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4 DAY TRIP FROM CHENNAI | PONDICHERRY & CHIDAMBARAM

Beach | City | Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

Photo Credit: Flickr

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Trip Starting Point: Chennai City

Mode of Travel: Car (or Cab)

Trip Duration: 4 Days

Ideal Start Time: 7 AM:9 AM:8 AM:9 AM

Total Places Visited: 17

Day 1 Destinations | Day 2 Destinations
DAYS

DAY 1 : TRAVEL TO PONDICHERRY & PONDICHERRY SIGHTSEEING

Travel from Chennai to Pondicherry

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 .....

Overnight Stay in Pondicherry

DAY 2 : PONDICHERRY SIGHTSEEING

Resume Pondicherry Sightseeing

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 7 AM to 6.30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, The Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the highly revered religious places in Pondicherry and is located on the south boulevard of the town.

It is one of the 21 Basilicas in India and only one in Pondicherry. This church was established in 1908 by the French missionaries and attained the status of basilica in 2011. This Catholic Church is one of the finest churches of Pondicherry.

The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an excellent example of Gothic architecture. The structure is 50 meters long, 48 meters wide and 18 meters high and is held by 24 columns. One can see the biblical words on entrance written in Latin along with the images of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mother Mary carved in the entrance door.

It contains rare stained glass panels depicting events from the life of Christ and saints of the Catholic Church. A striking statue of Madonna is placed at the right side of the high altar. The statue .....

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 .....

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 .....

Overnight Stay in Pondicherry

DAY 3 : TRAVEL TO CHIDAMBARAM &CHIDAMBARAM SIGHTSEEING

Travel from Pondicherry to Chidambaram

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

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 - 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 .....

Beach

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

At a distance of 40 Kms from Chidambaram, 40 km from Karaikal, 90 Kms from Thanjavur & 257 Kms from Chennai, Poompuhar was once the biggest port on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, and was as its peak of glory under the earlier Chola kings.

The River Kaveri is merging with the sea here. It was known as puhar due to the exquisite beauty of the port town, and it later came to be called Poompuhar. Silappathikaram and Manimekalai, the tamil epics, bring out the greatness of the city in some of the poems in Sangam literature.

Danish Fort that was built as early as 1620 A.D is the masterpiece of the Danish architecture in India. The fort is in perfect condition till now and most of the decorations and carvings are still prominent.

A fine beach and calm waters offer good opportunity for sunbathing and swimming.

Overnight Stay in Chidambaram

DAY 4 : CHIDAMBARAM SIGHTSEEING & TRAVEL TO CHENNAI

Travel from Chidambaram to Chennai

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: Timings: 6 AM to 12 PM and 4 PM to 8 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 42 km Chidambaram, 76 km from Thanjavur, 110 km from Trichy & 268 km from Chennai, Sri Brihadeeswara Temple is situated at Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Gangaikonda Cholapuram was the capital of Cholas. It was built by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, who conquered a large area in South India at the beginning of the 11th century. It occupies an important place in the history of India as the capital of the Cholas from about 1025 CE for about 250 years. This temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site 'Great Living Chola Temples'.

Rajendra Chola I has established this temple after his great victories in Northern India. He was originally called Madurantakan and assumed the title of Rajendra during his coronation and continued to rule along with his father Rajaraja-I for a while. Gangai Konda Cholapuram is regarded as the reproduction of Brihadisvara Temple that was built by Rajaraja Chola, father of Rajendra Chola. The temple is renowned for .....

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 5.30 AM - 12 PM and 4 PM - 8.30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 37 km from Kumbakonam, 37 km from Karaikal and 42 km from Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai is a town and headquarters of the Mayiladuthurai Taluk in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. Mayiladuthurai is known for the Mayuranatha Swamy Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is one among the six temples which are compared as equivalent to the temple in Varanasi. The other 5 Shivasthalams are Tiruvenkaadu, Chaayaavanam, Tiruvaiyaru, Tiruvanchiam and Tiruvidaimarudur.

This temple was reconstructed with stone in 10th century during the period of Sembiyan Mahadevi. However, the renovations from the 19th century have destroyed some of the older structures and the inscriptions. Some of the stone sculptures of Vinayakar, Natarajar, Dakshimamurthy, Lingodbhavar, Brahma, Ganga Visarjanamurthi, Durga and Bhikshatanar from the period of Sembiyan Mahadevi have been well preserved.

The main diety is in the form of lingam .....

Pilgrimage

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

At a distance of 23 km from Karaikal, 23 km from Mayiladuthurai, 44 km from Chidambaram and 57 km from Kumbakonam, Thirukkadaiyur is a popular temple town located on the east coast of Tamil Nadu in the Nagapattinam district. The Amritaghateswarar - Abirami Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is the most famous temple in Thirukkadaiyur.

The presiding deity of this temple is Sri Amirthalingeswara and his consort is Sri Abirami. Thirukkadaiyur is one of the 8 Veera Sthalas, where Yama was clashed with Lord Shiva. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Shiva protected Markandeya, son of Mrikandu, from Yama. The scar caused by the Yama's rope is visible on the Linga during abisheka times.

The temple was built by Chola kings in 11th century in the traditional Chola architectural style. Spread over 11 acres, the temple has great architecture and has five enclosures, huge towers and spacious mandapas. Based on the inscriptions .....

END OF THE TOUR

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