South India Temple and Spice Tour
The monotonous routine of daily life had left us jaded and we were longing for a rejuvenating break. And needless to say traveling is the most rejuvenating activity for us. Here us includes me and my friends Monika, Tahir and Sanjog. We with great difficulty took leave for a week from our respective offices and embarked on our journey to South India. Well we had a holiday dilemma and we browsed several sites on travel and tours. Finally we decided to go on a temple and spice tour of South India. South India Temples are famous for their glorious legends and breathtaking architectural beauty. Some of the temples are also the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We started from Delhi and reached Chennai, our first halt. This wonderful city is famous for its cultural heritage and history. Post breakfast we headed for our first destination, Fort St. George. Our guide told us that this fort was built by the British East India Company in 1640. We visited the museum inside the fort which houses ten galleries displaying armory, old uniforms, crockery & silverware, coins, palanquins, paintings, letters and several other rare articles belonging to the Britishers.
Next we headed for the National Art Gallery which was founded in 1857. We visited its various sections based on archeology, botany, geology, anthropology, zoology, numismatics and sculpture. Next we visited the beautiful Kapileshwar temple dating back to the 8th century. Our guide told us that the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who used to be worshiped as a peacock in the temple. And according to the legend, desirous to get married to Lord Shiva, goddess Parvati took the form of a peacock. The Dravidian style of architecture of the temple is truly mesmerizing.
The next day we drove to Kanchipuram, the religious capital of South India which is ideally located on the banks of river Vegavati. Most of the temples in this city are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Ramesh our guide said, ‘ At one point of time this city had over 1,000 temples, but over the years now only around hundred are left’. He took us to the Kailasanatha temple, a beautiful temple built in the 8th century. We were left spell bound with its intricate carvings and fresco style paintings. Then we visited Kamakshi Amma Temple and were awe-inspired by its golden gopuram and exquisite carvings. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi( goddess Parvati) and is one of the three main sacred sites of Shakti worship in the country.
After seeing some more beautiful temples we went to the bazaar for shopping as this city is famous for silk saris. Beautiful and fine silk saris are produced here. We bought several shopping items including the silk saris which had brought a big smile on my face.
Next we headed towards Mahabalipuram and reached there at night. Mahabalipuram is a World Heritage Site famous for its rock-cut and monolithic monuments. The next morning we visited the famous Shore Temple which was built in the 7th century in Dravidian style of architecture. The presiding deities of the temple are Lord Shiva and Vishnu. Located on the shores of Bay of Bengal ocean, this five-storied structure is majestically carved and sculpted. We also saw Arjuna’s Penance, another famous attraction of Mahabalipuram. It is the world’s largest bas-relief. The next attraction we visited was Five Rathas, the monolithic cave temples which are incredibly beautiful.
A visit to these wonderful places and attractions was a great delight and now we were eagerly waiting for some more destinations. The rich cultural heritage of South India beautifully reflects in its temples and monuments. Next we were slated to reach Pondicherry and several other destinations which I will cover in my next blog.http://blog.capertravelindia.com/south-india-temple-and-spice-tour.htmlSouth India ToursArjuna Penance,Five Rathas,Kailasanatha temple,Kamakshi Amma Temple,Kapileshwar temple,South India Temple,South India Temple Tour,South Spice Tour