Day 01 Arrive Chennai
Arrive Chennai. On arrival you will be met by DestinAsia Journeys representative and will escort till you check in at hotel.
Chennai is hailed to be the liveliest city in entire South India. The city has its own unique charm, which sets it aside from the rest of the big cities. The vibrancy of rich culture and traditions exuded by the city and its residents is simply moving. It is one such city in Tamil Nadu, which has been blessed with an extreme treasure of tourist attractions. The sightseeing tour around the ancient city of Madras, will completely sweep you off your feet. Besides, there is such wide diversity that you will be amazed at its existence. The tour includes beautifully carved temples, serene beaches, colonial monuments and much more. So, come and explore the magnificent city of Chennai, rightly called the ‘Gateway to South India.
Afternoon proceed for city tour.
Fort St. George: Built in 1654 and remodeled in 1749, Fort St. George is the first bastion of British power in India. The fort has a six-meter tall wall that withstood many sieges by Mughals in 1701, Marathas in 1741 and Hyder Ali during the late 18th century. The fort now houses the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
St. Mary’s Church built in1678-80 was the first English church in Chennai. There are reminders in the church of Robert Clive who married here in 1753.
Glimpses of old Chennai and memorabilia of British and French East India Companies, British and Muslim Administrations etc can be seen at Fort Museum (close on Fridays) ,Wellesly House and Clive Corner.
Evening at leisure.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 02 Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram (45 Kms- 1 Hour)
Post breakfast drive to Mahabalipuram enroute visiting Kanchipuram.
Kailasanatha Dedicated to Siva, Kailasanatha is one of the earliest temples. It was built by the Pallava king, Rayasimha, in the late 7th century, though its front was added later by his son, King Varman III. It is the only temple at Kanchi which isn’t cluttered with the more recent additions of the Cholas and Vijayanagar rulers, and so reflects the freshness and simplicity of early Dravidian architecture. Fragments of the 8-th century murals which once graced the alcoves are a visible reminder of how magnificent the temple must have looked when it was first built.
Sri Ekambarnathar TempleThe Sri Ekambarnathar Temple is dedicated to Siva and is one of the largest temples in Kanchipuram, covering nine hectares. Its 59 m high gopuram and massive outer stone wall were constructed in 1509 by Krishna Devaraja of the Vijayananagar Empire, though construction was originally started by the Pallavas and the temple was later extended by the Cholas. Inside are five separates enclosures and a 1000- pillared hall. The temple’s name is said to be a modified form of Eka Amra Nathar — the Lord of the Mango tree. and in one of the enclosure is a very old mango tree with four branches representing the four Vedas. The fruit of each of the four branches is said to have a different taste, and a plaque nearby claims that the tree is 3500 years old.
Kamaskhi Amman TempleThe Kamaskhi Amman Temple- dedicated to the goddess Paravati, this important temple is the site of the annual Car Festival, held on the 9th lunar day in February -March. When not in use, the ornately carved wooden car is kept partially covered in corrugated iron halfway up Gandhi Rd. The temple has a golden gopuram in the centre.
Mahabalipuram lies on the Coromandel Coast which faces the Bay of Bengal. This is an elegant place to watch which a well established sea port was during the 7th and 10th centuries of the Pallava dynasty. This was the second capital of the Pallavas who ruled Kanchipuram. Formerly, mahabalipuram was known and called as Mahabalipuram. The former name of this place ‘Mahabalipuram’ has a history. A very rude cruel king Mahabali reined this place and in a fierce battle king Mahabali was killed by Lord Vishnu and the place was named after the dead, arrogant kind Mahabali.
The richness in mahabalipuram was not known to many, as these pallavas did not outlet and expose their quality and innovative creations to the outer world for obvious reasons. The aestheticism in mahabalipuram was hidden until the late 185h century. What is special about mahabalipuram? Of course every one can point out the rock – cut caves, temples made from a single rock, temples and strives of different structures, and bas-reliefs which are so artistic and sheer creativity. Mamallpuram is referred as an ‘open-air museum’. The great pallava kings Narasimha I and Rajasimha have well preserved these stylistic qualities that one enjoys in mahabalipuram even in the present day.
On arrival transfer & check-in at hotel.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 03 Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (135 Kms- 3 Hours)
Post breakfast visit Temples.
The temple town of Mahabalipuram is famous for its various temples and other attractive features. This 7th century city of the Pallavas is considered pioneer in the Dravidian architectural style. The city was earlier called Mallapuram and was a famous trading port of Pallavas. During your Mahabalipuram tour, you will come across many interesting tourism spots. Some of the best ones are as follows: –
Arjuna’s Penance Arjuna’s Penance is the pride of not only Mahabalipuram and Tamilnadu but also of India. Arjuna’s Penance is the world’s largest bas-relief that measures 27 meters and 9 meters along its length and breadth respectively. This huge whaleback shaped rock contains figures of Gods, Demigods, Men, Beasts and Birds. The whole structure looks like the penance of Arjuna, the Pandava prince and one of the protagonists of Indian epic Mahabharata; hence the name.
Five Rathas Five Rathas are the one of the most magnificent tourist attractions at Mahabalipuram Beaches. Five Rathas are actually five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They are modeled around chariots that are called ‘Rathas’ in Hindi. They are also known as the ‘Pancha Pandava Rathas’, which means that each one of them represent 5 Pandavas, the protagonists of Indian epic Mahabharata. The most mesmerizing aspect of this monument is the fact that the four of the Rathas are supposed to have scooped out of a single rock formation.
DakshinachitraA must visit site on the Mahabalipuram beach is Dakshinachitra, a heritage village that is the brainchild of the Ministry of Culture. The village falls to your left when you start moving from Chennai to Mahabalipuram. The place is being developed as a model village that will have dedicated sectors depicting 19th century villages of states like Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Everything, right from roads to utensils will represent that era. This ambitious project will take years to complete and is currently home to hundreds of artists and masons who are working on this project.
Shore TemplesShore Temple is one of the oldest temples in South India and the oldest one based on the Dravidian style architecture. It belongs to the early 8th century AD and is considered a pioneer in the Dravidian temple art. The monuments are floodlit at night in order to make it visible in the night. In fact, the temple looks great in moonlit night.
Later drive to Pondicherry.
Pondicherry has long established itself as one of the most popular holiday destinations of the world. Travelers flock to this place from all round the world due to the beautiful places of sightseeing in Pondicherry. Finding a hotel in this part of the world is not very tough as the travelers can chose any of the various types of accommodation in Pondicherry. From the Pondicherry overview one can come to know that most of the Pondicherry tourist attractions are very easily accessible from any of the hotels.
Some of the most important places of sightseeing in Pondicherry include Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry which was a home for Shri Aurobindo, the great poet visionary and prophet of the twentieth century from 1910 till his death in 1950. Park Monument or Aayi Mandapam in Pondicherry is a beautiful monument erected in the memory of a 16th century courtesan named Aayi. Pondicherry Museum is another important and must visit spot for sightseeing in Pondicherry, where the past welcomes you with open arms and you can have look into the things in display like findings of Arikamedu, glimpses of French heritage, the Chola sculptures and bronze artifacts and many more things.
On arrival check in at hotel.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 04 Pondicherry – Tanjore (180 kms – 8 hours including Chidambaram and Darasuram visits)
Post breakfast drive to Tanjore enroute visiting Chidambaram & Darasuram.
Chidambaram greets us with a beautiful temple, dedicated to Lord Nataraja- God Siva in the form of a Cosmic Dancer. This is one of the few temples where Siva and Vishnu are enshrined under one roof. The Tamil Nadu between Vada Venkatam (North Thirupati) and Ten-Kumari is the holiest spot on earth – A Paradise on Earth and to merit this eulogy a divine fragrance permeates the Tamil land. Tamil itself is Sivam and it will be quite in order, to say that the Tamil land is a huge Siva shrine.Chidambaram is an ancient and renowned shrine in India. It is spiritual as well as historic. It noted for cultural significance. Chidambaram is associated with Nataraja or Lord Shiva in his Ananda Tandava fake (the Cosmic Dance of bliss) in the cosmic golden hall. Devotees of both, saivites as well vaishnavites visit Chidambaram as a pilgrimage spot.
Devotees symbolize Lord Shiva’s Ananda Tandava as the five divine acts of creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment, and gift of grace. Beyond all this vaitheeswaran temple near to Chidambaram. It is also a popular shiva temple dedicated to Vaidyanatheeswarar. Disciples believes that a bathe in the holy water of the siddhamirtham tank in the temple have a immense power to heal the diseases.
Continue to Tanjore.
Tanjore, also called Thanjavur,is situated in the fertile region with the Cauvery River delta, known as the rice-bowl of Tamil Nadu.It had been the capital and epitome of the Chola dynasty’s rule in Tamil Nadu from the 9th to the 13th century A.D. This part of Tamil Nadu is known for its beautiful bronze sculptures and is home to the impressive Brihadeswara temple, famous for its gigantic granite tower.
On arrival check in at hotel.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 05 Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai (160 Kms – 5 Hours)
Post breakfast proceed for city tour of Tanjore.
Rajaraja Cholan, the Great Chola king built The Bragatheeswarar (Peruvudaiyar) Temple, also known as Big Temple. “In the twenty-fifth year of Rajaraja Cholan (A.D 1009-10) on the 257th day of the year the king handed over the copper pot for the finial at the top of the Vimana”. It weighed about 235 lbs., and was overlaid with gold plate of weight of 292.5 Kalanju or nearly 35 lbs.
Later drive to Madurai enroute visiting Trichy.
Trichy (Tiruchirappalli), situated on the banks of the river Cauvery is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. It was a citadel of the early Cholas which later fell to the Pallavas. Trichy is a fine blend of tradition and modernity built around the Rock Fort. Apart from the Fort, there are several Churches, Colleges and Missions dating back to the 1760s. The town and its fort, now in Trichy were built by the Nayaks of Madurai. This city has given great Tamil scholars whose contributions to the Tamil literature have been very significant.
Continue to Madurai.
Madurai is one of the oldest cities of India, with a history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the pre Christian era. The glory of Madurai returned in a diminished form in the earlier part of this millennium; it later on came under the rule of the Vijayanagar kingdom after its ransack by the ravaging armies of Delhi (Malik Kafur). During the 16th and 18th centuries, Madurai was ruled by the Nayak Emperors, the foremost of whom was Tirumalai Nayakar.
The Sangam period poet Nakkeerar is associated with some of the Tiruvilayaadalepisodes of Sundareswarar – that are enacted as a part of temple festival traditions even today.
On arrival check-in at hotel.
Evening witness Aarti ceremony at Meenakshi Temple.
The enormous temple complex is dedicated to Shiva, known here as Sundareshvara and his consort Parvati or Meenakshi. The original temple was built by Kulasekara Pandya, but the entire credit for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayaks. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century and left a majestic imprint of their rule in the Meenakshi – Sundareswarar Temple.
The temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure, at the core of which are the two sanctums for meenakshi and Sundareshwara, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and grand pillared halls. Especially impressive are the 12 gopuras. Their soaring towers rise from solid granite bases, and are covered with stucco figures of dieties, mythical animals and monsters painted in vivid colours.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 06 In Madurai
After breakfast proceed for cycle rickshaw tour around Madurai, which gives you a memorable experience of this ancient city. It takes you through the narrow streets and lanes of Madurai showing the typical life of people here. The cycle rickshaw – the most eco friendly form of transport was fast being phased out, and the 120 rickshaw pullers of Madurai were deprived of their livelihood, as they were unable to buy the modern forms of transport like the auto rickshaw or taxi. To give these pullers another lease of life we at Hi-tours created this tour as part of our commitment towards responsible tourism. By taking this tour, you not only support the rickshaw pullers but also encourage the locals to use this eco friendly transport. By cycle rickshaw you visit Meenakshi temple – one of the largest temple complexes in South India, the typical example of the Dravidian architecture. Later, we visit the Tirumalai Nayak Palace, a gracious edifice built in the Indo-Saracenic style, Gandhi Museum and the small-scale industry like vessel making and clothes weaving. Madurai is a great place to look for bronze statues, carpets or other souvenirs.
Overnight stay in Madurai.
Day 07 Madurai – Trivandrum (260 kms-6 hrs )
After breakfast proceed to Kanyakumari. Located on the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent where the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean meet, Kanyakumari is famous for the large Vivekanda Memorial located on the seaside. We undertake a boat trip to the Vivekanda Memorial. After, we visit the Gandhi Memorial, a testimony to a blend of rich Indian heritage and modern architecture.
Overnight at hotel in Trivandrum.
Day 08 Trivandrum – Onward Destination
According to your departure time you check out from the hotel and transfer to the Trivandrum airport to connect flight for onward destination.
** Imp: all our program’s are 100% tailor made and can be modified as per the requirements.