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Itinerary for Tamilnadu Pilgriamage Tour

Start Location : Chennai | End Location : Coimbatore | Duration : 10 Days / 9 Nights

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Day 1 - Arrive at Chennai Airport

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Upon arrival at Chennai airport, our representative will meet you at airport arrival lounge, then he will escort you till hotel check in. Overnight stay at hotel in Chennai.

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Day 2 - Chennai Sightseeing >> Mamallapuram >> Chennai

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After breakfast, go on an excursion to the Chennai City then 2 Hrs drive to Mamallapuram for sightseeing. Later on return back to chennai and overnight stay at hotel in Chennai.

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About Chennai

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Unlike some other cities in India, Chennai (previously known as Madras), doesn't have any world famous monuments or tourist attractions. Instead of quickly leaving a memorable first impression, Chennai is a city that requires time and effort to really get to know and appreciate it. It's a city that requires you to explore below its surface and delve into its distinctive culture. These places to visit in Chennai will give you a feel for the city and what makes it special.

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Chennai, popularly regarded as the Gateway to the South, is the capital city of Tamil Nadu. It is the fourth largest metropolis in India, located on a 17 km stretch of the Coromandel Coast. The city grew up around the English settlement of Fort St. George and gradually absorbed the surrounding towns and villages. However, despite the strong British influence, Chennai has retained its traditional Tamil heritage and effectively blended it to create a unique synthesis of cultures. Retaining much of its traditional charm, this 350 year old city provides many a fascinating vignette of southern heritage.

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Chennai is also the centre of South India's film industry. Its skyline is dotted with bright movie billboards advertising the latest celluloid fantasies. It has become a significant form of popular art with their gaudy colors and garish layouts. Here traditional art forms like dance and music are a way of life even in the most modern homes. Training in classical Carnatic music - vocal and instrumental and the exposition of the Bharatanatyam dance form are pursued with zeal.

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About Mamallapuram

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Mamallapuram also known as Mahabalipuram, is a tourist town 60 km south of Chennai famous for its stone carvings.

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Mamallapuram dates back to the Tamil Pallava dynasty in the 7th-9th century. The structures here, mostly carved straight out of granite, are among the oldest existing examples of Dravidian (South Indian) architecture.

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Today's Mamallapuram is purely a tourist town and one of the major attractions around Chennai. The East Coast Road has made it easily accessible - just about an hour from the city. Unfortunately, the entire strip is now a mess of restaurants, resorts, amusement parks, people, discarded plastic and chaotic traffic. At one time you could see the Bay of Bengal almost all the way to M'puram, but, there is so much development that the ocean is glimpsed only as you get close to M'puram.

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Mamallapuram itself was getting run down over the last decade with very patchy efforts at keeping the monuments preserved. This has changed in the last few years with the Shore Temple being included in the UNESCO heritage project. The surroundings have been made much nicer, but, there has been a lot of wind and water erosion on the temple carvings with many of them having undergone loss of detail over the years. Sort of too little, too late, but still, better than nothing. Be prepared to fight you way through clutches of gypsies, beggars, guides, snakes charmers and so on, all of which is an essential part of the experience and not to be frowned upon. The whole thing would be bland without them. A nuisance, but harmless.

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Temples & Places to visit on Day 2
Fort St. George
Fort St. George, Chennai - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Fort St. George
Fort St George is the first English fortress in India, founded in 1644 at the coastal city of Madras, the modern city of Chennai. The construction of the fort provided the impetus for further settlements and trading activity, in what was originally an uninhabited land. Thus, it is a feasible contention to say that the city evolved around the fortress. The fort currently houses the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly and other official buildings.

The East India Company, which had entered India around 1600 for trading activities, had begun licensed trading at Surat, which was its initial bastion. However, to secure its trade lines and commercial interests in the spice trade, it felt the necessity of a port closer to the Malaccan Straits, and succeeded in purchasing a piece of coastal land, originally called Chennirayarpattinam or Channapatnam, where the Company began the construction of a harbour and a fort. The fort was completed on 23 April 1644 at a cost of £3,000, coinciding with St George's Day, celebrated in honour of the patron saint of England. The fort, hence christened Fort St George, faced the sea and some fishing villages, and it soon became the hub of merchant activity. It gave birth to a new settlement area called George Town, which grew to envelop the villages and led to the formation of the city of Madras. It also helped to establish English influence over the Carnatic and to keep the kings of Arcot and Srirangapatna, as well as the French forces based at Pondichéry, at bay. In 1665, after the EIC received word of the formation of the new French East India Company, the fort was strengthened and enlarged while its garrison was increased.

San Thome Basilica
San Thome Basilica, Chennai - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About San Thome Basilica
San Thome Church, also known as St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica and National Shrine of Saint Thomas is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Santhome, in the city of Chennai. It was built in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, over the tomb of Saint Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. In 1893, it was rebuilt as a church with the status of a cathedral by the British. The British version still stands today. It was designed in Neo-Gothic style, favoured by British architects in the late 19th century. This church is one of the only three known churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus, the other two being St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain.

According to legend Saint Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, arrived at Muziris in present-day Kerala state from the Roman province of Judea in A.D. 52 and preached between A.D. 52 and A.D 72, when he was martyred on St. Thomas Mount.

It is claimed that St Thomas' apostolic ministry in India took place specifically at Cranganore along the Malabar coast from 52 A.D to 68 A.D. His journey through Kerala is said to have resulted in numerous conversions. After spending 10 years on the Malabar coast he is said to have travelled Eastwards across the Deccan Plateau, arriving in Mylapore in 68 A.D. The cave at little mount is claimed to be his favourite preaching spot. A 2000 year old never drying, a miraculous stream of water on a rock face are said to be examples of the apostle’s divine exploits. A church atop St. Thomas mount was built by Portuguese in 1547 to mark the spot. It was on this St. Thomas Mount that the apostle was said to be killed by a lance which pierced through his back..

His mortal remains were believed to be buried in the location over which the present day Santhomes Cathedral Basilica stands. Sometime in the 10th century A.D a group of Nestorian Christians from Persia founded the Christian village of San Thomes and proceeded to build a church over the burial site of St. Thomas. This structure fell to ruins between 14th and 15th century. In 1522 the Portuguese moved the apostle’s remains to a new tomb and church which attained the status of Cathedral in 1606.

Marina Beach
Marina Beach, Chennai - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Marina Beach
Marina Beach is a natural urban beach in Chennai, along the Bay of Bengal. The beach runs from near Fort St. George in the north to Foreshore Estate in the south, a distance of 6 km, making it the longest natural urban beach in the country. The Marina is primarily sandy, unlike the short, rocky formations that make up the Juhu Beach in Mumbai. The average width of the beach is 980 ft and the width at the widest stretch is 1,434 ft. Bathing and swimming at the Marina Beach are legally prohibited because of the dangers, as the undercurrent is very turbulent. It is one of the most crowded beaches in the country and attracts about 30,000 visitors a day during weekdays and 50,000 visitors a day during the weekends and on holidays. During summer months, about 15,000 to 20,000 people visit the beach daily.

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Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple
Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple, Chennai - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple
The Ashtalakshmi Kovil is a Hindu temple, which lies on the shorelines near the Elliot's beach, in Chennai, India. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Lakshmi, and her eight primary forms – the Ashtalakshmi – the giver of all eight forms of wealth, namely, offspring, success, prosperity, wealth, courage, bravery, food, and knowledge. The sanctorums are depicted on a multi-tier complex in such a way that visitors could visit all the shrines without stepping over any of the sanctorums.

The temple was constructed on the wishes of Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati swamigal of Kanchi Mutt. Sri Mukkur Srinivasa Varadhachariar was the Mahatma instrumental behind fulfilling the wishes of Kanchi Periyava.The foundation was laid in January 1974 by public participation. The consecration of the temple took place on 5 April 1976 in the presence of the 44th guru of the Ahobila Mutt Vedhantha Dhesika Yatheendhra Mahadhesikan Swami.

The temple measures 65 ft in length and 45 ft in breath. It is modeled after the Sundhararaja Perumal Temple in Uthiramerur.

In this temple, the Ashtalakshmis, the eight forms of goddess Lakshmi, are present in four levels in nine separate sanctums. The shrine of Lakshmi and her consort Vishnu is in level two. One starts the worship from here. Taking the stairs, the path leads to the third floor, which has the shrines of Santhanalakshmi, Vijayalakshmi, Vidyalakshmi and Gajalakshmi. Further few steps would lead to the shrine of Dhanalakshmi, which is the only shrine on the fourth floor. Exiting the main shrine, in the first level, there are shrines for Aadilakshmi, Dhaanya lakshmi and Dharyalakshmi. The temple also has Dashavatara, Guruvayoorappan, Ganesha, Dhanwanthari and Anjaneyar deities.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple
Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Kapaleeshwarar Temple
Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to lord Shiva located in Mylapore, Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The form of Shiva's consort Parvati worshipped at this temple is called Karpagambal is from Tamil. The temple is the most ancient one that has been built around the 7th century CE in Dravidian architecture. The original temple structure is said to have been destroyed by the Portuguese in the 16th century AD. St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica, Chennai was then built in the place where the original temple structure stood.

According to the Puranas, Shakti worshipped Shiva in the form of a peacock, giving the vernacular name Mayilai to the area that developed around the temple. Shiva is worshiped as Kapaleeswarar, and is represented by the lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Karpagambal. The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the Nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam.

The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Kapaleeswarar and Karpagambal being the most prominent. The temple complex houses many halls. The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and four yearly festivals on its calendar. The Arubathimooval festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni is the most prominent festival in the temple.

The present masonry structure was built during the Vijayanagar rulers of the Tuluva Dynasty (1491–1570 CE). The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

Valluvar Kottam
Valluvar Kottam, Chennai - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Valluvar Kottam
Valluvar Kottam is a monument in Chennai, dedicated to the classical Tamil poet philosopher Valluvar.

The construction of the Valluvar Kottam was conceived and executed by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi during the 1970s. It was inaugurated in April 1976 by then President of India Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed.

The monument consists of a decorative arch, an auditorium that can accommodate around 3,500 people, and the Kural Manimandapam, where all the 1,330 couplets from all 133 chapters of the Kural literature are inscribed on bas-relief. The hallmark of the monument is the 128 feet high stone car, a replica of the famed temple chariot of Thiruvarur. The chariot is made of around 3000 blocks of stone. The four giant-sized wheels of the chariot measure 11 feet in diameter and 2 feet in thickness. A life-size statue of Valluvar has been installed in the chariot. The chariot is adorned with the famed Kalamkari drawings.

The architect of the memorial is South Indian traditional architect V. Ganapati Sthapati, who is also the architect of the Thiruvalluvar Statue at Kanyakumari.

The monument is visited by an average of about 700 people during weekdays and 1000 people during weekends.

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Shore Temple
Mamallapuram
Shore Temple, Mamallapuram - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Shore Temple
Shore TempleShore Temple is a standing testimonial to the regal heritage of India. Located at Mahabalipuram, Shore Temples can easily be reached by taking regular buses or by hiring taxis from anywhere in Tamil Nadu. The nearest airport is located at Chennai that lies at a distance of 60 kms from Mahabalipuram. One of the most photographed monuments in India, Shore Temple is a structural monument on the shores of Bay of Bengal.

Built in the 7th century, Shore Temple depicts the royal taste of Pallava dynasty. During the reign of Rajasimha, the temple saw its construction when Pallava art was at its apex. Ravaged by wind and sea, the temple has witnessed the historical events of India. This work of genius was recognized and listed amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Shore Temple comprises three shrines, where the prominent ones are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. In the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), an image of Shivalinga embraces the site. At the rear end, one can find two shrines facing each other. Here, one shrine is dedicated to Ksatriyasimnesvara and other to Lord Vishnu. In the shrine, Lord Vishnu is imaged reclining on the 'Seshanag', which is a symbol of consciousness in Hinduism.

The exterior wall of the shrine to Lord Vishnu and the internal side of the boundary wall are elaborately carved and sculptured. The images on the sculpted panels depict scenes from everyday life. However, the sculptures are incredibly real and artistic. The exterior walls of the temple are segregated by plasters into bays, where the lower part has been impressed into a series of nurturing lions. The archeological department has excavated certain other figures from the site.

Shore Temple is no more a living temple. The structure of the temple makes one to contemplate and perhaps, it was erected basically as a work of art. The Pallavas were known to be the great patrons of art and were keen to create their own style of temple architecture. In the present day, Shore Temple makes the background of Mahabalipuram Dance Festival that is held in Jan /Feb every year. The festival was organized to promote the traditional dance as well as tourism in Mahabalipuram.

Shore Temple is also acknowledged for being the first stone structure made by Pallavas. Before this, the monuments used to be carved out of the rocks or stones. Unlike other monuments of the region, Shore Temple is a five-storied rock-cut structural temple more willingly than monolithical. In southern India, this is one amongst the earliest and most important structural temples. The spire is extensively decorated with carvings and sculptures. In the recent years, a stone wall has been constructed to protect the shrine from further sea-erosion.

Perched on a 50 feet square plinth, the pyramidal structure raises to the extent of 60 feet. Presenting a typical specimen of Dravidian temple architecture, Shore Temple generates an exclusive combination of history and natural splendor. The temple was designed to grasp the first rays of the rising sun and to spotlight the waters after sunset. In the words of Percy Brown, Shore Temple served as "a landmark by day and a beacon by night".

Arjuna's Penance
Mamallapuram
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About Arjuna's Penance
This magnificent relief, carved in the mid-seventh century, measures approximately 30m (100ft) long by 15m (45ft) high. Its huge size and scale is difficult to imagine just from photographs; a person standing on the ground in front of it could barely touch the elephants' feet.

The subject is either Arjuna's Penance or the Descent of the Ganges, or possibly both. In additive cultures like India's, logical alternatives are often conceptualized as "both-and" rather than "either-or."

Arjuna's Penance is a story from the Mahabharata of how Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers, performed severe austerities in order to obtain Shiva's weapon. The idea, which pervades Hindu philosophy, is that one could obtain, by self-mortification, enough power even to overcome the gods. In order to protect themselves, the gods would grant the petition of any ascetic who threatened their supremacy in this way - a kind of spiritual blackmail, or "give to get." (This meaning of the word "penance," by the way, is specific to Hinduism. Unlike the Catholic rite of penance, it is performed to gain power, not to expiate sin.)

The Ganges story is of the same kind, in which the sage Bhagiratha performs austerities in order to bring the Ganges down to earth. Shiva had to consent to break her fall in his hair, because otherwise its force would be too great for the earth to contain.

The symbolism of the relief supports both stories. Furthermore, both stories were interpreted in a manner flattering to the Pallavas; the heroic Arjuna as a symbol of the rulers, and the Ganges as a symbol of their purifying power.

The composition of the relief includes the main elements of the story (left) and scenes of the natural and celestial worlds (right). A natural cleft populated by nagas separates the two halves of the relief. Water was poured down this cleft in order to simulate a natural waterfall (the Ganges' descent). To the left, just above the shrine, Arjuna (or Bhagiratha) stands on one leg, his arms upraised, in a yoga posture. Behind him appears Shiva, holding a weapon and attended by ganas. To the right of the cleft, life-sized elephants protect their young below a scene of numerous other animals and flying celestials, all carved with the greatest vivacity, skill, naturalism, and joyousness.

Pancha Rathas & Cave Temples
Mamallapuram
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About Pancha Rathas & Cave Temples
Pancha Rathas also referred as Pandava Rathas are the most excellent architectural edifices of the nine monolithic temples of Mahabalipuram situated on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, near Chennai. The five structures each chiselled in the shape of rathas or chariots out of large block of stone or monolith of granite typifies monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture that dates back to the 7th century during the reign of the Pallava dynasty. The five rathas are named as ‘Dharmaraja Ratha’, ‘Bhima Ratha’, ‘Arjuna Ratha’, ‘Nakula Sahadeva Ratha’, and ‘Draupadi Ratha’ after the five Pandava brothers and their common spouse Draupadi from the great Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’. Although unfinished and never consecrated, these rathas that are often erroneously referred as temples are now part of the monument complex that is marked as ‘Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram’ by ‘UNESCO’. It is enlisted in UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. Maintained under the patronage of the ‘Archaeological Survey of India’ (ASI), this complex has remained one of the famous tourist destinations of south India that became exemplar of and laid the foundation of a new architectural style, the temple architecture of South India.

The construction of the five rathas is traced back to the 7th century during the reign of King Mahendravarman I from 600–630 CE and his son Narasimhavarman I from 630–668 AD of the Pallava dynasty. An ASI inscribed tablet at the site mentions that the concept of carving the rocks in the shape of chariots or rathas was made by the Pallava dynasty keeping wooden rathas as prototypes. Construction work of the structures stopped after the demise of Narasimhavarman I in 668 AD. These structures illustrating the Dravidian architecture later became templates to temples of much higher dimensions constructed in the region subsequently. The reason for constructing the rathas, most of which have reflections of the Buddhist Viharas and Chaityas is not known till date. Although there is no connection between the structures and the Pandavas of the great Indian epic, the ‘Mahabharata’, and ASI proposed referring the structures as vimanas, but the names of Pandavas has incessantly remained linked with the structures. In 1984 UNESCO marked the place as World Heritage Site.

There are nine cave temples which are cut in the rocks in Mamallapuram. These caves are famous for their real life depiction of incidents from the Hindu Mythology. There are Bas-reliefs in the various caves. In particular the carvings in the Krishna cave appears very real. Vishnu is seen in the cosmic sleep in Mahishasuramardhini cave. In contrast to peace here, the other portrayals of Goddess Durga is fighting the buffalo headed Demon.

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Day 3 - Chennai >> Thiruttani >> Kanchipuram >> Vellore

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After early breakfast around 8am, 2.30 Hrs drive to Thiruttani. Visit Arulmigu Subramanya Swamy Koil. Later on after darshan and lunch, 1. 30 Hrs drive to the temple town Kanchipuram (Kanchi). Upon arrival, Check in the hotel. After refreshment, sightseeing of Kanchipuram includes temples & silk industries and then 1.30 Hrs drive to Vellore. On arrival check in the hotel and overnight stay at hotel in Vellore.

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About Thiruttani

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Tiruttani is in Tiruvallur district of northern Tamil Nadu, India. It is most famous for its Sri Subramanya Temple dedicated to Murugan, also known as. The temple is on top of Tiruttani hills, while the town is on the foothills.

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Lord Muruga in his fifth abode, Tiruttani, reigns blessings to his; divotees with his consorts Valli and Devasenai. Valli is his Itcha Sakthi, (i.e., will power) and Devasena is his Kriya sakthi (ie his power of action). Lord Muruga’s marriage with his kriya sakthi (power of action) took place at Thirupparankundram, likewise, he married his Itcha sakthi (will power Valli at Tiruttani.

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About Kanchipuram

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Kanchipuram was the capital of the Pallavas rulers from the 1st to 9th centuries. It was also important during the Chola, Vijayanagar, and Nayak periods. It was mentioned in the Mahabhasya, written by Patanjali in the 2nd century BC. The term "nagareshu Kanchi" in the above verse attributed the famous Sanskrit poet, Kalidasa, means that Kanchi was the best amongst the cities of medieval India.

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Temples to visit on Day 3
Arulmigu Subramanya Swamy Koil
Tiruttani
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About Arulmigu Subramanya Swamy Koil
This temple is one among the six Padaiveedu’s of Lord Muruga. ie. the 5th Padaiveedu..Thai Poosam and Panguni Uthiram festivals are very famous festivals and large number of devotees coming here at that time.Tiruttani constitutes one of the six Padai Veedu shrines of Skanda (Lord Subramanya), and it represents the site where Subramanya stayed after destroying the demon Surapadman. Tiruttani is said to be the place where the Lord Subramanya married Valli - one of his two consorts.

The other five are; Palani (100 km west of Madurai),Swamimalai (150 km east of Madurai),Tirupparangunram(5 km from Madurai),Pazhamudircholai (10 km north of Madurai) and Thiruchendur (100 km south of Madurai).

Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Amman Temple
Kanchipuram
Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Amman Temple, Kanchipuram - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Amman Temple
Kanchi Kamakshi temple is situated at about 5 acres of land and has four entrances. The main entrance of the temple has a Kalabhairavar deity on its left and the Mahishasura Mardini deity on the right. On the centre of the entrance you can see a huge Dwajasthampa. Moving further to the entrance of the Kamakshi deity you can see a Vinayaga deity. Moving on a straight line further, Goddess Kamakshi is visible. Goddess Kamakshi is surrounded by deities of Ayyapan, Saraswati, Annaporani and Adisankaracharya on its outer prakaram. The Goddess also has Varahi, Arupalakshmi Kalvarperumal (one of the 108 Divya Desam of Vaishanavities), Roopalakshmi and Arthanariswarar deities surrounding the sanctorum of Goddess on its Gayatri Mandapam. There is Santhanasthampam inside the prakaram of Goddess which is called the Nabisthan of the Goddes

There is a Srichakra Yantra (Sri Kamakoti Peetam) established by Jagadguru Sri Adisankaracharya in front of the Goddess deity. There is also a temple tank inside the premises. Kamakshi temple has a close relation with the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam and its successive Sankarcharyas. The temple has a gallery of Adisankarcharya's Life history inside the temple premises itself. Goddess Kamakshi is the main deity and the temple is one of the fifty one Shakti peetas. The temple is spelled as Nabisthana - Ottiyana peetam. The temple also has a golden Gopuram on the sanctorum of the Goddess Kamakshi deity which is visible to all devotees.

Varadharaja Perumal Temple
Kanchipuram
Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Varadharaja Perumal Temple
Kanchipuram has two distinct parts – Shiva Kanchi and Vishnu Kanchi, and the city revolves around the temple of Kanchi Kamakshi. So, the followers of all the three major sects of Hinduism have a stake in the city. Let me take you to Vishnu Kanchi where many ancient Vishnu temples are located. How many – well, no one knows. Let us begin with the biggest and most popular Vishnu temple in Kanchipuram – Varadharaja Perumal Temple.

The core of Vishnu Kanchi is this temple. It is also called Devrajaswamy Temple. Spread across 23 acres of land, it is not just one temple but a complete temple complex with many temples, pillared halls & pavilions and tanks. There are certain important things that you should not miss at this temple in Kanchipuram.

Like any big temple in South India, the first thing you see is the tall Raj Gopuram that is 7 floors tall at this temple.

On the left of Raj Gopuram of the temple is its famous 100 pillar hall. When you have seen 1000 pillar temples just the previous day, you wonder what is special about this 100-pillar hall. Let us tell you, you just have to reach it and then you need no explanations. Each carved pillar will talk to you.

The 100 Pillar hall is a wedding hall, with a 4 pillared raised mandapa in the middle. Rest of the 96 pillars are a matrix of 8 rows and 12 columns. The middle pillars are double pillars and have the formation of an army on horses. And the outer pillars are decorated with auspicious signs on them. At the edges, you can see a stone cut chain hanging. It is a masterpiece of stone carving.

Unfortunately, to guard the pavilion, the outer periphery is covered in metal mesh. Mesh takes away the beauty of this hall to a large extent. The hall opens around 9 AM and you have to buy a 5 Rs ticket to enter.

Behind the 100 Pillar hall of the temple in Kanchipuram is a large tank. It has a small temple in the middle and steps all around. Temples dedicated to different forms of Vishnu surround the tank, while the main temple would be one towards one corner of it.

The Ananth Saras as the temple tank is called is special for it houses a hidden temple inside its waters. It is said that the original idol of Vishnu (Athivaradhar) at the temple was made of fig wood (Athi Maram). Subsequently, a metal idol was installed and the wooden one was put in a silver casket and it rests in this pond. The idol is taken out every 40 years for cleaning and for worship.

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Ekambareswarar Temple
Kanchipuram
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About Ekambareswarar Temple
This temple is one of the most ancient in India having been in existence since at least 600 AD. The temple was built by Pallavas. The Vedantist Kachiyappar served as a priest at the temple. The existing structure then, was pulled down and rebuilt by the later Chola kings. Adi Sankara, the 10th-century saint got Kanchipuram remodelled along with expansion of this temple, along with Kamakshi Amman temple and Varadaraja Perumal Temple.

The Vijayanagar kings, during the 15th century, also made lot of contributions to the temple and later developed by Vallal Pachaiyappa Mudaliar, who used to go regularly from Chennai to Kanchipuram to worship in this temple. He spent significant money during British rule on the temple renovation. PachAiyappa Mudaliar seated on a horse back can be seen in the temple pillar. At a later stage, a similar temple with same name Ekambareswarar was constructed in Chennai by Pachaiappa Mudaliar in order to save travelling time to Kanchipuram.

Legend has it that once Parvati, the wife of Shiva was doing penance under the temple's ancient Mango tree which is 3,500 years old near Vegavathi river. In order to test her devotion, Shiva sent fire on her. Goddess Parvati prayed to her brother, Vishnu, for help. To save her, he took the moon from Shiva's head and showed the rays which then cooled down the tree as well as Parvati. Shiva again sent river Ganga to disrupt Parvati's penance. Parvati prayed to Ganga and convinced her that both of them were sisters and so should not harm her. Subsequently, Ganga did not disturb her penance and Parvati made a Shiva Linga out of sand to get united with Shiva. The God here came to be known as Ekambareswarar or "Lord of mango tree".

According to another legend, it is believed that Parvati worshipped Shiva in the form of a Prithivi Linga, under a mango tree. Legend has it that the Vegavati river overflowed and threatened to engulf the Shiva Linga and that Parvati or Kamakshi embraced the Linga. Shiva touched by the gesture, appeared in person and married her. In this context he is referred to as Tazhuva kuzhainthaar ("He who melted in her embrace") in Tamil.

Tiurkuripputhonda Nayanar, one of the 63 saivite saints, called nayanmars was a washerman near the temple and he washed the clothes of all the Saivites. He was divinely tricked by God Shiva appearing as an aged brahman and asked him to wash before dawn. At the same time Shiva made a cloudy evening. On observing the approach of the evening, the washerman banged his head in a stone in disappointment. God appeared in his true form and graced his devotee.

The Shiva Linga made of sand by mother Kamakshi adores the sanctum sanctorum. The symbol of mother embracing the Linga is still visible. Opposite to the sanctum of Lord Ekambareswara, are the spatika Linga facing west and the spatika Nandhi in the prakara. On the Ratha Sapthami day in the month of Thai (January-February) rays of Sun fall on the Lord. Of the Panchabhoodha sthalas, the temple belongs to earth-Prithvi. The divine tree with its four branches representing the four Vedas yields fruits in four flavours – sweet, citric, spicy and bitter. Procession deity Lord Ekambareswara is in a separate shrine of glass under the Rudraksha mandap, the roof with 5008 Rudrakshas. According to pundits, this darshan grants the devotee total relief from the cycle of births and deaths. The Spatika Linga prayer blesses the devotee with a beautiful personality, removing evil thoughts from the mind. Also the Sahasralinga worshipped by Lord Shri Rama to cleanse himself from the Brahmmahati dosha and the Ashtothra (108) Lingas are also in the temple. People use to light 108 lamps in this shrine. It should be remembered that gifted Tamil poet Kachiappa Shivacharya (who wrote the great epic Kanda Puranam and staged it at the Kuamara Kottam Lord Muruga Temple nearby) was born in Kancheepuram. Saint Tirunavukkarasar praises Kanchi as a destination of vast learning – Kalviyil Karai Illadha Kanchi Managaram.

It is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha bootha sthalas (each representing a natural element) representing the element - Earth. The other four temples in this category are Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara (water), Chidambaram Natarajar (Sky), Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara (fire) and Kalahasti Nathar (wind). It is one of the 275 paadal petra sthalams, where all of the four most revered Nayanmars (Saivite saints) have sung the glories of this temple. The temple gopuram (gateway tower) is 59m tall, which is one of the tallest gopurams in India.

There is no separate shrine for Parvati within the complex, as seen in other Shiva temples in Kanchipuram. A local belief is that Kamakshi Amman is the consort for Ekambaranathar. There is a small shrine for Vishnu named Thiru Nilaaththingal Thundathan inside the temple complex. Vishnu is prayed as Vamana Murthy and the shrine is hailed by the Alwar saints as one of the 108 Divya Desams. The sthala-virutcham or temple tree is a 3,500 year old mango tree, whose branches are said to yield four different types of mangoes from its four branches. Lord Shiva in the temple is a swayambumurthi. The sand Shivalinga made by mother Kamakshi adores the sanctum sanctorum. The hand symbol of mother embracing the Lord is still visible on the Linga.

Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple
Kanchipuram
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About Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple
The kanchi Kailasanathar temple is the oldest structure in Kanchipuram. Located in Tamil Nadu, India, it is a Hindu temple in the Dravidian architectural style. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is known for its historical importance. The temple was built from 685-705AD by a Rajasimha ruler of the Pallava Dynasty. The low-slung sandstone compound contains a large number of carvings, including many half-animal deities which were popular during the early Dravidian architectural period.

The Kailasanathar Temple (meaning:“Lord of the Cosmic Mountain”), is built in the tradition of Smartha worship of Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya (Sun), Ganapati and Kartikeya, in Hinduism, a practice which replaced the Buddhism.

Temple construction is credited to the Pallava dynasty, who had established their kingdom with Kanchipuram (also known as “Kanchi” or “Shiva Vishnu Kanchi”) as the capital city, considered one of the seven sacred cities under Hinduism. There was an interregnum when the Chalukya rulers defeated the Pallavas and occupied Kanchipuram. However, the Pallavas regained their territory and started expanding their capital city of Kanchipuram and built many temples of great magnificence. The only temple of this period which is extant is the Kailsahanathar Temple.

The temple was built during 685-705AD. It is the first structural temple built in South India by Narasimhavarman II (Rajasimha), and who is also known as Rajasimha Pallaveswaram. His son, Mahendravarman III, completed the front façade and the gopuram (tower). Prior temples were either built of wood or hewn into rock faces in caves or on boulders, as seen in Mahabalipuram. The Kailasanathar temple became the trend setter for other similar temples in South India. According to local belief, the temple was a safe sanctuary for the rulers of the kingdom during wars. A secret tunnel, built by the kings, was used as an escape route and is still visible.

The temple has gone by other names such as Kachipettu Periya Thirukatrali (meaning: Stone Temple of Kachipettu, the old name for the present day Kanchipuram) when Rajaraja Chola I of the Chola Dynasty paid a visit to this temple. Inspired by the architecture of this temple, he built the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur. Currently, Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.

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Day 4 - Vellore Sightseeing >> Thiruvannamalai >> Puducherry

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After breakfast, the sightseeing of vellore includes the historic places and temples. Later on 2 Hrs drive to Thiruvannamalai for darshan in Annamalayar Temple and then 2 Hrs drive to Puducherry. On arrival at Puducherry, Visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram & Rock beach later on check in the hotel then enjoy the night life of Puducherry and overnight stay at hotel in Puducherry.

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About Vellore

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Vellore is a Sprawling city and the administrative headquarters of Vellore District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Vellore is also one of The Smart city In India. Vellore Is a Industrial And Educational And Medical Hub of Tamilnadu. Located on the banks of the Palar River in the north-eastern part of Tamil Nadu. Vellore City is the home of two of India's top ten educational institutions, Christian Medical College & Hospital and VIT University. It is also a major centre for medical tourism in India.

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Vellore has a blend of heritage and culture reflecting the ancient Dravidian civilization. It was the seat of the Pallavas, Cholas, Nayak, Marathas, Arcot Nawabs and Bijapur Sultan Kingdoms. Vellore was once the capital city of the Vijayanagar empire during 1606-1672. The fort in Vellore was described as the best and strongest fortress during the Carnatic War in the 17th Century. The monuments found in the district give a vivid picture of the evolution of the city through the ages.

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In the centuries before India's independence there were many changes in kingdoms of the south and their capitals. The north and south regions of Arcot came into the political map in 1810 at the time of the last Mughal Emperor. Later in 1908, the two districts, namely North and South Arcot, came into existence. Chittoor (now in Andhra Pradesh) was the first capital of the North Arcot district. From then on it was the principal military base of the British. In 1911, Vellore became the head quarters of North Arcot Dt., comprising Vellore and Thiruvannamalai.

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The name is said to have originated from Vel which is the main weapon of the Hindu deity Murugan or 'Velayudayaan' (one who bears the spear). The word then literally means - The place of Murugan. The name Vellore is derived from the Tamil words Vel meaning City of Spears. Ancient history shows that Vellore was a battle field where the warriors used to fight was left with abandoned weapons like spears. The name Vellore is also said to have been derived from some form of precious stone which had a similar sounding name. There is megalithic proto-historical evidence in and around Vellore of such a semi-precious stone industry being prevalent in ancient times.

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The Vellore Revolt of 1806 was the earliest recorded uprising against British rule in India and is widely considered as the actual "First War of Independence" though it is also considered to be the "Meerut Sepoy Mutiny". Vellore District had always been at the forefront in the struggle for freedom. The Sepoy Revolt of 1806 AD that broke out inside the Vellore fort against the British authority is considered to be a prelude to the Great Revolt of 1857. A pillar commemorating the revolt has been installed in front of the fort and a monument in memory of the fighters is to be built at another location in the city

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About Thiruvannamalai

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Tiruvannamalai, also known as Arunachala, is one of the greatest Saivite shrines in Tamil Nadu, India, on a sprawling 24 acre temple campus, drawing hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every full moon. The hill here is considered to be a manifestation of Shiva. Tiruvannamalai is one of the Panchabhoota Stalams signifying the 5 elements of wind (Kalahasti), water (Tiruvanaikkal), fire (Tiruvannamalai), earth (Thiruvarur) and space (Chidambaram). Kartikai Deepam festival here is of great significance. Manikkavacakar composed his Tiruvempavai here.The Paatala Linga shrine is connected with the spiritual savant Ramana Maharishi. Arunagiri Nathar began composing his Tiruppukazh here at this temple.

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The temple has 9 towers and seven parakrams. The main tower (Rajagopuram) is 217 feet high with eleven stories, and is the second largest tower in South India.

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Traditional stories tell us that there was an unsettled dispute between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma as to who was superior. They sought the help of Lord Shiva to judge who was really superior; Lord Shiva grew into a long flaming light stretching between earth and heaven, and asked them to find root and crown.

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Brahma agreeing to reach the crown took the form a swan and flew, and flew to an extending height and could not reach the crown. In his upward flight he caught hold of a flower of Pandavas falling from Shiva's crown and requested the flower to bear a false witness that he collected it from Shiva's crown . Knowing this Lord Shiva cursed Brahma that he would never be worshipped in the temple, and banished Pandavas flower from his adornment.

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Lord Vishnu took the form of pig and kept digging down to reach Siva's foot; Shiva was really pleased with the humility of Vishnu and took him his heart.The significance of Shiva's representation as agni over here is to convey the divine message "To be blessed with true knowledge, there should be a complete destruction of the ego."

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About Puducherry

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Puducherry, original name Putucceri, formerly (until 2006) Pondicherry, also spelled Pondichéry, union territory of India. It was formed in 1962 out of the four former colonies of French India: Pondicherry (now Puducherry) and Karaikal along India’s southeastern Coromandel Coast, surrounded by Tamil Nadu state; Yanam, farther north along the eastern coast in the delta region of the Godavari River, surrounded by Andhra Pradesh state; and Mahe, lying on the western Malabar Coast, surrounded by Kerala state. The territory’s capital is the city of Puducherry in the Puducherry sector, just north of Cuddalore.

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The original name of the territory, Putucceri, is derived from the Tamil words putu (“new”) and ceri (“village”). The French corrupted this to Pondichéry (English: Pondicherry), by which it was called until its name was officially changed to Puducherry in 2006. Area 190 square miles (492 square km). Pop. (2011) 1,244,464.

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All four areas of the territory are seaside tourist resorts. The city of Puducherry is divided into two parts by a canal, and all the main streets, running parallel to one another, lead to the open roadstead offshore. The port of Puducherry does not have a harbour, and ships are forced to lie about 1 to 2 miles (1.5 to 3 km) offshore, but its roadstead was once considered the best on the Coromandel Coast. There are a promenade, a landing place for cargo, and a pier. In and around the city are artesian wells that supply a large quantity of water for irrigation, the chief local crops being rice, sugarcane, cotton, and peanuts (groundnuts). The main industries are food processing and the manufacture of electrical appliances, textiles, paper, and lumber. The Puducherry area has about 300 villages and hamlets.

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The Karaikal sector, south of the Puducherry sector, is in the fertile Kaveri River delta, in one of the most important rice-producing areas of India. The exceptional fertility of the region is to some extent reflected in the unusually high density of its rural population. The town is on the Mayavaram-Peralam route, a branchline of the southern railway.

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Temples & Places to visit on Day 4
The Fort
Vellore
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About The Vellore Fort
The Fort was constructed by then the ruler Bommu Nayakar and his brother during 1526-1595 AD

The First Mutiny against the British in India broke out in Vellore Fort (1806 – Sippoy Kalagam)Tippu Mahal, Hyder Mahal, Condy Mahal, Badhusha Mahal and the Begam Mahal in side the Fort.The fort at Vellore is one of the great attractions in the District. It is Said to have been built by Chinna Boomi Nayaka a subordinate under Sadasivaraya of the Vijayanagara Kindom in mid of 16th Century A.D. The fort was occupied by the British in 1760 and used as a military garrison. The rectangular fort with a circumference of 3km is built entirely with massive granite cut stones.The fort contains both secular and religious structures including tippu Mahal, Begum Mahal, Kandi Mahal, Jalakanteswara Temple, A mosque and a Church.

Museums also established by 01, April 1999 in this fort by the Archaeological Survey of India and State Department.

Jalakandeswarar Temple
Vellore
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About Jalakandeswarar Temple
Jalakandeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the Vellore Fort in Vellore District of Tamilnadu. The temple stands inside the Vellore Fort, which is under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India, along with the St. John's Church, Tippu Mahal, Hyder Mahal, Candy Mahal, Badhusha Mahal and the Begum Mahal. The Jalakandeswarar Temple is a fine example of Vijayanagara Architecture.The temple has exquisite carvings on its gopuram (tower), richly carved stone pillars, large wooden gates and stunning monoliths and sculptures. Main Deity in the temple is Siva Lingam known as Jalakandeswarar (Jalakandeswarar means ‘Siva resides in water’) and his consort known as Akilandeswari Amman.

Sri Lakshmi Narayani Peedam
(Golden Temple) Vellore
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About Sri Lakshmi Narayani Peedam
The Sripuram Golden Temple is a sight to behold, and it is situated in Tirumalaikodi at Southern Vellore, Tamil Nadu. The golden temple sits inside a spiritual park or ‘Spiritual Oasis’, and a star path leads the visitors towards it. The main feature of the temple has to be that it is covered in real gold foil and it is regarded as the biggest and the only temple to do that. The inauguration took place on 24th August 2007, and it was inaugurated by Narayani Amma. The chief deity of the temple is Sri Lakshmi Narayani or Maha Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of wealth in Hinduism. Sashasra Deepam or one thousand eight lamps is a ceremony that is performed in the temple every morning and in the evening. Pilgrims enjoy the beautiful natural park when they visit the temple. The best time to visit the temple is every day as the body decided to keep it open 365 days in a year.

The thought of building the temple came to Narayani Amma in a vision, and they decided to construct the temple which took seven years. It was finally inaugurated in 2007. Every part of the temple has been covered with real gold foil which was handmade using real gold bars. The temple is notable for the human-made sculptures, the roof and intricately decorated pillars. The temple sits in a plot of over 100 acres which includes the park as well. The charitable trust that built the temple is called Sri Narayani Peedam.

In all, around 1500 Kg of gold was utilised to cover the insides and the outsides of the temple. While building the temple, the depictions were taken from the sacred Vedas.

When someone is entering the temple, they will notice that the path leading to the temple which is shaped like a start. The shape is regarded auspicious just like a Sri Chakra. The main idea behind it was to bring relaxation and truth to the visitors. The length of the path is 1.8 Km. Messages of truth and righteousness are present on the path to the temple, this helps in the transformation of the human being to be a better person. Visitors will find Goddess Mahalaxmi sits inside the Golden temple. There is a huge lush green park that surrounds the temple, and there is also an Eco-pond ‘Sarvatheertham' which was created by bringing water from all major rivers present in India. There are about 20,000 different species of plants present in this park.

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Annamalaiyar Temple
Thiruvannamalai
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About Annamalaiyar Temple
Annamalaiyar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva, located at the base of Annamalai hills in the town of Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, India. It is significant to the Hindu sect of Saivism as one of the temples associated with the five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and specifically the element of fire, or Agni. Shiva is worshiped as Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleswarar, and is represented by the lingam, with his idol referred to as Agni lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Unnamalai Amman. The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. The 9th century Saiva saint poet Manikkavasagar composed the Tiruvempaavai here.

The temple complex covers 10 hectares, and is one of the largest in India. It houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. The tallest is the eastern tower, with 11 stories and a height of 217 ft, making it one of the tallest temple towers in India. The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Annamalaiyar and Unnamalai Amman being the most prominent. The temple complex houses many halls; the most notable is the thousand-pillared hall built during the Vijayanagar period.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Puducherry
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About Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo and a French-born woman, ‘the Mother’, this famous spiritual community has about 2000 members in its many departments. Aurobindo's teachings focus on 'integral yoga' that sees devotees work in the world, rather than retreat from it. Visits to the main, grey-walled ashram building are cursory: you see the flower-festooned samadhi of Aurobindo and the Mother, then the bookshop. Ashram-accommodation guests can access other areas and activities. Evening meditation around the samadhi is for everyone.

There are daily weekday ashram tours (per person ₹50), which begin at 8.30am with a film about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and include visits to various ashram workshops where you can see batik work, hand-printing on saris, handloom weaving and more; enquire online (www.sriaurobindoautocare.com) or at the ashram's Bureau Central.

Rock Beach
Puducherry
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About Rock Beach
Rock Beach (or, known as, "Pondicherry Beach") is the popular stretch of beachfront in the city of Puducherry, India, along the Bay of Bengal. It is a 1.2-kilometre-long stretch in Pondicherry, starts from War Memorial and end at Dupleix Park on the Goubert Avenue. In Tamizh called as "Ula Kadarkarai"

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Day 5 - Puducherry >> Chidambaram >> Kumbakkonam Temples >> Tanjavur >> Trichy

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After early breakfast around 8 am, 1.30 Hrs drive to Chidambaram. On arrival, visit Thillai Nataraja Temple. Later on 1.30 Hrs drive to Kumbakkonam. Visit the prominent temples of Kumbakkonam and then 1 Hr drive to Tanjavur. Upon arrival at Tanjavur, visit Brihadishvara Temple. After darshan, 1 Hr drive to Trichy. Reaching Trichy, check in the hotel and overnight stay at hotel in Trichy.

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About Chidambaram

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Chidambaram is a city in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India with a population of about 62,000 (2011). Of the numerous temples the Nataraja Temple at Chidambaram is one of the most significant ones. In terms of its antiquity, richness in terms of worship & festival traditions, in architectural & sculptural splendour, in its association with music & dance, Chidambaram is a center second to none in representing the rich cultural heritage of India. Several rich legends are associated with Chidambaram. The best known, are those describing the Cosmic Dance of Shiva, the dance duel between Shiva and Kaali and the more recent one describing the re-discovery of the Tevaram hymns.

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About Kumbakonam

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A charming temple town, famous for its ancient Hindu places of worship, Kumbakonam is perched in Thanjavur District of Tamil Nadu. Pilgrims and tourists who wish to witness the significant temples of India should come here without second thought. A few of them are Nageswaran, Adi Kumbeswarar, Brahma and Kasi Viswanathar.

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The holy town is also famed for the Kumba Mahamaham held every 12 years. Pilgrims come from all around the world to take a sacred dip in the Mahamaham tank which is deemed to wipe away all the sins committed in the lifetime. Apart from religious importance, the town is also eminent for silk products, electrical goods and prominent educational institutions. Attained much praises on south India tour, Kumbakonam beckons its visitors for a remarkable experience.

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India's most primeval city built up in 3rd century is Kumbakonam. It was first ruled by Pallava Kings from 4th to 9th century. After them, Cholas dynasty took over who erected many significant shrines; the most legendary one among all is Brihadeswara Temple in Thanjavur. After the fall of Chola empire during the mid of 12th century, the place came under the rule of Pandyan Dynasty. Their rule went on till 14th century. Subsequently, it was the capital of the Vijayanagar Dynasty during 14th century. Krishna Devaraya II, the ruler of Vijayanagar paid a visit to the place somewhat in the year of 1524 and it is said to have taken a dip in the celebrated Mahamaham pond. Between 1535 and 1673, Kumbakonam was conquered by Madurai and Thanjavur Nayaks. The town was outstanding in art, culture and literature only in the Cholas era, a period termed as the golden era.

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About Thanjavur

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Thanjavur (or 'Thanjai' or 'Tanjore'), the headquarters of the district with the same name, is 342 km from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, India. Thanjai is considered to be the granary and 'rice bowl' of Tamil Nadu.

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Thanjavur thrived as the ancient capital of the Chola kingdom, later of Marathas and Nayaks. Thanjavur was at the height of its glory during the Chola period between the 10th and the 14th century and became a great centre of learning and culture. The Chola Empire eventually grew into one of the most powerful empires India had ever seen under the rule of Rajaraja Chola I, also known to many Tamils as Rajaraja the Great, and his son, Rajendra Chola I. Under Rajendra Chola I, the capital was moved from Thanjavur to the nearby Gangaikondacholapuram.

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The important landmark in Thanjavur is the great Brahadeeswara Temple, also known as the Big Temple, built by Rajaraja Chola I. It is one of the most magnificent pieces of South Indian temple architecture. Established in 1011 AD in celebration of the victory of Chola kingdom that extended till Ceylon and some parts of the Malaya archipelago. Now it is a world heritage site.

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Even today Thanjavur is not only considered the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu but also a cultural headquarters, and the Tamil spoken here is considered by many linguists to be the purest form of the language. Though the Thanjavur district is dominated by agriculture, the town itself is diverse, having a literacy rate of more than 75% and a heterogeneous mix of population of all religions.

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Tanjore is very famous for its fine paintings done with studded gems and gold leaf.

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Temples to visit on Day 5
Thillai Nataraja Temple
Chidambaram
Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Thillai Nataraja Temple
Nataraja Temple, also referred to as the Chidambaram Nataraja temple or Thillai Nataraja temple, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Nataraja – Shiva as the lord of dance – in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. The temple has mythical roots and a Shiva shrine existed at the site when the town was known as Thillai. Chidambaram, the name of the city and the temple literally means "atmosphere of wisdom" or "clothed in thought", the temple architecture symbolizes the connection between the arts and spirituality, creative activity and the divine. The temple wall carvings display all the 108 karanas from the Natya Shastra by Bharata Muni, and these postures form a foundation of Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance.

The present temple was built in the 10th century when Chidambaram was the capital of the Chola dynasty, making it one of the oldest surviving active temple complexes in South India. After its 10th century consecration by the Cholas who considered Nataraja as their family deity, the temple has been damaged, repaired, renovated and expanded through the 2nd millennium. Most of the temple's surviving plan, architecture and structure is from the late 12th and early 13th centuries, with later additions in similar style. While Shiva as Nataraja is the primary deity of the temple, it reverentially presents major themes from Shaktism, Vaishnavism, and other traditions of Hinduism. The Chidambaram temple complex, for example, has the earliest known Amman or Devi temple in South India, a pre-13th century Surya shrine with chariot, shrines for Ganesha, Murugan and Vishnu, one of the earliest known Shiva Ganga sacred pool, large mandapas for the convenience of pilgrims and other monuments. Shiva himself is presented as the Nataraja performing the Ananda Tandava in the golden hall of the shrine Pon Ambalam.

The temple is one of the five elemental lingas in the Shaivism pilgrimage tradition, and considered the subtlest of all Shiva temples in Hinduism. It is also a site for performance arts, including the annual Natyanjali dance festival on Maha Shivaratri.

Vaidyanadha Swamy Temple
Vaitheeswaran Koil, Kumbakonam
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About Vaidyanadha Swamy Temple
The temple is a part of the popular Navagraha pilgrimage in Tamil Nadu. The planets are believed to influence the horoscope computed based on time of one's birth and subsequently influence the course of life. Each of the planets are believed to move from a star to another during a predefined period and thus sway over an individual's fortunes. The Navagrahas, as per Hindu customs, are believed to provide both good and bad effects for any individual and the bad effects are mitigated by prayers. As in other Navagraha temples, the common worship practises of the devotees include offering of cloth, grains, flowers and jewels specific to the planet deity. Lighting a set of lamps is also commonly followed in the temple.

Shani Temple
Thirunallar, Kumbakonam
Shani Temple, Thirunallar, Kumbakonam - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Shani Temple
Lord Shani is the only planet that has the title 'Eswaran' tagged to his name and is known as Saneeswaran. The story behind this happened at Thirunallar Temple and is an interesting one.

As you are aware, planet Shani is a stern taskmaster, meeting out the fruits of their past karma to people.

During periods of Saturn transit people cannot escape the karmic debts they have to repay and they face hardships during the ezharae shani (sade-sati) periods, ashtama shani periods, shani dasa and other times of Saturn transit.

People began to fear Shani and he soon found that he was very unpopular. He was disturbed by this fact as he was only performing his duty by meeting out karmic dues to people. He is, in fact, a very just planet.

There is a saying in Tamil “Saniyaipol Koduppavanum illai, saniyaipol keduppavanum illai” which translates to “There is no other planet that can be as generous as Shani and there is no other planet that can cause as much harm as Shani”. What we get from Shani depends on our own deeds in past births.

Shani who was upset about being unpopular decided to pray to Lord Shiva at Thirunallar Temple. Lord Shiva was pleased by his prayers and gave him the title of Eswaran. Since then Lord Shani is called Saneeswaran.

The Thirunallar Temple is the only temple where Lord Saneeswaran lost his power to Lord Shiva. King Nala, a devotee of Lord Shiva, was under the malefic influence of Lord Shani. Lord Shiva decided to save King Nala from Saturn's influences when he offered pujas and prayers at Thirunallar Temple.

Since then millions of devotees from across the country throng this temple to get relief from the harsh effects of Saneeswaran especially during periods of Saturn transit.

The Thirunallar Temple is originally a Shiva Temple, but the main attraction here is the idol of Lord Saneeswaran.

The Shiva here is known as Dharbaranyeswara and the Devi of this Temple is called Bogamartha Poonmulayal.

Lord Shiva is called Dharbaraneswaran here as the Lingam here was originally made of Darba grass. This grass can still be found in the temple.

This place is known by many different names that include Dharparanyam, Nagavitangapuram and Naleswaram. However, the main name Thirunallar emerged as this was the place where King Nala got deliverance from the malefic effects of Saturn.

'Thiru' is the holy suffix for the place. Nala signifies 'King Nala' and Aru means 'Heal'. This was the place where King Nala was healed by Lord Shiva and saved from the harmful effects of Lord Saturn.

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Arulmigu Swamynatha Swamy Temple
Swamymalai , Kumbakonam
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About Arulmigu Swamynatha Swamy Temple
The temple has three ‘Gopurams' with three ‘Praharams'. The ‘Gopuram' on the south side of the temple is decorated with statues and contains five storeys while the other two entrances have no towers above them.

The arrangement of the Praharam (also spelt as Prahar) is peculiar in this temple. The first Praharam is at the base of the hill, the second halfway up the hill and the third at the top surrounding the sanctum. Once you pass the ‘Raja Gopuram' and the ‘KalyanaMandapam' you reach the shrine dedicated to Goddess Sakti at the base. In addition to this there are other shrines for various other deities and the well with ‘vajra Teertha'.

Steps lead from here upwards towards the top of the hill. When you reach half way up the hill there is a small area where beautiful statues depicting the legend associated with this temple have been created. Further above is the second Praharam. You climb further to reach the level where the shrine for Lord Swaminathan is built. There are various shrines to other deities on the first Praharam.

Brihadishvara Temple
Thanjavur
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About Brihadishvara Temple
Brihadishvara Temple, also called Rajarajesvaram or Peruvudaiyar Koyil, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the largest South Indian temples and an exemplary example of a fully realized Dravidian architecture. It is called as Dhakshina Meru. Built by Raja Raja Chola I between 1003 and 1010 AD, the temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples", along with the Chola dynasty era Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and Airavatesvara temple that are about 70 kilometres and 40 kilometres to its northeast respectively.

The original monuments of this 11th century temple were built around a moat. It included gopura, the main temple, its massive tower, inscriptions, frescoes and sculptures predominantly related to Shaivism, but also of Vaishnvaism and Shaktism traditions of Hinduism. The temple was damaged in its history and some artwork is now missing. Additional mandapam and monuments were added in centuries that followed. The temple now stands amidst fortified walls that were added after the 16th century.

Built out of granite, the vimana tower above the sanctum is one of the tallest in South India. The temple has a massive colonnaded prakara and one of the largest Shiva lingas in India. It is also famed for the quality of its sculpture, as well as being the location that commissioned the brass Nataraja – Shiva as the lord of dance, in 11th century. The complex includes shrines for Nandi, Parvati, Kartikeya, Ganesha, Sabhapati, Dakshinamurti, Chandeshvara, Varahi and others. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.

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Day 6 - Trichy >> Rameshwaram

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After breakfast, visit Samayapuram Mariamman Temple and Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple before noon. Later on, 5 Hrs drive to Rameshwaram. On arrival at Ramwshwaram, check in the hotel and overnight stay at hotel in Rameshwaram.

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About Trichy

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Tiruchirappalli (Trichy or Tiruchy) is a city in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. With a population of 916,857 as of 2011 Census. The climate in the city is extremely hot and low humid.

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Trichy is an ancient city of South India and it was the capital of Chola and Naicka kings for many centuries. The battle between the British (East Indian Company) & French with the help of locals marked the beginnings of the British Raj in the southern part o

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Temples to visit on Day 6
Samayapuram Mariamman Temple
Trichy
Samayapuram Mariamman Temple, Trichy - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Samayapuram Mariamman Temple
Samayapuram Mariamman Temple is a Hindu temple in Samayapuram near Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, India. The main deity, Samayapurathal or Mariamman is made of sand and clay like many of the traditional Mariamman deities, and hence unlike many other Hindu deities there are no abhishekams (sacred washing) conducted to the main deity, but instead the "abishekam" is done to the small stone statue in front of it.

It is believed by the devotees that the Goddess has enormous powers over curing illnessesand hence, it is a ritual to buy small metallic replicas, made with silver or steel, of various body parts that need to be cured, and these are deposited in the donation box

Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple
Trichy
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About Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple
Srirangam is the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines (Swayam Vyakta Kshetras) of Lord Vishnu . It is also considered the first, foremost and the most important of the 108 main Vishnu temples (Divyadesams). This temple is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Bhogamandabam. In the Vaishnava parlance the term "KOIL" signifies this temple only. The temple is enormous in size. The temple complex is 156 acres in extent. It has seven prakaras or enclosures. These enclosures are formed by thick and huge rampart walls which run round the sanctum. There are 21 magnificent towers in all prakaras providing a unique sight to any visitor. this temple lies on an islet formed by the twin rivers Cauvery and Coleroon.

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Day 7 - Rameshwaram >> Dhanushkodi >> Thiruchendur >> Kanyakumari

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Finish darshan in Ramanathaswamy Temple before breakfast. After breakfast, 20 mins drive to Dhanushkodi and then 5 Hrs drive to Thiruchendur. On arrival at Thiruchendur, visit Sri Subrahmanya Swami Temple. Later on, 2 Hrs drive to Kanyakumari. On arrival at Kanyakumari, check in the hotel and overnight stay at hotel in Kanyakumari.

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About Rameshwaram

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Rameshwaram is one of the holiest places in India and is located on a beautiful island. It is separated by a small Pamban channel from Sri Lanka. According to the Hindu mythology, this is the place where Lord Rama created a bridge across the sea to Sri Lanka.

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Rameshwaram is located on a beautiful island in the lower side of India. Lord Shiva too is worshipped in this place. Renowned for its magnificent prakaras with massive sculptured pillars on either side, The Ramanathaswamy Temple houses the longest corridor in the world. Agniteertham is famous for its sacred waters and Pilgrims perform poojas in honour of their ancestors at this seashore. The Five-faced Hanuman Temple holds the floating stone which was used to build the bridge between India and Sri Lanka.

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About Dhanushkodi

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Flanked by the Indian Ocean on one side and the Bay of Bengal on the other, Dhanushkodi was once a bustling and flourishing town – with houses, schools, church, temple, a post office and a railway station. Thousands of people resided in this tiny town, known as one of the richest fishing belts in the country. Also, it was the only land border between Sri Lanka and India, and served as a major port for several pilgrims and traders. The temple and the church in the town were visited by many devotees, making it a preferred tourist spot.

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The town once bustling with locals and holidaymakers alike was emptied abruptly and completely. On December 22, 1964, a massive cyclone swirled across Dhanushkodi with winds gusting up to 170 mph and the entire town was in ruins and deserted in the aftermath, just as it has stayed to this day. Tragically nearly 1,800 people lost their lives, and all the houses in the town were razed to the ground. The Madras Government quickly labelled the town as ‘not fit for human habitation’. However, today only a small number of fisher families live here in their thatched huts.

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The town’s remote location and tragic past lends it an eerie vibe, thus it is also often referred to as the ‘ghost town’.

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More than 53 years after the tragic incident, the town is slowly coming alive and has started to appear on the radar of intrepid travellers looking for an offbeat destination. Its serenity and peace, azure sea, soft white sand and ruins along its sandy shoreline fascinate travellers.

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You can see the ruins of a temple, railway station, a church and homes of the then inhabitants. Besides, visitors can relax on the beach and listen to the sounds of the mighty waters of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Also, there are one or two small shacks and a tiny tea stall on the beach.

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As per mythology, Dhanushkodi was the spot where Lord Rama and his army built Ram Setu, otherwise known as Adam’s Bridge across the sea connecting Rameshwaram Island (Tamil Nadu) and Mannar Island (Sri Lanka), to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of the demon king Ravana. After rescuing his wife, Lord Ram destroyed the bridge with arrows from his bow, on request of Vibhishan (new Lanka King), thus the name of the town became ‘Dhanushkodi’, meaning ‘end of bow’.

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About Thirchendur

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Tiruchendur is in Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. This Town is famous for the Temple of Lord Muguran/ Lord Karthikeya/Lord Subramanya (Son of Lord shiva)

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As per legend, demon Soorapadhman had become powerful, after obtaining boons from Lord shiva. His boon was such only the power of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvathi together good destroy him. Lord Murugan was born to Lord shiva and Goddess Parvathi with the powers of Lord Shiva. Devi Parvathi, gifts him a spear out of her own powers, and Lord Murugan sets out to destroy Soorapadman, whose city was built in an island of the Bay of Bengal. However , the demon transforms into a tree to escape. Lord Murugan, uses the spear to break the tree into 2 halves, one of which is tranformed into a peacock, used as Murugan's vehicle, while the other becomes a rooster, which is used as Flag symbol. The shores of the Town is filled with blood, turning sand red, and hence the Town was named as Tiruchendur meaning the Red land

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The Temple is located exactly on the sea shore. The most fascinating fact of the town was, during the 2006 Tsunami in Bay of Bengal, while the whole of tamilnadu was flooded with Sea waters, this Town experienced a very low tide, sending the waves far away from the Temple.

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Temples to visit on Day 7
Ramanathaswamy Temple
Rameshwaram
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About Ramanathaswamy Temple
Ramanathaswamy Temple a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva located on Rameswaram island in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is also one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples. It is one of the 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where the three of the most revered Nayanars, Appar, Sundarar and Tirugnana Sambandar, have glorified the temple with their songs. The temple was expanded during the 12th century by Pandya Dynasty, and its principal shrines sanctum were renovated by Jeyaveera Cinkaiariyan and his successor Gunaveera Cinkaiariyan of the Jaffna kingdom. The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. The temple is located in Rameswaram considered a holy pilgrimage site for Shaivites, Vaishnavites and Smarthas. The presiding deity, the Lingam of Ramanathaswamy, is believed to have been established and worshiped by Rama, an avatar of the god Vishnu, to absolve the sins created during the Ramayana war at Sri Lanka.

Sri Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Thiruchendur
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About Sri Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Thiruchendur Murugan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to lord Murugan situated in Tamil Nadu, India. The puranic name or historical name for this temple is Jayanthipuram. This temple is the fourth Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu to get ISO certification. It is located in the eastern end of the town Thiruchendur in the district of Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, India. It is 60 km south-east of Tirunelveli, 40 km from Tuticorin and 75 km north-east of Kanyakumari. The temple complex is on the shores of Bay of Bengal. Temple is open from 5 AM to 9 PM

Tiruchendur Murugan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Muruga at the site of the battle. It is one of the six major abodes, or sacred temples, of the Kaumaram religion. Soorasamharam, a reenactment of the victory over Sarapadman, and Kanda Shasti, a devotional song in praise of Lord Muruga are performed at the temple.

The temple, which is built near the seashore, measures 91 m north to south, 65 m east to west, and has a seven-tier gopuram, or tower gate, that is 42 m high. The principal entrance faces south, and opens into the first of two prakarams, the first of which is lined with rows of Yalis. The inner sanctum of the temple is in a cave and the main deity, or moolavar, is Murugan as a saintly child, portrayed in a granite carving.

Naazhi Kinaru, a sacred well fed by a freshwater spring, is located 100 m south of the temple. Devotees undergo a ritual cleansing by bathing in water from the well after bathing in the ocean.

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Day 8 - Kanyakumari Sightseeing >> Courtallam

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Visit Bagavathy Amman Temple and the historic places of Kanyakumari. Later on, 3 Hrs drive to Courtallam. On arrival at Courtallam, check in the hotel and visit a waterfall of courtallam. After the visit, return back to hotel and overnight stay at hotel in Courtallam.

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About Kanyakumari

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Kanyakumari is the southernmost point of peninsular India and the meeting point of three oceans-the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Besides its importance as a Hindu pilgrim center, it is famous for its beautiful views of sunrise and sunset over the waters. The multicolored sand is a unique feature of the beach here.

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Kanyakumari was once referred to as the Alexandria of the east. This place has been a great center for art, culture, civilization, and pilgrimage for years. It was also a famous center for commerce and trade. During the early part of the eighth century AD Islam entered the southern part of India through the sea route with traders and missionaries. Through St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, Christianity arrived in this area in AD 52. Islam, Christianity and Jainism have greatly contributed to the architectural wealth and literary heritage of this place. Kanyakumari was also under the control of the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks who were great rulers of south India. The architectural beauty of the temples is the work of these rulers.

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During the British Raj, Kanyakumari was bestowed the dry title of Cape Comorin, necessitated perhaps by the Englishmen's inability to pronounce local names.

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Legend has it that Kanya Devi, an avatar of Goddess Parvati, was to wed Lord Shiva, the destroyer in the Hindu trinity. But he did not turn up at the auspicious time and the wedding never took place. The rice and cereals meant for the marriage remained uncooked. Even today, one can buy stones there that look exactly like rice and cereals. Local folks believe that they are the leftovers of the legendary marriage that could not be solemnized. As for the princess Kanya Devi, she became a virgin goddess blessing pilgrims and tourists alike.

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About Courtallam

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It is a small Town on the Western ghats in Tirunelveli District with a population of 3026 [2011 census]. The Hillocks disappear into the blue mist of Agasthiar Malai, named after the Tamil Saint who is believed to have lived here. Numerous waterfalls, cascades, countless health resorts in the Courtallam have earned the title Spa of South India. This waterfall zone is the source of perennial rivers like Chittar River, Manimutharu, Pachaiyar and Tamirabarani. The season begins in June and carries on till September. It is when the area experiences substantial rainfall and it is a treat to watch and enjoy. Senkottai and Tenkasi are few important and closest towns of Courtallam. The Nearest Airport is Thuthukudi 90 kms away and Tenkasi is the nearest Railway Junction just 5 kms from this town.

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Temple & Places to visit on Day 8
Bhagavathy Amman Temple
Kanyakumari
Bhagavathy Amman Temple, Kanyakumari - Kartih Travels® | Vellore - Kanyakumari Tour

About Bhagavathy Amman Temple
Bhagavathy Amman Temple is a 3000-year-old temple dedicated to Goddess Kumari Amman located at Kanyakumari. Kumari Amman is one of the form of Devi, popularly known as “Kumari Bhagavathy Amman”. Kumari Bhagavathy Amman temple is the first Durga temple created by Lord Parasurama and one of the 108 Shakthi Peethas. This temple is situated at the shore of the Laccadive Sea. Kumari temple has been mentioned in Ramayana, Mahabharata and Purananooru.[15]This temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati (also known as Bhagavathy) is situated at the Triveni Sangam (point of confluence of the three seas) of Kanyakumari. Opening Closing Time

Thiruvalluvar Statue
Kanyakumari
Thiruvalluvar Statue, Kanyakumari - Kartih Travels® | Vellore - Kanyakumari Tour

About Thiruvalluvar Statue
The Thiruvalluvar Statue has a height of 95 feet (29 m) and stands upon a 38 foot (11.5 m) rock that represents the 38 chapters of "virtue" in the Thirukkural. The statue standing on the rock represents "wealth" and "pleasures", signifying that wealth and love be earned and enjoyed on the foundation of solid virtue. The combined height of the statue and pedestal is 133 feet (40.5 m), denoting the 133 chapters in the Thirukkural. It has a total weight of 7000 tons.The statue, with its slight bend around the waist is reminiscent of a dancing pose of the ancient Indian deities like Nataraja. It was sculpted by the Indian sculptor Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati, who also created the Iraivan Temple. Its opening ceremony was on 1 January 2000. The monument was hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004. but stood unaffected. The statue is designed to survive earthquakes of unexpected magnitude, such as magnitude 6 on the Richter Scale occurring within 100 kilometers. This is far beyond that of any event recorded in the regional history. During maintenance work, as well as during rough sea, entry is restricted for tourists.

Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Kanyakumari
Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari - Kartih Travels® | Vellore - Kanyakumari Tour

About Vivekananda Rock Memorial
The Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a popular tourist monument in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, India. The memorial stands on one of two rocks located about 500 metres east of the mainland of Vavathurai. It was built in 1970 in honour of Swami Vivekananda who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock. According to local legends, it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity. A meditation hall (Dhyana Mandapam) is also attached to the memorial for visitors to meditate. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. It houses a statue of Vivekananda. The rocks are surrounded by the Laccadive Sea. The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.

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Main Falls
Courtallam
The Main Falls, Courtallam - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About The Main Falls, Courtallam
As its name suggests, the Main Falls or Peraruvi is the most popular and the biggest among the nine falls. Falling from a height of 60 m, it is located right inside Courtallam town. Here one can find water not only during the season but also in off season (November to January). During the peak season, this area becomes too crowded and one might have to queue up for a bath. Near this fall, is the Thirukootachalanathar Temple, dedicated to Sri Thirukutralanathar (Shiva) or Thirukootachalapathi and Kuzhalvaimozhi Amman (Goddess). The temple has inscriptions about Chola and Pandya Kings. Chitra Sabhai nearby exhibits paintings from the Puranas and is believed to be one among the five Sabhas where Lord Nataraja is said to have presented his cosmic dance.

Five Falls
Courtallam
Five Falls, Courtallam - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Five Falls
Situated 4 kms away from Courtallam, Five falls is the most beautiful waterfall at Courtallam. As the name suggests, these falls separate into five sections before cascading down close to the Aravankadu Pass.

Among the five falls, three are open to men and two for women. People have compared the cascade spread in five sections with that of the five heads of a hooded cobra. The hitch is that the place echoes with loud speakers blasting songs and advertisements continuously. There is a Swami Ayyappa Temple and Vinayaka Temple near the waterfall. There is a fruit stall nearby selling fruits like lichees, eggfruit, mangosteen, abundant in the area.

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Day 9 - Courtallam >> Madurai

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Visit a waterfall of Courtallam before breakfast. Later on After breakfast, 4 Hrs drive to Madurai. On arrival at Madurai, check in the hotel and visit the temples of Madurai and go for shopping to buy the traditional items of Tamilnadu.

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About Madurai

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Madurai, formerly Madura, is the third-largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It's on the banks of the river Vaigai, and has been a major settlement for two millennia. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city was the capital of the Pandyan kingdom was at Korkai, around 600 BCE, and was moved to Koodal (present-day Madurai) during the reign of Nedunj Cheliyan I.

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Madurai is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and Madurai Nayak kings in the Dravidian style of architecture. It is also one of India's most outstanding Hindu pilgrimage centres. Madurai is also called as City of Junction (Koodal nagaram), City of Jasmine (Malligai maanagar), Temple city (Koil maanagar), City that never sleeps (Thoonga nagaram) and City of four junctions (Naanmada koodal).

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Madurai is one of the oldest cities of India and was ruled by Pandya kings over most of its history. The city is famous for is rich heritage and promoting Tamil language through "Sangams". The city has been in existence since about 4th century BC and is mentioned in ancient texts of Greeks, Romans and Arabs. The Meenakshi Amman temple situated in the heart of the city is famous, and there are a number of temples in and around the city. The "Maha Kumbabhishekam" of the temple was performed in April 2009 after the renovation (re-painting) work on the gopurams (towers) of the temple. It is usually performed once every 14 years or more. There are numerous remarkable sculptures on the gopurams and inside the premises of the temple. Look out for the "yaali", a mythical creature similar to a dragon on the pillars in the 'pragaram' of the temple. Also, keep looking at the ceiling to catch a glimpse of the beautiful ancient paintings that adorn them.

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Madurai is also an important transit point for travellers bound south and also a local commercial hub.

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Temples to visit on Day 9
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Madurai
Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple, also known as Minakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, is one of the oldest and most important temples in India. Located in the city of Madurai, the temple has a great mythological and historical significance. It is believed that Lord Shiva assumed the form of Sundareswarar (the handsome one) and married Parvati (Meenakshi) at the site where the temple is currently located. Renowned for its astonishing architecture, Meenakshi Temple was nominated as one of the wonders of the world, but couldn’t make it into the list of ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. However, the temple is definitely one of the ‘Wonders of India’. It is also one of the main attractions of South India with thousands of devotees thronging it every day. During the ‘Tirukalyanam Festival,’ which takes place over a period of 10 days, the temple attracts more than a million devotees. Despite many people visiting it every day, the temple is well-maintained and was named the ‘Best Swachh Iconic Place’ (cleanest iconic place) in India.

Arulmigu Kallazhagar Temple
Azhagar Hills
Arulmigu Kallazhagar Temple, Azhagar Hills - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Arulmigu Kallazhagar Temple
Located 21 kms northwest of Madurai is a Vishnu Temple on a picturesque wooded hill.Here 'Vishnu' presides as Meenakshi's brother 'Azhgar'. During the Chitrai festival in April/May, when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi to Sundareswarar is celebrated, Azhagar travels to Madurai. A gold processional icon called the Sundararajar is carried by devotees in procession from Azhagar Kovil to Madurai for wedding ritual.Palamudhirsolai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya is on the same hill, about 4 kms. above. A natural spring called Nuburagangai where pilgrims bath, is located here.Alagarkovil, a village situated very near Madurai at the foot of the range of hills called Alagarmalai, is famous for its ancient . Vaishnavite temple, and the beauty of exquisite sculptures in the hall and other 'mandapams' of the temple. The Alwars have sung in praise of the deity of the place and the hills. In addition, Nakkirar, the Tamil poet has composed several popular poems about this deity. As the place itself suggests, the temple is dedicated to Alagar who is popularly known as Sundararajar. It is said that Alagar kovil attracted pilgrims even in the early days of the Sangam age.

The temple is built on an extensive area in a very picturesque spot, surrounded by the ruins of a historic fort. The impressive main tower at the entrance, believed to have been built by the Pandyan Kings, has some beautiful sculptures depicting scenes from the epics. According to historical records, Malayadhwaja Pandyan, son of Kulasekhara Pandyan, who is said to have established the Pandyan kingdom, appears to be the earliest known monarch who patronised this temple. Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan, who reigned during the period 1251-1270 A.D., beautified the 'vimana' of the 'sanctum sanctorum' with gold plates. Later, during the reign of the Vijayanagar king Krishnadeva Raya, the temple was endowed with revenues from two villages for conducting regular festivals.ld began to cry for food. Lord Shiva asked Mother Parvathi to feed the boy. Mother not only fed the little boy with milk but with wisdom too blended in the milk. Sambandar was happy and sat on the steps of the tank with the milk spots on the face. Shivapad Hrudayar blamed the boy for accepting the milk from somebody. When the father was about to beat the boy, he showed upwards the divine parents who fed him. Shivapada Hrudayar’s joy knew no bounds to hear the truth. The little child’s first hymn “Thodudaya Sevian” was born her to enrich the spiritual literature of Tamil.

Arulmigu Subramaniya Swamy Temple
Thiruparankundram
Arulmigu Subramaniya Swamy Temple, Thiruparankundram - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Arulmigu Subramaniya Swamy Temple
Of the six army camp temples (Aaru Padai Veedu) of Lord Muruga, this is the first temple. While Lord Muruga graces in a standing form in other five army camp temples, He graces in a sitting, wedding form with His consort Deivanai. Maharshi Narada, Indira the king of Devas, Brahmma the Creator are also around Him. Goddess of Wisdom Saraswathi without Her Veena, and Savithri are by His side while Sun, Moon, Gandharvas a community in the upper world skilled in the art of music, are above Him. The other vehicles of Lord Muruga, the sheep and the elephant are below Him. Only a scented paste called punugu is applied on the Lord as this is a cave temple.

Abishek is performed only to the Vel weapon of Lord Muruga as this is a cave temple. The Vel is taken to the Kasi Viswanatha shrine in the hill on the last Saturday of Purattasi month (September-October). This is the only temple where abishek is performed to Vel. More importance is attached to Vel as the Lord came to this place victoriously after defeating the demon Surpanma with the power of this weapon. Recently, a golden car has been made for the temple. As a prayer commitment to take Muruga in procession on this golden car, devotees may register in advance.

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Day 10 - Madurai >> Palani >> Coimbatore

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Visit the missed temples of Madurai before breakfst. Later on after brekfast, 2 Hrs drive to Palani. On arrival at Palani, visitArulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple. After the visit, 3 Hrs drive to Isha Yoga Centre at the foothills of Velliangiri. After the visit the tour concludes by 1.30 Hrs drive to Coimbatore Airport.

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Temples & Places to visit on Day 10
Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple
Palani
Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, palani - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple
This is a temple noted for the Alankara – dressing of Lord Muruga. The Lord appears in royal attire. As the Lord took a pilgrimage Himself to Palni, He is named Dandayuthapani. He is also praised as Madurai Palani Andavar.Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple

The shrines of Lord Mahaganapathy, Mother Durga, Nagaraja, Yoga Anjaneya, Lord Parameswara, Lord Yoga Dakshinamurthy, Kalabhairava are in the Mahamanda in the temple. Shrines of Kannimoola Ganapathy, Veerabadra, Pechiamman, Angaleeswari are in the hall called Artha Mandapa. Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple

The main hall _Maha Mandap – of the temple has beautiful sculptures depicting the six army camps (Padai veedu) of Lord Muruga, Tiruparankundram, Tiruchendur, Palani, Swamimalai, Tiruthani and Solaimalai-Pazhamudhirsolai. Lord Muruga graces in the sanctum sanctorum as Dandayuthapani holding a staff in the right hand and keeping His left hand on the hip. Lord almost appears in His royal attire.

Isha Yoga Center
Coimbatore
Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore - Karthi Travels® | Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

About Isha Yoga Center
The Isha Yoga Center situated at the foothills of Velliangiri, on the outskirts of Coimbatore, is the headquarters for Isha Foundation. Isha is a sacred space for self-transformation, where you can come dedicate time towards your inner growth. The center offers all four major paths of yoga – kriya (energy), gnana (knowledge), karma (action), and bhakti (devotion), drawing people from all over the world.

The Center is dedicated to fostering inner transformation and creating an established state of wellbeing in individuals. The large residential facility houses an active international community of brahmacharis, full-time volunteers and visitors. Isha Yoga Center provides a supportive environment for you to shift to healthier lifestyles, seek a higher level of self-fulfillment and realize your full potential.

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Our Other Itineraries

Itinerary Code

Tour Name

Pick Up Location

Drop Off Location

Duration

TNTT/TVMCHN

Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

Trivandram

Chennai

9 Days / 8 Nights

TNTT/CHNTVM

Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

Chennai

Trivandram

9 Days / 8 Nights

TNTT/CBECHN

Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour

Coimbatore

Chennai

11 Days / 10 Nights

More itineraries will be updated soon

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Tamilnadu Temples Tamilnadu Temple Tour Tamilnadu Pilgrimage Tour Tamilnadu Temples Tamilnadu Temple Tour from Chennai Tamilnadu Temple Tour from Coimbatore