Tourism in Tamil Nadu
The pride of South India, Tamil Nadu
is one of the 29 states of the Republic of India. The lively and spirited land of Tamils, Tamil Nadu is located in the South most part of the Indian Peninsula and is abutted by Puducherry (Union Territory) and the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. The southern state is bordered by the Bay of Bengal in the east, by Kerala, the Nilgiris on the west, and the Eastern Ghats on the north, by the Indian Ocean on the south and by the Gulf of Mannar on the southeast. Besides, Tamil Nadu shares its nautical border with the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
The ancient Tamil kingdoms governed the domain with a singular culture and a definitive language, bestowing to the development of many of the oldest surviving literature in the globe. Tamil Nadu has been the home base of the Tamilians since at least 1500 BC. Right from its origin that commences from the early Upper Palaeolithic Age to present time, the southern state of Tamil Nadu has coexisted with several extraneous civilizations. The brobdingnagian contributions of three ancient Tamil empires, Chera, Chola and Pandyas to the region is the principal reason behind the cultural setting of the state. Altogether, the history of Tamil Nadu will literally take you (a)back!
Tamil Nadu is a peculiar land that is often affiliated to a spiritual aura as the state reminds of monolithic age-old religious spots to many. Well, the southern state is nothing short of a traditional magnificence as Tamil Nadu showcases the veritable grandeur of Dravidian Architecture through its Hindu temples. The state has a long history of revered culture and is recognized for its voluminous tradition of various art forms including dance, music, literature and so on which remain to prosper till date. Altogether, Tamil Nadu is a land where antique Traditions meet Contemporary World!
Ravishing Tamil Nadu - Always Astounds You
Tourism in the southern state of Tamil Nadu is adorably unique in its own way with shades of rich ethnicity, impeccable naturalness and sheer beauty. The state has kept its graceful doors wide open to welcome visitors of any kind from anywhere and to provide a never before received hospitality. Tamil Nadu bears a different face in terms of ethnicity that it is much sought after for a tourist destination. Tamil Nadu is celebrated for its temples, beaches
, churches, monuments, mosques, hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries, amusement parks, thematic religious sites, waterfalls, therapeutic shrines, heritage sites and many other places of interest.
Tourism in the southern state of Tamil Nadu is promoted by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (popularly called as TTDC) which is headquartered in the southern metropolis of Chennai. In terms of promotion, tourism in Tamil Nadu is regarded as a significant engine of overall development, accelerator to the economic successfulness of the state. As a matter of fact, the tourism industry in Tamil Nadu is one of the primary sources to the economic system of the state.
In terms of area, Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest state in the country (50,216 sq mi). Tamil Nadu is bordered by the Bay of Bengal to the east, Kerala to the west, Andhra Pradesh in the north and Karnataka to the northwest. It is important to note that the south most tip of the Indian Peninsula is located in Tamil Nadu. Furthermore, Tamil Nadu is the only state in the country to have both the Western Ghat and the Eastern Ghat ranges of mountains. The easterly parts of Tamil Nadu are fertile coastal plains, while westerly, southerly and northwesterly parts are mountainous and rich in flora, northerly parts are hills and plains and central and south central parts are plains lacking water or sufficient rainfall.
Top Must See Attractions of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu, with its unique ancient Dravidian culture, is a charming state in south India. The state attracts both holidaymakers and pilgrims alike to its intricately constructed religious sites, long beaches, historic monuments, cascading waterfalls, awe-inspiring hill stations and so on. Let's take a brief look at some of the most visited and top must-see attractions of Tamil Nadu (in no particular order).
Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Thirukkovil
Popularly called as Meenakshi Amman Temple, Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Thirukkovil is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. The historic temple shapes the liveliness of the 2,500 year Madurai city and is an important landmark for the Tamil people living all over the world.
Temple Timings: 5.00 AM to 12.30 PM and 4.00 PM to 10.00 PM
Regarded as the 'Spa of South India', Courtallam is located at an elevation of 520 ft on the Western Ghats mountains ranges in Tirunelveli district. Courtallam is the proud home of nine waterfalls that receives visitors from over the globe.
Best Time to Visit: June to September and October to January
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
An iconic landmark of Kanyakumari district, Vivekananda Rock Memorial is one of the most visited monuments of Tamil Nadu. It is widely believed that Swami Vivekananda meditated in this very rock and attained enlightenment and became a philosopher.
Timings: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM (All Days of the Week)
Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the Nilgiris district, the Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is also a declared Tiger Reserve. The notable wildlife habitat is the home to a lot of threatened and vulnerable species.
Best Time to Visit: February to May and September to October
Timings: 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM (All Days of the Week)
Located in the southern metropolis Chennai, Marina is a natural urban beach situated along the Bay of Bengal, part of the Indian Ocean. Regarded as the most crowded beach, Marina Beach is the second longest urban beach in the world (13 km).
Sripuram Golden Temple
Located in the fort city of Vellore, Sripuram Golden Temple is a sacred park set at the foot of a modest green hill in a spot that is often called as 'Malaikodi'. The temple is located in a 100 acre lavish green field in the midst of a star-shaped course so that the location draws maximum positive energy.
Timings: 4:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Located in Mettupalayam (40 km from Coimbatore), Black Thunder is a famous water theme park. Touted as Asia's o.1 theme park, Black Thunder features a whopping 49 rides that receives hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the state.
Timings: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Rock Fort Temple
Located in the central Tamil Nadu in Trichy, Rock Fort Ucchi Pillayar Temple is a cultural symbol and a 7th century Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The temple is set at the peak of the Rock Fort. The temple is mystical in its nature and stands as a perfect example of rock architecture in the region.
Timings: 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Top Tourist Destinations in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu features the most magnanimous tourism industry in the country with a yearly rate of growth of 16%. During the year 2013, two hundred and forty-four million, two hundred thousand (244,200,000) domestic visitors and three million, nine hundred ninety thousand (3,990,000) visitors from foreign countries, traveled to the ethnic land of Tamil Nadu. The official numbers makes it pretty clear that Tamil Nadu is the most popular tourist destination in the country. Let's glance through the most popular tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu (in particular order).
Chennai - Singara Chennai
The capital city of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is one of the most visited tourist destination in the country. A leading metropolis of South India, Chennai is all about sandy beaches, historic monuments
, celebrated arts and crafts centers, far-famed religious sites
, parks, massive shopping malls
and so on.
Did you know?
The largest travel guide book publisher in the world, Lonely Planet listed Chennai among the top 10 city to visit for the year 2015.
Some of the most popular places of interest of Chennai include Marina Beach
, Parthasarathy Temple
, Kapaleeshwarar Temple
, Government Museum Complex
, MGM Dizzee World, Guindy National Park
, Santhome Basilica
, Vadapalani Murugan Temple
, and St. Thomas Mount
and so on.
Nothing short of a nature's gift to the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the Nilgiris is a range of mountains (located 9,150 ft above sea) located mostly on the Western Ghats. An ideal holiday retreat, the Nilgiris is the common address for a lot of illustrious hill stations of South India which include Ooty, Kothagiri, Coonoor and so on.
Did you know?
Also Read: Tourism in Ooty
Nilgiri Hills, which can be translated as the 'Blue Mountains', actually got their name from the royal blue flowers of Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) that blooms only once in 12 years.
| Culture of Ooty
| Trekking in Ooty
Coimbatore - Manchester of South India
Located in the western part of Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore is one of the most happening urban centers in South India. Known as an important commercial hub, Coimbatore is fenced by the Western Ghats range of mountains on the north and west, with the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
and reserve forests
on the northerly side.
Situated along the banks of the Noyyal River
, Coimbatore functions as an entrance and exit gate to the neighboring state of Kerala and the most popular hill station of South India - Ooty.
Also Read: Tourism in Coimbatore | Culture of Coimbatore | Coimbatore Specials | Entertainment and Nightlife Options in Coimbatore
Madurai - Athens of the East
A bustling urban center, often called as Thoonga Nagaram (the city that never sleeps), Madurai can rightly be called as the spiritual junction of Tamil Nadu.
Situated along the banks of the Vaigai River
, Madurai is the proud home of the illustrious Sri Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple
that receives visitors from all over the world, throughout the year.
Did you know?
One of the oldest continuously resided urban centers in the world, Madurai was once a capital of the Pandyan Empire (one of the three ancient Tamil kingdoms).
Tiruchirappalli - Malaikottai Managaram
Fondly called as Trichy by the Tamil speaking population, Tiruchirappalli is a located 322 km away from the southern metropolis of Chennai.
Trichy is regarded as the geographic center of Tamil Nadu. Trichy is an important tourist destination in the state as the region is the home of several notable temples like Srirangam Sri Renganatha Swamy Temple
, Rock For Ucchi Pillayar Temple
and many other picnic spots
Kanyakumari - Cape Comorin
The southernmost district of Tamil Nadu, Kanyakumari is considered as the second most urbanized territorial dominion in the state , succeeding Chennai. Kanyakumari is the southernmost tip of Mainland India. Kanyakumari has assorted eco-systems, which include beaches, evergreen woodlands and mountain valleys, rubber and clove plantations as well. Also Read: Tourism in Kanyakumari
Thanjavur - Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu
The imperial urban center of Nayaks and Cholas, Thanjavur is also called as Tanjore. Located along the Kaveri Delta region, Thanjavur is regarded as the most productive region in all of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is famous for its historic temples, ancient monuments
and heritage sites that attract devotees and visitors from all over the world, irrespective of times of year.
Apart from the historic religious sites, Thanjavur is renowned for bronze sculpture and painting. The vast agricultural fields and the holy river Kaveri offer for picturesque locations in the district.
Did you know?Also Read: Tourism in Thanjavur | Culture of Thanjavur
Among the three Great Living Chola Temples, which are also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, two of them are located in and around Thanjavur.
Tiruvannamalai - Holy Abode of Agni Lingam
Located approximately 200 km away from the bustling urban center of Chennai, Tiruvannamalai is an important Hindu pilgrimage center of Tamil Nadu.
Furthermore, Tiruvannamali is regarded as one among the oldest heritage sites in the country and is an important hub of Saiva religion. Being one of the most venerated sites in the state, Tiruvannamalai is the home of the world renowned Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple (one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas), where the presiding deity of Annamalaiyar (Agni Lingam) represents the element of fire. Thiruvannamalai has the laurels of offering dwelling for many celebrated saints that include Ramana Maharish, Saint Arunagirinathar, Gugai Namachivayar, Sri Seshadri Swamigal, Deivasigamani, Vitpatchathevar, Arunachala Desikar, Guru Namachivayar, and Sri Yogi Ramsuratkumar and so on.
Salem - The Mango City
Located 334 km away from the state capital of Chennai, Salem is one of the important commercial centers in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Salem is bordered by several hills and the region is dotted with many notable natural hills.
Known for its Mango cultivation
, Salem is the place of birth of the notable Tamil Poet Avvaiyar. Located in the central part of the state, Salem is illustrious for stainless steel production and houses the Salem Steel Plant (a special steel unit of Steel Authority of India Ltd). Also Read: Tourism in Salem | Culture of Salem
Tirunelveli - Nellai
Located 611 km away from the metropolis of Chennai, Tirunelveli is one among the important tourist destinations of Tamil Nadu. Tirunelveli is situated at the south most tip of the Deccan plateau.
Imputable to its natural and coastal environment, Tirunelveli is the home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Owing to its rich historical background, Tirunelveli was called as Thenpandiyanadu during Pandyan dynasty, Tirunelveli Seemai during the British East India Company and Mudikonda Cholamandalam during Chola Dynasty.
Did you know?
Tirunelveli is the only region in Tamil Nadu to have all the five types of ecological zones as distinguished in the ancient Tamil Literature.
Vellore - The Fort City
One of the most prominent territorial dominions of Tamil Nadu, Vellore is fondly called as the fort city of Tamil Nadu.
The region had been under the supremacy of Rashtrakutas of Malkhed, Cholas, Pallavas, Marathas, and the Nawabs of the Carnatic before falling into the administrative control of the British and hence the region is the home of several historic sites. What is more, Kaveripakkam in Vellore is regarded as the second largest lake in the state.
Ramanathapuram - Mugavai Mavattam
The sacred home of Hindu God Shri Ram, Ramanathapuram is a virtual heaven for the devotees.
It is believed that no Hindu pilgrimage is complete without a visit to Rameswaram for the completion of the quest for Moksha and is consecrated by the epic ‘Ramayana’. Lord Rama is also considered to have blessed Ramanathapuram by revering Lord Shiva and therefore the region symbolizes the merging of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Rameswaram has been declared as one of the National Pilgrim CentersAlso Read: Tourism in Rameswaram | Culture of Rameswaram | Entertainment Options in Rameswaram | Rameswaram in One Day
Located 512 km from the state capital Chennai and just 81 km to the Idukki district of Kerala, Theni is acknowledged for its salubrious climatic conditions, lakes and hills. The region rests at the foot of the Western Ghats range of mountains.
Theni is divided into two natural parts, that is to say, hilly areas comprised of Uthamapalayam, Periyakulam and Andipatti with rich flora and perennial watercourses from the hills on the westerly direction and Kambam Valley (a valley near the Kerala state border) in Uthamapalayam taluk. The Kambam Valley in Theni is regarded as the most fertile valley in all of South India.
Did you know?
Theni is one of the most preferred Shooting spots of the Tamil Film Industry (Kollywood).
Top Beaches in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu beaches are one of the main tourist attractions in the state and beaches like Marina Beach, Kanyakumari Beach brand Tamil Nadu as an ideal beach destination. Furthermore, Tamil Nadu is known for its sandy beaches and sunshiny atmosphere. The southern state boasts some of the finest beaches in all of South India that have an appeal of their own. Beaches in Tamil Nadu are ideal addresses for relaxation, sun bathing and aquaticses and other fun activities. Let's throw a glance at the top beaches of Tamil Nadu.
Pride of Chennai, the sandy Marina Beach in Chennai is the longest natural urban beach (13 km) in India and the world's second longest beach.
Located 40 km away from Chennai along the Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal, Covelong Beach aka Kovalam Beach
is all about sandy surroundings, tranquil sea and lustrous sun.
Located 60 km away from the bustling urban center of Chennai, Elliot's Beach
is regarded as one of the tidiest beach of Tamil Nadu. Various options are available for water sporting activities.
Located at the end of Mainland India, Kanyakumari is a singular beach destination that is surrounded by Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea on three sides. Visitors from all over the world visit to catch the mesmerizing scene of sunrise and sunset view from Kanyakumari Beach
A former historic port city, Poompuhar
is a modest coastal town with a brilliant coastline that charms thousands of visitors for its panoramas during sunrise.
Located 60 km north of the southern metropolis Chennai, Pulicat Beach offers a unique feeling of placidity and serenity to visitors.
Located in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, Mandapam Beach is a beautiful and placid beach. The adventurous boat ride and surfing options are some of the major attractions of Mandapam Beach.
Located 50 km (approximately) south of Chennai, along the east coast of India, Mamallapuram Beach has got a booming backpacker prospect and is also popular with holidaymakers who come to relax at the holiday resorts here.
Located just 2 km from Cuddalore, along the southeast coast of India, Silver Beach is the second longest beach (57 km) on the Coromandel Coast and one of the longest beaches in the continent.
Located 350 km from the southern metropolis of Chennai, Velankanni Beach is a solitary beach that is famous for the Church of our Lady of Health which receives visitors throughout the year, from all over the world.Also Read: Top Beaches of Tamil Nadu
Top Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is distinguished by a wide-ranging topography. The southern state covers a total area of 50,216 sq mi, out of which 17.6% is covered with forests. There are about 2,000 species of wildlife that are indigene to Tamil Nadu. Some of the important mammals, birds, marine species, insects, reptiles and amphibians found in Tamil Nadu include Endangered Nilgiri Tahr, Endangered Lion-tailed Macaque, Endangered Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, Bengal Tiger, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Dugong, Common Emigrant, Mottled Emigrant, Common Green Whip Snake, Kerala Warty Frog and so on. Find below the list of some of the most popular Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks of Tamil Nadu.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park
Located at the junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala on the northeasterly inclines of the Nilgiris, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park
is an ideal place to see a wide range of wildlife species.
Guindy National Park
A unique national park that is situated in the prime point of a metropolis - Chennai, Guindy National Park
is one of the smallest national parks (1.04 sq mi) in the country. It is recorded that over 7,00,000 visitors come to this national park.
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park
The largest wildlife sanctuary (958 sq.km) in the state, Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park lies in the Western Ghats range of mountains, south of the Palghat Gap.
Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Nagapattinam district, Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary is primarily established for the conservation of Blackbuck (an endangered and endemic species of India).
Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Virudhunagar district, Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary
is the home of the endangered, arboreal Grizzled Giant Squirrel (Ratufa macrora). The wildlife sanctuary also houses butterflies, mammals, reptiles, birds and many other wildlife species.
Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary
A 155.4 sq mi protected area in Kanyakumari district, Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife corridor with high biodiversity and is the home of several threatened species like Indian Rock Python, Nilgiri Tahr, Indian Bison, Lion-tailed Macaque and so on.
Mukurthi National Park
Located in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, Mukurthi National Park (78.46 sq.km) is a protected area primarily established to protect the Nilgiri Tahr which is a keystone species (a species that has a disproportionately great effect on its environs relative to its abundance).
Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the Thoothukudi district, Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area launched principally for the protection of Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) which is an ungulated species of antelope native that has been assorted as near endangered species.
Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
Located in the Ramanathapuram district, Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park (220 sq mi) is a protected area that houses a high diversity of floras and animals in its marine, near shore habitats.
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
Located in the Kanchipuram district, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
is a 74 acre protected area and a nature reserving sanctuary where 40,000 birds from all over the world come to the sanctuary during the migrant season every year.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tamil Nadu
Being the cultural seat of South India, Tamil Nadu is the official address for a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The heritage sites of Tamil Nadu are mostly of ancient temples and monuments that belong to the period of Chola and Pallava Empire. Let's get an idea about the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tamil Nadu.
Fondly called as the Peruvudaiyar Kovil or simply Thanjavur Big Temple (Thanjai Periya Kovil), the Brihadeshwara Temple
was constructed by Raja Raja Chozhan I and completed in 1010 AD. The popular temple turned 1,000 years old in 2010 and is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site called as the "Great Living Chola Temples
The Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple was constructed by Rajendra Chozha the Great (son of Raja Raja Chozhan I) and was completed in 1035. The beautiful 174 ft sanctum tower has recessed nooks and an elegant upwardly arching trend, counterpointing with the straight-sided pyramidic structure of Thanjavur Peruvudaiyar Kovil. The Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple is popularly distinguished as the feminine match of the Thanjavur temple
Located in the town of Darasuram in Kumbakonam, Airavatesvara Temple was constructed by Rajaraja Chozhan II (son of Kulothunga Chozhan II) in the 12th century CE. The Airavatesvara Temple along with the Brihadeshwara Temple and Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple, together called as the Great Living Chola Temples of Tamil Nadu.
Group of monuments at Mahabalipuram
Located along the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal in Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu, Group of monuments at Mahabalipuram is a Pallava Period monument complex that includes Pancha Rathas, several Cave Temples of Mahabalipuram, the Shore Temple and the Olakkannesvara Temple and the Descent of the Ganges, which are nothing short of architectural magnificence.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
A truly amazing train journey, Nilgiri Mountain Railway
covering a length of 16.2 mi (around 5 hours) from Mettupalayam to Ooty takes visitors from an elevation of 1069 feet to 7228 feet. The train passes through across 250 bridges, 208 curves and 16 tunnels. It is important to note that the railway still banks on its fleet of steam locomotive engines.
Top Hill Stations of Tamil Nadu
The southern state of Tamil Nadu located in the southerly end of the Western and Eastern ghats range of mountains houses several amazing hill stations. Hill stations in Tamil Nadu are all about exuberant green cover of grass, cool breeze and misty fog creating the total ambience charming. A perfect destination to get away from the usual maddening crowd and high temperature of the urban centers, hill stations in Tamil Nadu are certainly a welcome deal for everybody. Let's take a look at some of the most popular and Top Hill Stations of Tamil Nadu.
Located 80 km away from the bustling metropolis of Coimbatore, Udhagamandalam is often called as Ooty. The awe-inspiring hill station is the undoubtedly the most popular hill station of Tamil Nadu. Its stupefying beauty and magnificent green valleys prompted Brits to distinguish it as 'Queen of Hill Stations
Elevation: 7,350 ft above sea level
Located in Dindigul district, Kodaikanal can literally be translated in the local language of Tamil as 'The Gift of the Forest'. Besides, Kodaikanal is popularly called as 'Princess of Hill stations' for its sheer unspoilt beauty.
Elevation: 6,998 ft above sea level
A gift from the Salem district, Yercaud is one of the most affordable holiday retreats in Tamil Nadu. Yercaud is situated in the Shevaroys range of hills in the Eastern Ghats range of mountains. What is more, Yercaud is popularly called as the 'Jewel of the South'.
Yet another gift of the Nilgiris, Coonoor is the second most prominent hill station in the Nilgiri hills succeeding Udhagamandalam. Coonoor is a dream destination for adventure lovers as the hill station offers numerous trekking options.
Located in the Vellore district as an elongation of the Eastern Ghats range of mountains, Javadi Hills is popularly called as Javadhu Hills. Famous Indian astronomer Manali Kallat Vainu Bappu selected the Javadi Hills as the site of the Vainu Bappu Observatory (VBO).
Located in Coimbatore district, Valparai is an amazing hill station set on the Anaimalai Hills range of the Western Ghats range of mountains, at a distance of 65 km from Pollachi and 100 km from Coimbatore city.
Elevation: 3,914 ft above sea level
Widely called as High Wavy Mountains, Meghamali is a foggy range of mountains located in the Western Ghats mountain ranges in Theni district of Tamil Nadu. Meghamali is all about natural stunner scattered with cardamom orchards and tea estates.
Elevation: 1,500 m above sea level
A popular hill station located in the district of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, Yelagiri is an ideal destination for adventure seekers as the hill station is notable for paragliding, rock climbing and trekking options.
Elevation: 4,628 ft above sea levelAlso Read: Top Hill Stations of Tamil Nadu
Top Waterfalls of Tamil Nadu
The southern state of Tamil Nadu is the home of several famous waterfalls located across the length and breadth of the state. Thanks to the presence of Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats range of mountains. Waterfalls in Tamil Nadu are an integral part of the Tamil Nadu tourism that receives visitors from all over the world. Find below the list of some of the most popular waterfalls in Tamil Nadu.
Often spelled as Kutralam and called as 'Spa of South India', Courtallam is all about 9 beautiful waterfalls located in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
Located n the Dharmapuri district of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Hogenakkal Falls is popularly called the 'Niagara of India
' for its setting.
Located in Kothagiri in the Nilgiris district, Catherine Falls is a mesmerizing double cascade waterfall that is considered as the second highest falls in the region.
Located in the famous Meghamalai hill station in Theni district, Suruli Fall is an amazing two stage cascading waterfall that falls from an elevation of 150 ft accumulates into a pond, courses for a short distance and once again plummets an extra 40 ft.
Located in Kanyakumari district, Tirparappu waterfalls is a 15 m high adorable nature site that attracts visitors for about seven months in a year for its beautiful falls.
An important tourist attraction in Yercaud, Kiliyur Falls is located in the Shervaroyan hill range in the Eastern Ghats range of mountains where excess water from the Yercaud lake falls into the Kiliyur valley.
Located in the Anaimalai Hills
range, in Coimbatore district, Monkey Falls is a refreshing natural waterfalls located near the uphill ghat road Valparai.
Located 50 km away from Palakkad, Siruvani Waterfalls
is popularly referred as 'Courtallam of Kovai' for its altitude and beauty.
Bear Shola Falls
Located just a few kilometers away from the bus station in Kodaikanal, Bear Shola Falls is a ideal picnic spot in the hill station set in a reserve forest.
Located at a distance of 85 km from the temple town Madurai, Kumbakarai Waterfalls is a natural waterfall where water comes down from an altitude of 87 ft, set in a charming surroundings.
Top Museums of Tamil Nadu
The southern state of Tamil Nadu
significant destination for historiographers and scholarly people to
delight. The wide range of objects and relics preserved and showcased
across the museums of Tamil Nadu attracts to visitors in large numbers.
The common objects displayed across the museums in Tamil Nadu vary from
archeology to anthropology belonging to ancient times to the modern
times. Some of the most popular museums of Tamil Nadu include
Gandhi Memorial Museum
Located in the temple town of Madurai, Gandhi Memorial Museum
is one among the five Gandhi Sanghralayas in India. As the name
suggests, this is a distinctive commemoration museum for Mahatma Gandhi.
Railway Heritage Centre
Located in Tiruchirappalli
district, Railway Heritage Centre is a railway museum and a heritage
centre that displays railway related exhibits like vintage steam
locomotive, rare photographs, vintage rail manuals and so on.
Gass Forest Museum
Located in the textile city of Coimbatore,
Gass Forest Museum is natural history museum that is administrated by
the Government. The museum exhibits rare portraits, specimens and so on.
Located in the southern metropolis of Chennai,
Vivekanandar Illam also known as Vivekanandar House displays an
exhibition of Indian Culture and Life of Swami Vivekananda,
administrated by the Ramakrishna Math (Chennai branch).
Cuddalore Government Museum
Located in Manjakuppam in Cuddalore
district, the Government Museum exhibits the history, civilization,
vegetation and fauna of the district. The highlights of this museum are
the Sculpture Garden that is set in the entrance.
Regional Railway Museum
Located in Chennai, the Regional Railway Museum
displays a collection of steam locomotive engines from the British period, several vintage coaches and so on.
Chennai Government Museum
Touted as the largest museum in the state, Chennai Government Museum
is located in Egmore. The museum is the second oldest museum in the
country that primarily exhibits numismatic and archaeological
Dharmapuri Archeology Museum
called as Hero Stone Museum, the archeology museum in Dharmapuri
displays neolithic stone implements, terracotta figurines, copper
objects, stone sculptures, three legged jars, coins and so on.
Government Art Museum
Located in Madurai,
the Government Art Museum is located inside the Meenakshiamman Temple
complex. The museum presents paintings, wood sculptures, musical
instruments, bronze figures and icons, jewelry, lamps and several other
Tiruchirappalli Government Museum
The Government Museum in Trichy
district is a heritage centre that offers indoor and outdoor displays
of up to 2,000 objects. Some of the important exhibits include Chola
coins, palm leaf manuscripts, fossils, and megalithic sculptures and so
Top Forts of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is graced with a lot of
stupefying fort complexes that go back to the ancient times. Most of the
forts and palaces in Tamil Nadu were established during the 17th to
18th century. As a matter of fact, the mighty British chose the southern
state of Tamil Nadu to establish their first fort complex. Besides, a
lot of other forts witnessed in Tamil Nadu have been built by the
British during their reign. Tourism industry in the state enjoy benefits
from these historic forts as every year thousands of tourists come down
south to visit these. Let's find out some of the Top Forts of Tamil
Fort St. George
Located in Chennai,
Fort St. George is historically called as White Town. Constructed by
the British East India Company, the Fort St. George was an important hub
of merchant activity. At present, the fort serves as one of the
administrative central office for the general assembly of Tamil Nadu.
Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
A monumental 16th century fort complex is located in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. Established by the Vijayanagara Kings, Vellore Fort served as a home base of the Aravidu Dynasty of Vijayanagara Empire.
Timings: 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
called as Senji Fort, the Gingee Fort is located in the Villupuram
district of Tamil Nadu. The fort is so solid that the famous Maratha
King Shivaji rated it as the "most unattackable fort in India" and it
was addressed as the "Troy of the East" by Brits.
Built: 9th century and 13th century
Timings: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Located in the district of Kanyakumari, Udayagiri Fort
was the most significant armed forces barracks of the Kingdom of Travancore, when Padmanabhapuram was their headquarters.
Built: 17th century
Timings: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Located close to the seashore in Kanyakumari district, the term Vattakottai Fort
can be translated as 'Circular Fort
Constructed in the 18th century as a coastal defence structure and
barracks, the fort is fully made of massive granite blocks.
Built: 18th century
Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
An iconic landmark of the region, Dindigul
Fort is 17th century fort that was originally constructed by the
Madurai Nayak king Muthu Krishnappa Nayak. The fort is located on a
peak that is almost 900 feet in elevation.
Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
called as Bakasura Malai in the local language of Tamil, Droog Fort is
located at Coonoor in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. The fort was
used as an outpost by the Tiger of Mysore Tipu Sultan during the 16th
Built: 16th century
Popularly called as 'Danish Fort
Fort Dansborg is located in the shores of Bay of Bengal in Nagapattinam
district of Tamil Nadu. The fort is constructed in Danish style of
architecture, distinguished by massive hallways, columned structures and
camel hump shaped domes and so on.
Located in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu, Sankagiri Fort
is a 15th century fort constructed by the Vijayanagar Empire. The fort
was a crucial armed forces base for Tippu Sultan and subsequently for
Built: 15th century
Top Religious Spots of Tamil Nadu
The southern state of Tamil Nadu is identified all over the world for its ancient and beautiful religious sites. As a matter of fact, Tamil Nadu houses more than 34,000 Hindu temples acros the length and breadth of the state.
Temple towns like Kumbakonam, Srirangam, Madurai and Kanchipuram receive hundreds of thousands of devotees from all over the globe, regardless of seasons. Let's take a look at some of the Top Religious Spots of Tamil Nadu.
Being one of the world's oldest occupied urban centers, Madurai houses several temples constructed by the Pandyan and Nayak kings with the most celebrated temple being the Meenakshi Amman Temple which goes back to 2000 years.
Popular called as the 'Land of Thousand Temples
', Kanchipuram is a spiritual hub and was an important center of Tamil learning. Once being the capital of the Pallava kingdom, Kanchipuram is one of the seven holiest places for Hindus in India.
The small town of Kumbakonam is located in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu is popularly recognized for its innumerable temples dotted across the length and breadth of the town. It is believed that there are more 1,000 temples situated in and around the holy town of Kumbakonam.
One of the most important pilgrimage centers of Tamil Nadu, Rameswaram is as consecrated as Varanasi that receives devotees from all over the world. Distinguished after Lord Rama who ventured his travel to Sri Lanka from this holy town, Rameshwaram is a spot of extensive spiritual significance. The holy city is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham sites that have to be visited in one's lifetime.
A important pilgrimage center for Muslims, Nagore is a town located in the Nagapattinam district. Just 5 km away from Nagapattinam and 12 km from Karaikal, Nagore is the home of the celebrated Nagore Dargah which receives devotees from all over the globe. Even though, Nagore is a place of worship of Muslims, the holy shrine receives devotees from all religious faiths. The urs festival, a popular annual festival celebrated in Nagore Dargah is one of the important festivals of the region.
Located in Dindigul district, Pazhani is a city that is illustrious for its Murugan Temple. Pazhani Dhandayuthapani Temple, one among the Six Abodes of Lord Muruga / Arupadai veedu of Murugan is regarded as the second largest temple in all of South India, next only to Tirupati Balaji Temple and the largest Hindu pilgrimage center in the state. Thai Poosam, an impotant festival celebrated in Pazhani receives over 7 million visitors every year.
A holy town located at a distance of 12 km from the district of Nagapattinam, Velankanni is the home of the 16th Century Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. The Roman Catholic shrine dedicated to Our lady of Good Health in Velankanni is popularly referred as the 'Lourdes of the East
Some of the other important religious spots of Tamil Nadu include:
Cuisine and Eat-Out Options in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu has a rich culinary art involving both traditional vegetarian dishes and non-vegetarian dishes. Tamil cuisine is primarily distinguished by the day-to-day use of rice and lentils or pulses and a wide variety of traditional spices. Rice is the primary staple food and Tamarind is widely used in Tamil Nadu as the main souring agent. Dairy products and various vegetables are substantive accompaniments in Tamil cuisine.
The traditional way of consuming food in Tamil Nadu requires sitting on the floor, eating the food served on a banana leaf. A typical Tamil breakfast usually consist of Idly, Dosai, Pongal, Poori, Idiyappam, Medhuvadai, Rava Upma served along with Coconut Chutney, Kaara Chutney and Sambar.
A typical Tamil lunch consist of Boiled Rice served with Sambar, Kaara Kozhambu, Rasam, Curd, Appalam, Kootu, Poriyal, Varuval and Pickle. Filter Coffee is famous all over the state which is generally consumed twice a day.
The traditional Tamil food items along with international cuisine are available in all types of restaurants. If you are starving for pizzas, fried chicken and pastas, not a big deal as all the cities of Tamil Nadu houses international and regional fast food joints like KFC, Meat and Eat, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Pizza Corner, Subway and so on to attend to your taste needs!
Shopping in Tamil Nadu
A land of rich heritage, Tamil Nadu extends interesting shopping options and experiences to the tourists. The great cultural heritage of the state is very well symbolized in its lavishly elegant and refined arts and crafts. The exquisite arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu are celebrated all over the globe for their singularity and trend. A true shopping paradise, Tamil Nadu offers a long list shopping options in the form of giant shopping malls, silk emporiums, super markets, arts and crafts stores, Burma bazaars, footpath stalls, home appliance showrooms, furniture outlets and so on.
Almost all the towns and cities of Tamil Nadu surprise the visitors with ethnic and traditional offerings from Southern India. Tourists who like to buy keepsakes and souvenirs can get it from the famous emporiums of Tamil Nadu like Poompuhar Emporium, Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan, Co-optex and so on. Find below some of the most popular shopping malls of Tamil Nadu:
- Spencer Plaza, Chennai
- Alsa Mall, Chennai
- Express Avenue Mall, Chennai
- Abhirami Mega Mall, Chennai
- Brookefields Mall, Coimbatore
- Fun Republic Mall, Coimbatore
- Vishaal de Mal, Madurai
- Femina Hyper Market, Trichy
- Phoenix Market City, Chennai
Shopping Picks of Tamil Nadu:
- Kanchipuram silk sarees
- Tirunelveli pattamara mats and leaf handicrafts
- Kumbakonam bronze and brass castings
- Thanjavur thalayatti bommai, traditional jewelry, musical instruments and metal works
- Mahabalipuram stone sculptures and woodcarvings
- Tirupur cotton garments
Things to do Options in Tamil Nadu
- Board the Nilgiri mountain railway and enjoy the (green) side of Tamil Nadu!
- Visit the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram and go back to the Pallava Period
- Catch the molding of bronze statues using the traditional procedures at Swamimalai in Kumbakonam
- Relish idly and dosa with a variety of chutneys offered!
- Enjoy the massive and garlanded cutouts, banners and posters of Kollywood stars
- Start the day with a strong filter coffee served in a tumbler and davara
- Never come back from Kanchipuram without filling your bags with traditional Kanchi silk sarees
- Pay a little visit to the Nilgiris Toda tribal village and witness their unique lifestyle
- Hire a parisal and go for a jolly ride in the wild waters of Hogenakkal
- Visit Dakshina Chitra and broaden your knowledge of Tamil culture
- Pay a soul searching trip to Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple
- Witness some of the oldest Jain paintings at Sittanavasal in Pudukottai district
- Visit Karaikudi and treat your taste buds with Chettinad delicacies
- Visit the Navagraha temples in Kumbakonam and get your confidence boosted
- Visit Srirangam in Trichy and have a holy dip in River Kaveri at Amma Mandapam Ghat before visiting the largest temple complex in Asia - Sri Renganatha Swamy Temple
- Spot threatened and endangered wildlife species at the Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary
- Go for an adventurous trekking trip from Ooty - Parsons Valley - Mukkurthi Lake - Pandiar hills - Pykara falls to Madumalai Sanctuary
Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation
Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation Limited (TTDC) a wholly owned Government of Tamil Nadu Undertaking was founded with the principal design to commence, function and encourage institutions, projects, endeavors and initiatives of any type that are are expected to ease or speed up the development of tourism in the state.
Important Contacts - Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation LimitedTamil Nadu Tourism Complex
No.2 Wallajah Road, Chennai 600002
Phone: 91-44-2536 7850 (5 lines), Fax: 91-44-2538 2772
Tidbits for Travellers
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Languages Spoken: Tamil and English
Coastline of Tamil Nadu: 1,076 km
Climatic Conditions: Ranges from dry sub-humid to semi-arid
Annual Rainfall: 945 mm
TTDC Hotels Division
Apart from offering holiday package tours, TTDC own and maintain several TTDC hotels at various locations across the country in the brand name - Hotel Tamil Nadu.Locations of Hotel Tamil NaduMamallapuram
Beach Resort Complex (Near petrol Bunk), Mamallapuram
Phone Number: 044-27442361/63
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 3,500Coimbatore
No.2, Dr. Nanjappa Road Gandhipuram Coimbatore-641018
Phone Number: 04222302177
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 900 to Rs. 3,000Kanyakumari
Light House Main Road, Near to Sea Shore, KanniyaKumari
Phone Number: 04652-246257/246258
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 500 to Rs. 3,000 Kodaikannal
#47,Fern Hill Road, Kodaikannal - 624101
Phone Number: 04542-241336
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 950 to Rs. 3,000 Ooty
Charing Cross Road, Ooty - 643 001
Phone Number: 0423-2444370/77
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 3,000 Rameswaram
Near Agniteertham, Rameswaram - 623526
Phone Number: 04573-221064
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 980 to Rs. 4,500 Trichy
MC Donalds Road,Cantonement (Opp.central Bus Stand) Trichy
Phone Number: 0431-2414346
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 775 to Rs. 2,600Madurai
West Veli Street, Near Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai-1
Phone Number: 0452-2337471
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 900 to Rs. 1,600Tiruchendur
T.B.Road (Near Murugan Temple), Tiruchendur-628215
Phone Number: 04639-243471
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 800 to Rs. 1,700Thanjavur
Gandhiji Road,Near Railway Station, Thanjavur-613001
Phone Number: 04362-231325
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 1,400 to Rs. 3,600Yercaud
Near Lake, Yercaud - 636602
Phone Number: 04281-22333
Room Tariff Range: Rs. 1,100 to Rs. 2,000
Visit the glorious land of Tamil Nadu
, receive the warmth of Tamil people, discover your soul across the age-old religious sites, catch the sun at its best in the beaches, experience the real meaning of astonishment looking at the monuments, live a life of a historian across the heritage sites, enrich your mind and body in the hill stations, bask the glory of Tamil arts and crafts, enchant the beauty of nature across the waterfalls and hill stations, melt yourself tasting the spicy Tamil food, fill your bags with souvenirs and last but not least, get to be a Tamilian while you are in Tamil Nadu!
Come, visit and celebrate the remarkable southern state of Tamil Nadu !