Spend your vacation time immersed in extreme spirituality and deep devotion for the lord by availing the skill fully crafted temple tour of South India of 13 days and 12 nights. South India is not only known for its serene hill stations and tranquil water bodies, but it is also known for its magnificent ancient temples.
Day 1 :Arrival in Chennai
You will be arriving in the ‘Detroit of Asia’, Chennai, where after getting checked in, the day is free for you to explore the local markets and shop for souvenirs there while enjoying the delicious traditional food there. You can shop for items like Kancheepuram sarees, traditional kaapi maker, classical paintings, traditional jewellery pieces and locally created arts and crafts. Gorge on traditional Chennai food items like, Upma, vada, aviyal, Sambhar, local coffee, chettinad chicken, traditional fish curry and so much more.
Day 2 :Chennai Sightseeing Tour
The entire day today will be reserved for your local sightseeing tour of the marvelous and enchanting city starting on a holy note with a visit to the famous St. Mary’s Church, which is also the oldest Anglican Church in the subcontinent.
Your next destination will be the 8th-century temple of Sri Parthasarathy, which was built by the Pallava rulers. This temple is one of the oldest structures in Chennai, where the presiding deities include, Lord Krishna, Tanganatha, Narasimha and Lord Rama. The temple darshan timings start off from as early as 5:50 am in the morning and last till 9:00 pm at night with a 3 hour break after the 12:30 noon darshan and reopens at 4:00 pm in the evening.
You will then be taken to Kapaleeshwarar Temple, which too was constructed in the 8th century and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The darshan in this temple takes place between 5:30 am and 10:00 pm.
After an extremely hectic day of temple touring, you will be taken to the longest natural urban beach in the world, Marina beach, where you can take a dip and cool off in the refreshing water or just relax on the sand, before heading back to your hotel. p.s. be sure to keep the beach clean on your visit.
Day 3 :Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram
Your journey towards the holy town of Mahabalipuram will commence, en route Kancheepuram which is home to numerous temples.
In Kancheepuram, your temple tour will begin with a visit to the famous and extremely pious temple of Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Amman temple, which is made from a massive 5 storied and intricately carved gopuram and dedicated to goddess Kamakshi.
After offering your prayers there you will be taken to your hotel in Mahabalipuram where after checking in, if you have the energy you will be free to explore the surrounding vibrancy and taste some delicious locally prepared food.
Day 4 :Mahabalipuram Sightseeing
Mahabalipuram owes the credit for its magnificently built temples to the Pallava dynasty who erected some of the most massive and huge temples across their kingdom.
Your sightseeing tour will commence from a visit to Krishna Mandapam, a UNESCO world heritage site which is the oldest rock – cut cave monument in Mahabalipuram. Then you will be taken to another site of Pancha Rathas, which is a complex containing monolithic Indian rock cut structures, built on the Coromandel Coast dating back to 7th century and is also a part of the UNESCO world heritage site.
Your final location will be the Shore temple which was built in 700 AD, using blocks of granite and is an important UNESCO world heritage site. The entire complex houses numerous shrines, big and small along with other stone sculptures and carved out shrines.
Be sure to carry water bottles, caps and remember not to litter the holy complex spaces.
Day 5 :Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry
You will be driven to ‘Paris of the East’, Pondicherry today where you will be smoothly checked in to your allotted hotels. Remainder of the day is free for you to explore the local lifestyle there.
You can shop for famous local souvenirs like, scented candles, perfumes, local crafts, arts and handicrafts. You also have the option of indulging in some delicious local food like, masala dosa, tandoori potato, stuffed cabbage, kadugu yerra among other delectable delights.
Day 6 :Pondicherry Sightseeing
Your local sightseeing for Pondicherry will commence in the morning with a holy visit to the famous Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar temple, which is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in India. After a rejuvenating visit to this temple you will be guided to your next holy destination of Sri Gokilambal Thirukameshwara Temple complex, a 12th-century construction, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva along with Devi and Murugan.
Your final destination will be Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which is 1926 retreat established by Sri Aurobindo himself. Be sure not to make any noise and be extremely quiet for a soothing experience.
After spending your day immersed in spirituality you will be taken back to your hotel.
Day 7 :Pondicherry – Tanjore
You will head on towards the pious town of Tanjore while stopping on your way to pay your blessings in the famous Hindu, 10th-century temple of Chidambaram, which was built by the Chola rulers and it displays the 108 majestic karanas from Natya shastra (classical dance).
After having a blissful experience your journey towards Tanjore will continue where upon your arrival you will be checked in before heading out for a brief local temple tour of the city, starting with the UNESCO world heritage site of Brihadeeswarar temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva this temple is one of the prime pilgrimage sites for Shiva followers. The temple timings here begin early in the morning at 6:00 and lasts till 8:30 pm with a gap between 12:30 pm and 4:00 pm.
Your final stop for the day, before heading back to your hotel will be an artistic one of Tanjore art gallery, which also includes the Saraswati library and Sangeetha mahal.
Day 8 :Tanjore – Trichy
You will be driven to the rock fort city, Trichy and upon getting checked post your arrival, the entire day is free for you to explore this wonderful and quaint town.
You can go souvenir shopping and buy some locally made brassware, jewellery, silk clothes, handicrafts and carpets while eating some traditional cuisines like, Faizel Biryani, Manapparai Palkova, and Murukan among others.
Day 9 :Trichy Local Sightseeing
You will be visiting the famous pilgrimage site of Srirangam early in the morning, which is an island and houses the famous Ranganathaswamy temple. The massive towering, 11th-century temple is dedicated to a form of Hindu deity Lord Vishu and is one of the 108 divya desams and extremely holy for Vaishnavites. You will then be taken to Trichy rock fort which also consists of a temple within its premises which is the oldest structure present here dating back to 580 AD. Being one of the most prominent landmarks in the city, this rock fort is a premium part of its rich history and heritage.
The entire touring day will be quite tiring since the temples covered in this sightseeing are extremely big and cover large areas. Be sure to carry along some light snacks and a bottle of water so that you stay hydrated throughout the journey.
Day 10 :Trichy – Madurai
This day you will make your way to the Athens of East, Madurai, where upon your arrival you will immediately be checked in. you will be spending the entire day doing leisurely activities or exploring the city on your own. You are free to try out some of the locally prepared traditional cuisines like, Madurai idli, Pongal, Sambhar and so much more.
Day 11 :Madurai Local Sightseeing
You will be taken on a local sightseeing tour of this old yet holy town starting with a visit to one of the most popular Hindu temple pilgrimage site of Meenakshi temple, which is a 6th-century structure with an estimated 33,000 sculptures. This entire day is reserved for you to explore the majestically elegant temple and attend the holy puja ceremony in the evening which is considered to be extremely blessed and pious.
Day 12 :Madurai – Rameshwaram – Madurai
Today your entire day will be reserved for a visit to the famous temple in Rameshwaram island, Ramanathaswamy temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the golden gopuram is extremely famous. This char dham site is also a very important pilgrimage destination for Shaivites, Vaishnavites and Smarthas ever since its construction in the 17th century. After attending the temple aarti that takes place here between 3:00 pm and 9:00 pm you will be taken back to your hotel.
Day 13 :Madurai – Chennai – Departure
Early in the morning, you will be transferred to the railway station to the Chennai, from where you will be heading on to your desired destination hence ending your temple tour of South India.