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The Beaches and Temple Tour of South India
Duration:          11 Nights / 12 Days
Places Covered: Chennai - Kancheepuram - Mahabalipuram - Tiruvannamalai - Pondicherry - Chidambaram - Tanjore - Trichy - Madurai –Rameshwaram-Kanyakumari and Trivandrum

The Vindhya Mountain range divides India into North and South ruining from east to west. The South India's coastal plains are backed by the mountains rimming the wedge of the Deccan plateau. On these plains lie the best beaches in South India. On the rimming mountains, the western and eastern ghats are the tea, coffee and spice lands. Beyond these mountains, in the wedge shaped plateau, are great old cities supported by rich farm lands and a culture that has its roots in the almost historical Kumari Continent from where, they claim, civilization spread across the world. The history of South India is untouched by any invasions throughout its history and the region why the Indian heritage or historical buildings are intact.

Day 01: Chennai
Arrive Chennai - the gateway to southern India, established in 1639 by the East India Company, is one of the oldest cities of the country. Assistance and transfer to hotel.

Day 02: Chennai
After Breakfast at hotel proceed for, half day sightseeing tour, visiting Gandhi Memorial, KalaSkhetra, Mylapore temple, Marina Beach –the second longest beach of the world. Return to the hotel. Overnight stay.

Day 03: Chennai – Kancheepuram (76 kms/01.50 hrs) – Mahabalipuram (67 kms/1.5 hrs)
After breakfast drive to Kanchipuram–is 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 your drive to reach Mahabalipuram and check in at hotel. Afternoon visit 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 - spire shrine, unique because it houses both Lord Shiva and the Lord Vishnu in its sanctum-sanctorum. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 04:Mahabalipuram - Thiruvannamalai – (112 kms/03 hours) Pondicherry (131 kms/3.5 hrs)
After breakfast drive to Tiruvannamallai a pilgrim centre with an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. Later in the afternoon proceed to Pondicherry which has a strong presence of French colonial. 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. Upon arrival hotel check in. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 05:Pondicherry
After breakfast proceed for sightseeing of Aurbindo Ashram, the city of dawn, which is 10kms north of Pondicherry. Later visit to Auroville - a unique experiment in international living and in creating a new environment where men and women of all nationalities live together in harmony. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 06: Pondicherry – Chidambaram (65 kms/1.5 hrs) – Tanjore (104 kms/03 hours)
After breakfast drive to Chidambaram also called as Thillai, which has the famous Nataraja temple covered with golden plates and is located centrally 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 your drive after lunch in the local restaurant to Thanjavur/Tanjore en route 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.Checkin, dinner and overnight stay at hotel.

Day 07: Tanjore- Trichy (58 kms/1.5 hours)
After breakfast leave for Trichy which is an hour drive or so. Trichy is the 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. Check in at hotel. After lunch city tour visiting Rock fort and its temple at a height of over 23mts. Also visit Srirangam and Jambukeshwar Temple. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 08: Trichy – Madurai (132 kms/3 hrs)
After breakfast proceed to Madurai and chec kin upon arrival. The ancient city of Madurai, some 2600 years old is laid out in the banks of river Vaigai as a lotus flower with the Meenakshi temple in the centre. Afternoon city tour visiting–Meenakshi temple, King Tirumala's Palace, Mariamman Tepakkulam and Alagar Kovil. Overnight at hotel.

Day 09:Madurai-Rameshwaram (170 kms/3.5 hrs)
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. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 10:Rameshwaram- Kanyakumari (294/5.5 hrs kms)
After breakfast at the hotel check put and drive to Kanyakumari -this 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 - dedicated to the virgin Goddess, Kanya Kumari. To its South - East lies the famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial, dedicated to Indian Saint Vivekananda, who meditated on this very rock before he proceeded to West to propagate Hinduism, where otherwise was perceived as a barbaric religion. Also is a recently erected memorial of Thiruvalluvar, a Tamil saint who had written the Thirukkural, containing 1330 verses for a better living for every human. Evening view the sunset at the southernmost tip of India, where the 3 seas meet (Namely Indian Ocean in the south, Arabian sea in the west and Bay of Bengal in the east). Overnight at hotel.

Day 11:Kanyakumari – Trivandrum (87 kms/1.5 hrs)-Kovalam (11 kms)
Early morning view the beautiful sunrise from at top the hotel’s terrace. Visit to Suchindram and proceed to Trivandrum, enroute visit Padmanabapuram Palace, arrive Trivandrum. Arrive and visit Padmanabaswamy temple from outside, visit the palace and the city palace museum. A drive up to Kovalam. Overnight stay at Kovalam resort.

Day 12:Kovalam-Trivendrum (Departure)
After breakfast transfer to airport to connect flight for onward journey.