On your arrival in Chennai you will be transferred to your hotel. The name Chennai was derived from Chennaipattanam, built by the English in 1639. The earlier name of Madras was a short form of Madraspattinam a fishing village. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu and is the largest industrial and commercial center of South India and also an important centre for Carnatic music. The city is also famous for the Tamil movies and known as Kollywood. Chennai came into prominence because of the British who defended the town against several attacks from the French and converted it to a major naval port. Chennai has numerous places of interest and beautiful museums. This afternoon you will be visiting Gandhi Memorial, Kala Kshethra, Mylapore temple and Marine beach. Overnight is in Chennai.
This day, you will enjoy a full day excursion to of Tirupati - the ancient temple of Lord Venkateswara (Lord of seven hills or Balaji, as he is affectionately known) on the top of the 860 meters high Tirumala hills. The temple of Lord Venkateswara is not only believed to be amongst the oldest temples in the country, but also the richest of them all. Legend has it that Lord Venkateswara borrowed money from the divine treasurer Kubera for his wedding expenses. He is still paying back this debt which is why the pilgrims donate generously to the temple funds. Overnight is in Chennai.
This morning drive to Kanchipuram - the ancient capital of the Pallavas famous as a city of 1000 Temples and still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings on the walls. Temples of Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks. After the visit of Kanchipuram, drive to Mahabalipuram.
Built in 7th century, earlier called Mahabalipuram, this ancient Pallava port, is today the sight of several antique sculptural marvels. In this ancient seaside town, shrines and huge sculptures cut-out of rocks more than 1200 years back during the reign of Pallava Kings in the region can be seen. The rock carvings depicting mythological episodes - of demons, Gods and animals in battle and others - are truly poems in stone. The only shore temple which remains here is the spectacular two - spire shrine, unique because it houses both Lord Shiva and the Lord Vishnu in its sanctum-sanctorum. Overnight is in Mahabalipuram.
This morning drive to Tiruvannamalai a pilgrim centre with an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. Tiruvannamalai is named after the deity Annamalaiyar in the Annamalaiyar Temple which is one of the largest temples in India. Out of the four gateway towers, the eastern tower, with 11 stories is one of the tallest temple towers in India. This temple is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, or five Shiva temples. Each is a manifestation of the elements land, water, air, sky or fire. Here, Shiva is manifested as fire. The other cities are Chidambaram for sky, Sri Kalahasti for air, Thiruvanaikoil for water and Kanchipuram for water. Later drive to Pondicherry. Overnight is in Pondicherry.
This morning you will be visiting Pondicherry (Puducherry). Pondicherry is divided into the French Quarters "Ville Blanche" and the Indian quarter "Ville Noire". Some of the streets still have their French names. In the French Quarters, it is common to see French style villas and colonial style buildings. Sri Aurobindo Ashram is globally quite popular. Auroville is a universal town where people from all nationalities live together in harmony and peace. The Lord Ganesha Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple is a quite visited Hindu Temple. Afternoon is at leisure. Afternoon is at leisure. Overnight is in Pondicherry.
This morning drive to Chidambaram also known as Thillai and famous for its Nataraja temple with the root of the sanctum-sanctorum covered with golden plates. In this temple, postures from the Bharatanatyam form of dance are depicted in sculpture. Nataraja is Lord Shiva as a cosmic dancer. Later drive to Thanjavur the ancient capital of Chola Kings, has the Brihadeeswara temple (or the big temple of God). The temple tower rises to a height of 15 meters from a square base of 29 meters and then tapers off, making a total of 66 meters. Overnight is in Thanjavur (also called Tanjore).
This morning drive to Trichy, short name of Tiruchirappalli, situated on the banks of Kaveri River is a blend of history and tradition as well as pilgrim centre. This city was the citadel for the Cholas and was developed by the Nayaks of Madurai and is an eminent city as it is known for its scholars of Tamil. One can feel the holiness of this city in very occasion that get celebrated over here with great grandeur and pomp. Visit the Rock fort and its temple at a height of over 23 meters. Also visit the Srirangam and Jambukeshwara Temple. Overnight is in Tiruchirappalli.
This morning you will be transferred to Madurai by road. Madurai is one of the oldest living cities in the world and the recorded history dates back to 3rd century BC. Madurai comes from the word Madhura which means sweetness. The people of Madurai celebrate many festivals and one of the important festivals is the annual 10 days Chittirai festival. Rani Mangamma's palace has been converted into Gandhi Memorial Museum and houses the blood-stained garment worn by Mahatma Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. Mahatma Gandhi had adopted the loin cloth as his mode of dress after seeing agricultural laborers in Madurai wearing it. Meenakshi Temple is in the list of nominees of the "New Seven Wonders of the World". Your afternoon Madurai tour will take you to Meenakshi temple, King Tirumala's Palace, Great tank and Gandhi museum. Overnight is in Madurai.
This day, you have a full day excursion to Rameshwaram. Rameshwaram one of the most sacred temple town of India is an island. Lord Rama is said to have gone in to battle with Ravana from here. Legend has it that Lord Rama sent Hanuman to Mount Kailash to bring a Lingam for worship when he set foot after defeating Ravana. As Hanuman did not return when the auspicious hour was approaching, Sita made a sand Lingam so that worship could be performed in time, which is where the present day Ramnath Swamy Temple stands close to sea on the eastern side of the island. One of the twelve Jyothirlinga shrines is also well known for its magnificent corridors and the massive sculptured pillars lining them. Overnight is in Madurai.
This morning you will drive to Trivandrum viewing the scenic beauty enroute. Kerala is lush green and is full of lakes and rivers. Rest of the day is at leisure in Trivandrum. Thiruvananthapuram earlier known as Trivandrum means the "City of Lord Ananta". The name comes from the deity of Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple. In the temple, Padmanabha (Vishnu) is reclining on Anantha (Sheshanag). The city shot into fame globally recently as when some of the vaults of the temple were opened, a treasure worth billions was discovered making it one of the richest temples of this world. A few more vaults still are to be opened. Only those who profess faith in Hindu religion are permitted and you have to adhere to a dress code for entering the temple. Overnight is in Trivandrum.
Full day excursion to Kanyakumari and back. Kanyakumari - the land's end of India where the water of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. An important pilgrim centre of India, it is famous for the Amman Temples - a symbol of unity and sanctity - dedicated to the virgin Goddess, Kanya Kumari. To its South East lies the famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial, a blend of all the architectural styles of India. Evening enjoy the beautiful sun set and later return to Trivandrum. Overnight is in Trivandrum.
Transfer to airport to connect flight for onward journey. End of your South India religious temple tour.