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Chennai

Architecture Tours

Our most recommended Chennai Architecture Tours

Chennai: Mahabalipuram Tour with Lunch

1. Chennai: Mahabalipuram Tour with Lunch

Your experience will begin as you are collected from your accommodation at 7:30AM, at which point you will make your way to Mahabalipuram. Once having arrived, Panch Rathas is your first destination. These are rock-cut monolith structures which are dedicated to the lead cast of the Mahabharata epic. They are dedicated to Draupadi, Arjuna, Nakul-Sahadeva, Bhima and Yudhister. There is also a sculpture of an elephant next to the ratha of Nakul-Sahadeva. Next in the itinerary is Arjuna’s Penance, a 100-foot by 45-foot open-air rock relief where an entire masterpiece from the Mahabharata epic has been carved. The River Ganga is at the center of the panel, and is surrounded by divine beings, hunters, animals, birds, and trees belonging to the Himalayan ranges. The next stop is to Krishna’s Butterball, a 5-meter ball-shaped boulder which is perched precariously on a slope and seems to defy Newton’s laws of gravity. Next up, the magnificent Shore Temple beckons you. This 8th-century structural temple is made of granite, and served as a beacon for seafarers of the time. Legend says that this was a part of a complex of 7 temples dotted along the sea, and the legendary traveler Marco Polo also mentioned Mahabalipuram in his memoirs, referring to it as the "City of 7 Pagodas". Following this final stop, you will travel back to Chennai where you will be dropped off back to your hotel by 3:30PM.

Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram Private Caves & Temples Tour

2. Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram Private Caves & Temples Tour

Enjoy a full-day guided tour of Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. Starting in Chennai, you'll be transported to Mahabalipuram, famous for its splendid 7th and 8th-century art and architecture, especially its stone carvings. You will start your tour by visiting the magnificent 7th-century Shore Temple which is surrounded by lush gardens. In addition, you’ll also visit the 7th-century Five Rathas shrine, also known as Pancha Rathas. After visiting Mahabalipuram you'll stop to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before driving to Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram is known as the "golden city of a thousand temples" and is also one of the 7 sacred cities of India. The city has some grand and majestic buildings that reflect the architectural experiments undertaken by different dynasties ruling the city over the centuries. Visit historic spots like the Kailasanatha Temple, Vaikunda Perumal Temple, Kamaskhi Amman Temple and Ekambareswara Temple. All of these are excellent specimens of the architectural splendor of the medieval period.   

Chennai, Kapaleeshwarar Temple & Marina Beach Private Tour

3. Chennai, Kapaleeshwarar Temple & Marina Beach Private Tour

Start your tour of Chennai with a visit to the St. George Fort, located on the banks of the Bay of Bengal. The fort is believed to be the first establishment of the British in India. Fort St. George was named after St. George, the patron saint of England, and is deemed to be one of the most prominent tourist spots in Chennai. The Fort Museum is a large repository of arms and armaments. It also exhibits a wide range of artifacts dating back to the British period. These artifacts comprise of uniforms, manuscripts, paintings, letters, coins and much more. Afterwards, it's on to the Kapaleeshwarar, which was built around the 7th-century and is a good example of Dravidian architecture Then a visit to the Government Museum of Chennai, one of the best museums in India and a prime tourist attraction. The museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and other historical objects from the Chola, Hoysala, Vijayanagar and Chalukya dynasties. You'll then end the day with a visit to Marina Beach to relax and unwind. Marina Beach is the second longest beach in the world from where you can watch the sunset.

From Chennai: Kanchipuram Temples and Textiles Private Tour

4. From Chennai: Kanchipuram Temples and Textiles Private Tour

Kanchipuram, the ancient city of temples is one of the seven most sacred pilgrim centres for the Hindus. There were believed to be about 1000 temples in Kanchipuram, out of which 126 temples remain today and a few more in its outskirts. The city was the capital of the early Cholas as far back as the 2nd century B.C. and a Pallava capital between the 6th and 8th centuries. Visit the three important temples in Kanchipuram - the Ekambareswarar Temple which is an eleven-storey Shiva Temple adorned with beautiful sculptures; the Kailasanatha Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the earliest temples; the Devarajaswamy Temple which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is an enormous monument and has massive outer walls and a beautifully sculptured 1000-pillared hall. Apart from its temples, this small town is also known for its thriving handloom industry. The silk weavers of Kanchi settled here more than 400 years ago and have given it an enviable reputation as the producer of the best silk saris in the country. Visit some of the silk weavers who weave saris from pure mulberry silk. These are available in dazzling colours and embellished with fine gold thread (zari).

Chennai: 2-Day Great Living Chola Temples Cultural Tour

5. Chennai: 2-Day Great Living Chola Temples Cultural Tour

Day 1 Following an early morning pickup from your hotel in Chennai, head in direction of Tanjore. At around 1:00 PM, you will arrive in Tanjore, the first capital of the Ancient Chola Empire. Visit the famous Brihadeeswara Temple located at the Great Living Chola Temples Trail and gaze in awe at one of the most imposing architectural structures in India. On this trail, you'll also visit the Thanjavur Big Temple, a more than a 1000-year-old temple with remains of the finest specimen of architecture, sculpture, bronze casting, and painting. Admire the excellent collection of frescoes that can be found on the walls around the sanctum and see the legendary tales of Lord Shiva depicted on the walls. Learn about the special material that was used to paint the murals and the secret they were able to last for so many centuries. Another highlight in Tanjore is the Grand Palace, built during the Nayak rule and repaired during the rule of the Marathas. Walk through the queen’s courtyard and witness divine scenes painted on the walls of the Durbar Hall. Then, search for the underground passage in this palace. There is also the Royal Museum, a gallery, and the Saraswati Mahal Library stationed within the palace complex. In the evening, stay overnight in Tanjore and continue your adventure the next morning. Day 2 Drive to Darasuram from Tanjore and visit the Airavateswar Temple, the second destination in the Great Living Chola Temples Trail. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple was built by Chola King Raja Raja II in the 12th century AD. Learn the history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site which is considered a treasure trove of art, carvings, and architecture. The final stop in the Great Living Chola Temples Trail is the city of Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Built in 1025 by Rajendra Chola, son of the famous Chola emperor Raja Raja, it was meant to commemorate his victory over the Pala Empire across the Ganges. Gangaikonda Cholapuram served as the capital of the mighty Chola Empire for 250 years and is most famous for its Shiva Temple. Visit other highlights of this lost city of Cholas including The Royal Palace made of burnt brick, a giant Nandi, and a magnificent lion figure next to the well where the King poured the Ganges water brought from his conquests. Following the final stop, return to Chennai from Gangaikonda Cholapuram where you'll be dropped off at your hotel at around 8:30 PM.

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What people are saying about Chennai

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 17 reviews

We had a fairly large group of 13, varying ages and accompanying stamina levels. While there was a fair amount of walking, only one site had significant amount of stairs. You could enjoy the area without taking the stairs. The guide, Kannan, was knowledgeable, open to any questions we had and thoroughly shared information of the various areas we visited. The mini bus used was very comfortable and the driver and assistant were good as well as friendly. Overall I give this tour company a high rating for knowledge, communication, choice of lunch stops, no hard sell to visit stores and its ability to assist me above and beyond the normal duties of a tour company.

It was a very positive experience. Pick up was sharp. Dhanalakshmi was very jovial and took care of my parents the entire trip. The guide was very knowledgeable and made the extra effort to explain the historical significances outside the scope of Mahabalipuram as well. The driver and the entire team was equally professional. Thanks and great wishes for the 5 senses team!!

The tour was well organized and full of interesting sights. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu and India. Can highly recommend this tour!

Excellent tour. Very knowledgeable guide. Couldn’t have asked for a better tour. Took time to explain things. Would definitely use this company again.

One hour comfortable drive under the blue sky. A world heritage world created by shaving rocky mountains.