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Pritha Manchanda Aug 06 2014

Which are the best tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu?

Debangana Sen Aug 07 2014
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Home to magnificent temples, verdant hill stations, sunny beaches and teeming wildlife, there are many tourist places in Tamil Nadu, including 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Known for its classical art and literature, breathtaking architecture and Chettinad cuisine, the southernmost state of India has a bit of everything to suit every palate. These are the places you should not miss out on!

Madurai, Kodaikanal and Karaikudi

Synonymous with the Meenakshi Amman Temple,Madurai is a tribute to primordial divinity. Here every visitor becomes a discoverer. Make sure you keep at least 3 days for Madurai, as the Meenakshi Temple itself requires multiple visits. There is too much to see, from the thousand colourful sculptures of deities to the famed thousand pillared hall and everything around and in between. The Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Mariamman Teppakulam and the Gandhi Museum are other attractions. The Gateway Hotel and Hotel Park Plaza are the two highly recommended accommodation options.

Meenakshi Amman Temple (by Surajram)

From Madurai, you can either head north-west towards Kodaikanal or north-east towards Karaikudi (Chettinad region), both around a 2-hour drive away.

Kodaikanal needs no introduction. This misty hill station is designated as one of the most romantic places in India. From intriguing forest trails, waterfalls and the famous Kodi Lake to Kurinji Temple, Shembaganur Museum (showcasing rare butterflies, stuffed birds and orchid collection) and the Astrophysical Observatory that houses world’s oldest extant telescopes, Kodaikanal is full of surprises. Cottage Crafts and Tibetan Market are the best places for shopping. Here’s a list of places to visit in Kodaikanal.

Kodaikanal Lake (by Challian)

In the heart of Chettinad lies the small town of Karaikudi. A delicious memory, that is unfortunately and unfairly only associated with chicken, Karaikudi--the hub of a cluster of villages that together make up the Chettinad region, has a lot of surprises in store.

Chettinad Palace interiors (by Joelsuganth)

The unbelievably huge and unusually carved Chettinad mansions or nattukottai (some of them so big, they have two postal addresses) are the main attraction of this place. Guided tours to these mansions are only possible via hotels in this region. The Bangala and Nachi Residency are your best bets. You can also visit the temples in Avudayarkovil and Pillaiyarpatti, or shop for antiques and local crafts at various antique stores that abound in the region. And lastly, a meal at The Bangala will enlighten you that a Chettinad meal is not always spicy and concerned with chicken.

A typical Chettiar nattukottai (from the official website of The Bangala)

Chennai and Mahabalipuram
Chennai may not have the oomph of Mumbai and Delhi or the buzz of Bangalore, but it does have a character of its own. The fourth largest city in the country and an economic powerhouse, this capital is loaded with Dravidian architectures, museums, art galleries, cultural centres and everything else that a metropolis has. Here is a list of places to visit in Chennai.

MGR Samadhi on Marina Beach (by Balasubramanian G Velu)

If roaming the city is not your thing, the coastal town of Mahabalipuram might interest you. Located just 58 km south of Chennai, the drive to Mahabalipuram is half the fun. Endless coastlines, ancient architecture, art villages and a relaxed, laid-back feel makes this one of the best weekend getaways from Chennai. Shore Temple, Pancha Ratham and Tiger Cave are some of the attractions here.

Shore Temple (by Hussain27syed)


Regarded as one of the cheapest hill station destinations in India, Yercaud is brimming with natural charm and has still retained most of its “offbeat” characteristics. Part of the Eastern Ghats, this little hill station lies in the Shevaroy Hills. An hour’s drive from Salem, Yercaud is surrounded by coffee plantations and picturesque waterfall. The Shevaroy Temple, dedicated to a local deity, marks the highest point in Yercaud. Big Lake, Killiyur Falls, Lady’s and Gent’s Seat are some of the other attractions.

Yercaud Lake (by Riju K)


This land of thousand temples is without parallels. Referred to as “Varanasi of the South”, Kanchipuram is considered to be one of the 7 sacred cities that guarantees salvation. Almost every lane in this town has a temple and some of them showcase the best of Dravidian architecture with an amalgam of styles introduced by the Cholas, Pallavas, Nayaks and the Vijayanagara kings.

Kailashnath Temple (by Kesavan Muthuvel)

Ekambareshwarar Temple and Kailashnath Temple deserve a special mention. Moreover as the birthplace of the Kanjivaram silk sarees, you can also visit the sericulture farms and silk factory to see behind-the-scenes operations.

Chidambaram, Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur

The main attraction of Chidambaram is the Thillai Nataraja Temple, one of the Panchabhootasthalam (five holy shrines of Shiva), representing the element of air. The awe-inspiring architecture of the temple and the carvings on its facade are worth making the journey to Chidambaram. And while here, don’t forget to take a trip to the Pichavaram mangrove backwaters which is full of rare flora and migratory avian species.

Thillai Nataraja Temple (by Nataraj)

Just 2 hours drive away lies Nagapattinam, the city of serpents. This fishing town is famous for the Nagore Dargah, a 16th century minaret built to commemorate saint Hazrat Shahul Hamid. The Kayarohanaswami Temple is a 8th century Shiva temple, where devotees with Naga Dosham (an astrological anomaly) come to be rid of it. The pearly splendour of the Basilica of Vailakanni leaves a lasting impression on every visitor. The town of Thiruvarur, famous for the Thyagraja Temple lies just 24 km away.

Nagore Dargah (by Sundaramrajaraman)


An indispensable part of any trip to south India, Kanyakumari is one of the most popular tourist places in Tamil Nadu. Located at the very tip of the Indian mainland, this is the only place where you can see the union of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal with the Indian Ocean. Kumari Amman Temple, Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the Thiruvalluvar statue are the three main highlights of Kanyakumari. However, this is also a great spot for surfing and trekking.

Sunset view from the Muttom Beach (by Hemanth kumar)

Sunrise and sunsets from the Muttom Beach, with glorious views of the Rock Memorial, are simply breathtaking to say the least. Sparsa Resort is one of the best accommodation options here.

Trichy and Tanjore

Trichy or Tiruchirappalli is home to the Ranganathaswamy Temple that holds the record of having the tallest gopuram (temple tower) in the world. It is also the holiest of all Vaishnava shrines. Head early in the morning to see the two spectacular rock temples in Malaikottai and Thiruverumbur.

Rock Fort Temple (by Ankushsamant)

Built on a giant rock, the beautiful Erumbeswarar Temple in Thiruverumbur is a protected heritage site. Jambukeshwar Temple, as one of the Panchabhootasthalam, should not be missed either. The Natharsha Dargah, one of the oldest mosques in India and the Trichy Museum are other attractions. NSB Road is good for inexpensive, quality shopping.

An hour’s drive away from Trichy lies Tanjore. Famous for the Tanjore paintings, Brihadeesvara Temple and the thalayatti bommai (colourful head nodding dolls), Tanjore lies in the fertile Kaveri Delta. Being the capital of the Chola Empire, one can see the remnants of Chola architecture everywhere, especially in the remarkable temples scattered around the town.

Brihadeeswarar Temple (by Nara J)

Mariamman Temple and Bangaru Kamakshi Amman Temple are two more examples which deserve a special mention. The Tanjore Palace has lost much of its grandeur, but still manages to give visitors a glimpse of its glorious past. The thalayatti bommai, Tanjore paintings and veena make the best Tanjore souvenirs.

Tanjore thalayatti bommai (by Nagarjun Kandukuru)

This is only a small representation of some of the best tourist places in Tamil Nadu. In a land as big and diverse as this, mentioning a handful of destinations doesn’t do justice to it. Let us know if you like this and we’ll be happy to add more to the list.

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