Tamil Nadu

India’s Dravidian Hindu heartland, Tamil Nadu is true temple country.  Here ancient pilgrimage routes map out vibrant temple towns where the garish gods and goddesses dance across the gopuras (towers) of the temples that soar above the tropical treetop canopies.

Nowhere else in India can you find so many beautiful examples of India’s famous primary coloured, carved hindu temples.  Less exposed to the influences and invaders of the north, over the last thousand years Tamil Nadu was run by several very powerful and distinctive dynasties that helped to maintain the unique religious and political institutions.  Thus, leaving a legacy of astounding temple towns throughout the state.

The capital city of Chennai is a chaotic and noisy metropolis that is situated on the Bay of Bengal.  Considered a centre for performing arts, the city offers several sights of interest including the seaside Fort of St George, St Mary’s, the oldest surviving Anglican church in Asia and many grand colonial mansions.

There are several sites of interest just outside of Chennai including the ancient seaside town of Mamallapuram boasting several World Heritage listed temples and carvings along with the temple town of Kanchipuram famed for its hand woven silks and impressive Ekambareshvara Temple. Continue onto the former capital of French India and discover the unique town of Puducherry. Stroll along the boulevards and sea front admiring the blend of French and Tamil culture and architecture, with the French street names, Gendarmeries and richly ornamented Catholic churches.

Other landmark temples in the region include the colourful Meenaskshi Temples that tower over of the oldest cities in India: Madurai and the Great Living Chola Temples of Thanjavur. Chettinad is also well worth a visit with its multitude of unique lavish, former ancestral homes and famous spiced food of these merchants of old.
Far from the madding temple crowds, head to the peace and quiet of the forested mountains and coffee estates of the Western Ghats. Here you can escape the heat and dust in the cool climate of the former hill stations of Ooty, Conoor and Kodaikanal.

Itineraries in Tamil Nadu

Saffron & Sandalwood

Mysore, Somnathpur, Kabini, Bengaluru, Madurai, Chettinadu

Woman standing on hilltop in Safronsandalwood, India

Tamil Nadu & The Andaman Islands – Temple Towns & Barefoot Beaches

Puducherry, Mahabalipuram, Chennai, Havelock Island, Kolkata

Hotels in Tamil Nadu

Hotel Dune De L’Orient, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu

greaves_hotel_de_lorient_courtyard

ITC Grand Chola, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Outside view of the ITC Grand Chola and gardens

La Villa, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu

Decorative room inside La Villa

Maison Perumal, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu

Maison Perumal garden courtyard

Palais De Mahé, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu

Dining area at Palais De Mahe

Rajakkad Estate, Tamil Nadu

Rajakkad Estate Gardens

Taj Coromandel, Chennai, Tamil nadu

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The Bangala, Chettinad, Tamil Nadu

Woman in car

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