CHENNAI (Madras)

Chennai (Madras), the capital city, is rich in history, from temples of south India and shrines to forts and palaces, where the past lives harmoniously with the present. Chennai is the fourth largest city in India and the capital of Tamil Nadu. Retaining much of its traditional charm, this 350-year-old city is the gateway to the South, providing many a fascinating vignette of southern heritage. 


Mamallapuram, a historical retreat, lies 58kms south of Chennai. This ancient seaport of the Pallava dynasty of the 7th century AD has its monuments hewn out of solid granite. Though ravaged by sea and wind through these many centuries, the monuments bear testimony to the magnificent heritage of Dravidian architecture. Among the legacy of the Pallavas at Mamallapuram are the Shore Temple, the oldest in South India, standing on the seashore with its paved forecourts, Arjuna's 

Penance, an immense bas-relief, 27m long and 8m high, intricately carved and rock-cut temples excavated from the hillside with large carved panels depicting stories from Indian mythology.


Kanchipuram, the town of thousand temples is one of the seven sacred cities in India. 71 kms from Chennai it was the capital of the Pallavas and Cholas from the 7th to 13th century AD. A seat of learning and a centre of culture, since early times, it was at Kanchipuram that Adi Shankaracharya established his religious order.Kanchipuram is famous for its hand woven silks in the form of saris, dhotis and yardage. The timeless appeal of vibrantly coloured silks makes them prized collections.


Pondicherry a quaint enclave in Tamil Nadu, 120 kms from Chennai is Pondicherry, once a possession of the French. It joined the Republic of India in 1960. The town, which rose phoenix - like after the British literally razed it to the ground in the 18th century, is home to the much acclaimed philosopher Shri Aurobindo. His Ashram is in Pondichery.


Thanjavur, the pride of the Chola dynasty, was the capital of the powerful Chola Empire. The crowning glory of this Empire is the Brihadeeshwara temple completed in 1018 AD, with its 66.5m high 'Sri Vimana' dominating the city. The monolithic granite block that forms a cupola on the top, weighs 81.3 tons, reflecting the architectural prowess of the Chola builders.


Tiruchirapalli This ancient citadel, situated on the banks of the Cauvery River, provides a perfect blend of history, tradition and religion. Trichy's landscape is dominated by the Rock Fort. Once the citadel of the early Cholas, this city was also ruled by the Pallavas and then the Pandyas. The present fort was built by the Nayak rulers of Madurai in late 17th century.

SRIRANGAM :- (5kms) is an important temple town, close to Trichy. Built on the banks of the river Cauvery, the temple is dedicated to Sri Ranganatha (Vishnu)

Madurai, in southern Tamil Nadu is the second largest city in the state and an important cultural and commercial centre. Over 2500 years old, Madurai was a seat of learning in the Sangam period 3500 years ago. Legend has it that when the Pandyan king was about to name his new city, Lord Shiva appeared and the drops of nectar falling from his locks gave the city its name - Madhurapuri - city of nector.
Today, Madurai is noted for its splendid temple to the goddess Meenakshi and its imposing gopurams The Thirumalai Nayak Palace, was built in the Indo-Saracenic style by the Nayak rulers of Madurai in 1636 AD.
Kodaikanal a charming hill station, Kodaikanal is located in the Palani Hills, 120 kms from Madurai. It has a magnificent landscape. Its wooded slopes and winding paths are excellent for leisurely strolls. There is a star shaped lake where boating is a popular pastime.
Kanya Kumari , the southernmost tip of peninsular India, is where the waters of the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet - a place from where one can see spectacular sunrises, colourful sunsets and the full moon rising from another part of the sky! A temple dedicated to goddess Kanyakumari is located close to the seashore. Off the coast, on a rocky island, is the memorial to that great Indian philosopher - Swami Vivekananda who sat in meditation here in 1892.
Udhagamandalam (Ooty), the capital of Nilgiri district, is popularly known as the "Queen of hill stations' among the tourist circuits. It is situated at a distance of 105 km away from Coimbatore. The height of the hills in the Nilgiri range varies between 2280 and 2290 metres, the highest peak being Doddabetta at a height of 2623metres.
PRIMEATTRACTIONS:Botanical Gardens,Rose Garden,Mini Garden,Ooty Lake,St Stephens Church,Doddabetta,Deer Park,Government Museum.