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It’s Raining Temples….in Tamil Nadu

March 11, 2018 - March 22, 2018

India’s free standing temple history dates back to the Gupta Empire (between 320 A.D to 550 A.D.). The maximum number of temples currently existing in a state are found in Tamil Nadu located in South East India. These temples are in immaculate condition & still used as places of worship. Built over acres of land many of these temples are surrounded by a walled courtyard with gopurams (watch towers) on the periphery. These watchtowers are as splendid as the main temple itself with intricate, delicate & colorful carvings dominating the exteriors. The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai for instance excels in `watch tower’ carvings & paintings. Considered to be the center of the universe, Kumbakonam in central Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of shrines which were built, keeping in mind astronomical calculations.

Join Hector Dsouza on fascinating tour which begins in the capital city – Chennai & culminates in temple town, Madurai. En-route be captivated by the breathtaking offerings ranging from the World Heritage Brihadeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Darasuram Temple replete with history & carvings, the iconic temple at Chidambaram with the Shiva in the Dancing Pose as well as the superbly carved temple at Gangaikondacholam. To add variety, we’ve the added the town of Pondicherry with a distinctive French influence & home to Aurobindo’s Ashram. Finally, at Chettinad get an opportunity to taste exotic Chettinad Cuisine as well as marvel at traditional ancient homes now converted to homestays & your dwelling for a night.

 

Day

11 March’18

Place

Chennai

Mode

 

Highlights of your tour

`Madras’, christened to `Chennai’ in 1996 – the old Tamil name. Founded by the British in 1640, Chennai is today the capital of Tamil Nadu & one of India’s most prosperous & busiest cities. Chennai is the starting point for a trip across some of the finest sculpted & brilliantly carved temples in India & built during different periods of history, from ancient to current day modern. A couple of interesting forts, coupled with a visit to a former French Colony add to the variety

Day

12 March’18

Place

Chennai

Mode

 

Highlights of your tour

Chennai is renowned for the San Tome Cathedral containing a relic of St. Thomas – apostle of Christ & killed on a hill in Chennai in 72 C.E.  The 7th century Kapaleeshwar Temple, Georgetown (Fort St George, attributed to the British), Chennai Museum housing a large collection of Bronze Statues & the Parthasarathi Temple rounds up a day of impressive sightseeing

Day

13 March’18

Place

Mahabalipuram

Mode

Highlights of your tour

Named after Pallava ruler, nicknamed Mamalla or the Great Wrestler, this sea shore town is acclaimed for 7th to 9th century monuments – like the Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Penance (World Heritage site) & Pancha Ratha (Five Chariot) Temples.

Day

14 March’18

Place

Kanchepuram

Mode

 

Highlights of your tour

Silk Emporiums & countless Shiva & Vishnu temples dominate Kancheepuram. The Ekamberashwera Temple, Vaikunta Perumal Temple & Kailashnath Temple are included in your day visit.

Day

15 March’18

Place

Puducherry

Mode

Highlights of your tour

A former French settlement, Puducherry is a convenient base for visiting Auroville & the Hill Fort at Gingee. Lined with avenues & boutique hotels, the Union Territory has rare French colonial buildings & long promenades. Be enthralled by a visit to Aurobindo Ashram founded by Aurobindo Ghosh –poet & philosopher. Dinner best enjoyed at specialty cafes serving French & Creole as well as Asian cuisine & included.

Day

16 March’18

Place

Puducherry

Mode

Highlights of your tour

Visit Auroville where an international community lives & works together. If permitted, visit Mother’s Shrine. In contrast Gingee Fort stands out for its spectacular location & was the last post of the Vijaynagar Empire in the south of India during the 16th century. Enjoy splendid views of Pondi Beach

Day

17 March’18

Place

Chidambaram

Mode

 

Highlights of your tour

Chidambaram, Kumbakonam & Darasuram –  jewels in the Chola Heartland not to be missed. Acclaimed for its 12th century Nataraja Temple, the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is an artist’s delight. Best known for the cosmic dance bronze statue of Shiva & the `lingam’ in the inner most sanctum of this temple. The shrine at Saranagpani has a 44 meter tall entrance tower & is the largest temple at Kumbakonam. A huge sacred tank brings in thousands of devotees once every twelve years when the planet `Jupiter passes over Leo’ & forms part of your sightseeing program. The trilogy of the Great Chola Temples ends at the superbly carved & decorated Airateswara Temple built during the 12th century at Darasura. Beautifully carved figurines, sculpted pillars, outstanding friezes on outer & inner walls dominate this impressive monument.

Day

18 March’18

Place

Chettinad

Mode

Highlights of your tour

Drive to Thanjavur & visit the mathematically correct 10th century Chola, Brihadeswara Temple, an engineering marvel. The temple has the highest tower (62 meters) in India. Built from an 80 tonne single block of granite, the dome had a 6.5 km ramp built to transport material to the top. A variety of sculptures and inscriptions dot the temple walls, most famous of which is dancers displaying the 81 different poses of the Bharat Natyam dance.Later visit Nayaka Palace, home to a Art Gallery with various bronze statues of Nataraja & the Darbar Hall.  Overnight at a mansion house in Chetinad, just 14 kms from Thanjavur. The land of Chettiars – rich merchants who were gem & salt merchants as well as ship chandlers, the community left its mark building huge mansions – embellished on the outside, but minimal & simple inside. Try out the delicately spiced Chettinad food served on banana leafs for dinner.

Day

19 March’18

Place

Trichy

Mode

Highlights of your tour

Explore the mansion house before departing for Trichy. Built in classic heritage style with tiled roof & deep verandahs you will find polished granite, Burma teakwood, Chettinad tiles & wooden ceilings. Be treated to exotic fare at Trichy while visiting two world famous places of Hindu worship. Srirangam is known for its seven concentric walled courtyards, while the Ranganathswami Temple is embellished with 21 gateways & the thousand pillared hall. Temple Elephants are found at both these renowned temples.

Day

20 March’18

Place

Madurai

Mode

 

Highlights of your tour

Life in Madurai centres around Meenakshi Temple built by the Pandya dynasty before being destroyed the Sultans & rebuilt by the Nayaks in the mid 17th century.

Day

21 March’18

Place

Madurai

Mode

 

Highlights of your tour

Teeming with gateways Meenakshi is one of the few temples dedicated to a female goddess. What distinguishes Meenakshi from the rest are the sculptures covering every nook & corner of the tall gopurams (gateways) that also served as watchtowers & are surrounded by high walls. Pilgrims converge in by the thousands, especially during January-February when the two idols of Sundareshwar & Meenakshi are taken to a water tank in a decorated raft to enable devotees get a view of the presiding deities.

Later visit the 1000 pillared hall (985 pillars in actual) having many musical columns that resonate when tapped with classical music notes. Round off your trip with a visit to an evening sound-n-light show at Nayak’s Palace. Watch Madurai’s history unfold in an impressive courtyard surrounded by stucco pillars.

Day

22 March’18

Place

Chennai

Mode

 

Highlights of your tour

Jet Airways 1500/1625- Madurai to Chennai An engrossing journey comes to an eventful end.

 

Price per person on twin sharing basis USD 2400/-
Single Supplement USD 600/-

Inclusions

  • Accommodation on twin/double sharing basis with breakfast & dinner at four star/ heritage hotels
  • Domestic airfare – Madurai to Chennai
  • Air-conditioned coach with chauffeur from Chennai Airport to Madurai Airport
  • Sightseeing of monuments & local tours with English speaking guide
  • Hector Dsouza will accompany this program
  • SIM Cards worth Rs 2000 for your tour
  • Entrance fees to monuments
  • Three morning yoga sessions with Hector Dsouza
  • Interaction with a Bharat Natyam Dancer – afternoon session


Exclusions

  • Lunch
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Any item not specifically mentioned as `included’ in tour program
  • Any increase in taxes or fuel, leading to increase in surface transportation
  • Optional items mentioned in program


Booking Terms & Conditions

  • If you are interested, send us a deposit of USD 500 to block your seat. This amount is non-refundable
  • If you are single & willing to share, we will help find you a person from the group also willing to share
  • Balance payment to be made 75 days before tour commences


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