Visit two temple cities in Tamil Nadu – Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram – on this tour. Kanchipuram is one of the seven most-sacred cities for the Hindus as it is a seat of learning set up by the renowned advaita philosopher Shankaracharya. Also called the city of thousand temples, Kanchipuram today has more than 70 ancient temples that continue to impress visitors. The city is also famous for its handloom industry which produces excellent silk.
Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its brilliant rock-cut temples. Built by the Pallava rulers in the 7th century, the complex comprises of cave-temples and monolithic Rathas (chariots). The primary attraction in the temple complex is the Shore Temple described by Percy Brown as 'a landmark by day and a beacon by night'.
Rock-cut temples, fine silk and outstanding architecture – this tour will give you an insight into the rich and vibrant heritage of south India.
You will be picked up from your hotel in Chennai, and will travel in an air-conditioned vehicle to Kanchipuram which is about 76 kilometres away. You will be accompanied by a local English-speaking guide on this sightseeing tour.
This ancient city dates back to the 2nd century and was once the capital of the Chola rulers and later the Pallava rulers in the 6-8th century. Kanchipuram is dotted with temples, and the most famous temple is the Kailasanatha Temple, built in the early 8th century. Dedicated to Hindu God Shiva, this is the oldest temple in Kanchipuram and considered the most beautiful. See the panel depicting Shiva and his consort Parvati in various dance poses. There are smaller shrines dedicated their sons, Ganesha and Murugan. Your guide will tell you more about the temple and its history.
Kanchipuram is also famous for its silk weaving industries and the silk saris made here are famous throughout the world.
There will be a break for lunch (payable direct).
Later, proceed to Mahabalipuram which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its brilliant rock-cut temples. You will see:
• The Shore Temple: Perched on a rocky outcrop, the main shrine faces the sea on the east. The temple is dedicated to two Hindu Gods: Shiva and Vishnu. Interconnected cisterns around the temple meant that the sea could be let in to transform the temple into a water shrine. But, in recent times, a stone wall as been added to protect the shrine from the rising seas and further erosion.
• The Rathas: The eight rathas are monolithic temples fashioned as chariots. Of the eight rathas, five have been named after the Pandava brothers, the heroes of the epic Mahabharata, and their wife, Draupadi. The largest is the Dharmaraja Ratha and the Draupadi Ratha is the smallest and the quaintest. Listen to your guide tell you more about the history and mythology associated with Mahabalipuram.
Every year, around January-February, the Mamallapuram dance festival is held here. It is a month-long festival and well-known exponents of various dance forms such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Odissi perform here.
After the tour, you will be taken back to Chennai covering a distance of about 58 kilometres and be dropped at your hotel where the tour ends.
We enjoyed the experience to tour the temples. Found our tour guide very knowledgeable of the areas. We were only a group of two, but throughly enjoyed the personalized... Mrs C K Kirksey
Start time: 0800h (08:00am)
Duration: 10 hours
Your hotel in Chennai.
(Please advise your hotel at the time of booking. If you do not have this information now, please contact the local activity operator 24 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details.)
Your hotel in Chennai.
Do carry a camera as there will be many photo opportunities on this tour
Please call the local activity operator at least 24 hours prior to the start of the tour to reconfirm the departure details.
Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple complex at Kanchipuram.
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