In Tamil Nadu, the nine-day Navaratri festival honoring the Shakti or universal primordial force, is celebrated in a unique way by venerating successively three goddesses: Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati; three days are dedicated to each of them. This festival punctuated by precise rituals symbolically ends with the victory of light over darkness called Vijayadashami.
Kartighai or Kartikai Deepam is a Hindu festival of lights that is mainly celebrated in Tamil Nadu, South India. It falls at the full moon (purnami) between mid-November and mid-December –the month of Kartikai in the Tamil calendar, when the moon is in conjunction with the constellation Kritika, the Pleiades.
Devipattinam is a small village 17km from the famous Rameshwaram temple. The village boasts an surprising temple consisting simply of nine stones standing in the sea.
Chennai (formerly Madras) lies on the Coromandel coast in southwest India. It is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and one of India’s major economic centres. Chennai also boasts a considerable cultural and artistic heritage, of which Carnatic classical music and the Bharata Natyam dance are prime examples. Chennai is there to be …
The legend has to that Madurai was built where a drop of divine nectar fell from Lord Shiva’s hair. The town is best known for the huge temple dedicated to Meenakshi, a masterpiece of Dravidian art and an important spiritual centre. It is undeniably one of India’s greatest temples.
Udhagamandalam, 80km north of Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), is better known by its English abbreviation: Ooty. It is a hill station 2500m above sea level. Its cool climate, famous tea gardens and dense forests fragrant with eucalyptus make it one of the most popular hill stations in the Nilgiri mountains.
Chettinad must be the most surprising part of Tamil Nadu. In the 19th century, rich merchants, the “Chettiar“, built palatial houses here in a daring and harmonious blend of Eastern and Western styles. This is unique architecture with a charm of its own, inviting travellers to stop awhile for a taste of culture.
Thanjavur (Tanjore), once the capital of the Chola empire, is an important centre of South Indian culture ; The Tanjore style of painting originated here. The town boasts a Unesco-listed world heritage monument, a marvel of Dravidian architecture: Brihadeeswarar temple.
Courtallam or Kutralam is a heavenly place with a vegetation as exuberant as in neighbouring Kerala. Kutralam has been called the “Spa of South India” owing to its many waterfalls, which are said to have therapeutic properties.
It is said that Kanchipuram gives eternal happiness to those who visit it. Located 65km from Madras on the banks of the river Vegavathy, Kanchipuram is known as the City of Gold or the City of a Thousand Temples. It is one of India’s seven most holy places, the Sapta Puri.
An island surrounded by crystal waters and edged with delightful fishing villages, and a temple with endless pillars that houses one of India’s most holy shrines: Rameshwaram is a mandatory stop for anyone visiting Tamil Nadu.
The little spray-swept village of Mahabalipuram, 60km south of Chennai, is a delight, although very touristy. The Pallava kings left architectural masterpieces, Unesco World Heritage, whose distinctive style spread as far as the Far East.
Pongal is the harvest festival, held in mid-January each year in thanksgiving to nature, the sun, the rain and working animals. Agriculture is of immense importance in India, so the harvest is a major event. It is believed that this celebration brings wealth and prosperity.
Palani temple is one of the most important temples to the Hindu god Muruga or Kartik, being the third of his Six Holy Abodes (aarupadai veedu). Like most Muruga temples it stands on a hilltop, 100km southeast of Coimbatore and it is buzzling with pilgrims dressed in yellow and green exclaiming ‘Haro Hara’ and dancing …
Kanyakumari, formerly called Cape Comorin, it the southern tip of India where the Arabian Sea meets the Indian Ocean. The place is named after the goddess Devi Kanya Kumari, a form of Parvati. The town is mainly a holy place for Hindus because of its Bhagavathy Kumari temple and its connections with Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma …
Thirukokarnam temple, 5km from Pudukkottai, is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Praghathambal or Araikasu Amman and to Gokaneshwarar, one of the forms of the god Shiva.The temple looks unimpressive from outside, but once inside you find a fascinating labyrinth of subterranean shrines.
The town of Pillaiyarpatti is located 70 kilometers northeast of Madurai and close to Karaikudi, the city of forgotten palaces. Pillaiyarpatti is famous for its temple “Karpaka Vinayakar” over a thousand years old dedicated to Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, revered as the embodiment of wisdom.
Tiruchirappalli, better known as Trichy is instantly recognisable from the temple perched on high rock outcrop near the centre and it is one of the oldest cities in Tamil Nadu. From this distant past, this bubbling city preserves a great spiritual tradition represented by its innumerable temples of which the famous “Sri Rangam”, the largest …
A stop at Tiruvannamalai is a mystical moment. The town takes its name from Annamalaiyar temple around which it grew, and Shiva worship is a key activity for the town. For Hindus, Arunachala Hill overlooking the town represents Shiva himself and is an object of special devotion. The town is full of hermitages and ashrams …
Coimbatore (Kovai in Tamul) is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu and a major business centre. It has been called the “Manchester of the South” because of its textiles industry. Its main assets are its position close to Kerala and the hill stations of Nilgiri mountains. Aficionados of Hindu temples won’t be disappointed either. …