Day 1: Delhi / Chennai (6E 285 at 0645 / 0935) / Drive to Pondicherry (By surface 164 kms approx)
In the morning transferred from school to airport to board your flight to Chennai. On arrival at Chennai, met
and assist at airport and transferred to Pondicherry, en route visit Mahabalipuram. Located in the state of
Tamilnadu, Mahabalipuram is located right on the Coromandal Coast next to the Bay of Bengal. It was a well
established sea port during the 7th and 10th centuries of the Pallava dynasty, and has flourished accordingly.
We will visit Shore Temples, Panch Rathas and Arjuna’s Penance.
Tradition has it that there once stood seven temples along the shore line in this area. Today, the only one that
is there is the Shore Temple. It was built during the 7th century by the artisan Rajasimha under the rule of
Narasimha Varman II. It is one of the oldest temples that can be found in South India that is built in the
Dravidian style. It has lately increased in popularity because it is now listed as one of the world heritage sites of the UNESCO. Numerous carvings can be found throughout the temple. Three separate buildings make up
the temple. Two are Shiva temples that fast east and west. The third is a Vishnu temple.
The Five Rathas, also known as Panch Rathas, is a set of rock temples. They are excellent examples of the
evolution of Dravidian style architecture. These temples are built in the same shape as pagodas, and greatly
resemble Buddhist shrines and monasteries. The rathas are associated with the great epic Mahabharata. The
first ratha that is located right by the entrance gate is Draupadi’s Ratha. It is shaped like a hut and is dedicated to the goddess Durga. Next we visit Arjuna’s Rath. This one has a small portico and carved pillar stones and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are no carvings inside this temple, but many are on the outside. Directly in front of Arjuna’s Rath is the Nakula – Sahadev Rath. This ratha has some huge elephant sculptures included that are a huge draw for the Five Rathas. It is dedicated to the God of Rain, Lord Indra. The Bhima Rath is huge. It measures 42 ft in length, 24ft in width, and 25ft in height. The pillars there do contain lion carvings even though the ratha as a whole is incomplete. The largest of the Five Rathas is the Dharamraja Yudhistar’s Rath. This rath is also dedicated to Lord Shiva and is a great example of later built South India temples.
Arjuna’s Penance is a famous rock sculpture that portrays a story out of India lore. It is carved onto the back
side of a whale shaped rock. The sculpture measures 9 meters high and 27 meters long. Arjuna is the great
hero of the great epic Mahabharata, and the name of the sculpture comes from his story. There is some
controversy however as to whether the story portrayed is actually the story of Arjuna or if it is the story of
Bhagiratha who is an ancestor to Lord Rama. Numerous gods and demigods as well as animals and people are
all carved on the sculpture. The talent that it took to create such a sculpture is obvious and deserves respect.
The characters amazingly look both realistic as well as humorous.
South Indian Lunch will be provided at local restaurant at Mahabalipuram, later proceed for Pondicherry. On
arrival at Pondicherry check in at hotel, later dinner will be provided at 2000 hrs at hotel.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Pondicherry
In the morning after breakfast at 0800 hrs, proceed to visit Auroville City, Sir Aurobindo Ashram,
Pondicherry beach, Museum, Mana Kula Vinayagar Temple and The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Real example of community living and gradually flourishing, Auroville is conceived as a ‘Universal Town’.
This is a place were people with different nationalities; beliefs and culture live in harmony. This amazing city
of community living was started in 1968 by the Maa, renowned disciple of Shri Aurobindo, and now the
development is going on.
The main feature of this city is that many countries constructed permanent pavilions, which reflects the
customs, beliefs and culture of their countries. Really a Universal town, the populations speaks different kinds
of language; nearly 50 languages are spoken here.
A major draw here is Matri mandir, a modern architectural marvel, with a globe as high as 30 meters and have
lotus-shaped foundation urn.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram:
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, founded in 1920, is the residence where the Sri Aurobindo and revered Mother Mirra Richard, popularly known as Maa, spent the most part of their life. This place attracts many thousands of
people each year.
This is the saddle of peace; Aurobindo preached his ideas of a peaceful community from this ashram. The ashram is comprised of many buildings and the inmates are a diversified community of around 1,200 members with 400 students of the Centre of Education.
This ashram has different departments to maintain the basic needs of its members. Members engage in various
activities in farms, libraries, gardens, and small-scale industries like printing press. The ashram draws lots of
respect as the Samadhi place of Sri Aurobindo and the mother.
The Pondicherry museum housing some of the superb collections of sculpture is located in the Bharathi Park.
This museum has an excellent gallery with sculptures and has the remains of archaeological findings from the
Arikamedu Roman settlement. One can go through the history and legendary French colonial details in the
section of the museum.
There is also a very good collection of snail shells brought from the Pondicherry region. Bronze sculptures of
god and goddess, a wide gathering of temple lamps, handicrafts and art are also here. Some specimens of Chola and Pallava art from Pondicherry and Karaikal are dispalyed in the sculpture gallery.
Lunch will be provided at hotel at 1300 hrs.
After lunch visit Manakkula Vinayagar Temple, The church of secret heart of Jesus & Pondicherry beach.
Manakkula Vinayagar Temple:
Manakkula Vinayagar Temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesh, is located behind the Raj Niwas in Pondicherry town. The temple is assumed to be constructed nearly 5 centuries back. The Vinayaka, called as a Vellakkaran Pillai, in the sanctum is a grand figure. A major draw is on the 18 day celebration of Brahmotsavam. Other festival celebrated here with piety and enthusiasm is Vinayaka Chaturthi.
Local legends say that a Frenchman living near the temple frantically tried to remove the Ganesh idol from the temple in vain. The idol reappeared miraculously each time when it is removed. The Frenchman convinced by the ability and power of the Idol and became an ardent devotee of the Lord.
The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, constructed in Gothic style, is a highly revered religious destination
in Pondicherry. Lot of visitors and believers are thronging to this church to offer prayers. One can be blessed
by seeing the wonderful stained glass windows highlighting the life of Jesus.
Every year this church witness growing rush with thousands of devotees from different place visiting this
place. This gigantic church is one of the most attractive churches in Pondicherry.
The traveler looking for secluded beach and calm relaxing moments, Pondicherry beaches offer you all. The
soothing and cool waters, soft breeze, clear and sparkling sands and superb seclusion, the nice environment
attract you to this beach paradise. If you look for, you can spend much time with the only company of a lone
seagull or a sandpiper. Resorts, cafeterias, restaurants and cottages offer the required cuisine and accommodation. The beaches have cool and calm atmosphere and are perfect location for sunbathing or a quick dip in the roaring sea.
Day 03: Pondicherry / Chennai (By surface 164 kms / 03 – 04 hrs approx)
In the morning after breakfast at hotel transferred to Chennai. On arrival at Chennai check in at hotel and have lunch at 1400 hrs. Rest of the day free to relax at hotel.
Dinner will be provided at hotel at 2000 hrs.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 04: Chennai / Delhi (6E 286 at 1845 / 2135 hrs)
In the morning after breakfast proceed for half day city tour of Chennai. We will visit St. George Fort, Govt
Museum, Santhome Church and Marina Beach.
Fort St. George:
Fort St George is an important monument holding the secrets of historical events in the city. The establishment of Fort St. George marked the birth of the new city, that is Madras, in the year 1640. The fort was named after St George who is believed to have preached in the region. The British East India Company, after buying the land from the Nayak of Vandavasi in 1639, led the establishment of what was called the Madras men, the permanent settlement of the company. One year later they built the fort as a commanding post in the region. With the increased trade activities of East India Company the region soon developed into a popular trade and commerce centre. The British enjoyed the supremacy in the region till 1746, when the French attacked the fort and captured it. After three years, that is in 1749 the British regained the ruling power by signing a treaty with the French. In the meantime they fortified the base in order to sustain the invasion of Hyder Ali and the French.
The Government Museum was initially housed in the College of Fort St. George. In the same era an elite British group, by the name of Pantheon Committee, was working to improve the social life of expatriates in the city. To carry out their mission the Pantheon group constructed a group of buildings. These buildings were spread over an area of about 16.25 acres. The Government Museum expanded vigorously and needed a new place. It was year 1851 when the museum was moved into the buildings constructed by the committee. The museum, at present, consists of a number of sections holding some rare collections throughout the continent.
The Santhome Cathedral Basilica Church in Chennai or Madras is a sacred place for the Christian catholic
community all over the world. This church in Madras is been erected in accordance to the Gothic style of
architecture. Also you can read the stained glass were the divine moment of St. Thomas’s meeting with the
resurrected Christ is been depicted. Some remains of the corpse and also a part of the St. Thomas’s bone are
been preserved in the crypt.
Marina Beach hosts a number of activities. To start with we have a long stretch of silver sand lining that abuts
the Bay of Bengal. A good number of beach tourists can be seen swimming, surfing and playing beach volley
ball along Marina. Kids making sand castles, the silhouetted appearance of the fishermen boats, horse rides,
lantern lit shops and stalls, picturesque view of old buildings and refreshing parks and of course the splendid
view of the sunset are some of the best features at Marina Beach.
Dinner will be provided at hotel at 2000 hrs.
In the later afternoon after lunch at hotel in time transferred to airport to board flight to Delhi.
- Airfare for sector Delhi / Chennai / Delhi in economy class.
- Accommodation at hotel mentioned above or similar on quad sharing basis.
- Welcome drinks on arrival.
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner at hotel except lunch on day 01 at Mahabalipuram to be provided at local Indian restaurant.
- Evening snacks at hotel with Chocolate milk / juice, tea / coffee.
- 01 Extra lunch at hotel on day 04 in Chennai.
- Chauffer driven Ac Luxury coaches 35 seater for Chennai / Pondicherry / Chennai.
- Sightseeing tours in Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry and Chennai as per program mentioned above with English speaking guides.
- Entrance fee to the places of visits as per program.
- 01 real juice tetra pack each day.
- 02 mineral water bottles (500 ml) per person each day.
- Light snacks during journey each day.
- All applicable taxes.
- Any expenses of personal nature, such as telephone bills, laundry bills, tips at hotels and restaurants.
- Any camera fee to the places of visits.
- Any other expanses of similar nature.
- Any travel insurance