Day 3 : Chennai | Kanchipuram | Mahabalipuram (by Car 139 km approx)
In the morning, leave by road for Mahabalipuram, acclaimed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its spectacular rock-cut temples. On the way, make a brief halt in Kancheepuram, the city of 1000 temples and one of the seven sacred cities in India. Thereafter, proceed to the famous Shankaracharya Seer in Kancheepuram. In the meantime, shop for some exquisite Kanchivaram silk sarees.
Later, continue your journey towards Mahabalipuram. Upon arrival, youll be transferred to the hotel then go for a guided sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram which include visits to Mahishasurmardini Caves, Shore Temple, Krishna Mandapam and Arjuns Penance. Later, proceed towards Panch Rathas, a cluster of monolithic temples, Crocodile Farm, home to over 100 crocodiles, School of Art & Sculpture and Snake Venom Extracting Center. In the evening come back to hotel for night stay.
Kancheepuram - Kancheepuram is the city of thousand temples. Kancheepuram is admired for its prominent crafted world famous silk sarees, a traditional home industry. Kancheepuram is also known for its culture and civilization. Kancheepuram is easily reachable from the state capital Chennai. It is a place to visit for everyone.Some of the outstanding temples in Kanchepuram is as follows Sakkiswarar Temple established by the Cholas is located near the Kamakshi Amman Temple. Vaikuntha Perumal Temple is a significant Vishnu temple built by the Pallava King Nandivarman Pallavamalla, in the 7th century AD. Abundant inscriptions are found in the temple, relating to the wars between the Pallavas and the Chalukyas. Kailasanatha Temple was built by Rajasimha and his son Mahendra the 3rd, in the 8th century AD. Ekambareswarar Temple is an ancient temple, renovated by the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Vijayanagar kings. The 57 meter high Rajagopuram, is one of the tallest towers in South India. Varadarajar temple, it is a massive and impressive edifice is a must visit spot in Kancheepuram.
The shrine of Devarajaswamy is situated on an elephant-shaped rock called Hastagiri. Kamakshi Amman Temple is one of the three sacred places of Shakti worship in India. The temple in its present form was constructed by the Cholas, during the 14th century AD.Kancheepuram is easily accessible from Chennai, which is the state capital of Tamil Nadu. Chennai International airport is the nearest airport to Kancheepuram.Trains for Kanchipuram are accessible from Chennai, Chengalpattu, Tirupati, and Bangalore. Kanchipuram is 75 km away from Chennai and is well linked by a network of roads. Local transportation is also excellent for local sight tours.
History of Kanchipuram Kanchipuram famous as the 'City of a Thousand Temples' has its history intertwined with the glorious reign of the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Rayas of Vijayanagar.The city is also famous as an ancient center of Tamil learning and culture. Kanchipuram was home to great luminaries like Appar, Siruthonder, the great Buddhist bhikshu Bodhidharma and Sri Shankaracharya. Shankaracharya or Adi Shankara established his Episcopal seat here called Kamakotipeetam.
Attractions in Kanchipuram The temples are undoubtedly the foremost tourist attractions in Kanchipuram.The Kamakshi Amman Temple, one of the rare temples where Shakti is worshipped. The golden Chariot in the temple is significant as it is taken in a procession around the temple on Fridays. The temple also has an art gallery which displays the history of Sri Adi Shankaracharya and the Shankara Mutt. The Kailashanathar Temple built in the 8th century is dedicated to Shiva and is the oldest structure in Kanchipuram. Its exquisite architectural work makes it one of the finest examples of Pallava architecture. The Ekambareshwar Temple is one of the largest temples in Kanchipuram with numerous shrines, mandapams, gopurams and tanks. Other famous temples are the Kumara Kottam Temple and the Varadaraja Temple and the Ullahalanda Temple.
Mahabalipuram: Located at a distance of 58-km from Chennai, Mahabalipuram has everything that makes a site memorable; tradition, history, piety, western annals, and current importance as a centre of tourism. The proper name of the site is "Mamallapuram", after Mamalla, an honorific of the Pallava king, Narasimha Varman I (630-668), who created the earliest of its monuments. But it is popularly called "Mahabalipuram", or "The city of Bali", whom Lord Vishnu chastised for his pride and of whom there is a relief in one of the excavated temples here. The history of Mahabalipuram dates back to two thousand years, it contains nearly forty monuments of different types including an "open air bas relief" which is the largest in the world, for centuries it has been a centre of pilgrimage, it figures in the early annals of the British search for the picturesque in India in the 18th century, today it attracts shoals of foreigners in search of relaxation and sea bathing, and most strange of all, it has an atomic power plant for neighbor. A small library has been written on it. Over its history and that of its monuments a number of scholarly controversies rage. Mahabalipuram was already a centre of pilgrimage when, in the 7th century Mamalla made it a seaport and began to make temples fashioned of rock. It was through Mahabalipuram that many Indian colonists, who included sages and artists, migrated to Southeast Asia. Sri Lanka's national chronicle, the "Mahavamsa" testifies to this fact. When the first British visitors went to Mahabalipuram in the eighteenth century, they found the monuments under sand, a few completely so. It must have fallen into neglect after the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire or, at least, Vijayanagar authority. It had prospered under the Cholas and their successors until about the seventeenth century. Europe knew of it as early as the 13th century when, following Marco Polo's visit, it appears in the Catalan Map of 1275. The first European to mention it directly, but with no personal knowledge, of it, did so in 1582.