Ancient wonders and colonial splendours of the East coast of India
PRE CONFERENCE TOUR
3 - 9 March 2017
Join our pre-conference tour to unveil the ancient architectural wonders and breathtaking bas-reliefs of Mahabalipuram. Wander around sacred Kanchipuram, the city of 1,000 temples. Experience a day in the life of an Indian fishing village and then enjoy the tranquillity of the French colonial town of Pondicherry.
Friday 3 March 2017
Depart Australia in the afternoon and stay at Airport Hotel in Singapore overnight.
Saturday 4 March 2017
Arrive in Chennai in morning and travel along the coast to the stone-carving village of Mahabalipuram. Believed by many historians to have been the site of a training school for sculptors, Mahabalipuram is situated on a rocky outcrop between a shimmering lagoon and a silver, sandy beach. With its remarkable rock temples overlooking the shining Bay of Bengal and graceful casuarina trees swaying in the tropical breeze, this open-air museum is truly a sight to behold. The afternoon is free for you to relax.
Sunday 5 March 2017
Today, explore the rock sculptures of Mahabalipuram, beginning with the stunning Arjuna's Penance, often called the “Descent of the Ganges.”, the largest bas relief in the world. See images of Hindu mythology, local animals, and everyday life, as well as a natural cleft that was meant to represent the holy River Ganges.Enjoy the beautiful Shore Temple, a two-towered masterpiece on the seashore, dating back to the early 8th century. Also visit the Cave Temples decorated with stories of Lord Krishna’s life.
After lunch at the hotel, discover Kanchipuram, "City of 1,000 Temples". Kanchipuram was the capital of the Pallava Dynasty from the sixth to eighth centuries and is now hailed as one of India’s seven holy cities. The architecture and bas-reliefs are exquisite. This town is also renowned for its hand-woven silk and cotton fabrics.
Monday 6 March 2017
This morning experience a typical southern Indian fishing village. Be greeted by a group of local fisherman, who, after performing a short puja (Hindu prayer) will invite you aboard their colourful timber boats to go fishing. Once ashore (with a reasonable catch, hopefully!) their families will show you how to prepare and cook the fish – Indian style.
Tuesday 7 March 2017
This morning travel to Pondicherry.
Enjoy the laid-back old town of Pondicherry whose vibe reflects its French colonial past. Stroll along tranquil cobblestone streets admiring the colourful houses draped with vibrant bougainvillea. Enjoy the bohemian-chic of the shops along the promenade. See the golden dome of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and mingle with the chilled out yoga students. All in all, a most unIndian experience, unless you go to the newer part which is wonderfully, chaotically, southern Indian.
Wednesday 8 March 2017
Enjoy a full day relaxing in Pondicherry
Thursday 9 March 2017
Return to Chennai for your flight to Cochin to join the main conference group
End of arrangements
Please note that this itinerary and costs may be subject to change.