Tamil Nadu Tourism Overview

3.9
Ideal duration: 4 - 12 days
Best time: October to March
Major Airports: Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli

"Enchanting Tamil Nadu"

Tamil Nadu Tourism At A Glance

A land of cultural and religious heritage, Tamil Nadu offers every chance to the tourist or pilgrims to be enchanted with the vast plethora of history and beauty that it has. It is a blend of modern and ancient, that makes Tamil Nadu a beautiful destination to explore our past cultural heritage with all the amenities of the present.

More Information About Tamil Nadu

Lying along the Bay of Bengal, Tamil Nadu with its glorious history spanning thousands of years and today is paving the way to becoming one of the promising states of the country. This state has seen the rise and fall of many Dynasties of Cholas, Cheras, Pallavas, and each dynasty has enriched the place with its own customs and traditions. Tamil Nadu sees a lot of tourists coming to see the famous Meenakshi Temple, tip of India - Kanyakumari or the beautiful hill station of Ooty. There is a great fascination to explore the ruins of the forts and palaces of the then great Dynasties. The intricately carved structure of Mahabalipuram offers an insight into the architectural splendour of the Indian Civilization.

What's Great?

Very well connected nationally and internationally by land, sea and air. Diverse range of tourist activities. Many beaches, hill stations and forests.

What's not so Great?

Summers may get very hot. The state is prone to cyclones during the late monsoons. Some popular tourist destinations may get very crowded during peak season.

For Whom

Tami Nadu is the ideal destination for families, honeymooners, adventure travellers, wildlife enthusiasts, history aficionados and backpackers.

Local Food and Cuisine of Tamil Nadu

The food of Tamil Nadu is rich in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The food mainly consists of rice, lentils, legumes with spices such as curry leaves, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic etc. Coconut in various forms in widely used.

People of Tamil Nadu believe that serving food to another living being be it humans or animals, is a service to God himself. Therefore, they are generous when it comes to food, whether it is in their home or temples or even restaurants. Traditionally, this south Indian cuisine is served on a banana leaf and people sit on the floor to eat. A typical meal consists of Rice, Sambhar(Curry), two types of vegetables, curd and a pickle. Dosas, idilis, Upma, Parota, Sambhar, Rasam, Pongal are the dishes with which the cuisine of Tamil Nadu is identified. Payasam, Kesari, Sweet pongal are the sweet treasure of this cuisine. Filter coffee is a specialty of the south-Indian cuisine. The making of filter coffee is like a ritual, as the coffee beans are first roasted and then powdered. They then use a filter set, few scoops of powdered coffee, enough boiling water is added to prepare a very dark liquid called the decoction. A 3/4 mug of hot milk with sugar, a small quantity of decoction is then served in Dabarah, a unique Coffee cup.

People and Culture of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu state is one of the most urbanized state of India, though a lot of people are still living in rural parts of the state. Around 80% of the population follow Hinduism which includes the caste system that is still a major issue here. A majority of the population live in Chennai and cities like Madurai, Coimbatore, etc. which is the commercial concentration of the state.

Tamil is the official language spoken here, however there are different dialects of the same and over 18 other languages that are spoken here. Tamil Nadu has a great tradition of heritage and culture that developed over 2,000 years ago and still continues to flourish. The people here are very particular about their culture, traditions and customs. Even the most modern person here will be likely to follow the age old traditions. The people of Tamil Nadu are rather welcoming and warm in nature.

Geography of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is one of the four Southern states of India and is bordered by Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and the Union Territory of Pondicherry. On the South-eastern side, it shares a marine boundary with Sri Lanka. The southernmost point on the Indian landmass is the place where the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea meet.

This state is also very rich in vegetation and different types of forests including evergreen, deciduous and scrub forests. The Western and Eastern Ghats, two of the country's most biologically diverse zones meet at the Nilgiri hills. Tamil Nadu also has the second largest coastline, second only to Gujarat. The capital of this state is Chennai (formerly known as Madras) and Thanjavur, Coimbatore, Trichy and Salem are the other main cities.

History of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu's history goes back to the prehistoric period, and there is evidence that this region was inhabited since before the Indus Valley civilisation. Many great kingdoms like those of the Pallavas, Cholas and the Vijayanagara Empire were built in this state and stretched as far north as the shore of the Ganga.

During this time, many majestic temples have been constructed on sea shores and till today are admired as wonders of architecture. The British then took over this region after bloody battles with the ruling Nayak Dynasty and formed the Madras presidency, one of the three most important parts of British India. Tamil Nadu, in its present form, was constituted in 1969 and renamed from the earlier Madras state.

The Land of Temples

Tamil Nadu has a very rich history of cultural enrichment and architecture, art and literature have been patronised by successive rulers in this region. This has resulted in temples that are marvels of architecture and stand till today as testaments of the devotion of the people. There are over thirty thousand temples in Tamil Nadu built in the Dravida style of ancient temple architecture.

Temples are also places of social and cultural gathering and have vast halls that host dances and music performances dedicated to the gods. Mahabalipuram, Gangaikondacholapuram, Brihideshwara, Nataraja, Tanjore and Meenakshipuram are some of the famous temples located in temple towns all over the state. Many of these temples have been declared as UNESCO world heritage sites.

Wildlife of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is rich in biodiversity because of the great diversity of habitats that are found in the state. The meeting of the Eastern and Western Ghats forms a corridor of dense forest that is inhabited by large and small animals including tigers, leopards, elephants and endangered species like the Golden Langur and black buck.

There is also a huge variety of birds of which some like flamingos and terns are migratory. There are 17 wildlife sanctuaries and five national parks in Tamil Nadu of which one is a tiger reserve. Mudhumalai, Nagarhole and Bandipur are some of the most famous forest reserves in the state.

Dances and Music of Tamil Nadu

The culture of Tamil Nadu has a rich history, and the present form of dances and music reflect years of influences from various factors. Bharatnatyam is the traditional Tamilian dance form practised in temples before gods. It has now become popular in all of India and is one of the seven classical dances of India. Kuchipudi, the dance from Andhra Pradesh is also very popular in this state.

Carnatic music, which has the same base as Hindustani Classical but uses different instruments and tones is also highly developed in Tamil Nadu. Natyajali and Mamallapuram dance festivals are both held during the winter and draw huge crowds from all over the world. Similarly, the Thyagaraja Music Festival celebrates varieties of Carnatic music and sees large crowds.

Arts and Crafts of Tamil Nadu

The rich heritage of Tamil craftsmanship has been documented in chronicles since before Mauryan times. The most famous of the art forms is the Tanjore painting which is done using a mixture of chalk and glue inlaid with precious stones and pearls. These pictures give an amazing three-dimensional effect.

Woodcarving too is highly developed in this state with pillars of temples to everyday kitchen items bearing intricate carvings. Because of the abundance of sandalwood, many ceremonial items are carved from this scented wood. Metalwork from bell metal was a speciality of temple towns of yore and continues to be a dominant handicraft product today.