A melange of all things beautiful, Tamil Nadu is one of the most alluring parts of South India. Dotted with temples, blessed with natural beauty, adorned with beaches and sprinkled with rich history is Tamil Nadu, making one of the most fascinating destinations of India. Be it a god lover, history buff, adventure enthusiast or wanderer, every traveler meets their travel need at Tamil Nadu.
Set on the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula, Tamil Nadu has witnessed the reign of many rulers like the Cholas, Pandyas, Cheras, Pallavas, Dutch and British through the years. This is why, one can witness a blend of different architectural styles and art in the state. Every dynasty added to the colors of Tamil Nadu.
As a tourist destination, Tamil Nadu has an extensive platter to offer. From beaches to temples to hill stations to museums to parks and waterfalls, the state has unending list of tourist attractions. To make it simpler for you, here we list down the top things to do in Tamil Nadu:
Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur
Also known as Peruvudaiyar Kovil, Brihadeeswarar Temple is a popular Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located in Thanjavur city of Tamil Nadu, the temple is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site known as ‘Great Living Chola Temples’. The temple is one of the largest and most highly prized architectural sites of India.
The Peruvudaiyar Kovil was built back during 1010 AD by Emperor Raja Raja Chola I. The temple is also known as the ‘Big Temple’ and it turned 1000 years old in the year 2010. The temple stands amid fortified walls which were added during the sixteenth century. These walls add more grandeur to the entire look of the temple.
The star attraction of the temple is the Vimana or the temple tower, which is 216 feet or 66 meters in height. The Vimana is one of the tallest towers in the entire world. The entrance of the temple has a huge statue of a sacred bull or Nandi that measures around thirteen feet high and sixteen feet long. The statue is believed to be carved out of a single rock.
The temple is one of the most popular attractions of Thanjavur and people from all over visit the temple to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.
Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai
Located in the temple city of Madurai, Meenakshi Amman Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati, who is known as Meenakshi in the temple, and her consort, Lord Shiva, named as Sundareswarar. The temple stands as a symbol of antiquity and holds immense importance in the hearts of all the natives.
Meenakshi Amman Temple has 14 gopurams (gateway towers) that range between 45–50m height. The tallest of all the Gopurams is the southern Gopuram which is 51.9 meters (170 ft) high. The Gopuram has two golden sculptured Vimanas. The Gopuram has the shrine of the main deities of the temple, Goddess Parvati, and Lord Shiva. The temple is known to have around 33.000 sculptures. It is believed that around 15,000 visitors visit the temple every day. The temple receives an annual revenue of around 60 million.
The star attraction of the temple is Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam, also known as the Hall of 1000 pillars. The hall has two rows of pillars that are carved with images of yali, the mythological beast with the body of a lion and head of an elephant. Yali is commonly used as the symbol of Nayak power. The hall was built back in the year 1569 by Ariyanatha Mudaliar.
The most important festival celebrated in the temple is “Meenakshi Thirukalyanam” which is celebrated every year in the month of April. The festival celebrates the marriage of Meenakshi and Lord Shiva.
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Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
Group of monuments at Mahabalipuram include a monument complex which is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. The group of monuments have 40 sanctuaries that were founded by the Pallava kings during the 7th and 8th centuries. The group also includes the largest open-air bas-relief in the world, which is why Mahabalipuram is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The sanctuaries are specially known for their mandapas, rathas (temples in the form of chariots), giant open-air reliefs and more that feature numerous sculptures of Lord Shiva.
The Group of monuments at Mahabalipuram can be divided into five categories:
Ratha temples are present in the form of processional chariots which are further cut into residual blocks. The second one is the mandapa, or rock sanctuaries which are designed in the form of rooms covered with bas-reliefs that display the acts of Lord Vishnu, Five Pandavas and Lord Krishna. The next are the rock reliefs in the open air that represent a popular episode in the iconography of Lord Shiva and the Descent of the Ganges to the earth. Then, there are temples that were built using cut stone, like the Temple of Rivage that was constructed under the rule of King Rajasimha Narasimavarmn II (695-722). The last category is that of monolithic rathas, that range from single to triple storey.
The Shore Temple is another major attraction included in the group of monuments. The temple is popular for featuring typical Pallava style of architecture.
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Kapaleeshwar Temple, Chennai
Entry fee: no entry fee
Opening and closing timings: Open all days of the week except Monday from 5:30 AM – 12:00 PM
And 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
One of the most revered and oldest temples of Chennai, Kapaleeswarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to be built back in the 7th century CE by the Pallavas.
The temple is considered one of the finest examples of Dravidian style of architecture. The main attraction of the temple is the 120 feet Gopuram that stands high to leave you mesmerized. The inscriptions found inside the temple are believed to date back to the 12th century. As you enter the temple, you get to see a huge sculpture of a holy saint known as Gnanasambandar. Also, there are bronze carvings of the 63-Shaivate saints that are carried around the city during the Aruvathumoovar festival, held in the month of March-April.
Goddess Parvati is worshipped in the temple as Goddess Karpagambal or the Goddess of the Wish Yielding Tree. According to the tradition, Goddess Karpagambal is offered a garland which is made of gold coins on the ritual of Friday worship.
The temple houses a number of shrines. The most prominent among all are the shrines of Kapaleeshwarar and Karpagambal. Six rituals are performed daily in the temple. Also, a number of festivals are organized in the temple such as the Arubathimoovar festival, which is celebrated during Pankuni in the Tamil calendar.
Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram
Set on the beautiful island of Rameshwaram is Ramanathaswamy Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples, where Lord Shiva is worshiped in the form of a Jyotirlinga. Also, it is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams.
The temple is considered a holy pilgrimage site for Shaivites, Vaishnavites and Smarthas.
Lord Shiva, referred as Ramanathaswamy here is the main deity of the temple. The temple is notable for housing the world’s most sacred sand mound, a lingam that is believed to be created by Rama’s wife Sita when she wishes to worship Lord Shiva. Other than this lingam, there is one more lingam in the main sanctum that was brought by Lord Hanuman from Kailash and is known as Vishwalingam. The lingam brought by Lord Hanuman is worshipped before the other one as Lord Ram told to do so.
The temple dates back to the 16th to 18th centuries and is well-known for its 1000-pillar hall and 22 theerthams (temple tanks) where all the pilgrims take a dip before taking the blessings of the deity. Ramanathaswamy temple is believed to have the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India.
Dhyanalinga Temple, Coimbatore
Opening and closing timings
All days of the week from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Dhyanalinga Temple is well-known for its tranquil and spiritual ambiance. Dhyanalinga Temple is a popular meditation center located in Coimbatore. The shrine has a 13 ft high lingam of Lord Shiva right in the center that is entirely made of black granite.
Dhyanalinga Temple speaks much about the history and architecture of ancient times with its stories and paintings.
The temple is believed to feature powerful energy that has been created using the essence of yogic science. The temple is spread over a large area and it has a special where visitors can take part in yoga and meditation sessions. The temple features a unique rustic charm that adds to the serenity of the place.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari
Opening and closing time:
Every day from 9 am to 5:30 pm
INR 20 per person
Located in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a popular tourist attraction. The memorial was built back in the year 1970 and is considered one of the finest examples of architecture in South India. Set on a rock island, the memorial houses a statue of the great preacher Swami Vivekananda. It is believed that Swami Vivekananda came to this rocky island and meditated at the island to attain enlightenment.
Vivekananda Mandapam honors Swami Vivekananda and it has a meditation hall (Dhyana Mandapam) where visitors can sit and meditate in tranquility. The mandapa features a blend of different architectural styles that come from all across India. Other than the meditation hall, it has Sabha Mandapam which is the Assembly Hall.
Shripada Mandapam is a square hall which consists of Garbha Graham, Inner Prakaram and Outer Prakaram. There is also a study hall where visitors can learn about the significance of the place.
Nilgiri mountain railway ,Ooty
First class: INR 142
Second class: INR 24
Opening and closing timings
From Mettupalayam at 7:10 am, From Ooty at 3 pm
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway was built back in the year 1908 by the British. This 46-kilometre beautiful toy train journey begins from Mettupalayam. The train goes through bridges, tunnels, and curves. The journey is further enhanced as it moves through the beautiful landscape of Ooty. The train travels through different elevations from 300 feet to 7200 feet. From the train, you can enjoy spectacular views of the hill station. The toy train gained much popularity after it got featured in Shahrukh Khan Starrer movie Dil Se.
INR 40 for half an hour for 2 seater pedal boat
INR 70 for half an hour per person for 4 seater pedal boat
INR 110 for half an hour per person for row boat
Opening and closing timings:
All days of the week 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Also known as Kodai Lake, Kodaikanal Lake is a manmade lake that is shaped like a star. It was under the instructions of Sir Vere Henry Levinge, the then Collector of Madurai that the lake was created in the year 1863. Tourists from all across the world visit to enjoy a boat ride at the lake.
The lake has a functional boat club which makes it one of the most popular boating destinations. Boat ride at the lake is the prime attraction. You really can’t miss a boat ride when at this serene lake. A number of flower shows are organized on the banks of the lake.
The lake is all around surrounded by lush green meadows which add to its beautiful look. It is a great place to enjoy a picnic with your family.
Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram
Also known as Chidambaram Temple, Thillai Natarajah Temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu. The shrine holds immense importance among the Saivites as it was the first temple for this sect.
Lord Shiva presides in the temple as Thillai Koothan (Thillai Nataraja – Shiva, The Lord of Dance). It in this temple where Lord Shiva was born in the form of a sculpture and bronze image of a cosmic dancer. Soon, this image of Lord Shiva that is based on a Tamilian concept became an important symbol in Hinduism. Chidambaram Temple is the only shrine where Lord Shiva is present in an anthropomorphic form. The form says that Lord Shiva is a supreme being who performs different cosmic activities. Other than this form, Lord Shiva is also present in two other forms – crystallized lingam and aether-space classical element. Sivakami Amman, goddess of female energy is the consort deity in the temple.
The structure of the shrine dates back to the 12th and 13th century. A number of additions have been made in the structure through the years. In the temple, you can find bronze statues and stone sculptures that showcase images of different deities and the famous Thillai trees (Excoecaria agallocha) that are present in the surrounding forest. This kind of architecture in the temple speaks of the Chola and Pallava art that was very popular during those times.
The temple is one of the five Pancha Bootha Sthalams that are considered the holiest Lord Shiva temples where each temple represents one of the five classical elements. Chidambaram Temple represents akasha (aether). Also, the Chidambaram temple is one of the three foremost Shiva abodes in the world. The other two places are Koneswaram temple located in Trincomalee and Mount Kailash.
Sea Shell Museum, Mahabalipuram
Located in Mahabalipuram is India Seashell Museum, which is the largest seashell museum in India. The museum is well-known for housing 40,000 rare seashells, fossils, whale fins and shark teeth. This is a popular tourist destination located 50 km from Chennai.
The place offers a visual treat to all the visitors. The museum is spread over an area of one and a half acre green campus. The campus has an aquarium which is full of colorful ocean fishes and well-stocked boutique. There is also a restaurant in the campus where you can treat your taste buds with signature seafood in a beautiful ambiance.
The museum also has much to offer to all the shopaholics. You can shop for exquisite pearl jewelry and other artifacts from Maya Bazaar. All the products offered at the bazaar are created from seashells.
Ramaswamy Temple, Kumbakonam
Located in Kumbakonam, Ramaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Rama who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Built by the Nayakkar Kings, the temple is known for its spectacular architecture.
The beautiful temple has a 3-tiered Gopuram and is surrounded by walls. The main shrine has an idol of Lord Rama and his consort Sita. Other than these idols, there are images of Bharata, Lakshmana, Shatrugana – brothers of Lord Rama. Also, there is an idol of Lord Hanuman. The pillars of this central shrine are adorned with different episodes from the epic- Ramayana.
The walls of prakaram (closed precincts of a temple) depict Ramayana in the form of pictures. The entire epic can be read through 3 pradakshinams(rounds) of the sanctum.
Kumari Amman Temple, Kanyakumari
Opening and closing timings
4:30 am to 12 pm
4 pm to 8:15 pm
Kumari Amman Temple, also known as Kanyakumari Devi Temple is a revered shrine located in Sannathy Street in Kanyakumari. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess- Shree Bhagavathy (Durga). The temple was built by sage Parasurama, who believed in the power of the goddess and placed her idol in the temple.
Goddess Shree Bhagavathy is present in the temple in the form of an adolescent girl child. The goddess is popularly known with different names such as Shree Baala Bhadra, Shree Baala, Durga, Kanya Devi and Devi Kumari. She is also worshiped as Shree Bhadrakali by devotees. The main goddess Devi Kumari is believed to remove rigidity from the mind of the devotees. The goddess also bestows peace of mind to all the devotees. It is believed that those who pray to the goddess with utmost devotion can feel tears in their eyes.
The temple is believed to be highly sacred as per the sage, Parasurama. Kanyakumari Devi Temple is one among the 108 revered Shakti Peethas of the world.
Botanical Garden, Ooty
INR 15 per person for children
INR 30 per person for adults
INR 50 per camera still photography
INR 100 per camera videography
Opening and closing timings:
All days of the week 7:00 AM – 6:30 PM
A paradise for nature lovers, Botanical Garden Ooty is popular for housing an exotic variety of flora. Laid out in the year 1848, Botanical Garden sprawls over an area of 22 hectares which is divided into different sections. The garden is maintained by the Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department. One of the oldest gardens of India, Botanical garden is divided into six different areas including Nursery, Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory and Fountain Terrace.
Located on the slopes of the Doddabetta peak, the gardens have a terrace style layout which further enhances its beauty. The main attraction is the rose garden which is located on a small terrace atop a hill. During the month of April and June, visitors can have a look at the wide variety of roses that bloom here. The garden also has a wide array of plants, ferns, shrubs and herbs. In the month of May every year, an exhibition of rare plant species is organized in the garden.
It is a great place to sit back and relax close to nature. Enjoy a stroll around the garden and feel refreshed amid the greenery.
The best time to visit the Botanical Garden Ooty is during the month of April, May and September.
Great Living Chola Temples
The Great Living Chola Temples were built back during the 10th and 12th centuries CE when the Chola dynasty ruled over South India and a trip to these magnificent temples definitely tops the list of things to do in Tamil Nadu. These temples are a testimony of the longest ruling dynasties (850 CE-1250 CE) of Southern India. The dynasty achieved much in terms of architecture, painting and bronze casting. All this is reflected in the temples which the dynasty built during its rule of 200 years. These temples not only speak of the architectural skills of those times but also of the glory and prosperity of the Chola emperors. The emperors of the Chola Dynasty were true devotees of Lord Shiva which is most of the temples of built by them are dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The architecture of these temples is so spectacular that it leaves every visitor spellbound. The typical Dravidian style of architecture was further enhanced when the emperors designed these temples in a new way. The new way was named the Chola style which involved the use of granite for designing idols of kings, deities, dancers and warriors.
The Great Living Chola Temples include Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, Brihadeeswarar at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. All these temples have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Guindy National Park
INR 20 per person Adults
INR 5 per person Children
INR 20 per still camera
INR 100 per video camera
Opening and closing timings:
All days of the week except Tuesday 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Spread over an area of 2.70 sq km, Guindy National Park is one of the smallest national parks of India located in the center of the beautiful city of Chennai. The park is known for housing the rarest type of vegetation – the tropical dry evergreen vegetation.
The park is home to 2,000 spotted deers, 400 blackbucks, 24 jackals, 14 species of mammals, a wide variety of snakes, geckos, tortoises and over 130 species of birds, over 60 species of butterflies and spiders each, different invertebrates like grasshoppers, ants, termites, crabs, snails, slugs, scorpions, mites, earthworms, millipedes.
The floral biodiversity of dry evergreens and thorn forests is rare and also endangered. The most common residents of the park – Blackbucks are also endangered species along with some other species of the national park. There is a special section in the park where you can spot the King Cobra and Python along with other snakes.
The park is a wonderland for bird watchers as it is home to around 150 species of birds which include black-winged kite, grey partridge, crow pheasant, yellow-wattled lapwing, parrot, quail, paradise fly-catcher, honey buzzard, pariah kite, golden-backed woodpecker, red-wattled lapwing, blue-faced malkoha, shrikes, Asian koel, minivets, munias, parakeet, tailor bird, drongo, and stone curlew. One can also spot a number of migratory birds in the park such as night herons, teals, garganeys, medium egrets, pochards, large egrets, pond herons and open-billed storks every fall season.
Popularly known as Cloudland Falls, Suruli Falls originate from Meghamalai or Periyar Mountain Range and drops down from a height of 150 feet to gather in a beautiful pool. The falls are all around surrounded by dense forests, wild flowers and fruits which add to its charm.
The ideal time to visit the attraction is from the month of June to October when the weather remains cool and pleasant.
There are 18 caves near the falls that are well-known to feature the rock-cut architecture of 18th century. The most popular among all is the Kailasanathar Temple Cave, which is located at a height of 800 m. The cave is known house spring which is believed to have healing powers.
Located near the falls is Suruli Velappar Temple, dedicated to Lord Kartikeya, which is visited by a number of worshippers every day.
Suruli Falls is located on the way of the very popular Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. This makes it a perfect place for a day out with friends and family.
The famous summer festival of Tamil Nadu is organized near the Suruli Falls. This Festival is organized by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department which is attended by a number of tourists.
Airavatesvara Temple, Kumbakonam
Temple Timing: 6:00 Am to 10 Pm
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Airavatesvara Temple is a sacred Hindu temple located in the town of Darasuram, near Kumbakonam. Featuring Dravidian architecture, the temple was built during 12th century CE by Rajaraja Chola II. The temple is a part of the Great Chola Temples along with Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is also known as Airavateshvara in the temple as he is worshipped by Airavata, the white elephant of the king of the gods, Indra in the temple.
Lord Shiva’s consort Goddess Parvati is worshipped as Periya Nayaki Amman in the temple. This shrine is located close to the main temple.
The walls of the temple feature numerous inscriptions. Some of the inscriptions record the renovation of the shrines done by Kulottunga Chola III. The temple houses a number of sculptures like the 108 Devara Othuvars who used to sing in the temple during the time of Raja Raja II. Also, there are sculptures of river goddesses such as Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari and Narmada.
The verandah of the temple is well-known for its 108 sections of inscriptions. Here, every section has a name, image and description of the 63 Saivacharya (Saivite saints) listing the principal events in their life. The verandah speaks of the history of Saivism in this region.
Mamallapuram Pancha Rathas
Also known as Pandava Rathas, Pancha Rathas is a monument complex located on the Coromandel Coast in Mahabalipuram. The complex is considered one the finest examples of Indian rock-cut architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top things to do in Tamil Nadu, Pancha Rathas date back to the 7th century. Constructed under the reign of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I of the Pallava Kingdom, the structures take no influence from Indian architecture. However, the complex was never completed after the death of Narasimhavarman I.
All the structures of the complex are named after the Pancha Pandavas- Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira (“Dharmaraja”), Nakula and Sahadeva and their common wife Draupadi.
Chitragupta Temple, Kanchipuram
Chitragupta Temple was built back in the 9th century during the Chola period. The temple is the star attraction of Kanchipuram as it is a unique temple dedicated to Lord Chitragupta, the chief accountant and minister of Lord Yamraj, the god of death. It is believed that Lord Chitragupta keeps the record of all the good and evil deeds of a human being then decides to send them to hell or heaven accordingly. Other than the Chitragupta Temple in Kanchipuram, there is no separate shrine dedicated to Lord Chitragupta. This is why, the temple holds much religious importance.
Lord Chitragupta is believed to be Athi Devathai for Kethu which is one of the Navagrahas. With this is said that those who worship Chitragupta would attain wealth and prosperity. Devotees throng the temple every day to perform pujas, especially on the full moon day every month.
Palani Murugan Temple
Set at an elevation of 1500 feet above sea level, Palani Murugan Temple is dedicated to the main deity of South India, Lord Murugan. Lord Murugan is also known as Dandayudhapani Swami, Lord with a stick in his hand. The idol of the main deity is prepared with an amalgam of nine poisonous substances that together form a medicine when mixed in a particular ratio. People from all over the world visit here to seek the blessings of Lord Murugan. Six pujas are organized every day in the temple, starting from 7 in the morning till 8 pm in the evening. Palani Murugan Temple is one of the six abodes (Arupadaiveedu) of Hindu deity Murugan.
Covelong Beach, Chennai
Located at a distance of 40 km from Chennai, Covelong Beach is set on the Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal. Sparkling golden sand, bright sun and clear blue water of the sea allures you to this beautiful beach. The surroundings are soothing and tranquil, that add to the peace and happiness that one attains on a visit to the beach. It is a great place to lay back and unwind, away from the hustle and bustle daily routine.
The scenic beauty of the beach is truly unmatched and it allures tourists from all across the country and the world. Take a stroll around the beach or just lay back with your favorite drink, the beach is perfect for a relaxed day out with friends and family. Visitors can also enjoy a number of activities like swimming, fishing, water sports like water surfing.
The main attraction of the beach is an ancient Catholic Church, which is in the state of its ruins. The place tells much about the history of the region.
Mahabalipuram, a popular destination of South India, located at a distance of 19 km from Covelong Beach. The place is well-known for its shore temples that date back to the 7th century. The temples feature beautiful carvings and designs that speak of its alluring architecture.
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High Field Tea Factory, Coonoor
A popular tea tour plantation, Highfield Tea Factory is located in Coonoor, a picturesque hill station located in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. The entire landscape of the area is just perfect for tea plantations. With time, the place has become a popular attraction among tea lovers. At Highfield Tea Factory, people can have a look at the entire tea making process and also buy different varieties of tea and spices available at the store near it.
Highfield tea factory is well equipped and is well-known for producing the tea that matches the needs of both the national and international markets. The process of manufacturing tea at the factory has a well-planned process which helps in producing superior quality tea.
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Dolphin’s Nose, Coonoor
Entry fee: No entry fee
Opening and closing timings:
Open all days of the week
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
A popular viewpoint set at a distance of 10 km from the hill station of Coonoor, Dolphin’s Nose is a popular viewpoint located over 1,000 feet above sea level. The place gets the name from its peak that resembles a dolphin’s nose. From the tip of the peak, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the Catherine Falls. Dolphin’s Nose is one of the best viewpoints that offer an opportunity to have a look at the surreal beauty of nature. You really can’t miss watching a sunrise and sunset from Dolphin’s Nose which is an altogether a unique experience.
Many popular attractions of Coonoor are located nearby Dolphin’s Nose. Law’s Falls, another popular waterfall of Coonoor is located nearby. Droog Fort is another popular tourist attraction that is situated 15 km from Coonoor.
Marina Beach, Chennai
One of the most popular tourist attractions of Chennai is Marina Beach which the second largest beach of the world. 12 km long, Marina Beach is known for its sparkling blue water and golden soft sand.
Marina Beach is a popular picnic spot of Chennai where tourists visit to enjoy a memorable day. Visitors can indulge in different activities such as sunbathing, fishing, wind surfing, kite flying, pony rides and beach volleyball. It is a great place for those who wish to spend some time close to nature and unwind in tranquility. People from all over the country and the world visit the beach to explore its natural beauty.
Marina beach is one tourist attraction that you really can’t miss on a visit to Chennai. The natural beauty of the beach is truly unmatched and it leaves every visitor amazed. This is an attraction that can be visited all around the year. However, the best time to visit the Marina Beach is from the month of November to February when the weather remains pleasant.
The beach is lined up with a number of food stalls where visitors can enjoy delicious snacks. There are a number of tourist attractions of Chennai that are located near to the Marina Beach Drive including Anna Square, Senate House, MGR Memorial.
Elliot’s Beach, Chennai
Located around 16 km from Chennai, Elliot’s Beach, also known as Besant Nagar Beach and Bessie Beach is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Tamil Nadu.
The beach is immensely popular among both locals and tourists. It is an ideal hangout place where people can enjoy some great time with their friends and family. The beach is the perfect place to unwind and soak in the sun. The beach shore is lined up with a number of restaurants where visitors can savor delicious snacks.
There are a number of tourist attractions near the Besant Nagar Beach including Ashtalakshmi Kovil, Velankanni Church, and Karl Schmidt Memorial.
Doddabetta Tea Factory, Ooty
INR 10 per person for factory visit
INR 10 per person for museum
Opening and closing timings:
Open all days of the week except Sunday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
It is time you step in a tea factory and take a look at the art of tea making. Pass through the walls speaking loud about the history of tea and the art of its making through paintings. This is more than a museum for you.
An executive is always there to guide you through the factory and museum. Along with taking you through the different operation areas of the place, they also inform you regarding the entire process of making tea. Walk in through the factory and see the entire process of making tea. CTC machines work at high speed to offer you a refreshing cup of tea. From the art of withering to fermenting, rolling, firing and sorting, experience and explore this unique art.
This is one place that you must visit on your tour to Ooty as it makes you understand much along with understanding the art of making tea, different grades of tea in order to serve the perfect cup of tea.
Set at an elevation of 1200 to 1600 m above sea level, Annamalai Hills is a breathtaking hill station located 56 km from Pollachi in Tamil Nadu. The hills are home to varied flora and fauna that allures tourists from all across the world.
Annamalai houses different wildlife sanctuaries like Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary. Annamalai takes its name from ‘Anai’ meaning elephant and ‘Malai’ meaning hills. This is because the region is home to a number of wild elephants.
Annamalai is well-known for its beautiful temples. This is why, Annamalai Hills are also known as the ‘holy hills’. Annamalai Hills is popularly known by different names like Sonachalam, Arunagiri, Arunai, Arunachalam, and Sonagiri.
Government Museum, Chennai
Opening and closing timings
Saturday- Thursday from 9:30 AM TO 5:00 PM
Indian/foreigner: INR 15/250
Camera/video: INR 200/500
The star attraction is the Bronze Gallery that houses a great collection of South Indian bronzes that have been collected back from the 7th-century Pallava era till today.
Also known as Madras Museum, Government Museum speaks majorly of South India. Set right across the British-built Pantheon Complex, a visit to the Government Museum is one of the top things to do in Tamil Nadu. The museum started in the year 1851, which makes it the second oldest museum of India.
The museum has six buildings which house 46 galleries. The entire museum has been divided into 6 sections: Main Building, Front Building, Bronze Gallery, Children’s Museum, National Art Gallery and Contemporary Art Gallery.
The main building has Archaeology, Zoology, Botany, Geology and Numismatics galleries. Anthropology and Archaeology galleries are set in the Front Building. The National Art Gallery constitutes Decorative Art Gallery, Indian Traditional Art Gallery, Tanjore Painting Gallery and Ravi Varma Painting Gallery. The most popular gallery, Bronze gallery consists of Archaeology, Numismatics, and Chemical Conservation galleries. Children’s Museum has Dolls Gallery, Civilization Gallery, Science Gallery, Transportation Gallery, Technology Gallery and Kids Corner. Contemporary Art Gallery consists of Handicrafts of Tamil Nadu, Raja Ravi Varma Gallery, British Portraits Gallery, Modern Art Gallery, the Rock and Cave Art Gallery and the Holographic Gallery.
Murugan Idli Shop, Madurai
Opened in 1993, Murugan Idli Shop started in the year 1993 as a casual dining restaurant serving South Indian cuisine. Today, it is one of the most popular eating joints of Madurai. The restaurant is well-known for its heartwarming hospitality.
Murugan Idli Shop is the place to be for all those who wish to savor vegetarian South Indian cuisine. A wide variety of items are available at the restaurant where guests can experience the real taste of South India.
People from all over visit the restaurant to enjoy the specialty- idli, hot dosas, and delicious chutneys. ‘Jigarthanda’ is a very popular drink served at the restaurant. The restaurant is located in different regions of the country and the world including Chennai, Vellore, Madurai, and Singapore.
Banana Market, Madurai
Banana Market of Madurai deserves a must visit from all. Around 16 varieties of bananas are sold in this colorful market. Watch thousands of bananas coming together clustered on branches. Treat the banana lover in you with such wide variety. You can also visit the vegetable market located next to the banana market. Pick some fresh fruits and vegetables for the day.
Paragliding at Nilgiris
Tamil Nadu is a popular adventure sports destination that allures adventure enthusiasts from all over the world. The Nilgiri ranges of Tamil Nadu are not only known for their scenic beauty and lush greenery but also for being an ideal destination for the adventure sport paragliding.
Located at a distance 20 km from Ooty, Kalahatty in Nilgiris is considered a great place for indulging into paragliding. Starting from Kalahatty, the launch area, you soar high over the thick green forests, remote villages, and many more unexplored regions. The Madras Hang-Gliders Association provides training and motorized hang gliders to all the paragliding enthusiasts.
The best time to enjoy paragliding in Nilgiris is from the month of March to May and September to November.
Shopping in Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram is a hub for shopaholics. The place is well-known for offering the finest silk of the country. The silk prepared here is woven from silk worms that are produced only on mulberry. This entire process of weaving the finest silk started back around 400 years ago. Without a doubt, Kanchipuram silk saree is a must pick on your visit to Kanchipuram. Mahatma Gandhi Road is popular for having some of the best silk saree centers. Other than sarees, you can also buy things like idols of gods and goddesses, jewelry boxes, and other artifacts.
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Madras Crocodile Bank
INR 35 per person Adults
INR 10 per person Children (below 10 years)
INR 20 – 40 still camera
INR 100 video camera
Opening and closing timings:
All days of the week except Monday from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Created back in the year 1976, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology an initiative of the conservationist Romulus Whitaker to save endangered Indian crocodile species like Marsh (mugger) crocodile, gharial, and salt-water crocodile. The trust is one of its first kind in Asia and also one of the oldest non-government environmental organizations in the entire continent. The trust has saved a number of crocodile and alligator species from extinction.
One of the largest reptile zoos in the world, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology aims to promote the conservation of reptiles and amphibians. One can also spot a number of water birds and turtles in the zoo. The bank houses around 2500 species including 10 different species of turtles and 14 species of crocodiles.
A number of camps, field trips and training workshops are conducted by Rom Whitaker, founder of the bank for both children and adults.
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Shopping in Ooty
Ooty has much to offer to all the shopaholics. For first, the town is popular for offering natural products from its sprawling tea gardens and green forests, such as finely flavored tea leaves, delicious honey, herbal oils and several fruits. The natural oil of Eucalyptus is very popular In Ooty as it is known for its great medicinal value.
The tribal community of Toda is popular for designing exclusive pieces of the embroidered items which reflect the rich traditional art and craft of South India. Silver jewelry is another popular attraction among the tourists.
The most popular buys from Ooty surely include eatable items like honey and tea. However, handicraft products are very popular as they speak much about the regional culture of the place.
Popular shopping places of Ooty include Tibetan Market, Shopping Center, Municipal Market, Upper and Lower Bazaar Roads.
Shopping in Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal is a great shopping destination where you can shop much right from handicrafts to wood items to coffee, oils and more. The destination has a bunch of exciting items to offer to tourists.
The most popular of all the markets is the Anna Salai market which is popular for selling items like Kashmiri Handicrafts, beautiful shawls, jewelry, bone and walnut wood items. These handicraft items are a must-buy from Kodaikanal. There are a number of shopping centers from where tourists can buy aromatic oils, coffee, and herbal tea.
Popular shopping centers of Kodaikanal include Khadi Emporium, Kurinji Mini Super Market, Kairali Kerala Handicrafts, Bazaar Road, Spice’s Corner and Poompuhar Emporium.
The Prana Spa, Kodaikanal
The Prana Spa is set in the lush greenery of Kodaikanal, away from the overcrowded and polluted cities of Kodaikanal. Located close to the beautiful Kodaikanal Lake, Prana Spa offers a variety of body treatments to rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul. The treatments at the Prana spa range from traditional Ayurveda therapies to Thai massages to Chinese reflexology. All these therapies are combined with a western spa approach to ensure the best results for the clients.
A variety of beauty and body treatments are offered to match the requirements of everyone. Treatments at Prana Spa work to cleanse, de-stress and detoxify the body of an individual. Experienced therapists at the spa analyze the need of the client before suggesting any therapy.
The location of the spa adds to the entire experience at the Prana. The greenery and tranquility around the spa perfectly complement the therapies offered.
Golf Course ,Ooty
Ooty Golf Course is a popular golf station located in the beautiful town of Ooty in the state of Tamil Nadu. Set at an elevation of 7200 feet, Golf course Ooty is owned by the Gymkhana Club in Ooty. The golf course sprawls over an area of 193.56 acres and comprises 18 holes.
The golf course was formed by Colonel Fane Sewell, the then Secretary of the Blue Mountains Tennis and Cricket Club, in the year 1891. The club initially had nine holes. Later, in the year 1896, Golf enthusiasts formed a golf club nearby which was named the Gymkhana club. The course was then taken under the ownership of Gymkhana Club Ooty.
Ten rooms and six huts are available for the accommodation of golfers. People can also enjoy other facilities such as table tennis, billiards, swimming pool, bar and a restaurant at the golf course.
An annual amateur golf championship is organized every year during the summer season. The championship is extremely popular which dates back to 1906.
Other popular tournaments organized in the golf course are Gymkhana golf tournament, South India Open, South Zone junior and sub-junior championship.
Seran’s Fun Park, Theni
Opening and closing timings:
4 pm to 9 pm
Located at a distance of 4 km from Theni, Seran’s Fun Park is a children’s park. The park has a huge play area for children, video games station and open-air film show area. You can enjoy different activities in the park like boating, amusement activities, and laser light show. Aqua Cave is the main attraction of the park. The cave is home to more than 100 rare species of fishes and other sea species. It is a perfect place to spend some fun time with your friends and family.
Kishkinta Theme Park, Chennai
INR 550 per person for adult
INR 450 per person for children
Opening and closing timings:
All days of the week except Sunday from 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Sunday: 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Awaken the child in you with a visit to the famous Kishkinta Theme Park in Chennai. The ultimate destination for all your fun and adventure needs, Kishkinta Theme Park promises you a perfect day out with friends and family. Spread over an area of 120 acres, Kishkinta Theme Park is set in a beautiful landscape amid greenery. It is a great place to relax and spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The park is lined up with a number of thrilling rides like kiddies rides and water rides which add to the exciting experience at this park. Different entertainment shows are also organized for entertaining the guests.
Sculpture Museum, Mahabalipuram
Entry fee: INR 5 per person
Timings: Open all days of the week from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Sculpture Museum houses more than 3,000 collections of sculptures of gods and goddesses. These huge statues depict the reign of the Gupta Empire. Hindu Mythological sculptures and Buddhist sculptures are also present in this museum. While some sculptures are entirely made out of one rock, others are made of wood, brass and cement. Wall paintings, miniature temples and standalone pillar structures are other attractions of the museum. Many of these beautiful sculptures have been created by students of College of Sculpting in Mahabalipuram. The museum is a must pick for those who wish to have a look at the magnificence of Mahabalipuram.
Thirparappu Falls, Kanyakumari
Rs. 2 per Person
Rs. 5 for Camera
Opening and closing timings
7 am to 6 pm
Kanyakumari has much to offer to tourists in the name of attractions. Thirparappu Falls is one such tourist attraction where tourists can enjoy some great time close to nature.
Thirparappu Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Kanyakumari. The falls are located 35 km away from Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari. The waterfall starts from the Kodayar River and flows down at Thirparappu from a height of 50 feet.
Also called Kumari Kuttalam, Thirparappu Falls stretches up to a length of 300 feet and forms a pool at the base. This forms a great place where children can enjoy some fun time with their family and friends. There is a swimming pool near the falls where kids can enjoy a dip.
St. Stephen’s Church Ooty
Opening and closing timings
Open all days of the week except Sunday
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
One of the oldest churches of the Nilgiris, St. Stephen’s Church dates back to the 19th century. Stephen Rumbold Lushington, who was the erstwhile Governor of Madras laid the foundation stone of the church. Today, St. Stephen’s Church is one of the most popular attractions of Ooty. The church is well-known for its beautiful Gothic look that gives it a unique Victorian feel.
The church has a beautiful painting that depicts the Last Supper which is the main attraction of the church. The church also features stained glass windows which showcase different scenes like the crucifixion of Christ and Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms. The stained glass windows allure people from all across the world.
The woodwork of the church is spectacular and it is said that large wooden beams were used to construct the church that came from Tipu Sultan’s Palace in Mysore.
Kalhatti Falls ,Ooty
Entry fee: No entry fee
Opening and closing timings:
Open all days of the week from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
One of the best trekking destinations of Ooty, Kalhatti Water Falls is located at 2000 meters above sea level. Kalhatti Water Falls boast a height of 40 meters. The scenic beauty of the place allures tourists from all over. The view of these gushing waterfalls is truly unmatched. Trekkers get an opportunity to go through great trails to reach this spectacular attraction. It is a great place where nature lovers can go close to nature and unwind. Also, photographers can shoot amazing sights of the falls and surroundings regions. The region is also home to exotic flora and fauna which makes it a wonderland for wildlife lovers. The best time to visit the waterfalls is from the month of September to November. The region is also home to exotic flora and fauna which makes it a wonderland for wildlife lovers.
Coakers Walk, Kodaikanal
INR 10 per person
INR 20 per person for telescope house
Opening and closing timings:
Open all days of the week 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Named after Lt. Coaker, Coaker’s Walk was discovered back in the year 1872. This picturesque walkway is set close to Kodaikanal Lake and is well-known to offer spectacular views of the valley surrounding it.
The attraction is a paradise for nature lovers. While on one hand they can enjoy the scenic views of the valley, on the other hand, visitors can enjoy a stroll through winding paths set amid lush greenery and colorful landscape.
The star attraction of the place is the Telescope House from where you can enjoy beautiful views of the valley and nearby towns.
The best time to visit Coaker’s Walk is before 2:30 in the afternoon as the mist starts setting all around the place thereafter. This further blocks the distant views of the valley.
Hidden Valley ,Coonoor
Hidden Valley is a little piece of paradise located in the heart Coonoor. The place is one of the most popular attractions of Coonoor. The place features a soothing and tranquil ambiance that is perfect for those who are looking for peace of mind. This is one place which you really can’t miss out on your tour to Coonoor.
To reach the valley, one needs to trek through trails set amid lush greenery and thick forests. As the trekkers walk through the valley, they get to see a spectacular view of the surroundings.
There is no mainstream route exists to reach the place which makes it more thrilling for wanderers. The hidden valley offers some of the most enthralling views of the hill station. The views include that of rolling mountains, green meadows, and thick forests.
Shopping in Chennai
From bustling markets to shopping malls, Chennai has all what makes it a big shopping hub. With an increase in the number of shopping centers and markets, Chennai has emerged as one of the top shopping destinations of India through the years.
While in the local markets, you can shop for authentic items of Chennai like textiles and handicrafts, shopping malls of the city are perfect for buying apparels, footwear and accessories from Indian and International brands.
Popular buys of Chennai include stone carvings, Tanjore paintings from Mammallpuram, and beautiful jewelry pieces from Kumbakonam and hand woven silk.
Anna Salai is the most popular shopping destination of Chennai. The place offers a wide variety of handicrafts that come from all across the country. Also known as Mount Road, Anna Salai is popular for offering everything right from delicious food to footwear and jewelry.
Other popular shopping areas of Chennai include Egmore Street, Nungambakkam, Koddambakkam, George Town, Ranganatha Street, Pondy Bazaar, Thyagaraya Nagar and Vadapalani.
In the markets of Chennai, you can find everything, right from fine South Indian Jewelry to handicrafts, accessories, stone carvings, apparels, footwear and lots more.
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Trekking at Nilgiri Hills
Set amid the Eastern and Western Ghats is the Nilgiris, also known as the ‘Blue Mountains’. The Blue Mountains are a part of the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu. The mountains are located at different elevations for 2500 meter to 2600 meter above sea level. The Nilgiri Hills offer suitable conditions to trekkers all around the year.
The Nilgiri district is home to three popular hill stations- Coonoor, Ooty, and Kotagiri. These three hill stations form an ideal base to start treks to the Nilgiris.
Trekking to the Nilgiris is an opportunity of a lifetime. Those trails take you through beautiful meadows, cascading waterfalls, coffee plantations, tea estates and serene lakes. Small beautiful villages welcome you on the way and add to the beauty of your trek.
As the slopes are gentle and weather remains moderate, the Nilgiris trek is considered the best for beginner level trekkers. Those with little or very less trekking experience can also easily trek through the Nilgiris.
Boating at Yercaud and Ooty Lake
INR 10. Per person
INR 30 for still camera
INR 125 per camcorder
INR 180 per 2 seater row boat for 30 minutes boating
INR 200 per 4 seater pedal boat for 30 minutes boating
INR 450 per 8 seater motorboat for 20 minutes boating
INR 160 per 2 seater pedal boat for 30 minutes boating
INR 560 per person for Foreign nationals
Opening and closing timing: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Ooty Lake is a manmade creation that was constructed back in the year 1824 by John Sullivan, the founder of Ooty. Today, Ooty Lake is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the hill station. The star attraction of the lake is boating. The place is a great option for those who are looking for a day out amid natural beauty and serenity. All around surrounded by tall Eucalyptus trees, Ooty Lake is great place to enjoy scenic beauty and relax.
Yercaud Lake is the prime attraction of Yercaud. The beautiful lake is set between lush greenery and wooded trees. Boating is a must pick for a refreshing evening. The natural charm of the place will surely take away your heart at once.
Rock Climbing Thirumurthy Hills and Dam
Located one-and-a-half hour away from Coimbatore, Thirumurthy Hills and Dam is a great place where one can enjoy rock climbing. The place has an ideal setting for an activity like rock climbing. Not only rock climbing, Thirumurthy Hills and Dam is a great site for a number of adventure sports activities.
Paragliding in Yelagiri
Nestled between Chennai and Bangalore, Yelagiri is one of the most popular adventure destinations in India. The destination is popular among adventure enthusiasts because of the numerous adventure sports it offers. Paragliding, biking, trekking and rock climbing are some of the adventure sports you can enjoy at Yelagiri. Of all the adventure sports, Paragliding is the most popular. Yelagiri has a paragliding club that provides paragliding professional equipment and experienced instructors. This further helps paragliding enthusiasts to learn the sport under professional guidance. Every year the paragliding club of Yelagiri hosts an international paragliding festival in the month of September. The hill station has three take-offs and landing points that are located at different elevations of 450, 560 and 600 meters above ground level.
What could be better than soaring high in the sky and having a look at the picture perfect landscape of Yelagiri, move through the beautiful mountains and take in the fresh and soothing breeze?