The specialty of this place is that you can see beautifully decorated houses mostly built in the 20th century. The township presents a perfect example of the social and kinship requirements of the neighborhood. The Bangala and Chettinad Mansion have been converted into hotel.
Day 07 : Chettinad – Trichy / 100 Km – 02 Hrs Drive
On your next leg of your South India Temple tour, you will depart to Trichy, about 100 km away from Chettinad and at two hours drive. It is located at the head of delta and is named after a fierce three-headed demon. Tiruchirapalli is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu. Trichy is known for its clay toys, beautiful sculptures, artificial diamonds, glass bangles and conventional accessories. Visit St. Joseph’s Church which was built by Schwartz in 1792. The former Presidents of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Dr. Venkataramanan did their graduation here. Later on visit the famous Rock Fort Temple which is positioned on a sole rock and is one of the oldest temples of the region. You need to climb 344 steps to reach to the temple. There are many small temples, and wonderful sculptures to keep you engaged and amused. Later on visit Sri Renganatha Swamy temple located at Srirangam. Chief deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu. It is located on the banks of river Kollidakarai which is a peaceful place. Your overnight stay will be in a hotel at Tiruchirapalli.
Now, depart for Madurai “The Temple City” situated on the banks of river Vaigai. The town has the illustrious collection of temples reflecting the great Dravidian temple architectural style. Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple was built by Pandyas in the 7th century and has imposing 12 Gopurams inside the temple complex. The beautiful architecture of the temple is a great attraction for the tourists. A visit to the Thousand Pillared Hall of the temple is a must. The 16th century Thirumalai Nayak palace is now partly converted into a museum. It displays bronze and stone images of the medieval periods. Later you can do some shopping in the local markets. Taste the distinctive conventional cuisines during your visit to the markets. You can taste the famous “Jigarthanda”, a healthy and wonderful drink made of milk, flavored ice-cream and sea weeds. Other popular dish is halwa, a sweet delicacy made of wheat, sugar and ghee.
Day 09 : Madurai – Kanyakumari / 240 Km – 04 Hrs drive
On the ninth day of your South India Temple tour, you will drive to Kanyakumari, the southernmost point of Tamil Nadu and visit the virgin Kumari Amman temple there. Take a short boat ride to the magnificent Thiruvalluvar Statue weighing 7000 tons, located 400 meters off sea. It was built in the remembrance of Valluvar, the great Tamil poet who taught moral values and wrote several classical works. You will also visit Vivekananda Memorial, devoted to the great intellectual and philosopher who taught high values to people all over the world. The next stop would be the Gandhi Memorial, which is a monument dedicated to the father of the nation. Its architecture resembles Orissa temple architectural style and the memorial was built by Hindu, Christian and Muslim architects. The specialty of the monument is that the sun rays fall directly on Gandhiji’s statue on his birthday, that is, 2nd of October. Afterwards in the dusk you can enjoy some charming moments in the backdrop of stunning sunset view. Your overnight stay will be in a Kanyakumari resort.
Day 10 : Kanyakumari – Kovalam / 100 km – 02 Hrs drive
On the tenth day of your South India Temple tour, you will drive to Kovalam and visit Padmanabhapuram Palace on the way. It is one of the world’s most luxuriant palaces. Visitors are enthralled by the royalty, antiques and rich splendor of the palace. It was built by a Travancore monarch in 1601 AD. The palace is mostly made up of natural elements like wood and the main Durbar Hall consists of a black floor made of curd, buttermilk, burnt ashes of coconut, egg white, river sand and jaggery. Swimming pools, royal king sized bed, paintings of the heredities, wall hangings, medicinal beds which cure illness, earthen pots, bronze vessels and spacious bath tubs are other attractions of Padmanabhapuram Palace. You will also visit Napier Museum in Thiruvananthapuram which has some exclusive compilations of Kathakali models, musical instruments, artistic accessories etc. You will check in a resort at Kovalam in the night. Enjoy your luscious dinner while admiring the beachside view from your resort at the same time.
Day 11 : Kovalam
After visiting the temples of Tamil Nadu and other attractions such as monuments, forts, palaces etc, it is time to relax on the pristine beaches of Kovalam. Stroll carefree or just laze alongside the sun drenched beach and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. Let the cool breeze relax and soothe you. Let the sound of waves thrill you while you relax alongside the fantastic and world’s famous crescent shaped beaches. The beach stretches hundreds of metres and you can see nature in its true beauty here. All is there, the wind, waves and the charming sea! It is ideal for swimming lovers who enjoy sea swimming here the most. You can stay by waterside and enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature. All you would see around would be the Mother Nature in its purest form that will uplift your spirit and rejuvenate you as well. At this place, you can also have Ayurvedic messages done on your body. These traditional message therapies will really energize you. Performed traditionally with herbal oil, they are highly rejuvenating. You can also opt for yoga which is truly refreshing and has great healing effect on the mind and soul. Your overnight stay will be at a Kovalam resort.
Leave for Alleppey, a small but charming town known for its striking backwaters. Here, by checking in at the houseboat, locally known as Kettuvallam, you can enjoy spending your day amidst the lullabies of pristine waters. These floating cottages are made out of jack wood planks and tied using coir ropes. After this, the houseboats are coated with black resin, a product yielded due to the boiling of cashew nut shells. Unbelievable it may appear but not a single nail is used when constructing these houseboats. Exhilarating it is for the tourist to visit and stay on these floating cottages, which cannot be seen anywhere else in India. Once you check in at the houseboat, do come to the front deck and look at the routine of local habitants who are engaged in farming, fishing, coir making, dish washing etc.
You would see small canopy like boats selling basic items like vegetables and fish. In the nearby Kuttanad region, crops are cultivated below sea level. In fact, Kerala holds the pride of being the initiator of such type of farming in India. You will be provided tasty and traditional food aboard the houseboat. You can also try your hands at fishing if you want. Relish the local cuisines on board the houseboat while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. Spend your night at the floating cottage and enjoy the sound of water all through.
Day 13 : Alleppey – Cochin / 65 Km -01 Hr Drive
Alight from your houseboat and begin your drive towards Kochi. Today you can use your time in the market to shop for the local items and curios. Taste some traditional delicacies in the markets. You can also see a lot of spice vendors in markets selling aromatic and colorful spices. The commercial activity you would see in the markets would be really amusing for you. Enjoy the unique atmosphere of the surroundings and mingle among the locals. You can watch locals engaged in their routine activities. The spices you would see here are exported to all parts of the world. Their charming aroma and flavor would definitely amuse you. You won’t be able to resist yourself from buying some for your home on return. The auction of spices is carried out in a conventional way in which traders bargain a lot, as opposed to the modern ways of auctioning. The auctions are carried out locally in traditional ways and no online auctions are done for the spices. After witnessing all these grand events you retire to your resort in Cochin and stay there overnight.
Day 14 : Kochi (Cochin)
This day, you will visit south India shrines and temples of Kochi city, an ex-colonial town. The city has long been famous for commercial activities and international trade. It is the business hub of the region. The city has a blend of old and the new worlds. It is widely believed that it is the place where the voyagers coveted the fine ivory, sandalwood, gold and perfumes that were sold in the European markets at high rates. We will also visit St. Francis Church, which is India’s first European church. It was built by the Portuguese in the year 1503. Prayers and services are done here in both Malayalam and English. Your next destination would be the Pardesi (Jewish) Synagogue, originally constructed in 1568. It was destroyed by cannon and artillery fire in the year 1662 during raids by the Portuguese. You can see a brief account of the Old Testament here. The synagogue has a unique architecture and is beautified with paintings.
Next, you will visit the Mattancherry (Dutch) Palace that was initially built by the Portuguese. But later on it was taken over by the Dutch people. There are mural paintings which depict the many significant scenes from the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. These attractions are situated on the Jews Street. Here, you will have the chance to view rare antiques of crockery, carved wooden furniture, jewelries, brass and bronze vessels etc. which were used during the olden times. After a brief rest, visit the Chinese Fishing Nets. It is widely believed that these nets were brought by the well known and famous Chinese ruler Kublai Khan. These nets are in use even now. They are widely spread across the seashore of Kochi.
It is time to view the most exciting and enthralling classical dance performance of Kerala, known as ‘Kathakali’. Tourists around the world as well as domestic tourists throng the place to have a look at the grand festival. This traditional and rich cultural heritage is what tourists wait for. The word ‘Kathakali’ in Malayalam means “story play”. It is really a mesmerizing evening with the grand show. It is performed by trained artists who are experts in expressing stories only through their body gestures. It is simply captivating to watch the artists performing live. The makeup artists explain the significance of the show to the guests gathered for the occasion. This is a two hour functions which keeps everybody spellbound. Most interestingly, the whole makeup is done using only natural colors. These natural colors are made out of vegetables and natural products. Impossible it might appear, but only vegetables and other natural products are all that the makeup artists use on the Kathakali dance performers.
You get familiar with the story of the dance play as there is someone who explains the story all along the show. You would enjoy every bit of the show with the voice elaborating the movements, the gestures, costumes and body movements and the makeup. All is done as per the percussion. More enchantingly, there is back music going on all through the two hour spectacular display of traditional art form. At night, you rest after dinner and relax at your hotel. It is time to recall the memories of the day. You will stay overnight in Kochi during your last leg of South India temple tour.
Day 15 : Kochi-Departure
On this day you will be shifted to the Kochi International Airport as per your flight schedule. Our India Tourism Travel Executives will assist you to board in your flight. You will fly back to home with sweet memories and lifetime experiences of South India Temple tour.
Tags : Temples of Tamilnadu, Meenakshi Temple, Brihadeeswara Temple, Rock fort Temple, Mahabalipuram Temple
South India Temples Tours ends with sweet memories!!
|© 2012 Cholan Tours Private Limited. All rights reserved.||Designed & Developed by iSearch Solution Pvt. Ltd.|