India Guide

Tamil Nadu Holiday Guide to Tamil Nadu Tourism Holidays

Tamil Nadu Holiday Guide to Tamil Nadu Tourism Holidays

If temples, temples, and more temples are high on your India travel list, then Tamil Nadu will more than satisfy you. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost Peninsular of India and is home to more than 5,000 temples, beautiful hill stations and eight World Heritage sites. The state is fiercely religious and is relatively strict when it comes to non Hindu’s trying to reach the inner sanctums of their sacred temples, so while most come here to experience the history, many have to view from the outside which can be frustrating.

Tamil Brihadishvara Temple Tamil

Although throughout time the culture of Tamil Nadu has developed, in some ways it has stayed fundamentally similar. This traditional style of living makes Tamil Nadu distinct from the rest of India being one of the sub continent’s most ancient states. Being at the southern tip of India, you can see the three seas come together and where many come to pray to the Gods.

The climate in Tamil Nadu is like many other states with humidity being a dominant feature and monsoons playing a major part. From January to May it is extremely dry, and then June to December is when the rains come. They are prone to draughts when the monsoons fail to deliver enough rain which puts the state in a vulnerable position.

When not in draught, Tamil Nadu’s landscape is one of beautiful national parks, reserves, sanctuaries and forests. In amongst its natural beauty are some of India’s most striking Hindu temples. The temples of Tamil Nadu are a major pulling point for tourists with many in search of a piece of old India. In fact tourism in Tamil Nadu is one of India’s largest with a large growth rate to go with it.

There are five temples that are a given when entering the state. Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is a magnificent pyramid like temple with spectacular colourful carvings lining the exterior. You will find yourself engulfed with the architecture and intricate sculptures of this temple located in Main Madurai. Similar in design is the Arunachaleswara Temple in Tiuvannamalai and the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Tiruchirappalli, temples that you can spend hours looking at from different angles. The Brihadishwara Temple, although also in the pyramid style, is an earthly colour and the world’s first granite temple, making it incredibly solid. The carvings exposed on the outside are not as intricate as some of the other temples but are equally as interesting.

So temple hunting isn’t hard considering the numerous temple sites in Tamil Nadu and spending hours taking on different perspectives of these magnificent temples will shed light on the delicate architecture and time taken to construct such structures. The only annoyance is the constant touts that hang around the temples. Although they all can seem to be more of a nuisance than anything else, some can actually be genuinely helpful. It’s your judgement call but some can turn out to be great guides who will give you excellent commentary on the temples which can be well worth it.

Temples aside for the time being, festivals are the other tourist attraction that visitors enjoy while here. As most festivals revolve around the temples, all 5,000 +, there is usually some sort of festival happening year round. Some of the most colourful and popular are as follows:

Natyanjali Dance Festival
This five day festival in February gives dancers from all over India the chance to perform to Lord Natyanjali while entertaining onlookers.

Chithrai Festival
Chithrai is one of Tamil Nadu’s main festivals that celebrate the marriage between Meenakshi and Sundareswarar (shiva). The April/May festival lasts for 14 days where deities are carried upon grand chariots to form a colourful procession.

Karthikai Deepam Festival
During November/December is the Karthikai Deepam Festival, often known as the ‘festival of lights’. Lamps and fireworks are lit all over the state to create a lit up masterpiece. The best place to view the festival is from Tiruvannamalai.

So the temples really are a counterpoint for most of Tamil Nadu’s tourism, though if trekking is your cup of tea, make sure you get the required permits as most of the tracks require them here in the south.

If you are looking into Tamil Nadu accommodation, it is worth noting that the state charges a 5% luxury tax on any rooms costing above Rs200 rising to 12.5% for rooms over Rs1000. So be prepared to pay a percentage over the quoted amount, better still, ask when you enquire whether the tax is inclusive as most Tamil Nadu hotels will not include it into the quoted amount.

One last thing to keep in mind is that Tamil is the language of Tamil Nadu with English as a subsidiary language. Avoid speaking Hindi if possible as some will take offence.