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5 DAY TRIP FROM MADURAI | MADURAI - RAMESHWARAM - KUMBAKONAM - THANJAVUR - TRICHY

Pilgrimage | City | Historical & Heritage

Photo Credit: Flickr

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Trip Starting Point: Madurai City

Mode of Travel: Car (or Cab)

Trip Duration: 5 Days

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

Total Places Visited: 19

Day 1 Destinations | Day 2 Destinations
DAYS

DAY 1 : MADURAI SIGHTSEEING

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 2-3 Hours
Timings: 5 AM to 12:30 PM & 4 PM to 9:30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2 Km from Madurai Junction Railway Station, the historic Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, also called as Meenakshi Amman Temple, is one of the biggest and most popular pilgrimage sites in India. Dedicated to Goddess Parvati and Lord Siva, the temple is considered an architecture marvel. It was shortlisted as one of the top 30 nominees for New Seven Wonders of the World. It is one of the the prime places to visit in Madurai.

The Madurai Temple forms the heart and lifeline of Madurai city which is 2,500 year old. The original temple was built by Kulashekara Pandya, but the initiative to rebuild the structure was taken by first Nayak king of Madurai, Viswanatha Nayak (1559-1600) under the supervision of Ariyanatha Mudaliar. The temple was substantially expanded to the current structure during the .....

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 5.30 AM to 12 PM and 4 PM to 9 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 1 km from Madurai Junction Railway Station & 1.5 km Meenakshi Temple, The Koodal Alagar Temple, also known as Arulmigu Koodalazhagar Thirukoil, is another important temple in Madurai. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple is believed to be older than the Meenakshi temple. It is one of the important places to visit in Madurai.

A unique feature of this temple is the three different postures of the same God. The three figures of Vishnu are in standing, sitting and reclining postures. These three figures of the deity are known by three different names. The most venerated of the three figures is Lord Vishnu in the seated posture. The seated Lord Vishnu is locally known as Lord Koodal Alagar from whom the temple derives its name. The reclining idol is known as Sri Ranganatha. Sri Surya Narayan Perumal is the name for the standing image of Lord Vishnu.

This temple possesses wonderful architecture .....

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 9 AM to 1 PM & 2 PM to 5 PM, Light show at 6.45 PM & 8.15 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for Adults & Rs. 5 for Children

At a distance of 3 km from Madurai Junction Railway Station and 1 km from Meenakshi Temple, Thirumalai Nayak Mahal is a palace complex constructed in the Indo-Saracen style by Thirumalai Nayak in 1636. It is among the major Madurai tourist places.

The original palace complex was four times bigger than the present structure. It was divided into two parts, Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa and only the Swargavilasa is survived today. The palace was designed by an Italian architect. The ceilings are decorated with large paintings showing Shaivite and Vaishnavite themes. The Darbar hall (courtyard) and the Natakasala (dancing hall) are carry the original glory and are central attractions for visitors. There are 248 pillars, each 58 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter. It is believed that the Rangavilasa portion of the palace was demolished by Chockanatha Nayak, the grandson of Thirumalai Nayak and the materials were carried to Trichy to build a new palace.

The most remarkable part of this .....

Overnight Stay in Madurai

DAY 2 : DAY TRIP TO RAMESWARAM

Travel from Madurai to Rameshwaram

Beach | Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins - 1 Hr
Timings: 6 AM - 6 PM
Entry Fee: Free Entry

At a distance of 2 km from Rameshwaram Railway Station (just 100 meters away from east entrance of Rameshwaram Temple), Agnitheertham is said to be the place where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to wash off his sins of killing Ravana. It is one of the important places to visit in Rameshwaram.

It is a sacred place and piligrims believe that taking a bath in Bay of Bengal at Agniteertham will washout one's sins of life time. It is visited by the followers of Lord Shiva as well as Vishnu, whose incarnation was lord Rama.

The sea here is very calm and ideal for bathing.

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 5 AM - 1 PM & 3 PM - 9 PM
Entry Fee: Free Entry

At a distance of 2 km from Rameshwaram Railway Station, the magnificent Ramanathaswamy Temple (Rameshwaram Temple) dedicated to Lord Siva is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas situated in different parts of India. It is among the prime places to visit in Rameshwaram.

Ramanathaswamy Temple also has its name in history books as it houses the largest hallway in India. The construction of Rameshwaram Temple was started in the 12th century and was contributed by many rulers. This temple is an epitome of flawless Dravidian architecture.

The hallway in temple is of approximately 1220 meters in length with brilliantly carved pillars throughout the hall. The 54 meter tall Gopuram has become the symbol of divinity in the heart of many pilgrims. Another famous feature of Ramanathaswamy Temple is the 22 wells spread throughout the premises. It is said that water from .....

Miscellaneous

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 24 Hours
Entry Fee: Free

At a distance of 12 Kms from Rameshwaram, Annai Indira Gandhi or Pamban Bridge connects Rameswaram Island with the main land. The bridge was opened for traffic in 1914 and is one of the prime places to visit in Rameshwaram.

It is the longest sea bridge in India and its length is nearly 2.2 km and stands as a fine example for Indian architecture. The bridge was constructed with sufficient elevation. The islands near by and parallel rail bridge below can be viewed from this bridge.

Overnight Stay in Madurai

DAY 3 : VISIT KUMBAKONAM & TRAVEL TO THANJAVUR

Travel from Madurai to Kumbakonam

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM - 12.30 PM & 4 PM - 9.30 PM
Entry Fee: Free

At a distance of 2.5 km from Kumbakonam Railway Station, Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is a famous Hindu temple located in the center of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. This temple is considered to be the 26th Paadal Petra Sthalam in the Chola kingdom that spread south of the River Cauvery.

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple, also known as Thirukudamooku, is dedicated to the Lord Shiva, and was built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century, while the temple was renovated by Govinda Dikshitar, the Chieftain of Achutha Nayakar of Thanjavur in the 16th century AD. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

According to mythology, when the world was facing destruction due to the devastating tsunami, Lord Brahma approached Lord Shiva to know from where he had to restart creation. Lord Shiva suggested that Brahma make a magic pot with the sand collected from various sacred places and floats it in the flood .....

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins - 1 Hr
Timings: 6 AM - 12 PM & 5 PM - 8.30 PM
Entry Fee: Free

At a distance of 2 km from Kumbakonam Railway Station, Ramaswamy Temple is an ancient Hindu temple located on the southeastern portion of the Porthamarai Kulam in Kumbakonam.

This temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Achutha Nayaka of Thanjavur constructed the temple during the 16th century CE. The temple was built in Dravidian architectural style. This temple consists of one Gopuram, one Maha Mandapam and Sanctum Sanctorum. The columns of Maha Mandapam are enriched with some of the famous stone carvings of Vamana Avatharam, Meenakshi Kalyanam and Sugreeva Pattabishekam. The outer Prakaram consists of 219 wall paintings, which explains the series of incidents from the great Epic Ramayana.

This temple, known as the southern Ayodhya, is unique as Rama and Sita are in a Pattabishekam posture-Coronation scene. Lakshmana stands next to Rama, holding a bow and arrows; they are flanked by Bharatha holding an Umbrella and Shatrughna holding a fan. This .....

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins - 1 Hr
Timings: 6 AM - 12 PM & 5 PM - 9 PM
Entry Fee: Free

At a distance of 2 km from Kumbakonam Railway Station and 500 m from Adi Kumbeswarar Temple, Sarangapani Temple is a Hindu temple situated in Kumbakonam.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Sarangam means bow and pani means hand. The deity is having a bow in the hand. Also known as Tiru Kudanthai is the third of the 108 Divya Desams. The Sarangapani Temple is also one of the Pancha Ranga Khestras with the other four being Srirangapatnam, Srirangam, Appalarangam, Parimala Ranganatha Perumal Temple at Mayiladuthurai and Vatarangam at Sirkazhi.

The Sarangapani Temple existed during the Pallava period. However, the current structure is attributed to the period of Vikrama Chola (1121 AD onwards) and it was renovated in 16th century during the period of Nayaks.

Sarangapani Temple is the biggest Vishnu temple in Kumbakonam. It is of great religious significance and considered to be second only to the Srirangam Temple in Trichy. The temple boasts of 5 prakaras and a holy .....

Pilgrimage

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

At a distance of 1 km from Kumbakonam Railway Station, Mahamaham Tank is a huge temple tank located in the heart of Kumbakonam town in Tamil Nadu. It is considered to be the foremost and one of the largest temple tanks in Tamil Nadu.

The tank covers an area of 6.2 acres and is trapezoidal in shape. The tank is surrounded by 16 small Mandapams (shrines) and has 21 wells inside the tank. Govinda Dikshitar, the chieftain of Ragunatha Nayak of Thanjavur, constructed the sixteen Mandapams and stone steps around this tank. Brahmatheerthesar, Mukunthar, Thalesar, Rishakesar, Umaipakesar, Nairuthesar, Brahmeesar, Gangatheerthesar and Seshtra Paleesar, are the names of deities located in these Mandapams.

There are 21 wells inside the tank in the shape of small spring wells. Beginning the eastern side of the tank, there are 8 wells in the name of celestial deities namely Indra, Yama, Agni, Niruthi, Vayuya, Kubera and Isanya respectively. In between the Vayu and Kubera wells, the ninth .....

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM to 7 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 34 Kms from Thanjavur & 284 Kms from Chennai, Darasuram, a small town 8 Kms away from Kumbakonam is known for the Airavathesvara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century CE. This temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site 'Great Living Chola Temples'.

This temple is a storehouse of art and architecture. The vimana is 85 feet high. The front mandapam itself is in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses. The temple has some exquisite stone carvings. The main deity's consort Periya Nayaki Amman temple is situated adjacent to Airavateshwarar temple.

The legend goes to show that Airavata, the white elephant of Indra, worshipped Lord Siva in this temple; so did also the King of Death, Yama. Inscriptions on the temple walls say that it was known in those days as Raja Rajeswaram and Raja Rajapuram.

Timings: 6 AM to 7 PM

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM - 1 PM & 4 PM - 9 PM
Entry Fee: Free

At a distance of 8 km from Kumbakonam, Patteeswaram is famous for the Sri Durga Shrine and a Shiva Temple called Sri Dhenupureeswarar or Thenupureeswarar Temple.

Dhenupureeswarar Temple is fairly a big temple and is dedicated to Hindu god Shiva. This temple has 5 tall gopurams and 3 prakarams. The sanctum sanctorum of the main deity Thenupureeswarar is located in the central mandapam of the first prakarams. There are shrines for Chandikeswarar, Natarajar and Sun god. To the north of the main sanctum sanctorum is the shrine for the female deity Sri Gnanambikai.

According to the legend, divine cow Kamadhenu's daughter Patti is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva here and hence this sthalam is called as Patteeswaram. Sage Viswamitra got the title of Brahma rishi at this Sthalam. Sri Rama is said to have worshipped Shiva at this sthalam to absolve himself of the Chaayadosham which he got by killing Vaali. Shiva is said to have blessed Sambandar by sending through his Shivaganas .....

Overnight Stay in Thanjavur

DAY 4 : THANJAVUR SIGHTSEEING & TRAVEL TO TRICHY

Start Thanjavur Sightseeing

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 2 Hours
Timings: 7 AM - 12 noon & 4 PM - 8.30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2 km from Thanjavur Junction Railway Station & 5 km from New Bus Station, the Brihadeeswarar Temple, also known as Peruvudaiyar Kovil or Periya Kovil is a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas in temple architecture. It was built in the year 1010 AD by the mighty Chola Emperor Raja Raja Chola I. It remains as one of the greatest glories of Indian architecture and also one of the best places to visit in Thanjavur. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as 'Great Living Chola Temples'.

Also known as The Big Temple, Brihadeeswarar temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is famous for its grandeur and beautiful sculptures. The temple consists of an entrance tower followed by the main temple complex spread on a plot of 33,000 sq. ft. The inner part of the temple starts with a large Nandi mandapa which is a 12 .....

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 9 AM to 1 PM & 1.30 PM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 7 for Adults, Rs, 2 for Children, Rs. 60 for Foreigners & Rs. 30 for Still Camera

At a distance of 2 km from Thanjavur Railway Station, 1.5 km from Brihadeeswarar Temple & 0.5 km from Old Bus Station, Thanjavur Palace, also known as Maratha Palace or Nayak Palace is a wonderful historical structure in the town of Thanjavur. It was the official residence of the Maratha rulers from 1674 to 1855.

It was constructed partly by Thanjavur Nayaks around 1550 CE, and expanded by the Marathas. The palace is noted for its huge halls, spacious corridors, observation and arsenal towers, and a shady courtyard. The Palace is a must visit place in Thanjavur to understand the history and lifestyle of its rulers.

The entrance to the palace is a large quadrangular courtyard which is encircled by walls with big gateways to the north and the east. The courtyard leads to a many-pillared hall. The Goodagopuram, also known as Bell Tower, an eight storied vimana like building situated on the southern side of the third quadrangle, has a height of 190 ft. It was the palace watch tower .....

Museum & Gallery

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 9 AM to 1 PM & 3 PM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Thanjavur Palace Entry Fee

At a distance of 2 km from Thanjavur Junction Railway Station & 0.5 km from Old Bus Station, the Art Gallery is located within Thanjavur Palace. The gallery houses a treasured collection of bronze icons, stone sculptures and other artifacts, which today stand testimony to that golden age in Tamil history.

The gallery is situated in the second part of the palace behind bell tower. The galley consists of Stone sculptures arrange in a hall at the entrance and in the hall towards southern side of the complex near Manimandapam. The bronze sculptures inside the Nayak's Durbar Hall showcase excellent craftsmanship. Durbar Hall is an excellent structure with beautiful paintings & sculptures on upper part of the walls and the ceiling. The hall also houses a marble sculpture of Raja Serfoji, popular Maratha ruler.

The examples of art that we see today at this gallery are the finest. Most of the pieces belong to Chola period between the 9th and the 13th centuries AD, to the post-Chola .....

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM to 12 PM and 4-9 PM.
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 13 kms from Thanjavur & 312 Kms from Chennai, Thiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district is situated on the banks of the river Kaveri. Thiruvaaiyaru has an old Shiva temple dedicated to Panchanatheeswar. However, it's more famous for association with Thyagaraja, the Saint Composer,

The Panchanatheesvarar Temple dedicated to Shiva sprawls over a 14-acre campus and is both grand and serene. Beyond the temple are lush paddy fields and groves. The temple is about 1 Km from Thiruvaiyaru town centre. Timings - 6 AM to 12 PM and 4-9 PM.

Thyagaraja is a composer of Carnatic music, who along with his contemporaries Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri forms the Trinity of Carnatic. He composed hundreds of devotional songs, most of them in praise of the Hindu god Rama in Telugu language.

Near the Shiva temple is the one-roomed house where Tyagaraja composed some of his greatest works. On the banks of river is the samadhi of the saint where music festival takes place .....

Overnight Stay in Tiruchirappalli

DAY 5 : TRICHY SIGHTSEEING & TRAVEL TO MADURAI

Start Tiruchirappalli Sightseeing

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 2 Hours
Timings: Vary between 6 AM to 9 PM for different temples
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 5 km from Trichy Railway Junction, The Rock Fort is a historic fort and temple complex built on a large rock with a height of 85 meters.

Pallavas built the initial temple, but the Nayaks made use of its naturally fortified position and designed it as a fort. There are 344 steps carved out of rock lead to the top. The fort complex has witnessed fierce battles between Madurai Nayakas and Bijapur, Carnatic and Maratha forces. The fort played an important part during the Carnatic wars, helping lay the foundations of the British Empire in India. The Rockfort is the most prominent landmark of the city.

There are three Hindu temples inside the Rockfort, the Ucchi Pillaiyar Temple, Thayumanavar Temple and the Manikka Vinayakar Temple. The Manikka Vinayakar Temple is located at the foot of the hill, dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Manikka Vinayakar is the patron deity of the Trichy.

The Ucchi Pillayar Temple is a 7th century Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesh .....

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 5.30 AM to 12 PM and 5 PM to 9 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2.5 km from Srirangam Temple and 11 km from Trichy Railway Junction, Sri Thiruvanaikoil or Thiruvanaikaval, is famous for Jambukeswarar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was built by Kochengon, one of the Early Cholas around 1800 years ago on Srirangam Island.

Thiruvanaikoil Temple is one of the five major Shiva Temples known as Panchabhoota Sthala representing element of water. The sanctum has Shiva Lingam in the form of Appu lingam (water lingam). The sanctum of Lord Jambukeshwara has an underground water stream and one can see water coming out of that stream all the time. The presiding goddess is Devi Akilandeswari Amman.

According to legend, Parvathi performed penance in the form of Akilandeswari in the Jambu forest. She made the lingam out of the water of river Kaveri, installed it under the Venn Naaval tree evolved out of Saint Jambu and commenced her worship. Lord Siva at last gave darshan to Devi Akhilandeswari and taught her Siva Gnana.

According .....

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 2-3 Hours
Timings: 6 - 7:15 AM, 9 AM - 12 PM, 1:15- 6 PM and 6:45 - 9 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 1 km from Srirangam Railway Station, 9 km from Trichy Railway Junction, 62 km from Thanjavur, 145 km from Madurai & 327 km from Chennai, Srirangam is well known for Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which is the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines of Lord Vishnu. The temple is considered the first among 108 prominent Vishnu temples and also one of the popular Tamilnadu tourist places.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is one of the most famous temples in South India, constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. Built across an area of 156 acres, this temple is dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Hindu deity, Lord Vishnu. This temple lies on an island formed by the twin Rivers Cauvery and Kollidam. Though the temple existing since 2nd century BC, the archaeological inscriptions are available only from the 10th century CE.

This temple is also known by other names such as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, .....

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