When it comes to the state of Tamil Nadu, one can witness the state’s cultural opulence. It is situated in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is home to countless temples and historic buildings which tell tales of the bygone eras. The marvels of Tamil architecture, historic hill-stations, varied religious sites, laboriously preserved classical culture, and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites make Tamil Nadu top the bucket lists of travelers.
Tamil Nadu tops the list of the most visited states by both domestic as well as foreign tourists and has the largest tourism industry in the country. It revels in being the epicenter of Hinduism because of its multitude of Hindu sacred sites and temples, few of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It presents vivid colors of its history through the architecture of the Chola, Pandayas, Pallavas, and Nayak dynasties. The state is adorned with spectacular beaches, waterfalls, nature reserves, historic temple towns, and elaborately designed architecture.
Chennai, often regarded as the Gateway to South India or Detroit of Asia, is the capital of Tamil Nadu. Formerly known as Madras, the metropolis is famous for its beaches, ancient architecture, rich culture, and modern technological advancements. The city houses, Kollywood, India’s Tamil film industry. It also has the privilege of being listed in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for its diverse musical traditions.
Tiruchirappalli is also known as Tiruchi or Trichy, and Rockfort City. It has a number of notable monuments depicting its past. Trichy was ruled by the Cholas, Pallavas, Pandayas, Mutharaiyars, Nayaks, Vijayanagara Empire, and the Carnatic state. Dravidian architecture can be seen in the buildings like Jambukeshwar Temple, Samayapuram Mariamman Temple, and Ukrakaliamman Temple. Many monuments of national importance are located in the city, the most prominent of which is the Rockfort which is famous for its rock-cut cave temples.
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Madurai is a temple town which is also famous as Athens of the East, City of Festivals, Temple City, Jasmine city, and Sleepless City. There are many temples and monuments located in the city which hold historical as well as cultural significance. The Meenakshi Amman Temple, Tirumalai Nayak Mahal, Kazimar Big Mosque, and Thiruparankundram Dargah are the classic examples of the city’s prosperous past.
Vellore is another city which attracts tourists through its forts, monuments, parks, and places of religious importance. Vellore Fort is one of the most important attractions known for its grand ramparts and wide moat. Other engagements in the city include Srilakshmi Golden Temple, Jalakandeswarar Temple, St. John’s Church, and Government Museum.
Tirunelveli is famous for its Nellaiappar Temple, a temple dedicated to God Shiva, which is the largest Shiva temple in the state. It has many other temples and shrines and is also famous for its halwa (a sweet delicacy).
Major tourist attractions:
- The Chola Temples: The Great Living Chola Temples are esteemed for their marvelous architectural designs and techniques. Constructed by king Raja Raja Chola and his son, these temples are spread across various parts of the state. Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur and Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram are famous for they enwrap Tamil Nadu’s glorious heritage.
- Rameswaram is one of the holiest places in the country and in related to the legends of Hindu God Rama. It is also one of the sacred Char Dham shrines. The Ramanathaswamy Temple and Kothandaramaswamy Temple are frequented by a large number of pilgrims.
- Mahabalipuram is a very famous temple town. Tourists visit it for its grandly designed temples, rock-cut caves, and some exotic beaches. Some famous monuments include Thirukadalmallai Temple, Varaha Cave Temple, Shore Temple, and Panch Rathas.
- Kanyakumari marks the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula and is a famous coastal destination. It is known for its exotic beaches, grand temples, churches, rich culture, and architecture. Kumari Amman Temple, Thanumalayan Temple, Hazrat Peer Mohammed waliyullah dargah, and Xavier’s Church are the popular hot-spots of the city.
- Chidambaram has the privilege of being the seat of the God of dance, Lord Nataraj. The Chidambaram Temple is, therefore, dedicated to Lord Nataraj. The place had a close connection with the Chola history as it witnessed the coronation of many Chola kings.
- Ooty is one of the best hill-stations in India and is located in Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. It has a soothing climate and picturesque landscapes of tea gardens. It served as a summer getaway to the Britishers. Ooty lake, Rose Garden, Doddabetta Peak, Avalanche Lake, Pykara Falls, and Botanical Garden are some nearby points of interest.
- Hogenakkal Falls are frequently referred to as the Niagara Falls of Asia. It is one of the most scenic places in Tamil Nadu and offers panoramic views of the natural surroundings. It is a popular romantic escape as well as a family picnic spot.
- Courtallam is famous among the nature lovers and is often called the “Spa of the South”. The water of the Courtallam falls is believed to have medicinal properties which makes it a popular destination both for youngsters and the aged ones.
- Kodaikanal is famous for its virgin treasures and is called the “Princess of Hill-Stations”. The many attractions of the place include Kodaikanal lake, Coaker’s walk, Green Valley view, Silver Cascade, and Berijam lake.
- Marina Beach is one of the longest beaches in the world. Located on the eastern side of Chennai, it attracts many tourists by its sparkling beauty. Although bathing and swimming at the beach are prohibited, it makes up for it by offering the spectacular sunsets and white sand shores.
- Nilgiri Mountain Railways are listed amongst UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India and offer a beautiful view of the thick forest running beside the railway track.
- Kanchipuram is one of the seven holy cities of Hindus and was the capital of Pallava Kingdom. The city houses hundreds of temples and is one of the most visited cities in Tamil Nadu. Kailashnathar Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple, and Trilokyanatha Temple are some of the popular temples.
- Madumalai National Park is situated at the foothills of Nilgiri hills and provides shelter to numerous endangered species like Indian elephants, Nilgiri tahr, tiger, flying squirrel and Nilgiri langur. Bird watching is an interesting activity because of the presence of a variety of bird species.