Tamil Nadu, with its distinctive ancient Dravidian culture, is a fascinating part of South India. The State draws both tourists and pilgrims to its towering temples and tourist spots.
Most attractive tourist spots in Tamil Nadu
Chennai: It is the fourth largest of the Indian cities, and the capital of Tamil Nadu. Situated on the east coast, Chennai is considered to be the gateway to the south of India. It is a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity. While the growing and changing exterior present an increasingly cosmopolitan look, the interior remains traditional. The British influence on Chennai can still be noticed because of the presence of the buildings of Indo-Saracenic style, wide tree-lined avenues, and old cathedrals. The city’s main attractions are its beach, temples, museums and galleries, old Portuguese style churches, and amusement parks.
Madurai: Madurai in Tamil Nadu is home to the most impressive and important temple in South India — the Meenakshi Temple. The majestic Entrance, the Temple Complex, and the Hall of Thousand Pillars are some testimonies to the excellence of Dravidian architecture. The five famous Musical Pillars, near the northern tower, each consisting of 22 smaller pillars, are carved out of a single stone — that produce musical notes when tapped!!
There are numerous other Mandapams, small and big, in this temple. Kodaikanal is 120 km from Madurai, and it charms the visitors with its forested landscapes and picturesque lakes.
Ooty: It was established in the early 19th century by the British as the summer headquarters. It is now a soothings hill station summer resort to escape the summer heat. Ooty’s most popular attractions include 22 hectares Government Botanical Gardens (with a flower show held as part of the Summer Festival), boating on Ooty Lake, and climbing Dodabetta Peak for an excellent view of the mighty hills.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway Toy Train: It is the highlight of a visit to the hill settlement of Ooty. The historic railway line was completed in 1899. The track is 46 km long and passes over 26 viaducts, and through 16 tunnels and tall girder bridges. This railway is particularly picturesque because of the surrounding rocky terrain, tea plantations and forested hills.
Coonoor, on the way, with its world-famous teas, is a tourist destination in itself. One toy train operates along the Nilgiri Railway from Mettupalayam to Ooty. An additional toy train service runs during the peak summer tourist season in April and May.
Kodikkarai: It is a popular seaside town. Better known as Point Calimere, it has a wildlife sanctuary for animals and Bevats Sanctuary for migrating binds.
Thirunelveli: Thirunelveli or Nellai has a history that dates back to 2000-years. It was once the capital of the Pandyas. The Thirunelveli District Science Centre is showcasing scientific applications adding a new dimension to science teaching through a process of discovery.
Thiruchirapalli: Thiruchirapalli, on the banks of the serene Cauvery river, is an ancient city famous for its architectural marvels. This bustling city is renowned for colourful glass bangles, artificial diamonds, cigars, handloom cloth, and wooden and clay toys.
The Rock Fort is perched atop an abrupt massive rock formation within the town and is 83 metres high. The rock dates back to 3.800 million years and is in itself a marvel. The main tourist attraction is, however, the temple inside rather than the fort itself. The Uchipillaiyou Koil Temple dedicated to Lord Vinayaka offers a spectacular view of Thiruchirapalli. Amidst the ruins, a climb of 344 steps takes you to inscriptions of 3rd century BC.
Srirangam: It is one of the most important pilgrimages in India. Wedged between the Cauveri on one side and its tributary Kollidam on the other, the whole of the Srirangam town is enclosed within the seven walls of the massive Sriranganathswami Temple. There are 2,180 params, among which Rajagopuram is the largest one, and is a spectacle to behold from miles away.
Tirupati: It is famous for its Venkateswara Temple. Millions of pilgrims visit the temple throughout the year.
Theni: Theni in southern Tamil Nadu is a favoured tourist spot and is known for its serene environment. Enchanting dams, mesmerizing waterfalls, and innumerable pilgrim centres amidst the verdant green landscape make Theni very different from the hustle and bustle of busy tourist spots.
Thanjavur: Thanjavur, formerly the Tanjore city of eastern Tamil Nadu, lies in the Kaveri (Cauvery) River delta. It is known as a centre of learning and culture, and famous for its unique art in bronze, handicrafts and South Indian musical instruments. The annual car festival of Thanjavur churches celebrated every year with pomp splendour stands as testimony to religious harmony.
Kanyakumari: It is located on the southernmost tip of India, where the Bay of Bengal merges with the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean with their three coloured glasses of water. The distinguishing feature of this spiritual town is the Swami Vivekananda Memorial or Vivekananda Rock. The Swami meditated there in 1892, before setting out on his religious crusade to Chicago. The Vivekanandpuram at a little distance from the Vivekananda Rock is also a worth-seeing sight. The towering statue of Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar is located on the rocky island off the shore. Kanyakumari is also home to a striking Gandhi Memorial, with architecture resembling that of an Orissan temple.
So a tourist can feel very happy in visiting the tourist spots in Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state in India.