Tall palms and taller gopurams, the towering intricately carved temple towers amidst a land of oriental lushness greet the traveler to Tamilnadu, a land that is truly the soul of the South itself. A land of sun and warmth, of temples and legends and of silver lined beaches.

Tamilnadu, lush colour drenched, sunburn and romantic, the essence of an Eastern life style, is inexpensive, with the best of accommodation available to suit every pocket and every taste.

Tamilnadu is a window to the modern South as much as it is a wide  open archive of ancient legacies, Yet amazingly, for all its modern-day progress, Tamilnadu retains its old-world charm. The blend of the ancient and the new and the picturesque is truly remarkable. A land that has seen the rise and fall of many ancient kingdoms, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Cheras, the Pallavas and many others, each leaving behind incredible cultural treasure.

From Chennai, the capital and gateway to Tamilnadu, no place is too far. Excellent road, rail and air services speed travelers  to any point in this ancient land. Spread around are capitals of once-proud kingdoms. Like magnificent Madurai, its Meenakshi temple one of the wonders of India, and Thanjavur, its Brahadeeswarar temple, a tribute to the splendour of Chola builders. Here is the replica of historic Poompuhar. The Chola port and planned city known to Ptolemy and Pliny.

Here are the Pallava towns of Kancheepuram, and Mamallapuram, the former, one of the seven Hindu sacred cities, a town of a thousand temples, the latter famed for its monuments and sculpture  but now becoming better known as one of  India’s finest beach resorts. Here are Tiruchirappalli and Kanniyakumari where ancient legends live on, in rock and plaster and wood. Here are hill stations, that waft the aroma of tea and coffee, eucalyptus and pine. Hill resort  that seem like little bits of England’s green country, that are as rugged as India’s own.

The Chidambaram Temple is dedicated to Nataraja, the god Siva in the form of the Cosmic Dancer, Tiruchirapalli is famous for its Rock Temple built on a rock rising abruptly to over 83 mts. The holy town of Rameswaram on the south-eastern tip of the Indian peninsula, contains one of India’s most venerated temples, distinguished for its carved and pillared corridors.

All along the cost of South India are long stretches of warm sands, shaded by groves of casuarinas as and stately palms. But  perhaps the most wondrous of all is  Kanniyakumari, the tip of India, washed by three seas. Here the sand is not merely golden, it is sparkling white, pale pink, creamy yellow and even dark red.

The beating surf, the din of voices, and the loud sounds of a moving sea and people are at once delightful and captivating. The Marina Beach, one of the longest in the world, is an open stretch of sparkling blue invitation, reminiscent perhaps, of the French Riviera. The beaches of Mamallapuram, exotic and lavish, the cradle of ancient Indian culture, now amongst the most popular of sea resorts.

The states of Tamilnadu and Karnataka merge in a lovely cluster of hills, the Nilgiris or Blue Mountains. Crowning the Nilgiris is the delightful hill-station of Udhagamandalam with a wealth of eucalyptus tree that give the air a distinct freshness. Further South is Kodaikanal, carpeted with wild flowers and faintly scented with honeysuckle.

“Snooty Ooty” the queen of hill resorts, boasts of botanical gardens, annual flower shows, select hotels and clubs, golf, tennis, horse-racing and  shopping. It is also the stepping stone for Kotagiri, Coonoor, Doddabetta, Snowdown, Elk Hill, Cairn Hill and Mukurti Peak. Kodaikanal, a mere 120 kms from Madurai, exhibits the famous coffee plantations of the South. A lake with a promenade  all around with boating, Cockers Walk, Silver Cascade, a number of falls and a century-old observatory give it an individuality of its own.

As you descent from the hills the forests become thicker and richer. Forests and sanctuaries untouched by man, Mudumalai and Anaimalai and Vedanthangal and Point Calimere, where the deer and the buffalo roam and the stork and the flamingo and egret nest…. Where you can enjoy a thrilling elephant ride into a forest of antelopes, monkeys, tigers and leopards.

       The Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is on the Ooty-Mysore Road; tiger, leopard, sloth bear, elephant, bison, sambar, chital, and barking deer wander within its terrains in wild abandonment. The Chennai (Madras) Aquarium displays predatory fish, separated from humanity only by a glass wall. The National Deer Park at Guindy, Chennai, is the only one of its kind in the county and the Snake Park is a showcase for reptilian wildlife. Cool forests everywhere provided refuge to myriad species of animals and birds, too many to be listed anywhere. Tamilnadu-the home of Carnatic music and Bharatha Natyam, a legacy of temple songs and dances handed down through the centuries, the home of magnificent schools of art and architecture, and of great cultures and philosophies. Gloriously ancient, Proud preserves of India’s traditions. Now magnificently modern.

        A tiny fishing village now turned  into a sprawling metropolis, capital of Tamilnadu, places to see include Fort St.George, a former bastion of the East India Company and presently housing the Tamilnadu State Legislature and the Secretariat; Marina, one of the longest beaches in the world with Anna Memorial; San Thom Cathedral Basilica, a magnificent cathedral build over the tomb of St.Thomas; Theosophical Society, located on the banks of River Adyar, and founded by Anne Besant, Olcott and  Blavatsky, the world head  quarters of the Society of All Faiths; Kalakshetra, where Bharatha Natyam and other classical dances of India are taught; National Deer Park, which includes a Children’s Park and a Reptilium located within the city  with memorials to national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Kamaraj and Rajaji providing an added attraction; Valluvarkottam, built in the memory of Saint Thiruvalluvar, who wrote the world famous classic Thirukkular; Kapaleeswarar Temple, a fine example of Dravidian temple architecture; dedicated to Lord Siva; Museum & Art Gallery, one of the oldest in the country, houses a superb collection of bronzes.

        Chennai is well connected to all major cities in India, by road and rail. It is also a major port. As an international airport, Chennai is served by leading international airlines.


        “ The city of a thousands temple”-it is one of the seven sacred cities of India. A former capital of the Pallavas, it is famous for its exquisitely woven silk sarees. Places to see include Ekambareswarar Temple, Varadarajaswamy Temple, Vaikuntha Perumal Temple, Kailassnathar Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple and the homes of silk fabric weavers. Chennai (70 kms) is the nearest airport and regular bus services are available.


        60 Kms. From Udhagamandalam (Ooty) lies this famous wildlife sanctuary. Coimbatore is the nearest airport. Regular bus services are also available. The nearest railhead is Udhagamandalam. It is abutting Kerala and Karnataka. It lies on the Udhagamandalam- Mysore road.


        One of the most sacred towns of India, it is well known for its temple corridor- the longest in India, the Bathing Ghat, Ganthamathana Parvatham, Kothandarmar temple, Kurusadai and other nearby islands. 

        Madurai (173 kms) is the nearest airport. It is linked with Chennai by the Rameswaram Express. Express bus services operate from Chennai to Mandapam from where one can reach Rameswaram by train over the Pamban Bridge across the sea.


        One of India’s most beautiful hill stations at an altitude of 2133 mts. (7,000 feet).Visited in large numbers right through the year. Places of interest include Bryant Park, Pillar Rocks, Lake, Solar Observatory, Perumal Peak, Silver Cascade, Telescope Houses at Coaker’s Walk and Kurinji Andavar Temple, Museum and Orchidorium at Sacred Heart College, Shenbaganur. Best trek routes are available.

        Madurai (120 kms) is the nearest airport and Kodai Road (80 kms), the nearest railway station. Regular bus services operate from Madurai and other places.


        A famous pilgrim centre with its main temple dedicated to Lord Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer (Lord Siva). The Annamalai University located here is a major residential university. Pichavarm 16 kms from here is a place of rare scenic beauty with its serene backwaters dotted  with dense mangrove forest. The nearest airport is at Tiruchirappalli 160 kms. Chennai is 227 kms. From here and express trains and buses connect Chidambaram with other cities.


        Once the capital  city of the Pandyas, Madurai is today the second largest city in Tamilnadu; famous for its Meenakshi Temple, with its towering gopurams and rare sculptures. Other important attractions include the Sound and Light at Thirumalai Naicker Palace, Mariamman Tank, Koodal Azhagar Temple and the Gandhi Museum. Nearby excursions include the Murugan Temple at Thirupparankundram (8 kms), Lord Azhagar Temple at Azhagarkoil (21 kms) and Lord Subramanya Temple at Pazhamudhirsolai 4 kms above Lord Azhagar Temple on a hillock, the Palani Temple (122 kms) the Suruli Waterfalls (128 kms) Courtallam Waterfalls (100 kms.) and Vaigai Dam (68 kms) Across the border, in Kerala state, is the famous Periyar Wildlife Sanctuar (146 kms.) 

Madurai has airport and is an important junction of the Tiruchi-Tirunelveli- Rameswaram rail route, and is only 450 kms from Chennai linked by an excellent road and served by express buses. 


        Another famous pilgrim centre situated at the land’s end of India, at the confluence of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Places to see: the Kumari Amman Temple, Gandhi Memorial, the Beach and the Vivekanada Memorial. Nearby excursions include Suchindram Temple with musical pillars (13 kms) the palace and museum at Padmanabhapuram (32 kms) the circular fort at Vattakottai (6 kms) and the Nageswaraswami Temple, Nagercoil (19 kms). Thiruvandrum (86kms) is the nearest airport, Kanniyakumari is the railway terminus on the Trivandurm-Kanniyakumari section of the Southern Railway, Regular bus services are also available from Tiruvandrum, Nagercoil, Tirunelveli and other places.


          A major water-bird sanctuary, this bird watcher’s paradise is only 83 kms. from Chennai on the way to Tiruchi. The best season is form October to March. Regular bus services are available from Chennai and Chengalpattu.


        Once a flourishing port of the Pallavas of ancient India, this monuments centre is today a major beach resort holiday centre in  South India. Places to see include the Shore Temple, the Five Rathas and  Arjuna’s Penance and the Tiger Cave. About 14 kms. north is a crocodile farm and 17 kms. west  is Thirukazhukundram, a pilgrim centre, known for its holy kites. Boating in Muthukkadu backwaters midway between Chennai and Mamallapuram. Only 60 kms from Chennai, the nearest airport. Tourist cars and local buses available from Chennai.


        Popularly referred to as “Queen of India’s Hill Stations”, Ooty (Udhagamandalam)  is located at a height of 2,286 mts. (7,500 feet). Popular tourist attractions include the Botanical Gardens, Lake Doddabetta, Mukurti Peak, the Pykara Dam and sprawling tea plantations Trek routes are available. A panoramic view of Udhagamandalam can be seen through Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation telescope house at Doddabetta. Coimbatore  (89 kms) is the  nearest airport. Ooty and Coonoor are connected by mountain railway with Coimbatore via. Mettupalayam, a journey that promises to be a memorable experience. Regular bus services are also available. Kotagiri is 29 kms from Ooty.


        The home of Carnatic music, musical instruments, dance and traditional handicrafts it is more renowned for the  Brahadeeswarar Temple. The town of Thanjavur is also the headquarters of the district of the same name. The district is the granary of Tamilnadu. The Art Gallery and the Saraswathi Mahal Library are also well known points of interest. Excursions include the temples of Thiruvaiyaru, Thirukadiyur, Kumbakonam, Thirubuvanam and Darasuram, all with in 40 kms. At Gangaikondacholapuram (71 kms) is a temple dedicated to Lord Siva; Nagore (85 kms) is a renowned pilgrim centre for Muslims; Velankanni, (90 kms) is a sacred place for  Christians. Thiruchirapalli (60 kms) is the nearest airport. Thanjavur is on the  Chennai-Trichy rail route. Express buses connect with Chennai and other towns.


        Situated at the confluence of the River Cavuvery this was the ancient port of the Cholas. See the Poompuhar Art Gallery, the Elanji Manram, Pavai Manram, Nedungal Manram and relax on the beach. The nearest airport is at Tiruchirappalli, (160 kms) Nearest railway station is at Mayiladuthurai (Mayavaram).Poompuhar is about 40 kms from Chidambaram and 30 kms from Mayiladuthurai, from where frequent bus services are available.


        A sylvan spa known as a health  resort. Its waterfalls are known for their curative properties. Its bracing climate extends particularly from June to September. Popular excursions are possible to Tiruchendur Murugan Temple (99 kms), and Tenkasi (5 kms). The Mundanthurai Tiger Sanctuary is about 75 kms from here. Madurai (100 kms) is the nearest airport, Tenkasi (5kms) the nearest railhead. Regular bus services are available from other towns.


          A health resort known for its waterfalls with medicinal properties, set amidst lush green woods. Bangalore is the nearest airport, (130 kms) while Chennai is 350 kms. from here. 


        Near Salem in the Servaroyan Hills, Yercaud is a year-round tourist attraction. Altitude 1500 mts. (5000 feet).Places of interest include the Lake, Anna Park, Orchidorium, Lady’s Seat, Pagoda Point, Bear’s Cave and the Servaroyan Temple.

        Trichy (188 kms) is the nearest airport Salem Junction (35 kms) is the nearest rail head. Yercaud Express is the most convenient train connection from Chennai. Regular bus service from Salem is available.




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