Sacred

Tamil Nadu

January 7th through January 16th, 2018

This tour is a sacred pilgrimage through the most important holy sites of southern India. After arriving in Chennai, our first stop will be Mahabalipuram, with a day for yoga, massages, and relaxation by the pool, the perfect way to erase the jetlag. We’ll also visit the ancient temples of the Pallava Empire, a UNESCO site. We will then move to Thiruvannamalai, where we will meditate on the holy mountain Arunachala and visit the ashrams of Ramana Maharshi and Shivashakti Ma. Our next stop is Pondicherry, where we’ll meditate in the ashram of Sri Aurobindo and the Holy Mother and take a tour of Auroville. We’ll then head out for a day of touring famous ancient Shiva temples in Chidambaram, Darasuram and Tanjore. The next day we’ll see Trichy, including the important Sri Ranganatha Swami. From Trichy we’ll fly to Chennai, where you’ll get your departing flight home.

The tour also includes guided meditations, laughter yoga classes, devotional singing, and classes about Hindu philosophy. In the excellent 4-star hotels we have selected in each location, exquisite food of many kinds will entice and delight you, and you can retreat into cool comfort each evening. In short, this tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is truly not to be missed!

Dates:

January 7th through January 16th, 2018

Places we will visit:

Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Thiruvannamalai, Pondicherry, Chidambaram, Gangaikonda, Darasuram, Tanjore, Trichy, Chennai.

Where and When the Tour Begins

Chennai.

Return flight

Chennai.

Guides:

Tarini Ma Dagnino  (guia), Ram-Das Batchelder (profesor de filosofía), Sumangala Salvatorelli (yoga y meditación)

Languages spoken during the tour:

English & Spanish.

 

 

Your International Flights

Your incoming international flight should arrive in Chennai International Airport anytime from the afternoon of January 7th through the early morning hours of January 8th, 2018. Your departing flight should be from Chennai on the afternoon or night of January 16th.

 

Daily Itinerary

 

Day 1: January 7th: Chennai-Mahabalipuram:

Your flight will arrive in Chennai on the afternoon or evening of January 7th or early in the morning of January 8th.Members of our staff will meet you at the airport and escort you to our 4–star hotel located in Mahabalipuram one hour away from Chennai’s airport.

 

Mahabalipuram is one of India’s most beautiful cities, and one of its oldest. It is known for its gorgeous ocean views, and its numerous carved-stone monuments and ancient temples. Located in Tamil Nadu, Mahabalipuram was a port town during the 1st Century to 140 AD, and was ruled by the ancient Pallava dynasty, whose kings commissioned the construction of most of the area’s impressive monuments in the 7th and 8th century AD. A group of these monuments have been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dinner in our 4-star hotel.

Night in Mahabalipuram.

 

Day 2: January 8th: Mahabalipuram:

The tour officially begins in the morning of January 8th with a welcome breakfast and an introduction to the tour. Day off for relaxing, yoga, and enjoying the beach and the pool. Let that jetlag go! In the afternoon Ram Das will offer a class in Hindu philosophy for those who wish to attend.

Dinner in our 4-star hotel.

Night in Mahabalipuram.

 

Day 3: January 9th: Mahabalipuram to Thiruvannamalai

After breakfast we will visit the ancient and sacred sights of Mahabalipuram and the amazing group of temples deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afterwards we will drive from Mahabalipuram to Thiruvannamalai (approx. 3 and a half hours drive).

 

Thiruvannamalai is home to the holy mountain Arunachala, which is considered by Hindus to be an embodiment of Lord Shiva. Each month on the full moon night, hundreds of thousands of people walk the 14-kilometer trek around the hill barefoot, as an act of worship.

 

Upon arrival at our resort, Ram Das will give his second class on the essence of Hindu philosophy.

Evening meditation at Ramana’s ashram.

Dinner at the resort.

 

Day 4: January 10th: Thiruvannamali

After breakfast we will have the darshan of the living saint, Shivashakti Ma, followed by a visit to the ashram of Ramana Maharshi, where we can circumambulate his samadhi shrine (tomb) and meditate in the room where he gave darshan for many years. We will then take a 20-minute hike up to one of the caves on Arunachala where Ramana lived for many years, and have a brief meditation there. From the mountainside we’ll have a wonderful view of the entire town, including the famous Shiva temple. Great photo ops!

Evening meditation at the ancient Arunachaleshwara temple.

Dinner at the resort.

 

Day 5: January 11th: Thiruvannamalai

Today we will rise before the sun, and depart at 5 a.m. for the 8-kilometer pradakshina (walking circumambulation) of the holy mountain Arunachala. We will make brief stops in some of the many temples along the way, including the ancient Adi Annamalai temple and a Shirdi Sai Baba mandir. Our vehicle will accompany us, so that if anyone gets tired while walking they can climb on board. Later we will visit the ashram of Yogi Ramsuratkumar, where we hope to meet with Ma Devaki, Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s closest devotee. We will then rest for some hours in the tranquility of our resort; those who wish may take a swim in the pool or have a massage. In the late afternoon Ram Das will give a class on Jnana Yoga, and afterwards we will feed dinner to a group of poor sadhus in a local ashram.

Dinner at the resort.

Night in Thiruvanamalai.

 

 

Day 6: January 12th: Drive from Thiruvannamalai to Pondicherry (by car, approximately 3hrs)

After breakfast we will drive straight to Auroville, where we will watch a film about this beautiful spiritual community and get our tickets for a possible visit to the Matrimandir the next day.

 

Auroville is a community inspired by the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Located about 7 miles north of Pondicherry, Auroville is known as "the City of Tomorrow," for it was envisioned by the Holy Mother as an experiment in human unity, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs could live in peace and harmony while aspiring for realization of the Divine. It is recognized as an ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness.

 

Check-in at our beautiful hotel in Pondicherry.

Evening class with Ram Das about the life of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Dinner at the resort.

Night in Pondicherry.

 

Day 7: January 13th: Pondicherry

After breakfast and according to our timing of visit to the Matrimandir (something that the office will decide on the time of arrival) we may have to leave sooner or later from the hotel to be able to meditate inside the famous Matrimandir, a special temple designed by the Holy Mother herself.

 

Upon our return to Pondicherry we will visit the local Ganesha temple and very likely receive a blessing from a living elephant named Lakshmi outside the temple door.

 

We will then visit the samadhi (tomb) of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, located inside the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, for meditation.

Dinner at the resort.

Night in Pondicherry.

 

Day 8: January 14th:Pondicherry

Morning off for relaxing and enjoying the pool and the beach. Early afternoon walk to the French town and the beautiful local market of flowers, spices, fruits and veggies and fish.

5:00 p.m: Class about Hindu temple symbolism and rituals with Tarini Ma.

6:30 p.m: Kirtan (devotional singing) and meditation on the beach.

Dinner at the resort.

Night in Pondicherry.

 

Day 9: January 15th: Numerous temple visits en route to Trichy.

Today we will drive from Pondicherry to Trichy, en route visiting famous temples in Chidambaram, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Dharasuram and Tanjore. (The drive is approx. 150 miles.) Breakfast 6:00 am, departure 7:00 am.

 

The famous Chidambaram Nataraja Temple is one of the most important temples in South India, containing one of the miraculously manifested “Jyotir Lingams,” symbolic of Lord Shiva. The worship here is full of potent divine energy and thrilling to behold, as more than a dozen priests are active in various ways. The temple is an excellent example of a unique amalgamation of a number of architectural styles. The innermost sanctum has idols of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva is worshipped here in the form of a small crystal lingam. Powerful! The other temples we’ll be seeing today are equally ancient and impressive.

 

When we arrive in the bustling city of Trichy, we’ll check into our hotel for dinner and a well-deserved night of sleep.

Dinner at the resort.

Night in Trichy.

 

Day 10: January 16th: Temple visits in Trichy, then fly to Chennai, where you will catch your international flight home.

After breakfast, we will visit the Sri Ranganatha Swami temple.

 

The Sri Ranganatha Swami temple complex is very well preserved, with excellent carvings throughout and numerous shrines to various gods. The main temple is dedicated to Vishnu. The deity in the inner sanctum, a large reclining Vishnu in black stone, is absolutely stunning. Very much worth the wait!

 

We will then fly to Chennai, where you will catch your international flight home.

 

End of the tour.

 Extensions of the trip are available upon prior request. Such extensions can be prior to the starting date of the tour, or after the final day of the tour. Please note on our website that we also have an 11-day tour of Kerala, and also a 20-day South Indian tour which includes 10 days in beautiful Kerala and a visit to the ashram of Amma, the “Hugging Saint.” Let us know what you’d like; we will be happy to accommodate you!

 

Thank you for choosing Nirvana Tours!

We are so happy to welcome you to India! It is our passion to share the spiritual and historic treasures of our beloved India with friends from around the world. We pledge to do our utmost to keep you happy during the tour, and provide the highest quality services at the best prices you’ll find anywhere.

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