Planning a South Getaway? Here's a List of 15 Top Tourist Places in Tamil Nadu
It is one of the most diverse and interesting States in India
It is one of the most diverse and interesting States in India. Those who have never been to Tamil Nadu, or have been here only on a perfunctory visit, must certainly consider this State for their next holiday. You might need to take a step back and plan your trip for at least two weeks – there is so much to see and do here! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with 15 of the best tourist places in Tamil Nadu that you can check out during your travels.
Tamil Nadu lies to the South most tip of India, with Puducherry on one side and Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka on the other. It has a wonderful and diverse topography, with the Meghamalai Hills, Nilgiri Mountains and Kerala on one side, the Gulf of Mannar and Indian Ocean on the South, the Eastern Ghats along its North face, and the Bay of Bengal on the South. Additionally, it has a maritime border with the country of Sri Lanka, making it possible to visit that country via Chennai, the State capital.
Like other South Indian States, Tamil Nadu was also ruled by some of the greatest empires in Indian history. Some of these were the Chola, Chera and Pandyan dynasties. To this day, the State’s language, culture, way of life and most importantly, cuisine and architecture, are influenced by these early empires. During the British rule from the 1800s to 1947, the capital of the region, Madras, was shaped to become a major cultural, commercial and educational hub for the region. To this day, Chennai (as Madras is now known) continues with this tradition. There are several colonial era buildings, Government offices and monuments still in use in Chennai.
Tamil Nadu was formed as an Indian State after all States were drawn on linguistic basis, in 1956. Today, it is the tenth largest State by area, and has the second largest GDP for several years now. Apart from being one of the leaders in manufacturing, IT and agriculture, Tamil Nadu tourism is also a booming industry.
There are several reasons to visit Tamil Nadu, all as good as the other. If you still have trouble deciding why you should visit Tamil Nadu, let these reasons decide for you:
* It has an amazing coastline. Tamil Nadu has one of the longest coastlines in India, and also one of the most beautiful ones. The coastline is about 900 km long, and dotted with superb beaches, hotels and resorts, the Pichavaram mangroves, a gorgeous East Coast Road (it passes through Puducherry and is a favoured way to reach that city) and even the imposing Valluvar Statue at Kanyakumari.
* You will love the temples. If you like visiting temples, then Tamil Nadu is the right place for you. It has many heritage temples and monuments which you will love to explore. There are many Chola-era temples like the Pallava Temples cut out of rock at Mahabalipuram, or the Brihadeeshwara Temple. There are many such excellent temples all over the State, with Tamil architecture being replete with them. There are also many old forts and palaces to look at during your holiday.
* It is modern yet has its roots perfectly preserved. Tamil Nadu is one of the most developed States in the country. Yet, its landscape is still perfectly preserved like it used to be – it is full of the most charming fishing villages and old tribal settlements. So while on one hand you can find commercial complexes, urban infrastructure and swank malls, you have old world villages and large tracts of paddy and rice fields on the other.
Now that you have a brief idea about Tamil Nadu’s history and why you should visit this wonderful State, let’s get you up to speed on the best tourist places in Tamil Nadu:
1 Rameshwaram: One of the most visited sites in the world, Rameshwaram is definitely an important tourist place in Tamil Nadu. A holy site revered by Hindus, it is a lovely little island separated by a small strait from Sri Lanka. This strait is the one that Lord Rama is said to have built to go to Sri Lanka and rescue his wife, Sita. Apart from Lord Rama, Lord Shiva also has temples here. The most famous temples here are the Ramanathswamy Temple (it has the longest corridor in the world) and the Agniteertham Temple for its holy water.
2 Yercaud: This is a tranquil little hill station in the Shivaray Hills, and its abundant greenery will quieten your soul at once. It has huge tracts of coffee plantations that you can visit, apart from an excellent climate all year round and the most gorgeous vistas as far as the eye can see. There is a famous summer festival dedicated to Lord Servarayan here, who is known as the God of the Mountains. This hill station is a popular romantic getaway.
3 Kanyakumari: One of the most important tourist places in Tamil Nadu, Kanyakumari constitutes the southernmost tip of India and is a beautiful beach town to visit. It is bordered by mountains and a roaring sea, but there are also paddy fields to walk through and dense expanses of coconut groves. It is a major religious and artistic centre in India, and has the distinction of being the only place where you can see the sunrise and the sunset on the same beach!
4 Kodaikanal: One of the most scenic spots in Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal is a superb spot for romance and poetry. It has a salubrious climate all year round, with misty mountains and clouds hanging low over the valleys. There are also many lakes and hillocks to spend time near. Go on a slow trek with your loved ones, or just ask your Tamil Nadu resort to pack you a picnic hamper and spend an entire day exploring the wonders of this beautiful region.
5 Mahabalipuram: If you like carvings and sculptures, then Mahabalipurum is definitely the best tourist place in Tamil Nadu. It features ancient rock cut temples and huge places of worship carved out of hills. It is a wonderful place to visit, with the Coromandel Coast on one side. You can enjoy a picnic with your loved ones at the many white sand beaches here, simply lazing under the casuarina trees after a dip in the ocean. Make sure you visit the Shore Temple and Five Rathas, as also the Crocodile Bank near Kovalam.
6 Coimbatore: Tamil Nadu tourism guidebooks list Coimbatore in terms of a major hub of trade and manufacturing. However, its huge tourism potential cannot be denied. Visit Coimbatore for a day to take a look at its modern roads, and also its ancient temples, jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery and some of the best restaurants in Tamil Nadu.
7 Thanjavur: This City of Temples is high on culture and spotlessly clean. Visit this most important tourist place in Tamil Nadu for its handicraft industry, Tanjore paintings, museums, art districts and famous Carnatic music instrument shops. Don’t forget to stop by the Palace, Saraswathi Mahal Library, Sangeetha Mahal and Shiv Ganga Garden.
8 Madumalai National Park: If wildlife and nature are your calling, then you must head to another important tourist place in Tamil Nadu, the Madumalai National Park. It is a part of the famous Madumalai Wildlife Sanctuary located outside Coimbatore. It is home to many protected and rare species of birds and animals. You will also love the many species of wild and native flowers and shrubs here. The National Park is being considered as a contender for the World Heritage Sites list updated regularly by UNESCO.
9 Vellankini: You will love the peaceful vibe and the charming way of life at Vellankini, a little village near the Bay of Bengal. It is an important pilgrimage site for Roman Christians, who go to the big church here to pray to Mother Mary. The story goes that Mother Mary appeared to several people here as a vision and gave them solutions to their problems related to drought. Her divine intervention is said to have filled the region with plenty, and she is revered here as the Lady of Good Health.
10 Dhanushkodhi: If you like the beach, you will love the little town of Dhanushkodhi. It is a modern town with some great shopping and eating out options. The best thing about it is that it is quite cut off from the mainland and isolated from the rest of the State – but not by design! You will love its old world charm and peaceful vibe, making it one of the must-visit tourist places in Tamil Nadu.
11 Yelagiri: A pretty little hill station and just right for honeymooners and solo backpackers, Yelagiri is a perfect picnic spot within driving distance of Bangalore. Standing about 1000 feet above sea level, it has the famous Jalagamparai Waterfalls, a huge rose garden, many easy trekking trails and hauntingly beautiful natural vistas. It was one of the summer getaways that the British frequented in the South.
12 Chettinad: A heritage district in Tamil Nadu, Chettinad is known for grand architecture and famous art works. It derives its name from the Tamil word ‘Chetti’ which means ‘Immense wealth’. In the olden days, it was one of the wealthiest places in the land, with many salt and spice traders living here and sailing for distant shores from the harbour. Even today, it has the most beautiful old style houses. It is also rife with the most stunning temples. It is bound by 96 villages on its outskirts.
13 Tranquebar: One of the most interesting tourist places in Tamil Nadu, Tranquebar is also known as the Land of the Singing Waves. It is a little beach town dating back to the 14th century, with the Kaveri River on one side and the Bay of Bengal on the other. It has many French influences, while Dutch, British and German colonies were also present here. Today, it shows the remnants of many cultures and is a truly cosmopolitan place. Don’t miss the Dansborg Fort and Zion Church here.
14 Pichavaram Mangroves: Mangroves are the lifeblood of the coast. Sadly, many of them have been hacked with reclamation of the seas all over the Indian coastline. But the Pichavaram Mangroves will gladden your heart – it is the second largest mangrove forest in the world! There is a complicated river and canal network here, and the biodiversity of the place will take your breath away. Take a boat ride to the forest, which spans about 1100 acres.
15 Doddabetta Peak: The name ‘Doddabetta’ translates to ‘Big Peak’ in Tamil. It is just outside Ooty and has a huge height of 8650 feet, and is the topmost point of the Nilgiri Hills. You will love the views of the surrounding areas, and you can take an all day picnic here.
Staying at the perfect resort on your holiday is important, so that you derive more enjoyment out of the trip. We recommend staying at the Club Mahindra Tamil Nadu resorts – choose from the Puducherry Resort, Danish Villa Resort in Ooty, Derby Green Resort in Kodaikanal, and the Le Poshe Kodaikanal Resort. Each property has been thoughtfully designed to provide guests with the best accommodation facilities, sumptuous multi-cuisine meals at the in-house restaurants, pools, spas and fitness centres, and also special recreation areas for children.
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading player in the leisure hospitality industry, offers quality family holidays as also stated by Club Mahindra Resort Reviews, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. While Club Mahindra is the flagship brand offering Club Mahindra Membership, the other brands offered by the company are – Club Mahindra Resorts Fundays and Svaastha Spa. As on Mar 31, 2019, MHRIL has 61+ resorts across India and abroad and its subsidiary, Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland, a leading vacation ownership company in Europe has 33 resorts across Finland, Sweden and Spain. Visit us at www.clubmahindra.com