When you think about South India, magnificent temples with towering gopurams and a deep sense of spirituality washes you over. The southern end of India is dotted all over with magnificent temples, depicting elaborate and finely engraved sculptures and carvings dedicated to numerous gods and goddesses. Every step of the way you will be greeted with some big or small temple that will instill a feeling of deep faith and oneness. Exploring the temples in the south is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime to truly grasp the deep sense of devotion, love, and respect that is deeply instilled in the lives of the Indian population as a whole. From being home to the richest temple in the world to the biggest temple and more, exploring the south Indian temples will make you truly realize the rich heritage, culture, and traditions this subcontinent displays with pride.
Day 01: Arrival in Chennai
Your 12 days of south India temple tour will commence upon your arrival in Chennai. You will be greeted by our tour representative who will get you checked in to your hotel for relaxation, dinner followed by an overnight stay.
Day 02: Chennai – Tirupati – Chennai
After having your breakfast at the hotel in the morning you will be made to head out to the temple tour destination of the day, Tirupati. Tirupati is an ancient holy Hindu town located in Andhra Pradesh which is about 3 to 4 hours of drive away. The town is considered so holy that it receives almost 1 lakh visitors and devotees on a daily basis. On reaching Tirupati you will be taken to some of the most famous temples in Tirupati which will include – Sri Padmavathi Temple at Tiruchanoor, Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy Temple at Srinivasa Mangapuram, Govindaraja Swamy Temple, Kapila Teertham, Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple, Sri Kalahasteeswara Temple at Srikalahasti and Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy Temple at Narayanavanam. After the completion of temple Darshan and offering your prayer you will be driven back to your hotel in Chennai to get ready for the next day and an overnight stay.
Day 03: Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mamallapuram
Today, after breakfast, early in the morning you will be made to head for your next destination to Mahabalipuram which is also known as Mamallapuram with a quick stopover at Kanchipuram en route. Did you know that Kanchipuram is also known as the city of 1000 temples? On Reaching Kanchipuram you will be taken around so that you get the importance and vibrancy that this place has to offer. Kanchipuram is one of the holiest places in India which has also served as the capital of the cholas during the 2nd century. After some sightseeing around you will be finally headed to Mahabalipuram. On reaching you will be first checked in to your hotel before starting the sightseeing. After freshening up you will be taken for sightseeing to Krishna Mandapam and the iconic shore temples of the 2nd century. The shore temple is a must visit in Mahabalipuram which is located right on the shore of Arabian Sea and displays the Dravidian architecture in its complete glory. Finally after the sightseeing, by sundown you will be made to head back to your hotel in Mamallapuram for an overnight stay.
Day 04: Mamallapuram – Tiruvannamalai – Pondicherry
Early in the morning, post breakfast, you will be headed to Pondicherry with a small stopover in Tiruvannamalai for a brief excursion. The entire journey from Mamallapuram to Pondicherry is about 5 to 6 hours of drive by road. On the way you will be taken for an excursion to Tiruvannamalai. Tiruvannamalai is another one of the holiest towns in Tamil Nadu and its name literally translates into Red Mountain, inspired by the volcano mountain located right behind it. This holy town is also an ancient heritage site which is also the hub of Saiva religion. You will be taken to Arunachal hill temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built during the 9th century. Finally you will be driven to Pondicherry or Puducherry where on arrival you will be immediately checked in to your hotel where you will be staying for the night.
Day 05: Pondicherry Sightseeing
This day in Pondicherry will be reserved for a full day of sightseeing excursion. After having breakfast in the morning you will be taken for an assisted full day of Pondicherry sightseeing to some of the most popular locations.
Sri Aurobindo ashram will be your first destination. Established in 1926, this has to be one of the most unique and extremely popular ashrams dedicated to the iconic sage, saint, philosopher and thinker Sri Aurobindo. Your next destination will be the Pondicherry museum which will shed light on the history this small, quaint town has been through. The building of the museum belonged to an ex French administrator and displays various rare sculptures and other stuff made from precious and semi-precious stones like beads, necklaces, temple lamps and so much more. Church of the sacred heart Jesus will be the next place of interest on the list. Your Pondicherry experience remains incomplete without an interesting visit to the church. This 17th century church is one of Pondi’s finest churches and a must visit. You will end your list of places by a final visit to Manakula Vinayagar Koil Temple which is a 300 year old temple dedicated to lord Ganesh and boasts of golden spire on top.
Finally you will be taken back to your hotel in Pondi for an overnight stay.
Day 06: Pondicherry – Chidambaram – Thanjavur
After breakfast in the morning you will be made to head on to your next destination of Thanjavur or initially known as Tanjor which is about 5 hours of road journey away. En route you will be stopping over at Chidambaram which is dedicated to Lord Nataraja and is one of the rare places that houses and enshrines both idols of Lord Shiva and Vishnu under the same roof. It is also rare for being the temple that is solely dedicated to the dance form of Bharatnatyam and also where Lord Shiva is shown in the form of an idol rather than the customary lingam. Spreading out over an area of about 40 acres with towering gopurams on either sides, separated by 5 Sabhas is not just a holy land but is also an inspiring destination for devotees.
Finally you will be made to head on to your final destination in Thanjavur where you will be checked in to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 07: Thanjavur – Tiruchirappalli (Trichy)
Early in the morning after breakfast you will be checked out of your hotel and headed for your complete sightseeing of the famous sightseeing locations in Thanjavur. This will include visits to places like Brihadeshwara Temple – a UNESCO world heritage site, Great living Chola temples – another interesting UNESCO world heritage site. By afternoon you will be headed on to Trichy. On arrival in Trichy you will be checked in to your hotel. The remainder of the evening will be free for you to spend in leisure followed by an overnight stay.
Day 08: Trichy Temple Tour – Madurai
Early in the morning, post breakfast, you will be checked out of your hotel and made to head for your next destination of Madurai. Before leaving for Madurai you will be taken for a temple tour of Trichy city. Firstly you will be taken to the holy island temple town of Srirangam. This holy island is over 600 acres wide across the 7 gigantic walls of Srirangam Temple. It is famous for housing over 22 different gopurams with one of them making it to the Guinness world record for being the tallest Gopuram in the world. Your next location will be the famous landmark of Trichy, the fort. The rock in the fort is the oldest piece of rock in the world with the main attraction being a small temple within the fort too. Finally you will be headed to Madurai where on reaching you shall be checked in to your hotel here for an overnight stay.
Day 09: Madurai Sightseeing
A full day of temple hopping in Madurai will begin early in the morning, post breakfast. Madurai is another holy city that resides just next to the holy river Vaigai. The place boasts of a great cultural heritage and a very strong background of mythological accounts. The city was constructed by the pandya kings in the shape of a lotus which has also earned its name of being the lotus city. These sightseeing will include visit to places like Meenakshi Amman Temple, Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal, Vaigai Dam, Alagar Kovil and Koodal Azhagar Temple. After a full day of exploring the temples in the holy town of Madurai and shopping for souvenirs, you will be taken back to your hotel in Madurai for an overnight stay.
Day 10: Madurai – Kanyakumari
After having your breakfast in the morning and having checked out of your hotel in Madurai you will be headed to your next destination of the shore city of Kanyakumari. This road journey will be about 4 to 5 hours long. On reaching Kanyakumari you will be taken for a sightseeing expedition before checking into your hotel. This half day of sightseeing will include visit to places like: Swami Vivekananda’s memorial which is built in a small rocky island which is just 200 meters away from the shore; Kumari Amman Temple – the temple is situated near the seashore and as per mythology goddess Devi is said to have performed intense prayers in order to get the hand of the lord in marriage to her and Thiruvallur statue. Finally you will be checked in to your hotel in Kanyakumari for an overnight stay.
Day 11: Kanyakumari – Trivandrum
After having your breakfast in the morning you will be taken to Trivandrum which is about 3 to 4 hours away from Kanyakumari. You will be reaching Trivandrum by afternoon and immediately checked in to your hotel. After freshening up a little bit you will be taken for some sightseeing in Trivandrum. This will include visits to places like Padmanabha Swamy Temple which is famous for being the wealthiest temple in the world and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This will be followed by a visit to Napier museum which is a 19th century monument and displays a rare and unique collection of carvings and murals. Finally you will be headed to your hotel in Trivandrum where you will be checked in and stay for the night.
Day 12: Trivandrum Departure
Post breakfast in the morning you will be checked out of your hotel and made to depart for your point of departure. The drop off at the place of departure like airport or railway station will mark the end of your 12 days and 11 nights of South India Temple Tour Package.