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Temple And Caves Tour Of India

Temple And Caves Tour Of India


Duration: 18 Nights / 19 Days
Places Covered: Mumbai - Aurangabad - Hyderabad - Hubli - Badami - Hospet - Hampi - Hassan - Mysore - Bangalore - Chennai

Day 01: DEC 17
Mumbai (Bombay)

Arrive Mumbai.
Welcome to the commercial and celluloid capital of India.
Upon arrival you will be received by our representative and transferred to your hotel and overnight stay.

Welcome to India. You will be received at International Airport and immediately transferred to your hotel for rest.

Mumbai's Skyline Is Recognisable In Advertisements And Pictorial Depictions Stating The Country's Technological And Financial Hub. It's An Imposing Skyline. The Contours Are Hazy But The Residents Don't Seem To Mind. They Love This Place And This All-Encompassing Love Is Infectious.
What Are The Few Nail-On-The-Head Characteristics Of The City? A Walk On Marine Drive, The Gateway Of India, Warden Road, University Buildings, Fort, Townhall, Mumbai High Court To Name A Few. The Waves Splashing Against The Embankment Establish An Essence Of Mumbai Too, Much In The Same Genre As The Skyline. The Pub And Bar Scenario Here Is Quite State Of The Art And Ranges From The Sophisticated Ones In The Five Stars To The Hip And Trendy Ones In Colaba And The Suburbs. Mumbai Is Also Known As The Hollywood Of India Or Bollywood (From The Names Bombay And Holywood) And Is The Biggest Film Industry Of The World.


Busy for own activities.

Overnight in Mumbai.

Day 02: DEC 18

Busy for own activities.


Day 03: DEC 19
Mumbai - Nashik - Shirdi
By road 200 kms + 123 kms

Morning after breakfast proceed for Shirdi via Nashik.

Nashik is one of the most important cities of Northern Maharashtra. Nashik, in Maharashtra, is situated at a distance of 200 km from Mumbai (Bombay) as well as Pune. The city has become the center of attraction because of its beautiful surroundings and cool and pleasant climate. Nashik has a personality of its own due to its mythological, historical, social and cultural importance. The city, vibrant and active on the industrial, political, social and cultural fronts, has influenced the lives of many a great personalities. The river Godavari flows through the city. Temples and ghats on the banks of Godavari have made Nashik one of the holiest places for Hindus all over the World. To share the activities of such a dynamic place with the people of the world.

Visit the important sightseeing places in and around Nashik.

Nashik Mandir's Panchavati: River Godavari flows through Nashik and its Northern part is called as Panchavati. It is said that lord Shri Ram and Sita along with Laxman stayed at Panchavati for some time. Thus Panchavati has gained holy importance. There are five Banyan (Vad) trees and hence the area is called Panchavati. Nearby is Sita Gumpha (cave) where Sita is said to have stayed for some time Sita Gumpha: The Gumpha (i.e. Cave) is near the five Banyan trees in Panchavati. One can enter the cave with the help of a very narrow staircase. The cave has the idol of Shree Ram, Laxman and Sita. To the left, one can enter into the cave having the Shiva Linga. Devotees believe that Ravan kidnapped Sita from the same place.

Ramkund/Gandhi Memorial: The most important place in Panchavati is Ramkund. It is so called because Lord Rama is believed to have taken bath there. Mortal remains (Asthi) immersed in this kunda, are immediately absorbed in the water. A dip in this sacred kunda is considered very pious. Situated nearby is Gandhi Lake (Talav) having a memorable

monument made out of white marble, in memory of the Father of the Nation. The ashes were dropped in Ramkund after Gandhiji passed away on 30th January 1948. Mr. Nehru was also present on this occasion.

Kalaram mandir Another important temple is that of Kala Ram. This temple was built by Peshwas. There are great processions and utsav on Ramnavami, Dasara and Chaitra Padwa (Hindu new year day). The specialty of the temple is that it was built with black stones. The stones were brought from Ramshej 200 years ago. It took 23 lakhs of rupees and 2000 workers to build the temple in 12 years. The apex of the temple is made up of 32 tons of gold. In 1930,

Dr. Ambedkar performed Satyagraha, to allow the entry of Harijans into the temple.

Naroshankar Temple: Situated in Panchavati area, on the bank of river Godavari - fondly called as anga by Nasikites - is Naroshankar Temple of Rameshwar built by Naroshankar Rajebahaddur in 1747.

The architectural style of the temple is called "Maya" style. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of temple architecture of the 18th century. The main temple is on a platform. Rather than inside of the temple, sculpture on the outer part is stunning. It has rows of striking designs. One layer is of decorative lacework. The next one is that of peacocks holding bead garlands. In four directions are statues of the saints in Padmasana - one holding rosary, the other one a holy book - they are all scholars. Some of the statues are deformed - their hands are broken. There is also an assembly of animals - tigers, monkeys, elephants etc. This depicts that Hindu culture is not limited only to human beings but also has relation with birds, animals, trees, and nature in general.

After sightseeing tour proceed to Shirdi.

Nashik - Shirdi
By road 123 Km
Reach and check in Hotel.

Gurusthan: Sai Baba first came to Shirdi in the form of Bal Yogi - a child ascetic. He was first spotted seated under a Neem tree. This place came to be known as Gurusthan. The renovation of Gurusthan was made on 30th September, 1941. The present temple was built after this period. There is a small shrine in Gurusthan. On a elevated platform of this shrine a big portrait of Baba is placed. On the side is a marble statue of Baba. In front of the portrait is a Shivling and the Nandi. Photos of twelve Jyotirlingas are kept in the temple. The branches of the Neem tree have come out through the roof of the temple.

Samadhi Mandir: The Mandir is built with stones and Baba's Samadhi is built with white marble stones. A railing is built in marble around the Samadhi and is full of ornamental decorations. In front of the Samadhi are two silver pillars full of decorative designs. Just behind the Samadhi is Sai Baba's marvelous statue made of Italian marble which shows him seated on a throne. This idol was made by late Balaji Vasant. The routine of the temple starts at 5 o'clock in the morning with Bhoopali, a morning song, and closes at 10 o'clock in the night after Shejarati is sung. Only on three occasions the temple is kept open overnight. ie. On Gurupoornima, Dassera, and Ramnavami. Every Thursday and on each festival, a palkhi with Baba's photo is taken out from the temple.

Overnight at Hotel.

Day 04: DEC 20
Shirdi - Aurangabad
By road 144 kms

Morning after breakfast proceeds for Aurangabad. Upon arrival transfer to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure or visit the local market. Reach and check in at hotel.
The city of Aurangabad was founded in 1610, on the site of a village, Khirki by Malik Ambar - the Prime Minister of Murtaza Nizam Shah II. When Fateh Khan, Malik Ambar's son turned successor in 1626, he gave the city the name 'Fatehpur'. Later in 1653, when Prince Aurangzeb became Viceroy of the Deccan, he made the city his capital and called it Aurangabad. Aurangzeb added the walls that enclose the central part of the city in 1686 in order to withstand attacks from the Marathas. There are four principle gateways to the city - the Delhi Darwaza, the Jalna Darwaza, the Paithan Darwaza and the Mecca Darwaza. Nine secondary gateways also formed a part of the defensive system of this city.

Aurangabad district has always been a prominent region on the Deccan plateau. Having been inhabited since the Stone Age, it has a long artistic and cultural history - to which several dynasties have made major contributions over the years. Maurya rule marked the arrival of Buddhism in Maharashtra.

Aurangabad today is a bustling city of Maharashtra with diverse big and small industries, fine silken textiles, and exquisite hand woven brocades of silver and gold fabrics, Himroo of world frame. To scholars and lovers of art and culture the city is more familiar as the gateway to the ancient caves of Ajanta and Ellora, both famous as treasure houses of Indian Art and Sculpture.

Overnight at Aurangabad.

Day 05: DEC 21
Aurangabad

Proceed for a full day excursion to Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves.

Ajanta caves: Nestling in an inner fold of the Sahyardi hills, 106 km from Aurangabad in the shape of a mammoth horse- shoe, are the 30 rock-hewn caves of Ajanta are adorned with Buddhist sculpture and the frescoes portray in epic form the religious and secular life through eight centuries. The Caves date from the 2nd century BC. Discovered in 1819 by a group of British army officers, these startling achievements took around 600 years to create. Carved with little more than a hammer and chisel, Ajanta, once the retreat of Buddhist monastic orders features several 'chaityas' (chapels) and 'viharas' (monasteries). The exquisite wall and ceiling paintings, panels and sculptures of Buddha's life are famous throughout the world as the earliest and finest examples of Buddhist pictorial art.

Ellora Caves: Impressive in their own right is the rock-hewn temples and monasteries of Ellora that lie just 30 km away from Aurangabad city shrines representing Buddhist, Hindu & Jain art dating from the 4th to 9th century A.D. The most remarkable among them is the Kailash Temple, meant to be a
replica of Lord Shivas celestial abode - Kailash is the best example of
rock-cut architecture and an engineering marvel.

In all, there are 34 cave temples, 12 Mahayana Buddhist caves (550-750 AD), 17 Hindu caves (600-875 AD) and 5 caves of the Jain faith (800-1000 AD) 22 more caves, dedicated to Lord Shiva, were recently discovered. Kailas Temple (cave16), the central attraction at Ellora, is the most remarkable. Chiseled by hand from a single massive rock, it includes a gateway, pavilion, courtyard, vestibule, sanctum, sanctorum and tower which bear testimony to the excellence of Dravidian art. It is believed to have taken 7000 laborers, working in continuous shifts and 150 years to build. Ever since the first European visitors in 18th Century, Ellora has attracted chroniclers, antiquarians, scholars and in more recent years, ever- increasing number of tourists.

Return back to Aurangabad in the evening. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 06: DEC 22
Aurangabad - Hyderabad

Check out from the hotel 1200 hrs. Evening transfer to railway station for Hyderabad night train.

Train Number: #7663
Train Name: MMR KCG Express

Dep: 1920 Hrs Arr: 0830 Hrs

Overnight in Train.

Day 07: DEC 23
Hyderabad

Morning arrive Hyderabad and transfer to hotel. Afternoon tour of Hyderabad.
Visit Charminar - the rectangular four arched monumental gate often
described as the "Arch of Triumph of the East", The Mecca Mosque and visit
the Salar Jung Museum - one man collection of manuscripts, ancient weapons,
costumes and curios. Visit the High Court buildings. Overnight at Hyderabad.

Day 08: DEC 24
Hyderabad - Hubli
Train Number: #7429
Train Name: RAYALASEEMA EXP
Dep: 1725 hrs Arr: 0830 Hrs

Morning proceed for an excursion to Golconda. Afternoon transfer to railway station for train to Hubli.

Day 09: Dec 25
Hubli - Badami
110 kms by road

Morning sightseeing tour of Badami, the ancient capital of Chalukyas, founded in 535 A.D. and renowned for its rock cut temples, gateways, forts and inscriptions. Visit Fiva Caves,

dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Shiva, The Jains and Buddhist with frescoes and paintings, and two beautiful lake-side temples (Bhutnath Temples). Explore Badami's 6th and 7th century rock cut shrines.

Day 10: Dec 26
Badami - Pattadakal 25 kms
Pattadakal - Aihole 20 kms
Aihole - Hospet 155 kms

Arrive Badami and check in at Hotel. Full day trip to Pattadakkal and Ajhole. Pattadakkal, a World Heritage Centre in India has 10 major temples representing the early Chalukya architecture while Ajhole is a town with as many as 70 temples belonging to A.D. 600 to 750. with most of the 'Shikaras' in Indo-Aryan style. Visit to the rock-cut temples to see temples of Pattadkal where the evolution of windows and pillared halls made the temple more decorative and larger. Visit Virupakha Mallikarjuna and other temples. Overnight stay at the Hotel.

After sightseeing proceed for Hospet. Arrive Hospet and check - in at hotel.

Day 11: Dec 27
Hospet - Hampi - Hospet
15 kms+15 kms
Morning after breakfast proceed for a day return excursion to Hampi, the beautiful capital of Vijaynagar empire. Visit the Lotus Temple with its famous stone chariot, musical pillars and incredible sculpture work. The Hazar Rama Temple depicts the story of Ramayana in great detail.

Evening transfer to the train station for train to Bangalore.

Hospet +++ Bangalore
Train Number : 6591
Train Name : Hampi Express
Departure time : 2000 Hrs

Overnight in Train.

Day 12: Dec 28 Bangalore
Arrival Bangalore City: 0630 Hrs

You will be received by our representative and transferred to Hotel. After breakfast Relax for few hours. Thereafter start sightseeing tour of Bangalore.

Bangalore- The garden city of India known for its numerous parks and avenues of jacaranda, gulmohar, Cassia. It is one of the sixth larges and one of the cleanest cities in India. World class technological excellence has earned it the sobriquet, India's Silicon Valley.
Bangalore city was founded by Kempa Gowda in the 1537 AD and it remained as a British Garrison town for about 50 Yrs from 1831.

Relax for few hours in Hotel. Afternoon start the halfday sightseeing tour of Bangalore.

Visit the Vidhan Soudha, Cubbon Park and Museums and Bull temple.

Vidhan Soudha - Located at the northern end of Cubbon Park which houses both the state Legislature and the secretariate. Built in 1954 in the Neo Dravidian style of architecture, it is one of the Bangalore's most impressive structures.

Cubbon Park - This 120 hectare park laid out in 1864 is the main lung of the city and provides a pleasant escape from the surrounding urban chaos and it especially popular with local people. It has beautifully laid out lawns, grassy expanses, flowering trees, children's play ground, bandstand and a restaurant.

The government museum here is the oldest in India and was established in1886. It contains a collection of stone carvings, pottery, weapons etc from all over Karnataka.

Overnight at Hotel.

Day 13: Dec 29 Bangalore - Hassan

Morning after breakfast proceed for Hassan. Stop at midway restaurant for Lunch. Reach and check in Hotel.
As per the history the name Hassan was derived from Simhasanapura, later it became Hassan. There is a temple in the heart of the city of Goddess Hasanamba, the temple will


be opened for public once in a year. Hassan is popularly called as "poor man's Ooty". Hassan will be your base for visiting the famous temples of Belur and Halebid. Hassan is a picturesque town in the heart of Malnad with a pleasant climate. Hassan is adequately organized in terms of hotels, shops and transport. It is also well connected by road and rail to Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore.

Day 14: Dec 30
Hassan - Belur - Halebid - Hassan
39 kms + 16 kms + 40 kms

Morning City Tour of Belur and Halebid. Belur famous for it Hoysala architecture. Its Temple of Lord Channakeshava is embellished with carving which has few equals in the world. Halebid - The seat of Hoysala Kingdom, its great Hoyaleswara Temple was built in the typical Hoysala style architecture. A stellar base with the emblem of the lion and elephants seemingly supporting the temple, signify stability.
222 kms from Bangalore, 39 kms from Hassan and 149 kms from Mysore is Belur famous for its exquisite temples. Belur is known as the Dakshina Varanasi or Southern Banaras. The serenity of Belur is attributed to the celebrated temple of Channakeshava, built by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 A.D. to commemorate his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism.
The main structure of the temple, which is star-shaped, is a homogeneous architectural unit on a raised platform. Everything is carved in black stone, looking like metal. Facing the temple, at the entrance, stands the winged figure of Garuda, Lord Vishnu's carrier. The 650 charging elephants on the frieze around the walls outside are all different from each other. The exotic bracket figures

(Madanikas) on the walls of this temple are serene, playful and amorous, enhancing the overall effect of this pinnacle of architectural excellence.
Inside, even in the darkness, you can see the hand-lathed-turned shining pillars, each unique in its own splendor. On the smooth circular platform in front of the shrine, you can see the beautiful Shantala Devi, queen of King Vishnuvardhana. The spotlight is now on to the four famous bracket figures on the ornate ceiling. All these figures have been inspired by Shantala Devi's voluptuous beauty. Sculpted limbs undulate in lyrical lines. One sculpted beauty communicates with a pet parrot whose tail is peacock like, another wrings water from her long hair and you can see the drops collected on hair-ends, the delicacy and attention to the finest details here are incredible.
Halebid is about 15 kms away from Belur. This place was known as Dwara Samudra, the wealthy capital of the Hoysalas. Halebid has several strikingly beautiful Hoysala Temples and Jain shrines. The Hoysaleshwara temple, standing on platform like a casket, is a sculptural extravaganza, richly endowed with most finely detailed scrollwork in stone.
Outside the temple is a Nandi (Bull), the mount of Shiva, and a hillock where the palaces stood, connected to the temple by a passage. Inside its dark depths, the queen Shantala Devi beckons from an alcove. The figure of mortals and immortals are larger here as compared to Belur and are beautifully chiseled, in shining black stone. The walls of the temple are covered with variety of gods and goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls.
There is a museum outside in the sprawling lawn with 12-13th century sculpture and the gold coins in use at the time.
Another famous temple is the Keddareshwara temple, where the sculptor's virtuosity seems to have surpassed even the goldsmith's skill in its sheer intricacy.
One kilometer from Halebid is Basti hill, where there are Jain Bastis with gleaming black stone pillars.

Day 15: Dec 31
Hassan - Sravanbelagola - Mysore
By road 52 kms + 80 kms

Morning after breakfast proceed for Mysore enroute visit to Mysore.
Wedged between two stark rocky hills, this legendary pilgrim center and shrine of the Jains since early times is 149 kms from Bangalore, 52 kms from Hassan and 80 kms from Mysore. The monolithic statute of Lord Gomateshwara, a Jain saint and an object of worship for centuries, standing atop one of the hills (Indragiri hill), is 17 mts high and it is said to be one of the tallest and most graceful monolithic statues in the world.
Chamundaraya, a general and minister of the Ganga, King Rachamatta, created the symmetry in stone around 983 A.D. The Mahamastakabhisheka festival, an elaborate ritual, held here once every 12 years, the last one in 1993, attracts devotees from all over the world. Priests climb up to pour pots of coconut water, turmeric paste and vermilion powder over the statue's head. Just opposite is the smaller Chandragiri hill, where some Jain temples and tomb of Chandragupta Maurya, famous patron of Jainism can be seen.
Reach and check in Hotel.
After noon visit the famous Mysore Palace and Chamundi Hills.
Mysore, the city of Palaces - 17 in all. Although no longer a princely state, it retains its old charm and many buildings are adorned with domes, turrets and impressive archways. Also known as "Sandalwood City" it is a major center for the manufacture of incense so that the air is often sweet and fragrant. Its fairly high altitude (770 m) accords it a pleasant climate visitor and there is much to see from Maharaja Palaces to the best fruit and vegetable market in India. The beautiful profile of this walled Indo-Saracenic Palace, the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore, graces the city's skyline, rebuilt in 1912. The Mysore Arts and Crafts Centre, known for its fine craftsmanship in wood, ivory, sandalwood and silk.
Drive out to Chamundi hill to view the Chamundeswari temple and the famous Nandi Bull.
Day 16: Jan 01
Mysore - Srirangapatna - Bangalore +++ Chennai

Morning after breakfast proceed for Bangalore enroute visiting Srirangapatnam - 16 kms from Mysore, this fort was the stronghold of Tipu Sultan, son of Haider Ali. Tipu made a last minute ditch against the British in 1799 before surrendering his kingdom. Among the many fort buildings still intact, are Tipu's airy Summer Palace and his tomb at the Darya Daulat Bagh (garden). Here, is also the celebrated Sri Ranganatha Temple.

Reach and transfer to train station for train to Chennai.

Bangalore - Chennai
By train shatabdi Express
Train Number: #2008
Dep: 1625 Hrs Arr; 2125 Hrs

Upon arrival transfer to your Hotel for Overnight stay.

Day 17: Jan 02
Chennai

Morning full day city tour of Chennai.

Fort ST. Geroge: was built in 1640 AD, by the British East India Company under the direct supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon. This place achieved its name from Saint George, the patron saint of England. The fort houses Saint Mary's Church and fort museum. Saint Mary's Church the oldest Anglican Church built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India.

Marina Beach: It's the second longest beach in the world with a strech of 4.5 kms (2.5 miles). This stretch is filled with statues of rememberence from our Tamil culture to our great leaders. A walk along the Marina in the evening creates elated feelings. The old buildings on side of Kamarajar Salai, a main road along the Marina, would remind you of the good old British days. People from all over the city gather here in the evenings to cool off and eat crispy "sundal and murukku"!

ANNA Memorial: the memorial for ARINZAR ANNADURAI - leader of the Dravidian movement, affectionately called Anna. His speech in Tamil has enchanted millions. Adjoining to this memorial lays another for leader Dr. M.G. Ramachandran leader of AIADMK movement, commonly know as Puractchi Thalaivar MGR. Both of them are situated at the northern end of the Marina Beach. Both these leaders are still living in the hearts of Tamil Nadu people. Light House a massive tall structure situated at south end of the Marina Beach beckons the visitors in the evening and adds glory to the golden sands. All India Radio (AIR) radio broadcast station is located opposite to the light house.

San Thome Basilica: at the south end of Marina Beach was named after Saint Thomas "doubting apostle of Jesus Christ". It is belived he has come to Madras in 52 AD and was killed at St. Thomas Mount just outside the city in 78 AD. Built in 16th Century by the Portuguese, in 1896 it was made a basilica. The beautiful stained glass window at the basilica portrays the story of St Thomas and the central hall has 14 wooden plaques depicting scenes from the last days of Christ.. In the cathedral is a 3ft. high statue of Virgin Mary which is believed to have been brought from Portugal in 1543 Theosophical Society: formed to facilitate and encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science is situated in beautiful sylvan settings in Adyar. The society was founded by Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olott in USA, and later moved to Adyar in 1882. Apart from shrines of all faiths and the peaceful Garden of Remembrance, there is a 95-year old library which has a very good collection of rare Oriental manuscripts written on palm leaves and parchment.

Elliots Beach along the coast down south from Marina. It is also the night beachs for Chennai youth. At the end of this beach are the Velankanni church and the Ashtalakshmi temple. Though the church is much smaller than the original one at Velankanni it attracts its own share of pilgrims.

The Ashtalakshmi temple dedicated to goddess Lakshmi looks quite different from the usual South Indian temples as it is a modern granite tier construction, not even 20 years old.

Birla Planetorium is located near Adyar and Guindy. This modern planetarium is housed in a hemi-spherical theatre. Here a fully computerized projector brings the heavenly bodies to life. The latest astronomical phenomena are brought back to life in simulated environment. Periyar Science & Technology Centre situated near enables the visiting public to understand scientific and technological inventions through working models.

Kalakshetra is located beyond Elliot's beach, is Kalakshetra or 'Temple of Art'. It was founded in 1936 by Rukmini Devi Arundale to train, encourage and revive interest in bharatanatyam, which is the

classical dance form of the state. This institution is among the finest of its kind in the country and is run on the ancient gurukulam system. Throughout the

year Kalakshetra conducts music recital and dance performances in different parts of Chennai.

Adyar Banyan Tree: is one of the largest tree in the world. It measures 238ft from north to south and 250ft from east to west. The total area exceed 59,500 sq ft. This tree is a unique specimen. It has been the centre of many notable gatherings of the Theosophical Society and thousands of visitors have rested in its shade.

Valluvar Kottam: the memorial to the poet-saint Tiruvalluvar is shaped like a temple chariot and is, in fact, the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. A life-size statue of the saint has been installed in the chariot which is 33m. tall. The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot.

The auditorium at Valluvar Kottam is said to be the largest in Asia and can accommodate about 4000 people. It stands as a modern memorial to the great poet who represents the glorious culture of the Tamils
Government Museum: previously known as Pantheon Complex in British period, today houses the Government Museum, Connemara Public Library and the National Art Gallery. The museum contains exhibits ranging from contemporary artifacts to prehistorical findings. Sculptures and bronzes of various periods, sections for zoology, anthropology and geology impress every visitor. Buddhist sculptures found in the Amaravathi section depict the events recorded in the life of the Buddha
Overnight at Chennai.

Day 18: Jan 03
Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram - Chennai
64 kms + 71 kms + 65 kms

Morning full day tour of Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram.

Kanchipuram (64 kms from Chennai) is the ancient capital of the Pallavas famous as a city of 1000 Temples and still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings on the walls. Temples of Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks.

KANCHIPURAM the Golden City of a thousand temples, and one of the seven sacred cities of India, is 71 km from Madras. It was, successively, the capital of the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Rayas of Vijayanagar. During the 6th and 7th centuries, some of the best temples in the city were built by the Pallavas. The city was also a great seat of learning. Sri Sankaracharya, Appar, Siruthonder and the great Buddhist Bhikku lived, and worked here. Today, it is known not only for its temples, but also for its handwoven silk fabrics.

The city of Mahabalipuram is famous for the seven pagodas. Here on the seashore is an interesting group of ancient rock hewn temples which are the examples of Dravidian style of Architecture.

MAHABALIPURAM a seventh century centre for Pallava Kings culture and arts situated on the Bay of Bengal coastline. There are 9 rock cut temples and 5 monolithic temple each Pancha Pandava Rathas and four out of five ratahas are supposed to have been carved out of a single rock. Some World's largest and unique bass relief from the 8th century of the Dravidian style. Located at 50 kilometer drive from Chennai the metropolitan capital of TAMILNADU and the cultural gate way of SOUTH INDIA.

Overnight in Chennai.

Day 19: Jan 04
Chennai / Trivandrum
Morning after breakfast transfer to airport for flight to Trivandrum.

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