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Temple Tour of Southern India

Duration:14 days
Destination CoverChennai-Kanchipuram- Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry-Thanjavur-Trichy - Madurai-Rameshwaram-Madurai - Chennai

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Day 01 : Arrive in Chennai

Once you reach Chennai, meet IHPL representative who helps with an assisted transfer to your pre-booked hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure- interact with the locals, visit the famous markets, explore the surroundings on foot, taste the lip-smacking dishes of South Indian cuisine. Stay overnight.

Day 02 : Chennai

Day 2 is for Chennai sightseeing tour that includes Kalakshetra- a school of raditional art and music, Fort St. George – previously a fort which is now the Secretariat and Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu, St. Mary's Church- the oldest Anglican Church in the country. Later in the day, visit the Sri Parthasarathy Temple (an 8th century temple erected by the Pallava rulers) for Darshan. The next visit is Kapaleeswarar Temple, another 8th century temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The other visits of the day are St Thomas Cathedral Basilica and the Theosophical Society. Stay overnight.

Day 03 : Chennai – Kanchipuram- Mahabalipuram

Today, begin driving to Mahabalipuram. On the way, stop at Kanchipuram, housing one of the most well-known temples of the southern part of India. One of the seven sacred cities of Hindus, it was the capital of the Chola rulers. Visit the various temples including the most well-known one, the Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Kamakshi, one of the forms of Goddess Parvati. Later, continue to Mahablipuram. On arrival, check- in your hotel for staying overnight.

Day 04 : Mahabalipuram

Day 4 is for sightseeing in Mahabalipuram, where the Pallava rulers erected several beautiful monuments and temples. The first visit of the day is Krishna Mandapam- the largest and the oldest Hindu rock-cut temple in Mahabalipuram. Later, visit the Shore Temple Complex that comprises of one large and two small temples. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was erected during the 8th century. The last visit is The Five Rathas, known as Panch Rathas or Pandava Rathas. This example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture in India is associated with the Pandavas of the Mahabharata. Stay overnight.

Day 05 : Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry

On the 5th day of the tour, begin driving towards Pondicherry. Complete the check-in formalities at your hotel. The rest of the day is free for leisure activities- interact with the locals, taste the sumptuous local delicacies, explore the surroundings on foot. Stay overnight.

Day 06 : Pondicherry

Today, take a city tour covering the Rai Niwas, the former official residence of the French Governor Dupleix where now the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry resides. The next in line is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus- a Gothic architecture specimen and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram- a retreat founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo. Stay overnight.

Day 07 : Pondicherry - Thanjavur

After breakfast, begin driving to Tanjore. En-route, visit the Chidambaram temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to Thillai Nataraja - Shiva, The Lord of Dance. Also known as Thillai Natarajah Temple, it was erected between the 12th and the 13th centuries. Afternoon arrival in Thanjavur, check-in your hotel. Leave for city tour. Visit the Brihadeeswarar Temple – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple was built during the reign of Chola ruler Raja Rajan. The other visits of the day are the Art Gallery and the Saraswathi Mahal Library. Stay overnight.

Day 08 : BThanjavur - Trichy

Today, drive to Trichy. On reaching, check-in your pre-booked hotel. This place is a perfect example of an amalgamation of past and present cultural sensibilities. The rest of the day is free for leisure activities- explore the surroundings on foot, taste the local delicacies, interact with the locals etc. Stay overnight.

Day 09 : Trichy

Day 9, after breakfast is for a tour of Trichy: Visit Srirangam, an island that houses the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple- dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Lord Vishnu. The next visit is the Rock Fort, a well-known landmark in Trichy on 84 m high rock, attracting a large number of tourists. An added attraction in this fort is an ancient temple, called Lalitankura Pallaveswaram that was built during the reign of the Pallava rulers. Stay overnight.

Day 10 : Trichy - Madurai

After breakfast on day 10, begin driving towards Madurai, also known as the Athens of the East. On reaching Madurai, complete the check-in formalities at your hotel. Spend the day at leisure in this city, believed to be more than 2500 years old- interact with the locals, explore the surroundings on foot etc. Stay overnight.

Day 11 : Madurai

On the 11th day of the tour, enjoy sightseeing in Madurai. Visit the Meenakshi-Sundareswara Temple, also known as Meenakshi Amman Temple- dedicated to Goddess Parvati and her consort Lord Shiva. The temple complex consists of 14 gopurams ranging from 45 to 50 meters in height. Post lunch, the afternoon is free. In the evening, attend the Prayer Ceremony at the Meenakshi Temple. Stay overnight.

Day 12 : Madurai - Rameshwaram - Madurai

Day 12 is booked for a day trip to Rameshwaram, to visit its main temple for Darshan. The Rameshwaram temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was constructed during the 17th century. If the legends are to be believed, this temple was built by Lord Rama himself and what we see today is a renovated version. Return to Madurai for an overnight stay.

Day 13 : Madurai - Chennai

In the morning, get transferred to the railway station to board a train to Chennai. On arrival, check-in your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the city, also known as ‘Cultural Capital of South India’ Overnight in the hotel.

Day 14 : Departure from Chennai

Today, you are transferred to the airport to catch the flight for your onward journey.

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