Day 01: Madras - the gateway to southern India, established in 1639 by the East India Company, is one of the oldest cities of the country. Assistance and transfer to Hotel Ambassador or similar. After lunch at hotel, half-day sight-seeing tour, visiting Gandhi Memorial, Kala Kshetra, Mylapore Temple and Marina Beach. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Madras - Tirupathy (154 kms - 3.5 hrs) - After breakfast, proceed by AC car - coach to Tirupathy. lunch at local restaurant. Tirupathy is a temple town known for the famous ancient temple of lord Venkateshwara (lord of the seven hills or Balaji, as he is affectionately known) on top of the 860m high Tirumata Hills. The temple of lord Venkateshwara is not only believed to be amongst the oldest temples in the country, but also the richest of them all. Legend has it that lord Venkateshwara borrowed money from the divine treasurer 'Kubera' for his wedding expenses. He is still paying back this debt, which is why the pilgrims donate generously to the temple funds. In the evening, return to Madras for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 03: Madras - Mamallapuram (64kms - 2hrs) - After breakfast, drive to Mammallapuram by car - coach. Check-in and lunch at Hotel Temple Bay or similar. Built in 7th century, earlier called Mahabalipuram, this ancient Pallava port, is today the sight of several antique sculptural mar-vets. In this ancient seaside town, shrines and huge sculptures cut-out of rocks more than 1200 years back during the reign of Poltava Kings in the region can be seen. The rock carvings depicting mythological episodes - of demons, Gods and animals in battle and others - are truly poems in stone. The only shore temple which remains here is the spectacular two-spired shrine, unique because it houses both lord Vishnu and lord Shiva in its sanctum-sanctorum. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 04: Mammallapuram - Tiruvannamalai - Pondicherry - After breakfast, drive by car - coach to visit Tiruvannamalai (112kms - 3hrs) - a pilgrim centre with an ancient temple of lord Shiva. After lunch at local restaurant, proceed to Pondicherry (131 kms - 3.5hrs) which carries a strong whiff of the French presence in India. This erstwhile French colony on the east-coast of South India merged with the rest of the country in 1954. Legend says that Pondicherry is the place where St. Agasthya settled down. Check-in, dinner and overnight at Hotel Ashok or similar.
Day 05: Pondicherry - After breakfast, drive by car - coach to visit Aurobindo Ashram, the city of dawn, which is 10kms north of Pondicherry. This ashram promotes Aurobindo's ideas in bringing about a synthesis of Yoga and modern science, so as to unite the spirit and matter. After lunch, at hotel, visit Auroville - a unique experiment in international living and in creating a new environment where men and women of all nationalities live together In harmony. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 06: Pondicherry - Chidambaram - Thanjavur - After breakfast, drive by car - coach to Chidambaram (65kms - 1.5hrs) also called as Thillai, which has the famous Nataraja Temple with the roof of the sanctum-sanctorum covered with golden plates, is located in the centre of the town covering an area of 40 acres. In this temple, postures from the Bharatnatyam form of dance are depicted in sculpture. Nataraja is Lord Shiva as a cosmic dancer. After lunch at local restaurant, drive to Thanjavur (104kms - 3hrs), enroute visiting the Brass Factory at Kumbakonam. Thanjavur, once the capital of Chola kings, has the Brahadeshwara Temple (or the big temple of God). The temple tower rises to a height of 15m from a square base of 29m and then topers off, making a total of 66m. Check-in, dinner and overnight at Hotel Parisutham or similar.
Day 07: Thanjavur - Trichy (54kms - 2hrs) - After breakfast, leave by car - coach for Trichy, short name for Tiruchirapalli, situated on the banks of Kaveri River is a blend of history and tradition as well as a pilgrim centre, It is famous for Ranganoth Temple at Srirangam. Check-in at Hotel Jenny's Residency or similar. After lunch, city tour visiting Rock Fort and its temple at a height of over 23m. Also visit Srirangam and Jambukeshwar Temple. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day08: Trichy - Madurai(133kms - 3.5 hrs) - After breakfast, proceed by car - coach to Madurai and check-in at Hotel Ashok or similar. The ancient city of Madurai, some 2600 years old, is laid out on the banks of the River Vaigai as a lotus flower with the Meenakshi Temple in the centre. After lunch, city tour visiting - Meenakshi Temple. King Tirumalai's Palace, Great Tank and Gandhi Museum. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 09: Madurai - Rameshwaram (154kms - 4hrs) - After early breakfast, proceed by car - coach for Rameshwaram - the most sacred temple town of India is an island hallowed by the epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama is said to have visited before going into battle at Sri Lanka. Legend has it that Lord Rama sent Hanuman to Mount Kailash to bring a 'Lingam' for worship when he set foot here after defeating Ravana. As Hanuman did not return when the auspicious hour was approaching, Sita made a sand 'Lingam' so that worship could be performed in time, which is where the present day Ramanatha Swamy Temple stands close to the sea on the eastern side of the island. One of the twelve 'Jyotirlingam' shrines is also well known for its magnificent corridors and the massive sculptured pillars lining them. Lunch at local restaurant. Return to Madurai for an dinner and overnight stay at hotel.