Discover Indian Spirituality

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THE DISCOVER INDIA COLLECTION

Discover Indian Spirituality

When it comes to a deep sense of spirituality, there can be few more intoxicating places than Tamil Nadu. It’s temples are extraordinary, a profusion of incredible and intricate, ancient sculptures, carved and exotic temple gopurams which contrast with the experimental town of Auroville near Pondicherri. A journey into Tamil Nadu is a fascinating one, the devotion of the pilgrims, the awe inspiring temple architecture, the sense of spirituality here, combined with unique art forms is one that will leave you amazed.

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Destinations Covered

Key Highlights

  • Visit the ancient shore temples at Mahabalipuram.
  • Explore the sleepy town of Pondicherry with it’s French influences and Aurobindo Ashram.
  • Witness the incredible spirituality, architecture and art of the temples of Chidambaram, Thanjavur and Madurai.

Itinerary

Day 01Arrive in to Chennai where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Chennai

Day 02Explore Chennai with your guide, visiting Chennai museum, Fort area, Kapaleeswarar temple and St. Thomas Church.Chennai
Day 03Transfer by road to Puducherry en route visiting Mahabalipuram, exploring the ancient shore temples. Evening strol the quite streets of Puducherry, a former French territory which still maintains a Mediterranean feel.Puducherry
Day 04Visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and take a short drive out to Auroville.Puducherry
Day 05Transfer by road to Thanjavur en route visit the Thala Natraja temple in Chidambaram. In the evening, visit one of India’s most beautiful and awe inspiring temples, the Sri Brihadeeswara. The changing colours as twilight moves to the night are beautiful.Thanjavur
Day 06Explore Thanjavur visiting the bronze gallery in the palace and re-visit the Sri Brihadeeswara temple.Thanjavur
Day 07Drive to Madurai. In the evening, visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple to witness the evening ceremony of the gods being put to bed.Madurai
Day 08A leisurely morning followed by a return visit to the temple. Each moment of each day here brings about a new experience.Madurai
Day 09Transfer to the airport to board your flight to Chennai. Check in and overnight stay.Chennai
Day 10Transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
Beyond the Taj - Discover Indian Spirituality Itinerary, Discover Indian Spirituality
Beyond the Taj - Discover Indian Spirituality Itinerary, Discover Indian Spirituality
Beyond the Taj - Discover Indian Spirituality Itinerary, Discover Indian Spirituality

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The first British settlement in India, Chennai still has a fine legacy of colonial architecture which displays a wide range of influences from the elegant classical style of the 18th century to the much more eclectic Anglo-Indian school of the late 19th century. Like all Indian cities, it has become busy and chaotic, but there is gentleness in the south and the occasional melody of Carnatic classical music and the gongs of church bells that can be heard above the cacophony of work-hour traffic. Unmistakable is the aromatic smell of freshly brewed filter coffee, the fragrance of jasmine flowers and the sight of rice crepes or dosas rolled out on a hot griddle by the roadside, quintessential south Indian attributes.
Pondicherry has an unusual, enchanting Mediterranean atmosphere not felt anywhere else in India. The French ruled this territory for 300 years, and today it stands as a living monument to French culture in India as it was only ceded to the Indian union in 1954. The White Town with its tree-shaded, leafy lanes is still reminiscent of the Mediterranean with its seaside promenade, immaculately white painted buildings, cobbled paths of the French Quarters and its pretty colonial bungalows all of which lend a quaint charm to this tiny city.
The Sri Brihadiswara Temple in Tanjore is extraordinary. An incredible feat of engineering that could barely be matched today, but more than that, it is the carvings which adorn its walls and the stories which are weaved around every part of its history, architecture, priests and devotees which make this a fabulous place to visit. It is a constant hive of activity, morning, noon and night, some days there are dance performances, some days the cash the temple generates is being counted, but on all days it provides a fascinating insight into Hinduism and its devotees.
If you only visit one temple town in Tamil Nadu, we recommend visiting the Shree  Meenakshi in Madurai. Considered to be the finest of its kind in Tamil Nadu, this great temple’s towering gopurams are covered in a riot of gaily painted, dancing and cavorting Gods and Goddesses. The entire temple is given over to worship but outside there are markets and stalls and it is almost reminiscent of how the ancient monasteries would have been centuries ago with people trading, plying on the pilgrims as they flock to prayer, which many still do as it is one of India’s most sacred pilgrimage centers.
A beautiful two-hour ride along the scenic East Coast Road from Chennai gets you to the seashore town of Mahabalipuram. The magnificent Shore Temple, although ravaged by the elements and the pounding ocean waves, still reflects the glorious past of these intrepid merchants