What comes to mind when you think of Tamil Nadu? Beaches? Temples? Cause for most people, it’s just these two things. It’s like knowing Micheal Jackson for only “Billie Jean” and “Smooth Criminal.” But just like a proper meal in Tamil Nadu offers tons of flavors, the state itself offers its visitors tons of experiences. You can sweat out your worries while trekking a beautiful mountain here, applaud a spectacular Bharatanatyam performance, be mesmerized by the vibrancy of its traditional clothes, lose the track of time while enjoying its festivals and soothe your soul with its lush greenery.
Your visit to Tamil Nadu is not just gonna be a collection of great experiences, it will also be a small chapter in your life that you will cherish forever. Let’s take a closer look at where you should be going on your next trip. Here are the top destinations to visit in Tamil Nadu.
It is a beautiful island that sits in the middle of India and Sri Lanka. One of the best things about it is the journey to reach here. You will get to travel on the Pamban Bridge that connects India to Rameshwaram. It is the first sea bridge in our country and traveling on it feels unreal and thrilling.
The island is a popular holy destination as it is home to Ramanathaswamy Temple, Nambu Nayagiamman Temple, and Kothandaramaswamy Temple. After you have visited the holy sites, just head to any of its beaches and enjoy its crystal clear water and let the amazing views take away all your worries for a while.
Also Read: Best Beachside Hotels and Resorts in Rameshwaram
Ramanathaswamy Temple: The crown jewel, the mega attraction, the temple of the supreme god, Shiva. It is believed that lord Ram established the Lingam of Ramanathaswamy (Shiva) here at this temple and worshipped it before heading toward Sri Lanka. Today, devotees from all over India and abroad worship the same linga. The temple is a shining example of glorious Dravidian architecture. You see, the temple’s corridor is the longest of all of the temples you can find. It has about 1212 pillars and looks like a colorful illusion. The entire temple is not just a prominent holy site, it is also a work of art.
Dhanushkodi: It's a ghost town located less than a 20 mins drive away from Rameshwaram. This was a place where life flourished, but in 1964, a cyclone took it all away. What survived is now just a few remains from its golden days. It does feel eerie to roam around here, but it is equally intriguing at the same time. The bonus feature here is that its beach offers views of the popular Rama Setu, also known as Adam's bridge!
Ooty is nature’s masterpiece. It is nestled in the Nilgiri Mountains, basically beauty surrounded by more beauty. This city is a treat for the eyes made up of gardens, quaint houses, curvy roads, farms and lakes and it is all topped with dreamy mist which just enhances everything. Now, we don’t know if there is a heaven, but if there is, it better be really good otherwise the people of Ooty are not going to be very impressed by it.
Also Read: Ooty Travel Guide
Ooty Lake: This man-made wonder spreads across 65 acres and was built back in 1824! It is bordered by trees and the hues of its water change depending on the mood of the sky. The adjoining boathouse here is one of the most happening places in Ooty. You can ride various boats, spend some time in the garden, enjoy the rides in the amusement park and grab a bite at the canteen.
Botanical Garden: This 55-acre piece of land is an extravaganza of colors. Before you think that it’s too much of an exaggeration, know that there are 1000+ varieties of trees, ferns, shrubs and plants here. Some of the most popular ones are the cork tree, the monkey puzzle tree and the paper bark tree.
Located at the southernmost tip of India is Kanyakumari and is also known as ‘The Land’s End.’ It is named after the temple of Goddess Kanniyakumari, which is one of the tourist attractions here. This town’s unique location puts it at the confluence of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. A great benefit of this is that sunsets and sunrises look great from here. But this town is truly known for being a sought-after pilgrimage spot and home to the famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar statue.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial: It is one of the most photographed places in the whole of Kanyakumari and its neighboring areas. It sits on a small rock near Kanyakumari in the Indian Ocean and can be accessed by ferries. The amount of work put into the creation of this memorial must have been enormous cause the result is so stunning. The 'Vivekananda Mandapam' and 'Shripada Mandapam' are the two main structures in this memorial. The latter has a museum that offers you an in-depth look at Vivekananda’s life and contributions.
Thiruvalluvar Statue: Right beside the Vivekananda Rock Memorial is the Thiruvalluvar statue which is dedicated to one of the most important philosophers and poets in the world of Tamil literature. The statue is a colossal 133-foot-tall stone structure that can be seen from Kanyakumari and it is accessible by ferries.
It was one of the prized possessions of the Chola dynasty and their capital too. They built a lot of things here, especially, temples. Several centuries have passed, but many of these temples have survived and continue to welcome the devotees that arrive at their door. Thanjavur, which used to be known as Tanjore, is also a place where the art forms of South India flourished. Most notable examples would be Thavil, the classical instrument and Tanjore painting, a unique procedure of painting, both originated here.
Also Read: Architectural Wonders In Thanjavur
Brihadeeswara Temple: Majestic. This is the word that will come to your lips when you set your eyes on it. It is a towering 216 ft structure of intricate Chola architecture. The temple is dedicated to lord Shiva and there is also a beautiful statue of his bull, Nandi, at the entrance. The inside of this world heritage site is studded with paintings originating from the days of Nayak and Chola rule.
Vijaynagar fort: A short walking distance away from the Brihadeeswara temple, sits the Vijaynagar fort. It was built in 1550 AD by the Nayaks Dynasty and it houses the Sangeetha mahal, the famous Tanjore palace and the Shiva Ganga gardens. Visitors can also access the library and art gallery here to know more about the history of this fort.
Mahabalipuram, aka Mamallapuram, is a small town that sits facing the Bay of Bengal and is blessed with beautiful beaches. It is popular around the country for its ancient rock-cut caves and carved temples which belong to the 7th and 8th centuries and many of them are now world heritage sites. These historical monuments are laden with intricate sculptures and carvings of gods, demons, epic fights, mythological episodes and more. Some of the most popular attractions here are Shore temple, Arjuna's penance, the Five Rathas and Mahabalipuram Beach.
Arjuna's Penance: It has to be one of the best stone carvings in the world. Also known as Descent of the Ganges, it is an enormous creation made using two rock boulders. There’s carving on all sides of birds, beasts and gods, but the one on the front will just leave you speechless. It portrays the epic tale of the river Gange's descent from heaven to earth caused by Bhagiratha penance, a legendary king. Another legend states that this is about the time in Mahabharata when Arjuna performs penance to lord Shiva for his powerful bow.
Shore Temple: Out of the seven temples that once existed here, only one remains. It was built in 725 AD which makes it one of the oldest stone temples in the whole of south India. Shore temple is a complex of three shines where one shrine is dedicated to lord Vishnu and the other shrine along with the main shrine dedicated to lord Shiva. Just like Arjuna's Penance, this temple is also laden with mesmerizing carvings all over it. What makes the temple even more beautiful is the Bay of Bengal that is sitting right next to it.
It is an experimental township founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, who is better known here as "Mother" in Auroville. It is in Tamil Nadu, but some areas are in Pondicherry. The entire town in itself is a tourist attraction. It really began as an experiment of unity in humans and it is still going on pretty well. Its residents are Indians, French, German, Italian, American and from 40+ other countries. While most tourists come here to visit the Matrimandir, you should definitely spend some time at the town’s visitor’s center and get to know about the daily life in Auroville and its interesting history.
Matrimandir: A temple with no statue, God or saint and which is unique in every possible way. Matrimandir is built in the center of Auroville and is a sphere covered with golden discs that reflects sunlight and causes its whole surface to radiate. It looks like an art installation, but it’s a real structure that took 37 years to build.
It is even more interesting on the inside. You will find a central dome that looks like a set of a science-fiction movie and it even has a spiral pathway that goes up to another hall. This one is called the inner chamber and it is a meditation hall where sits the largest optically-perfect glass globe ever built. Exploring this entire structure is a surreal experience.
Savitri Bhavan: It is dedicated to the teaching of Sri Aurobindo, especially the ones mentioned in his book, Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol. The book is about a world where unity truly exists. Savitri Bhavan is full of paintings depicting scenes from Aurobindo’s poetries and there are a lot of other books and reading material available that focuses on his teaching.
He made a positive impact on the lives of many people and even after passing away, his ideologies are still held in high regard by his followers, so you know he has to be interesting. Visiting Savitri Bhavan would be a great opportunity to find out what Aurobindo was all about.
Of course, you have to visit Chennai, it is the most popular and important center of culture in South India. It is a metropolis that stays up to date with the time, but it's deeply rooted in its culture and heritage. You can find old prominent temples, skyscrapers, theaters, cinema halls, authentic south Indian food and the best offerings belonging to cuisines from all around the world. It is a city that does it all. Your itinerary here is going to be filled to the brim with interesting places like Marina beach, Parthasarathy Temple, Government Museum, Guindy National Park and Santhome Cathedral Basilica.
Santhome Cathedral Basilica: It is one of the most important churches in the world. It was rebuilt in 1523 (the original structure existed even before this date) on top of Thomas the Apostle’s tomb. He was one of Jesus Christ’s twelve apostles. Design-wise, this church is built per the Gothic revival architecture and its exterior is painted in serene white color. The interiors have so many little touches and a captivating charm that'll make you fall in love with it.
Government Museum: A museum so old that it should be in a museum itself! Built in 1851, it is the second oldest museum in our country. The oldest is Kolkata’s Indian Museum, which was built in 1814. Everything at the Government Museum has a lot of value which is not just monetary. On its walls hang rare paintings of many Asian and European artists. It has one of the most prominent collections of idols, wholly crafted from bronze, belonging to 1000 BCE. If you are a history buff, then you are going to have the time of your life here.
Also Read: Chennai Travel Guide
This hill town is known as ‘The Princess Of Hill Station’ and you are bound to be smitten by her. It is draped in abundant greenery and laden with waterfalls, lakes and dreamy trails and top it all, a touch of mist. It is situated at a height of 2,133 mt above sea level and enjoys pleasant weather throughout the year. Kodai lake, Berijam lake, Bryant park, Shembaganur Museum of Natural History and Silver Cascade waterfalls are some of the gems here.
Bryant Park: There is something so human about feeling content and happy after seeing flowers, it is so basic and it works almost every time. This is why Bryant Park is such a huge tourist attraction. It was built in 1908 and since then it has been giving people a place to relax and spend time appreciating nature. It is home to 300+ species of trees, cactuses, flowers and more and it is just a short walking distance away from Kodai lake.
Dolphin’s Nose: Located deeper in the forests of Kodaikanal and in the hills of Palani is Dolphin’s nose. It is a viewpoint that is perched at the height of 2000 mt and is shaped like a, that's right, dolphin’s nose. A 3 km trek will take you to this viewpoint and on the way, you will be surrounded by so much greenery that you barely realize you had been trekking for the past 3 km. Dolphin’s nose offers a breathtaking view that's worth cherishing for years to come.
Also Read: Things To Do In Kodaikanal
See, we told you there is a lot more to see in Tamil Nadu. Regardless of what you choose from this list, you are bound to have a great time here. Just be open to new experiences and let the destination cast its magic on you. Tamil Nadu is one of the most visited states by tourists in India and it is time that you become one of them.
Is There Any Dress Code For Rameswaram Temple?
Sleeveless clothes, jeans and shorts are strictly not allowed for men and women. Men have to wear a dhoti or trousers and women have to wear a saree or salwar kameez.
Is Sri Lanka Visible From Rameshwaram?
No, it is not visible.
What Is Special To Buy In Kodaikanal?
Cheese, chocolate, handicrafts, woolen clothes, aromatic oils and natural spices are some of the most popular products in Kodaikanal
Are Vehicles Allowed Inside Auroville?
Visitors’ vehicles are not allowed inside Auroville. You can rent a cycle from the visitors center.
Are We Allowed Inside Matrimandir?
Yes. You can visit Matrimandir every morning except Tuesday & Sunday. Booking is compulsory and the reporting time on your day of the visit is 8:30 am. It has to be strictly followed. Booking has to be made 3 to 7 days in advance and same-day bookings are not allowed.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Mahabalipuram?
October to March is considered to be the best time to visit Mahabalipuram. The nights and chilly and the days are hot, but they are bearable. Overall, the climate is pleasant during this period.
Which Sweet Is Famous In Thanjavur?
Chandrakala and Suryakala are two famous sweets in Thanjavur.
Does Snowfall Happen In Ooty?
The temperature falls as low as −2.1 °C but it doesn’t snow in Ooty.