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Overview of Tamil Nadu
 

Famous For

Chennai (Madras) - gateway to the south

Religious sites, shrines & temples

The former French colony of Pondicherry
 
 

When to go

January - April
 

Avoid

May- June (Very Hot)
October / November (Monsoon)
 

Regions within Tamil Nadu

 

To arrive in Tamil Nadu is to experience a riot of colour, glamour and heat. Close behind this comes an awareness of the physical beauty of the country and the extreme friendliness of its people. Tollywood cinema (southern Bollywood), teeming Chennai (Madras) and countless World Heritage temples of awe inspiring beauty and intricacy are bounded by the waves and sand dunes of the east coast and the cool, lush Nilgiri Hills to the west.

From Roman times there have been ports and towns along the coast, which have developed latterly into important centres of manufacture and I.T., with high rise buildings, internet cafes and multi cuisine restaurants. But, as everywhere in India, look behind the façade to the traditional way of life, rich in crafts such as handloomed silks, metal work, leather goods and carving.

Colour is all around; scarlet for the Indian tilak (the mark on the forehead which welcomes guests), jade for the forests and paddy fields, saffron which signifies the ripening corn and finally the chestnut of newly irrigated fields. This visual profusion runs riot on buildings, dress and market displays. It is said that contemporary Tamil culture is defined by hot food, hot colours, hot music and hot coffee! But that is not a view we would take.

Along the coast, fishing has been a way of life for centuries. Be on the beach at dawn or sunset as the catch is brought home. Eat in the local restaurants to enjoy the many delicious ways it can be served.

Beyond the bustle of the coast agriculture is still the mainstay of life for ¾ of the population. The vast central plain interspersed with palm edged rivers is rich in paddy fields and food crops. Patient bullocks pulling laden carts point to a slower pace of life.

‘Temple hopping’ across Tamil Nadu is very rewarding in this heartland of Indian Hinduism. The earliest Shore Temple dates from the 7th century, Madurai’s Meenakshi Sundaresvara Temple is probably the largest in the country and Ramalingesvara Temple in the far south is one of the holiest spots in India. At India’s ‘Lands End’ is Kanniyakumari, most popular with Indian tourists, where in April it is possible to see the full moon and the sun on the same horizon. Other faiths are also well represented, in particular Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity. Hardly a week goes by without a colourful and joyful festival in many communities.

More recent history is to be found in the cool, colonial Hill Stations of the Western Ghats. Coonoor, Wellington and ‘Ooty’ perch 7,000ft up in the Nilgiri Hills amidst steep forests of evergreens, deciduous trees and tea plantations. Refreshing breezes and abundant flora and fauna come as a welcome relief after the hot crowded plains.
A number of colonial summer retreats have been refurbished as simple, but very comfortable, Guest Houses on the old tea estates. You will be welcomed by hospitable and knowledgeable hosts, guided on walks and feel thoroughly revitalised.

Interesting Facts:

 - The name Tamil Nadu comes from the term ‘Land of the Tamils’
- It was a region of India that was colonised by the East India Company, and when India gained independence, the state of Madras was created in 1956. Its name was later changed to Tamil Nadu in the year of 1969.
-Tamil Nadu is a state with striving industry and relatively little tourism in comparison.
- It has the 6th largest population of among India’s states and Chennai (Madras) is India’s fourth largest city.
- Tamil Nadu is rich in history, and archaeological evidence shows that humans have lived there from prehistoric times. And for the purpose of tourism, Tamil Nadu has a rich history of culture and religious traditions; providing some of the oldest and most important literature in India.

 

Gallery
Tamil Nadu Images