Our Name Pondicherry / Chidambaram / Pichavaram Mangrove Forest

Duration 1 Night / 2 Days

Pichavaram the second largest Mangrove forest in the world, near the temple town of Chidambaram, is one of the unique Eco-tourism spots in South India. The backwaters, inter connected by the Vellar and Coleroon river systems, offer abundant scope for water sports, rowing, Kayak and canoeing. The Pichavaram forest not only offers waterscape and back water cruises, but combines another very rare occurrence - the mangrove forest trees permanently rooted in a few feet of water. The Pichavaram mangroves are considered among the healthiest mangrove occurrence in the world. Pichavaram consists of a number of islands interspersing a vast expanse of water covered with green trees. The area is about 2800 acres and is separated from the sea by a sand bar which is a patch of extraordinary loveliness. The Pichavaram mangrove biotope, with its peculiar topography and environmental condition, supports the existence of many rare varieties of economically important shell and finfishes. The Pichavaram mangroves attract an appreciable bird population of residents, local migrants and true migrants.

At the mangroves, so far, 177 species of birds belonging to 15 orders and 41 families have been recorded. The season for birds is from September to April every year. Peak population of birds could be seen from November to January. This is due to high productive nature (in terms of prey organisms) of the ecosystem and coincidence of the time of arrival of true migrants from foreign countries and local migrants from their breeding grounds across India. The availability of different habitat types such as channels, creeks, gullies, mud flats and sand flats and adjacent sea shore offers ideal habitat for difference species of birds. In the above background, the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation and the District Administration of Cuddalore District have proposed to conduct an Eco Tourism festival namely " DAWN FEST " (Vidiyal Vizha) at Pichavaram…

  Suggested Itinerary

Day-1 Chennai – Pondicherry (160 Km) – Chidambaram (80 Km)

After breakfast, drive to Pondicherry.

Pondicherry has a special ambience, not felt anywhere else in India. It is a blend of spiritual aura, French colonial heritage, Tamil culture and the cosmopolitan flair of many nationalities in a small but varied town.

Visit Aurovile, the city of dawn was designed by the French architect Roger Arger and was started as an experimental commune where people of all nationalities irrespective of caste, creed or religion would live together in harmony.

People from different countries live in the settlements of Auroville. It is advisable to hire bicycles to look around as the village is too large to wander through on foot. Surrounded by lakes and gardens, the sphere shaped Matri Information Centre at Promesse the first stop is Here, a 25 hectare farm and orchard where organic agriculture has been practised successfully. The produce is used in the kitchens of Auroville as well as the Ashram in Pondicherry. 

Post lunch Drive to Chidambaram

On arrival at Chidambaram, check into the hotel.

If time permits, visit the famous Natrajar temple at Chidambaram.

Overnight at Chidambaram

Day-2 Pondicherry – Pichavaram Mangrove Forest (20 Km) - Chennai

After early breakfast, drive to Pichavaram Mangrove Forest and enjoy the boat ride wandering through the mangroves.

Drive to Chennai and en route, have lunch at Pondicherry.

Evening return to Chennai. Tour ends.


The Package Cost


(The Package cost depends on the Group Size / Type of vehicle / Other Connected Services)

Cost includes:

•One night accommodation at Hotel at Chidambaram (Hotel Saradharam or similar)

•Transportation cost

•Driver’s allowance

•Fuel

•Toll & Parking charges

•Interstate permit

•Taxes


Cost does not includes:

•Food & water

•Personal expenses

•Entry fee to any place of visit

•Guide Charges


Note:

Guide can be arranged at an additional cost.

Arrangement of guide is subject to availability at the time of your confirmed booking with full payment. 

Tour Name Vellore Golden Temple (STC-VGT)

Sri Narayani Temple (Golden Temple) Sripuram, Vellore 
Duration Full Day Trip

A grand 'golden temple', the Mahalakshmi temple, located on a sprawling 100 acres of land at Sripuram, near Vellore, has been constructed by Vellore-based Sri Narayani Peetam, headed by spiritual leader Sri Sakthi Amma.

The temple, covering 55,000 sq ft, has intricate carvings and sculptures in gold. Except for the pathway, the entire structure has been made of gold and copper.

About 400 goldsmiths and coppersmiths, including craftsmen from Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam, have completed the architectural marvel in gold in six years. The approximate cost of the temple was Rs 600 crores.

Surrounded by mountains and lush and scenic beauty, the temple, entirely conceived and designed by ‘Amma’, is open to people of all religions. "The temple is Amma's gift to mankind," . The pathway to the temple has been laid out in the shape of a star with messages of 'Amma' and quotes from Gita, Bible and Quran displayed on either side. It is one of the richest temples gifted to Tamil Nadu! 
The major tourist attractions in Vellore 

Vellore Fort

One of the oldest forts of India, the Vellore Fort has always played a pivotal role in determining the politics of not just Tamil Nadu but that of the entirety of India. Bommi and Thimma Reddy built this large fort in the 16th century during the reign of the Vijayanagar king Krishnadeva Raja. The fort was captured in the 17th century by the Adi Shahis, the Muslim rulers from Bijapur. It was then taken by the Marathas, and later taken by Daud Khan of Delhi in the early 18th century. The British took control of this fort in 1768 and controlled it until Independence. After the British killed Tipu Sultan they imprisoned Tipu’s son and daughter in this fort.

There is a big moat around the fort that is still filled with water. At one time it was full of crocodiles. The fort, which is well preserved, now contains the Jalakanteswara Temple, a church, a mosque, courts and a police training center. There is a Museum here that contains old sculptures, paintings and handicrafts. Open daily except Fri 8 am to 8 pm.

The modern CSI Church, opposite the fort, has an old British cemetery, which contains graves of British officers killed in the final campaign against Tipu Sultan. 

Jalakanteswara Temple

This large, impressive Siva temple was built around 1566 in the Vijayanagar style. This ancient temple is named after Jalakanteswara, or “Lord Siva residing in the water.” The temple has a Nataraja Siva deity on the northern altar, and on the western altar is a Siva-linga. This temple has just recently been reestablished as a place of worship.

The temple is famous for its magnificent sculptures. There is a 30m (100ft) high, seven-storey gopuram made of blue granite, which is flanked by two carved dwarpalas (door guards). The carvings in the kalyan mandapa (pillared hall) are some of the most impressive in India. The outer pillars have sculptures of rearing horses and dragons. The inner pillars have sculptures of yalis, which are lion-like creatures.

This temple is located in the Vellore Fort, near the north wall of the fort. Open daily 6 am to 1 pm and 3 to 8 pm. 

Ratnagiri Murugan Temple


Ratnagiri Balamurugan Temple is an ancient Murugan temple situated in Vellore. It was built around the 14th century. It is situated on top of a hill. Ancient Hindu scriptures say where there is a hill, there is Lord Murugan. Over the passage of time an ordinary sand structure was converted into a stone shrine. The 14th Century poet Arunagirinathar has sung about this temple as 'Rathinakiri Vazh Murukane Ilaya Vaaramarar Perumaley', which means 'Murugan, the God of Devas resides in Rathinagiri.

It is believed that the divine power in the temple manifests its blessings in three forms

1. In the form of the Lord Murugan idol in the shrine
2. In the form of the guru Swami Balamurugan Adimai
3. In the form of the devotee.
Everyday, hundreds of devotees visit the temple to seek the blessings of Lord Murugan.

Temple Hours


•Temple is kept open from 6 am to 1 pm & 4 pm to 8 pm.

•Abhishekam timings: 6 am to 10:30 am & 5:30 pm.

•Temple office working hours: 9 am to 1 pm & 3 pm to 6 pm.


The Package Cost


(The Package cost depends on the Group Size / Type of vehicle / Other Connected Services)

Cost includes:

•Transportation cost

•Driver’s allowance

•Fuel

•Toll & Parking charges

•Taxes


Cost does not includes:


•Food & water

•Personal expenses

•Entry fee to any place of visit

•Guide Charges


Note:

•Guide can be arranged at an additional cost.

•Arrangement of guide is subject to availability at the time of your confirmed booking with full payment.

•Quality Vegetarian Restaurant is available at the Golden Temple premises at a very nominal cost.

•Entry to Golden temple is free. However, there are special entries which provide close darshan of the deity and the special entry cost is given below:

•Week Ends (Saturday & Sunday) – Rs. 100/- per person

•Week days – Rs. 50/- per person

•No special entry charges for Children up to 7 years

Tour Name Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram (STC-KM)

Duration Full Day Trip 

Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram is one of India's seven sacred cities and one of its loveliest temple towns. It is also noted for its handloom silks. The Golden City of Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred places of India. It is also hailed by Kalidasa as "Nagareshu Kanchi"(Best City among others). This pilgrimage centre is important for both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. Popularly known as "The City of Thousand Temples" is mainly consists of Siva Kanchi and Vishnu Kanchi. Kanchipuram is around 72 KM from Chennai.

 
EKAMBARESWARA TEMPLE 

TEMPLE Sri Ekambareswara is in the form of "Prithvi Lingam" hence Kanchipuram is also known as one of the Pancha Bhutha Sthalas. According to a Puranic story, Kailash Parvathy closed the eyes of Lord Shiva, while playing, bringing darkness to the entire world. Getting angry at her behaviour, Lord Shiva cursed Parvathi to become black like Kali. Unable to bear the punishment the Goddess descended on this place and did penance under a mango tree making a Lingam out of earth . Hence much significance is attached to this shrine and the mango tree, situated within the temple. 

KAILASANATHA TEMPLE 

This temple was built by Kind Rajasimha, the Pallava king and is known for its beautiful sculptures. The image of ardhanareeswara, seated on a bull with the feminine aspect carrying veena, is noteworthy. Other important temples in Shiva Kanchi are the Kachapeswara temple where Lord Vishnu worshipped Shiva in the form of a tortoise, Chitragupta temple, the only one of its kind in the South India, Kumara Kottam., a popular temple of Sri Subramanya, Satyavrateswara and Agastiswara shrines. 

VARADARAJA PERUMAL TEMPLE 


Situated on top of Hastigiri Hill, it is the centre of attraction in Vishnu Kanchi. This temple was constructed by the Vijayanagar Kings and the grand gopurams are architectural marvels. The beautiful site has sculptures in the Hall of Hundred Pillars. The separate shrines in the temple are, Sri Perundevi Thayar, the divine consort, and Yoga Narasimha in a cave below Hastigiri Hill. In "Anantha Theertham" the holy tank, Lord Attigiri Varadaraja is lying below water and is taken out only once in a generation for the worship of devotees. Other important temples include those of Vaikunta Perumal, Ulagalanda Perumal, Ashtabujam Perumal, Yathoktakari and Vilakkoil Kerumal. 

Handloom Industry


Kanchipuram's exquisite silk sarees are woven from pure mulberry silk in contrasting colours and have an enviable reputation for texture, lustre, durability and finish. More than 5,000 families are engaged in this industry and their spectacular creations are marketed by a number of co-operative socities, located all over the state. The Tamil Nadu Handloom House offers attractive rebates.

Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram, a coastal town 64 kms from Chennai is a sculptor’s delight. Mahabalipuram, is now known as Mamallapuram. It is believed to have been called Mahabalipuram after the great king Mahabali, who was blessed by Lord Vishnu in his Vamana Avataram. It is known as Mamallapuram after the Pallava king Narasimhavaramn I, who bore the title of Mamallan (great wrestler). The major contributions were by the Pallava rulers Narasimha Varman & Rajasimhan. The earlier works were rock cut temples & manadapams, while during the period of Rajasimhan they were structural constructions.

 
Arjuna's Penance 

This bas relief, is an extensive panel (27 metres long & 9 metres high of relief sculptures, with life size images. There are two beliefs as to the theme of the sculptures. Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers is said to have done penance asking for a powerful weapon with which to destroy his enemies. The huge gathering of celestials and humans witness the great scene.

According to the second belief, it is Bhagiratha's penance to get river Ganges down to the earth. His prayers are answered and Lord Shiva sends the Ganges down to the earth, controlling its rapid flow by allowing it to trickle from his matted locks. The natural cleft in the rock face depicts the flow of Ganga, watched over by celestials and humans. There are several images of animals too. 

Pancha Pandava Rathams 


The five rathas are mini shrines which are carved out of one rock constructed in the form of chariots. The Dharmaraja, Bhima, Arjuna & Draupadi rathams have been carved out of one single boulder. Draupadi and Arjuna rathams have a common platform.

The rathams are modeled on different architectural styles:

the Buddhist Viharas - Dharmaraja; Arjuna; & Nakula, Sahadeva's rathams
the Buddhist Chaityas - Vessera style - Bhima's ratham with longitudinal structure, barrel roof modern Bengali huts - Draupadi's ratham with a square cell, curvilinear roof.

The Dharmaraja ratham has a three storeyed vimana.

In the Draupadi ratham, the image of Draupadi is carved on the inside. On the rear wall of the Arjuna ratham is the image of Indra. There is a huge elephant and lion carved out near the rathams.

These rathams are characterised by open verandahs in the ground storey, with typical Pallava style pillars. The pillars have crouching lion bases. These five rathams are in one spot. There are three more rathams Valayankuttai, Pidari and Ganesha rathams.

The later southern temples have been largely influenced by the Dharmaraja & Arjuna ratham styles. 

Mandapams 

There are eight mandapams located at various spots - the Dharmaraja, Kotikal, Mahishasura, Krishna, Pandava, Varaha, Ramanuja and Shiva mandapams. In these rock cut mandapams, there are sculptural reliefs depicting various stories from epics and mythology.

Krishna Mandapam : In this mandapam, the scene of child Krishna holding aloft the Govardhana hill to protect the people of Gokulam from severe rains.

Mahishasuramardhini Mandapam : On one wall is depicted the scene of Goddess Durga mounted on a lion, destroying the evil asura with a buffalo head, Mahishasura. On the opposite wall is the scene of Lord Vishnu in repose (ananthasayanam) on the serpent Adisesha.

Varaha Mandapam : Two avatars of Lord Vishnu can be seen in this mandapam. On one wall is the scene of Lord Vishnu as Varaha (with a boar head), lifting Boomi Devi from under the ocean. On the other wall is the scene from Vamana avataram (dwarf brahmin boy). 

Shore Temple

The shore temple is located at the sea shore and has withstood the ravages of the sea. Unlike the rock cut structures in Mamallapuam, this is a structural temple, built by Rajasimha out of hard blackish leptinite. This shrine is dedicated to both Siva and Vishnu. There are two vimanas, Ksatriyasimheswara facing east and the smaller Rajasimheswara facing west dedicated to Lord Siva. The Vishnu griha is a mandapa between these two called the Narapatisimha Pallava Vishnugriha. The names of these shrines are the various titles of Rajasimha.

The shrines have a square lower storey and a pyraidal superstructure. The tower is more tapering than the monolithic structures.A sixteen sided polished Siva Linga - in the bigger shrine. There are Somaskanda panels in the rear walls of the Siva shrines. 

Krishna Butter Ball


The huge boulder near the Ganesha Ratha is popularly known as Krishna’s butter ball. It rests precariously on a narrow rock base. Legend has it that several Pallava Kings attempted to move it, but all the kings and their elephants could not shift the boulder even by an inch. 

Dakshinachitra

A venture of Deborah Thiagarajan and her associates from the Madras Craft Foundation. Dakshinachitra is an amazing place to visit, as various kinds of traditional houses have been transported to Chennai from interior parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala and rebuilt here piece by piece.

Crocodile Bank 

In this crocodile farm about 40 kms from Chennai on the Mahabalipuram road, several species of crocodiles, alligators & other reptiles are bred in captivity, kept in open, marshy enclosures. There is a regular venoem extraction (from snakes) show.

The Package Cost


(The Package cost depends on the Group Size / Type of vehicle / Other Connected Services)

Cost includes:

•Transportation cost

•Driver’s allowance

•Fuel

•Toll & Parking charges

•Taxes


Cost does not includes:

•Food & water

•Personal expenses

•Entry fee to any place of visit

•Guide Charges


Note:

Guide can be arranged at an additional cost.

Arrangement of guide is subject to availability at the time of your confirmed booking with full payment.