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.
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.
Chettinad must be the most surprising part of Tamil Nadu. In the 19th century, rich Chettiar merchants 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.
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, Read More
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, Read More
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,, Read More
Devipattinam is a small village 17km from the famous Rameshwaram temple. The village boasts an astonishing temple consisting simply of nine stones standing in the sea. Legend has it that before he set off for Sri Lanka to fight Ravana, Rama made an auspicious sign at Devipattinam by setting down nine stone idols symbolising, Read More
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. Praghathambal is said to have the power to find lost things., Read More
The village of Pillaiyarpatti boasts a famous temple dedicated to the elephant-headed god Ganesha, worshipped as the embodiment of wisdom. Karpaka Vinayakar or Desi Vinayaka Pillaiyar is a 1600-year-old cave temple. It is dedicated to Vinayaka (“incomparable leader”), one of the forms of the god Ganesha. Vinayaka is also called Karpaga Vinayakar because he, Read More
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. This is a masterpiece of Dravidian art and an important spiritual centre. It is undeniably one of India’s loveliest temples. The temple stands, Read More
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. Brihadeeswarar or Peruvudaiyar Kovil temple The Brihadeeswarar temple is dedicated to Shiva. It, Read More
Tiruchirappalli, better known as Trichy is instantly recognisable from the temple perched on high rock outcrop near the centre. One of the oldest cities in Tamil Nadu, it is now split between tradition and modernity, cutting edge technology and spiritual fervour. Tiruchirappalli’s story begins in the 3rd century BCE, under the Chola kings. Later, Read More
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, Read More
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. Kutralam has seven waterfalls: the Main Falls, Five Falls, Old Courtallam Falls, Tiger Falls, Shanbagadevi Falls, Honey Falls and, Read More
Udhagamandalam, 80km north of Coimbatore, 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. The region was the traditional homeland of, Read More
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, Read More
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.