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Welcome to Tamil Nadu

we thank you for your interest to visit us

A land of ancient Dravidian culture, Tamil Nadu extends from the Coromandel Coast in the east to the forested Western Ghats in the west. The state is also the site of ancient Cholamandalam where the Chola kings built magnificent temples at Thanjavur and at other places. You will be amazed to see the temples at Madurai and Chidambaram which witnessed an efflorescence of dance, music and literature in Tamil Nadu.

The temple architecture, is a living museum of styles that originated in the seventh century and matured in the huge temple complexes studded with towering gateways—gopurams—that soar above the markets of almost every town. The 7th century port city of Mamallpuram with its spectacular rock-cut temples is now a world heritage site. Most of the towns of the state are prefixed with Tiru which means sacred; so indicates the presence of religious spots. The spectacular un-spoilt landscapes of Kodaikanal and Mudumalai wild life sanctuary remain popular destinations for visitors.

1 . Chennai

Chennai is the gateway to South Indian peninsula; also a place of historic importance. It is a pulsating city, ever changing and ever expanding. The city is probably the most peaceful and green metropolis of India. It was once a group of small villages until the appearance of East India Company to set up a new trade centre in the place. This land was known as Fort St. George during British era.

The city is connected by four main roads. Georgetown is to the northwest while Egmore, Triplicane and Mylapore are to the south of Chennai. The city is a blend of temples, churches, monuments and several other prime destinations. Its fascinating monuments and churches date back to the Portuguese and British period. The spectacular Marina Beach stretches 13 km along the city’s eastern flank which is a favourite place for the city dwellers and visitors. The Fort St. George is another widely visited spot of the city that depicts colonial influence of British and Portuguese on the city. Major places of worship are Parthasarthi Temple, Kapaleeswarar temple, Wallajah mosque, “Thousand lights” mosque and San Thome Basilica.

2 Chidambaram

This sacred temple town is located in Thanjavur district, about 60 km south of Pondicherry. The focal point of the town is the awe inspiring Nataraja Temple, built by the Cholas in the 9th century to honour their patron deity Lord Shiva as Nataraja, the “Lord of Cosmic Dance”.

The temple has an unusual hut-like sanctum with a gold plated roof, the huge, colonnaded Shivaganga tank and four colourful gopuras. The most interesting is the eastern gopura which features the 108 hand and feet movements of Bhrat Natyam and is considered as a veritable encyclopedia of this classical temple dance.

Other areas of interests in the temple complex are the Govindarajaswamy Shrine, housing the reclining Vishnu, the Shivakamasundari Shrine, dedicated Shiva’s consort Parvati and the Subramanyam Shrine in which Murugan (Shiva’s son) is worshipped. The temple observes religious traditions preserved by a group of hereditary priests.

Chidambaram’s other claim to fame is the 50 years old Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu’s first residential university, specializing in South Indian studies.

3 Coimbatore

Coimbatore is the third largest city of Tamil Nadu after Chennai and Tiruchirapalli. It is one of the major industrial hubs of south India with huge textile mills and engineering units, sometime called as the “Manchester of South India”. It is also convenient base to visit the Nilgiri Hill Stations.

The location of the city is in such a way that it forms a part of the rain shadow region of Western Ghats offering pleasant climate throughout the year. Coimbatore, known for its thriving textile industries is also a place of tourist’s importance. It has many temples built in the ancient era. The city is also the gateway to the popular hill station of Ooty.

4 Kanchipuram

The small temple town of Kanchipuram or kanchi is one of the seven sacred cities of Hindus. Starting from 6th centuries to the 8th centuries the Pallavas constructed several temples here and established universities for higher learning. The town is sacred to both Saivites and Vaisnavites. There are two temples: the temple of Saivites to the north and the temple of Vaisnavites to the southeast.

The Varadaraja temple on Gandhi Road is the town’s prime visiting site. The presiding deity in this temple is a form of Vishnu known as Varadaraja. Legends say that it is the site where Brahma performed yagna to invoke the presence of Vishnu.

About 14 kms from Mamallapuram is a crocodile breeding centre known as Crocodile Bank. There is also a snake farm which regularly conducts show on how venums are extracted from these snakes.

The Anna memorial is the ancestral house of Dr. C.N. Annadurai, the scholar statesman, affectionately called Anna. This memorial is located here and is visited by numerous visitors everyday.

5 Kanyakumari

It is one of the districts of Tamil Nadu, located at a distance of 235 km from Madurai. This southernmost tip of the Indian sub continent is a Sangam Sthal of the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The spectacular views of the surroundings at sun set and sun rise enthrall the visitors to feel a divine ecstasy. It is believed that the place is the abode of Kumari, the Virgin Goddess, who is supposed to have done penance so that she could marry Lord Shiva. The town hosts many pilgrimage centres viz. Gandhi Memorial, Vivekananda Memorial, Church of Our Lady of Joy and Kumari Amman Temple on the seashore.

6 Kodaikanal

About 120 kms North West of Madurai city is kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu’s most popular hill stations. Kodai is situated at a height of about 2,133-m from sea level covering an area of 21.45-sq-km. The hill town is famous for its educational institutions (schools and colleges) of international repute.

Kodai as it is popularly called was first discovered by American missionaries in the 1840s. Kodai’s lush green valleys, terraced plantations and a pleasant climate make it a tourists’ paradise. The Berijam Lake (or Kodai Lake), one among the beautiful lakes of South India, spreads over an area of 24 hectares.

Beyond the city centre Kodai has a number of beautiful scenic spots viz. Pillar Rocks, Silver Cascade and Green valley View which offer enchanting picnic spots and views of the deep valley.

Some 3 kms northeast of the Kodai Lake is the Kurunji Andavar Temple, dedicated to Murugan, Lord Shiva’s son. It is named after the amazing kurunji flowers associated with the God. The Chettiar Park nearby laid out along the hillside, is where kurunji blooms every 12 years.

7 Madurai

Madurai, one of the oldest temple cities of South India is situated on the banks of the river Vaigai, 498 kms away from Chennai. It is a centre of learning and pilgrimage. There are several tourist attractions in and around the city. The city is known for its spectacular Meenakshi Temple throughout the globe.

Some 2,000 years ago it hosted the famous “Sangams” (gatherings of writers and poets), which were to provide Tamil literature with some of its most enduring works. The religions and culture are vibrant parts of its daily life. Today, Madurai is one of the fast developing cities of south India and undoubtedly a great pilgrimage for Hindus.

8 Mamallapuram

The UNESCO World heritage site Mamallapuram (or Mahabalipuram) was once a major port city built in the 7th century by the Pallava king, Narasimha Varman I, also known as Mamalla, “The Great Wrestler”. This spectacular site located on the Bay of Bengal is 58 km South of Chennai.

The spectacular shore Temple perched dramatically on a promontory by the sea, has survived the ravages of time and erosion. It was built by Mamalla for Vishnu, while the two Shiva shrines were added by Mamalla’s successor Narasimha Varman II. Mahabalipuram was the second capital of Pallava kings of Kanchipuram.

Inland from the shore temple, in the village centre is the celebrated base relief Bhagiratha’s penance, also known as Arjuna’s Penance or the Descent of the Ganges. Nearby are the Panch Pandava Cave temple and Krishna’s Butter Ball, a natural boulder perched precariously on a slope.

Towards the south of Bhagiratha’s Penance is the Krishna’s Mandapa, a huge base-lifting showing the god lifting the Mount Govardhana to protect the people from torrential rains.

A small archeological museum, with sculptures and fragments excavated from the site, lies to its east. It remains open on all days. Entry to the shore temple is based on tickets.

The Tiger’s Cave is about 4 kms away from the town and is a shallow cave framed by a large boulder with heads of yalis (mythical leonine beasts). It was perhaps a stage for outdoor performances.

9 Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram is a small island in the district of Rameshwaram situated in the Gulf of Mannar, the narrow body of water separating Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka. It is one of the four Dhams in the Hindu legends. Rameshwaram is the place from where Lord Rama, built a bridge across the sea to rescue his consort Sita, from her abductor, Ravana. This is also the place where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to cleanse away the sin of killing Ravana.

Rameshwaram is a sacred pilgrimage for Hindus. Both the Vaishnavites and Shaivites visit this pilgrimage which is known as the Benares of the south. A pilgrimage to Benares is incomplete without visiting Rameshwaram. It is believed that by visiting Rameshwaram one can get moksha (emancipation). The presideing deity here is the linga of Sri Ranganatha who is one of the 12 jyotirlingas of India.

10 Thanjavur

The city of Thanjavur (or Tanjore) lies in the fertile Kaveri Delta, a region sometime referred to as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. For more than thousand years the city dominated the political history of the region as the capital of three powerful dynasties viz. the Cholas, the Nayakas and the Marathas.

The city holds the magnificent monuments i.e. Sri Brihadeshwarar Temple of Chola Period and the Royal Palace dates to the Nayakas and Maratha period. Today it is not restricted to temples and palaces; the city is the cultural epicenter of classical music and dance in Tamil Nadu. It is also famous for its exquisite handicrafts, bronze sculptures and painting.

11 Tiruchirapalli

Located at the head of the fertile Kaveri Delta, this city is named after the fierce three headed demon Tirusira, who attained salvation after being slain by Lord Shiva. The history of this city is interwoven with the political fortunes of the Pallavas, Cholas, Nayakas and finally the British. Today, it is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu and also one of the major industrial and trade centres of south India.

12 Ooty

Ooty also known as Udhagamandalam is the "Queen of hill stations" and the capital of Nilgiris district. It is one of the most popular tourist resorts in India. Nilgiris means "Blue Mountains". It is a land of picturesque picnic spots. Used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britishers during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level.

An added attraction for the tourists to Udagamandalam is the mountain train journey on a ratchet and pinion track which commences from Kallar, near Mettupalayam and wends its way through many hair-raising curves and fearful tunnels and chugs along beside deep ravines full of verdant vegetation, gurgling streams and tea gardens. Important places are Botanical Garden, Lake, Garden, Doddabetta, Pykara falls, Coonnoor, etc.