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Tamil Nadu Tourism And Travel Guide
20° C / 68° F
December to March
7 to 10 Days
Chennai Airport (22 kms)
Chennai Central Station (9 kms)
Tamil Nadu, at the southernmost tip of India, is the country’s eleventh largest state and one of the most ancient regions. Archaeological excavations at Attirampakkam, Keezadi and Adichanallur throw up artefacts that carbon dates to prehistoric times. Most of the inscriptions found at the sites are in Tamil, one of the world’s most ancient classical languages spoken in one of the world’s oldest surviving civilizations.
Sangam literature, the Bhakthi movements, the reign of the Pallavas, Cholas and Pandyas established Tamil Nadu as one of the richest in terms of art, architecture, culture and devotion. The Great Living Chola Temples, the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram and World Heritage Sites stand as mute testimony to the skills and craftsmanship of ancient Tamilians.
Tamil Nadu, with the country’s third largest coastline, has great tourism thanks to friendly people, beautiful beaches, heritage and archaeological sites, temples, ragged country sides, sanctuaries as well as theatres and pubs with great music for a vibrant night life. If you would like to visit Tamil Nadu, our travel guide will help you plan a great trip.
How to Reach
Tamil Nadu is very well connected to all major cities of the country by road, air and rail. The most easiest and fastest way to reach Tamil Nadu would be by air.
Tamil Nadu has four International Airports and six National Airports. It’s easy to take a flight to a city and take a connecting train or book a cab to your destination.
Tamil Nadu serves rail connections to most major Indian cities. All rail stations have bus stops, auto rickshaw and taxi stands outside the stations. You would not find it difficult to reach your destination from the railway station.
Private and state buses run between Tamil Nadu to neighbouring states. National and State Highways are run by toll stations and are well maintained. You would enjoy driving your own vehicle round the state or, you could travel by bus or a taxi.
There are local buses in all towns and cities that you could use for getting around. There are auto rickshaws, taxis, call taxis or budget share autos for travel within the area. Major cities have motorcycles or bikes you can rent for a ride round town or even for a great mountain biking solo!
Weather and the Best Time to Visit
Winter, cool and pleasant, with some rain now and then is the best time to be in Tamil Nadu. The next best is summer, if you’re aiming for the hill stations.
Summer’s hot in Tamil Nadu, time for the thirst quenching water melons and coconut water. Coastal areas are humid, interior regions could be hot and sultry. Take a vacation to the hill stations, with streams, waterfalls and lush vegetation.
Southwest monsoon brings some rain as it passes over to the rest of the country. The northeast monsoon follows with heavy, incessant showers. Not a very comfortable time for travel around the state.
By December, winter sets in. It does rain a little in December and as the monsoon retracts, a cool weather sets in by January. This is a real good time to travel along Tamil Nadu; visiting the sights, trekking up the slopes or kayaking down the river.
Things to Do
Visit the Museums if you want to know about the history, culture and traditions of the state. Every city has its own list of Museums and you could have a peek into everything that makes up the state of Tamil Nadu. Be it prehistoric antiquity, the Royalty, British Rule in the state, seashells, inventions or the flora and fauna that make up the biodiversity of the region.
Tamil Nadu’s touristy places are its beaches. From Chennai’s Marina Beach, to the beautiful beaches of the pilgrim town of Rameshwaram to the awe inspiring water world of Kanyakumari at the tip of India where the Indian Ocean merges with the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
Fairs and Festivals are such an integral part of Tamil Nadu’s traditions. Do visit some of the most interesting and colourful fairs of Tamil Nadu - the cattle Fair at Pollachi which includes a beauty pageant for horses and cattle, the Kanakamulam fair at Kanyakumari, the Chithirai Fair at Madurai and the Cattle Fair at Thiruvannamalai.
Winter heralds the International Balloon Festival at Pollachi near Coimbatore. With more than eight countries participating, watch the fun. There are cultural programs and a Food Court, too!
Forts and Monuments:
If you are a history buff, this one’s for you. Visit Fort St. George in Chennai, built by the British, the Gingee Fort built by the Cholas at Villupuram, its prison cells and granaries still intact and worth a visit, the Danish Fort at Tharangampadi, with artefacts from the Danish Empire, the Droog Fort built by Tipu Sultan in Coonoor. There are so many other Forts too, that you’d love to see.
Jallikattu, the bull taming wild sport of Tamil Nadu attracts tourists from world over. Visit Madurai during Pongal celebration in January to cheer the brave young men who tame the ferocious bulls to win prizes. If you are touring places round Coimbatore during Pongal, be a spectator at the Rekla race. You would be amazed at the sight of the bullocks thundering past on the dirt road, egged on by the sportsman sitting on the cart behind.
December’s winter is the right season for some foot tapping music. Music aficionados from all over the world visit Tamil Nadu during the annual carnatic concerts held in sabhas all over Chennai. Concerts are a grand social gathering that culminate with the most delicious lip smacking food and filter coffee at the Sabha canteen.
Ruins of Danushkodi:
Go exploring the ruined town of Dhanuskodi in the district of Rameshwaram. Bordered by the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, the once prosperous trading town is now an abandoned ruin, an aftermath of a cyclone that left nothing in its wake. All you’ll find here are a few fishermen families, plenty of migratory birds and the rarest of sea shells.
Even the tiny unassuming roadside hotels and tiffin centres through Tamil Nadu serve traditional piping hot idlis, vadas, poori masal, pongal and a variety of dosas. Do try them out.
Travel through the length of the state and you would find a plethora of restaurants that have outlets in most cities and towns and dish out tasty delicious fare that is unforgettable. You could try Saravana Bhavan a multicuisine vegetarian restaurant, Junior Kuppanna for Chettinad Cuisine, A2B outlets which run a multicuisine restaurant chain along with sweets and snacks, which you’re sure to find on all National Highways, Dindugal Velu Biryani for Chettinad, Chinese and Tandoori dishes, Dindugal Thalapakatti Biryani and Murugan Idli shop for vegetarian food.
Every city of Tamil Nadu has its own shopping zones. We have listed some of them for you.
Shop for silks and jewellery at T. Nagar in Chennai, Khadi Gramdyog Bhavan or Poompuhar for souvenirs, hand crafted stuff, incense sticks, herbal products or dolls during Dussehra. The best bet to buy beautiful, small but memorable souvenirs to take home are the rows of shops near big temples. Try the Pudhu Mandapam and the Avani Moola street near Meenakshi Temple in Madurai for metal ware, handicrafts and cotton saris, Oppanakara Street and Cross Cut Road in Coimbatore for silks and spices. Visit Upper Bazaar Road in Ooty for spices, Charring Cross Road and Tibetan Market for woollens and chocolates. At Rameshwaram, walk down the alleys around the temples. There are shops selling an amazing assortment of sea shells, jewels made of coconut shells and palm leaves, khadi fabrics and silks. In Tiruchirapalli, explore the Chinna Kadai street near Ucchi Pillayar temple for silks and jewellery.