Arrive into Chennai- “Gateway to the South”
Welcome to Vardman’s “South Religious India Tour”. On arrival in Chennai, you will be met and transferred by Vardhman’s representative to your hotel. Relax for some time. Later proceed on a city tour of Chennai
Visit Fort St. George, San Thome Cathedral and the museum to see the Art and Bronze Gallery. (Closed on Fridays and Public holidays). High court, Marina Beach, San Thome Cathedral and Snake Park..
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 2 - Chennai -Tirupathi-Chennai
Full day Excursion to Tirupathi. Tirupathi is a temple town known for the famous ancient temple of Lord Venkateswara (Lord of seven hills or Balaji, as he is affectionately known ) on the top of the 860mts high Tirumala hills. The temple of Lord Venkateswara is not only believed to be amongst the oldest temples in the country, but also the richest of them all .Legend has it that Lord Venkateswara borrowed money from the divine treasurer Kubera for his wedding expenses. He is still paying back this debt which is why the pilgrims donate generously to the temple funds. In the evening return to Chennai to stay overnight in the hotel.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 3 - Chennai-Kanchipuram-Mamallapuram
After breakfast drive to Mahabalipuram. Enoute visit Kanchipuram, the ancient capital of the Pallavas famous as a city of 1000 Temples and still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings on the walls. Temples of Ekambaswara , Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks.
Continue drive to Mamallapuram and check in at hotel. Relax for some time and later visit the city.
Vsit the city – built in 7th century, earlier called Mahabalipooram, this ancient Pallava port, is today the sight of several antique sculptural marvels. In this ancient seaside town , shrines and huge sculptures cut-out of rocks more than 1200 years back during the reign of Pallava Kings in the region can be seen. The rock carvings depicting mythological episodes – of demons, Gods and animals in battle and others – are truly poems in stone. The only shore temple which remains here is the spectacular two – spired shrine, unique because it houses both Lord Shiva and the Lord Vishnu in its sanctum-sanctorum.
DAY 4 - Mamallapuram-Tiruvannamalai-Pondicherry
After breakfast drive to Pondicherry visiting enruote Tiruvannamallai (112kms/03hrs)- a pilgrim centre with an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. Continue drive to Pondicherry, which carries a strong whiff of the French presence in India. This erstwhile French colony on the east coast of South India merged with the rest of the country in 1954. Legend says that Pondicherry is the place where St.Agasthaya settled down. On arrival, check in to your hotel.
DAY 5 -Pondicherry
After breakfast proceed on a city tour of Pondicherry. Visit Aurbindo Ashram, the city of dawn, which is 10kms north of Pondicherry. This ashram promotes Aurbindo’s ideas in bringing about a synthesis of Yoga and modern science, so as to unite the spirit and matter. After lunch at hotel, visit Auroville – a unique experiment in international living and in creating a new environment where men and women of all nationalities live together in harmony.
DAY 6 - Pondicherry-Chidambaram-Tanjore
After breakfast drive Tanjore visiting enroute Chidambaram also called as Thillai, 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. In this temple, postures from the Bharatnatayam form of dance are depicted in sculpture. Natraja is Lord Shiva as a cosmic dancer. Continue drive to Thanjavur enroute visiting the Brass factory at Kumbakonam. Tanjore once the capital of Chola Kings, has the Brahadeswara temple(or the big temple of God).The temple tower rises to a height of 15mts from a square base of 29 mts and then tapers off, making a total of 66mts. On arrival, check in at the hotel.
DAY 7 - Tanjore-Trichy/Trichurapalli
After breakfast leave for Trichy, short name of Trichurapalli, situated on the banks of Kaveri River is a blend of history and tradition as well as pilgrim centre, it is famous for Ranganath temple at Srirangam. On arrival, Check in at the hotel. Later proceed on a city tour visiting Rock fort and its temple at a height of over 23mts. Also visit Srirangam and Jambukeshwar Temple.
DAY 8 - Trichy-Madurai
After breakfast proceed to Madurai and check in at the hotel on arrival. Madurai-The ancient city some 2600 years old is laid out in the banks of river Vaigai as a lotus flower with the Meenakshi temple in the centre. Proceed on a city tour visiting – Meenakshi temple, King Tirumala’s Palace, Great tank and Gandhi museum.
DAY 9 - Madurai
Full Day Excursion to Rameshwaram , After breakfast proceed to Rameshwaram- the most sacred temple town of India is an island hallowed by the epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama is said to have visited before going into battle of Srilanka. Legend has it that Lord Rama sent Hanuman to Mount Kailash to bring a Lingam for worship when he set foot after defeating Ravana. As Hanuman did not return when the auspicious hour was approaching, Sita made a sand Lingam so that worship could be performed in time, which is where the present day Ramanatha Swamy Temple stands close to sea on the eastern side of the island. One of the twelve Jyotirlingam shrines is also well known for its magnificent corridors and the massive sculptured pillars lining them. In the evening return to Madurai to stay overnight at hotel.
DAY 10 - Madurai-Trivandrum
Early morning drive to Trivandrum and check in at hotel on arrival. Relax for rest of the day on the Golden Beach or proceed on a city tour of Trivandrum. Visit Museum complex, Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Science & Technology museum, Veli Tourist village, Aakulam boat club, Shangmugham Beach etc.
DAY 11 - Trivandrum
Full Day Excursion to Kanyakumari ,After breakfast proceed for Kanyakumari – is the land’s end of India where the water of the Arabian Sea , the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. An important pilgrim centre of India , it is famous for the Amman Temples – a symbol of unity and sanctity – deidicated to the virgin Goddess , Kanya Kumari. To its South – East lies the famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial , a blend of all the architectural styles of India. Lunch at local restaurant. Evening enjoy the beautiful sun set and later return to Trivandrum to stay overnight in the hotel.
DAY 12 - Trivandrum
After breakfast transfer to Trivandrum airport to catch flight for your onward journey to back home with pleasant memories of “South Religious India Tour” escorted by Vardhman Vacations