The words Tamil Nadu literally means ‘The Land of The Tamils or Tamil Country’. The State of Tamil Nadu is the 11th largest State out of the 29 states of India. But what Tamil Nadu lacks in size, it gains in its abundance of natural resources. The western, north-western and the southern parts are abundant in vegetation since they’re the meeting points of the Western and Eastern Ghats with the Nilgiris Hills. This makes the state an ecological niche which gives the State of Tamil Nadu abundance in flora and fauna. Tamil Nadu has also been home to the oldest of civilizations, and has seen the rule of various ancient dynasties like the Chera, Chola and Pandya which ruled the region between 300 BC – 300 AD. The state of Tamil Nadu is thus rich in both the aspects of Cultural and Natural making it a tourist haven. In this article we shall discuss about the 10 popular places you must Visit in Tamil Nadu.
Formerly known by the name Madras, Chennai is the Capital City of Tamil Nadu. The city has been surrounded by the South Indian Kingdoms since ages, thus it has always been the forefront of all cultural, economical, social, commercial and industrial development in the south of India. Chennai is the short form of the actual name Chennapatnam. It’s often nicknamed as the Detroit of India, due to Chennai housing the majority of India’s Automobile industries. Not only industries, the city is famous for its distinctive culture and heritage as well and you might need to take around 2-3 days to properly explore this city alone.
The city houses more than 20 heritage structures including railway stations, Museums, Book Shops, Cinema halls and many more. Chennai is also famous for its clean sandy beaches, parks, temples and cultural centers. There are various shopping attractions here and most sorts for Modern Day Activities one can name. With a big list of tourist attractions, Chennai is aptly the 3rd most visited City by tourists after Delhi and Mumbai.
Also known as Mamallapuram, the city of Mahabalipuram is famous for its ancient and cultural heritage. The city of Mahabalipuram was a prominent sea port dating back to 7th century AD and was ruled by the Pallava Dynasty. The place is famous for its monuments and is classified among the UNESCO world heritage sites. Almost all of the monuments are carved out of Granite and display the brilliance of Dravidian style architecture.
The town is otherwise a small one and the best way to get around it either by foot or bike rental. The attractions in the whole town can be covered in a day or two. The city is bustling with tourists most times of the year except monsoons. The amazing location of this place adds to the charm of the monuments and the intricate carvings. The temples here are a marvel to behold and with the aid of a knowledgeable tour guide one can totally get lost in the ancient stories behind each of the monuments.
The southernmost tip of mainland India, Kanyakumari was formerly known by the name Cape Comorin. The ancient town of Kanyakumari was an important site during the Reign of the Chola, Chera and Pandya dynasty. The town is famous for its beautiful beaches, temples, monuments and cultural centers. The town is also famous for its distinctive culture and hospitable people.
The place due to its unique location witnesses a marvel like only a few places in the world has seen i.e. the sunrise and the sunset can be viewed at the same beach. The town lays at the confluence of three bodies of water namely the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal and is thus considered an important pilgrimage site in the south of India. The temples here are built in Dravidian style of architecture. The various south Indian delicacies served here are great and light on the stomach and include some of the south Indian classics like Sambhar, Idli and Dosa etc. a trip to this town is sure to refresh your senses.
The 3rd largest city in Tamil Nadu, Madurai is also one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. The place has been mentioned by many such as Kautilya and Megasthenes. The city has been ruled by both the Pandya and the Chola dynasties. The city houses a number of important and magnificent temples that it is built around. Geographically the city of Madurai lies on the fertile plains near the river Vaigai which divides the city in two parts. The land is thus mainly used for agriculture and the major supplier for paddy crops such as rice in India.
The majority of tourists who come to Madurai come to visit the various temples that enshrine this ancient city. The Meenakshi Ammam Temple is of prime importance here as it has been mentioned in almost all the ancient texts and is considered as the prime pilgrim spot for the Tamil people. The Temple complex consists of 27 different temples and the highest tower with the height of 51.9 meters high crowns the place. Many different monuments and temples are also a must visit along with the various festivals celebrated here. The town of Madurai is a spiritual experience in itself.
The town is also referred to as the ‘Princess of the Hill stations’ with its name meaning ‘the Gift of the Forest’. It is a small hill station with an average elevation of 2,331 meters above sea level. The place is surrounded by thick forests and is located at the top of the Palani Hills. The establishment of the hill station dates back to 1845 which was founded as a refuge from the heat and the diseases of the tropical plains. The town is a major tourist attraction and tourism industry is the source of the majority of the town’s economy.
Kodaikanal is famous for its scenic beauty and has a number of natural attractions that is the reason for its high tourist population. The lakes, parks and different waterfalls along with the rich abundance of flora and fauna, the town, is indeed the gift of the forests. The place is a home to many natural marvels and phenomena such as the blooming of the rare Kurinji Flower which only blooms once in 12 years and is said to cover the entire valley in blue. With its various flora and natural and manmade attractions to enjoy, Kodaikanal will make you want to stay.
Also known as, the Fort city, Vellore is located at the banks of Palar River at the North-eastern part of Tamil Nadu. The city came under the reign of various kingdoms and monarchies such as the Pallava, the Chola, the Carnatic Kingdom and the British. The place’s name comes from the Monolithic fort of Vellore which was built in the 16th century by the Vijaynagar Kings and is constructed out of granite. The fort complex has a Christian church courtesy the British, a Mosque and an old Hindu Temple which has some of the most magnificent carvings.
The place has a lot of historic relevance as well, as the fort of Vellore is said to have housed Tipu sultan’s family during the British Rule. Apart from the fort there are several other attractions that have made it an important tourist destination. The various temples with a brilliant display of carvings and Dravidian Style architecture, the picturesque hill station of Yelagiri, the churches and mosques and various shopping hotspots has made it a must visit place in Tamil Nadu.
The Capital of the Nilgiris District, Ooty or Ootacamund is one of the top visited hill stations in India. The place lies in the heart of the Nilgiris Mountains with an average elevation of 2,240 meters above sea level. The place is characterized by the blue smoky mist from the thick eucalyptus forests and is also known to house the rare kurunji flower. The town’s major source of economy, like most hill stations is tourism. Many officials of the British government described the likeliness of this place to resemble Switzerland.
Despite of being located in the tropical region of India, Ooty enjoys a pleasant and mild climate throughout the year, with chilly nights. The best time to visit is between the months of December till February and is frequented by tourists all around. The various lakes, mountains, gardens and valleys are amazing places to visit. The different peaks are great spots for trekking and the lakes make amazing camping and picnic spots. A visit to Ooty and you will experience a surrounding which is unique to almost any place in India.
The city of Kanchipuram is located on the shores of the Vegavathy River. The city has seen a number of ruling dynasties and monarchies such as the Pandya, Cholas, the Vijaynagar Empire, the Carnatic kingdom and the British monarchy. Kanchipuram since medieval times has been significant as the educational center and was known as the place for learning. The city is also famous for its various temples that are built in the Dravidian style of architecture and display amazing stone carvings. Kanchipuram has been an important city and has been mentioned in texts dating back to the Maurya Period (325-185 BC) and has been constantly mentioned as a city like no other in the Dravidian Kingdom.
Kanchipuram apart from its various temples is also known for its medicinal herbs, this fact has been vouched for by the ancient texts as well. One of the major products of Kanchipuram is its specialized silk and more than 5000 families residing here are involved in silk weaving and famous for the “Kanchipuram silk Saris”. The place is rich in both natural and manmade attractions and has a distinct culture that one must experience. With its various Temples, bird Sanctuary, beaches, backwaters etc. makes the city a must visit.
The highly industrialized town of Coimbatore is often termed as the ‘Manchester of India’. It is the second largest city in terms of area in the State of Tamil Nadu. The place is famous for its various temples, shopping hubs and typical Tamil food items. The town of Coimbatore is also surrounded by various picnic spots like waterfalls and rivers which are sure to refresh your senses and are great places to visit with family or friends. The city is located on the banks of the Noyyal River and is surrounded by the Western Ghats.
The best thing about this city is its pleasant weather all year round. The thick forest covered mountains and the cool wind from the Palghat gap makes the hot weather a pleasant one. The city also takes pride in housing the Siruvani River which is a tributary of the River Kaveri. The special thing about this river is the taste of the water due to a perfect mix of the minerals making it the second tastiest water in the world after the Nile River (do not buy packaged water when you visit this place). There are various parks and zoos that only add to the large number of tourist attractions present in this city.
Another ancient city in Tamil Nadu, Tirunelveli is famous for its temples. The city is located at the southernmost tip of the Deccan plateau with the river Tamirabarani running through the city. The city is a religious and agricultural hub and thrives on tourism. The place is abundant in natural resources and has a diverse range of physical features like mountain ranges, rivers, sea coasts and forests.
The temples here are of special significance as they were created in medieval times by the ruling dynasties of that era and display some brilliant architecture and stone carvings. Apart from being a monumental hub of Tamil Nadu, the city holds numerous undiscovered spots which make it a tourist haven. The forests house a variety of natural flora and fauna along with many rare and endangered species. The best time to visit the place is between October-February when the climate is pleasant and the vegetation is at its peak.
The Magical State of Tamil Nadu is the second most frequented tourist spot in India. With its abundance in natural and man-made wonders the city has more than 4000 years of cultural history. Apart from the places mentioned above, the hill stations of Coonoor and Yelagiri are also popular amongst the tourists. Also, Rameswaram and Tiruchirappalli are also popular tourist destinations of Tamil Nadu. Most of the sites and monuments from the ancient era have been well preserved along with the natural resources which make it a definitive tourist attraction.