Located in the southernmost part of India, Tamil Nadu is known as the cradle of Dravidian culture. The state is celebrated for its historical monuments, beaches, and hill stations. Temple gopurams, classical music and dance festivals, lip-smacking cuisine, and heritage sites like Thanjavur lure tourists to the state.
The tourism industry is one of the major contributors to the state’s economy. As per the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Tamil Nadu had about 34,506,1140 domestic and 4,860,455 foreign tourists in 2017. There are many heritage properties, homestays, youth hostels, boathouses, star and budget hotels to cater to the accommodation needs of tourist visiting the state from across the globe.
Tamil Nadu Tourism Information
|Area||130,060 square kilometers|
|Main Places||Chennai, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Tirupur, Salem, Ooty, Erode, Tirunelveli, Vellore, and Thoothukudi|
|Official Tourism Website||http://www.tamilnadutourism.org|
|Major Railheads||Chennai Central (MAS), Chennai Egmore (MS), Coimbatore Junction (CBE), Katpadi Station (KPD), Madurai Junction (MDU), Salem Junction (SA), Erode Junction (ED), Dindigul Junction (DG), Karur (KRR), Nagercoil Junction (NCJ), Tiruchirapalli Junction (TPJ), and Tirunelveli (TEN)|
|Airport||Chennai International Airport, Coimbatore International Airport, Tiruchirappalli International Airport, Madurai International Airport|
History of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu shows evidence of continuous habitation from 15,000 to 10,000 BC. The region had been ruled by several dynasties including the Cholas, Chalukyas, Pallavas, and Pandyas. During the reign of the Cholas, Tamil Nadu witnessed architectural accomplishments including the Thanjavur Temple and a golden age of Tamil literature.
In the modern times, the Portuguese and French also ruled the area. By the 17th century, the British took control and under their rule, the region was part of Madras Presidency. Post-independence, in the late 1960s, the state of Tamil Nadu was formed.
Geography & Climate
Tamil Nadu is bordered by Andhra Pradesh in the north, Kerala in the west, Karnataka in the north-west, the Bay of Bengal in the east, and the Indian Ocean in the south. The state shares its maritime border in the south with Sri Lanka. Bounded by the Eastern Ghats, Nilgiri Hills and Meghmalai Hills, much of the western, southern and northwestern parts of the Tamil Nadu are hilly. The rivers that flow through the state include the Kaveri, Thamirabarani, Bhavani, and Vaigai.
The period from November to March is the ideal time to visit Tamil Nadu. Though the summers here are pretty hot, you can plan a visit to its hill stations during these months.
Places to Visit in Tamil Nadu
- Temples: Brihadeeshwara Temple, Shore Temple, Airavatesvara Temple, Ramanathaswamy Temple, Kapaleeswarar Temple, Meenakshi Amman Temple, Palani Murugan Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple, Nataraja Temple, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Jambukeswarar Temple, Kanchi Kailasanthar Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple, Monolithic Rock Temples, Nagaraja Temple, Kumari Amman Temple, Thillai Nataraja Temple, Annamalaiyar Temple, Sripuram Golden Temple, Thyagaraja Temple
- Hill Stations: Kodaikanal, Ooty, Yercaud, Javadi Hills, Yelagiri, Kolli Hills, Valparai, Sirumalai, Topslip, Pachamalai, Kotagiri, Coonoor, Anamalai, Meghamalai
- Waterfalls: Courtallam, Hogenakkal, Monkey Falls, Akasa Gangai, Papanasam, Bear Shola Falls, Catherine Falls, Kumbakkarai Waterfalls, Tirparappu Waterfalls, Thalaiyar Falls
- National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries: Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary, Guindy National Park, Anamalai ( Indira Gandhi) National Park, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Mudumalai National Park, Mukkurthi National Park, Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Amirthi Zoological Park
- Botanical Gardens: The Government Botanical Gardens, Ooty, IFGTB Botanical Garden, The Bryant Park, The Rapinat Herbarium, TNAU Botanical Garden, Semmozhi Poonga
- World Heritage Sites: Chola Temples, Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Nilgiri Mountain Railway
- Beaches: Marina Beach, Elliot’s Beach, Kanyakumari Beach, Velankanni Beach, VGP Golden Beach, Mahabalipuram Beach, Sanguthurai Beach, Dhanushkodi Beach, Poompuhar Beach
- Historical Monuments: Victory War Memorial, Fort St. George, Rama Setu, Thiruvalluvar Statue, Senate House, Varaha Cave Temple, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace, Samanar Malai, Manora Fort, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Yanaimalai or Elephant Hill, Armamalai Cave.
Cuisine of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu cuisine is quite versatile and is an amalgam of different cultures and cooking styles. A typical vegetarian meal consists of rice, sambar, kara kuzhambu, rasam, curd, poriyal, varuval, kootu, keerai masiyal, aviyal, pachadi, appalam, oorukai and payasam. However, different parts of the state have developed their own unique regional cuisines. While the Chettinad region is known for chicken Chettinad, idiyappam, uthappam, and paniyaram, the Madurai region is popular for muttaiparotta, paruthipal, and Karidosai. While in Tamil Nadu, you must also try idli, dosa, vadai, pongal, appam, upma, puttu, Ambur Dum Biriyani, Dindigul Biriyani and filter coffee.
Shopping in Tamil Nadu
Here is a list of things to shop when in Tamil Nadu:
- Thanjavur dolls and paintings
- Kanchipuram sarees
- Filter coffee maker
- Musical instruments
- Cotton dhotis
- Pottery and terracotta items
- Gold and silver jewelry
- Stone carvings
Things to Do in Tamil Nadu
- Attend the Margazhi Mahotsav
- Enjoy aero-sports in Ooty
- Visit the hill stations of Yercaud and Kodaikanal
- Enjoy boating at Hogenakkal
- Visit Kanyakumari, the southern-most tip of India
- Enjoy Pongal celebrations
- Explore Mahabalipuram
- Spot flora and fauna at the wildlife sanctuaries
How to Reach Tamil Nadu
By Air: With four international airports including the Chennai International Airport, the state is well-connected to major towns and cities of India as well as foreign destinations. The airports have regular flights to and from Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, London, Colombo, Singapore, Mauritius, and Bangkok.
By Rail: Chennai being the headquarters of Southern Railway, Tamil Nadu is accessible by rail as well. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a UNESCO world heritage site, connects the hill station of Ooty to Mettupalayam. Chennai also has a vast suburban and metro railway network that provide interstate connectivity.
By Road: Tamil Nadu is well- connected by road. National Highways 47, 49, 208, and 220 connect Tamil Nadu and Kerala while NH 67, 207, and 209 connect the state to Karnataka. Tamil Nadu is also connected to Andhra Pradesh via NH 205, 219, and 234. One can avail private buses, cabs or buses run by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TSTC) to commute in and around the state.