Inbound - South India Tours

Arupadai Veedu Temples

Swamimalai - The Swamimalai Temple neat Thanjavur is built on a 60 feet high artificial hillock. The 60 stone steps represents the Hindu cycle of 60 years, Here, Lord Murugan expounded the meaning of the Pravana mantra OM to his father Lord Shiva. The temple has a dazzling golden chariot.

Palani - This ancient Palani temple was built in the 7th Century AD by King Cheman Perumal and was later added to by the Nayaks. It is located at an elevation of 1500 feet above sea level. The deity of Palani is known as Dandayudhapani Swami, the lord with the staff in his hand. Siddha Bhogar skillfully crafted the deity out of an amalgam of nine minerals popularly called Navabashana.

Tirutani - The most prominent of the Murugan temples, this beautiful Tiruttani temple crowns a single rock 700 feet above sea level. His righteous indignation towards the Asuras was quelled here and so it is known as Shantipuri or Abode of peace. It is said that if Murugan worshipped here with heart and soul for five consecutive days, the worshipper is blessed with the best in this life and after.

Panchabhootham Piligrimage

Thejo sthalam (Fire) - Tiruvannamalai
Prithvi sthalam (Earth) - Kanchipuram
Appu sthalam (Water) - Tiruvanaikaval
Vayu sthalam (Air) - Kalahasti
Akasa sthalam (Space) – Chidambaram

Groups of temples constitute pilgrimage clusters all over India. The Pancha Bhoota shrines dedicated to Shiva constitute a set of five Saivite temples in South India held in reverence for centuries. Indigenous belief holds life as a synthesis of the five basic elements (the pancha Bhootams) wind, water, fire, earth and space. Shiva is worshipped as the embodiment of each of the five elements in the vast temples at Sri Kalahasti, Tiruvanaikkaval, Tiruvannamalai, Kanchipuram and Chidambaram. Each of these temples is rich in legend, history, sculptural wealth and festival traditions.

Kalahasti - This ancient temple dedicated to Shiva is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalams (temples celebrating Shiva as the embodiment of the primary elements), air being the element in case here, the other five temples being Tiruvannamalai (Fire), Chidambaram (Space),Tiruvanaikkaval (Water) and Kanchipuram (Earth) respectively.

Kalahasti is located near the pilgrimage town of Tirupati and is visited by thousands of pilgrims. This temple is also associated with Rahu and Ketu, (of the nine grahams or celestial bodies in the Indian astrological scheme). The Tamil Cholas and the Vijayanagara Rulers have made several endowments to this temple. Adi Sankara is said to have visited this temple and offered worship here. Krishnadevaraya built a huge gopuram, a few feet away from the entrance to the temple. The entrance to the temple is crowned with a smaller tower. There is an underground Ganapati shrine in the outer prakaram, while in the innermost prakaram are the shrines of Shiva and Parvati.

Kannappa Nayanaar, a hunter is said to have been a great devotee of Kalahasteeswarar. Legend has it that he offered his own eyes to the Shivalingam, and for this reason earned the name Kannappan (his original name being Thinnan), and the distinction of having his statue adorn the sanctum. Nakkiradevar, Indra, Rama, Muchukunda and others are believed to have worshipped Shiva at this temple.

Thiruvanaikaval - This is one of the most revered temples to Shiva; it is one of the Panchabhoota Stalams signifying water. The primordial element water, is represented by an undying natural spring in the sanctum.
This temple has records of patronage from the Chola Pandya, Hoysala and the Madurai Naik kings.

Adi Sankara is said to have visited the Akhilandeswari shrine. He is said to have adorned her with ear-rings bearing the symbol of the chakram. There is a shrine to Adi Sankara in this temple.
This is a vast temple (18 acres) with lofty gopurams, 5 prakarams and ornate mandapams. The second and third prakarams date back to the 13th century.
The Akhilandeswari shrine is located in the fourth prakaram. The Eastern tower with seven levels has fine sculptural specimen of musical scenes, while the Western tower has nine levels.

Kanchipuram - VARADARAJA PERUMAL KOIL This is one of the most revered temples to Shiva; it is one of the Panchabhoota Stalams signifying earth (Kanchipuram) . It is a vast temple.
This vast temple with high rising Gopurams dominates the skyline of Kanchipuram the historic capital of the Pallavas. Kanchipuram - a temple town is considered to be the foremost among the seven prime pilgrimage centers in India.
The Pallavas, Cholas and the Vijayanagar Kings especially Krishna Deva Raya have contributed to this temple. The temple covers an area of over 40 acres. The Raja Gopuram or the entrance tower to the temple which rises to a height of 172 feet was built by the Vijayanagar Monarch Krishnadevaraya. The pillared hall in front of the sanctum was also built by the Vijayanagar Kings.
The presiding deity here is Ekambareswarar or Shiva, worshipped as the Prithivi Lingam. A Somaskanda panel featuring Shiva, Parvati and Skanda adorns the rear of the main shrine, which has been held in worship for centuries together.
As mentioned before, there is no separate shrine for Ambal or the Goddess in the temple as she is worshipped along with Shiva, as in every other Shiva temple in the precincts of the town of Kanchipuram.
There is another shrine of Shiva and Kamakshi under the Stala Vruksham or the Temple tree, which is a mango tree said to be 3500 years old. The mango tree is said to be the embodiment of the four Vedas and the tree is said to bear fruits of four different tastes each season here.
The Saint poet Sundaramoorthy Nayanar is said to have recovered his eyesight (left eye) after offering worship here.

Chidambaram - In terms of its antiquity, richness in terms of worship & festival traditions, in architectural & sculptural splendour, in its association with music & dance, Chidambaram is a center second to none in representing the rich cultural heritage of India.
Chidambaram is famed as the land of one of the most ancient Shiva temples referred in Puranas and Mythologies. As per Hindu belief there are five natural elements forming the whole world and there are five Shiva temples representing each of these elements. Chidambaram is one among the five temples and represents the ether (space), one of the five natural elements creating the body and world.
Lord Shiva appears in the form of the cosmic dancer Nataraja in this temple. This temple has a Nataraja idol as the prime deity, a distinct feature from other temples where Shivalingam is worshiped as the prime deity. This ancient temple, visited by thousands and thousands from all over the world every year, was constructed by Chola Kings. The temple has imposing architecturally built gopurams (towers) on each side and has five spacious courts. The temple also has a deity of Lord Govindaraja Perumal, a form of Lord Vishnu. This temple is one of the few temples in which both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are worshiped. The Pallava king Simhavarman, Hiranyavarman of 5th century CE, had renovated this temple with Dravida style of architecture. The sculptures and images display the mesmeric talents of South Indian and Dravidian creativity and artistic talents.

Thiruvannamalai - Thiruvannamalai is one of the Pancha Bootha Sthalangal representing the fire element along with Chidambaram, Sri Kalahasti, Thiruvanaikoil and Kanchipuram representing sky, air, water and earth respectively.
Four Brahmotsavams are celebrated every year, the most famous of which is the one celebrated during the Tamil month of Karthikai (November/December). The ten day event culminates on the day of Karthigai Deepam. On that evening, a huge lamp is lit in a cauldron with three tons of ghee at the top of the Annamalai hill.
Every full moon night, tens of thousands of pilgrims worship Shiva by circumambulating the Arunachala hill barefoot. The circumambulation covers a distance of about 14 km. On the yearly Chitra Powrnami (full moon) night in the Tamil calendar year, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from across the world visit the town.
Advaita Vedanta guru Ramana Maharshi lived in Thiruvannamalai for fifty three years until his death in 1950. His ashram, Ramanasramam, is located at the foot of the Arunachala hill, to the west of the town. Seshadri Swamigal and Yogi RamSurat Kumar are examples of two other gurus who lived in this city.

Char Dham, Piligrimage

Haridwar - Haridwar, lying at the feet of Shiva's hills, I.e., Shivaliks, in the Haridwar district of Uttaranchal Pradesh, is a doorway. Suryavanshi prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to the curse of sage Kapila. The penance was answered and the river Ganga trickled forth forms Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sixty thousand sons of king Sagara. In the traditional of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their departed elder. It is doorway to the sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna, 3000 to 4500 meters up into the snowy ranges of the central Himalayas. The 'Aarti' worship of the Ganga after sunset and the floating 'dia' (lamp) is a moving ritual.

Temples & Sightseeing – Har-ki-Pauri, Chandi Devi & Mansa Devi Temple, Daksha Mahadev Temple, Bilkeshwar Mahadev, Anandmai Ashram, Pawan Dham, Bhooma Niketan, Vaishno Devi Temple, Doodhadhari Temple & Bharat Mata Mandir.

Do Dham, Piligrimage

Haridwar - Haridwar, lying at the feet of Shiva's hills, I.e., Shivaliks, in the Haridwar district of Uttaranchal Pradesh, is a doorway. Suryavanshi prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to the curse of sage Kapila. The penance was answered and the river Ganga trickled forth forms Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sixty thousand sons of king Sagara. In the traditional of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their departed elder. It is doorway to the sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna, 3000 to 4500 meters up into the snowy ranges of the central Himalayas. The 'Aarti' worship of the Ganga after sunset and the floating 'dia' (lamp) is a moving ritual.

Temples & Sightseeing – Har-ki-Pauri, Chandi Devi & Mansa Devi Temple, Daksha Mahadev Temple, Bilkeshwar Mahadev, Anandmai Ashram, Pawan Dham, Bhooma Niketan, Vaishno Devi Temple, Doodhadhari Temple & Bharat Mata Mandir.

Char Dham, Piligrimage

Hanuman Chatti : The confluence of Hanuman Ganga & Yamuna River.

Yamunotri Temple : Maharani Gularia of Jaipur built the temple in the 19th Century. It was destroyed twice in the present century and rebuilt again.

Surya Kund : There are a Number of thermal springs in the vicinity of the temple, which flows into numerous pools. The most important of these is Surya Kund.

Divya Shila : A rock pillar, worshipped before entering the Yamunotri Temple.

Char Dham, Piligrimage

Uttarkashi : Situated at the bank of river Bhagirathi. The temple of Lord Vishwanath is located here where a massive iron trident is erected. The other important temples situated here are Ekadash Rudra, Bhairav, Gyaneshwar and Goddess Kuteti Devi.

Char Dham, Piligrimage

Gangotri Temple : The temple, constructed by the Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa in the 18th Century, is situated on the right bank of Bhagirathi.

Submerged Shivling: Submerged in the river, this natural rock Shivling is the place where, according to mythology Lord Shiva sat when he received the Ganga in his matted lock. It is visible in winter months when water level decreases.

Kedar Ganga Sangam: Around 100 Yards from the Ganga Temple flows the river Kedar Ganga. Starting from the Kedar Valle, this river meets the Bhagirathi on its left bank.

Char Dham, Piligrimage

Gaurikund : At a distance of 5 Km from Sonprayag and at an altitude of 1982 mts, one can take bath in the hot water pond here and visit the Gauri Temple. This is the place where Goddess Parvathi meditated to attain Lord Shiva. It is the base for the trek to Kedarnath.

Kedarnath : The Kedarnath shrine, one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, is a scenic spot situated, against the backdrop of the majestic Kedarnath range. Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer. According to legend, the Pandavas after having won over the Kaurava in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers and sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption. He eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The r! emaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations. The arms appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madhmaheshwar and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and the four above-mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.

Do Dham, Piligrimage

Gaurikund : At a distance of 5 Km from Sonprayag and at an altitude of 1982 mts, one can take bath in the hot water pond here and visit the Gauri Temple. This is the place where Goddess Parvathi meditated to attain Lord Shiva. It is the base for the trek to Kedarnath.

Kedarnath : The Kedarnath shrine, one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, is a scenic spot situated, against the backdrop of the majestic Kedarnath range. Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer. According to legend, the Pandavas after having won over the Kaurava in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers and sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption. He eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The r! emaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations. The arms appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madhmaheshwar and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and the four above-mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.

Char Dham, Piligrimage

Badrinath : One of the 'Four Dhams' is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage spots of the country and is situated at an elevation of 3,133 meters, guarded on either side by the two mountain ranges known as Nar & Narayan with the towering Neelkanth Peak providing a splendid backdrop. This revered spot was once carpeted with wild berries. Thus the place got the name "Badri van", meaning "forest of berries".

Tapt Kund : Natural thermal springs on the bank of the river Alaknanda, where it is customary to bathe before entering the Badrinath temple.

Narad Kund : A recess in the river, near Tapt Kund, forming a pool from where the Badrinath idol was recovered.

Brahama Kapal : A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda. Hindus perform proppitiating rites for their deceased ancestors.

Sheshnetra : 1.5kms. away is a boulder having an impression of the legendary serpent, better known as the Sheshnag's eye.

Charanpaduka : 3kms. away is a beautiful meadow where the footprint of Lord Vishnu is seen on a boulder.

Mata Murty Temple : Devoted to the mother of Sri Badrinathji. Other important temples include Sesh Netra Temple, Urvashi Temple and Charanpaduka.

Mana Village : Inhabited by an Indo-Mongolian tribe, it is the last Indian village before Tibet.

Vasundhara : As the name suggests, vasundhara is a magnificent water fall. This place is 5 kms. from Badrinath out of which 2 kms. is motorable upto Mana.

Bhim Pul : On the other side of Mana village, a massive rock forming a natural bridge, lies over the roaring Saraswati river. It presents a spectacular view of water thundering down through the narrow passage under the rock and is believed to have been placed there by Bhim, the second eldest among the five Pandava brothers.

Vyas Gufa (cave) : Near Mana Village, this is a rock-cave where Ved Vyas is believed to have composed the Mahabharata and the pauranic commentaries.

Do Dham, Piligrimage

Badrinath : One of the 'Four Dhams' is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage spots of the country and is situated at an elevation of 3,133 meters, guarded on either side by the two mountain ranges known as Nar & Narayan with the towering Neelkanth Peak providing a splendid backdrop. This revered spot was once carpeted with wild berries. Thus the place got the name "Badri van", meaning "forest of berries".

Tapt Kund : Natural thermal springs on the bank of the river Alaknanda, where it is customary to bathe before entering the Badrinath temple.

Narad Kund : A recess in the river, near Tapt Kund, forming a pool from where the Badrinath idol was recovered.

Brahama Kapal : A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda. Hindus perform proppitiating rites for their deceased ancestors.

Sheshnetra : 1.5kms. away is a boulder having an impression of the legendary serpent, better known as the Sheshnag's eye.

Charanpaduka : 3kms. away is a beautiful meadow where the footprint of Lord Vishnu is seen on a boulder.

Mata Murty Temple : Devoted to the mother of Sri Badrinathji. Other important temples include Sesh Netra Temple, Urvashi Temple and Charanpaduka.

Mana Village : Inhabited by an Indo-Mongolian tribe, it is the last Indian village before Tibet.

Vasundhara : As the name suggests, vasundhara is a magnificent water fall. This place is 5 kms. from Badrinath out of which 2 kms. is motorable upto Mana.

Bhim Pul : On the other side of Mana village, a massive rock forming a natural bridge, lies over the roaring Saraswati river. It presents a spectacular view of water thundering down through the narrow passage under the rock and is believed to have been placed there by Bhim, the second eldest among the five Pandava brothers.

Vyas Gufa (cave) : Near Mana Village, this is a rock-cave where Ved Vyas is believed to have composed the Mahabharata and the pauranic commentaries.

Do Dham, Piligrimage

Joshimath : is situated on the slopes above the confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga. Of the four 'Maths' established by Adi Shankaracharya, Joshimath is in the Badrinath to Joshimath and installed in the temple for people to worship. There are many temples in the township most important is the temple of Nir Singh in commotion of Lord Vishnu. The left arm of this deity is with time and the popular belief holds that the day the the arm completely withers Badrinath valley will cease to exist and the Gods will transfer the residence into the neighboring Niti Valley at Bhavishya Badri. Joshimath is connected by regular bus service to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Badrinath and many other centres in the region

Do Dham, Piligrimage

Rishikesh : The 'place of Sages' is a celebrated spiritual town on the bank of Ganga and is surrounded by Shivalik range of the Himalayas on three sides. It is said that when Raibhya Rishi did hard penances, God appeared by the name of " Hrishikesh " and this area hence firth came to be known as Rishikesh.

Temples & Sightseeing – Laxman Jhulla, Ram Jhulla, Triveni Ghat, Bharat Mata Mandir, Shivananda Ashram, Parmarth Ashram.

Spiritual Tours - Itineraries

Tour Name:Arupadai Veedu Pilgrimage or Murugan Trails (AVP - 1)

Duration: 6 Nights / 7 Days

Route: Chennai Kumbakonam(Swamimalai) (1N) Thanjavur Madurai (Pazhamudhicholai / Thiruparamkundrum) Thiruchendur Madurai Palani Trichy Tirutani Chennai
Tour Name:Arupadai Veedu Pilgrimage or Murugan Trails (AVP - 2)

Duration:3 Nights / 4 Days

Route: Chennai Kumbakonam(Swamimalai) (1N) Thanjavur Madurai (Pazhamudhicholai / Thiruparamkundrum)(1N) Thiruchendur Palani (1N) Tirutani Chennai
Tour Name:Arupadai Veedu & Panchabootham Pilgrimage (AVPP)

Duration:10 Nights / 11 Days

Route: Chennai Sri Kalahasthi Tirutani Chennai (1 N) Thiruchendur Chidambaram Kumbakonam / Swamimalai(2N) Thanjavur Rameshwaram (1 N) Thiruchendur Kaniyakumari (2 N) Madurai (1 N) Palani (1N) Trichy (1 N) Thiruvannamalai (1 N) Kanchipuram Chennai
Tour Name:Buddhist Pilgrimage (BP)

Duration:8 Nights / 9 Days

Route: Lucknow Balrampur Lumbini Kushinagar Vaishali Patna Nalanda Rajgir Bodhgaya Varanasi Delhi
Tour Name:Char Dham Pilgrimage (CDP)

Duration:11 Nights / 12 Days

(Yamnotri / Gangotri / Kedarnath / Badrinath)

Route: Delhi Haridwar (1 N) Barkot (1 N) Drive - 36 Km / Trek – 7 Km Yamnotri Trek – 7 / Drive – 36 Km Barkot (1 N) Uttarkashi (1 N) Rudraprayag (1 N) 75 Km by road & 14 Km Up Trek Kedarnath (1 N) 14 Km Down Trek & 75 Km by Road Rudraprayag (1 N) Badrinath (1 N) Joshimath / Kirtinagar (1 N) Rishikesh (1 N) Delhi
Tour Name:Do Dham Pilgrimage (DDP)

Duration:7 Nights / 8 Days

(Kedarnath & Badrinath)

Route: Delhi Haridwar (1 N) Rudraprayag (1 N) 75 Km by road & 14 Km Up Trek Kedarnath (1 N) 14 Km Down Trek & 75 Km by Road Rudraprayag (1 N) Badrinath (1 N) Joshimath / Kirtinagar (1 N) Rishikesh (1 N) Delhi
Tour Name:Navagraha Pilgrimage / 9 Planets Tour (NP)

Duration:3 Nights / 4 Days

Route: Chennai Kumbakonam(2N) Pondicherry (1 N) Chennai
Tour Name:Navagaraha & Panchabootha Pilgrimage (NPP)

Duration:7 Nights / 8 Days

Route: Chennai Sri Kalahasti Tirutani Chennai (1 N) Kanchipuram Thiruvannamalai (1 N) Chidambaram (1 N) Kumbakonam (3 N) Thanjavur Trichy (1 N) Chennai
Tour Name:Navagraha & Arupadai Veedu Pilgrimage (NAVP)

Duration:7 Nights / 8 Days

Route: Chennai Kumbakonam (3 N) Thanjavur Madurai (1 N) Thiruchendur Madurai (1 N) Palani (1 N) Trichy (1 N) Tirutani Chennai
Tour Name:Spiritual Tamil Nadu (STN)

Duration:12 Nights / 13 Days

Route: Chennai (1 N) Kanchipuram Pondicherry (1 N) Chidambaram Kumbakonam (2 N) Thanjavur Rameshwaram (2 N) Thiruchendur Kaniyakumari (2 N) Madurai (2 N) Trichy (1 N) Thiruvannamalai (1 N) Tirutani Chennai
Tour Name:Tirupati Balaji Darshan (TBD)

Duration:1 Night / 2 Days
Tour Name:Nava Tirupati Pilgrimage (NTP)

9 Vishnu Temples on either side of the river Tamaraibarani in Tuticorin District

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