Tamil Nadu or the ‘Land of the Tamils’ has been blessed with abundant natural sceneries and cultural wealth. Though the list of tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu that shouldn’t be missed is endless; we have reduced it to 10 places.
This south Indian state is home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world and thus has a lot to offer to its explorers.
From its personifying beaches to the lofty Nilgiri hills the state is home to a number of splendid sites but the best amongst them still remain the ancient temples.
So, without any further ado let’s check out the best places that have spellbinding beauty and offer a matchless travel experience.
Here is the list of top 10 attractions places in Tamil Nadu:
|Best Temples to Visit in Tamil Nadu|
|Best Historical Places in Tamil Nadu|
|Best Natural Landscapes in Tamil Nadu (in Destination)|
Best Temples to Visit in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is popular worldwide for a lot of things but the most important of them all is the ancient beautiful temples. Here are some top-notch temples in Tamil Nadu that can be visited during your trip.
1. Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur
One of the most popular attractions in Tamil Nadu is the Peruvudaiyar Kovil or Brihadeeswarar Temple. Located in Thanjavur, this temple is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a part of the ‘Great Living Chola Temples’. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this magnificent temple is also known as RajaRajeshwara Temple.
Undoubtedly, it is a wonderful specimen of the renowned Tamil Dravidian architecture built in 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chola I. It turned 100 years old in 2019 and is also referred to as the ‘Big Temple’.
The temple complex is built in granite on the banks of a river and is guarded by strong walls that were added in the 16th century. Along with the main temple, there are other structures too including a Nandi bull statue, a sanctuary, 1 mandapa (hall), 1 pillared hall, and a few smaller shrines.
Vimana, one of the towers of the temple, is 66 m high and is one of the tallest towers in the world. An interesting fact about the temple is that the world’s tallest tower does not cast a shadow in the afternoon during all the months. The temple’s walls are adorned by beautiful murals and all of this together makes it a must-visit attraction in Tamil Nadu.
- Location: Membalam Rd, Balaganapathy Nagar, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
- Entry Fee: No Fees
- Timings: Monday – Sunday: 06.00 AM – 09.00 PM and Public Holidays: 06.00 AM – 09.00 PM
- Best Time to visit: From October to February
[ Plan your south temple tour with IHPL ]
2. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai
Another very sacred and important attraction of Tamil Nadu is present in the sacred land of Madurai named Meenakshi Amman temple. Situated on the banks of River Vaigai the temple is largely visited by devotees. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi or Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, who is known as Sundareswarar.
It is said that the temple receives around 15000 devotees on a daily basis. Legends state that the temple was constructed in the early ADs. The grand structure that we see today was built by the first ruler of the Nayaka dynasty, Viswanatha Nayak in the second half of the 14th century. Later, King Thirumalai Naicker made certain additions.
The complex temple spreads over an area of 45 acres and is the largest temple complex in Tamil Nadu. The 14 gopurams of the temple are known for their wonderful designs and carvings. The idols of the Lord and the Goddess in the main shrine are gold-plated.
The complex also has holy tanks and a few Mandapas (halls). Although people have to follow some strict rules here still Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of the best places to visit during your family trip to Tamil Nadu.
- Entry Fee: Free of cost
- Timings: 05:00 AM – 10:00 PM (Monday to Sunday)
- Location: Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
- Best Time to visit: October to January
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3. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram
One of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and one of the Chardham destinations’ temples, Ramanathaswamy temple lies on the eastern side of Pamban Island. Legends state that this was where Lord Rama had prayed to Lord Shiva to atone for the sins he had committed during the war with Ravana, the demon king.
It is also said that the Shiva Linga found here, Viswanathar, was brought here by Hanumana from Banaras/Mount Kailash. Lord Rama also worshipped another lingam that emerged from the earth, which is called Ramalingam.
Also known as Rameshwaram temple, the temple originally had a thatched hut look. Additions and changes were later made by various rulers during their reign such as in the 12th century, 16th century, and then in the 18th century.
Along with the main shrine, there are 22 smaller shrines also including Mahalakshmi Theertham, Savithri Theertham, Gayathri Theertham, Saraswati, Theertam, Nala Theertham, and so on. The temple complex spreads over an area of 15 acres. Pooja is done 9 times a day starting at 5 in the morning and ending at 08:45 at night. Owing to its religious significance, this is one of the most visited temples in India by devotees.
- Location: Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu
- Entry Fee: Free of cost
- Timings: 05:00 AM – 01:00 PM and 03:00 PM – 09:00 PM
- Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
4. Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai
Located in Mylapore, Kapaleeshwarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Visitors can find the deity of Goddess Parvati who is worshipped as Karpagambal. The original temple was erected by the Pallava rulers in the 7th century at the same spot where you will find the Santhome Church today.
After being demolished by the Portuguese it was again constructed in the 16th century by the Vijayanagar rulers. Also known as Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar temple, it becomes the venue of 10- day Panguni Peruvizha festival in the month of March/April every year. There are three other festivals also.
The temple complex has a number of shrines, along with the main one being Kapaleeswarar and Karpagambal. There also are a number of halls and a holy tank here. The temple has 6 daily Poojas from 05:30 AM to 09:00 PM. The Arubathimooval festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni is the most prominent festival in the temple.
The temple has been done in the Dravidian style of architecture and has a towering gopuram (37 m high). One can also spot a number of Vahanas (vehicles) such as an elephant, bull, peacock, goat, parrot, and a golden-colored chariot. A lot of people visit this amazing attraction in Chennai during March-April but many visitors prefer the winter season for their trip.
- Location: Vadakku Maada Veethi, Mylapore, Vinayaka Nagar Colony, Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
- Entry Fee: Free of cost
- Timings: 5:00 am – 12:00 pm (Monday to Sunday) 4:00 pm – 9:30 pm (Monday to Sunday)
- Best Time to visit: March to April (To enjoy the Spring Festival) November to March
Best Historical Places in Tamil Nadu
Looking for some of the best historic attractions in Tamil Nadu for explorers? If yes! You are up for a treat. Here are some top-notch places to visit in Tamil Nadu where you can spend some time exploring and mesmerized by the beauty.
5. Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari
Located 500 m eastwards of the mainland of Vavathurai, Vivekananda Rock is the memorial of Swami Vivekananda a Hindu monk and a spiritual leader. It is termed as one of the best places to visit in Tamil Nadu owing to its location and the number of things that are housed inside. The structure is a wonderful amalgam of conventional and modern styles of architecture in India.
The colossal monument was constructed in the year 1964 and was completed in 6 years. It is believed to be made on the rock where Swami Ji gained enlightenment. The monument is divided into two- Shripada Mandapam and Vivekananda Mandapam.
The monument has a life-size bronze statue of Swamiji in his popular Parivarjak posture. Swamiji had visited the site of the memorial before leaving for his famous Chicago trip. The memorial is also known as Sripada Para. Legends state that Goddess Devi Kumari had blessed the place with her visit.
The total area of the memorial is 4 acres. A ferry service is available from the Kanyakumari coast to arrive at the rock memorial. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu for explorers and people interested in historic places.
- Location: Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra, Jetty, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
- Entry Fee:
INR 10/ person
INR 20/ person ferry ride
INR 10 for still camera
INR 50 for video camera
- Timings: 08:00 AM – 04:00 PM (Monday to Sunday)
- Best Time to visit: September to February ( Read detailed Information here. )
- How to Reach Kanyakumari
6. Pancha Rathas, Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram is a world-renowned heritage site in India. One of the best places to visit in Tamil Nadu; Mahabalipuram houses some of the best heritage and historic sites. A part of the Group of Monuments in Mahabalipuram, Pancha Rathas is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tamil Nadu. The beautiful chariots are an exceptional and wonderful specimen of monolithic Indian rock-cut temple architecture.
These Rathas (chariots) date back to the late 7th century. They were commissioned by King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I of the Pallava Dynasty. These monolithic rocks boast the Dravidian style of architecture and vary in their size.
Pancha Rathas means 5 chariots, which have a connection with the five Pandava brothers and their wife from the great Hindu epic Mahabharata. In order of their size, they are named the Dharmaraja Ratha, the Bhima Ratha, the Arjuna Ratha, the Nakula Sahadeva Ratha, and the Draupadi Ratha.
In the front of the rathas is a carved lion statue. Behind this statue is the Rathas of Draupadi, Arjuna, Bhima, and Dharamaraja (from left to right), and then on the right is the Ratha of Nakul Sahadev. So while searching for the best places to visit in Tamil Nadu, do consider putting this on your list. Read More information about Pancha Rathas here.
- Location: Mamallapuram, Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu
- Entry Fee:
10 INR/ person for Indians
250 INR/ person for foreigners
- Timings: 6:00 am to 6:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)
- Best Time to visit: November to March
7. Government Museum, Chennai
The second oldest museum in India, the Government Museum of Chennai was founded way back in 1851 as the Madras Museum. Also known as Egmore Museum, it is also South Asia’s largest museum with a fine collection of numismatic and archaeological collections.
The museum boasts of housing the largest collection of Roman antiques, outside Europe. Many people fancy the collection and visit here. Government Museum is one of the finest places to visit in Chennai during your trip.
A number of buildings in the museum complex are more than 100 years old. The library has a number of galleries such as children, contemporary art, botany, anthropology, archaeology, geology, children, numismatics, and so on. This wonderful collection is placed in the Connemara Public Library or the public library for visitors to enjoy their sights.
The Museum complex spreads over an area of over 16 acres and comprises of 46 galleries and 6 buildings. Visitors can have a look at a range of sculptures, artifacts, tribal artifacts, weapons, and palm-leaf manuscripts.
The 4 main galleries include the National Art Gallery, the Bronze Gallery, the Hindu Sculpture Gallery, and the Amravathi Gallery. There is a separate Children’s Museum comprising of transportation gallery, kids’ corner, and civilization gallery. More information about Government Museum
- Location: Beside Government Maternity Hospital, Pantheon Rd, Egmore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
- Entry Fee:
15 INR/ person for Indian adults
10 INR/ person for Indian children
3 INR/ person for School children
250 INR/ person for Foreign Tourists
200 INR for Still Camera & Video Camera (Indians)
500 INR for Still Camera / Video Camera (Foreigners)
- Timings: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm (Saturday to Thursday) Closed on Fridays and public holidays
- Best Time to visit: November to March
Best Natural Landscapes in Tamil Nadu (in Destination)
There are a lot of natural landscapes in Tamil Nadu serving several tourists throughout the year. From vacationers to honeymoon travelers, you can spot all of them here. Some of the best places to visit in Tamil Nadu when it comes to natural sites include the below-listed places.
8. Nilgiri Hills
Translated as the Blue Mountains, Nilgiri Hills is a wonderful range of verdant mountains that lie at the intersection of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka. These mountains are a part of the bigger Western Ghats. Nilgiri Hills has approximately 24 peaks above 2000 m elevation and The highest peak of the Nilgiris is Doddabettea Peak with an altitude of 2,623 meters.
There are a number of hill stations in Tamil Nadu, nestled amid these mountain ranges. Some of the popular names are Ooty, Coonoor, and Kotagiri. Some of the best hill stations of Tamil Nadu are a part of this range.
Nilgiri Hills are known for their wonderful natural setting and immense natural scenery. These steep hills have narrow valleys that are traversed by waterfalls, rivulets, and rivers. The temperature is pleasant all around the year and the vistas are breathtaking.
There also are beautiful aromatic tea gardens here. These hills also allure trekking enthusiasts, offering them a thrilling experience. There are gardens, view points, wildlife, waterfalls, and much more. Nilgiri Hills is home to places that are known to be the best honeymoon destinations in South India.
- Best time to Visit: Throughout the year
Things to do:
- Visiting Ooty
- Exploring Coonoor
- Visiting the Tea plantation
- Enjoying the National Park
- Have some good time with your partner at the hill stations
Places to visit in Nilgiri Hills:
- Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
- Tribal Museum
How to reach: By air, road, and rail
9. Kodaikanal Lake, Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal Lake, one of the most popular lakes in Kodaikanal is a manmade lake covering an area of 60 acres. This star-shaped lake is quite popular as a picnic spot amid locals as well as tourists. The water body is surrounded by the north-western Palani Hills. The lake was founded way back in 1986 by the then Collector of Madurai, Sir Vere Henry Levinge.
Today, it is a popular geographical landmark in the hill town. Water flowing from the Palani hills filled the lake, which also receives a yearly rainfall of 1650 mm. The lake is 9 km long and lies at an altitude of 6911 feet above sea level with depths varying from 35.6 feet and 9.7 feet.
The lake is the starting point of Silver Cascade, which falls from a height of 180 feet, and is another popular attraction here. There is a boat club here offering boat rides to the visitors. During the summer season, the lake plays host to flower shows and boat races.
Macrophyte trees dot the surroundings of the lake and add to the charm. A leisure walk here is one of the best things to do in Tamil Nadu. All these ingredients make Kodaikanal Lake an amazing attraction in Tamil Nadu. So, do not miss out on these.
Best time to Visit: From April to June
Things to do:
- Flower Show
Places to visit around the lake:
- Berijam Lake
- Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
- Kumbakkarai Falls
How to reach:
- Nearest Airport – Madurai International Airport
- Nearest Railway Station- Kodaikanal road railway station
- By Road- Smooth connectivity and multiple buses ply from major cities.
Must Read: Top 10 things to do in Kodaikanal
10. Marina Beach, Chennai
Extending up to 13 km, Marina Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Chennai, the second largest beach in the world, and the longest beach in Asia. The beach has been blessed by immense scenic beauty and tranquility. The governor of Madras in the early 1880’s Governor Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff, was enchanted by its beauty and made further additions.
Visit the beach in the evening to enjoy the hustle-bustle. You see children playing in the sand and the hawkers busy with their business. Enjoy memorable sunsets here. Pony rides are also offered here. Pony rides are also offered here. One of the busiest places in the city, Marina Beach is a top destination in Chennai for families and couples.
Marina Beach is also the venue of a number of important state functions. There are a number of important buildings near the beach such as Chepauk Palace, Senate-House, Ice House, and Samadhis of Dr. C.N. Annadurai, Jayalalitha, and M.G. Ramachandran. There is also a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. So, do not miss out on these amazing attractions around Marina Beach during your trip to Chennai. More information about Marina Beach.
Famous for: Sunset views, Evening walks; Pony rides
Best time to Visit: October to March
Things to do at the beach:
- Play in the sand
- Shopping at the stalls
- Visiting the temple
- Taking a stroll at the beach
- Enjoying the sunset or sunrise
Places to visit around the beach:
- The Chepauk Palace
- Senate House
- St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica
- Vivekananda House
- Sri Parthasarathy Swamy Temple
How to reach:
By Air: Chennai Airport
By Rail: Chepauk Railway Station
By Road: Smooth Connectivity