On arrival you will be transferred to hotel in Chennai, check into the hotel. Get refreshed and take rest.
If time permits we go for a sightseeing in Chennai- the bustling metropolis of Southern India. Attractions to see here are Fort of St. George (the British built fortress, which still retains its colonial charm), St. Thomas Mount- a church built on a hilltop in 72 AD, San Thoma Basilica and Kapalesshwarar Temple (8th Century) dedicated of Lord Shiva with beautiful sculptures, among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivaite Saints or the Nayanmars. Also you will visit Sri Parthasarathy Temple. And in the evening you can visit Marina Beach-extending to a length of 13 km from St. George Fort to Mahabalipuram. Overnight stay at hotel.
Today after breakfast we drive to Tirupati to visit the famous Vedic Temple called Venkateswara temple, in the hill town of Tirumala. Check into the hotel. After Balaji Darsan overnight stay at hotel.
Venkateswara Temple, Tirumalai Hill (853 meters above sea level)
Venkateswara temple is believed to be the richest in India with a history dating back to 9th Century A.D. This temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, also called 'the Lord of the Seven Hills'. This is the 2nd richest pilgrimage centre in India and the most-visited place of worship in the world (50,000 to 100,000 people a day). The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of lord Vishnu.
Today morning you drive to Mahabalipuram- former port city (7th Cetury) famous for its rock-cut shore temples. And you defenitely visit Kancheepuram which includes Kancheepuram Kailasanthar Temple, Ekambareshwarar Temple, The Vardarajanperumal Temple. Check into the hotel in Mahabalipuram and proceed for a sightseeing here. Shore Temple, Five Rathas, Arjuna’s Penance, and Tiger’s Cave are the attractions here. Overnight stay at Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram).
After an early breakfast check out from the hotel and head to Tanjore, the ages-old capital of Chola Kings. Check into the hotel and relax. Afternoon start your sightseeing with the ‘Brihandeswara Temple’- 1000 plus years old shrine, built by the esteemed Chola emperor Rajaraja, visit the nearby water tank Shivaganga and Thanjavur Palace, Royal Museum and Art Gallery. Evening back to hotel and overnight stay.
Brihandeswara Temple (UNESCO World Heritage site):
This is one of the largest temples in India and one of India's most priced architectural site completed 1013 years in 2013. he temple is also known as Rajarajeswaram at Thanjavur and is the world's first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas in temple architecture. It is a tribute and a reflection of the power of its patron Raja Raja Chola. A 1000 plus years old shrine is a fine masterpiece of Chola-styled architecture.
Morning enjoy a sighseeing drive to Madurai- an extremely sacred city of South India. It is the third largest city in Tamil Nadu and is located on the banks of River Vaigai. Check in to the hotel and free at own activities. Afternoon enjoy Madurai sightseeing which includes Meenakshi Temple, Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Thirupparankundram Temple, Alagar Koil, Gandhi Museum, Mariamman Theppakkulam etc. Overnight stay at hotel.
Madurai Meenakshi Temple:
The Meenakshi Temple complex is literally a city - one of the largest of its kind in India and doubtlessly one of the oldest too. The temple grew with the contribution of successive dynasties and victorious monarchs into an enormous complex which extends over an area of 65000 Sq m. Two thousand (2000) years ago the temple came in to being and was substantially expanded during the regime of Thirumalai Nayak (1623-55 AD). The temple has 4 gateway towers ranging from 45 to 50 meters in height. The temple is visited by 15,000 people a day & 25,000 on Fridays. There are 33,000 sculptures in the temple. Hall of Thousand Pillars is an amazing attraction in the temple.
Thirumalai Nayak Palace:
This is about 1.5 Kms from the Meenakshi temple, was built in 1636 by Thirumalai Nayak. The imposing edifice is famous for the “Stuccowork” on its domes and impressive arches. The Celestial Pavilion here measuring 75m x 52m, constructed entirely of brick and mortar without any other support. The palace has massive white pillars 20m in height & 4 metre in circumference line the corridor that runs along the courtyard. The pillers are connected by high decorated arches.
This temple is located 8 Kms from Madurai Railway Station. This temple is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. The innermost shrine here is cut out of a solid rock.
This is about 21 Kms North East of Madurai and this Vishnu Temple dedicated to Lord Alagar. The temple is situated on Solaimalai hill amidst panoramic surroundings. The temple contains beautiful carvings makes the visit rewarding. Palamudirsolai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramaniya is located on the top of the Hill.
This museum is housed in the old Palace of Rani Mangammal. The Gandhi Museum depicts the highlights of the freedom struggle and contains a picture gallery of Gandhian movement. Also visit Khadi and village industries section and South Indian Handicrafts section.
Mariamman Teppakulam is a beautiful square tank spread over a huge area of almost 16 acres, located about 5Kms East of Meenakshi Temple. The tank is the scene of the colourful float festival held in January/February to celebrate the birth anniversary of King Thirumalai Nayak, who built this tank. The deities of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are placed in a float, called “Teppam”, decorated with flowers and illuminated with hundred of lights. This float is taken around the tank to the sound of traditional music. On the Northern side of the tank a temple is dedicated to Mariamman, a famous village deity of Tamil Nadu.
Rameswaram, a small island in the Gulf of Mannar is a major pilgrim centre. It is connected to the mainland by road and railway bridges (Pamban Bridge). Rameswaram is a holy place because of Ramanathaswamy Temple. Evening back to Madurai and overnight stay.
Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva here on his return from Sri Lanka to wash away his sin in killing the Demon King, Ravana and his associates. According to Hindu Mythology, if one visits Rameswaram and prays Lord Shiva he/she will be relieved of all their sins. This temple has the longest corridor with massive sculptured pillars, among all Hindu temples in India. Also the temple is known for its 22 theerthas or wells in and around the main temple. This place is equally sacred to both Vaishnavites and Shaivites. The third corridor of Ramanathaswamy temple is the longest one in the world.
Besides pilgrimage, Rameswaram Island has several picnic spots. There are beautiful beaches at Olaikuda, Dhanushkodi and Pamban. The Olaikuda beach is 1 km from the main temple which is engulfed by coral reefs makes swimming & diving safe and enjoyable. During winter you can spot Flamingos, sea gulls and a variety of migratory birds.
Ghost City & Dhanushkodi (30 minutes drive from Rameswaram):
Once a flourishing Tourist, Business and Pilgrims destination Dhanushkodi at the southern tip of the Rameswaram Island in Tamilnadu was devastated by a cyclone in 1964, which washed off the whole city. The remains of the town can still be seen now as parts of the rail bridge, & rusted tracks, walls of School, skeletons of the Railway Station & church, silted public offices & warehouses and much more. People in large numbers come here for seeing the Ghost city.
Dhanushkodi is the closest point on the Indian coast to Sri Lanka (approx.30 K.ms)
Check out from the hotel and drive to Chennai airport/railway station for your onward journey.
If you would like a break in between, stay 1 night in Trichy, which is 150 Kms from Madurai.
The journey not the arrival matters
T. S. EliotNov. 9, 2015
T. S. Eliot
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing
Helen KellerNov. 4, 2015
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted
Bill BrysonNov. 9, 2015
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move
Robert Louis StevensonNov. 9, 2015
Robert Louis Stevenson
Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe