Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari is the southern tip of India. It is the tail point of India, where the the water of the Arabian Sea , the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet together. Kanyakumari Temple or the Kanyakumari Bhagavathiamman Temple is a chief attraction of Kanyakumari and is dedicated to the virgin Goddess Kanyakumari, an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi.Goddess Kanyakumari is the presiding deity of Kanyakumari. As per legends, the marriage between Goddess Kanyakumari and Lord Shiva did not take place, as a result of which the Goddess determined to remain a virgin. It is believed that the rice and cereals which were meant for the marriage were left uncooked and they turned to stones. The stones resembling cereals can be seen even today.Vivekananda Rock Memorial, dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. Vivekananda Rock Memorial was built between 1963 and 1970 in red and blue granite. It is situated on the top of a rock island, at a height of about 17 meters above sea level, covering an area of about 6 acres.Vivekananda Rock Memorial is about 490 meters offshore nearby the confluence of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean, visit Gandhi Memorial , Padmanabhapuram palace - Padmanabhapuram Palace is rated among the top ten palaces in the world. The Rajas of Travancore ruled the city of Travancore from this fort till 1790. Later the capital of Travancore was shifted from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram, situated in the adjacent state of Kerala.Padmanabhapuram Palace that spread over a sprawling 6 acres is situated at the foot of Veli Hills of Western Ghats. This Palace was built by Iravipillai Iravivarma Kulasekhara Perumal in the 17th century. Padmanabhapuram Palace is mostly a wooden structure that exhibits the traditional architectural style of Kerala. The walls of the palace have wooden planks which have carvings of Anantasayana, which depicts Lord Vishnu in a reclined pose on the serpent lord, Ananta. The floor of the palace is made of burnt coconut shells, laterite, lime and sand. The wooden ceiling has carvings of 90 different floral designsa wooden palace dating back to the 17th century and Suchidhram Temple. etc. Witness Sunset in the evening.

Madurai

Madurai is called the Temple City.Madurai Meenakshi Temple is also known as Meenakshi Amman Temple and attracts tourists and pilgrims alike. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is named after the deity and goddess Parvati. Sundareswarar means beautiful Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati is called Meenakshi. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva visited Madurai to marry Parvati since Madurai has been her abode. The grand gopurams of the Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple towers that loom overhead are famous for detailed carvings of the gods and goddesses, mythological figures and running depictions of legendary tales. The huge southern gopuram has over 1500 sculptures.The thousand pillar hall,Ayirankkal Mandapam with its exquisitely carved 985 pillars is definitely the highlight of the Meenakshi Temple.Evening Visit the Market around the Temple and back to the temple for Night Ceremony inside the Temple.The Maraimman Thepukullam Temple Tank built in 1636, the 1000X 950ft tank with its temple is barely 5km from the Meenakshi Temple. Fed by underground channels connected to the Vaigai River, the tank is the venue of the annual Float Festival (Jan-Feb.). The temple is dedicated to Lord Vigneshwera (Ganesha), whose statue was unearthed when construction began at the site of the Tirumalai Nayakkar Palace.The Tirumalai Nayakkar Palace (1636) built in the classic Indo- Saracenic style, its highlights include a open air courtyard and dance hall with 58ft tall pillars, a free standing dome and stuccowork on the arches and on the impressive dome. A good Sound & Light Show at the palace provides an interesting break from temples and does offer an insight into the history of the city and its rulers.The Gandhi Museum is a great place for anybody who wants to discover the Mahatma. Several little known facts are displayed, as is his bloodstained dhoti from his assassination.

Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram Temple;This is one of the most important as well as frequently visited temples in South India. It is believed to have been built in the 17th century. The chief deity in this place of worship is Lord Shiva. It is also greatly revered because it is believed that Lord Rama built this temple himself. According to the legends, after killing Ravana, Lord Rama returned to India and offered worship to Lord Shiva at Rameshwaram to expiate the sin of killing the demon king. Lord Rama directed Hanuman to bring the lingam from Kailasa within a certain time, but Hanuman was delayed and Sita had to prepare one of sand, before the auspicious hour. It is said that this is the same Lingam of Sri Ramanatha in the temple. The 'lingam' is one of the 12 Jyothirlingas in India.In the main sanctum at the temple is where the Lingam is placed and worshipped. It is the same one, which Lord Rama had sanctified. The Vimana is three storeys tall and contains images of Hanuman, Agastya Linga and the Gandhamadhana Linga. The Linga of Vishvanatha, which is said to be brought by Hanuman, is enshrined in another sanctum to the north. Another shrine houses the image of Visalakshi, the Consort of Visvanatha while Parvathavardhani, the consort of Ramanatha is enshrined in a sanctum to his right.An additional speciality of this place is that the temple comprises of twenty-two wells where the taste of the water of each well is different from the other. Hanuman Temple, An amazing and interesting temple of the most devoted and popular deity, Lord Hanuman who accordingly to Ramayana Epic of Hindu Mythology played an important and significant role in the rescue of Mother Sita from the Lanka King Ravana and helped Lord Ram vanquish Ravana.Agnitheertham, holding religious significance for Hindus, is situated at a distance of 100 metres from the Ramanathaswamy Temple. This place is located towards the east of the main entrance of the temple and is a suitable place for bathing. The water in Agnitheertham is considered to be sacred and many pilgrims perform pooja at this seashore for honouring their ancestors.As per legend, it is believed that Agnitheertham is the spot where Lord Rama offered his prayers to Lord Shiva, after killing Ravana. Shiva devotees across the globe take a holy dip in the Agnitheertham for washing away their sins.Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge is also known as the Pamban Bridge. This bridge is over 2.34 km long and was constructed with sufficient elevation. The Pamban Bridge is major source for connecting the Rameshwaram Island with the main land. It took over 14 years to construct this bridge, which was finally inaugurated in 1988.The bridge is designed in a shape of a bow which enables ships to pass beneath it. It is the second longest bridge in India, after the newly constructed Bandra-Worli sea link. There are around 143 pillars that support this bridge, out of which 64 were built in the sea.This bridge is also called as the Pamban Rail Scissors Bridge, which is the longest rail bridge.

Palani

The Palani Murugan Temple is a major attraction of Palani which can be reached by climbing around 670 steps, on the hilltop. There is also a Haulage Winch or a small rope train along with a rope car for travelling to the top of the hill. The entire town of Palani is visible from the top of the hill.It is believed that this temple was built by Cheraman Perumal of the Chera Dynasty. The temple was later expanded between the 8th and the 13th centuries by the Cholas and Pandyas, who added new mandapams and gopurams at the site. Some of the sculptures at the temple were added by the Nayaka kings who ruled the region for a brief period. The Palani Hill Temple, located on Palani Hills, is devoted to Lord Murugan in the form of Dhandayuthapani. The temple is at a height of around 1500 ft above sea level. The holy pool, Saravana Poigai, is located within the premises of the temple.Tiru Avinankudi, a 2000 year old temple, is situated on Palani Hills which has the idol of Dhandayuthapani. This idol is made using a mixture of nine poisons, known as Navapashana.

Ooty

Sightseeing in Ooty includes The Botanical Garden a wide variety of exotic and ornamental plants adorn this garden. There is also a beautiful Italian floral garden and for those who simply want to relax, there's always the green carpet of the well-maintained lawns. This garden is home to lovely flowers of diverse colors which are a treat to the eye. There is a separate fern house in the Botanical Gardens in Ooty where one finds many ferns and orchids. Ooty Lake, an artificial lake, formed by John Sullivan; the founder of Ooty, in 1824.This lake stretches for about 2.75 km, in an irregular ‘L’ shape.The entire lake is surrounded by eucalyptus trees that add to its beauty. Visit the nearby Boat House, where you can hire different types of boats. At the end of this Boat House, there is a deer park and a children’s park, with toy train.Rose Garden covers around 10 acres of land, near the Charring Cross at Vijayanagaram. This garden comprises terraces with pergolas, rose tunnels and bowers with rose creepers. There are around 3600 varieties of roses in this garden.The Nilgiris Toy Train connects Ooty to Mettupalyam at the foot of the Nilgiris. The Nilgiri Hill railway, blue and cream with wooden coaches and large windows are widely regarded as a marvel of engineering. The first train steamed out in the year 1899 and it boasts of being designed and built by the Swiss locomotive works. Doddabetta Peak is the highest vantage point in Ooty, located at around 2,623 m. This peak is regarded as one of the highest peaks in South India, which lies at the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats.

Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary

Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary or The Tiger Reserve is an adventurous sightseeing place in Ooty. It is situated in the Nilgiri hills, where the Western Ghats meet the Eastern Ghats. The entire sanctuary covers a wide area of 32,155 hectares, comprising open grassland, valley, flat land, swamp and nullas.This sanctuary is located at an elevation of 1000 metres between Karnataka and Kerala. The wildlife of this sanctuary is a home to tiger, wild dog, langur, sloth bear, elephants and bonnet macaque. This sanctuary also houses leopard, hyena, jackal, spotted deer, mouse deer, wild boar, flying squirrel and more.

Thiruchirapalli

Thiruchirapalli is situated at the head of the fertile Kaveri Delta, this city is named after the fierce three headed demon (tirusira) who attained salvation after being slain by Shiva. The town's history is interwoven with the political fortunes of the Pallavas, Cholas, Nayakas and finally the British, who shortened its name to Trichy. Dominating the town is the massive Rock Fort, perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop that rises 83m (272 ft) above the flat plains. Trichy is a fine blend of tradition and modernity built around the Rock Fort. Rock Fort Temple/Thayumanaswamy Temple, Trichy is beautiful Thayumanaswamy Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is adorned with a 100-pillar hall and a vimana covered with gold. 344 steps hewn out of rock lead to the top where there are inscriptions dating back to the 3rd century.B.C. Sriranganathaswami Temple, Srirangam; The most important pilgrim centre is located in an island just 7 kms from Tiruchi. Srirangam, surrounded by the waters of river Cauveri on one side and its tributary kollidam on the other, is a 600 acre island-town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sriranganathaswami Temple .

Thanjavur

Thanjavur has been the capital of mighty Cholas for centuries. Therefore it is only natural that the city has remained the focal point of cultural movement and activities in the peninsular India. The Cholas have been known as the patrons of magnificent art culture and that is why Tanjore has a lot of attractions to see and appreciate.Sightseeing includes Sri Brihadeswara Temple,The Chola King, Rajaraja I built the Brihadeswara Temple in Thanjavur. The temple that was constructed in the 10th century AD is a magnificent example of Chola Temple architecture that was further applied in other cities in the peninsula too.The Palace of Tanjore stands near the Brihadeswara temple. The Palace is a huge building that has been built through many decades. Nayaks initiated the foundation and primary work of construction around 1550 AD. The Marathas later completed the building during the reign of Peshwas.The Art Gallery is situated in the Thanjavur Palace only. The place is a must visit in Tanjore as it houses some of the most magnificent and precious Granite and Bronze statues of the Chola period.

Kumbakonam

In Kumbakonam visit Dharasuram Temple, located 4 kms west of Kumbakonam, was built by the Chola King, Rajaraja II. This temple is dedicated to Shiva, who is Airavateshvara, the “Lord of Airavata”. Legend claims that after Airavata, the white elephant of Indhra, the God of the Heavens, regained his lost colour, he worshipped Shiva at this spot. The four-tiered temple has a Sanctum and three halls, of which the finest is the Raja-Gambira Mandapa conceived as a stone chariot drawn by caparisoned horses with Brahma as its driver. The outer walls have fine friezes and carvings of musicians, dancers and acrobats as well as depictions from the Periya Puranam, a Tamil treatise on 63 Shaivite poet-saints, the Nayannars.Kambaharesvarar Temple was built by the King Kulothunga III (1179 AD - 1216 AD). There are two Gopurams and two Praharams,the Karpagraham, Artha Mandapam, Maha Mandapam, Muha Mandapam and Somaskandar Mandapam.The Karpagraham is in the shape of square. It's both sides are having Karnathuvara steps. Dhakshinamoorthy, Lingothbhavar and Bramma reside on the wall of Sri Vimana.

Chidambaram

Visit Chidambaram Temple; Sacred Chidambaram, where Shiva is believed to have performed his cosmic dance, the tandava nritya, is a triditional temple town where history merges with mythology to create a deeply religious ambience. All ancient Hindu beliefs and practices are zealously observed here, mainfested in an endless cycle of rites and rituals.The focal point of the town is the awe - inspring Nataraja Temple, built by the Cholas in the 9th century to honour their patron deity, Shiva as Nataraja, the "Lord of Dance". The temple has an unusual hut - like sanctum with a gold - plated roof, the huge, colonnaded Shivaganga Tank, and four colourful gopuras. The most interesting is the eastern gopura which features detailed sculptures the 108 hand and feet movements of Bharat Natyam and is considered a veritable encyclopaedia of this classical temple dance. Within the temple's three enormous enclosures are five major halls (sabhas), each conceived for a special purpose. In the outer encloser, next to the Shivaganga Tank, is the Raja Sabha ("Royal Hall"), a beautiful thousand - pillared hall, built as a venue for temple rituals and festivals.

Gangaikonda Cholapuram

Gangaikonda Cholapuram is one of the very ancient temples of Tamil Nadu, built in the Chola style. Gangai Konda Chola Puram, “The City of the Chola who took the Ganges”, was the capital of powerful Chola dynasty during the reign of Rajendra I.Rajendra I, was the first Tamil ruler to venture Northwards and a great military commander like his father Rajaraja I. He built this city to commemorate his successful campaign across the Ganges.According to an inscription, he then ordered the defeated.

Pondichery

Pondichery sightseeing includes Sri Aurobindo Ashram,This place was founded by Sri Aurobindo, who in the early ages was a revolutionist and then turned poet. His was jointly helped by The Mother, who was a Paris born painter. The Ashram is a centre for the practice of integral yoga, meditation, and of inner development,The Pondicherry Botanical Garden was created 1826 and was then called "The Colonial Park". The renowned botanist Perottet brought many rare species of plants, about 1500 of them, from places like Madras, Calcutta, Ceylon and Reunion,Visit Pondicherry Beach,Heritage Walk,It is very beautiful to take a walk around the Boulevards of Pondicherry , which presents to you with three different kinds of architecture, The white town or the French area, the Tamil square, and the Muslim square.Churches,Pondicherry had been under the French which have built many splendid churches, some which even have rare staingalss panels depicting saints and events form the life of Christ. The Immaculate Conception Cathedral, on Cathedral Street, was first built in1692. It took its present shape in 1791.Auroville was inaugurated on 28th Feb. 1968 with representation from 124 countries.Auroville was envisioned as a Universal Town, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs, can live in peace and harmony. It is an attempt to realize a new society as envisioned by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Nearly people from 35 countries are living here to realize on human unity and transformation of consciousness.Auroville welcomes people from all parts of the world to live together and explore cultural, educational, scientific, spiritual, and other pursuits in accordance with the Auroville Charter. Auroville information centre and Matri Mandir the Meditation hall with world’s biggest man- made crystal ball are the places open to most of the visitors

Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram - known as the Golden City of a Thousand Temples, is one of the oldest towns in India. It is famous for both its temples, many of them remarkably well preserved and for its hand-woven silks. Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities of India and it is the only one associated with both Shiva and Vishnu. Visit Ekambareshwar Temple, Kailashnath Temple, Kamakshi Temple, the Vaikunthaperumal Temple, all built in the 7th and 8th centuries. With a weaving tradition dating back to the Pallava era (when silk was the royal cloth), Kanchipuram is justly famous for its particularly fine silk saris, embellished with stunning patterns. Visit the local homes of the weavers and watch them create magic out of silk thread into saris.

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