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Tamil Nadu

Architecture

Our most recommended Tamil Nadu 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.   

From Cochin: Fort Kochi and Mattancherry Sightseeing Tour

3. From Cochin: Fort Kochi and Mattancherry Sightseeing Tour

See the Chinese fishing nets introduced in Kochi by traders from the court of Kublai Khan in the 14th century. See also the 16th-century St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India, and the burial place of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. Next on the 4-hour shore excursion is Santa Cruz Basilica. Admire the interior decorated with frescoes, murals, and paintings depicting scenes from the life of Christ. Visit the Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese. See murals with scenes from Hindu tales. Next door is the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in South India. Admire the brass pulpit, glass chandelier, and hand-painted Chinese porcelain floor tiles.

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, Kapaleeshwarar Temple & Marina Beach Private Tour

5. 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.

Chennai: 2-Day Great Living Chola Temples Cultural Tour

6. 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.

Cochin: 6-Hour City Tour

7. Cochin: 6-Hour City Tour

On your arrival in Cochin, meet your representative and later drive to Mattancherry. Visit the Jewish Quarter (Jewish street, town, synagogue and cemetery) which attracts by its glass works, Chinese titles, Belgian chandeliers and wall paintings built by Jews. You will also see Dutch palace built by the Portuguese. Drive to Fort Cochin and visit Indoprotugies Museum, Santa Cruz Basilia and St. Francis Church. Take a break for lunch at a restaurant and then later drive to Cherai Beach with its Chinese fishing nets made of teak wood and bamboo poles, famous for the way they are designed. It is one of the most alluring beaches in Cochin and a place where you can enjoy the scenic beauty. By evening, be dropped off back at your accommodation in Cochin.  

Kochi: Private Sightseeing Tuk-Tuk Tour

8. Kochi: Private Sightseeing Tuk-Tuk Tour

The adventure begins with pickup from your accommodation in your very own private tuk-tuk. Arrive at the first stop of the day and marvel at the city’s iconic Chinese fishing nets which were introduced by traders in the 14th century. Take a stroll along the shore to see the local fishermen who still use these nets today, then head to St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. The church was constructed in 1503 by Portuguese friars, and is now the burial place of Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer who led the first ships that sailed directly from Europe to India. Continue the tour to the Santa Cruz Basilica, which is one of the largest and most impressive churches in India. Boasting two soaring spires and a bright, white-washed exterior, the church is a real treat for the eyes. Head inside and find the walls decorated with stunning frescoes, intricate murals, and large paintings that depict the life of Jesus. Hop back in the tuk-tuk and make your way to Mattancherry Palace, which was also built by the Portuguese in the 1500s. The palace is famous for its breathtaking murals which portray classic Hindu tales such as Ramanaya and Mahabharata. Later, take a trip to the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in South India. Admire the synagogue's ornate brass pulpit, Belgian glass chandeliers, and hand-painted Chinese porcelain floor tiles. From the synagogue, wander around the neighboring Jew Town, a central location for the spice trade. As you peruse the stalls, soak up the vibrant atmosphere of locals going about their day and be enveloped by the aroma of ginger, cardamom, turmeric, and cloves. At the end of an unforgettable experience, sit back and relax in the tuk-tuk on the return journey to your accommodation.

Fort Kochi & Chinese Fishing Nets Private Walking Tour

9. Fort Kochi & Chinese Fishing Nets Private Walking Tour

Book yourself a private walking tour of the best highlights of Fort Kochi. This area displays a unique heritage from its Portuguese, Dutch, British and Malabar roots. Enjoy an engaging walking tour with a local guide - the best way to explore everything this area has to offer. Guests residing in Fort Kochi can meet their guide at the hotel lobby, while other guests can meet the guide at the convenient meeting point, or can request a hotel pickup and drop off service. Visit the oldest church in India, the St. Francis Church, built in 1503. Find out how Vasco Da Gama, the first European explorer to discover the sea route to India, was initially buried here before his remains were taken to Lisbon. The impressive Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, also built in the 1500s, has beautiful paintings and murals inside. Keep your cameras ready for the Chinese Fishing Nets, a traditional method of fishing from the beach introduced by Chinese explorers. Take a brief tuk-tuk ride to Matancherry and Jew Town. Learn about how The Matancherry Palace was gifted to the King of Kochi by the Portuguese and is home to beautiful murals from Hindu epics. Explore the Pardesi Synagogue, one of the oldest active Jewish place of worship in the world. After exploring the ornate interiors, spend time walking around the antique and spice shops in Jew Town before ending the tour.

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What people are saying about Tamil Nadu

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 17 reviews

It was an amazing experience, I had the opportunity to visit several temples from the Chola's empire. The staff did a great job explaining Chola's history and culture, they even went beyond that and make me feel comfortable all the time. I really recommend this trip

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.

We had a great afternoon, really enjoyed the walking tour and everything we’ve learned along the way. Thanks a lot!

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