06:00 Hrs: Pick up from hotel in Chennai and drive towards Kanchipuram early morning to avoid traffic jam.
08:00 Hrs: Arrives Kanchipuram. Upon arrival, you are met and guided tour of Kanchipuram starts. Kanchipuram is Indias one of the holiest city and also known as city of thousand temples. It is located at around 72 km away from Chennai. You are going to see main attractions of Kanchipuram.
ATTRACTIONS OF KANCHIPURAM
Ekambareswarar temple is the largest temple in the town of Kanchipuram, dedicated to Lord Shiva and has the tallest GOPURAM (a gateway tower) which is 59 meter tall. Pilgrims flock here every day in large numbers get blessing of Lord Shiva. It is amongst the five Shiva temples or Pancha Bootha Sthalams. The holy mango tree is located within the temple under which Goddess Parvati worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of Prithivi Lingam.
Kamakshi Amman Temple:
Kamakshi Amman Temple is an ancient Hindu shrine dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi. Goddess is found in Padmasana posture performing penance. Goddess is worshipped here in the form of Chakra places in front of idol, installed by the Adi Sankaracharya. Adi Sankaracharya is also worshipped here. It is considered one of the holiest abodes of Goddess Parvati along with Meenakhi at Madurai and Vishalakshi at Varanasi.
Kanchipuram is a city of temples, but the Kailasanatha temple is the most ancient one. Temple was built in early of 8th century C.E by the eminent Pallava King Rajasimha. Temple is built in typical Pallava style and famous for its architecture. Its exquisite carvings and fresco paintings adorn the wall of the temple.
Varadaraja Perumal temple:
Varadaraja Perumal Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Kanchipuram. It is listed amongst the Divya Desam, the 108 temples of Vishnu. Presiding deity is Varadaraja Swamy. A huge temple structure built by Kings of Vijayanagar situated on the top of Hastigiri Hill. The hundred Pillar hall of this temple is noted for its exquisite sculpture.
After visiting temples, one can also explore the markets of Kanchipuram as Kanchipuram is famous of silk Sarees and one can get attractive rebates on Handloom items. Kanchipuram's exquisite silk sarees are woven from pure mulberry silk in contrasting colours and have an enviable reputation for texture, lustre, durability and finish
12:00 Hrs:After visiting Kanchipuram, moving on to Mahabalipuram
13:00 Hrs:Arrive Mahabalipuram. Upon arrival, go to any good restaurant to have lunch.
14:30 Hrs:After finishing lunch, move on to see the main attractions of Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram also known as Mamallapuram is a coastal town and also frequented by many day trippers from Chennai and Kanchipuram due to its close proximity. 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. Main attraction of the town is Shore Temple that listed amongst the UNESCO heritage project. There are many more attractions to be visited during a day trip to Mahabalipuram.
ATTRACTIONS OF MAHABALIPURAM:
As its name suggests, the Shore temple overlooks the Bay of Bengal. Shore temple is an oldest structural monument built in (c. 700 -728 AD) during the reign of the Pallava King Rajasimha. Shore temple is a building not a carved from rock, built with blocks of granite. Most of the current structure is a re-construction after it was struck by a cyclone. A shiva lingam is also enshrined in the central building. It is listed amongst UNESCO world heritage sites since 1984. Over the period of times, carvings of the temple have been eroded by the cyclone or sea wind due to its location, so near the sea
Arjuna's Penance, also known as the Descent of the Ganges. A giant bas-relief filled with detailed carvings, including a family of elephants and monkeys. This bas relief, is an extensive panel (27 meters long & 9 meters high of relief sculptures, with life size images. There are two beliefs as to the theme of the sculptures. Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers is said to have done penance asking for a powerful weapon with which to destroy his enemies. The huge gathering of celestials and humans witness the great scene.
According to the second belief, it is Bhagiratha's penance to get river Ganges down to the earth. His prayers are answered and Lord Shiva sends the Ganges down to the earth, controlling its rapid flow by allowing it to trickle from his matted locks. The natural cleft in the rock face depicts the flow of Ganga, watched over by celestials and humans. There are several images of animals too.
We can visit Crocodile Bank on way back to Chennai. It lies en-route to Chennai on Chennai Mahabali road. We make sure to reach up to this place by 5 PM in the evening as it closes by 5 PM. Several species of crocodiles, alligators and other reptiles are bred in captivity, kept in open, marshy enclosures.
17:30 HRS: Drive back to Chennai.
18:30 HRS: Arrive Chennai. Upon arrival in Chennai, drop at your hotel.