Take advantage of the cultural and natural treasures of this southern Indian state. Explore old temples, tour colorful bazaars and photograph big cats.
The state of Tamil Nadu features some of the largest temples in southern India, their ancient towers soaring above towns, cities, the green countryside and a long coastline. While the religious structures are a huge attraction, plan to investigate other shrines and pilgrimage sites as well as lovely beaches and wildlife sanctuaries.
Tamil Nadu’s beautiful temples are among its main highlights. Visit Kanchipuram, the city of a thousand temples. Stop at Kailasanathar Temple, an ancient Hindu temple that’s more than 1,000 years old. Come to Kodaikanal for the Kurinji Andavar Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Muruga, an important Hindu deity. See the Ellai Pedari Amman Temple in Salem. Put Vellai Vinayagar Temple in Thiruvalanchuzhi on your itinerary. Inside is a shrine to the Ganesh deity.
Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is also worth visiting. This major industrial, commercial, cultural and economic hub is one of the most populated cities in the country. It is also a place filled with attractions, both ancient and modern. Admire the architectural marvel of Wallajah Mosque and tour Vivekananda House where Swami Vivekananda, the founder of the Ramakrishna movement enjoyed a brief stay in 1897. Shop along the streets and bazaars near Fort St. George. Then claim your sunny spot on the city’s 8-mile (13-kilometer) Marina Beach.
Tamil Nadu has an extensive coastline stretching for 669 miles (1,076 kilometers). Find seaside relaxation on the multi-colored sands of Kanyakumari Beach and watch the sun rise and set over the ocean. During Chitra Pournami, a festival in April or May, the full moon rises here at the same time that the sun sets.
Enjoy more outdoor fun at Nilavoor Lake. Visit the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to spot elephants, tigers and panthers.
To reach Tamil Nadu, fly into one of the state's four international airports at Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli or Coimbatore. Rent a car to get around to the region’s temples, shrines, beaches and other natural attractions at your own pace.