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SOUTH INDIA TOUR PROGRAM-MARCH 2009

ITINERARY

07th March 2009: Early Morning arrival 0140 Hrs, Traditional Welcome at airport and check into Trident Hotel. After Brunch at 11.00 am and check out and proceed for Chennai city Tour a t 1200 noon. Visit Chennai Museum and Santhom Cathedral Basilica Evening proceed to covelong and check into Taj Fisherman Cove. Dinner at 8.00 pm & overnight stay.

Chennai: The Gateway to South India, Chennai, located along the Coromandel Coast initially grew around the British settlement of Fort St. George and is today India’s fourth largest metropolis. Chennai has retained its traditional Tamil roots while acquiring a modern and cosmopolitan character. Chennai is famous for its sandy beaches, parks and historic landmarks. With a very distinct culture, the people of Chennai have a special interest in music, dance and all other art forms of South India. Capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and with an estimated population of 6.96 million (2006), Chennai is a commercial and industrial hub. It is also known as the automobile capital of India and is home to a majority of India’s automobile industry. The 12-kilometre long Marina Beach in Chennai is one of the longest beaches in the world. Of late, Chennai has grown into a software hub and technological city. It is a city which has embraced both the new and the old with ease. Chennai is spread over an area of 200 square kilometers and still growing.

Chennai Museum
The Government Museum of Chennai originally belonged to a group of eminent British citizens, known as the Pantheon Committee, who were responsible for improving the social life of the British in Madras. The Main Building has a fine archaeological section representing all the major South Indian periods including Chola, Vijayanagar, Hoysala and Chalukya. Chennai Government Museum also houses a good ethnology collection. The bronze gallery has a superb collection of Chola art. One of the most impressive is the bronze of Ardhanariswara, the androgynous incarnation of Shiva.

Santhome Cathedral Basilica: The place where Santhome Cathedral Basilica stands today, used to be known as Betuma. St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, is said to have arrived in the region somewhat in the middle of first century A.D. He initially preached at a place called Little Mount (Chinnamalai in Tamil Nadu) and was put to death at St. Thomas Mount in the year 72 A.D. Soon after his death a church was built over his burial place and it is this church that after series of renovations stand as Santhome Basilica Cathedral. The cathedral at Santhome was built by the Portuguese between 14th and 15th century A.D.

The cathedral has been built in a typical neo Gothic style. The shrines included in the cathedral is a small hand bone and the lance that was used to end the life of the apostle. The 50 meters high building has been constantly renovated. It is the only the second church in the world that has been erected over the burial place of an apostle. The cathedral holds a 3 feet high statue of Virgin Mary, believed to be imported from Portugal in the year 1543 A.D. The reaching spire is as high as 50 meters and the width of the nave is about 10 metres. The cathedral is provided with stained glass and 14 wood plaques that depict St. Thomas' encounter with the resurrected Christ

The cathedral, which was blessed in 1896 A.D. and raised to the dignity of a basilica by Pope Pius XII, in the year 1956 gathers pilgrims from far off places.

08th March 2009: Morning breakfast at 8.00 am, depart at 9.00 am to visit Crocodile Bank, Proceed to Kancheepuram and have Lunch at GRT Kancheepuram at 1.00 pm and then visit silk weaving Factory. Evening back to hotel & overnight stay

The Crocodile Bank in Chennai is the largest crocodile-breeding site in the country. Several species of African and Indian crocodiles and alligators are bred in captivity. This park seeks to spread awareness of the ecological role...
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