New York Times ranks Tamil Nadu on 24, in its 52 places to visit list 2016. The state has been chosen for its rich cultural heritage, huge temple complexes and beautiful Chettinad mansions. Here is a quick list of 6 must visit places.
A UNESCO world heritage site, Mahabalipuram was the stronghold of the Pallava dynasty and an important sea-port. The town boasts of sanctuaries like the Rathas dedicated to the Pandavas, the mandapas (cave sanctuaries) and the open-air reliefs, especially the giant “Descent of the Ganges”, all carved out of hard granite rock. Other prominent architecture includes the seven monolithic temples, carved during the Pallava Regime, although only one of the Shore Temples is now visible.
Click here to book bus tickets to Chennai
Madurai is an ancient city mentioned in many early texts. It is the cultural capital of the state and is most famous for its Meenakshi Amman Temple, a huge temple-complex with 27 temples, all boasting the stunning Dravidian architecture. The various halls and mandapams showcase beautiful sculptures and are testimony to perfect engineering skills, especially the Hall of Thousand Pillars. Tourists and pilgrims throng in lakhs during the annual Meenakshi-Thirukalyanam-festival, celebrating the marriage of the presiding deities Meenakshi and Sundereshwar.
Click here to book bus tickets to Madurai
Located at the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, Kanya Kumari attracts tourists and pilgrims. The confluence of the three seas, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean is a sight to behold. The Para Shakti Temple, facing it is the only temple where the deity is a young girl. Kanya Kumari boasts of unique beaches with colorful sands. The Vivekananda Rock attracts tourists from across the globe and is carved entirely out of granite. The Sunsets and sunrises here are ethereal.
Click here to book bus tickets to Kanyakumari
Kodaikanal, a beautiful hill station, is known as “Princess of Hill Stations”. The cascading waterfalls, serene lakes, granite cliffs, thick forest covers and rolling valleys make it the perfect getaway spot during the balmy south summers. It is here that one sees, the blooming of the Kurunji Flowers, that cover the entire hill slopes in blue once every 12 years. The next bloom is scheduled for 2018.
Click here to book bus tickets to Kodaikanal
Also known as the Fort City, Vellore has played a pivotal role in Dravidian history. It has been a battlefield of importance during the rules of the Pallavas, Cholas, Carnatic kingdom and even the British. The fort built by the Nayakars, has changed hands several times and has seen great battles. The historical city is also known for its architecturally rich temples, the Vellore Christian Hospital, and churches. The grand golden Mahalakshmi temple is also a major attraction.
Click here to book bus tickets to Vellore
The perfect destination to combine history, culture, religion, nature and entertainment, Kanchipuram is located on the Vegavathy river and home to the world famous Kanchipuram Silk Sarees. It is the abode of the Shankracharya and boasts of many grand temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and the Goddess. It was an important city and an educational hub during the rule of the Pandayas, Cholas and Vijayanagar empire. The Vedathangal Bird Sanctuary, is a must visit for bird lovers. Those looking for a quite getaway will enjoy the backwaters and beaches here.
Click here to book bus tickets to Kanchipuram