CHENNAI - KANCHIPURAM - CHIDAMBARAM WITH THIRUVANNAMALAI (FROM CHENNAI)

City | Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

Photo Credit: Flickr

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Trip Starting Point: Chennai City

Mode of Travel: Car (or Cab)

Trip Duration: 5 Days

Ideal Start Time: 10 AM:8 AM:9 AM:9 AM:9 AM

Total Places Visited: 18

DAYS

DAY 1 : CHENNAI SIGHTSEEING

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6.30 AM - 12 PM & 4 PM - 8 PM
Entry Fee: Free Entry

At a distance of 4.5 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (located in Peter's Road, Triplicane, near local Triplicane Railway Station), Sri Parthasarathy Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is one of the oldest temples in Chennai. This temple is built by Pallavas in the 8th century. This is one of the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city.

The present structure of the temple is largely based on the renovations and additions carried out in the 16th century by the Vijayanagar Kings. A number of fine carvings adorn the temple. It is one of the 108 sacred centers of Sri Vaishnavites.

Visiting Hours: Daily from 6.30 AM to 12 noon and 4 to 8 PM

Museum & Gallery

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 9.30 AM - 5.30 PM, Closed on Friday & on National Holidays
Entry Fee: Rs. 15 for Indians, Rs. 250 for Foreigners, Camera: Rs. 200 for Indians & Rs. 500 for Foreigners

At a distance of 4 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (on Pantheon Road), the Pantheon complex built in 1789 houses Government Museum, the National Art Gallery and the Connemara Public Library. The Government bought this building in 1830 and later several new buildings were added to it. This is one of the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city.

The Government Museum was established in 1857 and has the country's best collection of South Indian bronzes, both ancient and modern. Among which beautiful bronze icons of Nataraja, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman. The Amaravathi Gallery contains the rare second century marble sculptures, depicting important events in the life of Gautama Buddha. The bronzes from the 10th and 13th centuries and handicrafts from the 11th and 12th centuries also are seen here.

The National Art Gallery exhibits several beautiful paintings of 16th and 18th century from Rajasthan, Mughal period and 17th century Deccani art.

Timings: 9.30 .....

Museum & Gallery

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 9 AM - 5 PM, Closed on Fridays & National Holidays
Entry Fee: Rs. 15 for Adults & Rs. 10 for Children

At a distance of 3 km from Chennai Central Railway Station, the National Art Gallery is situated inside the Government Museum Complex on Pantheon Road in Egmore, Chennai. This is one of the oldest art galleries in India and also one of the must visit Chennai Tourist Places.

The National Art Gallery was built of sandstone in the year 1907 by T. Namberumal Chetty. Earlier known as Victoria Memorial Hall, the National Art Gallery was built during the celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in Indo-Saracenic style, designed by architect Henry Irwin. It has been identified as a Heritage site by the CMDA.

The National Art Gallery consists of four different sections, which include Tanjore Painting Gallery, Decorative Art Gallery, Indian Traditional Art Gallery and Raja Ravi Varma Painting Gallery. The miniature paintings from the Mughal era, handicrafts from 11th and 12th centuries and Rajput paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries are also on display. Portraits of various .....

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins - 1 Hr
Timings: 8.30 AM - 5.30 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for Adults & Rs. 5 for Children

At a distance of 7 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (located in Vaikuntapuram, less than 1 Kms from local Kodambakkam Railway Station), Valluvar Kottam is a monument built to pay homage to Tamil Poet Saint Thiruvalluvar.

Inaugurated in 1976, the memorial is the form of 101-feet high temple chariot and is the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. A 33m tall life-size statue of the saint has been installed in the chariot. Another amazing attribute of the auditorium is that it is not supported by a single pillar and stands without any support.

The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot. All the 1330 verses of the poet's epic are depicted on the granite pillars, which surround the auditorium. The auditorium at Valluvar Kottam is said to be the largest in Asia and can accommodate about 4000 people.

Timings: 8.30 AM - 5.30 PM

Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for Adults & Rs. 5 for Childre .....

Beach

Duration of visit: 2 Hours
Timings: 24 Hours
Entry Fee: Free Entry

At a distance of 4 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (located at Kamarajar Road, near local Chepauk Railway Station), the famous Marina beach is the second longest beach in the World and runs to a length of 13 Km. This is one of the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city and also one of the popular attraction not to miss in a Chennai tour packages.

Situated on the beach, the Anna Park, named after the founder of D.M.K Anna durai and the tomb of M.G. Ramachandran who was a film star (both were former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu) and the Statue of Labour is a splendid sculpture depicting the efforts of a team of labourers who are at hard manual labour.

The beach can be ideally visited in the early mornings or in the late evenings when the area becomes a virtual ground with food stalls and other entertainments.

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 6 AM - 9 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 km from Chennai Central Railway Station, MGR Memorial is a memorial structure situated within the picturesque surroundings of the Marina Beach in Chennai. It is one of the popular places of sightseeing in Chennai.

The memorial was built in the memory of M.G. Ramachandran, India's first actor cum chief minister and that too for three consecutive terms until his death. Considered as one of the greatest political leaders and actors of the state, his followers idolize him as Puratchi Thalaivar (Revolutionary leader). He was honoured with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of India after his death. Spread over 8.25 acres, the memorial is located adjacent to the Anna Memorial and has the highest number of visitors along the seafront.

The memorial was built in 1988 and was inaugurated by Janaki Ramachandran, wife of M. G. Ramachandran, in May 1990. The memorial was remodeled and the whole complex was laid with marbles and opened in 1992 by J. Jayalalitha .....

Overnight Stay in Chennai

DAY 2 : TRAVEL TO KANCHIPURAM & KANCHIPURAM SIGHTSEEING

Travel from Chennai to Kanchipuram

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 6 AM - 12 noon & 4 PM - 8.30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 1 km from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 2 kms from Railway Station, Kamakshi Amman Temple is the landmark of Kanchipuram. It is believed that the Kamakshi Amman Temple in Kanchipuram was existing even before Aadi Sankaracharya's period (788-820 AD). It has been told that there are three major Shakti's (Amman) in India. They are 'Kanchi Kamakshi, Madurai Meenakshi and Kaasi Visalakshi'.

Even most of the locals are unaware of the fact that there are no shrines for Shakti in any of the Shiva temples in Kanchipuram. The Kamakshi temple is the only traditional temple dedicated to Shakti in Kanchipuram.

The sannathi (sanctum) is covered with a gold plated roof. The temple has a golden charriot of which the procession takes place during festive seasons.

Timings: 6 AM - 12 noon & 4 PM - 8.30 PM

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM - 12.30 PM & 4 PM - 8.30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2 km from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 3 kms from Railway Station, Sri Ekambareswarar Temple is also known as 'Ekambaranathar Temple' (temple of Lord Shiva). The 'Pallavas' demolished the old structure and rebuilt the existing structure during 600 AD and 700 AD.

The total area of the whole temple is about 40 acres. The temple tower at the main entrance (Raja Gopuram) that you see here was constructed by the king Krishnadevaraya (Vijayanagar Dynasty). The height of this temple tower is 174 feet (about 57 m).

Until recently there was a mango tree in this temple, which was about 3500 years old. The tree has perished about 2 years ago due to its age. It is believed that Goddess Kamakshi Amman, whose temple is about 1/2 km away from here, worshipped Lord Shiva under this mango tree.

Timings: 6 AM - 12.30 PM & 4 PM - 8.30 PM.

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM - 12 noon & 4 PM - 7 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 kms from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 4 kms from Railway Station, the Kailasanathar temple (Shiva Temple) was built during the period from 685 A.D. to 705 A.D. by the Pallava king Rajasimha Pallava, and his son, Mahendra Varma Pallava.

Kailasanathar temple was constructed using sandstones for most of the sculptures. All the walls around and inside the temple are filled with great sculptures.

The architecture and sculpture of this temple resembles the temples found in Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) which were also constructed by Pallavas.

This might be the only temple in Kanchipuram which has not been modified after its original creation.

Timings: 6 AM - 12 noon & 4 PM - 7 PM.

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6.30 AM - 12 noon & 3.30 PM - 8 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 km from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 4 kms from Railway Station, Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple is also known as Devarajaswami Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

The 100 ft high temple tower (gopuram) was built in 11th century AD and was renovated by the Vijyanagar Kings in the 16th century. This temple has a 100 pillar hall (mandapam) which is beautifully carved. There is a chain that is carved out of a single stone.

The temple owns a chariot (ther) which is parked on Gandhi road. The chariot is taken out for procession (chariot festival) around the city once in a year (during the month of May).

Timings: 6.30 AM - 12 noon & 3.30 PM - 8 PM

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM - 12.30 PM & 4 - 8:30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 1 km from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 1 kms from Railway Station, Vaikuntha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram is one of the most important temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

It was built by the Pallava king Nandivarman and was completed in the 7th century A.D. There are three different levels of the main shrine. There are a number of sculptures of Lord Vishnu which are quite massive in size depicting the Lord in sitting, standing and reclining postures.

One of the main attractions of this temple is the exceptional 1000-pillared hall. The unique characteristic about it is that each pillar has a statue carved on it. Lion pillars support the enclosed passages inside the temple. The architecture of the temple has played a vital role in the architectural evolution of the grand thousand pillared mandaps built in the later south Indian. There are several inscriptions in the temple related to the wars between Pallavas and Chalukyas.

Timings: 6 AM - 12.30 PM & 4 - .....

Overnight Stay in Kanchipuram

DAY 3 : VISIT THIRUVANNAMALAI, GINGEE FORT &TRAVEL TO CHIDAMBARAM

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 2 Hours
Timings: 5:30 AM to 9:30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 120 Kms from Kanchipuram, 195 Kms from Chennai, 204 Kms from Bangalore and 83 Kms from Vellore, the famous Arunachala Temple in Thiruvannaamalai is one of the greatest Shaiva temples in South India. Tiruvannamalai along with Gingee Fort is one of the ideal Chennai weekend getaways and a major pilgrimage site in Tamilnadu.

Built within an area of 25 acres, this temple was constructed by Vijayanagara kings between 16th and the 17th centuries. This temple is famous for its huge & massive gopurams built on four sides of the temple. The Rajagopuram on East Gateway is 217 feet high with 11 storeys. The base measure 135 feet by 98 feet. This tower was built by King Krishna Devaraya of Vijayanagar. The Thousand Pillared Mantapam and the tank opposite to it were also constructed by Krishna Devaraya. The temple is fortified by a huge wall. Each of the prakarams has a huge Nandi.

The .....

Adventure / Trekking | Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 2-3 Hours
Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 5 for Indian & Rs. 100 for Foreigners

At a distance of 2 km from Gingee Bus Stand, 71 km from Puducherry, 85 km from Kanchipuram and 93 km from Vellore, Gingee Fort or Senji Fort in Villupuram District is one of the largest surviving forts in Tamil Nadu. The fort was historically considered most impregnable and it was called the 'Troy of the East' by the British. The fort is one of the prominent tourist places to visit near Villupuram & Chennai also among the best places near Chennai & Pondicherry for a day trip.

Originally the site had a small fort built by the Chola dynasty during 9th century. Gingee Fort, also known as Chinji or Jinji, was modified by Kurumbar while fighting the Cholas and again by the Vijayanagara Empire during the 13th century. As per one account, the fort was built during the 15-16th century by the Gingee .....

Overnight Stay in Chidambaram

DAY 4 : CHIDAMBARAM SIGHTSEEING

Start Chidambaram Sightseeing

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 5 : CHIDAMBARAM SIGHTSEEING & TRAVEL TO CHENNAI

Resume Chidambaram Sightseeing

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 .....

Travel from Chidambaram to Chennai