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South India (Tamil Nadu)
 

Tamil Nadu

For the visitor wishing to explore southern India extensively, Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, is the most convenient point of entry. Chennai has an international airport, a sea port and a rail and road network that links it to all major towns and cities of the region. It also has several deluxe hotels and others to suit modest budgets. Tamil Nadu is a bastion of Hinduism, whose past endures into the present. Temples with towering spires called gopurams are a common feature of this state, seldom seen anywhere else in the country. Temples in Tamil Nadu were the fulcrum of society and even today art forms that have their origin in religious worship continue to colour daily life. Notable among these are splendid bronzes of deities, painting on glass and Bharatnatyam, an evocative dance form.

Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram and Thanjavur are good examples of temple towns where within the temple fortifications grew a multi layered society that preached faith and grew from social harmony. Kanchipuram, also called Kanjeevaram, is famous throughout the country as the center where lustrous silk sarees are woven. Likewise Thanjavur is an important center for bronze figure casting. Mahabalipuram, with its wealth of sculptures, is located by the seaside and has excellent resorts.

The towns of Tiruchirapalli and Madurai also contain famous temples.

Quite a contrast to the temple heritage is provided at Pondicherry, for long a French colony. French is still widely spoken, and seaside villas and cobbled streets are more reminiscent of the south of France than the south of India! Yet another facet of this surprisingly diverse state is two hillstations Ootacamund and Kodaikanal. Both are little patches of England, being much loved by the expatriate population of the Raj. Both places provide delightful relaxation during an extended tour of the south, having a wide range of hotel accommodation. The cuisine of Tamil Nadu, more or less totally vegetarian, has become enormously popular all over the country, and few towns do not have at least one eatery serving popular snacks from the state’s extensive repertoire

Chennai (Madras)

Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu is also its principal harbour and has one of the finest beaches in Asia. It was founded at Fort St. George in 1640 A.D. by Francis Day of the East India Company.

Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram)
64 kms from Chennai, connected by regular bus-services. A major beach resort also famous for its magnificent monuments hewn out of rock.

Places of interest
Rathas, Arjuna's Penance, Krishna Mandapa, Shore Temple, Mahishasurmardini Cave, Varaha Mandapa and Mandapams.

Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, the capital of the Pallava and dynasty is one of the serene sacred cities of India. It is situated 76 kms from Chennai, 35 kms from Chingleput & 64 kms from Mahabalipuram via Chingleput.

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
80 kms away from Chennai, the santuary is famous for migratory birds (November to February) viewing from (1500 to 1800 hours) an observation tower. It is 30 km away from its nearest railway station Chingleput.

Thanjavur (Tanjore)
The world famous Brihadeeswara temple is situated here. It is built by Raja Chola The empire builder in the early Dravidian style.

Tiruchirapalli (Trichy)
Tiruchirappalli or Trichy, situated on the banks of river Cauvery, is famous for the ranganatha temple at srirangam.

Madurai
Madurai, the most famous of the temple towns of the south is known for the Meenakshi Temple.

Rameshwaram
The sacred island town of Rameswaram at the extreme south-eastern limit of the Indian Peninsula, has one of India's most venerated temples. A fine example of South Indian architecture,the temple is renowed for its many pillared corridors, about 1220 metres in length.

Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin)
Kanyakumari is the southernmost point of peninsular India. It is the meeting point of thre oceans - the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Besides its importance as a pilgrim centre, it is famous for its bearutiful views of sunrise, sunsent and moonrise over the waters.


Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal, a charming hill station, stands amidst sylvan beauty on the southern crest of the upper Palani Hills near Madurai in Tamil Nadu.

Coimbatore
Coimbatore known as the "Manchester of South india" is a commercial city of Considerable importance, the chief commodity being textiles.

Udhagamandalam / Ootacamund (Ooty)
Ootacamund, the queen of the hill stations of South India, is situated in the Nilgiris at an altitude of 2240 metres. One can see many profiles of nature, each with a distinctive orandeur. Ooty is nited for its extraordinary scenic beauty and salubrious climate amidst the "Nilgiris" or "Blue Mountains"

 
 
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