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This morning visit the Koyambedu Fruit and Vegetable Market, Asia’s largest wholesale market distributing vegetables, fruits and flowers. This market, constructed with a well-laid plan by the Tamil Nadu Government, houses more than 2500 shops and business starts as early as 2 AM, every day around the year. Later, a visit of Kapaleeshwar Temple. Thereafter drive along Marina Beach followed by visit of Fort Saint George. Lunch at Annalakshmi, a traditional South India restaurant where vegetarian dining is a cultural experience. After lunch we’ll drive to Mahabalipuram with an en-route stop at Dakshin Chitra (meaning picture of the South) museum of art and architecture. We’ll continue our drive and on arrival, check into our hotel.
(Meals: B, L)
This morning your guide will meet you to begin your tour of this ancient city. Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO world heritage site and the Shore Temple is one of the focal points of interest. The Shore Temple is so named for its incredible location – perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Bay of Bengal. The Shore Temple is unique in that its inner sanctum contains a sculpture of both Vishnu and Shiva in his avatar as Somaskanda as well as Shiva’s consort, Parvati and their sons Skanda and Ganesha. The ruins of the rest of the Panch Rathas remain in silent testimony to the skill of the carvers who created them. Named for the Pandava brothers who are the heroes of the Mahabharat epic, they are architecturally ambitious and significant for the level of intricacy they sought to replicate in stone. After exploring the Shore Temple, continue inland to the massive bas-reliefs of Bhagiratha’s Penance. This panel is best seen in the monsoon, for its when the rain falls that one can truly understand the artist’s symbolism in depicting the descent of the holy River Ganges from heaven. Later today, we’ll drive to Pondicherry and check into our hotel.
In the morning we begin sightseeing in Pondicherry. We visit Colonial town, Aurobindo Ashram, and Ganesh temple. Spend the afternoon imbibing the quintessential colonial flavour of Pondicherry, a former colony of France. Walk through the canary-coloured town along streets bearing French names lined with structures erected by French historical personnages. Tucked away amidst the colonial quartier, White Town are a few distinct grey structures that belong to the Aurobindo Ashram – a spiritual centre that has drawn followers from far and wide, and where the remains of Sri Aurobindo, a fiery revolutionist and philosopher-poet lie. Then continue onto the Manakula Vinayagar Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god in Hindu mythology. After lunch drive to Kumbakonam. Enroute visiting Chidambaram and Darasuram. En route from Pondicherry to Thanjavur, stop over at the Chidambaram temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, which represents the element of ‘ether’ among the 5 basic elements. Chidambaram is the birthplace of the sculpture and bronze image representation of Lord Shiva as the cosmic dancer, Nataraja that has since become notable as a symbol of Hinduism. We continue driving to Kumbakonam.
This morning, proceed on a guided visit of the11th century Brihadeshvara Temple Complex, built by a ruler of the Chola Empire in accordance with a dream he had. The Brihadeeswarar Temple was intended to display the power and position of the emperor in the universal order, and today, it has been classified a UNESCO World Heritage monument, one among three ‘Great Living Chola Temples’. The Museum within the complex also details the history of the Chola Empire and showcases certain artefacts from the era.
After breakfast drive to Madurai. On arrival at Madurai check into your Hotel.
In this morning, after breakfast drive to Pollachi and on arrival you will check into your hotel. Remainder of the day will be at your leisure.
(Meals: B, L, D)
We begin the day by visiting a silk factory where you will get to see the making of Mysore silk saree from the yarn to the whole fabric, and find out why saree is so special aswell as learning of its royal connections. Then, we’ll enjoy an authentic meal for lunch at a local restaurant but not before making a stop at the local market. After Lunch you will depart for village experience where the students visit a nearby village and experience its lifestyle. Activities like taking a bullock cart ride or experiencing farming will be included as a part of this experience.
(Meals: B, L)
After breakfast, we’ll be visiting Mysore City Palace, a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. Following lunch, drive off to Srirangampatnam, the island fortress in the Kaveri River. After which we go to Bangalore where you can check into the hotel and enjoy the day.
Later this morning, you’ll be transferred to the international airport for your flight back home.