Top 10 Tourist Places in Tamil Nadu : Discover the Rich Tapestry


Top 10 Tourist Places in Tamil Nadu
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Top 10 Tourist Places in Tamil Nadu

Top 10 Tourist Places in Tamil Nadu
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Introduction:

Welcome to the enchanting land of Tamil Nadu, where history, culture, and natural beauty converge to create a mesmerizing experience for every traveler. From the vibrant streets of Chennai to the ancient temples of Madurai, Tamil Nadu offers a diverse range of attractions. Join us as we explore the top 10 tourist places in this captivating state.

Madurai: The Athens of the East

Meenakshi Amman Temple
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Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and architectural marvels of Madurai, home to the iconic Meenakshi Amman Temple. Witness the grandeur of the temple’s gopurams, adorned with intricate sculptures. Don’t miss the evening Aarti ceremony, a spectacle of lights and devotion.

Synonymous with Madurai is the Meenakshi Sundareswarar twin Temple, the pivot around which the city has evolved. The Meenakshi Temple complex is literally a city – one of the largest of its kind in India and undoubtedly one of the oldest too. The temple grew with the contribution of each dynasty and victorious monarchs, into an enormous complex extending over an area of 65000 Sq m. The temple first came in to being 2000 years ago and was substantially expanded during the regime of Thirumalai Nayak(1623-55 AD).

Lord Siva in his incarnation as Sundareswarar and his fish-eyed spouse, Meenakshi, are enshrined in this twin temple. There are five massive gateways enclosing these two shrines. Even a casual visitor is fascinated by the many paintings and sculptures.

A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure know as “Ayiramkaal Mandapam” or the Hall of Thousand Pillars and each pillar features high, ornate, bold sculptures that look life like. View from any angle these pillars appear to be in a straight line, an architectural masterpiece indeed In the outermost corridors are situated the matchless musical pillars carved out of stones. When it is tapped, each pillar produces different musical note.

Timings : The temple is usually open between 0500hrs and 1230hrs and again between 1600 hrs and 21.30 hrs.

https://www.maduraimeenakshi.org/

Srirangam: Island of Spiritual Serenity

Srirangam is renowned for the Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple
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Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple

Located near Trichy, Srirangam is renowned for the Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, one of the largest functioning Hindu temples in the world. Explore the seven concentric enclosures, each with its own unique significance, and experience the spiritual aura that permeates the island.

Srirangam Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Sri Ranganathar located in the Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu. It is one of the most important temples for worshipping Lord Vishnu. The Srirangam Temple is also known by other names like Ranganathaswamy Temple, Ranganathar Temple, and Sri Ranganatha Temple. Sri Ranganathar is known by many other names: Ranganathar, Rangan, Aranganathar, Ranga and Thenarangathan.

Srirangam Temple is India’s largest temple compound and one of the world’s greatest religious complexes. The Ranganathaswamy Temple is constructed in Hindu architectural style and is believed to be constructed during the Vijayanagara period (1336–1565). The temple follows and worships the Thenkalai tradition of Sri Vaishnavism.

The abode of a deity often described as Nam Perumal and Azahagiya Manavaalan, Tamil for “our god” and “beautiful groom”, the magnificent Ranganathaswamy Temple is home to Lord Ranganatha, a form of Lord Vishnu in a reclining pose.

https://www.srirangapankajam.in/

Kanchipuram: City of a Thousand Temples

Kailasanathar Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple
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Kailasanathar Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple

Revered as one of the seven Moksha-puris in Hinduism, Kanchipuram boasts a rich heritage of temples and silk sarees. Dive into the ancient past as you visit Kailasanathar Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple, and witness the intricate silk weaving craftsmanship.

A city of great traditions, flaunting its alluring old-age charm; at the same time surprising visitors with enchanting locations to spend their vacations. Kancheepuram combines its glorious past with its effervescent spirit to give you unique experiences of a lifetime.

One might have heard of the world-famous Kancheepuram Sarees that have been adorning South Indian brides for decades. However the destination itself is much more than these amazing sarees. Kancheepuram is such a special town that takes you back in time and drench you with its old-world charm and cultural richness. One of the most visited tourism destinations in India, Kancheepuram is a destination where history comes to life in all its glory. 

What makes the town truly stand out is the architectural splendor of various structures that adorn the region. Believed to be more than a thousand years old, the city was ruled by various dynasties including Cholas, Pallavas, Vijayanagar and subsequently the British. The brilliance of Dravidian architecture and the intricate details it boasts of can be seen across the town. 

Another feather that embellishes the crown of Kancheepuram is its epithet as the ‘Golden City Of A Thousand Temples’. There are a number of amazing temples in and around Kancheepuram that attract pilgrims and tourists from even far away lands. These divine places of worship are architectural wonders themselves, rich in sculptures, art and ageless elegance. 

https://www.tamilnadutourism.tn.gov.in/destinations/kancheepuram

Thanjavur: The Cultural Capital

Brihadeeswarar Temple
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Brihadeeswarar Temple

Known for the Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Thanjavur is a treasure trove of art and culture. Marvel at the Chola architecture, explore the Thanjavur Palace, and witness the exquisite bronze and stone sculptures at the Brihadeeswarar Temple.

Brihadeeshwara Temple (Peruvudaiyar Kovil) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as Periya Kovil, RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajesvaram. It is one of the largest temples in India and is an example of Dravidian architecture during the Chola period. Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 AD, the temple turned 1000 years old in 2010. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”, with the other two being the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatesvara temple.

The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The vimanam (temple tower) is 216 ft (66 m) high and is the tallest in the world. The Kumbam (the apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is carved out of a single rock and weighs around 80 tons.

There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock measuring about 16 ft (4.9 m) long and 13 ft (4.0 m) high at the entrance. The entire temple structure is made out of granite, the nearest sources of which are about 60 km to the west of temple. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.

https://thanjavur.info/thanjavur-tourism/brihadeeswarar-temple-thanjavur/

Palani: Hilltop Abode of Lord Murugan

Palani Murugan Temple
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Palani Murugan Temple

Nestled in the Western Ghats, Palani is famous for the Palani Murugan Temple. Take a scenic cable car ride to the hilltop shrine and enjoy panoramic views. The pilgrimage to Palani is a spiritual journey that offers tranquility amidst nature.

Palani Arulmigu Shri Dhandayuthapani temple is one of the Six Abodes of Murugan. It is located in the town of Palani in Dindigul district, 100 kilometres (62 mi) southeast of Coimbatore and northwest of Madurai in the foot-hills of the Palani hills, Tamil Nadu, India.

Sage Narada once visited the celestial court of Shiva at Mount Kailash to present to him a fruit, the gyana-palam (literally, the fruit of knowledge), that held in it the elixir of wisdom. Upon Shiva expressing his intention of dividing the fruit between his two sons, Ganesha and Murugan,the sage counseled against cutting it. He decided to award it to whichever of his two sons first circled the world thrice. Accepting the challenge, Karthikeya started his journey around the globe on his mount peacock. However, Ganesha, who surmised that the world was no more than his parents Shiva and Shakti combined, circumambulated them. Pleased with their son’s discernment, Shiva awarded the fruit to Ganesha. When Kartikeya returned, he was furious to learn that his efforts had been in vain. He left Kailash and took up his abode in Palani hills in South India. As per another legend, once all sages and gods assembled in Kailash, the abode of Shiva. It resulted in the tilting of earth towards one direction. Shiva asked sage Agathiyar to move towards South to balance the tilt. Agastya employed a demon by name Ettumba to carry two hills in his shoulders to be placed in the South. The demon carried the hills down south and rested in a place. When he tried to lift one of the hills, it didn’t budge and he found a young man standing at the top of the hill not allowing it to be moved. The demon tried to attack the young man, but was defeated. Sage Agastya identified the young man as Karthikeya and asked him to pardon the demon. Karthikeya readily did so and let the hill remain there at Pazhani. It is a practice followed in the modern times where people carry milk in both their shoulders as a devotion to please Karthikeya. The demon carried the other hill to Swamimalai, which is another abode of Karthikeya. The idol of the Muruga in Palani, was created and consecrated by sage Bogar, one of aaseevaham’s (Ancient Tamil Culture) eighteen great siddhas out of an amalgam of nine poisons or navapashanam. The legend also holds that, the sculptor had to work very rapidly to complete its features, but that he spent so much time in creating the face, he did not have time to bestow but a rough grace upon the rest of the body, thus explaining the contrast between the artistic perfection of the face and the slightly less accomplished work upon the body. A shrine to Bhogar exists in the southwestern corridor of the temple, which, by legend, is said to be connected by a subterranean tunnel to a cave in the heart of the hill, where Bhogar continues to meditate and maintain his vigil, with eight idols of Muruga.

The deity, after centuries of worship, fell into neglect and was suffered to be engulfed by the forest. One night, Perumal a king of the Chera Dynastys, who controlled the area between the second and fifth centuries A.D., wandered from his hunting party and was forced to take refuge at the foot of the hill. It so befell, that the Subrahmanyan, appeared to him in a dream, and ordered him to restore the idol to its former state. The king commenced a search for the idol, and finding it, constructed the temple that now houses it, and re-instituted its worship. This is commemorated by a small stela at the foot of the staircase that winds up the hill.

Architecture

Pazhani Temple Elephant

The idol of the deity is said to be made of an amalgam of nine poisonous substances which forms an eternal medicine when mixed in a certain ratio. It is placed upon a pedestal of stone, with an archway framing it and represents the god Subrahmanya in the form He assumed at Palani – that of a very young recluse, shorn of his locks and all his finery, dressed in no more than a loincloth and armed only with a staff, the dhandam, as befits a monk.

The temple was re-consecrated by the Cheras, whose dominions lay to the west, and the guardian of whose eastern frontier was supposed to be the Kartikeya of Palani. Housed in the garbhagriham, the sanctum sanctorum, of the temple, the deity may be approached and handled only by the temple’s priests, who are members of the Gurukkal community of Palani, and hold hereditary rights of sacerdotal worship at the temple. Other devotees are permitted to come up to the sanctum, while the priests’ assistants, normally of the Pandāram community, are allowed up to the ante-chamber of the sanctum sanctorum.

The temple is situated upon the higher of the two hills of Palani, known as the Sivagiri. Traditionally, access to it was by the main staircase cut into the hill-side or by the yanai-padhai or elephant’s path, used by the ceremonial elephants. Pilgrims bearing water for the ritual bathing of the idol, and the priests, would use another way also carved into the hill-side but on the opposite side. Over the past half-century, three funicular railway tracks have been laid up the hill for the convenience of the pilgrims, and supplemented by a rope-way within the past decade. There are two modes of transport from the foothills to uphill. There is a winch, which operate from 6 a.m. on ordinary days and 4 a.m. during festive occasions. There is another rope car which operates from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Both winch and the rope car are closed after the Irakkala Pooja at 8 p.m.

https://palanimurugan.hrce.tn.gov.in/

Kodaikanal: The Princess of Hill Stations

Princess of Hills: Bryant Park and Coaker's Walk
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Kodaikkanal
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Princess of Hills: Bryant Park and Coaker’s Walk

Escape to the cool climate of Kodaikanal, a picturesque hill station surrounded by lush greenery and pristine lakes. Boat in the serene Kodaikanal Lake, trek to Pillar Rocks, and be captivated by the beauty of Bryant Park and Coaker’s Walk.

Referred to as the “Princess of Hills”, Kodaikanal is one of the most sought-after hill station destinations in Tamil Nadu and the whole of India. Located at about 7000 ft above the sea-level, Kodaikanal was established as a destination by British bureaucrats and Christian missionaries in the year of 1845. However, the earliest references to the stunning hill station can be found as early as the Sangam literature time. However the modern era of Kodaikanal began only after the British came in. It served as a summer retreat and a vacation spot for the colonial power. Ever since those days, Kodaikanal has been a popular choice among hill station lovers for a quick escape up the mountains. 

The verdant hills, the cascading waterfalls, picturesque lakes, pristine countrysides – the reason why Kodaikanal has been popular among tourists are many. For a discerning traveller, the locale offers much to see, enjoy and experience. Plenty of activities await a visitor here. Boating, cycling, horse riding and trekking are some of the most common among them. One of the other spectacles of this region is the Kurinji flower that blooms only once in 12 years, making itself a unique spectacle to watch.

https://www.tamilnadutourism.tn.gov.in/destinations/kodaikanal

Kanyakumari: Where Oceans Converge

Kanyakumari
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Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean – converge

Kanniyakumari is a special destination in many different ways. It is the southernmost tip of the mainland of India. Three major water bodies – the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean – converge right here in Kanniyakumari. Such a geographically blessed destination is rare and these features make Kanniyakumari  one of the most visited places in India annually. 

The place gets its name from the Hindu goddess Devi Kanniyakumari, who is considered to be the sister of Lord Krishna. When the Dutch East India Company conquered Portuguese Ceylon from the Portuguese East Indies, the name Kanniyakumari was shortened to Comorin. Eventually during the British regime in India, the destination began to be called Cape Comorin. Later, the Government of India renamed it as Kanniyakumari. 

Witness the breathtaking spectacle of the confluence of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean at Kanyakumari. Visit the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Thiruvalluvar Statue, and enjoy the sunset at the southernmost tip of mainland India.

https://kanniyakumari.nic.in/tourism/

Ooty: Queen of the Nilgiris

Queen of Hill Stations
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Queen of Hill Stations

Welcome to Nilgiris, one of the oldest mountain ranges, located at the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Nilgiris is a part of the Western Ghats. Ooty the “Queen of Hill Stations”, Coonoor 19 kms from Ooty and Kotagiri 31 kms from Ooty, are the three hill stations of this district..

Rolling grasslands, dense sholas, waterfalls, streams, lakes, vast expanse of tea plantations, interspersed with vegetable gardens, spectacular view points, an amazing variety of flora and fauna, fabulous trekking trails, innumerable heritage sites, spell binding sunrises and sunsets, magical light, pollution free atmosphere, mist, clouds, fog, star studded skies, serenity etc.

Nilgiris presents a truly breathtaking kaleidoscope of visual treats and soul stirring experiences. Come, discover it!

Revel in the colonial charm of Ooty, surrounded by tea plantations and rolling hills. Take a ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, stroll through the Botanical Gardens, and enjoy the tranquility of Ooty Lake.

https://nilgiris.nic.in/

Srivilliputhur: Temple Town with Cultural Splendor

Srivilliputhur Andal Temple
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Srivilliputhur Andal Temple

Nestled in the heart of the quaint town of Srivilliputhur in Tamil Nadu, this temple is a living testament to the grandeur of Hindu architecture and the unshakable faith of its devotees. Its history is intertwined with the legend of Andal, the Tamil poet-saint who lived in the 7th century and wrote hymns of unrivalled beauty that still resonate with devotees to this day.

As the story goes, Andal was found as a baby beneath a Tulsi plant by a cowherd, who raised her as his daughter. As she grew, Andal displayed an extraordinary devotion towards Lord Vishnu, singing and composing hymns in his praise with a passion that was unmatched. It is said that her devotion was so pure that Lord Vishnu himself appeared before her and granted her the boon of union with him in his divine form.

This temple, dedicated to the revered Andal, is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is worshipped as Vadabadrasai, and his consort Goddess Lakshmi as Andal. It is believed to be the birthplace of two of the Alvars, namely Periyalvar and his foster daughter, Andal. The temple is a true marvel of architectural brilliance. Its towering gopuram, decorated with intricate carvings and paintings, serves as a testament to the skill and creativity of the ancient artisans who built it.

Explore the historical town of Srivilliputhur, known for the grand Andal Temple. The annual Andal Thirukalyanam festival is a vibrant celebration that attracts devotees and tourists alike.

https://www.tamilnadutourism.tn.gov.in/destinations/srivilliputhur-andal-temple

Chennai Marina: A Stroll by the Bay of Bengal

Marina Beach in Chennai
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Marina Beach in Chennai

Conclude your Tamil Nadu journey with a leisurely stroll along the Marina Beach in Chennai, the second-longest urban beach in the world. Enjoy the sea breeze, visit the lighthouse, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this coastal city.

Marina beach in Chennai along the Bay of Bengal is India’s longest and world’s second longest beach. This predominantly sandy of nearly 12 kilometers extends from Beasant Nagar in the south to Fort St. George in the north. Chennai Marina beach was renovated by Governor Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff in 1880s. All tourists traveling to Chennai never miss visiting this grand Chennai beach. Marina beach is easily accessible by buses, taxis, two and three wheelers.

Marina Beach Activities

Marina beach is full of activity in the early morning hours and in the evenings. Walking along the beaches during sunrise and sunset is a pleasant experience for all. In the evening this beach becomes a fair ground with numerous stalls selling artifacts, handcrafted showpieces, ethnic jewelry, and food items. Children play games and frolic around.

Going into the sea should be done under expert guidance as the undercurrent is strong. Flying kites and pony riding are popular activities on this beach.

Marina Beach Attractions

The aquarium and the Ice House are the main attractions on the Marina beach. The Chepauk Palace, Senate House, PWD office, Presidency College, and the Chennai University are historical buildings located on the beach drive.

The Victory of Labor and Mahatma Gandhi are two prominent statues on the Marina beach. The other statues lined along this Chennai beach include those of Swami Sivananda, Avaaiyar, Thanthai Periyar, Tiruvalluvar, Dr. Annie Beasant, G.U. Pope, Sir Thomas Munro, Subramaniya Bharathiyar, Kamarajar, Robert Caldwell, Kannagi, Kamarajar, M.G. Ramachandran, and Shivaji Ganesan.

https://chennai.nic.in/tourist-place/marina/

Conclusion:

Tamil Nadu is a treasure trove for travelers seeking a blend of history, spirituality, and natural beauty. Each destination on this list offers a unique experience, making it a must-visit for those looking to explore the rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes of this southern Indian state. Plan your itinerary wisely and embark on a journey that will leave you with lasting memories.

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