The history of the Tamils presents an exciting pageant of a powerful civilization whose origin dates back to ancient times. It is clear that the Tamils, who belong to the Dravidian race, were the first major occupants of the country and settled in the north-western part of India long before the coming of the Indo-Aryans. Excavations have revealed that the features of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization bore a strong resemblance to this race.
Tamil Nadu celebrates all their festivals in colourful splendour. Tamil Nadu offers the traveller excellent value, particularly in accommodation. Hotel prices are generally lower than they are further north and standards are often higher. The food in Tamil Nadu is comparatively inexpensive and good. Tamil Nadu provides the visitor with a wide variety of cuisines.
For the tourists, most important point to remember about Tamil Nadu is the rainy season between October and December when the northeast monsoon brings rain here. Throughout the year for the plains, cotton is the best wear. In the hilly areas, you will need to carry a light sweater or two, heavier woollens are a must for winter. Umbrellas are extremely needed during the hottest months and raincoats will come in handy between October and December i.e. the rainy season. The best time to visit to Tamil Nadu is between November and March.
Tamil Nadu is bounded by Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in the north and Kerala in the west. The eastern and western tips of the state are defined by the Point Calimere and Mudumalai wildlife sanctuaries while the northern extreme is Pulicat lake and the southernmost tip is Kanyakumari, the land's end. The people of Tamilnadu lead relaxed lifestyles. The urban social recreations include clubs, golf links, beach resorts, theme parks, race courses, art and theatre. Visits to game reserves, holiday resorts, long sandy beaches, zoological and entertainment parks and sanctuaries are the other many social pastimes available. Tourists spots include hill stations like Ooty and Kodaikkanal which are all time favourites.
HISTORYTamil Nadu was ruled by three major dynasties-the Cholas in the east, the Pandyas in the central area and Cheras in the west. This was during the Sangam Age-the classical period of Tamil literature-that continued for some 300 years after the birth of Christ. The Pallava dynasty was influential particularly in the 7th and 8th centuries, the testimonies to which are the monuments at Mamallapuram. In the 13th century, with threats of Muslim invasions from the north, the southern Hindu dynasties combined and the empire of Vijaynagar, which covered all of South India, became firmly established. However, by the 17th century, due to the disintegration of the Vijaynagar Empire, various small rulers like the Nayaks ruled southern India.
By the middle of the 18th century, there were frequent conflicts between the British, French, Danes, and Dutch due to their interest in these areas. The British were finally victorious, while small pocketed areas including Pondicherry and Karaikal remained under French control. Under the British rule, most of south India was integrated into the region called the Madras Presidency. In 1956, the Madras Presidency was disbanded and Tamil Nadu was established.
Gypsies have had a special place in Tamil history. Many tribes and castes have accepted this iterant way of life. The Tamil deity Murugan's consort was identified variably as a Kuravar (in Tamil Nadu) or as a Veddha (indigenous hunter gatherer tribal in Sri Lanka). The Badagas, Kotas, and Todas are other tribes found in the Nilgiri hills.
FOLK DANCES AND CULTURE
KaragaattamKaragam is a folk dance with musical accompaniment, performed balancing a pot on the head.
KummiKummi is one of the most important and ancient forms of village dances of Tamilnadu. It originated when there were no musical instruments, with the participants clapping their hands to keep time.
Mayil AttamThis is done by girls dressed as peacocks, resplendent with peacock feathers and a glittering head-dress complete with a beak.
KolaattamKolaattam is an ancient village art. This is mentioned in Kanchipuram as 'Cheivaikiyar Kolattam', which proves its antiquity. This is performed by women only, with two sticks held in each hand, beaten to make a rhythmic noise.
Oyil KummiThis is an ancient folk dance form popular in Trichi, Salem, Dharmapuri, Coimbatore and Periyar Districts. No other musical instruments are used in this dance except the ankle-bells.
Kavadi AattamThe ancient Tamils when they went on pilgrimage, carried the offerings to the gods tied on the either end of the long stick, which was balanced on the shoulders.
Poikkal Kudirai AattamThis is the Dummy Horse Dance where the dancer bears the dummi figure of a horse's body on his/her hips. This is made of light-weighted materials and the cloth at the sides swings to and fro covering the legs of the dancer.
Kai Silambu AttamThis dance is performed in temples during Amman festivals or Navaratri festival. The dancers wear ankle-bells and hold anklets or silambu in their hands, which make noise when shaken.
SilambattamKol silambam or fighting with a long stick and even with swords is a martial art from the days of Tamil Kings. Fights were characterised by moves of self defence, practise of skillful methods of approaching the opponent, overpowering and subduing him, and finally teaching him a lesson, all to put an end to violence.
Chakkai AttamTeak woodenpieces size of 7 X 3/4 inch are held between the fingers which make the noise. Eight to ten dancers stand in a circle or parallel lines.
Kazhai KothuKazhai Kothu is a performance of gymnastic specialised by Aryans. This is very similar to modern day circus. They travel in a group from place to place, entertaining the local people and thus earning a living.
ThappaattamThappu is the name of a rhythamic beat instrument and Thappattam is practiced among the suppressed classes of the people of the Tamil Nadu.
Bommalattam or Puppet ShowPuppet shows are held in every village during festivals and fairs. Many different kinds of puppets are used for this show - cloth, wood, leather, etc.
Bagavatha NadanamThis dance is performed inside a temple, around a lamp. The purpose is to worship Lord Krishna, and celebrate his frolics with the gopikas. This is performed during Ramanavami and Gokulashtami.
Theru KoothuNormally conducted during village festivals, during the months of Panguni and Aadi. This is performed where three or four streets meet; in open air, the place being lit by gas lights.
DevaraattamDevarattam is a pure folk dance still preserved by the descendents of Veerapandiya Kattabomman dynasty at Kodangipatti of Madurai District.
OyilattamOyil means beauty. This dance is hence the dance of beauty. Traditionally, it is danced only by men. Ten years ago women also began to participate.
Snake DanceYet another typical speciality of the southern region is the snake-dance which arises from the popularity of the snake as a protective divinity, safeguarding the health and happiness of the rural folk.
Urummi AttamThe whirring sound of 'urumi' providing the melody and the beat of the Thappu providing the rhythm, accompany the dance sequence in this kind of temple art form.
Ottan KoothuOttas, a small group of tribals, perform this form of ritual dance on festive occassions to depict episodes from epics and other ancient stories. The women folk also participate in the dance.
Kamandi or Kaman PandigaiThis is celebrated to commemorate the puranic event when Manmada the God of Love was burnt to ashes by Siva in anger.
Puli AttamPuli Attam is performed by young men with painted bodies in colours yellow and black, complete with fangs, head gear with ears, paws with claws and long tail, simulating the prancing, ouncing tiger in every ferocious move.
Kali AttamKali means joy or fun and games. This is also known as Koladi, Kolkali, Kambadi Kali and Kolaattam. Sticks one foot length are held in each hand and beaten to make a sharp, rasping sound as the dance proceeds with unique steps, twisting and turning.
Sevai AttamThis form of art is devoted to 'Thirumal' (Maha Vishnu) and is performed by village folk belonging especially to Nataka community.
Villu PattuThe main singer here is accompanied by a chorus, musical instruments and a main instrument, the Villu or Bow, fixed with bells.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Pongal (January - First day of the Tamil month - ' thai ')Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamilnadu. People extend their tribute to the Sun, Nature and the cattle wealth for helping them with a rich harvest and prosperity. The traditional preparation of 'Pongal' i e boiling rice with jaggery and milk, takes place at every home.
Tourist Fair (January - Chennai)Welcome to the colourful TTDC Trade Fair at Chennai. The exhibition introduces you to Tamil Nadu. Its cultural wealth, places of tourist interest, econemic scenario and much more.
Dance Festival (Dance Festival December-February - Mamallapuram )The Dance festival starts on the 25th of December of every year and is conducted on all Saturdays, Sundays and Government holidays, upto February first week. Dancers and musician of repute from India and abroad thrill the crowds every year. Folk dances of India are other added attractions
Tea & Tourism Festival (Last week of January - Udhagamandalam / Coonoor )A 3-day festival at the Hill Stations. Varieties of tea are on display. Also available for tasting. Cultural extravaganzas, Cuisines of the South and the pleasant climate adds more flavour. For the right blend, join in.
Natyanjali Festival (February-March - Chidambaram )Starts from the day of Mahashivaratri, for 5 days. Chidambaram is situated along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, 75 kms south of Pondicherry. Lord Nataraja, according to the Hindu mythology is a cosmic dancer. He is called the Lord of dances. This is an oppurtunity for all dancers, from all India, to perform and to pay their tribute to Lord Nataraja.
Chithirai Festival (April - Madurai)Venue is the famous Madurai temple, 500 kms from Chennai. The festival starts from the Tamil month - Chithirai, and goes on for ten days . The highlight is the procession of Lord "Kallazhagar" ( Lord Vishnu ) the elder brother of goddess Meenakshi, who proceeds from his abode - Azhagarmalai 30 kms from Madurai, to give away his sister in marriage to Lord Sundareshwar.
Summer Festival (May-June - Udhgamandalam, Kodaikkanal, Yercaud, Elagiri Hills)There are several beautiful Hill Stations in Tamil Nadu. With the Summer festivals, the hills are even better. Cultural programmes, adventure sports, boat races, flower shows and fruits shows add to the splendour.
Mango Festival (Last 3 days of June - Krishnagiri)Krishnagiri is the venue for the famous mango festival. Various mangoes are kept on display. It is also an event for the buyers and sellers to meet. Come, and you're sure to go mangoes !
Saral Festival (July - Courtallam)The monsoon brings happiness. And waterfalls at Courtallam. The water falls on rocks and tiny droplets are sprinkled into the air. Thus, giving a 'fog-like' appearance. The breeze carries this 'fog' far. The phenomenon is called ' Saral " in Tamil.
Cape Festival (October - Kanyakumari)Kanyakumari is the Southern tip of the Indian Sub-continent, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The Hindus consider a bath in this confluence as very sacred. The Vivekananda Memorial set amidst the sea is a place known to give mental emancipation. The Cape Festival is marked by a series of cultural programmes. Lasts for 3 days.
HILL STATIONS IN TAMILNADU
KodaikanalToday, the charm of Kodaikanal lies in its wooded slopes and gigantic trees. The mighty rocks, bowers, creeks and slopes captivate the visitors. The meadows, the long stretches of forests, beautiful spots and the flocks of sheep grazing on green pastures are a source of joy, delight and thrill to onlookers. The climb to the various jutting rocks at Kodai is rewarding. The arduous climb to the Pillar rocks, to a height of 400 ft, is a must for every visitor to this hill resort.
Ooty (dhagamandalam)Ooty with smaller hill stations of Coonoor - 19 kms and Kothagiri 31 kms from Ooty are the other hill stations of this district. Nilgiri is India's first biosphere. It has been declared as one of the 14 'hotspots' of the world beavke of its unique bio-diversity. Nilgiri presents a truly breath taking kaleidoscope of visual treats and soul stirring experience.
YercaudThis quiet little hill station on the Shevaroy hills of the Eastern ghats is the only one of its kind in northern Tamil Nadu. While the rest of this region is generally dry, including the predominantly short and rocky hills of the Eastern ghats, Yercaud presents a welcome contrast with its cool climate.
Coffee and citrus fruits, most notably oranges, are grown in abundance apart from bananas, pears and jack. Scenically, Yercaud is as enchanting and picturesque as the hill stations on the Western ghats and trekking here can be one of the most pleasurable ways to pass time.Places for sight-seeing include the Lake, Lady's Seat, Killiyur Falls, Pagoda Point, Arthur's Seat, Kaveri Peak and the Shevaroyan temple..
BEACHES AND ISLANDS IN TAMILNADU
Marina BeachMarina Beach 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. Though bathing and swimming can be dangerous, as the undercurrent is very strong, even then people come for swimming here.
Elliot BeachThis 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.
Kovalam BeachKovalam or Covelong as it was known earlier is a small fishing village located 40 kms from Chennai on the way to Mahabalipuram. Now it is a luxury beach resort. This beach has a fort built by the Nawab of Carnatic, Saadat Ali.
MamallapuramMamallapuram 58 kms, south of Chennai, has a beautiful beach spanning a distance of over 20 km. An erstwhile port of the Pallava dynasty the place abounds with stone carvings, caves, rock cut temples also attract tourists. A crocodile farm, snake.
Kanyakumari BeachAt the southern most tip of India, where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, lies Kanyakumari, an important pilgrim center. Kanyakumari is famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets, especially on full moon days. The beach itself is a beautiful sight with multi-colored sand.
Muttukkadu BeachYet another beach resort created in memory of erstwhile "Kaveripoompattinam", a legendary Port city, washed away by the sea. The present complex was designed on the basis of the information available in the Tamil epic 'Silapathikaram'.
SHOPPING IN TAMILNADUTamil Nadu, popularly referred as the cradle of Dravidian culture, offers exciting shopping experiences to its visitors. The state is renowned for its rich culture heritage including its exquisite arts and crafts, which are world-famous for their uniqueness. Traditional items like Kanchipuram silks, Pattamara mats and the leaf and palmyra-fiber handicrafts from Tirunellveli, bronze and brass castings and traditional jewelry from Kumbakonam, metal works from Tanjore and stone sculptures from Mahabalipuram are famous all over the country.
CUISINES IN TAMILNADUTamil Nadu provides the visitor with a wide variety of delicious food both for the vegetarians as well as the non-vegetarians, though most food in Tamil Nadu consists of grains, lentils, rice and vegetables. Spices are added to give a distinctive taste. Breakfast or tiffin includes idly(steamed rice cakes), dosai (a pancake made from a batter of rice) and lentils crisp fried on a pan, vada(deep fried doughnuts made from a batter of lentils), pongal (a mish mash of rice and lentils boiled together and seasoned with ghee, cashew nuts, pepper and cummin seed), uppuma(cooked semolina seasoned in oil with mustard, pepper, cummin seed and dry lentils.)
WILDLIFE IN TAMILNADU
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National ParkSpread over 958 sq kms, this sanctuary can be reached though Topslip in Anamalai Hills on the Western Ghats. An ecological Paradise, this sanctuary encompasses a National Park with an area of 108 sq kms. About 800 species out of 2000 South Indian Flora are distributed here.
Mudumalai Wildlife SanctuaryLocated in Nilgiri Hills, the offshoot of the Western ghats meet the eastern ghats. This 321 sq km wide sanctuary encompasses a National Park measuring an area of 103 sq kms.
Mukkurthi National ParkLocated on the high altitudes of the Nilgiris, comprising rolling downs interspersed with temperate sholas, this park is also a part of Nilgiri Bio-sphere reserve and situated 40 km from Udhagamandalam. It contains a viable population on Nilgiri Thar (Hamitragus-hilocrius), Sambhar, Barking deer, Nilgiri marten and otter, Jungle cat, Jackal etc.
Kalakkadu Wildlife SanctuaryKalakkadu Wild Life Sanctuary is situated in area of 223 sq kms in the Tirunelveli District, including the foothills of Western Ghats and the adjoining area. The flora ranges from forests of tropical wet ever-green to Tropical dry decidious and thorn forest at down hills.
Mundanthurai Wildlife SanctuaryThere is nothing to differentiate this sanctuary from that of Kalakkadu, except the absense of Elephant and the Gaur. Situated in the Tirunelveli district, This 567 sq km sanctuary boasts of dry decidious to tropical wet evergreen forests patches of pure reeds.
Point Calimere Wild Life SanctuarySprawling on 17.26 sq km surrounded by sea and shore, comprising forests of tidal swamps, dry evergreen forests of mangroves, this sanctuary is situated in the Nagapattinam district. It is bestowed with population of varied wild life such as Chital, Wild boar, Bonnet macaque, Black Buck, Flamingoes, Teals, Gulls, Terns, Plavers and Stilts. Special attractions are close encounters with Dolphins and Turtles which often come quite close to the shore.
Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wild Life SanctuaryLocated in the Virudhunagar District, 45 kms off Virudhunagar Town, this sanctuary has a composition of dry decidious forests, moist mixed decidious forests and grasslands. Grizzled Giant Squirrels are abound. Other interesting species are flying squirrel, Tree Shrew, Elephant, Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, and many a species of birds. This sanctuary can be visited all through th year.
Guindy National ParkGuindy National Park is one of the prime visiting spots for those who come to Chennai during vacation period. It attracts visitors over three lakhs during a season. A recommended picnic spot for the entire family to spend a day amidst nature and return home joyfully in the evening.
Vallanadu Black Buck SanctuaryA scrub forest area spread over to 16.41 sq km this sanctuary is situated in Thuthukudi (Tuticorn) District. Blackbuck, Spotted Deer, Macaques, Jungle cat, Mangoose and hares are plenty. This sanctuary can be visited through out the year.
Vedanthangal And Karikili Bird SanctuariesA grove of Barringtonia Acacia nilotica trees in a tank form part of the sanctuary. In addition dry evergreen scrub and thorn forests can also be seen. Both these sancturies are situated in the Kanchipuram district and sprawling in a 30 ha and 61 ha area respectively.
Arignar Ann Zoological Park - ChennaiThis man made Zoological park situated on the outskirts of the Chennai Metropolitan, created out of the Reserve Forests of Vandalur. The forests are of Dry decidious and dry evergreen scrub type. It was in the year 1855 the first Zoo in India was established in Chennai, later on in 1979 shifted to this 510 ha sprawling complex. This Zoological park is said to be one of the biggest in the South East Asia.
The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust - NemmeliThis Crocodile Bank has been established with an aim to protectand conserve the endangered reptiles such as crocodiles, Alligators etc. Situated 14 kms from Mamallapuram, this trust now houses more than 6 species of crocodiles.
ViralimalaiThis small town is situated south of tiruchirapalli, is bestowed with a large number of wild Peacocks, which roam around the Murugan Temple situated here.
Gulf Of Mannar Marine National ParkThis is a marine Bio sphere, running along with coasts of Ramanathapuram and Tuthukudi (Tuticorin) Districts. The entire Gulf of Mannar abounds in distinguished marine life covering, 21 Islands and 623 ha. This National Park is full of coral reefs, Dugong, Turtles, Dolphins and Balano-glossus.
General Information of Tamilnadu
LOCATIONLocated in south India, Tamil Nadu is bounded in the north by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, in the south by the Indian Ocean, in the east by the Bay of Bengal, and by Kerala in the west. The Point Calimere and the Mudumulai wildlife sanctuary mark the eastern and western limits of the state, respectively. The northernmost limit is Pulicat Lake while the southernmost tip, defining the end of the Indian landmass, is Cape Comorin or Kanyakumari. It is the 11th largest state in India, circumscribing the union territory of Pondicherry in the district of South Arcot.
How to Reach Tamil Nadu
By AirThe Anna International Airport, 16 km south of Chennai, has flights to/from Sri Lanka, Dubai, Germany, Jakarta, Malaysia, England, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore. Most major Indian cities are also well connected to Chennai. The Indian Airlines Office (Ph. 8553039) and Air India Office (Ph. 8554477) at Marshall's Road are quite helpful and informative. One can reach the city by auto-rickshaws, suburban trains and taxis.
The station at Chennai has connecting trains to/from all major cities in India. The reservation office is on the first floor of the reservation complex next to the station. The very helpful Foreign Tourist Assistance Cell deals with Indrail Pass and tourist-quota bookings. At Egmore, the booking office is at the station itself (Ph. 5353545).
By RoadThe bus terminals in Chennai are on either side of Prakasham Road in George Town, near the High Court Building. The intrastate (Ph. 5341835) and interstate (Ph. 5341836) bus reservation offices are upstairs. There are buses to almost all the neighbouring states. Boat services are also available in Chennai.
BEST TIME TO VISIT TAMIL NADUThe climate of the state is widely tropical. April and May are the hottest months with temperatures rising to as high as 40?C. During the day, even the coastal regions are warm and humid during the summers; nightfall, however, brings some respite in the form of the cool sea breeze. During the winter season, extending from November to February, the mercury hardly falls below 20?C, except in the hill stations. The winter monsoons of Tamilnadu occur in the months of October to December.
Places in Tamilnadu
ChennaiChennai is a city that has a clear skyline, long sandy beaches, parks, historic landmarks and tourist infrastructural facilities which make it a convenient entry point or base to start your tour of Tamil Nadu and South India. Where religion is concerned, history has certainly left its mark on this city which is believed to have been the place of St. Thomas, in the outskirts of the city. There are a number of churches in Chennai that are connected with the life and times of this apostle. There are also several ancient temples around Chennai, and, within the city itself are two magnificent temples - a temple in Triplicane and another in Mylapore.
ChidambaramChidambaram greets us with a beautiful temple, dedicated to Lord Nataraja - God Siva, in the form of a cosmic Dancer. This is one of the few temples where Siva and Vishnu are enshrined under one roof. Dedicated to Lord Nataraja, this ancient temple of the Cholas is unique not only it is devoted solely to the art of Bharatanatyam, but also it is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather than the customary Lingam. Spread over an area of 40 acres with a gopuram on each side, the temple is distinguished by five sabhas or courts.
CoimbatoreCoimbatore is the city is the Headquarters of the District and the third largest city in Tamil Nadu. As it is exposed to the Palghat gap of Western Ghats it enjoys a salubrious climate. This has attracted a large number of textile mills to this region. It is rightly called the " Manchester of South India ". Coimbatore is also known for the manufacture of motor pumpsets and varied engineering goods. The city is also known for its handloom products. There are a number of technical institutions as well.
CourtallamCourtallam, the "Spa of the south", is situated at an elevation of about 167 mts. on the Western Ghats in Tirunelveli District. It is an excellent health resort. The waters of Courtallam is believed to have medicinal and therapeautical qualities as it flows through forests of herbs. Courtallam is 160 Kms from Madurai, 137Kms from Kanyakumari and 112 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. The nearest railway station is Tenkasi which is just 6 Kms ffrom here.
HogenakalA picturesque holiday spot located on the Kaveri river is an unexploited tourist wonder. Hogenakal means "Smoking Rock", a name derived from the cloud of mist and spray, that envelopes the chasm. A sacred bathing place, Hogenakal is famed for the curative power of its waters. Surrounded by mountains, this place now offers a quiet holiday in comfort. It is connected by road to Dharmapuri, Selam and Bengalore from where bus service is available to other parts of Tamil Nadu.
KanchipuramKanchipuram is known as one of India's Seven Sacred cities. Kanchipuram was, one of India's seven sacred cities. Kanchipuram was the historical capital of the Pallavas. It was under the Pallavas from 6th to 8th century A.D and later became the citadel of Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, the Muslim and the British. It has been a centre of Tamil learning, cultural and religious background for centuries.
KanyakumariAt the southern most land tip of India, where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, lies Kanyakumari, an important pilgrim centre. Kanyakumari is famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets, especially on full moon days. The beach itself is a beautiful site with multi-cloured sand. There is a lighthouse from where one can get a panoramic view. The Government museum offers a good collection of sculptural art crafts of Tamil Nadu.
KodaikkanaLKodaikkanal is one of India's most beautiful hill stations located at an altitude of 2133 mts ( 7,000 feet ) frequented by tourists in large numbers throughout the year. Kodaikkanal has a bracing climate where temperature do not vary much from summer to winter. Fruits like plums and plantains grow abundantly on the wooded slopes apart from a wide variety of flowers, among which is the famous Kurinji flower which blooms once in twelve years.
MaduraiOnce the capital city of Pandyas, Madurai is today the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. It is famous for the Meenakshi Temple with its towering gopurams and rare sculptures. The city is said to have got its name from the drops of nectar (Mathuram) that fell from Shiva's locks when he came to bless its people for constructing a temple for him. Originally named Madhurapuri or the 'land of nectar', the name later got modified as Madurai.
MamallapuramMamallapuram 60 kms, South of Chennai, nestling on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, was once a port of the Pallavas. The Pallavas have created many marvellous monuments with Sculptural Panels, Caves, Monolithic Rathas and Temples.
Mudumalai SanctuaryThis sanctuary is located where the Nilagiri Hills, the offshoot of the Wetern ghats meet the eastern ghats. The Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary has varied mixture of flat land, undulating parkland, open grassland, swamp, valleys and nullas. The Mayyar river in this region forms a series of spectacular cascades on its way 65 kms away from Udhagamandalam - Mysore highway, this sanctuary could be reached from Mysore as well.
PoompuharSituated at the estuary of River Kaveri, this was an ancient port of the Cholas. Poompuhar in Sirkali Taluk of Nagai district is also known as Kaveripoompattinam. Tourists have to alight at Mayiladuthurai railway junction, to proceed to Poompuhar by road, Visitors from Chennai by train have to get down at Sirkali.
PondicherrySituated on the Coromandel coast in an enclave in Tamil Nadu's South Arcot district, Pondicherry is 162 kms. south of Madras. It is the capital of the Union Territory of the same name. Pondicherry has a long history dating back 2000 years when it was an important Roman trading post. The region was at various periods ruled by the Pallavas and Cholas. In the early 16th century, when it was known as Pulichery or Poocheri and under the rule of the Nayaks of Gingee.
RameswaramOne of the most sacred towns of India, it is well known for its well known for its temple corridor - the longest in India, the Bathing Ghat, Ganthamathana Parvatham, Kothandaramar temple, Kurusadai and other nearby islands - abundant with coral reefs and other marine wonders.
ThanjavurThanjavur rose to glory during the later Chola reign between the 10th and the 14th Centuries and became a centre of learning and culture. It is the headquarters of the disrict of the same name. Thanjavur district, the ' Rice Bowl ' of Tamil Nadu, is also known for its exquisite handicrafts, bronzes and South Indian Musical Instruments.
Ooty (Udhagamandalam)Popularly referred as the 'Queen of Hill Stations', Udhagamandalam better known as Ooty is the most popular hill station in the South. Located in the Western ghats at a height of 2240 m, Udhagamandalam is the headquarters of the Nilgiris district where the two ghats meet. Nature has been generous with this region which is by far the most beautiful in the state.
Tiruchirapally (Trichy )Tiruchirappalli now called Trichy is situated on the banks of the Cauvery river. Trichy, the fourth largest city in the state was a citadel of the early Cholas which later fell to the Pallavas. But the Pallavas never really managed to retain control of this strategic city and lost it to the Pandyas several times.
Vedanthangal and Karikali Bird SanctuaryA grove of Barringtonia Acacia nilotica trees in a tank form part of the sanctuary. In addition dry evergreen scrub and thorn forests can also be seen. Both these sancturies are situated in the Kanchipuram district and sprawling in a 30 ha and 61 ha area respectively.
TVedanthangal is the oldest bird sanctuary in the country. This has been in existence presumably for more than 200 years. The villagers had documented their right, to protect the winged visitors to this sanctuary. The East India company had recognised and renewed their rights in the year 1858.
YercaudLocated on the Servaroyan Hills, in Salem District, Yercaud is a hill station visited by tourists throughout the year. The Servaroyan Hills as a whole, provide many beautiful vistas and panoramic views. Yercaud itself is a pretty hill station with a pleasant cool climate. Yercaud's temperature never rises above 30? C or falls below 13? C. This is one hill station where one does not feel the bitting cold of winter. With such a salubrious climate, Yerkaud can be visited round the year. It is an hour's drive from Salem and is the least expensive hill station in India.
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