What makes Tamil Nadu the top tourist attraction of India?
The tourist reports are here and Tamil Nadu has topped the list again. The state has the highest inflow of foreign as well as Indian tourists and it is the second year in a row that the state from the south has topped the list. If the numbers are to be seen, Tamil Nadu sports some impressive feats. The state was visited by 4.6 million foreigners and 320 million Indians. This amounts to a total of 20.6% of all foreign tourists visiting India in 2014 and 25.6% of all domestic tourists in India for the year 2014.
What makes Tamil Nadu so favorable to the tourists? How is Tamil Nadu the top tourist attraction of India when compared to the other states like Maharashtra, Kerala and Goa? Let us find out.
Tamil Nadu: Perfect blend of history and modernity
The southern state will give you everything from ancient temples and a bustling wildlife to urban discos and mesmerizing beaches. There are a variety of sights as well as delicacies that you can enjoy here. The Tamil society is undergoing a changing phase and you can see the blending in of the traditional values with modern thoughts as you explore the place. Not to forget, the state boasts of three UNESCO World Heritage sites which have history of 3800 years.
Chennai is the capital of the state Tamil Nadu and a bustling cosmopolitan with people from all over the country living and working there. Considered as ‘the Gateway of South India’, the city has featured in The New York Times as among “52 places to go around in world”. The city is full of beaches and also houses a rich cultural heritage. Marina beach present in Chennai holds the record for being the 2nd longest in the world, attracting people worldwide.
Other places of interest in Tamil Nadu include Kanyakumari, Madumalai and Mahabalipuram. The hill stations of Ooty and Kodaikanal offer a peaceful stay away from the bustling city life. Apart from these, we have the Moray River, which runs across the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. This nature park supports a wide array of wildlife and the river is the home to quite a few endangered aquatic species. In addition, Western Ghats feature in the top biodiversity hot spots in the world.
You can also visit Puducherry (erstwhile Pondicherry), which is close to the state. This small union territory offers a history lesson and shows you the remnants of the French people who ruled the region.
Tamil food: A heavenly feeling for the foodies
Tamil food offers a lot of different taste to the foodies. Many people visit this state to try out the various south Indian delicacies like Dosa, Uttapam and Upma. Apart from these vegetarian and famous dishes, there are many local recipes like the Chettinad chicken and sour hot fish, which one can enjoy while traveling the state.
Home to NRIs and scholars:
Another reason stated for the rise of the state to the top is attributed to the NRIs and scholars. There are many Tamil people studying and working abroad. They come home once in a year and increase the footfall, which ultimately helps Tamil Nadu in reaching the top spot.
With so much to offer, Tamil Nadu remains a place that every Indian must see. With people coming here from all over the globe, we say that you also plan a trip to Tamil Nadu thetop tourist attraction of India and make sure that you absorb all the awesomeness of the state.
Kanyakumari; The land of the simultaneous sunrise and sunset!
Kanyakumari, the land where the sunset and the sunrise takes place at the same time is located at the southernmost tip of peninsular India and was initially known as the Cape Camorin. This small town tucked away at the farthest region of Tamil Nadu state is laden with wealth of natural beauty and bounty which can be well be experienced in case one plans to make a visit to this wonder land!
Encircled with water almost all around this small town, Kanyakumari has turned out to be a popular and famous tourist destination only recently where the government is also doing their best to promote the place to showcase the natural treasure this small place beholds in itself.
Why should someone visit Kanyakumari?
Reasons are plenty to visit the amazing South Indian tourist destination.
The unique element associated with this place lies in the sunset and sunrise which takes place almost simultaneously over here. One cannot even imagine the beauty and the natural sight this place can give!
The entire region of Kanyakumari is adorned with greenery and pristine waters all around the land mass where the three major seas confluence, “Triveni Sangam” which happens to also surround the subcontinent from three sides.
A lot of religious places of worship and architectural beauty is also associated with Kanyakumari and thus if anything of this draws a tourist or a pilgrim, this might be the right call.
A beauty that you can only behold once you are in the southernmost tip of the nation, the statue is no mean feat as it is a whopping 133 feet tall structure which had been erected to celebrate the memory of the immortal Tamil poet, Thiruvalluvar!
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Quite similar to the name, it is indeed a memorial constructed in memory of Swami Vivekananda who visited the rock amidst the seas in this region. A must visit by boat for sure.
Telescope house and View Tower
This lovely view tower and telescope house gives one the magnificent and clear view of the seas and the terrain all over.
With water, greenery and sea shores calling one towards it, who would be capable of saying no to to such a calm yet pristine tourist locale? Anyone who would want to be at peace, Kanyakumari can be related to as good as heaven.
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
Another tourist attraction in here is the Mahatma Gandhi memorial in the memory of the visit that Gandhi made to the region in pre independence times.
The museum located in the small town of Kanyakumari is loaded with architectural remnants and artefacts which can take anyone aback without any speck of doubt! History freaks, this one is sure for them!
Kanyakumari is also well known all over the nation not only as a tourist destination, but also as a religious destination given the fact that it is one of the “Sakti peeth” and also beholds the Thanumalayan Temple which showcases the three main gods of Hindu mythology as same, known as Sthanumalayan.
Main activities & festivals in Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari is a land of religion and practices which reflect the culture of the locals. Thus their festivals are as colourful and vibrant which indeed leads them to celebrate as many throughout the year!
Some of them are:
The major festival in the region is truly the Cape Cameron festival celebrated in the month of October every year, it is held for a period of three days where the locals ensure that the fun elements are loaded with cultural programs going all around them.
The Navaratri festival which takes place around the October months and is a religious one, celebrated over a period of nine days dedicated to Goddess Durga.
The Chaitra Purnima destival is another religious one which is surrounded within various cultural programs and takes place each year in the first week of May.
The Sandal festival
Also known as the Kalabham festival in the region, the Sandal festival does the rounds from the months of July/ August where the image of the god is smeared with sandalwood paste and by the last Friday of the month as per Tamil calendar, the image is brought all laden with flowers and merry.
This is usually a celebration of the goddess there and can be seen and celebrated in the months of May and June.
Not the usual “holi” festival which we understand when we talk of a similar term all over the nation, instead you would be surprised to know that “HOLY” is actually a Christian festival held annually in the month of December.
The others include the likes of the Kanakamoolam Fair, Float festival, Vaisakha festival and Car festival. The activities include the beach activities and the meditation experiences which are as great as ever.
The cuisines in Kanyakumari
The cuisines that are usually found or consumed in the coastal region of Kanyakumari are mostly centered around rice which is one of the basic food habit, whereas the people from the hills prefer something known as the Tapioca.
In case you happen to be in the region, you can expect fish, meat and agro products in plenty whereas the taste buds may shout of a distinct coconut flavour along with being having a spicy tinge to it.
While there do not forget to try their local delicacies which all however contain coconuts but are yummy. Some of the common names are coconut rice, avail and meen kolumbu!
As for the restaurants, the likes of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options are plenty, you should not be surprised if you find Gujarati or Chinese cuisines doing the rounds apart from the usual South Indian delicacies and sea food that is on the offer.
Best months to visit Kanyakumari
The best time to visit the coastal tourist attraction in South India is during the months from December to February whereas the summer months are best avoided.
Kanyakumari accommodation facilities-
The place has several hotel options ranging from budget hotels to sea facing luxury hotels. Also there are home stays, apartment hotels, lodges and resorts with varied amenities to suit diverse travelers. Through online booking tourists can strike best hotel deals in Kanyakumari.
How to reach Kanyakumari?
Due to the fact that Kanyakumari has become one of the major tourist destinations in the last decade, the ways to reach are plenty. Some of the ways are:
By Air:Located at a distance of 90 kilometres from Kanyakumari is the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport which is well connected with flights from all over the nation along with a few international flights which commutes as well!
By Train: Located at a mere distance of 4 kilometres from the main bus stand is the Kanyakumari Junction from where it is well connected to all over the nation.
By Road:Bus connectivity is plenty to the region if you are able to reach the major cities in the southern part of the nation whereas cars and taxis are available on hire with ease.
The famous travel destination in Indian state of Tamilnadu, Mahabalipuram is an ancient historic town that was a busy seaport for trade since 1st century. According to mythology related to this city, Mahabalipuram was named after demon king Mahabali who was killed by Lord Vishnu. That name was later changed to Mamallapuram after Pallava king Narashima Varman got the title of Mamalla or the great wrestler. It’s at a distance of 60 km from Chennai.
Why Visit Mahabalipuram/ Mamallapuram
Mahabalipuram is famous for its group of monuments located on the Coromandal coast in Kancheepuram District. Its monuments from 7th century AD were built by Pallava kings. In 1984 the monuments complex came under classification of UNESCO world heritage sites. The old edifices have brilliant architecture, exquisite carving in temples, cave temples and other monuments dedicated to various Mahabharata time characters and other Gods & Goddesses of Hindu mythology.
How to reach Mahabalipuram
By air– Nearest airport is Chennai Airport 50 km and Puducherry airport is 97 km
By Train– Nearest station is Chengalpattu 24 km away
By Bus– Mahabalipuram is well connected to all the major cities of South India and certain metros.
Best time to visit
Mahabalipuram has moderate, though humid climate suitable for the visits round the year, but the months from October to March are the best.
Mahabalipuram is having scores of great restaurants that serve excellent food. That ranges from sea food such as grilled fish, Lobsters, Prawns and crabs etc. You can have vegetarian extravaganza of South Indian food such as complete platter- thali, besides Dosa, Appam, Vada, Idli, uttapam, upma, Kesari, payassam, sweet and salty Pongal etc. The list is too long to choose from. You can try food from North India also in restaurants here.
Main attractions of Mahabalipuram
Ratha temples are located just 1.5 km from the Mahabalipuram bus-stand on rocky and sandy coastal vicinity. The famous chariot shape temples have five monolithic temples built with granite and diorite stones. The 7th century temples’ architecture are in the shape of five chariots of Pandavas from the epic Mahabharta. These are named Dharmaraja Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Bhim Ratha, Nakul & Sahadeva Ratha and Draupadi Ratha. Besides these, there is another edifice named Ganesha Ratha nearby. The single stone temples are beautifully carved beautifully and skillfully into animal figures and human figures.
There are other structures in the area
Descent of Ganga
Or Arjun or Bhagirtha’s penance is located just 0.5km from Mahabalipuram Bus station, it’s a massive open air Bas- relief sculpted monolithic rock 96 feet long and 43 feet high, it is amazing to watch.
Mandapam or cave temples
5 km from the bus station the cave temples are 14 rock cut carves, mythological stories are depicted through carving on the stone. The display is in great details that speak volumes for the sculptors of that era. There are three important cave temples.
Varaha cave temple
5 km away from Bus station, one of the temple from Mandapam or caves is cut through the rocks, a small temple is dedicated to Varaha the avatar of Lord Vishnu.
The biggest of the cave temples dedicated to Lord Krishna, the carvings exhibit Krishna’s adulthood time’s incidents.
Exquisite inscriptions of battle between Goddess Durga and buffalo-headed demon Mahishasur, are the temple’s highlights.
A well architecture temple along the shore facing Bay of Bengal with its entrance on the other side, it’s a five story layered temple, not cut from the rocks like rest of them, recent excavations are revealing many more edifices within the complex.
At a distance of 5 km Tiger caves are located in a coastal village. The cabs and autos are available from the bus station. The big manadapam is dedicated mainly to Goddess Durga, with carvings depicting her battle with demon Mahishasur. There are few more mythological figures that have mandapas there.
A temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu is known as Sthalasayana Perumal Temple. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture,it is located 1.5 km from bus station.
An old light house from year 1894 is also worth seeing.
A unique round huge rock perched on a hill side defying the law of gravity. People get them photographed with the rock there, as if they are lifting the rock.
Museum and Gallery
Located 1 km from the bus station the museum is having great sculptures’ collection of Hindu mythological Gods and Goddesses. Buddhist sculptures are there too. The artifacts tell their own story, surly worth a visit.
Just 2 km from the bus station the sea beach is worth a sight with sparkling waves and sandy landscapes.
Sadras beach resort
Sadras is one beautiful sea beach located 13 km from Mahabalipuram. Surrounded by green Casuarinas, white beaches and blue-green sea, Sadras is one happy spot for a day-out.
When visiting Mahabalipuram one can go and see Puducherry just 99 km from there via east coast road. The buses go there regularly. Originally a French settlement, Puducherry reflects French influence in its old buildings and churches. For scuba divers good facilities are available there.
Activities- One can do and see many things
Visit to crocodile farm– a famous crocodile breeding center, many reptiles and lizard species are found there.
Water Surfing and Angling
Visit to Wild Tribe Ranch- A multi-adventure park
Bicycle excursions– you can hire bicycles and have a great time in the town.
Shopping– One can shop sculptures and other artifacts here.
Festivals– A famous Mahaballipuram Dance festival is organized in Jan./Feb., where exponents of classical south Indian dance forms come and perform for a big audience.
In January, people also celebrate Pongal with immense delight and zeal.
Mahabalipuram/ Mamallapuram is a unique tourist place in Tamil Nadu state of India offering insight to history as well as glimpse of natural surroundings.
Explore the unseen fauna at Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary the name in itself spells wilderness to the extent and truly so due to the very fact that it is by far one of the most visited, popular and impressive Wild Life Sanctuary in the entire Southern part of India.
Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary is a must visit in case you are looking to traverse the length and breadth of Southern India terrain where this is exactly situated between the states of Karnataka and Kerala. A visitor’s paradise if you are looking forward to natural bounty of the nation where this 321 square meter sanctuary is laden with waterfalls, hills, deep valleys, streams and marshes all over.
History associated with Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
The Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary and National Park was established in the year 1940 and is since then the first of the wildlife sanctuary on the entire southern Indian terrain. Started off as a mere 60 square kilometre stretch of land it got expanded to 295 square kilometres in the year 1956 and then again got the chance of expansion to its present space of 321 square kilometres as it is today.
Why visit Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary?
Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary is a continuation of the Karnataka state’s Bandipur Wild Life Sanctuary and is conserved by the Wild Life Department of India. In case you are thinking of what special this place would offer, in terms of flora and fauna, you would be amazed to know that this region is known to house various primitive species along with endangered animals and plants galore. Thus, the chances of seeing endangered species are more appealing than anything else.
Main attractions at Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
While at the Wild Life Sanctuary, Mudumalai, there are immense numbers of things that you as a tourist can experience in the long run. Some of the tourist attractions at Mudumalai are discussed below.
Sight- seeing galore! :
Mudumalai being the continuation of the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka, it has all the features of nature intact with proper care and in their natural habitat. Thus, sightseeing of animals, birds and so many more species is what you can truly expect.
Bison Valley View Point:
In case you would want to boast of being a lucky one who has seen bison’s grazing in front of your eyes in their natural habitat, this is totally possible in here. Mudumalai’s Bison Valley View Point gives you the chance to take a sneak peek into the bison’s grazing ground at their natural habitat.
The Forest Safari:
Safaris are best experienced in Mudumalai Wild Life Sanctuary where the forest safari they have on offer is unique where you get to take elephant rides or four wheeler jeep rides to explore the wilderness of nature at its best.
In case you are a bird lover and love to experience the natural view of flying birds all around, Mudumalai offers just that and a lot more. The surrounding regions in Madumalai are laden with rich fauna and flora where it attracts a huge bunch of migratory and varied species of birds all over. In here you should not be amazed if you find the likes of Oriental Hobby, Bulbuls, Indian Swiftlets and Malabar Larks among plenty more.
Main activities at Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
Madumalai’s major attractions lies in their immense collection of nature at its best, be it the rare species that this wild life sanctuary has to offer to the birds that flock to this region almost all over the year. Whilst the major attractions to behold in this place is the safari, one of the must do in here is the main road safari where you can easily find rare species of animals crossing the road ahead while you are moving in a jeep on the road.
Short note on cuisine
Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary being located just at the juncture of two south Indian states of India, and a very famous and opted for sanctuaries, there are numerous number of resorts as well as hotels to stay in while you plan your visit in the region. The usual food that you might find is the native South Indian cuisine along with other North Indian and Chinese variations to satiate the taste buds of the visitors from outside the state.
Best months to visit the Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
Whilst this lovely wild life sanctuary in Madumalai is a must visit and is open almost throughout the entire year, it is closed from the months of June to August and might be closed during the months of April and May due to the fact that the Forest Department of India personnel tries to fight forest fire woes.
Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary is located at a distance of 164 kilometres from the city of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu which has its own airport facilities.
The sanctuary is also well connected via rail where the nearest of the railway station is located at Mysore which is just 90 kilometres away. From there, taking a cab or bus serves the purpose.
Extremely well connected with the roadways from all around the states in South India, bus facilities and cars can commute with ease to the wild life sanctuary in case you want to avoid rail travels.
Other important information aboutMadumalai Wild Life Sanctuary
While on your visit to the Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary, it is most important to note the timings and the entry fee associated to it.
Morning Visit Timing: 7 AM to 9 AM
Evening Visit Timing: 3 PM to 6 PM
Fees to enter: Fees for a single person is 15 rupees, with camera (still) is Rs, 25, with Video Cameras is Rs. 150 and the ones availing a jeep safari the cost per person can be something around Rs. 135.
Looking for a holiday destination? Visit Puducherry (Pondicherry)
India offers you many flavors and choices when it comes to exploration. A country so diverse, you can find the entire world in this country. For those of you who love to explore and travel, India offers many avenues. Pondicherry or Puducherry as it is now known, is the reminder of French influence in India and is one of the top tourist spots. The union territory is divided into two parts, one of which is still quite French while the other is influenced by the local South Indian flavor.
Historical importance of Puducherry
Pondicherry has seen a rather different kind of history than the rest of the country. The place was not very important during the rule of the south Indian rulers. The ancient history of the place shows signs of the Cholas, Pandavas and Vijaynagar Empire. But once the French and the Dutch arrived during the 17th century, Pondicherry really witnessed a transformation.
Why visit Puducherry?
If you’re still not sure whether you should go to Puducherry or not, then these reasons are ought to change your mind.
Puducherry is the sign of the French Colonial rule and the only place in India which was never under the British rule.
Puducherry is a perfect blend of the old traditions with the new and bustling modern lifestyle. The beaches are a great party haven while there are a lot of historical buildings from the colonial times.
Puducherry is a natural beauty and the place invokes the explorer in you. If you’re really an explorer, then visiting Pudicherry is a must.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Puducherry is during October to February. The temperatures remain average during the day and you experience cool evenings which is the most suitable timing for sightseeing and traveling.
Puducherry accommodation facilities
When it comes to accommodation facilities, Puducherry offers a great variety such as villas, old colonial style house, B&B, inns, resorts, budget as well as luxury hotels with varied amenities for all kinds of tourists.
How to reach Puducherry?
Reaching Puducherry is not a problem. You have all modes of transport available to reach this exotic location from almost every big city in India.
By Air: The nearest Airport is Chennai. Getting from Chennai to Puducherry takes about 4 hours by road which can be either done via a cab or a bus.
By Rail: You can catch a train to Puducherry from Chennai, Villupuram and Trichy. Chennai is a metropolitan city and is connected with the rest of India and thus, is a great option to reach Puducherry,
By Road: Puducherry is connected to nearby places like Chennai and Bangalore and can be accessed via cabs or buses.
Puducherry boasts of an amalgamation of culinary practices of the French and the locals. The ancient culinary tradition of the French has mixed really well with the local south Indian cuisine and you can have some delicious dishes resulting from the same. Puducherry is also the only place in the country where you can find the original French brioches, pastries and baguettes.
Setup in 192, the Auroville is the main Ashram of Shree Aurobindo. He and his eminent disciple, the Mother, setup this ashram to explore the avenues of Yoga and Meditation in order to achieve salvation. People associated with the Ashram come to visit Puducherry almost every year. A lot of cultural activities and lectures are held by the Ashram residents and this forms a very integral part of the Puducherry culture.
All the beaches in Puducherry are beautiful. They are located a little on the outskirts of the town and offer a lot of activities for the travelers. The beaches are named as Serenity, Reppo and Quiet and each beach lives up to its name. They have a 150 year old lighthouse that is a marvelous piece of architecture and is a must visit place in the region.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception:
This Church is more than 300 years old and one of the most magnificent Churches in Puducherry. This place shows the remnants of the French and is designed in the European style of architecture back in the day.
Sacred Heart Church:
This is the most mesmerizing church in Puducherry. It has 3 large stained glasses that show the life of Jesus Christ and the place holds a high place in the hearts of the Christians.
Vinaynagar Manakula Temple:
A temple dating back to the influence of the Southern rulers stands tall to this day. It has a golden dome and 40 friezes that make it one of the most visited temples in Puducherry. Apart from this, there are many Ganesha temples in the region which are worth a visit.
Local festivals in Puducherry:
The countrywide festivals like Christmas, Diwali and Dussehra are celebrated with pomp and show. However, it is the local festivals that draw attention of the tourists.
Held during January, this Yoga festival attracts people from all over the world. Aurobindo Ashram is the leading body that helps in organizing the festival and you can see a lot of activities during this time in the region.
The National Day of France is celebrated here every year on 14th July, keeping up with the French traditions of the place.
Festival of Pondicherry:
This is celebrated on August 15th, when India celebrates its independence day. Many cultural shows are put up and coincidently, this day also marks the birth anniversary of Shree Aurobindo.
So, with so much to offer, Pondicherry remains an important part of Indian tourism. If you’re looking to go on a vacation soon, make sure that you visit Pondicherry, it will give you a lifetime of experiences.