Duration : 22 Nights / 23 Days
Destinations Covered : Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Kumbakonam - Tanjore - Tanjore - Madurai
The highly acclaimed and much demanded South India Tour starts with your arrival in the capital city of Tamil Nadu, Chennai. Chennai is recognized as the corporate hub of Tamil Nadu, which exhibits it’s glamour in glittering high-rise emporia, beaches, corporate buildings, cinema and politics.
Proceed for a half-day sightseeing tour. Visit attractions like Gandhi Memorial, Kalakshetra, Mylapore temple and Marina beach. Overnight will be in Chennai.
Proceed for an excursion to Kanchipuram visiting the Ekambaram temple and the Kailashnath temples dedicated to Shiva. The temples in this region date back to the 6th and 7th centuries. Leave drive to Mamallapuram. Overnight will be in Mahabalipuram.
In the morning proceed for a city tour of Mahabalipuram covering the shore temples that date back from the 8th century. Also see the rock cut monolithic temples including Arjuna’s Penance and Tiger cave. Post lunch continue towards Thiruvannamalai.
Drive to Thiruvannamalai- a pilgrim centre with an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. Also visit Ramanamaharishi ashram. Continue drive to Pondicherry and relax. Overnight will be in Pondicherry.
Visit the Mother’s Ashram. Also worth a visit is the temple complex at Pondicherry. Today we can arrange Yoga and meditation session. Overnight will be in Pondicherry.
After breakfast visit to Chidambaram called as Thillai, is known as NATARAJ TEMPLE. (Cosmic Dancer) which has the famous Nataraja temple with the root of the sanctum-sanctorum covered with golden plates is located in the centre of the town covering an area of 40 acres, which is one the Panchabootha Sthala, dedicated Lord Siva,. This is one of the very few temples where Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are enshrined under one roof. Vaitheeswaran Koil and visit Vaithyanatha Swami Temple then drive to Kumbakonam and relax. Overnight will be in Kumbakonam.
After breakfast drive to Swamimalai Murugan temple which one of the Six abode of lord Muruga, then drive to Tanjore and relax. Overnight will be in Tanjore.
Tanjore has been the chief political literacy and religious center of South India. The famous world Heritage monument one of the most famous landmarks of Tanjore is the Bhiragadeeswarar Temple, built in the beginning of the 12th century by the greatest Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola King. With its lush green stretches of cultivated lands, the tower of the temple is an engineering marvel of the construction was made in such a way that the shadow of the Cupola never falls on the ground.
Other Places to visit: Tanjore Big Temple, Saraswati Mahal Library. The Big Temple is big in all aspect, capital of Chola of the Chola Dynasty.
A short distance away is the eternal city of Tiruchirapalli better known as Trichy. Here worth a visit is Srirangam temple the abode of Lord Vishnu in his reclining form. All the 1000 pillars in the hall are very intricately designed. Post lunch continue towards Madurai.
Morning proceed to Rameshwaram the holy island in the Gulf of Mannar is a major pilgrim centre of the country. Rama sanctified this place by worshipping Lord Shiva after the war against Ravana of Sri Lanka, where you have world longest temple corridor with over 1000 solid pillars. Proceed back to Madurai. Overnight will be in Madurai.
Madurai famous for the Meenakshi Sundereswar temple is the epitome of South Indian temple cities alive and bustling with pilgrims and religious preoccupations. The temple of goddess Meenakshi houses the hall of 1000 musical pillars known for their intricate work. Some free time later in the day to explore this cultural capital of South India.
After breakfast proceed to Kanyakumari. On arrival in Kanyakumari, Check in Hotel and relax. Overnight will be in Kanyakumari.
Visit to Vivekananda Smarak, Kanyakumari Temple, Gandhi Mandapam, Sunrise & Sunset Point, Triveni Sangam, Suchindram Temple. Overnight will be in Kanyakumari.
After breakfast, leave for Trivandrum Enroute visit Padmanabha Swamy temple. On arrival in Trivandrum, check into your hotel and relax. Also visit Napier Museum. Overnight will be in Trivandrum.
After breakfast, drive to Cochin. On arrival check into your hotel and relax. Enjoy the Kathakali dance presentation in the evening. Overnight will be in Cochin.
After breakfast, proceed for a half day sightseeing. A few interesting sites included in the tour are the Chinese fishing nets along the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow, etc. Apart from these architectural splendours, an array of restaurants serving fresh seafood is also popular among tourists. The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea. Later continue towards Munnar. On arrival in Munnar, check into your hotel and relax. Overnight will be in Munnar.
Proceed for a sightseeing of Munnar which includes the Raja Malai – a top peak of Munnar where you can see Neel Thar (mountain goats). Other important places are Muttupetty Dam and witness tea gardens spread like a green carpet over hundreds of kilometres. Later drive to Ooty. On arrival in Ooty, check into your hotel and check into your hotel. Overnight will be in Ooty.
After breakfast proceed to sightseeing of Ooty visit, Tipu Sultan’s palace & fort, Ooty Lake for optional boating, Botanical garden. Later drive to Mysore. On arrival check into your hotel and relax. Overnight will be in Mysore.
Explore Mysore which was a former capital and now is the second largest city in Karnataka. It is a beautiful city with palaces, gardens, parks and museums. Sandalwood incense sticks are made here. In the spring, jasmine flowers bloom here. Visit the Mysore palace which is the largest palace in the country, and once home to the Wodeyars during 1857. Also visit the Chamundi Hills where the temple of Durga (Chamundeshwari) celebrates the victory over the buffalo God. On the way, you will pass the Nandi monolith of 1659, a large Bull Statue. At the end of the day visit the wonderful Brindavan Gardens before returning to your hotel for an overnight stay.
En-route visit Sravanabelgola, 51 km southeast of Hassan, this is one of the most important Jain pilgrim centre. Here is the 17 m high monolith of Lord Bahubali – the world’s tallest monolithic statue. Thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the Mahamastakabisheka – a spectacular ceremony held once in 12 years when the 1000 year old statue is anointed with milk, curds, and ghee, saffron and gold coins. The next Mahamastakabisheka will be held in 2005 AD Arrive Hassan and check-in at the hotel.
Visit Belur and Halebid temples. Belur, 38 km from Hassan is located on the banks of the river Yagachi. Once the Capital of the Hoysala Empire, it is known for The Chennakeshava Temple, one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It took 103 years to complete and the reason is evident. The façade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. Elephants, episodes from the epics, sensuous, dancers they are all there – awe inspiring in their intricate workmanship. Halebid is 27 km from Hassan and 17 km from Belur, bear mute testimony to the rich, cultural heritage of Karnataka. The temple dating back to the 12th century is astounding for its wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of gods and goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls. Yet no two faces of the temple are the same. The magnificent temple – guarded by a Nandi Bull was never completed despite 86 years of labour.
Drive to Bangalore. On arrival sightseeing tour of Tippu Palace, lai Garh Botanical Garden, Technological Museum & Bangalore palace. Overnight will be in Bangalore.
After breakfast depart for Tirupati. Tirupati is situated in the Chitrakoot district in Andhra Pradesh, India and is one of the holiest pilgrimage spots in India. Tirupati is known for the shrine on the 7 hills of Tirumala, devoted to Lord Venkateshwara. ‘Tirumala’ literally translates as the "sacred hill". Besides, the temple of Tirupati is known to be the busiest temple in the world. Overnight will be in Tirupati.
Visit to seven hills of the Tirumala and then proceed to Chennai airport to board your flight back home. Your 23 Days South India Spiritual Tour ends here..
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