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Tamil Nadu Temples with Kovalam Beach Tour

  • 13 Nights / 14 Days
  • Chennai - (Kanchipuram) – Mahabalipuram - Pondicheri - Tanjore - (Trichy)-Madurai –Rameshwaram – Kanyakumari - Kovalam

Tamil Nadu Temples with Kovalam Beach Tour is an excellent cultural journey of south India with leisure, relaxation and rejuvenation intermingled. In a two week tour, all major cultural destinations of Tamil Nadu, a south Indian state, are covered. Thousands of years old and till-date-intact continuum of cultural heritage- monuments, temples, palaces, rituals, traditions, classical dances, lifestyle, language, hospitality, attires, crafts, cuisines- can be seen, experienced and enjoyed. Pristine & glorious Hindu religious practices can be observed. In addition to witnessing cultural heritage, a tourists will enjoy leisurely the relaxing beach holidays at Mahabalipuram, Pondichery & Kovalam (Kerala).

Day 1 Arrival at Chennai

On arrival at Chennai airport, you will be met by our representative to receive you at the airport. Our representative will introduce you with the tour driver and take you to the pre-booked Chennai hotel.

Chennai, formerly called Madras, is the capital city of Tamil Nadu, one of the southern states of India. It's also the door to other popular destinations in South India. Chennai is also considered among the four metropolis cities of India. Earlier a small fishing hamlet, Chennai scored importance during the British era. Chennai has meticulously nursed true Indian culture of tolerance towards other faiths, practices, traditions, languages etc. Thus, Tamil tradition has remained inclusive and effectively blended to create a unique cultural synthesis. Chennai has several tourist destinations such as ancient temples, museums and churches. Chennai is also known as the southern gate of India and called also as "Queen of the Coromandel". Spread across 19 kms along the Coromandel coast and extended about 8 kms inland, Chennai has the privilege of hosting two major rivers, the Coovam and Adyar and the historic Buckingham canal. Airy and spacious with green patches and beaches, Chennai has played a significant role in the political fate of India on several occasions. Chennai is also termed as the "Detroit of the South" by the automobiles industry. The city is turning into a manufacturing and software hub. Chennai has a tropical climate that makes pleasant stay by the sea with varying temperatures in winters and summers. Chennai is a gracious city that has a clear skyline, long sandy beaches, parks, historic landmarks and tourist infrastructural facilities which make it a convenient entry point.

Our representative will ensure smooth check in at the hotel. Spend the evening in leisure and have overnight stay in Chennai hotel.

Day 2 Chennai sightseeing tour

Have delicious breakfast in Chennai hotel and proceed for visiting famous tourist attractions of Chennai, along with tour guide who will be introduced with you in the hotel’s lobby. Chennai has lot more to be explored. Fort St. George, Fort Museum, Santhome Cathedral, Kapaleswarar Temple, the Government Museum and Dakshinachitra are the prime destinations to be seen. Dakshinchitra is approximately 30 kms from Chennai so depending upon the time availability you can be taken there.

Fort St. George: Built by the British in 1640 and named after the patron saint of England St. George, this fort houses St. Mary's Church, the oldest British tombstones in India, the tallest flagstaff and the War Memorial of the First World War warriors.

The Fort Museum is a treasure trove of early British regime era weapons, uniforms, coins, costumes, medals and some other artifacts.

Santhome Cathedral is named after St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ. It is believed that he had visited Chennai way back in 52 AD. He was killed in 78 AD and buried on St Thomas Mount. A church built over the same place. In 1606 the church was rebuilt as a cathedral and in 1896 it was made a basilica. The 3 ft high statue of Virgin Mary had been brought from Portugal in 1543.

Kapaleswarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located in Mylapore. Adorned with 37 meter high ‘gopuram, profusely carved sculptures containing Puranic legends and meticulously carved bronze statues of 63 Naynar Shaivite saints are hall marks of this temple. The evidences take antiquity of the shrine/ temple to 1250 AD. The present day form of temple had been restored by the kings of Vijaynagar Empire.

The Government Museum is more than 150 years old. The modern building next to the original museum houses the treasured statues of Natraja, Buddha, the Tamil saints and others, in its Bronze Gallery. The highlight of the Bronze Gallery is the “Cosmic Natraja,” that rests on a rotating platform. Within the museum precinct is the circular 100 years old Museum Theatre that has influences of Indo - Saracenic architecture. It is an excellent specimen of exposed brick architecture, with brick pilasters (pillars) flanking each entrance. Cornices made of stucco ornamentation adorn these pillars. This is still a popular venue for plays and readings.

After city sightseeing, if we have enough time to visitDakshinachitra, you will be taken there. A venture of Deborah Thiagarajan and her associates from the Madras Craft Foundation. Dakshinachitra is a marvellous museum that captures various aspects of south Indian village life but most fascinating is to see various kinds of traditional houses prevalent in this part of land. These houses have been transported to Chennai from interior parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala and rebuilt here piece by piece. Having seen Dakshinachitra, return to Chennai hotel to spend evening in leisure and have overnight stay therein.

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Day 3 Chennai- Kanchipuram (85 kms/02 hrs)-Mahabalipuram (80 kms/ 02 hrs)

Have breakfast in Chennai hotel and depart for Mahabalipur via Kanchipuram. Chennai, Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram together form Golden Triangle circuit of Tamil Nadu. On reaching Kanchipuram, the tour guide will meet you who will conduct your Kanchipuram sightseeing tour.

Kanchipuram, with historical legacy of more than 3000 years, is one of the seven holiest pilgrimages of the Hindus. Kanchipuram was famous for being home to more than thousand temples but presently has 126 ancient temples only. The city has been capital during Chola rule (2nd century BC) and Pallava rule (6th – 7th century AD). It can easily be understood that being seat of religious & political importance since time immemorial, Kanchipuram has traditionally been centre of knowledge, learning, culture and commerce. The city is also called ‘Kashi of South India’. Now-a-days, Kanchipuram is also famous for its silk sarees, in dazzling colors and embellished with fine gold thread (zari). The temple festivals are held throughout the year, apart from the temple car (ratha) festivals, held in January, April and May. There are other days also when the idols in temples are taken out in procession on their respective vahanas or vehicles.

The sightseeing tour will include a visit to three famous temples Ekambareswarar Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple & Kailasanathar Temple. Post lunch, exploring local market and colourful culture, proceed for Mahabalipuram. On arrival at Mahabalipuram, you will be transferred to the pre-booked hotel for leisure and overnight stay.

Day 4 Mahabalipuram sightseeing tour

Having enjoyed breakfast in Mahabalipuram hotel, sally out to explore rich architectural and sculptural heritage of Mamallapuram with Mahabalipuram tour guide who will receive you in the lobby of the hotel. Move for enjoying sightseeing and seashore of Mahabalipuram.

Mahabalipuram, once established as second capital of the Pallavas, is presently a beach village with plethora of ancient monuments, especially rock cut temples, rathas and caves. Most striking feature is the majestic perfection in sculpting rocks to build temples without using brick, mortar or timber. Beaches and intricately carved sculptures attract tourists in flocks. The sculptures of Mahabalipuram are interestingly disparate from the rest of Tamil Nadu in the sense that these show scenes of everyday life rather than the gods and goddesses. Arjuna’s penance is the world's largest bas relief measuring 27m by 9m. Once a trading port with many distant nations, chisels Pallavas have given life to the stone. Pallava art here emphasizes the rugged beauty of the land.

After viewing various monuments, enjoy the sea beaches of Mahabalipuram. Later, in the evening, return to hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 5 Mahabalipuram- Puduchery (115 kms/ 3 hrs)- Puduchery sightseeing

Having enjoyed delicious breakfast, check out from Mahabalipuram hotel and drive to Pondicherry. On arrival at Pondicheri, you will be transferred to Pondicheri hotel to check in and relax.

Pondicherry : The old French colony has retrieved its Indian character, but the scent of the French influence in "Pudicheri" as we call now French dream of an Indian empire has taken life but it also rapidly came to an end in Pondicherry. Among the dispersed territories of the territorial Union of Pondicherry, it is in Pondicherry itself that we can discover what has symbolized the French influence in India. That is also what makes this territory unique and especially, the French district. Something quite different from the rest of India. One can found again in the red kepis of the police officers, French spelling on signboards and traffic signs and some buildings and old stones.

After getting relaxed a bit, you shall be taken to Auroville, old churches and serene beaches of Pondicheri. Auroville will definitely be an exotic place for you as the ambience of sheer spiritualism will engulf you. After leisurely exploration, return to Pondicheri hotel for overnight stay.

Day 6 Puduchery- Tanjore (175/ 04 hrs)- Tanjore sightseeing tour

Tamil Nadu Temples & Kovalam Beach Tour, onward Pondicheri to Madurai, is primarily temples tour. Mammoth temples of Tamil Nadu are architectural gems of South India and are cultural centres of respective regions. Have early morning breakfast, check out from Pondicheri hotel and proceed for historical city of Tanjore. En route visit Kumbakonam, Darasuram, Gangaikondacholapuram, and Chidambaram temples etc.

Chidambaram: One of the important temples of India. The temple complex covers 40 acres and one of the ancient temples of tamilnadu. The temple’s gopurams carved with 108 classical postures of nataraja (dancing Shiva) and 1000 pillared hall the rajasabha measuring 103 merts long and 58 meters wide, where the pandya and cholas and others celebrated their victories. Also this is one among the temple with dancing Shiva idol. Classical Dance festival is very famous here.

Gangaikondacholapuram: The temple is built by Rajendra chola is almost similar to the big temple of Tanjore.

Darasuram: The temple dedicated to lord Shiva was built by Rajendra Chola.

Kumbakonam: There are four famous temples here dedicated to Sarangapani, Kumbeswar, Nageswara and Brahma. There Mahamaham festival celebrated here once in 12 years is very famous.

Arrive at Tanjore, check in at the designated hotel.

Thanjavur district is the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. The Brihadeeshwar Temple (built during reign of Rajendra Chola) and Nayakas Palaces are prime tourist attractions. Thanjavur was the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu during 18th century. Thanjavur shot to fame during the period of Chola kings, who made it their capital. The Cholas, a dynasty of temple builders, ruled south India between 10th century and 14th century. The Pallavas, the Pandyas, the Nayak and Marathas have their monuments of history here. The Nayakas and Marathas patronized art and culture. Culture, architecture and education of these rulers reflect in great monuments of Tanjhavur.

Relax a bit and move for short sightseeing of Tanjore that includes Tanjore Palace and Brihadareeshwar Temple.

Sri Brahadeeswara Temple: This massive temple was built by great Chola king Raja RajaI in the 10 century AD. The tower over the inner sanctum sanctorum rises perpendicularly to height of 15 meters.

Tanjore Palace: The palace near the temple is a vast building of masonry built partly by the Nayaks around 1550 AD and partly by Marathas .It is grand pile of buildings with huge corridors spacious halls. Two of the palace towers the armoury and the observation towers are visible from all parts of the city, the place also houses the Sangeeth Mahal-a perfect music hall. It is striking example of the engineering skills of the ancient builders.

Having seen magnificent Tanjore Palace and Brihadeeswara Temple, explore local market and places of your interest. Thereafter, return to Tanjore hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 7 Tanjore –Trichy- Tanjore (120 kms) & Trichy sightseeing tour

Have early morning breakfast, you will be taken to historical city of Trichy or Trichirapally. Trichy is a historical as well as cultural city of Tamil Nadu

Trichy, the fourth largest city of Tamil Nadu, is situated on the banks of the river Cauvery and has been ruled by various dynasties like the Cholas, Pallavas, Pandyas, Nayakas, Marathas etc over the centuries. But it was under the rule of the Nayakas of Madurai, the Trichy of today grew and prospered. The city is a fine blend of the traditions and modern and is built around the Rock Fort. Apart from the fort there are several churches, colleges and missions dating back to the 1760s. Trichy's most famous spot is a rock of 83 meter. It is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat city. The most amazing fact is that the rock is one of the oldest in the world-about 3800 years, making it as old as the rocks of Greenland and older than the Himalayas. At the top of the rock is the Ucchi Pillayar Koil, a temple dedicated to Lord Vinayaka, from where one can enjoy a panoramic view of Trichy. A flight of steps leads to the Mathrubutheswarar or Thayumanaswami temple, dedicated to Lord Siva, where the lingam is a projection of the rock itself.

On arrival at Trichy, proceed for sightseeing of Tiruchirapally which is situated on the bank of river Cavery. The city was a Chola citadel from Sangam age the Pandyas, Pallavas held sway over this region for short periods. The Nayaks of Madurai built the town and the historic rock fort which played a vital role in Carnatic wars in 18 century. Srirangam & Rangnathar are prime most tourist attractions.

Srirangam: surrounded by the waters of river Kaveri on one side and its tributary kollidan on the other is a 600 acre island-town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswami Temple. There are 21 gopurams, among which the Rajagopuram is the largest in South India. The remaining 20 gopurams were built between the 14th and 17th centuries. Originally, there was just a small shrine where the temple is today, but it was added on to and expanded by the Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas, and Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar Kings and Nayaks of Madurai and today Srirangam stands as the biggest temple complex in the country. Rock Fort temple tops on a 83m high outcrop. This temple was built by the Pallavas as a small cave temple, but the Nayaks made use of its naturally fortified Position. It is a stiff climb, up the 437 steps cut into the stone to the top but well worth the view. Non-Hindus are not allowed into the Vinayaka Temple at the summit and at the bigger Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple dedicated to Siva, halfway up.

Ranganathar: This superb temple complex at Srirangam, about three kms from the Rock Fort is surrounded by seven concentric walls with 21 gopurams and is probably the largest in India. Most of it dates from the 14th to 17th centuries, and many people have had a hand in its construction, including the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Hoysalas and rulers from Vijayanagar. An annual Car Festival is held here in January during which a decorated wooden chariot is pulled through the streets between various walls.

Having seen and explored Trichy, return to Tanjore to spend evening in leisure and have overnight stay.

Day 8 Tanjore –Madurai (200 kms/ 4 hrs)- Madurai sightseeing tour

Have scrumptious breakfast in Tanjore hotel and drive for Madurai. It will take about 4 hours to reach Madurai. On arrival at Madurai, you will be transferred to the pre-booked hotel. Considered as the holy city of south India, Madurai is home to probably best of the temples.

Madurai is one of the oldest cities of south India. It has been the centre of learning and pilgrimage for centuries. More than 2500 years old ancient city, situated on the banks of the river Vaigai Madurai is believed to have been built by the Pandyan King Kulasekara. Legend says that the divine nectar fell from Shiva's hair and gave it the name-Madhurapuri, now known as Madurai. The history of Madurai dates back to more than 3000 years when it was the capital of the Pandyan kings. In 10th century AD, Madurai was captured by the Chola emperors. It remained in their hands until the Pandyans obtained independence in 12th century, only to lose to Malik Kafur, a general in the service of the Delhi Sultanate. Malik Kafur and his dynasty was defeated by the Hindu king of Vijaynagar. After the fall of Vijaynagar in 1565, the Madurai Nayaks ruled until 1781 AD. Madhurapuri grew and prospered to become the capital of the kingdom of Pandyan. Madurai is referred to in the Ramayana, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, by Megasthenes (302 ac), Pliny (77 AD), Ptolemy (140 AD), Marco Polo (1293 AD) and Ibn Battuta (1333 AD).

After checking in at Madurai hotel, relax a bit. After some time, depart for exploring Madurai along with the tour guide. The Madurai tour guide will be introduced with you in the hotel. The sightseeing tour includes three prominent monuments – Tirumalai Nayak Mahal, Vaniyur Mariamman Teppakulam and Meenakshi Temple.

Meenakshi Temple: Meenakshi Temple is symbol of cultural and architectural epitome of Dravidian style of temples. Lying in the very heart of the city, Meenakshi Temple was built in pre-Christ era by the very founder of Madurai, Kulasekara Pandya. But the credit of present day grandeur goes to Vishwanatha Nayaka & Tirumalai Nayaka. During the reign of Vishwanatha Nayaka in 1560 AD, the design of the present day temple was prepared and final construction took place during the reign of Tirumalai Nayaka. Meenakshi Temple, spread over more than six hectares, has four entrances called Gopurams. Each of its 12 towers has the height of 45 to 50 meters. A perfect example of Dravidian style of temple architecture, Meenakshi Temple is characterized by highly heightened and broad ‘gopurams’( large gateways), mandapams (multi-pillared halls) and intricately and profusely sculptured inner and outer walls with images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. Visit of 1000 pillar Mandapam (hall). Each pillar got different sculpture.

Tirumalai Nayak Mahal: After decline of Vijayanagara Empire, the leading nobles –the Nayakas, emerged as rulers of south India, including Madurai. The city of Madurai and Nayaka dynasty flourished during 16th to 18th century. Thirumalai Nayak built this palace in 1523, which is hardly a kilometre away from Meenakshi Temple. Built in the Indo-Saracénico style, the remains of the palace constitute main entrances, ballroom and main hall. The palace was originally four times larger than it’s today. The main attraction is now sound and light show in the palace, which shows the events of the life of Thirumalai Nayak and parts of the ancient Tamil epic Silappathikaram.

Mariamman Teppakulam, an enormous temple tank, was also built by the Thirumalai Nayak in 17th. This huge tank in the eastern part of the city is said to have subterranean canals connecting it to the Vaigai River. There is a ‘mandapam’ with an idol of Vinayaka or elephant in the middle of the tank, brightly lit during the float festival at the time of full moon of the Tamil month Thai, which falls between January 15 and February 15.

After visiting monuments, primarily temples and palace, explore local market/ bazaar. If possible, do attend evening worship ceremony of the deity in a temple. Later, in the evening, return to hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 9 Madurai- Rameshwaram (190 kms/04 hrs)- Rameshwaram sightseeing tour

Have breakfast in Madurai hotel, check out and move for Rameshwaram, a Hindu pilgrimage at the sea shore. It will take about four hours to reach Rameshwaram. On arrival at Rameshwaram, you will be transferred to pre-booked hotel.

Rameshwaram, an island in Gulf of Mannar, is a holy place for devout Hindus. Legend says Lord Rama performed ‘pooja’ (deity worship rituals) of Lord Shiva as a gesture of gratitude and thanks, after destroying demons’ kingdom Lanka and its ruler Ravana. This ‘pooja’absolved’ him of the sins of killing living beings. Rameswaram is known for its theerthas (wells) in and around the temple. Another strikingly remarkable fact is that Rameshwaram is equally sacred for and revered by both sects of Hinduism- Vaishnavism and Saivism. The Ramanathaswamy temple is known for its beautiful corridors and massive carved pillars. Apart from being a pilgrimage destination, the island of Rameswaram has several places which ideally work for picnics. There are beautiful beaches in Olaikuda, Dhanushkodi and Pamban. Olaikuda beach, 01 km from the main temple, is full of coral arrecibes that makes in the sea safer and fun. During winter season, large number of Australian flamingos, sea gulls and a variety of migrant birds can be spotted. Rameswaran is one of the main fishing centers of Tamil Nadu.

After relaxing a bit in hotel, along with Rameshwaram tour guide, proceed to explore various aspects and attractions of Rameshwaram. Enjoy watching and experiencing religious rituals, ethereal spirituality, grand temple, colourful cultural, pleasant beaches etc. After enjoying the day in leisure, return to Rameshwaram hotel for overnight stay.

Day 10 Rameshwaram- Kanyakumari (320 kms/ 06 hrs) – Kanyakumari sightseeing tour

Have scrumptious breakfast in Rameshwaram hotel, check out and depart for Kanyakumari. After six hours of journey, reach at Kanyakumari to be transferred directly in the pre-booked hotel.

Kanyakumari, formerly called as Cape Camorin, is the southernmost land point of Indian peninsula. Kanyakumari is the confluence of three seas- Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal & Indian Ocean. Kanyakumari offers a beautiful sight during the Chaitra Poornima (full moon in April) when the sun and moon are face to face in the same horizon but other full moons round the year are also special when you can see the sun and moon rise almost simultaneously.

Post-lunch, move along with Kanyakumari guide to explore prime tourist attractions. Among the monuments to be seen are Vivekanada Rock, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue. Explore local ambience in your own leisurely way. Overnight stay has been scheduled in Kanyakumari hotel.

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Day 11 Kanyakumari – Trivendrum - Kovalam (by car) (95 kms/ 2 hrs)

After breakfast in Aurangabad hotel, check out from the hotel and proceed to Aurangabad airport to board the flight for Trivendrum, the capital city of Kerala. Trivendrum boasts of having world famous beaches of Kovalam. On arrival at Trivendrum airport, you will be transferred to Kovalam beach resort/ hotel amidst serene, a bit secluded and palm-fringed locales.

Kovalam Beach is 14 kms from Thiruananthapuram. The major attraction of the town is the Kovalam Beach. The Kovalam beach is one of the finest beach of India and certainly the best beach of Kerala. Kovalam curves a crescent around a sheltered bay and its tall palms afford privacy. There are water sports available here. A visit to the nearby fishing village is also interesting. Kovalam truly capture the essence of Kerala. This internationally renowned beach has been favourite haunt of tourists since 1930’s. A beach paradise with boundless blue of the Arabian Sea and is a sheltered natural bay.

Spend the day at leisure in Kovalam hotel. Your night stay has been planned in Kovalam hotel.

Day 12 Kovalam

Have relaxed breakfast in Kovalam hotel and relax on the serene beach of Kovalam. The day has been kept free for leisure. You can avail rejuvenation therapy of Ayurvedic massage. Your night stay has been planned in Kovalam hotel.

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Day 13 Kovalam

Have relaxed breakfast in Kovalam hotel and relax on the serene beach of Kovalam. The day has been kept free for leisure. You can avail rejuvenation therapy of Ayurvedic massage. Your night stay has been planned in Kovalam hotel.

Day 14 Kovalam-Trivendrum - Departure

Have leisurely breakfast in Kovalam hotel and enjoy the morning on resplendent beach of Kovalam. Late morning, check out from hotel and depart for Thiruanantapuram airport to board flight for your onward destination....

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Chennai

Present day capital city of Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India, is Chennai. Since the advent of the British, it was known as madras but very recently it is re-christened as Chennai. Comparatively Chennai is a new city with history of 350 years. Initially, few hamlets integrated emerged as a town and later developed into a city but today’s Chennai, the fourth largest city of India, is the result of phenomenal growth over the past few decades. With best modern infrastructure and amenities like thriving sea harbor & port, international & domestic airports, a sprawling railway station and excellent road connectivity with all major towns and cities, Chennai serves as a convenient starting point for a tour of South India. With all modern infrastructure and development Chennai charms one with its allegiance to ancient traditions. Chennai in true sense retains the culture, the customs, the charm and the courtesies of the ages. It reflects in an airy city with several vestiges of its rural past. The lifestyle of the people of Chennai is more of a laid-back sort without compromising with their professional responsibilities. The city of Chennai adheres to the leisurely tempo of life of a world of yesterday.

Kanchipuram

Popularly known as the Golden City, it is considered the second holiest city in India next only to Varanasi. "Nagareshu Kanchi" is the old saying. It means that among the cities, Kanchi is the greatest. There are seven Mokshpuris (sacred cities that guarantee salvation) in India and Kanchipuam is one of them and is the lone Mokshpuri in South India. Reputed to possess more than one thousand temples once upon a time, it was famous as "city of temples". At present only a few of them have survived the ravages of time and invasions. Each temple has a story and each lane, bylane and street has atleast one temple. It was the historic capital of the Pallavas from the 6th to 8th centuries and later became the citadel of the Cholas, Vijaynagar kings, the Muslims and the British. Kanchipuram was the meeting place of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It was a centre for learning Tamil culture and religious scriptures for centuries. Adi Shankaracharya, Appar, Siruthundar and the great Bhikku Bodhidharma lived and worked here. The Kamakshi Peetham was established here by Adi Shankaracharya. Kanchipuram is said to have inspired the builders of rock temples at Badami and Ellora.

The city of Kanchipuram is considered under three divisions- Shaiva Kanchi (Big Kanchipuram), Vishnu Kanchi (Little Kanchipuram) and Jain Kanchi based on the dominant faith of each sect. At present, there are about a hundred temples built during the time of various periods which provide ample opportunity for the study of temple architecture in South India.

Today, Kanchipuram possesses all modern amenities. For generations, it has been famous for weaving silk. It has gained reputation for Kanchi silk sarees for lusture, durability, contrasting colours and superb finish. The British introduced the sericulture to Kanchipuram.

Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram), situated on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, was a thriving ancient port of the Pallavas. This port town had flourishing trade with many distant nations in past. During Pallava regime, this port town emerged to unparalleled glory which is self evident from the many marvelous monuments with sculptural panels, caves, monolithic Rathas and temples. These temples are Mahabalipuram's signature symbol. The name Mamallapuram is derived from the title Mahamalla (meaning a great warrior) Narsimha Varman. The port was constructed by King Mahendra Varman in the 7th century. The glorious zenith of Dravidian art and architecture can be seen in the monuments of Mahabalipuram. Though sculpted in stones, the idols seem lively. The richness of monumental splendor and charming beaches make Mahabalipuram a distinguished tourist place in India.

Pondicherry

Though Puducheri is situated on sea shore, it is not known for its beaches. Rather, Pondicherry earned its reputation for tranquil beach town with a unique mix of two cultures- French and Hindu. Puducheri, earlier called as Pondicherry, was a French colony and hence offers a unique amalgam of Indian and French cultures. The traces of French rule and its cultural influences can easily be noticed in the red kepis of the police officers, French spelling on signboards and traffic signs and some buildings and old stones. Explore Pondicherry and must visit old churches and Ashrama of Maharshi Aurobindo Ghosh, Auroville.

Tanjore

Tanjore (Thanjavur) was once the capital of the Chola, Nayak and Maratha rulers and is situated in the delta of rivers Cauvery. Thanjavur, named after demon Thanja who was killed by Lord Vishnu, is also called as the City of Refuge, derived from the word Thanjan. The place is called as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. Tanjore, far older than the Chola period, rose to glory during the later Chola reign between the 10th and 14th centuries and reached its zenith becoming the centre Tamil learning and culture during the Chola rule. It continues to enjoy the important even today due to its cultural and contribution to music and dance. In the city, there are rare specimens of old art and architecture, inscriptions and paintings created centuries ago. It is known for its exquisite handicrafts, bronze casting and articles and South India musical instruments. Raja Rajendra Chola conquered the Pandyas and the eastern Chalukyas in about the middle of the 10th century and founded a mighty kingdom with Thanjavur as his capital. He and his successors in the dynasty enriched the places with grand temples and places.

Madurai

Next in importance to Chennai, Madurai, known as Athens of the East, with its 2500 years old history, is a place of great antiquity, historic importance and Tamil culture. History attributes the foundations of Madurai to the Pandyan kings. Kulasekhara, who flourished in the 6th century AD. The city improved after the 7th century and there was another golden age in the 13th century AD. The Pandyan splendor was extinguished by the invasion by Malik Kafur in the 14th century AD. After seventh years of Muslim rule, the Pandyan rulers re-established themselves and built the temple and tower that we see today. After the decline of Vijayanagar, the Nayak dynasty becomes the supreme master of Madurai. The greatest among the Nayaks, Tirumala Nayakan added several monuments to its splendors and pomp. Madurai, situated on the bank of the river Vaigai, has spread over a large area. The fabulous temples embellish the southern bank of the river. The many religious festivals celebrated with elaborate rituals and pageantry have earned for it the name of City of Festivals.

Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram, situated in the Gulf of Munnar, is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. The island of Rameshwaram is 52 sq Kms. in area is in the form of the Panchajanya (the conch of Vishnu). In the epics, Rameshwaram is described as Gadamadana Hill. Sri Rama is believed to have installed the Jyotirlinga of Shiva at this place. He named it himself as Ramanatheshwara. Goddess parvati is known here as Parvata Vardhini. Varanasi in the north and Rameshwaram in the south are the two most venerated places of pilgrimage in the country.

The temple has a majestic appearance and is quite extensive. It is the practice of all devotees to bring the water from Holy Ganga in the North and perform Abhisekha with the Ganga water to Ramanatheshwara here. The devotees again bathe at Dhanushkodi and collect the sand from the sea at the place and immerse it in the holy water of Ganga either at Varanasi or Hardwar. Devotees first bathe in the sea at Rameshwaram and then again at the various sacred Tirthas which are inside the main temple. This pilgrim centre is held sacred by both Shaivites and Vaishnavites.

Kanyakumari

The land's ends of the India or the confluence of three great seas, the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, leaves an indelible impression. The place gets the name from the Virgin Deity. The sun rises over the Bay of Bengal and sets on the Arabian Sea. On full moon evenings, Sunset and Moon rises can be seen simultaneously. Thousands of visitors assemble on the trip of the sea shore to see this splendor view of natures. Temple of Parashakti, popularly called Kanya Kumari, is considered as a sacred spot. Having a bath at the confluence of the three seas has very pious connotation.

Kovalam

Kovalam, about five decades ago, used to be an unknown beach hamlet of fishermen. Since unprecedented influx of 'hippies' in the seventies, transformed the small and unknown village of Kovalam into a hotspot tourist destination of Kerala. Owing to clean shallow waters and low tidal waves, the beaches of Kovalam are highly popular among the western tourists. Kovalam is a cluster of three beaches- Light House Beach, Hawah Beach and Samudra Beach. All of these three beaches are naturally separated by rocky outcroppings. Light House Beach of Kovalam is most preferred and developed beach. Hawah Beach of Kovalam were famed as nude beach as earlier western women used to enjoy beach experiences being topless. Presently, being topless is strictly prohibited. Samudra Beach of Kovalam is still being used by the fishermen for plying their trade. Kovalam tourism is now emerging as a hotspot of Ayurveda healing therapy and Yoga & meditation centre.

Kovalam Beach is 14 kms from Tiruvananthapuram. The major attraction of the town is the Kovalam Beach. The Kovalam beach is one of the finest beach of India and certainly the best beach of Kerala. Kovalam curves a crescent around a sheltered bay and its tall palms afford privacy. There are water sports available here. A visit to the nearby fishing village is also interesting.

  • Accommodation in the mentioned hotels on double sharing.

  • Daily breakfast basis on all places.

  • Total Meals: 13 (Breakfast-13).

  • Total night stays: 13 (Chennai-02; Mahabalipuram-02; Pondichery- 01; Tanjore-02; Madurai-01; Rameshwaram-01; Kanyakumari-01; Kovalam-03).

  • Well-appointed upgraded air-conditioned rooms at all places.

  • Monument entrance charges.

  • Dakshin Chitra visit near Chennai.

  • Son-et-Lumiere shows in Madurai.

  • English speaking & destination-specific guides at all destinations for mentioned sightseeing tour.

  • Meet & assist at the airport on arrival & departure.

  • Sightseeing tours as mentioned in the itinerary.

  • Air-conditioned private car for the whole sightseeing tour.

  • Driver for the whole tour.

  • All prevailing taxes like luxury tax, service tax etc.

  • All transfers, city tours, excursions & drives by air-conditioned transport.

  • Interstate road tax, toll tax, parking charges, driver’s wages, fuel charges etc.

Optima Special:
  • Dakshin Chitra visit near Chennai.
  • Son-et-Lumiere shows in Madurai.
  • Hamlets visit nearby Kovalam beach.
  • Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapy and basics of Yoga.
Don’t miss on Tamil Nadu Temples with Kovalam Beach Tour:
  • Do taste a variety of sea foods in Kovalam & Puducheri.
  • Spend few hours leisurely in Auroville, Pondichery to learn few tips regarding meditation.
  • Do see Bharatnatyam (Tamil Nadu) and Kathakali (Kerala) classical dance shows.
  • Do relish south Indian cuisines in Tamil Nadu & delicious sea foods in Kovalam.
Shopping:

Thriruananthapuram:Explore curio shops, small and quaint, for ethnic articles like colorful bead jewelry, mat and bangles made of coir, wood, bamboo, shells, brass, ivory and sandalwood.

>Madurai: brass statue of Nataraja.

Cuisines:

Kovalam:Appam (prepared of fermented rice and coconut dough) & Karimeen (prepared of freshwater fish). Cochin: Meen Mollagitta curry (prepared of freshwater fish) & Kurukku Kalan ( a vegetarian specialty prepared of yoghurt, curry, toasted banana & rice).
Chennai: Dosa, Idly, Sambhar, Vada, Rasam.

Is This Trip For Me:
Travel Style Service Level TPhysical Demands Trip Type Trip Rating
Classic Standard FIT/Small Group 4.8/5
DestinationsStandardSuperiorDeluxeLuxury
ChennaiHotel VictoriaGRT GrandTridentITC Grand Chola
MahabalipuramHotel IndecoBlue Bay Beach ReasortChariot Beach ResortRadisson GRT Temple Bay Resort
Hotel RichmondRenaissanceSunway GRT GrandLe PondyLe Pondy
TanjoreHotel Star ResidencyHotel SangamHotel SangamHotel Sangam
MaduraiMetropoleHotel Park PlazaFortune PandyanThe Gateway by Taj
RameshwaramHotel DaiwikHotel DaiwikHotel DaiwikHotel Daiwik
KanyakumariSparsa ResortSparsa ResortSparsa ResortSparsa Resort
KovalamIdeal Ayurvedic ResortUdai SamudraTaj Green CoveHotel Leela
  • Prices mentioned are per person on double/ twin sharing basis.

  • Any airfares, international or domestic, are not included.

  • Additional conditions may apply, please enquire for further details.

  • Prices shown are fully inclusive of taxes.

  • Additional levies, government charges & other applicable fees, including additional taxes and surcharges on flight routing, may apply and are beyond our control.

  • Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply depending on date of travel.

  • Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge.

  • Prices shown are for payments made by cash in store or through normal bank transfer into our accounts.

  • These prices are a guide to the best price and are subject to change without notice.

  • Prices are subject to change without notice, due to matters outside our control, such as adverse currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges, taxes and airfare increases, please enquire for further details.

  • Please provide your passport details to Optima Travels Private Limited at least one month before travelling. Please note that if you do not provide your passport details, you may be denied entry to any Indian National Parks that are visited along this itinerary, or you may be charged a fee by the local government as passport details are now a requirement for entry into all national parks in India.

  • Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

  • In India normally the check in time in hotels is 02:00 PM and check out time in hotels is 10:00 AM.

  • Normally the package cost includes breakfast at all locations but in case of the destinations where availability of restaurants outside hotel not possible, we provide meals there and mention that in inclusions.

  • The normal check in - check out time of the hotels are 1200 hours and if your arrival time does not suit this we can arrange activities for you on the first day or pre-book the hotel from the previous night on additional charge and as per your request. Normally it takes 1 hour to come out of the airport from the time of arrival.

Followings are not included in the package

  • Meals other than breakfast and as specified above.

  • Video camera/ still camera fee applicable at various monuments. The same will be paid by you direct on spot on actual basis.

  • Items of personal nature like telephone calls, laundry, tips, hard/soft drink etc.

  • Any expenses arising out of unforeseen circumstances like flight delay/cancellation/hike in fare, strike or any other natural calamities.

  • Indian visa fees.

  • Any compulsory meal supplements during festive season is not included.

  • Early check in & late check out at the hotels.

  • Any other Items is not included in " Inclusions" heading.

*Important Notice: The following information has been obtained from the relevant suppliers and should be considered an indicative guide only as to the prices that may be available for these products. Optima India Tourism cannot guarantee that any particular product will still be available at the following prices, or for your exact dates of travel. At time of making your booking, prices may differ to that price displayed on this website. Please contact an Optima India Tourism travel consultant to obtain the latest up to date information regarding applicable prices, fees and charges, availability and other terms and conditions which may apply.

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