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3 DAY TRIP FROM CHENNAI | CHIDAMBARAM & PONDICHERRY

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage | Beach | City

Photo Credit: Flickr

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Trip Starting Point: Chennai City

Mode of Travel: Car (or Cab)

Trip Duration: 3 Days

Ideal Start Time: 6 AM (Day 1), 9 AM (Day 2) & 9 AM (Day 3)

Total Places Visited: 12

Day 1 Destinations | Day 2 Destinations
DAYS

DAY 1 : TRAVEL TO CHIDAMBARAM & SIGHTSEEING

Travel from Chennai to Chidambaram

Lake & Backwaters

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Boating cost varies

At a distance of 16 kms from Chidambaram & 217 Kms from Chennai, Pichavaram is among the most exquisite places of tourist interest near Chennai and a scenic spot.

The backwaters are interconnected by the Vellar and Coleroon River system and offer abundant scope for water sports such as parasailing, rowing and canoeing. The Pichavaram forests not only offer scenic waterscape and backwater cruises but combines the mangrove forests. These are trees permanently rooted in a few feet of water.

The mangroves of Pichavaram are considered among the healthiest mangrove forests in the world. Pichavaram consists of a number of small islands interspersing a vast expanse of water and covered with green trees. The area is about 2800 acres and is separated from the sea by sand bars.

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 6 AM to 12.30 PM & 4.45 PM to 9 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2 Kms from Chidambaram Bus Station and less than 1 Km from Chidambaram Railway Station, Nataraja Temple located in the centre of the town covers an area of 40 acres. It is one of the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu.

The roof of the sanctum sanctorum is covered with gold plates. The presiding deity of the temple is represented by air, one of the five elements of the universe and is known as Akasa Lingam. Dedicated to Lord Nataraja, this ancient temple of the Cholas is unique as it one of Panchabootha sthala in India - and it is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather than the customary lingam.

The Eastern tower rises to a height of 40.8 metres. 108 Bharathanatyam dance gestures can be seen on the eastern tower as well as on the western tower. The northern tower rises to a height of 42.4 meters.

Timings: 6 AM to 12.30 PM & 4.45 PM to 9 PM

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 6 AM - 11 AM and 4:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 17 km from Mayiladuthurai, 27 km from Chidambaram, 45 kms from Karaikal, 54 km from Kumbakonam and 94 km from Thanjavur, Vaitheeswaran Koil is town in Nagapattinam district which is famous for the Vaidyanatha Swamy Temple. The temple is also known as Pullirukkuvelur.

Vaidyanatha Swamy and Thaiyalnayaki are the presiding deities of this temple. The Selva Muthukumara Swamy shrine here is also considered to be of important. There are Shiva lingas said to have been worshipped by Rama, Jatayu, Skanda, Surya and Angaraka. It is believed that Rama and his brother Lakshmana cremated the vulture king Jatayu who was killed by Ravana when he tried to prevent the abduction of Sita at this place. There is a pond at this temple called Jatayu kundam.

It is one of the Navagraha temples associated with the planet Mars (Angaraka). According to legend, Planet Mars was once afflicted with leprosy and was cured by Vaidyanatha .....

Overnight Stay in Chidambaram

DAY 2 : TRAVEL TO PONDICHERRY & SIGHTSEEING

Travel from Chidambaram to Pondicherry

Lake & Backwaters

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Entry Free. Boat ride cost varies.

At a distance of 6 km Pondicherry Bus Station, Chunnambar Boat House also known as Plage Paradiso is famous for its backwaters and it's a popular boating venue and is. Located on the Cuddalore main road, the backwater is situated at a point where the Chunnambar River meets Bay of Bengal. Paradise beach is usually reached by boat from Chunnambar Boat House.

Chunnambar Boat House is ideal for boating and also a great picnic spot. The backwater houses a nice resort managed by the Pondicherry Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (PTTDC), known as Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort. The resort offers a range of fun and entertainment options include trekking, yachting, backwater boat trips and beach games. The boating options include motor boats, speed boats, sail boats, rowed boats, water scooters, paddled boats and pedaled boats. Accommodation facility is available on tree top houses.

Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM. Ferry .....

Beach

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 9 AM to 4 PM
Entry Fee: Free Entry. Need to take boat ride to reach the beach and cost varies.

At a distance of 8 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, Paradise Beach, also known as Plage Paradiso, is an isolated beach located at Chunnambar. This is one of the most famous Pondicherry Beaches and also one of the best places to experience Pondicherry Tourism. Paradise Beach is another popular attraction not to miss in a Pondicherry tour packages.

The beach is extremely attractive as the sands are very clean and the water is crystal clear. The Paradise Beach is situated close to Cuddalore main road and it houses the famous Chunnambar resort.

Visitors have to cross the Chunnambar backwaters by boat to reach Paradise Beach. These boats leave from Chunnambar boathouse around 6 km from Pondicherry. The beach has shelters and palm trees for shade and protection from the sun and rain. There is one small bar which serves .....

Park

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 1.5 km Pondicherry Bus Station, the Botanical Garden is located south of the New Bus Stand and is one of the top Pondicherry Tourist Places. The Botanical Garden along with Aquarium was established in 1826.

The Botanical Gardens is spread over an area of 22 acres in the center of the city. The garden is a famous retreat for locals and tourists. It is spread with pruned trees, flower beds and fountains. Perrotet was responsible for transforming the place into a botanical garden. His memorial can be seen inside the garden premises. He introduced many exotic plants from all over the world. In 1960, after the Transfer of Power from the French, the garden became the hub of horticultural development in Pondicherry.

There are 28 plots in the Botanical Garden and each one has separate theme. Other attractions of the Botanical Garden include Children's toy train, musical fountain, aquarium .....

Overnight Stay in Pondicherry

DAY 3 : PONDICHERRY SIGHTSEEING & TRAVEL TO CHENNAI

Resume Pondicherry Sightseeing

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 5.45 AM - 12.30 PM and 4 PM - 9.30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, The Manakula Vinayagar Temple is one of the famous ancient temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is a popular pilgrimage site in Puducherry.

Manakula Vinayagar Temple was in existence before the French came and settled in Pondicherry and the idol of Lord Ganesha is locally known as Vellakkaran Pillai. The French Jesuits and missionaries tried to demolish the temple several times, but every time local population saved the temple.

Facing the east near Bay of Bengal, the temple was known as Bhavaneshar Ganapathy, now called as Manakula Vinayagar. In Tamil Manal means sand and Kulam means pond near the sea. The temple is spread over an area of about 8000 sq. ft with outer mandapam, raja gopuram and outer enclosure. Measuring 18 feet in height, the gold plated kodikambam is a spectacular highlight of this temple. The outside wall of the temple depicts various forms of the Ganesha with its timelines and locations. The rich architectural .....

Miscellaneous

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 8 AM - 12 PM and 2 PM - 6 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a famous spiritual community (ashram) located in Pondicherry. Founded by Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa (The Mother) in 1926, it is one of the major highlights of Pondicherry and is visited by thousands of people from all over the world. The ashram is also the place of Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

The Aurobindo Ashram is one of the most visited tourism sites in Pondicherry. This ashram comprises several buildings and there are around 1,200 members along with 400 students living in this center.

The serene Aurobindo Ashram comes alive during the festivals. Thousands of tourists, followers and visitors come here. Despite the large crowd the members maintain discipline within the complex, restoring its peaceful environment. The ideals of the ashrams are based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and Mira Alfassa. The ashram contains a library, printing press, playground, art gallery, a dispensary/nursing .....

Museum & Gallery

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 10 AM - 5 PM. Closed on Mondays and National holidays.
Entry Fee: Rs. 15

At a distance of 3 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, Pondicherry Museum is situated in the Bharathi Park and is known for its unique collection of sculptures. It is one of the popular places in Pondicherry Sightseeing.

This museum has an excellent gallery with sculptures and has the remains of archaeological findings from the Arikamedu Roman settlement. This gallery is known to have artifacts belonging to Cholas and Pallavas rule of Pondicherry and Karaikal. Burial urns, French furniture, terracotta figures, crockery, guns, swords, paintings, mirrors and several other things dating back to different periods are preserved here.

The painting section includes Tanjore and glass paintings, colonial prints and contemporary oils, pastels and water colors. It has bronze statues of several gods and goddesses along with handicrafts, art work and temple lamps. The ground floor of the museum has a palanquin .....

Park

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 7 AM - 8 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, The Bharathi Park, also known as the Government Park is situated in the central region of the old colonial town of Pondicherry.

Government Park was once the location of the first French garrison and Fort Louis which were destroyed by the British. In 2006 the park was renovated and several new sections were included to make it more attractive. It is a beautiful and peaceful park ideal to spend time with family or for a morning / evening walk.

The Aayi Mandapam or the Park Monument is a famous monument which lies at the center of the park. At one point, Aayi Mandap was the main water source for Pondicherry town.
The Mandapam is an imposing structure that flaunts brilliant Greco-Roman architecture. The presence of flowerbeds, well-manicured lawns and beautiful fountains around the monument make it an attractive place.

There is a wonderful children's play area with several playground equipment. This park is surrounded .....

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 24 Hrs
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, The Statue of Mahatma Gandhi is located on the beach front of Pondicherry. Built by the famous sculptor Roy Choudhary from Madras School of Art and Crafts, it is one of the major landmarks in Pondicherry. It is surrounded by eight exquisitely carved monolithic granite pillars which were brought from Gingee Fort.

The statue stands 4 m (13 feet) high is the 3rd biggest Mahatma Gandhi statue. It was inaugurated on January 26, 1965. The square in front of the statue referred to as Gandhi Thidal, plays host to various cultural and musical activities through the year.

There is a tunnel below the Gandhi statue which is believed to be leading to Gingee Fort. There were some efforts to explore the tunnel. But, after a few people died of suffocation, the tunnel was closed.

Beach

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 24 Hrs
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, Promenade Beach is one of the popular beaches in Pondicherry along the Bay of Bengal. It is a 1.5 km long stretch between War Memorial and Dupleix Park. This is one of the top places to visit in Pondicherry.

This beach is called by multiple names like rock beach due to rocks along the beach, Gandhi beach because of statue of Mahatma Gandhi and also as Promenade beach. Popularly this beach is also called Pondicherry beach because of its close proximity to the city.

It's a long stretch of rocky beach with benches and wide pavement for morning and evening walks. It is adjacent to Goubert Avenue, the historical section of the city which has several beautiful colonial buildings. This long stretch has statues of Jeanne d'Arc Dupleix, Mahatma Gandhi and War Memorial. There is also a 27 meter .....

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