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South India - A Living Heritage

Total Days : 25 Days

Tour Destination : Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, Pondicherry, Chidambaram, Darasuran, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Trichy, Madurai, Cardamom House, Periyar, Munnar, Alleppey, Houseboat, Kumarakom, Mararikulam, Cochin,Ooty

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Namaste! - We welcome you with folded hands

Our friends keep asking us how we liked our trip. I tell them that it was an education in culture, history and religion. I thought India was overwhelming at times, but found it colorful, spiritual and fascinating. It’s the kind of trip that you’ll be thinking about years later – As Observed By Ms. Joan Landers (A Former Guest Of Trinetra Tours)

Day 01: Arrival / Chennai

Late night arrival, meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say ‘atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Overnight at Radisson Blu, City Centre (Superior Room) (No Meals)

Day 02: Chennai

image not found Morning, we proceed on a guided tour of one of India’s largest cities- Madras is the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The Tamillians are the proud inheritors of a rich cultural heritage, which is one of the main reasons for their beliefs of superiority over the hybridized culture of North India. Fort St. George (1653), built by the British, presently houses the State secretariat and the legislative assembly. The Fort has an interesting museum with fascinating collections of memorabilia from the early days of the British Raj. St. Mary’s Church (1678-80), was the first English church and the oldest surviving in India. The High court building, built of red sandstone has an interesting archaeological section and a bronze gallery. The former has an interesting collection of all major and ancient south Indian dynasties. The bronze section has interesting collections of Chola (9th century) bronze art. The High Court, built in Indo-Sracenic style is supposed to be the largest judicial building in the world after the Court Of England. The Kapaleshwar temple is an ancient Shiva temple in typical Dravidian (south Indian) style. Near the temple, the San Thome Cathedral (originally built in 1504), is a Roman Catholic Church believed to have the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Overnight at Radisson Blu, City Centre (Superior Room)

Day 03: Chennai / Mahabalipuram (70 Kms)

Morning we will drive to Mahabalipuram

Upon arrival check into your hotel Ideal Beach Resort

Rest of the day is at leisure for your independent activities

Overnight at Ideal Beach Resort (Garden Facing Room)

Day 04: Mahabalipuram

Morning, we will proceed on the tour of Mahabalipuram. The sculpture here is particularly interesting because, instead of Gods & Goddesses, the sculpture shows scenes from contemporary day to day life - women milking cows, pompous dignitaries, young girls priming and posing in street corners or swinging their hips in artful come-ons. Mahabalipuram is an easy going village of essentially two streets and positioned at the foot of low lying boulder strewn hill where most of the fascinating temples and the rock cut carvings are to be found. It affords a wonderful combination of an excellent beach, good seafood and the fascinating remains of an ancient Indian Kingdom.

Overnight at Ideal Beach Resort (Garden Facing Room)

Day 05: Mahabalipuram / Kanchipuram (68 Kms) (01 ½ Hrs Drive) Kanchipuram / Pondicherry (119 Kms) (02 ½ Hrs Drive)

Morning, we will drive to Pondicherry en route visiting Kanchipuram.

Kanchipuram is a Hindu Holy City and capital of the Pallava dynasty from the 7th to 9th centuries AD, is renowned for temples and silk, and you will see plenty of both. The temples range in date from the 8th to the 17th century. The latest building was impressive in its size, the height of its gopuram, the intricacy of its carvings and wealth of colour, but, the earliest temples, of golden sandstone, are more aesthetically pleasing, the only colour provided is by a flock of ring-necked parakeets.

Across the road is a workshop where men sit at a loom, weaving fabrics that you will recognize immediately as "Madras cotton". However, Silk-weaving takes place on a grander scale than the cotton-weaving in this town dotted with cottage workshops. You could visit a factory where all the processes of spinning, dyeing and weaving take place. Of special note would be exquisite wedding saris made to order - the silk is heavily interwoven with gold thread. The sari and blouse are woven together so as to ensure a perfect match.

Later, we continue driving to Pondicherry.

Upon arrival, check into, the Maison Perumal

Overnight at Hotel Maison Perumal (Standard Room)

Day 06: Pondicherry

Morning, we proceed for sightseeing tour of Pondicherry.

The Church of Our Lady of the Angels (Notre Dame des Anges)

Built in 1855, this is the Greek Roman architectural style. Its façade, flanked by two unadorned square towers faces east towards the ocean. The interior is roofed by a barrel vault, with a great dome rising over the crossing. This church is also famous for its rare oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption, which was a gift from the French emperor, Napoleon III. The church has old pews (seating) made of cane, Indian stained glass filters sunlit patterns of color into the interior.

Aurobindo Ashram. - It is located on rue de la Marine, one of the most well known in India, with devotees both from India and all over the world flocking to it for spiritual salvation. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science. It is open to the public daily between 08-1200 hrs and 1400-1800 hrs.The Ashram was set up in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, one of India’s greatest philosopher-poets.

Overnight at Hotel Maison Perumal (Standard Room)

Day 07: Pondicherry / Chidambaram / Darasuram / Kumbakonam / Thanjavur (185 Kms) (05 Hrs Drive)

Morning, we will drive to Kumbakonam, en route visiting Chidambaram, and Darasuram.

Chidambram is in between two rivers in a 40 acres temple-complex, it is one of the oldest and magnificent temples of the South. Shiva Natrala or the Dancing Shiva stands in his cosmic dance pose in the golden rooted sanctorum. Flanking the temple are 108 sculptured illustrations of Bharat NatyaShashtra. In Akash Lingam hidden by a veil, lies the real secret of Chidambaram. From we continue driving to Darasuram

Darasuram is a small town near Kumbakonam. It is known for the Airavateshwar Temple built by a Chola king in the 12th Century CE. This temple is a storehouse of art and architecture. The vimana is 85 feet high. The front mandapam itself is in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses. The temple has some exquisite stone carvings. The main deity's consort Periya Nayaki Amman temple is situated adjacent to Airavateshwarar temple. From here we will continue our drive to Kumbakonam.

Then, we will visit Kumbakonam, which is flooded with temples of large size. There are as many as sixty temples, in and around Kumbakonam within 40-km of radius. Of the many temples in Kumbakonam, the oldest Shaiva fane is the Adikumbeshwara and the oldest Vaishnava fane, the Sri Sarangapani.

From here we will continue our driving to Thanjavur.

Upon arrival, check in to hotel Ideal River View Resort

Overnight at Ideal River View Resort (River View Room)