(Last Updated on : 01/09/2015)
Tamil Nadu is home to many popular places of interest. The tourism industry of Tamil Nadu is the second largest in India, with an annual growth rate of 16 percent. People from across the globe come here to see the temples with their exquisite Dravidian architecture, hill stations, and the heritage sites.
Tourism Development Corporation promotes tourism in the state as Enchanting Tamil Nadu. This state is a place of varied beauty. Tamil Nadu has a long tradition of venerable culture. The most visible legacy of this protracted cultural flowering is a crop of astounding temples, whose gigantic gateway towers, or gopurams, still soar above just about every town large enough to merit a railway station.
Pilgrimage Tourism in Tamil Nadu
No Indian state is more dominated by its temples than Tamil Nadu where temple architecture catalogues the tastes of successive dynasties and testifies to the centrality of religion in everyday life. It is also known as the land of temples. The multiplicity in culture and religious performances in Tamil Nadu has led to setting up of several places of worship, which belongs to the followers of diverse religions. Since the Hindus exceed in population their places of worship temples dot the whole landscape. Most temples are built in honour of Lord Shiva
, Lord Vishnu
and their consorts; all are characterised not only by their design and sculptures but also by constant activity, devotion, dancing, singing, puja, festivals and feasts. Each is tended by Brahmin
priests, recognisable by their dhotis, a sacred thread draped over the right shoulder, and marks on the forehead. The Kanyakumari temple
of Tamil Nadu is an important center for pilgrimage for years. The Meenakshi temple
complex in Madurai in Tamil Nadu is one of the largest in India and the presiding deity at the Meenakshi temple is Goddess Meenakshi. The Ramanathaswamy Temple
is one of the most sacred shrines of the Hindus in India and is considered as holy as Varanasi
. Pilgrims from all over the world come to pay homage to the deity. The inhabitants of Tamil Nadu also include Muslims, Jews, Jains and Sikhs. A number of Mosques, Synagogues, and Gurudwaras represent the sentiments of their respective religions. Of all the worship places, temples are the oldest. Tamil Nadu was also influenced by Christianity during the Portuguese and British invasions. Hence the travellers will also come across a number of churches.
Nature Tourism in Tamil Nadu
There are several wildlife parks and gardens in Tamil Nadu that make it an interesting spot for the nature lovers. A state that is blessed by so many gods and goddesses is also bound to be blessed by nature's bounty. Its major wildlife sanctuaries Madumalai and Annamalai are located in the Western Ghats. The hills here provide a safe shelter for elephants, bisons, deer, monkeys and, of course, tigers. The forests here are filled with plants with medicinal value. Guindy National Park
, in Chennai is a major attraction for all true wildlife enthusiasts. This park is located within the city and it has a few populations of animals. Arignar Anna Zoological Park
of Tamil Nadu which is also known as the Vandalur Zoo was the first public zoo in India. It is a home to more than one hundred and seventy species of mammals, birds and reptiles. The Botanical Garden of the state is an ecstasy for bird watchers where a wide array of birds, both seasonal and year-round residents, can be sighted. The Madumalai National Park is the first wild life sanctuary of south India. Elephant safari and Jungle safari are arranged for interested tourists.
Leisure Tourism in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is a home to many beautiful forts which were established around 17th and 18th centuries. British established their first major fort in Tamil Nadu and most of the forts in state are built by them. These majestic forts are popular destinations for the tourists. The Ginjee Fort was established in the 9th century under the reign of the Cholas. At present the fort has been transformed to a museum where the visitors can get an opportunity to perceive many historical buildings like prison cell, the granaries, the Kalyan Mahal and Chenjiamman Temple. The Fort St. George built in the 17th century is noted for its rich historical significance. The fort has eye-witnessed some eminent battles in the 18th century. The other important forts of Tamil Nadu are Vettakottai Fort, Sankagiri Fort, and Dindigul Fort. The palaces are an integral part of tourism in Tamil Nadu. The Shivaganga Palace in the Shivaganga district of Tamil Nadu is appreciated for its architectural beauty. The Tanjavur palace in Trichy houses a library, a Museum and an Art Gallery. The magnificent palaces in Tamil Nadu are a major crowd puller. The first thing that comes to the mind while speaking of leisure tourism in Tamil Nadu is its sun kissed beaches. The beaches in Tamil Nadu are calmer than most part of India. Some of the beaches here are Marina, Mahabalipuram, and Rameshwaram. The beaches of Tamil Nadu, the southern most state of India have got a charm of their own. A must visit is the second longest beach in the world, Marina Beach
in Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu. The Rameshwaram beach
is ideal for sunbathing, swimming and watch dolphins playing in the waters.
The Elliot's beach is lined with fast food joints, shrines and souvenir stalls and is a well known hub with the youths. One of the important reasons for the booming tourism industry in Tamil Nadu is the much coveted hill stations which attracts tourist from across the globe. The Ooty and Kodaikanal hill stations are renowned all across the world. The heritage sites in Tamil Nadu are worth a watch. The heritage sites at Mahabalipuram, Kanyakumari, and Rameshwaram are well conserved for the tourists who keep concern and interest in the heritage of India.
The Chennai International Airport
is located sixteen kilometers south of the city center. It has flights to and from Singapore, Dubai, Jakarta, England, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. Indian cities are also connected to Chennai by domestic flights. The Southern Railways connect the state to the rest of the country. There are railway stations at Chennai
, Madurai, Coimbatore and other cities. Broad and meter gauge railway lines also serve the state. Both private and government transportations are available to tour the state. Tamil Nadu offers exciting shopping experiences to its visitors. The state is celebrated for its rich cultural heritage including its fine arts and crafts, which are renowned all over the world for their exclusivity.