South Indian Temple Architechture Tour-14 days

Places covered: Chennai, Kanchipuram, Mahabalipuram, Puducherry, Tanjore, Trichy, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Kovalam, Trivandrum

Day 1 Chennai arrival:
Upon arrival at Chennai airport, you will be welcomed by Concept Voyages’ representative who will transfer you to hotel for overnight stay. Chennai is a cosmopolitan city and served as a southern capital of India during the British invasion. You will find some of the finest architectural buildings in Indo-Saracenic style across the city.

Day 2 Chennai sightseeing:
After a sumptuous South Indian breakfast, depart for full day Chennai sightseeing tour. Your Chennai sightseeing tour will cover Ripon Building, Valluvar Kottam, Parthasarathy Temple, San Thome Basilica etc. The Ripon Building is the seat of the Chennai Corporation s a fine example of the Neoclassical style of architecture, a combination of Gothic, Ionic and Corinthian. Madras High Court building is believed to be the second largest judicial complex in the world after the one in London. The complex also houses the largest number of courts in Asia. The Parthasarathy Temple is an 8th-century Hindu Vaishnavite temple dedicated to the god Krishna, located at Triplicane, Chennai, India. It was originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century by King Narasimhavarman I. San Thome Basilica is a Roman Catholic (Latin Rite) minor basilica in Santhome, in the city of Chennai (Madras), India. It was built in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, over the supposed tomb of St Thomas, an apostle of Jesus. The tomb was built on by destroying the original Kapaleeshwarar Temple by the Portuguese. In 1893, it was rebuilt as a church with the status of a cathedral by the British. The British version still stands today. It was designed in Neo-Gothic style, favoured by British architects in the late 19th century. Return back to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 3 Chennai to Kanchipuram (70 kms / 1 hr 30 mins):
After breakfast, checkout from Chennai hotel and depart for Kanchipuram by road. Kanchipuram, located on the banks of the Vegavathy River. The city's historical monuments include the Kailasanathar Temple and the Vaikunta Perumal Temple. Historically, Kanchipuram was a centre of education and was known as the ghatikasthanam, or "place of learning". The city was also a religious centre of advanced education for Jainism and Buddhism between the 1st and 5th centuries. Kanchipuram based Buddhist institutions were instrumental in spreading Theravada Buddhism to South East Asia. In Hindu theology, Kanchipuram is one of the seven Indian cities to reach final attainment. The city houses Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple, and Kumarakottam Temple, which are some of major Hindu temples in the state. The original Kamakshi Devi Temple is what is presently known as Adi Peeteswari or the Adi Peeta Parameswari. This temple is just adjacent to the Kumarakottam, and is near to the presently famous Kamakshi Devi temple. Adi Shankaracharya, the famous 8th-century CE scholar and saint, established the Sri Chakra at this original Kamakshi Devi temple in the trough-like structure in that shrine, which soon became the all India famous Kamakoti Peeta. Overnight stay at Kanchipuram.

Day 4 Kanchipuram to Mahabalipuram:
After breakfast, depart for Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, an ancient historic town and was a bustling seaport during the time of Periplus (1st century CE) and Ptolemy (140 CE). Ancient Indian traders who went to countries of South East Asia sailed from the seaport of Mahabalipuram. By the 7th century it was a port city of South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas. It has a group of sanctuaries, which was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries: rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous 'Descent of the Ganges', and the Shore Temple, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples of Mamallapuram, portraying events described in the Mahabharata, were built largely during the reigns of Narasimhavarman and his successor Rajasimhavarman and showcase the movement from rock-cut architecture to structural building. Overnight stay at Mahabalipuram.

Day 5 Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry:
After a relaxed breakfast, checkout from hotel and depart for Pondicherry. Pondicherry, affectionately known as Pondy, and has been officially known by the alternative name Puducherry since 2006. The City of Pondicherry has recorded history after the advent of the Colonial Powers like the Dutch, Portuguese, English and the French. The most popular tourist destinations are the four beaches in Pondicherry, which are Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, the Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India. Auroville (City of Dawn) is an "experimental" township located 8 km north-west of Pondicherry. It is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. Overnight stay at Pondicherry.

Day 6 Pondicherry:
After breakfast, free day at leisure to enjoy Pondicherry beach or explore this quaint little town at your own pace. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 7 Pondicherry to Tanjore:
After breakfast, checkout from Pondicherry and drive to Thanjavur. The city first rose to prominence during the reign of Cholas when it served as the capital of the empire. Thanjavur is an important centre of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. Of the foremost among the Chola Temples, the Brihadeeswara Temple, is located in the centre of the city. Thanjavur is also home to Tanjore painting, a painting style unique to the region. The city is an important agricultural centre located in the Cauvery Delta and is known as the "Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu". Overnight stay at Tanjavur.

Day 8 Tanjore-Trichy:
After an early breakfast, checkout from hotel and depart for Trichy. Tiruchirappalli's recorded history begins in the 3rd century BC, when it was under the rule of the Cholas. The most prominent historical monuments in Tiruchirappalli include the Rockfort, the Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam and the Jambukeswarar temple at Thiruvanaikaval. The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple or Thiruvarangam (Srirangam) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Hindu deity, Vishnu located in Srirangam. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, this temple is glorified in the Thiviya Pirabandham, the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Alvar saints from the 6th to 9th centuries AD and is counted as the first and foremost among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu. The temple follows Thenkalai tradition of worship. The main entrance, known as the Rajagopuram (the royal temple tower), rises from the base area of around 13 cents (around 5720 sq ft) and goes up to 237 feet (72 m), moving up in eleven progressively smaller tiers. Srirangam temple is often listed as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world, the still larger Angkor Wat being the largest existing temple. Overnight stay at Trichy.

Day 9 Trichy-Madurai:
After an early breakfast depart for Madurai. and visit the Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple for darshan. According to legend Madurai is the actual site where the wedding between Shiva and Meenakshi took place & palace. The Meenakshi temple is believed to have been founded by Indra (King of Deva celestial deities) while he was on a pilgrimage to atone for his misdeeds. He felt his burden lifting as he neared the swayambu lingam. The temple complex is divided into a number of concentric quadrangular enclosures contained by high masonry walls. It is one of the few temples in Tamil Nadu to have four entrances facing four directions. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 10 Madurai to Rameshwaram:
After an early breakfast, depart for Rameshwaram by road. Visit Ramanathaswamy Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located on Rameswaram Island. The temple was expanded during the 12th century by Pandya Dynasty, and its principle shrines were renovated by Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan and his successor Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan of the Jaffna kingdom. The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 11 Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari:
Breakfast at hotel and depart for visiting Kanyakumari. Kanya Kumari or Cape Comorin is the southernmost tip of India offering a spectacular views of sunset and moon rise on a clear day. Upon arrival, check into hotel for overnight stay.

Day 12 Kanyakumari sightseeing:
After breakfast visit Kumari Amman Temple, Padmanabhapuram Palace, Thiruvalluvar Statue, Vivekananda Rock Memorial at Kanya Kumari. Kanyakumari derives its name from Goddess Kanyakumari Amman, Goddess Parvathi as a virgin, the presiding deity of the area. Sunrise can be seen in Kanniyakumari through out the year at Bay of Bengal. Sunset can be seen from view tower throughout the year except the months of June, July and August. Vivekananda Rock Memorial is another place in Kanyakumari which attracts large number of tourists. As its name implies, it is essentially a sacred monument, built by the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee to commemorate the visit of Swamy Vivekananda to “Shripada Parai” during 24th, 25th and 26th December 1892 for deep meditation and enlightenment. The memorial statue of Thiruvalluvar is in Kanyakumari. The pedestal of the statue is of 38 feet height and the statue over it is 95 feet tall with a grand total of 133 feet for the entire sculpture. Thiruvalluvar is the immortal poet of Tamil Nadu and has given to the world Thirukkural. Drive to Kovalam or Poovar beach for overnight stay at resort.

Day 13 Kovalam-Trivandrum sightseeing:
After breakfast, enjoy a day at leisure. Visit Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Napier Museum and Kovalam Beach. The Padmanabhaswamy temple is rather unusual for Kerala the temple was built in the Dravidian style, mostly associated with the temples located in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, featuring high walls and a 16th-century Gopuram. In line with the Temple Entry Proclamation, only those who profess the Hindu faith are permitted entry to the temple. Devotees have to strictly follow the dress code. The Napier Museum is an art and natural history museum situated in Thiruvananthapuram. The museum is about 6 km from the city. The museum houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. It also contains the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, which contains works from Raja Ravi Varma and Nicholas Roerich, as well as examples of Mughal and Tanjore art. Overnight stay at Kovalam or any beach hotel.

Day 14 Trivandrum departure:
After breakfast, free day at leisure to enjoy the beach. Later checkout from resort and you will be transferred to Trivandrum airport to board flight to your onward destination.

End of tour.

Tour Price: on request

Tour Highlights: Visit the architectural marvels of South Indian temples, visit 2 World Heritage Sites, southern most tip of India, private tour in chauffeur driven car, flexible dates, 13 breakfasts & 12 dinners,

Tour Cost Includes: 13 nights accommodation in Deluxe class hotels, arrival and departure airport transfers, private chauffeur driven air-conditioned car for all sightseeing tours and inter-city transfers for your convenience, daily breakfast and dinner* during stay at hotels and all taxes

Exclusions: International and domestic airfares, train fares, entrance fees, camera fees, guide fee, optional sightseeing tours, high season or festival season surcharges.

Best Time to visit: All year round. Enjoy special discounts for travel between June to September

Chennai High Court complex Concept Voyages
Mahabalipuram Shore Temple Concept Voyages
Tanjavur Tanjore Brihadeeswara Temple Concept Voyages
Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple Concept Voyages
Rameshwaram Sri Ramanatha Swamy Temple Corridor Concept Voyages
Kanyakumari Kumari Amman Temple Concept Voyages
Kovalam Beach in Kerala Concept Voyages

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