Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu, a bustling state which offers many unusual wonders to travellers. From exceptional hill stations to historic cities there is plenty of things to do in Tamil Nadu. Discover our top things to do and see in this exceptional Southern Indian state.
1. Monuments of Mahabalipuram: These stone creations were made way back in the 7th century and are invaluable historic sites. They are located near Chennai and taxis to the sites are easily available from the capital. The monolithic temples were created by the Pallavas. The caves and temples of Mahabalipuram are one of the most popular attractions in the state.
2. Brihadeswarar Temple: Southern India is most famous for the art and architecture of its temples. And one of the most famous temples in the region is this grand creation. It is located in Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu and was the world first granite temple. It was made by the Cholas in 1010 AD and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Chennai: The capital of Tamil Nadu has many attractions for people of all ages:
- The Vivekananda House and Museum is dedicated to the life and teachings of the great Swami Vivekananda.
- Seventeen kilometres outside of Chennai are The Gudiyam Caves these prehistoric natural caves demand a testing 4 km trek from visitors.
- Marina Beach and Elliot Beach are Chennai’s most famous beaches. The former is 12 kms long and is the world’s second longest beach.
- The Anna Zoological park was created in 1855. But in 1979, it was shifted to its current 510-hectare location. The park is one of the largest zoos is Asia and houses over 170 species of animals and birds. Elephant rides and safaris are popular amongst visitors.
- Sri Parthasarathy temple is one of Chennai’s oldest surviving temples. It was built in the 8th century and is dedicated to Lord Krishna.
4. Ooty: Ooty is known as ‘the queen of the Blue Mountains’ and is a beautiful hill station located in the Nilgiris. It is known for its beautiful gardens, wooded rolling hills, pine and eucalyptus forests, coffee and tea plantations, ancient tribes and monuments.
- Ooty’s Botanical Gardens has developed over the last 150 years, and offers over 2,000 species of flowering plants.
- A popular spot amongst families is the Ooty lake. This is an artificial lake, which was constructed in the early 1800’s.
- Doddabetta is the highest peak in the Western Ghats and it stands at a height of 8,640 ft above sea level. It is accessible by road offers panoramic views of the surrounding ranges and valleys.
- Ten minutes from the Ooty Market is a Toda Village. The Todas are one of the oldest tribes to inhabit this region. There are beautiful Toda temples here and handicrafts can be purchased right from the village at great prices.
5. Rameshwaram: The temple on this island is considered to be one of the most sacred of all temples amongst Hindus. The temple is important due to its legendary connections with Lord Rama and the Ramayana. It is even located near the venerated Ram Sethu. To reach the temple, cross the grand Pamban bridge, which has 36 Theerthams.
6. Kanyakumari: Also known as Cape Comorin, this is the southernmost tip of India. This is also the point where the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean meet. It is also an important Hindu pilgrimage center. The sunsets and sunrises of Kanyakumari are simply breathtaking and a photographer’s delight. The beach of Kanyakumari is multicolored sand and the land is enveloped by majestic hills, swaying trees and rice fields.
7. Madurai: Madurai is known as the Temple city as it houses some very important temples. The venerated Meenakshi Temple, which is located on the banks of River Vaigai is prime amongst them. Madurai’s rich culture and history is over 2500 years old. It was once the capital of the Pandyas. Today, Madurai is famous for its fine textiles and jasmine flowers.
8. Kodaikanal: This sleepy hillstation is also known as Kodai. It is located in the Palani Hills and is perched at a height of about 2,133m. The hillstation offers many beautiful sites to its guests such as waterfalls, a quiet lake and many viewpoints. Juicy citrus fruits are grown in many orchards of Kodaikanal. Mount Perumal, which is an extinct volcano can be seen from here.
- Weather: The state depends heavily on its monsoon rains to recharge its water resources. June to September brings in the south west monsoons. The north east monsoons are experienced from October to December. January to May is normally a dry season.
- Getting around: With so much to offer, Tamil Nadu undoubtedly enjoys an excellent infrastructure. All parts of Tamil Nadu are well connected by road and rail. Most of the cities in this state are also accessible by air.
- Find out more about Tamil Nadu and search for homestays in Ooty, Yercaud and Coonoor.
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.