Tourism in Tamil Nadu

Marina Beach as seen from Light house.
Parasailing in Marina Beach, Chennai
Marina Beach along Kamarajar Salai

Tamil Nadu is a state in the south-eastern part of the Indian Peninsula. One of the four Dravidian states of India, it has had 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 fabulous wildlife and scenic beauty. The state boasts the largest tourism industry in India[1] with an annual growth rate of 16%.[2] In 2014, the number of domestic arrivals was at 327.6 million making the state the most popular tourist destination in the country, and foreign arrivals amounted to 4.65 million, the highest in the country, making it the most popular state for tourism in the country.[1]

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest 5

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.[1]

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, Anglo-Indian architecture, cultural festivals and is India's largest shopping destination.[3] 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.[4]


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.


Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple North Tower

Madurai is the third largest city in Tamil Nadu and the oldest city in Tamil Nadu which is continuously inhabited for more than 2000 years. 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). 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 2000 years. While Pandiayn 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 famous and fabulous Sri Meenakshi temple is located in Madurai.

aerial image of a temple campus
An aerial view of Madurai city from atop the Meenakshi Amman temple

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.[5] 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.

Inner view of Thirumalai Palace

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 domestic 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 TiruchirappalliChennai 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 with in 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 Abu Dhabi, 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.


Church at Yercaud

Salem is a city of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. Salem is the district headquarters and other major towns in the city include 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. famous tourist places are Yercaud, Mettur Dam, Kailasanathar Temple, Kottai Mariamman Temple. Salem is well connected with other parts of Tamil Nadu and other states by road, rail and bus.


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[6][7] 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.

Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur

The Chola Temples

The Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram, an 11th-century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

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.

A Dravidian architecture Pillar in Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram @ Thanjavur district.
Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Airavateswara Temple,Darasuram in Thanjavur District is built by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century CE, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Group of Monuments in Mahabalipuram

The Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram, a 7th Century Pallava monument

The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram declared as a WHS 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 is a scenic beauty throughout passing through the various terrains and thickly forested areas of the Nilgiri Mountains. The route consists of the following stations:

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, one of the most scenic railway lines in the country

Religious sites of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has the credit of having 34000 Hindu temples which are several centuries Old.[8] 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 no. of temples and shrines in and around their limits. Temple towns like Madurai and Kanchipuram are thronged by visitors throughout the year.


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 Main Durgah Sharif

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.


Ekambareswarar Temple, built in 600 CE by the Pallava dynasty, one of the many ancient 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.[9]

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 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..


Kumbakonam, 40 km from Thanjavur, has about 188 temples within its municipal limits. Apart from these a thousand more are estimated to be nearby.[10] The Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is the biggest Saivite temples in the region and has a huge complex covering an area of 30,181 sq ft having three gopurams in the Northern, Eastern and Western entrances of the temple.

After the Adi Kumbeshwara Temple, the second most important landmark s the Ramaswamy Temple dedicated to Lord Rama from the epic of Ramayana and has a no. of intricate crvings within its pillars depicting the various scenes of the epic.

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple here is another example of ancient Dravidian architecture in the region. The tank of the temple contains the waters of the 9 holy rivers in Hindu mythology namely Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada, Saraswati, Kaveri, Godavari, Tungabhadra, Krishna and Sarayu and a no. of pilgrims visit this temple on the Mahamaham festival once in 12 years to bathe in the waters of the tank which they believe would purify them from their sins.

The Sarangapani Temple is one of the five most important Vaishanavaite pilgrimage centres in South India and had the tallest Gopuram in the region before the Temple town of Srirangam was built. To the south of the temple is the Someswar Temple another flagship of Dravidian architecture.


The Meenakshi Amman Temple, the heart and lifeline of the city of Madurai

Madurai also called as "Temple city" . Madurai consists of major temples. Madurai being one of the world's oldest inhabited cities is the home to several temples built by the Pandyan and Nayak kings with the most famous being the Meenakshi Amman Temple which dates back to 2000 years.[11] The city and the life of its inhabitants revolve around the temple which is one of the largest Hindu temples by size and enclosure. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists visit this temple and the surroundings.

The Mariamman Theppakulam built in 1636 is a huge tank at the eastern end of the city and is almost equal in area to that of the Meenakshi Amman temple. To its side is a temple dedicated to Parvati, and every year a local festival celebrating Goddess Meenakshi's wedding is held in the month of January/February.

Madurai is also situated close to the Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple and Pazhamudircholai, two of the Six Abodes of Lord Subramanya.

Thiruparankundram Dargah at the top of Thiruparankundram hill is a famous Islamic shrine. Madurai is also famous for its two mosques one being the Kazimar Big Mosque constructed by Kazi Syed Tajuddin, a descendant of Prophet Muhammed the oldest Islam monument in Tamil Nadu. The other is the Goripalayam Mosque the tombs of two of the Delhi Sultans.


Nagore, a town north of Nagapattinam, is the home to the tomb of Meeran Sahib Abdul Qadir Shahul Hamid Badshah also known as the Nagore Durgah a spiritual place for all faiths. The Durgah as it stands now was built by devotees whose wishes were fulfilled by praying Shahul. It is believed that 60 percent of the shrines were built by Hindus and there are other shrines built in his honour in Penang(Malaysia) and Singapore. The urs festival celebrated every year draws Hindus and Muslims from all over the world.


The Murugan Temple situated at the top of the Palani hills one of the Six holy abodes

The largest pilgrimage center in Tamil Nadu and the second largest in South India after Tirupati, Palani is the most famous of the Six Abodes of Murugan (Arupadai Veedu Temple Tour).[12] During the Thai Poosam festival, the temple attracts over 7 million devotees, many of whom do a lot of penances and acts such as shaving their heads, walking barefoot all the way from their homes etc. to show their devotion. A cable-car service ferries devotees to the top of the hill. Palani is also a base for hikes in the surrounding hills. A railway station links the town to Coimbatore and Madurai.


The view of Pamban Island from Pamban Bridge, Rameswaram
Sunrise in Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram

Situated at the tip of the Pamban Island and 50 km from the coast of Sri Lanka, is considered to be as sacred as Varanasi and is a bustling pilgrimage center. Named after Lord Rama who according to the Legend embarked his journey to Sri Lanka from this town, Rameshwaram is a place of wide religious significance. The city is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham shrines that has to be visited in one's lifetime and this island Temple is connected by the scenic Pamban Bridge over the sea for 2.3 km.

The Ramanathaswamy Temple, the most important of them all is believed to be constructed at the spot where Lord Rama had offered his prayers to Shiva. The construction of the temple as it stands today, was started in the 12th century and ended in the 19th century. The most interesting feature in the temple is the 1,220m long corridor (the longest in India) with the beautiful carvings on the pillars, walls and ceiling.

The Kothandaramaswamy Temple situated on the shore of Dhanushkodi is supposed to be the place where Vibishena the brother of Raavana, had met Rama's army and joined hands. The temple miracously survived the 1964 Cyclone that destroyed most of the region and receives a good amount of visitors.

The village of Devipatinam 20 km from Ramnathapuram has a temple dedicated to Lord Jagannatha and about hundred yards in the sea are naturally existing nine blocks of stone, supposed to be the Navagrahas, the nine planets.


Srirangam another example of classic temple town, houses the Ranganathaswamy Temple a major pilgrimage destination for the Vaishnava community. It is the biggest functioning Hindu temple in the world (156 acres) and the temple tower measuring 60 m (196 ft) is the tallest Hindu temple tower in the world.[13]

East of the Rangnathasamy temple is the 17th-century temple town of Jambukeshvar Temple, in the town of Tiruvanaikka an important destination for worshipers of Lord Shiva.


The Arunachaleshwara Temple, housing the deity of the fire incarnate of Lord Shiva at Tiruvanamalai

In Arunachaleshwara Temple of Thiruvannamalai, Siva is worshipped in the form of fire. The temple town of Thiruvannamalai is one of the most ancient heritage sites of India and is a centre of the Saiva religion. The Arunachala hill and its environs have been held in great regard by the Tamils for centuries. The temple is grand in conception and architecture and is rich in tradition, history and festivals. The main Deepam festival attracts devotees from far and wide throughout South India. A number of spiritual centres are also located in the region:


Sri Thyagaraja Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Thyagaraja located in the town of Tiruvarur in Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is revered by the Thevaram hymns of Saiva nayanars, 7th century Tamil saint poets and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. The temples complex occupies an area of around 33 acres with the Kamalalayam tank to its west. There are numerous shrines and mandapas(halls) in the three spacious enclosures(prakaram). The two main shrines of the temple are for Valmikinathar(Lord Siva) and Thyagarajar. Of the two, the former is the most ancient, and derives its name from tha anthill(putru), which takes the place of linga in the main shrine. Appart, the 7th-century poet saint, refers to the main deity in his hymn as puttritrukondan (one who resides in the ant hill). The Stala vriksham (temple tree) is patiri (trumpet flower tree). The principles and practises of tree-worship and ophilotary are ancient bases whereupon a later date linga worship seems to have been established.[1] Here all the 9 Navagrahams located towards south in straight line also located in northwest corner of 1st (prakaram). This temple hold the record of having maximum sannithis in India. The temple hosts the annual car festival in March for ten days. Animated crowd push and pull the largest temple car of Tamil Nadu and its smaller cars on the laborious path around the surrounding streets.


Another of the Six Abodes, the Thiruchendur Murugan Temple located here attracts hundreds of thousands of devotees. The temple is situated so close to the sea that waves from the Gulf of Mannar lap at the eastern perimeter wall of the temple. The temple however had no damage done by the 2004 tsunami.

The other temples in the town and its neighbourhood are:


Tiruchirapalli,it is also a known temple city of Tamil Nadu. Tiruchirappalli (Trichy, in short) is nicknamed as "ROCK FORT CITY". Trichy has many temples in and around the city. The 'Ucchi Pillayar' shrine located at the top of the prominent ruins of the Rock Fort is the popular temple in the city. Tiruchirapalli is also very close to the Parvati temple in Samayanallur and the temple towns of Srirangam and Tiruvanaikkaval.

Srirangam is famous for its Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus (especially Srivaishnavites) and the largest temple complex in India.

According to the temple's website, Srirangam can be considered the biggest functioning Hindu temple in the world, as it covers an area of about 631,000 square metres (6,790,000 sq ft) with a perimeter of 4 km (10,710 ft). Angkor Wat is bigger but non-functioning.

Srirangam is the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines (Swayam Vyakta Kshetras) of Lord Vishnu. It is also considered the first, foremost and the most important of the 108 main Vishnu temples (Divyadesams). This temple is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Bhogamandabam. In the Vaishnava parlance the term "KOIL" signifies this temple only. The temple is enormous in size. The temple complex is 156 acres (0.63 km2) in extent. It has seven prakaras or enclosures. These enclosures are formed by thick and huge rampart walls which run round the sanctum. There are 21 magnificent towers in all prakaras providing a unique sight to any visitor. The temple town lies on an islet formed by the twin rivers Cauvery and Coleroon.

The Srirangam temple complex is composed of 7 concentric walled sections and 21 towers gopuram. The gopuram of the temple is called the Rajagopuram and is 236 feet (72 m) tall, the tallest in Asia.

The temple has seven prakaras (elevated enclosures) with gopurams articulating the axial path, the highest at the outermost prakara and the lowest at the innermost. In historic times, just after the construction of this temple, the city of Srirangam lived completely within the walls of this temple and hence is quoted as an example of Hindu religious utopia - during its peak of existence.

The Srirangam temple is one of the three temples of the god Ranganata that are situated in the natural islands formed in the Kaveri river. They are:

   Adi Ranga: the Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangapattana
   Madhya Ranga: the Ranganathaswamy temple at Shivanasamudra
   Antya Ranga: the Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam

There is a gopuram fully made of gold, which is protected by electrical fence.

Clothes such as Silk Sarees, Dhoti, Towels, etc.., used for religious purposes are auctioned here.

Inside the temple compound, there is a separate temple for the goddess Andal. Additionally, There is a museum, a library and a bookshop as well.

Thiruvanaikaval(Thiru+Aanai+kaval) or Thiruvanaikoil is a suburb of the city of Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, India. It is situated on the northern banks of the Kaveri river adjacent to Srirangam Island. The island [Thiruvanaikaval-Srirangam ] is surrounded by river kaveri (southern) and river kollidam (northern), The Kollidam is the northern distributary of the Kaveri River. The famous Jambukeswarar Temple is located here. The temple's presiding deity is Lord Shiva (Jambukeswara) and the goddess is Sree Akilandeswari. It is revered as one of the Pancha-Bhoota Stalams (Water).There is a fresh water spring underneath the Shiv Linga. Sree Adi Shankara is said to have visited this shrine and has done the Thadanga (Ear Rings) Pratishta for the goddess to ensure that she remains in a Sowmya Roopa. It is also the birthplace of the world-renowned Nobel Laureate C. V. Raman .

Ucchi Pillayar koil, (Tamil: உச்சிப் பிள்ளையார் கோயில்) is a 7th-century Hindu temple, one dedicated to Lord Ganesh located a top of Rockfort, Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India. Mythologically this rock is the place where Lord Ganesh ran from King Vibishana, after establishing the Ranganathaswamy deity in Srirangam.

Samayapuram Mariamman Temple is a Hindu temple in Samayapuram near Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, India. The main deity, Samayapurathal or Mariamman is made of sand and clay like many of the traditional Mariamman deities, and hence unlike many other Hindu deities there are no abhishekams (sacred washing) conducted to the main deity, but instead the "abishekam" is done to the small stone statue in front of it.

It is believed by the devotees that the Goddess has enormous powers over curing illnesses and hence, it is a ritual to buy small metallic replicas, made with silver or steel, of various body parts that need to be cured, and these are deposited in the donation box.[citation needed]

Devotees also offer mavilakku, (Tamil - மாவிளக்கு) a sweet dish made of jaggery, rice flour and ghee. Offerings of raw salt is also made to the Goddess by the rural devotees.

The temple attracts thousands of devotees on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays, the holy days for Mariamman. Samayapuram is the second most wealthy (in terms of cash flows) temple in Tamil Nadu after Palani.


The 16th Century Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health at the coastal town of Velankanni

Velankanni is located 12 km south of Nagapattinam on the Eastern coast. The town is home to a significant Roman Catholic shrine dedicated to Our lady of Good Health. Virgin Mary is believed to have miraculous healing powers. In 1560, Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a shepherd, asking him for milk to quench the thirst of baby Jesus. When the shepherd returned to his master, after performing the good deed, his pitcher kept filling up with milk. Consequently, a small thatched chapel was built at the site. At the end of the 16th century, Virgin Mary appeared again in front of a lame boy, who regained the use of his limbs. The actual church was constructed after the incident. Thousands of pilgrims belonging to various castes and communities flock daily to this 'Lourdes of the East'.[14]

Hill Stations

Tamil Nadu situated in the southern end of the Western and Eastern ghats is the home to several hill stations. Popular among them are Udagamandalam(Ooty), Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Coonoor, Valparai, Yelagiri, Sirumalai, Kalrayan Hills and the Kolli Hills. The Nilgiri hills, Palani hills, Shevaroy hills and Cardamom hills are all abodes of thick forests and wildlife.


A view of Ooty, from the Dodabetta Peak its highest point

Popularly known as Ooty situated in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is the most popular Hill station in South India.[15] It provides a scenic view of Nilgiri Hills. The town is connected to the rest of India by road and the popular Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and its historic sites and natural beauty attract tourists from all over the country. The list of attractions include :


The hill resort of Kodaikanal with the lake in the picture

Located in the forests of the Dindigul districts, the hill station of Kodaikanal is fast gaining reputation for its unspoilt beauty and soothing climate. It is known by the nickname "Princess of Hill stations"[16] and is a leading tourist destination in Tamil Nadu. The most popular sights within the town are:


The lake at Yercaud, also known as the Jewel of the South.

The Yercaud hills situated at an altitude of 1515 m in the Salem District is an enchanting and picturesque hill stations in the Eastern Ghats. Known for its rich flora and scenic views of the other hills nearby Yercaud receives a good amount of tourists every year for its slightly less-expensive fare as compared to Udagamangalam or Kodaikanal. Yeracud is also a great base for trekking and visiting neighbouring tourist spots like:[17]

Kolli Hills

Kolli Hills is a small mountain range located in central Namakkal District of Tamil Nadu in India. The mountains are relatively untouched by commercial tourism and still retain their natural beauty.[18] The government holds a tourism festival in August. Kolli Hills has been the top choice for nature lovers, hiking enthusiasts, trekking clubs and meditation practitioners among hill stations in Tamil Nadu. Kolli hills is less polluted and mostly unexplored compared to the other hill stations in the state and effective steps re being implemented to improve the area as to make it more tourist-friendly.


Part of the Nilgiri Mountain Range, Coonoor is the second largest hill station in the mountain range and is an ideal base for trekking expeditions leading into the Nilgiri Mountains. Coonor is en route the Mettupalayam-Ooty highway as well as the NMR and is an ideal break-point for tourists to Ooty. The Dolhin's Nose Viewpoint and the Lamb's Rock offer stunning views of the mountainside. The attractions in the town and nearby include -



A view of the Courtallam Falls, popularly referred to as the Spa of South Asia

Courtallam, the 'Spa of the south', is situated at an elevation of about 167m on the Western Ghats in Tirunelveli District. It is an excellent health resort and is visited by young and old alike, because of the herbal medicinal properties the water is believed to contain. The town is noted for its salubrious climate and natural scenery.

Hogenakkal falls

Hogenakkal Falls often referred as Niagara Falls of Asia

Hogenakkal waterfalls located close to the border of the adjacent state of Karnataka in the beautiful district of Dharmapuri.It is a beautiful picnic spot with its waters supposed to be having curative powers.[15] Hogenakkal is set in thick, green woods and is considered both a sacred bathing place and a spa-like health resort. Here the water spreads for miles around. The area is surrounded by hills and offers lovely panoramic view. People can take bath in the Kaveri river, before and beyond the falls.

Catherine falls

A view from the Dolphin's Nose of the Catherine Falls near Coonor

Catherine Falls is a double-cascaded waterfall located in Kotagiri(near Coonor), The Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu and It is also a major tourist spot in Kotagiri. It is on the Mettupalayam road branching off at Aravenu. The upper fall drops to the floor, and is the second highest in the Nilgiri mountains. It can clearly been seen from the top of Dolphin's Nose if seeing the entire waterfall as one total impression is what you are looking for.

Kiliyur falls

Kiliyur Falls is a waterfall in the Shervaroyan hill range in the Eastern Ghats and is a popular tourist attraction in Yercaud. The waters overflowing the Yercaud Lake fall 300 ft (91 m) into the Kiliyur Valley.

Suruli falls

The Suruli Falls is a two-stage cascading waterfall from the Meghamalai mountain range. The beauty of this falls finds mention in the ancient Tamil epic, Silappathikaram. Near Suruli Falls are 18 caves which represent Indian rock-cut architecture of the 18th century. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Department celebrates summer festival at Suruli falls every year.[19]

Tirparappu waterfalls

Tirparappu Waterfalls are located in Kanyakumari district. The Kodayar River makes its descent at Thiruparappu. The water fall at this place is about 13 kilometres (8.1 mi). from Pechiparai Dam. The river bed is rocky and about 300 feet (91 m) in length. The water falls from a height of nearly 50 feet (15 m) and the water flows for about seven months in a year. The whole bed above the falls is one rocky mass which extends 250 metres (820 ft) upstream where the Thirparappu weir has been constructed for supplying water to the paddy fields. On either side of the river, on the left bank of the river in between the waterfalls and the weir, there is a temple dedicated to Siva enclosed by strong fortification.


Marina Beach

Anna Samadhi on the Marina Promenade, across the Marina Beach, one of the largest and longest beaches of the world.

Marina Beach one of the world's longest and largest urban beaches, is located on the eastern side of Chennai, adjoining the Bay of Bengal. Watching the sun set and rise from the beach is an enthralling experience. Second largest beach in the world. With its natural sandy beauty and spacious promenade and beautiful gardens, the beach is a major attraction for tourists visiting Chennai. The Marina, however, is large enough to accommodate all visitors as well as the hawkers and is often the venue for important state functions.

Elliot Beach

This beach is located in Besant Nagar. Formerly a popular bathing beach, today, it is the favourite rendezvous of the younger generation. Good roads, pavements, illuminated sands, makes a visit to this beach a real pleasure.


Mamallapuram, 58 km south of Chennai, has a beautiful beach spanning a distance of over 20 km. Once the site of the erstwhile Pallava Kingdom's seaport, the place today abounds with stone carvings, caves, rock-cut temples also attract tourists. A crocodile farm, snake venom extracting centre, schools of art and sculpture and a wide choice of resorts along the beach draw holiday-seekers all round the year.

Poompuhar Beach

The environs of the Poompuhar beach

Once a legendary port city with trade links to ancient Greece and Rome, today Poompuhar is a small coastal town with a superb shoreline that attracts a number of tourists for its vistas during sunrise.


Located at the southernmost tip of India, where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, lies the Kanyakumari Beach, an important pilgrim center. Kanniyakumari is famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets, especially on full moon days. The beach itself is a beautiful sight with multi-coloured sand. There are also some more good beaches in Kanyakumari like Chothavilai Beach, Circular Fort.

Wildlife sanctuaries and National parks

Mudumalai National Park

Mudumalai which translates into "Ancient Hill Range" is situated at the base of the Nilgiri Hills, is the home to several endangered and vulnerable species such as the Nilgiri Tahr, Indian elephant, Tiger, Gaur, Flying Squirrel, Sambar, Nilgiri langur and Indian Leopard to name a few. It shares its borders with Kerala and Karnataka and is separated from Karnataka's Bandipur National Park by the Moyar river.[20]

The lowest point of the sanctuary is the picturesque Moyar Waterfalls. Its rich topography is as varied as the vegetation, which ranges from dense deciduous forests in the west to scrub jungles in the east interspersed with grasslands, swamps and bamboo brakes.

Guindy National Park

Monkey at the Children's Park, Guindy National Park

Originally a part of the private forest reserve surrounding the Guindy Lodge in the suburbs of Chennai, a portion of it was declared as the Guindy National Park in 1977 and is one of the very few national parks situated within a metropolis.

The park is the home to the endangered Blackbuck and the Spotted deer and has over 130 varieties of birds including raptors such as the honey buzzard and the white-bellied sea eagle. Bird-watching is popular in winter, when migrant birds visit the region. Also located within the park is the Snake Park where one can see the King Cobra, the Python among other reptiles.

For ex-situ conservation, about 22 acres (8.9 ha) of the Guindy National Park has been carved out into a park known as the Children's Park and play area at the northeast corner of the national park with a collection of animals and birds. The park attracts more than 700,000 visitors every year.[21]

See also

Outline of Tourism in India


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/17/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.