Live Chat by comm100

Tirth Yatra – South India - 7 Nights / 8 days

Rate This Tour
(0 votes)
Duration :7 Nights / 8 days
Places : Delhi->Chennai->Titupati->Mahabalipuram->Tanjore->tiruchirapalli->Madurai->Rameshwaram->
Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive CHENNAI

Arrive Chennai. You are met on arrival and transferred to the hotel.

In the afternoon take a tour of the gateway to the sunny south. Madras, (now called Chennai) the capital of Tamil Nadu, is also a seat of ancient civilization, with a rich heritage of fine arts, sculpture and architecture. The British East India Company established one of its earliest seats of power in India in Madras. The construction of Fort St. George was begun around 1650. Today the old buildings in the fort house the Tamil Nadu Government Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly.

St. Mary's Church, consecrated in 1680, is the earliest English building surviving intact in India and also the earliest Anglican church in the east. The Fort St. George Museum contains some fascinating items belonging to the early days of the East India Company and the colonial period - coins, weapons, pictures and books form part of the collection. San Thome Church is associated with the Apostle St. Thomas. It is believed that he was martyred on St.

Thomas' Mount and his remains are enshrined in this church. The Marina, is a 13-km long sandy beach running along the whole length of Madras, fringed with palms and casuarinas. One of the most important localities of Chennai is the unified complex of Mylapore, where the Kapaleswara Shiva temple, the tank, market area and old Brahmin residential houses are situated. Overnight at the hotel.


After breakfast, depart on the 3-hour drive to Tirupati. On arrival check in at the hotel.

In the afternoon visit the Sri Venkatesvara Temple, billed as the richest and busiest pilgrimage centre in the world, overtaking Mecca and Rome. It attracts vast numbers of pilgrims all year round and offerings of money and jewellery pour in every day. The 16th century Govindarajesvami Temple is the most widely visited. The main sanctuaries are dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna. Overnight at a simple hotel.


After breakfast depart on the return drive to Chennai. On arrival check in at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.


After breakfast depart for Kanchipuram which lies 70 km from Chennai and was the erstwhile capital of the Pallavas and Cholas who reigned between the 7th and 13th centuries. These two powerful dynasties gave the city its numerous temples and tanks. The town today has as many as 150 active temples dedicated to various gods and goddesses. One of the seven holiest cities of India, it is well planned, with broad streets designed to accommodate the large processions that take place throughout the year in celebration of festivals dedicated to the many and various deities.

The Kailashanatha and Vaikuntaperumal Vishnu temples were both built in the 8th century of sandstone and house some of the most elegant sculptures of Shiva, Nataraja, Durga mounted on a lion and of Vishnu. The former also contains some remnants of mural paintings from the Pallava period. The Varadaraja Vishnu temple is a large complex with mandapas, tanks and sculptured halls. It has an ancient mango tree; the four branches are said to represent the four Vedas, and each has a different taste. To eat the fruit is to gain eternal wisdom. The Ekambareshwara temple is also a large complex where devotees still flock in large numbers.

Continue on the 2-hour drive to Mahabalipuram, the port city of the Pallavas in the 7th century. In this picturesque setting of sandy beaches and the sea can be seen some 70 monuments that influenced temple architecture in Tamil Nadu for centuries to come. The first important group is formed by the five rathas - rock-cut monoliths named after the heroes of the Mahabharata which simulate ceremonial chariots.
Some of these rathas are unfinished and in them can be seen the carving technique used to form temples out of living rock. Also within this complex are large sculptures of a lion, an elephant and a seated Nandi (the bull) Lord Shiva's mount. The other cave temples of Mahishasuramardini and Olalkkannesware (God of the Flaming Eye) are carved out of the hillside to form pillared halls and enclosed shrines within which are some magnificent sculptures, some larger than life, of gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. Overnight at the hotel.


After breakfast depart on the 2-hour drive to Chidambaram, where the celebrated Nataraja temple - the temple of the Dancing Shiva - is situated. The god Shiva performed his cosmic dance after humbling several conceited rishis (sagas), who believed they had acquired extraordinary powers through their rigorous austerities. Much of the temple as seen today was built by the Chola emperors. Massive gopurams soar over great entrances. There are several shrines in the temple complex, including one for the god Vishnu. The sanctum sanctorum enshrines the god in his dance pose. Adjacent to it is the sanctum of the goddess whose name here is Shivakamasundari - “the beautiful woman who evoked the love of Shiva”. An unusual shrine is one without an image in it; this is known as the secret of Chidambaram - the implication being that god is to be found everywhere, especially in the heart.

The road from Chidambaram to Tanjore (Tanjavur), passes through villages and small towns. Of particular interest is Darasuram, just outside the bustling town of Kumbakonam. Darasuram has a magnificent Shiva temple, the Airavateswarar temple built in the 12th century. Because of neglect and poor maintenance over the centuries, much of the temple has crumbled but what remains reveals a gem of Chola architecture and sculpture. The main shrine with a 26-m tall vimana (super-structure) and the shrine of the goddess are in a fair state of preservation. The entrance hall is shaped like a chariot and the steps leading up to it give out musical notes.

You could also make a short trip to Swamimalai with its ancient and sacred temple on a small hill. The great attraction of Swamimalai is that it is one of the places where bronzes are still made by traditionally trained artisans. These men reach the heights of excellence achieved by their Chola ancestors, following the same rules, pouring the molten metal into carefully crafted moulds and giving the finishing touches by hand. On arrival in Tanjore check in at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.


In the morning visit Tanjore, which was the capital of the Chola empire from the 10th to the 14th centuries.

Later it became part of the Vijayanagar kingdom, then passed into the hands of the Marathas and later still went to the British. For ages it has been the chief political, literary and religious centre of the south. The celebrated temple of Brihadeshwara, built by the Chola king Raja the Great during the 11th century, is its major attraction. The Saraswasti Mahal library, dating from the time of the Marathas, contains a rare collection of books and manuscripts on paper and palm-leaf.

In the afternoon depart on the 1-hour drive to Tiruchirapalli, also known as Trichy, which was held by the Chola and Pallava dynasties. The Nayakas of Madurai have constructed the greater portion of the town. Overnight at the hotel.


After breakfast visit the Trichy Fort, which played an important part in the battles waged between the English and the French to gain power. The Rock Fort is a landmark of Trichy and contains excavated cave temples dating back to the 7th century, the Hall of a hundred Pillars and a Ganesha temple on its summit. On the island of Srirangam is a massive Vishnu temple with seven walls.

In the afternoon depart on the 3-hour drive to Madurai. In the evening witness the puja ceremony at Meenakshi temple. Overnight at the hotel.


After breakfast visit Madurai, known as the City of Festivals. It is the most ancient home of culture, with the first Tamil Academy being founded here by scholars and pious kings. The town has developed around the famous Meenakshi temple, built in the Dravidian style, dedicated to Lord Shiva and his spouse Meenakshi. The massive gopurams are profusely decorated with as many as 33 million carvings, including an encyclopaedia of dancing poses. The Court of Thousand Pillars, built in 1560, has lovely sculptures. Outside the temple are the Musical Pillars which produce different 'swaras' (notes), when tapped. The Vasanth Mandapam has life-size statues of the Nayakas of Madurai. Thirumalai Nayaka Palace, a 10-minute walk from the temple, was built in 1636 in the Indo-Mughal style. The afternoon is at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.


After an early breakfast, depart for Rameshwaram, an important pilgrimage site where Rama worshipped Shiva. The Ramalingesvara (Ramanathasvami) Temple was founded by the Cholas but most of the temple was built in the Nayaka period (16th-17th century). The most remarkable feature is the temple’s pillared mandapas - the longest corridor is over 200m long. Overnight at a simple hotel.

Day 8: Drive RAMESHWARAM to MADURAI and depart

After an early breakfast depart on the return drive to Madurai. Connect with the onward flight to Chennai or Mumbai.



Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated.
Basic HTML code is allowed.