South India or Peninsular India is the most exciting places to explore unlike North Indian temples which has mostly been plundered from time to time by Muslim invaders. Temples are bult in Dravidian style with intricate carvings, in Pyramidal tower and built in Agamic Shastras predated earlier to Vedic period. One should know that there are 33000 sculptures in Meenakshi Temple and was nominated for 7 wonders of the world. They are bult very strong from outside and most of the temples have Pushkarini or small tank or pond for ablution. Here you should know that Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Tirvandrum is the richest temple and Tirupati Balaji the second richest temple. Most the temples have their own trust which work in the field of public services free of cost. In Tirupati temple the jewelry adorned to God is 1000 years old neither the Muslim or the Britishers was able to plundered this. The another notable features is that 85% of the temples of South India is built in granite the hardest rock on earth. The largest and the highest temple tower is the Sri Rangam Temple tower and the largest temple corridor is of Shree Ramanathaswamy temple of Rameswaram.
What to Expect
The South India temples are architectural marvel in Dravidian Style some of the outstanding structures are Brideshwara temple, Kapeeleshwar Temple, Meenakshi Aman Temple, Ramanathaswamy temple. They are spread throughout South India and are mostly intact unlike North Indian temples which were plundered by Muslim invaders. The ruler of South India protected their temples without any harm. Featured places of South India are Kanyakumari, Madurai, Thanjavur, Rameswaram and Kumarakom. For full tour of South India, we need at least 15-17 days there are places like Munnar, Cochin, Trichy, Coimbatore etc.
Upon arrival at Chennai International Airport or Egmore Railway station transfer to hotel. Upon arrival check in. Later after wash n change proceed for sightseeing covering-Marina Beach- Marina Beach is the second longest beach of the world. Thereafter proceed to VGP Marine Kingdom, Kapaleeshwar Temple is the home of Lord Shiva and Karpagambal built in unique style. Later on, visit to Govt. Museum. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast we will take you for guided half day city tour visit to Chennai city tour covering Government Museum and National Art Gallery: The Government Museum at Chennai is one of the finest museums in India. It has sections devoted to anthropology, botany, geology, numismatics, sculpture and zoology. The relics from the 2nd century AD Buddhist site ‘Amaravati’ and the souvenirs of the prehistoric South India are the most prized assets of the museum. Marina Beach- the second longest beach in the world. Sri Parthasarathy Temple-one of the oldest surviving temples in Chennai which was built in 8th Cen by Pallavas & the temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Thereafter proceed to Mahabalipuram en route covering Kanchipuram- There are innumerable temples among which the Ekambareswar temple, Kailasanath temple, Varadaraja temple deserves mention. The Ekambareswar temple is a 1000 pillared temple with 5 prakarams and another important notification is that more than 5000 families are engaged in silk industry. This place is known for silk sarees known as Kanchipuram sarees. The monuments here are made out of solid rocks. On arrival at Mahabalipuram check into hotel. Overnight stay at Hotel.
Morning after breakfast proceeds for sightseeing & visit to Arjuna’s Penance-Arjuna’s Penance is the world’s largest bas-relief that measures 27 meters and 9 meters along its length and breadth respectively. This huge whaleback shaped rock contains figures of Gods, Demigods, Men, Beasts and Birds. The whole structure looks like the penance of Arjuna, the Pandava prince and one of the protagonists of Indian epic Mahabharata; hence the name. Five Rathas- Five Rathas are actually five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They are modeled around chariots that are called ‘Rathas’ in Hindi. They are also known as the ‘Pancha Pandava Rathas’, which means that each one of them represent 5 Pandavas, the protagonists of Indian epic Mahabharata. Shore Temples
Shore Temple is one of the oldest temples in South India and the oldest one based on the Dravidian style architecture. It belongs to the early 8th century AD and is considered a pioneer in the Dravidian temple art.
Thereafter drive to Pondicherry on arrival check in hotel and rest of the day is at leisure to relax and move around Pondicherry town and overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Proceed for sightseeing of Aurobindo Ashram-Sri Aurobindo Ashram, founded in 1920, is the residence where the Sri Aurobindo and revered Mother Mirra Richard, popularly known as Maa, spent the most part of their life. This place attracts many thousands of people each year. Auroville-A real example of community living and gradually flourishing, Auroville is conceived as a ‘Universal Town’. This is a place where people with different nationalities, beliefs and culture live in harmony.
Later proceed to Thanjavur. On arrival hotel check in. Overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast proceed to Rameswaram. On arrival hotel check in. PM: After short relax proceed for sightseeing of Pamban Bridge: The Pamban Bridge on the Palk Strait connects Rameswaram to mainland India. It is the longest sea bridge in India at a length of about 2.3 km. From the elevated two-lane road bridge, adjoining islands and the parallel rail bridge below can be viewed. The Railway Bridge is 6,776 ft and was opened for traffic in 1914. Also visit to Adam’s Bridge is essentially a chain of coral reefs and sandbanks that almost connects India with its neighbouring country, Sri Lanka. It is popularly believed that this bridge was constructed by Lord Rama, with the help of Hanuman and his Sena, for rescuing his wife Sita from Ravana. Overnight at hotel.
Early morning visit Mandir for Sphatik Shivaling Darshan and have a bath in the 22 teerthams (wells).
Ramanatha Swamy temple- among the 12 Jyotirlinga (bath in 22 wells), Agni Theertham (seabath). Later also visit to Dhanushkodi Temple and Beach, Lakshmana Teertham and Jatayu Teertham.
Breakfast and check out from Rameshwaram & drive to Madurai. On arrival hotel check in. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast visit the famous Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple: The Meenakshi Temple complex is literally a city – one of the largest of its kind in India and undoubtedly one of the oldest too. The temple grew with the contribution of each dynasty and victorious monarchs, into an enormous complex extending over an area of 65000 Sq m. Gandhi Museum– Housed in the old Palace of Rani Mangammal, the Gandhi Museum depicts the highlights of the freedom struggle and contains a picture gallery of the Gandhian movement. Also can be seen are a gallery of relics, Khadi and village industries section and South Indian Handicrafts section. Thirumalai Nayak Palace- About 1.5 Kms from the Meenakshi temple, this palace was built in 1636 by the ruler whose name it bears. The imposing edifice is famous for the “Stuccowork” on its domes and impressive arches. The Sorgavilasam (Celestial Pavilion), measuring 75m x 52m, constructed entirely of brick and mortar without the support of a single rafter or girder, is a marvel of indo-Saracenic architectural style.
Later drive to Periyar National Park– Thekkady, is an example of nature’s bounty, with great scenic charm, rich bio diversity and providing veritable visitor satisfaction. Sprawled over an area of 925 Sq km Periyar National Park is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India. Zealously guarded and efficiently managed reserve is a repository of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers of Kerala, the Periyar and Pamba. On arrival hotel check in. Overnight at Hotel.
In the morning take boat ride at Periyar Lake for game viewing. Return to the hotel.
Check out & proceed to Kumarakom. The famous backwater tourist destination in Kerala this place can be reached through a voyage from Alappuzha. Kumarakom is undoubtedly the most invigorating, fascinating paradise in Kerala, God’s own country. This rich green, sleepy little village of Kumarkom is located on the Vembanad lake amidst mangrove forests and coconut groves. On arrival check into hotel. Later visit to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary- Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the bird sanctuary is spread across 14 acres. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist’s paradise is a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal.
Or you can for Ayurvedic Massage/Treatment. Overnight at Hotel.
Optional: Take Houseboat from Kumarakom-Alleppey overnight. Houseboat: Houseboats (Rice boats) or Kettuvallam are country boats that were used in the early days for the transport of goods from the isolated interior villages of Kerala Backwater area to the towns like Alleppey, Kollam, Cochin and Kottayam. With the advent of roads, bridges and ferry services, gradually the Kettuvalloms went off the scene. Now these Kettuvalloms are back again as a major tourist attraction as a modern moving boat house that is Kerala houseboats. houseboats size vary from, about to 95 feet in length and a width of around 13 feet to in the middle for one bedroom houseboat and, big houseboats with up 107 feet long and up to 19 feet wide. The materials that go into the making are all local and Eco friendly bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats, coir carpets etc.
After breakfast drive to Kovalam: Kovalam means a grove of coconut trees and true to its name the village offers an endless sight of coconut trees. It is also known as the paradise of the south. On arrival check into beach resort. Rest of the day at leisure for sun, sand & surf. Overnight at Resort.
Post breakfast take excursion tour of Kanyakumari. The land’s end of India is a meeting point of the great seas -the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. A spell binding scene which attracts tourist in large numbers is the unique sunrise and the sunset which is most spectacular at full moon, when sunsets and moon raise takes place simultaneously. Enjoy Sunrise at Kanyakumari. Take a ferry boat to Swami Vivekananda Rock memorial. Visit Kanyakumari Mandir, Gandhi Mandapam. Return to the Kovalam for overnight stay.
After breakfast half day sightseeing of Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram City visit to Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple – the temple is believed to be around 260 years old. The temple with its gopuram (tower) soaring majestically upwards is believed to be one of the 108 shrines sacred to the Vaishnavites in India. Napier Museum: Dating back to 1880, the Napier Museum building is a combination of the Kerala, Mughal, Chinese and Italian architectural styles. The building has a unique natural air-conditioning system. A visit to this museum gives you glimpses of Kerala’s rich cultural heritage.
Later you will be transferred to Trivandrum International airport for flight back to home.
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