Tamil Nadu - the land of Tamils is a state in Southern India known for its temples and architecture, food, movies and classical Indian dance and Carnatic music. The languages spoken here are predominantly Tamil (also written as Thamizh) and English in the larger cities and metro capital Chennai. It is the historical home of the famous Chera, Chola, Pandya and Pallava kingdoms which thrived in ancient and medieval India.
- Northern Tamil Nadu - Dharmapuri, Thiruvannamalai, Vellore and Krishnagiri Districts
- Tamil Nadu North Coast - Ariyalur, Chennai, Cuddalore, Kanchipuram, Nagapattinam, Tiruvallur, Villupuram and Tiruvarur Districts
- Western Tamil Nadu - Coimbatore, Erode, Nilgiris and Tirupur Districts
- Central Tamil Nadu - Karur, Namakkal, Perambalur, Salem and Tiruchirappalli Disticts
- Southwestern Tamil Nadu - Dindigul, Madurai, Theni and Virudhunagar District
- Tamil Nadu South Coast - Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga and Thanjavur Districts
- Far Southern Tamil Nadu - Kanniyakumari, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli Districts
- Chennai (Madras) — the capital of Tamil Nadu. One of India's four greatest cities.
- Coimbatore — the textile capital of South India or the Manchester of the South
- Madurai — Athens of the East, a place of great historical and cultural importance, and the oldest city in Tamil Nadu.
- Tiruchirappalli — famous for temples like Malaikottai, Srirangam, Thiruvanai Kovil, Samaya puram, Vekkali amman, Vayalore
- Salem — Important Industrial center.
- Erode — center of an agricultural area.
- Kanniyakumari — the southern most tip of the Indian mainland,
- Mamallapuram — ancient temples and modern stone carvers, outstanding examples of Dravidian art and architecture
- Thanjavur — fine old architecture and exquisite handicrafts
- Tirunelveli — A Hub and Gateway Southernpart of Tamilnadu. A city of Tradition, surronded by scenic beauty and Temples. Closer to Cape,Tuticorin Port and Kerala State.
- Tuticorin — - Known as a Pearl City and has a Harbour
Tamil language is one of the few still living classical languages, with two millennia of written tradition. Unlike northern Indian languages, it belongs to the Dravidian language family that includes the other major South Indian languages - Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. Tamil Nadu was the site of violent anti-Hindi riots in 1965 when the union government tried to impose Hindi as the sole official language of India. English works in almost all the cities.
If you don't speak Tamil, most of the people speak English fluently or know some basic English, so you shouldn't have a problem getting by in the major cities.
Tamil Nadu has 4 international airports and 3 domestic airports. Chennai International Airport is a major international airport that is connected with 19 countries with more than 169 direct flights every week. This is the third largest airport in India after Mumbai and Delhi and has a passenger growth of 18%. Other international airports present in the state are Coimbatore International Airport, Madurai International Airport and Tiruchirapalli International Airport. Salem and Tuticorin Airports are domestic airports with convenient connections to the rest of the state and the country. Increased industrial activity has given rise to an increase in passenger traffic as well as freight movement which has been growing at over 18 per cent per year.
Tamil Nadu is served by Southern Railway and there are many trains from Chennai to almost every major city in India. Chennai serves as a gateway city for connections from other parts of Tamil Nadu.
One can easily get around the state from any one city to another using swift transportation available locally. However, it is advised that cabs should be pre-booked to avoid any kind of inconvenience.
Chennai is one point on the Golden Quadrilateral project, the construction of limited access divided highways that link circumnavigate the heart of India.
Chennai has one of Asia's largest bus stations, CMBT. Seven different state owned corporations fly buses to and from various destinations within South India. There are hourly buses for places like Tirupati, Pondicherry, Coimbatore. You will get the option of A/C or Non-A/C coaches for cities like Bangalore, Trivandrum, Hyderabad.
Several private players also operate buses between most southern destinations. During the weekends most buses are fully occupied and it's better to reserve a ticket in advance. All buses terminate near Koyambedu but there are different stands for state owned(CMBT), and private buses (Omni bus terminus). Both these terminuses are near each other, and it is better to tell your exact destination to the taxi/autorickshaw driver. Buses usually drop passengers at various points in the city before reaching the terminus. So feel free to ask the driver or fellow passengers the closest drop-off point to your destination.
Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses ply throughout the city. These are government-run and extremely cheap. You can buy bus tickets online at redbus  or Ticketgoose  or Via.com  . Extreme caution is advised in using these buses as they are often out of shape, will begin moving before passengers are fully boarded, and are, like second class suburban trains, notorious for passengers having to hang off the edge or outside of the bus while in motion. But now state corporation introduces New Type Deluxe, A/C Buses for Chennai Passengers. Also introduced new 2500 buses for Chennai.
Coimbatore - Manchester of south India known for its textile industries and an engineering Hub, plesant climate,Kongu tamil language well known for hospitality.
- Mamallapuram- Pallava dynasty rock cut temples
- Kanchipuram-temples and sarees
- Thiruchy - temples, fort
- Kumbakonam-famous upilliyapan temple
- Chidambaram- the seat of the cosmic dancer Nataraja
- Palani - A Murugan Hill Temple
- Madurai - one of the oldest cities of Tamilnadu, documented since 4th century BC, seat of Kadai Sangam (a sort of ancient conference on the Tamil language). Once the capital of the ancient Pandiyans, the city is famous for the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Shrine.
- Poompuhar, for its heritage of sculpture
- Kanniyakumari (Cape Comorin), the southern-most tip of peninsular India, where you can find the Kanniyakumariamman temple on the sea shore where the mookuthy (nose stud) which is in the face of goddess shines so much that it guided ships passing by.Vivekanandha Rock,Saint Thiruvalluvar Statue
- Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
- Thirumayam - 7th century archaeological wonder. Oldest vishnu temple. Explore
- Srivilliputhur one of the temple towns in tamilnadu, the Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary at Sirvilliputhur.
- Tuticorin one of the well known towns in tamilnadu, the Harbour, beach, Macroon(sweet) and people are nice.
Recently, there has been a great rise in the number of complaints about harassment of innocent tourists in various destinations around the country. The Ministry of Tourism has adopted a strategy of introducing Audio Guide Devices at various places of interest around the country such as the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, etc. to provide reliable and factual information to tourists. It is wise to hire such devices as you can avoid being ripped off or ambushed by desperate touts itching to make a buck. The Ministry of Tourism has also announced its partnership with AudioCompass, a company specializing in creating Audio Tours of all places of interest in the country including Chennai, Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, etc in the form of Audio Devices available at the monuments and Smartphone apps that can be download from the App Store.
- Pongal , the harvest festival of the state is celebrated during the Tamil month of Thai (mid-January in Gregorian Calendar ), is an important festival for the people of Tamil Nadu, especially the farmers, irrespective of their religion. It is celebrated over four days. The festival thanks everyone - The sun god for his sunshine, Cattle for their work, Friends & fellow workers for their support, for the season's harvests.
The first day, Bogi Pongal, is about getting the old things out of your household to make way for the new harvest. On this day, discarded household items (brooms, mats, etc.) are burnt before sunrise and delicacies are offered to the Gods.
The second day, Uzhavar Thirunaal (Farmer's day), is about thanking the sun god for his sun shine. On this day Ven Pongal, a mixture of rice and lentils, is cooked in earthen pots and offered to the Gods along with sarkarai pongal the sweeter version of the former.
The third day, Maatu Pongal (Maatu - Cow), is for paying respect to cattle. Cows/bulls are washed, their horns are painted and decorated, and they are taken to a nearby temple. Challikattu, Indian version of the Bull run, competitions are also held.
On the fourth day, kaanum Pongal, family and friends are visited and new clothes are given to maids and servants. This day is for thanking fellow humans for their support.
- Tamil Varsha Purappu (Tamil New Year) The 1st day of the Tamil month of Chittirai. Usually, this falls on 14th or 15th April.
- Krishna jayanti or Gokulashtami A celebration of Lord Krishna. Women pray to Lord Krishna and offer foodstuffs to him.
- Aadi Perukku (18th day of the Tamil Month of Aadi) is celebrated to welcome the huge infux of water in the seasonal-yet-major River Cauvery. The paddy fields in the cauvery delta are huely dependent on this water.
- Varalakshmi pooja On this day, married women keep kalasam, they pray, they dress-up and they decorate the temples.
- Navaratri is a festival in honor of the three goddesses Laxmi (prosperity), Sarasvati (learning), and Durga (strength). In Tamil Nadu, women prepare elaborate arrangements of dolls based on these goddesses and visits are made to see and compare these arrangements. As with all festivals, sweets and food feature in a large way.
- Saraswati pooja, the ninth day of Navaratri, is in honor of the goddess of learning. Students and elders place their books in front of the goddess and neither study nor play musical instruments in honor of the goddess.
- Vijayadasami is the 10th day of Navaratri and is considered to be the day for starting new things like learning to play a new instrument or the start of a new school year.
- Deepavali (Diwali), the festival of lights, has a markedly different story and reason than what the North Indian version. In Tamil Nadu, this day marks the killing of the demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna. On his death bed, Narakasura realises his mistake and begs Krishna for pardon. Lord Krishna, moved by the change of heart, promised Narakasura that people will remember him on this day and will remember that good always triumphs over evil (outside and within a person as well). To celebrate the end of evil, people symbolically take oil bath. They burst crackers, exchange sweets and adorn new dresses to express their joy.
- Karthigai is a festival in honor of Lord Muruga. It is celebrated in the month of November to December every year.
- Karthigai deepam chariot festival this is one of the oldest festivals in south-india, honoring Lord Muruga, also known as kaarthikeya. In the month of Karthigai thousands of devotees assemble in Thiruvannamalai, Tamil-Nadu, to take part in the many street and temple ceremonies and to offer prayers to Lord Muruga.
- Gowri PoojaSimilar to varlakshmi pooja is done on the eve of vinnayakar chaturthi,for all these amman festivals karugumani is mandatory to be offered to goddess,and even in maangalyam ladies can wear in addition to gold and is safe nowadays because gold is capable of getting stolen.
- 'Vinayaka Chaturthi Known as Ganesh Chaturthi in other parts of India, this festival is in honor of the elephant god Ganesh. An idol of Vinayaka is immersed in the sea or in a temple tank on the third day of this festival.
- Purataasi Maadham famous for lord venkatachalapathy,many slokas,dance programmes,music concerts are all done in praise of lord narayana and brahmotsawam is done in thirupathi in grand scale.
- Karthigai deepam fastivel(Tiruvannamalai deepam) a famous festival in temple city of Tiruvannamalai
- Id Tamil Nadu has a large muslim population and Id and Ramzan are celebrated here.
- Christmas, Good Friday and other Christian festivals are also celebrated.
- Panguni Utaram utsavam in Ranganathar temple
Music and Dance festivals
- Natyanjali is celebrated in many Hindu temples at the end of February and beginning of March, and includes daily classical Indian dance and music performances.
- December Festival (Kacheri) at various locations in Chennai is dedicated to classical Indian dance and music performances. It attracts large crowds and performances often sell out early.
- Mamallapuram Festival of dance is held in Mamallapuram in the months of January and February.
- New Year's Eve Special prayers are offered in churches in the form of midnight services. Women light villaku to goddesses at home or candles to Christ or Mother Mary, and prayers are offered in Mosques.
- Akshaya Tritiya On the third day after the new moon day that follows the tamil new year. Locals believe that anything done on this day is equivalent doing it a thousand times over and it is believed that buying gold on this day will ensure prosperity throughout life. Curd rice made with curds from fresh milk is offered as a service prasadham.
- Karadaiyaa nonbu just when maasi maadham and panguni join they celebrate preparing kaaradai as offering to god,ladies do this pooja to protect their maangalyam.
Tamil Nadu provides the visitor with a wide variety of delicious food both for the vegetarians as well as the non-vegetarians, though most food in Tamil Nadu consists of grains, lentils, rice and vegetables. Spices are added to give a distinctive taste.
Breakfast or tiffin includes idli or steamed rice dumplings, dosai is a crisp pancake made from a batter of rice and lentils, vada is a deep fried doughnut made from a batter of lentils, pongal is a mixture of rice and lentils cooked together and seasoned with ghee, cashew nuts, pepper and cumin seed), uppuma is semolina cooked, seasoned in oil with mustard, pepper, cumin seed and dry lentils.
Lunch usually consists of rice with Sambar, rasam, and yogurt along with a number of spicy side dishes. This is called meals. A decent meals costs less than a dollar. There are 2 types of meals Limited and Unlimited.
There are several variations of the dishes mentioned above which are eaten with coconut chutney, sambar which is a seasoned lentil dish and mulaga podi which is a powdered mix of several roasted lentils and red chili blended with oil.
- Meat Madras- This is a spicy but delicious curry is named after Chennai, the metropolis in southern India perhaps because in the humid south, people rather eat hot food. Strange though it may seem, this is because hot and spicy food makes one perspire thereby cooling the body.
- Plain idlis- Plain Idlis are similar to rice cakes, but they are eaten with a coconut side dish made out of beaten coconut white mixed with a little spice. Its called Coconut (Thenga in Tamil) Chutney. Also typically served are Tomato chutney (the difference is here tomato pulp is used) and Dal sambar. The Idlis are served steaming hot. They are meant to be eaten with hand.
- Kancheepuram idlis - Hot and spicy. These differ from the normal Idlis due to the extra ingredients added usually to make it a little more spicy.
- Pal payasam (rice pudding) - This is a sweet dish made from rice and thick milk.
- Dosai or dosa - This is India's answer to the French Crepes, though the answer could arguably have been given much before the question was asked. It is made from rice flour. Rice flour is mixed with an optimum level of water. Finding the optimum level is an art which most of the Indian women are born with. As too much or too less can make your Dosa non-appetizing. Dosas again come in a variety of forms and sizes. A dosa with potato curry stuffed inside becomes a Masala Dosa. A Dosa made from Rice flour and Fine semolina (Rawa) becomes a Rawa Dosa. Like idlis, dosas are usually eaten with coconut chutney, tomato chutney and sambar.
- Poori Masala(Poori Kizlaingu)- It's made in fine wheat flour, quite oily food. It served as break fast or evening tiff-en with potato curry.
- Vadai- it's prepared with different lentils and fried in oil, which can be eat with or without chutney & sambar. It can be had with breakfast or evening snacks. Different types of vadai are prepared like, medu vadai(orid Dal), masala vadai(Toor Dal), etc.
- Ven Pongal
- Lemon Rice
- Tamarind Rice
- Curd Rice
- Vetral Kuzhambu
The famous filter coffee special to Tamil Nadu is carefully made from chosen coffee beans, and roasted to preserve the original aroma of the beans.
These roasted beans are powdered and the flavour of rich ground coffee powder is used to make filter coffee, enjoyed by every one. The water that you add has to be at boiling point so for the coffee powder to release its flavor. It is not possible to make coffee with tepid water.
- Tender Coconut Water- It's very widely available in Tamil Nadu. You can find plenty of roadside shops everywhere in all season and it cost you from Rs.30 to Rs.50.
- Sugarcane Juice- It's mainly available in summer season(April-June) and cost you very less.
- Cuisine of Tamil Nadu, . Cuisine of Tamil Nadu edit
Tamil Nadu has a wide range of accommodation to provide to its visitors, be it the class-conscious tourist or the budget-backpacker. Seeing the success of Homestay type accommodation promoted by the Kerala Ministry of Tourism, the Tamil Nadu counterpart introduced the "Bed and Breakfast" scheme. Under this scheme accommodation is provided at nominal rates and at the same time with hygienic conditions. Anyways this "Bed and Breakfast" is a western concept neither developed by Kerala or Tamil Nadu. And as a bonus you can experience the local life style. "Bed and Breakfast" scheme was introduced by Tourism Department Tamil Nadu in 2001-2002. The scheme derives inspiration from a quote of Late Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, which goes like this "Receive a guest and send back a friend ". Under this scheme, a house owner can let out a few rooms to tourists. During the stay of the tourists in his house, the tourists will be provided with accommodation and food by the house owner. A detailed booklet containing the Names, addresses, Telephone Nos. etc. of the Bed and Breakfast scheme providers was published during 2001-2002 and this information was also put on the website of TTDC.
During the period 2001-02 to 2003-04 as many as 3,258 tourists had availed of this scheme. The Bed and Breakfast service providers are scattered throughout the length and breath of Tamil Nadu as stated below.
- Chennai 117
- Madurai - 12
- Tirunelveli - 6
- Kanniyakumari - 4
- Thanjavur - 2
- Kodaikanal - 1
- Virudhunagar - 1
- Salem - 1
The house owners require the services of helpers to attend to the needs of the tourists. Hence, in 2004-2005 a project was established to train such helpers in the field of health and personal hygiene, cleanliness, basic service techniques, basic nutrition values etc.
Apart from this the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) has 36 Hotels in Tamil Nadu that are hygienic and suits the budget to middle category travellers. TTDC Corporation was incorporated during the year 1971. It made a modest beginning with Five Tourist Bungalows and with two coaches. It has made rapid strides since then, and today has earned the proud distinction of owning the largest chain of Hotels in South India numbering 36. The bed strength has increased from 253 in 1971 to 2504 in 1998. 24 fleet of coaches are in use at present. Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation has established the following Tourist's amenities in the State:-
- 1. Hotels : 36
- 2. Youth Hostels : 8 (intended for Budget Tourists)
Decent budget categories abound from Rs 300 ($7) to Rs 700 ($20). The former will get you a Non-Ac room with clean bed, TV and most probably a shared bathroom in most parts of Tamil Nadu. The latter will fetch you a Ac single room with basic amenities like TV, Bed, Room service and attached bathroom. If travelling as a couple expect to pay around Rs 500($10) to Rs 1100 ($23). Though you might be lucky to find a decent English speaking concierge at this range, you will find lots of people well-versed in Tanglish (a concoction of Tamil and English) which can be understood quite clearly if you listen hard and pay attention. Please take due precautions with your luggage and other essential documents and money. It is advisable to not leave any money in the room and to always carry your passport in person. Bring a good lock both for your luggage and the hotel door. If you are carrying laptops or digi-cams, keep them under lock and key when not taking them on person.
Medium category hotels can be had from Rs 1500 ($27) to Rs 4000 ($80). These will be your 2 to 4 Star rated Hotels. You will most probably be given a well furnished (by Indian standards) Air conditioned room with good lighting, bed, TV, attached bathroom with a bathtub and warm water during most of the day and hot water from 6AM–10AM and 6PM–10PM and a good concierge (who will serve you well provided you tip him the moment you see him rather than the last moment). Follow this advice when it comes to tipping. If you have reserved or kept in mind a certain amount for tipping, tip 20% of the amount at the beginning itself and the rest of the amount should be watered down subsequently on each tip with the final 20% as the last tip. Do not pay a flat rate tip all the time.
Safety in this category of hotels is more, though it is always advisable to be a little paranoid if you are carrying very expensive items. The safety issue is not a constant and will vary according to the city you are visiting and the hotel you are staying.
Most of the hotels in this category will have an in house restaurant and a bar. If you are lucky or choose well you might even get one with a Pub and a Discotheque around which the nightlife of the city is centered, though these kind of hotels are limited to the major cities which will serve you as a stop-gap in between visiting places of tourist interest. Expect a buffet breakfast to be thrown in as a compliment.
Individual cottages at beach resorts can be had within this budget.
Unlike Rajasthan, you will not find any Heritage Hotels (ancient Palaces that have been converted in to hotels) in Tamil Nadu. You will have to splurge on 5 star and 5 star deluxe hotels. They will cost you anywhere from Rs 5000 ($75) to Rs 20000 ($300). They are usually run by an international chain and so does not need description as checking into them here is akin to checking into them in San Francisco or Amsterdam.
These hotels are mostly limited to in and around the city of Chennai and a few in Madurai & Coimbatore. Generally speaking Tamil Nadu is a haven for the back-packers and the medium-budget travellers. As a result, in the more tourist oriented cities, good hotels with good food and service come cheap. You will be hard pressed to find a hotel where you can splurge these amounts. But of course what you save on your stay can be channelled into some good Kancheepuram silk saris for the beautiful ladies or into stone carvings of beautiful women for the Gentlemen.
Generally, Tamil Nadu is one among the safest places in India, but like any other tourist destination there are a few problems. Beware of pickpockets and thieves in buses and trains. If you travel via train, think twice before eating anything offered by co-passengers (sedative-laced drink/food followed by robbery have been reported).
Dress appropriately in public places. Anything below knee should be OK (better to avoid sleeveless shirts if going to temples). Also, when traveling with someone from the opposite gender, it would be advisable to avoid too much of physical intimacy, as it may invite unwanted attention and comments.
The Sri Lankan Civil War is a sensitive topic for people residing in Tamil Nadu. Some will even backlash on you if you call the Tamil Tigers a terrorist group or show some support of the Sri Lankan government. It is best to avoid this topic at all costs when in Tamil Nadu.
Navagraha Temple Tour Route Map
Here is the link to temple route map for the travellers visiting Navagraha temples in Tamil Nadu. 
Tamil Nadu is a state in the south-eastern part of the Indian Peninsula. Tamilnadu is previously a part of the United Madras Province, which was later partitioned based on languages. Tamilnadu has more than 4,000 years of continuous cultural history. Tamil Nadu has some of the most remarkable temple architecture in the country, and a living tradition of music, dance, folk arts and fine arts. Tamil Nadu is well renowned for its temple towns and heritage sites, hill stations, waterfalls, national parks, local cuisine and the natural environment and wildlife. The state has the largest tourism industry in India with an annual growth rate of 16%. In 2015, the number of domestic arrivals was at 333.5 million making the state the most popular tourist destination in the country, and foreign arrivals numbered 4.68 million, the highest in the country, making it the most popular state for tourism in the country.
Economy and Tourism
Tamil Nadu with a GDP of $150 billion is the second largest economy of the country and Tourism is one of the main sources of its revenue. Tourism in the state is promoted by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation headquartered in the capital city of Chennai. Tamil Nadu is a year-round tourist destination, and the industry is the largest in the country.
Major Cities of Tamil Nadu
Chennai formerly known as Madras, is the capital city of the state, and India's fourth largest metropolis. The city is known for its beaches, Ancient Tamil architecture, Anglo-Indian architecture, cultural festivals and is India's largest shopping destination. Chennai is seen as the gateway to Southern India and is well connected to all parts of India by road, rail and air.
The city is currently India's 4th largest and one of the world's fifty most largest ones. This city houses Asia's largest hospitals which has recently spurred a new wave of medical tourism.
Coimbatore is the second largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is often referred to as the Manchester of South India due to its growing commercial importance, Coimbatore situated in Western end of Tamil Nadu and is well connected by road, rail and air with major towns and cities in India. Coimbatore is also called as textile city or cotton city. Important place to visit is ISHA yoga.
Madurai is the third largest city by population in Tamil Nadu and the second largest corporation in Tamil Nadu. Madurai has been a major settlement for two millennia. Madurai was the longest continuous capital city until British rule in India, and was the first major settlement in central and southern Asia. It is one of India's temple towns. It is also called Temple city, Athens of East, City of Junctions, City of Festival, Jasmine city, Sleepless city (Thoonga Nagaram). The city is synonymous with Tamil Literature, Tamil was patronised by the city and vice versa. Madurai is the topmost tourism hub of Tamil Nadu. Madurai is the cultural headquarters of Tamil Nadu, Madurai is the major city to attract more Foreigners next only to Chennai. Madurai also ancient city its living civilization is more than 4000 years. While Pandiyan emperor it is the capital of Pandyan Kingdom. Madurai continues to be a cultural hot spot in the state and is a major tourist destination for overseas visitors.
The Sri Meenakshi temple is located in Madurai. The temple in the present form was re- constructed by the pandyas of Madurai. The temple has a 1000 pillar hall, 14 towers with remarkable art, architecture and painting. Thirugnanasambandar the Hindu Saint has mentioned the temple in his songs which go back to the early 7th century. At least 15,000 visitors visit these temples regularly which include both Indians and Foreigners. The temple is now administered by HR and CE department of Tamil Nadu. Thirumalai Nayak Mahal is located at a distance of 2 km from Meenakshi Amman Temple. The palace is a testament to the Indian art and architecture. There are 248 pillars in the palace, each 58 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter. The paintings in the palace reflect the art of painting prevailed in the 16th century. Only a part of the largest palace is allowed for site seeing. In this palace of rectangular shape, audio-visuals are shown in the evenings. The Mahal is open to general public between 9 am to 1 pm and between 2 pm to 5 pm. Sound and light show: English at 6.45 pm, Tamil will be played at 8.15 pm. The city is 450 km from Chennai and has a major railway junction and an airport 12 km from the city. Madurai is well connected with major cities in India by Madurai International Airport and main railway junction Madurai Junction. Thiruparankundram Dargah at the top of Thiruparankundram hills the Shrine of Hazrat Sulthan Sikandar Badusha Shahhed, Goripalayam Dargah and Madurai Maqbara at Kazimar Big Mosque are the major Islamic tourist spots in Madurai.
Tiruchirappalli also called Tiruchi or Trichy, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Tiruchirappalli District. It is the fourth largest municipal corporation and the fourth largest urban agglomeration in the state. Located 322 kilometres (200 mi) south of Chennai and 379 kilometres (235 mi) north of Kanyakumari, Tiruchirappalli sits almost at the geographic centre of the state. The Kaveri Delta begins 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of the city as the Kaveri river splits into two, forming the island of Srirangam now incorporated into Tiruchirappalli City Municipal Corporation. Occupying 167.23 square kilometres (64.57 sq mi), the city was home to 916,674 people as of 2011.
Tiruchirappalli's recorded history begins in the 3rd century BC, when it was under the rule of the Cholas. The city has also been ruled by the Pandyas, Pallavas, Vijayanagar Empire, Nayak Dynasty, the Carnatic state and the British. The most prominent historical monuments in Tiruchirappalli include the Rockfort, the Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam and the Jambukeswarar temple at Thiruvanaikaval. The archaeologically important town of Uraiyur, capital of the Early Cholas, is now a suburb of Tiruchirappalli. The city played a critical role in the Carnatic Wars (1746–1763) between the British and the French East India companies.
The most commonly used modes of local transport in Tiruchirappalli are the state government-owned Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) buses, and auto rickshaws. Tiruchirappalli forms a part of the Kumbakonam division of the TNSTC. The city has two major bus termini; Chatram Bus Stand and Central Bus Stand, both of which operate intercity services and local transport to suburban areas.
Tiruchirappalli sits at the confluence of two major National Highways—NH 45 and NH 67. NH 45 is one of the most congested highways in south India and carries almost 10,000 lorries on the Tiruchirappalli–Chennai stretch every night. Other National Highways originating in the city are NH 45B, NH 210 and NH 227. State highways that start from the city include SH 25 and SH 62. Tiruchirappalli has 715.85 km (444.81 mi) of road maintained by the municipal corporation. A semi-ring road connecting all the National Highways is being constructed to ease traffic congestion in the city. As of 2013, approximately 328,000 two-wheelers, 93,500 cars and 10,000 public transport vehicles operate within the city limits, apart from the 1,500 inter-city buses that pass through Tiruchirappalli daily. Tiruchirappalli suffers from traffic congestion mainly because of its narrow roads and absence of an integrated bus station.
Passenger trains also carry a significant number of passengers from nearby towns. The Great Southern of India Railway Company was established in 1853 with its headquarters at England. In 1859, the company constructed its first railway line connecting Tiruchirappalli and Nagapattinam. The company merged with the Carnatic Railway Company in 1874 to form the South Indian Railway Company with Tiruchirappalli as its headquarters. The city retained the position until 1908 when the company's headquarters was transferred to Madras. Tiruchirappalli Junction is the second biggest railway station in Tamil Nadu and one of the busiest in India. It constitutes a separate division of the Southern Railway. Tiruchirappalli has rail connectivity with most important cities and towns in India. Other railway stations in the city include Tiruchirappalli Fort, Tiruchirappalli Town, Srirangam, Palakkarai and Golden Rock.
The Railway Heritage Centre was formally inaugurated on 18 February 2014, and is located adjacent to the Rail Kalyana Manadapam (Community Hall), near Tiruchirappalli Junction.
Tiruchirappalli is served by Tiruchirappalli International Airport (IATA: TRZ, ICAO: VOTR), 5 km (3.1 mi) from the city centre. It is the 10th busiest airport in the country in terms of international traffic. The airport handles fivefold more international air traffic than domestic services, making it the only airport in India with this huge variation. It serves as a gateway to immigrants from South-east Asian countries. There are regular flights to Chennai, Colombo, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai and Singapore. The airport handled more than 1 million passengers and 2012 tonnes of cargo during the fiscal year 2013–14.
Salem is a city of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. Salem is the district headquarters and other major towns in the city include Edappadi, Mettur, Omalur and Attur. Salem is surrounded by hills and the landscape dotted with hillocks. Salem has a vibrant culture dating back to the ancient Kongu Nadu. As a district, Salem has its significance in various aspects; it is known for mango cultivation, silver ornaments, textile, sago industries and steel production. As of 2011, the district had a population of 3,482,056 with a sex-ratio of 954 females for every 1,000 males. Salem is one of the biggest cities in Tamil Nadu. Tourist places include Yercaud, Mettur Dam, Kailasanathar Temple, Kottai Mariamman Temple. Salem is connected with other parts of Tamil Nadu and other states by road, rail and bus.
Salem's traditional shopping areas are in the Town area, with major retailers in Bazaar Street, Car Street, First Agraharam and Chinna Kadai Street. Shevapet and the Fort area are noted for hardware and furniture, and Leigh Bazaar in Shevapet is the main wholesale market. Reliance Shopping Mall, the city's largest shopping complex is situated near Five Roads. Kurumbapatti Zoological Park and Anna Park are government-run parks. Paravasa Ulagam and Dream Land are amusement parks in the city.[not in citation given]
Salem Airport (IATASXV, ICAOVOSM) is located on the Salem-Bangalore Highway (NH 7) in Kaamalapuram about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the city. Airports Authority of India (AAI) opened the airport in 1993 for commercial operations.
Salem has six arterial roads: Omalur Road, Cherry Road, Saradha College Road, Junction Main Road, Gugai Main Road and Attur Road. Three National Highways originate in or pass through: NH 44 (Srinagar – Kanyakumari), NH 544 (Salem – Kochi via Erode and Coimbatore) and NH 79 (Salem – Ulundurpet).
Salem is the headquarters of the Salem division of TNSTC. The city has two major bus stations: the MGR Integrated Bus Terminus in Meyyanoor and the Town Bus Station (Old Bus Stand) in the town area. Intercity and interstate routes and private buses originate at the Central Bus Stand, and local buses originate at the Old Bus Stand. The Anna Flyover is the oldest in the city, and the Trumpet Interchange was built in the realignment of NH 544 to ease traffic towards Coimbatore.
Salem Junction is located in Suramangalam, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) west of the city. In 2005, the Railway Board approved the creation of a Salem railway division from Palakkad and Tiruchirapalli divisions. It is the fourth-largest of the six Southern Railway zone divisions. Salem Railway Junction has been rated as the most clean station among the divisional headquarters railway stations and also the ninth cleanest railway station in the entire country, according to a survey report published in June 2017.
Erode ([iːroːɽɯ]) is the administrative headquarters of Erode District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of River Kaveri, and has been ruled, at different times, by the Early Pandyas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Hyder Ali, Carnatic kingdom, and the British. It is situated at the center of the South Indian Peninsula, about 400 kilometres (249 mi) southwest of the state capital Chennai and about 80 kilometres (50 mi) east of Coimbatore. Hand loom, power loom textile products and ready made garments industries contribute to the economy of the city. The people in the city are employed in various textile, oil and turmeric manufacturing industries.
Being the district headquarters, Erode accommodates the district administration offices, government educational institutes, colleges and schools. Erode is a part of Erode constituency (Erode East and Erode West) and elects its member of legislative assembly every five years, and a part of the Erode constituency that elects its member of parliament. The city is administered by a municipal corporation established in 2009 as per the Municipal Corporation Act. The city covers an area of 8.99 km2 and had a population of 173,600 in 2001. The provisional population totals of the 2011 census indicate the population of the city is 521,776. Roadways is the major mode of transport to the city, while it has also got rail connectivity. The nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport, located at a distance of 90 km from the city.
Main article: Tourism in Vellore
Vellore is a city and the administrative headquarters of Vellore District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is on the banks of Palar River and has been ruled, at different times, by the Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Vijayanagar Empire, Rashtrakutas, Carnatic kingdom, and the British. It is about 145 kilometres (90 mi) west of the state capital Chennai. Vellore has historic Vellore Fort and buildings, Government Museum, Science Park, Religious Places like Jalakandeswarar Temple, Srilakshmi Golden Temple, Big Mosque and St. Johns church, Amirthi Zoological Park and Yelagiri Hill station are the among top tourist attractions in and around Vellore City.
Thoothukudi is a commercial city on the sea shore which serves the inland cities of Southern India and is one of the sea gateways of Tamil Nadu. There are stretches of sunny and sandy beaches that are restful and calm. There are several towns that have historical and religious significance that are around Thoothukudi. It has a railway terminus and a domestic airport with regular flights to Chennai.
Tirunelveli is an ancient city and is home to many temples and shrines, including the largest Shiva temple in Tamil Nadu, the Nellaiappar Temple. It is located on the western side of the perennial Thamirabarani river, whereas its twin municipal city Palayamkottai, is located on the eastern side. It has a major railway junction and is situated 700 kilometres southwest of the state capital, Chennai.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The state houses a no. of heritage sites mainly composed of the ancient temples and deities of the Pallava and Chola empire scattered along various parts of Northern and Central-Eastern parts of Tamil Nadu. The following are the list of the Heritage sites in the state.
The Chola Temples
The Great Living Chola Temples constructed by the king Raja Raja Chola and his son Rajendra are sites of glorious heritage and architectural achievements. The Cultural heritage site includes the three great temples of 11th and 12th century namely, the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. The temples testify to the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting.
- Thanjavur - The home to the Chola Kingdom and the location of the Brihadisvara Temple built in the 11th Century. The temple made with 130,000 tons of granite is the tallest in South India and has been built in such a way that the shadows of the gopuram and its pillars do not fall on the ground any time during the day.
- Gangaikonda Cholapuram - The capital of the Chola kingdom for 250 years. The Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram, located here and built by Rajendra I, was completed in 1035. Its 53 metres (174 ft) vimana (sanctum tower) has recessed corners and a graceful upward curving movement, contrasting with the straight and severe tower at Thanjavur.
- Darasuram - A small town close to Kumbakonam, the town has the prestigious Airavatesvara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva along with the Brihadeeswara Temple and the temple of the Gangaikonda Cholapuram are three of the most venerated and architectural legacies of the Chola empire.
Group of Monuments in Mahabalipuram
The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram declared as a World Heritage Site in 198, in Tamil Nadu, about 58 km from Chennai, were built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. The town is said to have gained prominence under the rule of Mamalla. These monuments have been carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast. The following are the sites related. These monuments surprisingly survived the 2004 Tsunami that devastated the other coastal towns nearby.
Karaikudi is the famous heritage site of Tamil Nadu for its culture and its state or art architecture.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Part of the Mountain railways of India, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway(NMR) was stated to be an "outstanding examples of bold, ingenious engineering solutions for the problem of establishing an effective rail link through a rugged, mountainous terrain." The Nilgiri Mountain Railway was added to the list in 2005 preceding the Kalka-Shimla Railway which was granted the status in 2008.
The Route passes through the various terrains and thickly forested areas of the Nilgiri Mountains. The route consists of the following stations:
- Kateri Road
Religious sites of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu has the credit of having 34000 Hindu temples which are several centuries Old. The cities in ancient Tamil Nadu is believed to have revolved around the magnificent temples built by the Pallava, Chola and Pandya empires and therefore most of the cities in the state have a lot of religious significance and contain a number of temples and shrines in and around their limits. Temple towns like Madurai and Kanchipuram are thronged by visitors throughout the year.
Kalugumalai consist of three important Temples in Kalugumalai:
- Vettuvan Koil : is a Hindu temple built between the 8th and 9th century. Kalugumalai is a priceless unfinished Pandyanmonolith cave temple, part of the iconographic richness that helped chronicle the burgeoning richness of the Tamil culture, traditions, and sacred centres containing religious art. The temple is carved out from a single rock in a rectangular portion measuring 7.5 m (25 ft) in depth. The carvings in the temple show the top portion of the temple, with an unfinished bottom. The granite rock looks like a blooming lotus, with hills surrounding it on three sides. The vimana (ceiling over the sanctum) has niches of Parsavadevatas, the attendant deities of Shiva, like ganas, Dakshinamurthy depicted playing a mridanga, Siva with his consort Uma, dancers, various niches of Nandi (the sacred bull of Shiva) and animals like monkeys and lions.
- Kalugasalamoorthy Temple : The main deity of this temple is Murugan. The main deity hall and entrance hall is excavated inside the foot hills of kalugumalai in the south western corner of the hill and with external structural additions. The temple has many aesthetic sculptures.The temple dates to the 18th century.
Chitharal Jain Monuments
Chitharal Jain Monuments or Chitharal Malai Kovil are situated on the Thiruchanattu Malai (Thiruchanattu hillocks) near Chitharal village, Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, India. There are two monuments. The earlier rock-cut Jain structure of beads with inscriptions and drip-ledges is the earliest Jain monument in the southernmost part of India which was from first century BC to sixth century AD. The temple monuments were likely built by Digambara Jains in the ninth century when the region was under influence of Jainism. Jain influence in this region was due to the King Mahendravarman I (610-640).
The Sittanavasal Cave is a rock-cut monastery or temple. Created by Jains, it is called the Arivar Koil, and is a rock cut cave temple of the Arihants. It contains remnants of notable frescoes from the 7th century. The murals have been painted with vegetable and mineral dyes in black, green, yellow, orange, blue, and white. Paintings have been created by applying colours over a thin wet surface of lime plaster. Temple-cave was initially dated to Pallava King Mahendravarman I (580–630 AD) prior to his conversion from Jainism to Hinduism as a Shaivite. However, an inscription attributes its renovation to a Pandyan king probably Maran Sendan (654–670 AD) or Arikesari Maravarman (670–700 AD).
Sittanavasal is a rock-cut cave, situated on the western side of central part of a hill, which runs in a north-south direction. The hill measures approximately 70 metres (230 ft) in height, and sits above the surrounding plain which has some archaeological monuments. The Jain natural caverns, called Ezhadippattam are approached from the foothills. The cave is approached by climbing a few 100 steps.
The architectural features of the Sittanvasal Cave include the painting and sculptures found within its precincts. Archaeological Survey of India is responsible for the maintenance of the cave and the Jain beds.
Samanar Hills or Samanar Malai is a hill rock complex located in Keelakuyilkudi village, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Samanar Malai has several Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, a number of stone beds and many sculptures, which shows authority for Jainism in the ancient Tamil country. The hill contains two noted sculptures, Settipodavu and Pechipallam, that show images of Jain Tirthankaras made by Jain monks in the 9th century BCE. The Settipodavu contains the image of Mahavira, the last tirthankara of Jainism. The Pechipallam contains eight sculptures, including Bahubali and Mahavira.
More than 2000 years old Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions and Vatteluttu writings.
Chidambaram is the seat of the cosmic dancer Lord Nataraja (Ananda Tandava pose ; the Cosmic Dance of bliss). It is one of the Pancha Bhutasthalas. The Chidambaram Temple dedicated to Lord Natraja built in the 9th century has an unusual hut-like sanctum with a gold-plated roof and four towering gopuras. Many Chola kings were crowned here in the presence of the deity. Nearby a sculptural temple is Melakadambur, with its distinct architecture that makes it resemble a chariot.
Erwadi is a small town in Ramanathapuram district which houses the 840-year-old shrine and the graves of Hazrat Sulthan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed badusha and the graves of a few thousands of His friends, family and followers who came from Saudi Arabia in the mid 12th century. The site is well known for its spiritual healing for mental and magical diseases.Kattupalli, Meesal, Natham (Keelakarai), Sundaramudayan, Thachu oorani, Vaippar and Valinokkam are some notable shrines within the district and near by. The Annual Santhanakoodu festival held during the Islamic month of Dhul Qidah is very well recognized and witnessed by more than 1 million people from different region and of all faiths.
Main article: List of temples in Kanchipuram
One of the most visited destinations in the state, Kanchipuram was the capital of the ancient Pallava Kingdom and is considered one of the seven holiest cities to the Hindus of India. Hundreds of ancient temples are located in this town, though most of them are in ruins, there are a few prominent ones which attract a large number of devotees every year.
The Kailashnathar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is the oldest temple of Kanchi. It reflects the grandeur and the splendor of the early Dravidian style of temple architecture built by the Pallava king Rayasimha. This temple was constructed in the late seventh century AD and the eighth century remains of murals within the temple are an indication of the magnificence of the original temple that was supposed to exist much before than the temple today. The Ekambareswarar Temple built by the Pallavas and extended by the Cholas is another popular temple in the town sprawling over a large area of 12 hectares.
The Kamakshi Amman Temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati is the main pilgrimage center in the town and one of the three temples of worship of Goddess Parvati in Tamil Nadu.
The Trilokyanatha Temple is a Jain temple built by King Simhavishnu is dedicated to Mahavira.
The Varadharaja Perumal Temple, the Devarajswmi Temple and the Pandava Thoothar Perumal Temple are the other major temples in the environs.
The southernmost tip of the subcontinent, Kanniyakumari is known for the Hazrat Peer Mohammed waliyullah Dargah, Kumari Amman Temple and the Thanumalayan Temple. Other religious sites include the Mondaicaud Bhagavathi Temple, Sri Adikesavaperumal Temple, St. Xavier's Church, devasahayam mount, St. Therese of Infant Jesus church and the St. Arockiya Nathar Church within the district..
Main article: Hindu temples of Kumbakonam