We all know Tamil Nadu as the spectacular land of the Tamils. Having a plethora of remarkable architecture, authentic cuisine, and groundbreaking cultural heritage, this Southern state is, by all means, one of the most prominent Indian states. Like any Southern state of India, Tamil Nadu, too, has a boundless hidden treasure of historical significance which it adds to the history book of India. It was the birthplace of multiple powerful and well-known dynasties such as the Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas, and Pallava which ruled extensively around the medieval period. Then, with the arrival of the East India Company, Tamil Nadu was turned into an important industrial hub that operates to date. Of course, there is no denying that the rich and admirable history of Tamil Nadu has inevitably accounted for its magnificent monuments and architectural heritage. Come along as we explore some of the best and most extraordinary historical places in Tamil Nadu you must visit for a time well spent.
It is undoubtedly imperative to begin our article with the south-eastern town of Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram is a splendid representative of India’s architectural culture and is highly regarded all over India. If you visit this fantastic town, you’ll come across numerous mysterious caves and intricately constructed temples. The most famous among these include the renowned Shore Temple, Panch Ratnas, and the Crocodile Bank (which are UNESCO World Heritage sites). The Shore Temple comprises three individual temples situated in a single complex, the Panch Ratnas on the other hand, is a group of five temples in the form of chariots. Some other worthwhile attractions in Mahabalipuram include Arjuna’s Penance, Indian Seashell Museum, Krishna’s butterball, and many more. You won’t be bored in Mahabalipuram, that’s for sure!
Adorned with several temples and historic features, Thiruvannamalai majestically recreates Hindu mythologies with the aid of architecture. Visited by nearly one million pilgrims each year, the pride of Thiruvannamalai lies in the glorious Annamalaiyar Temple. This beautiful temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is deemed to be the largest Shiva temple in the world. The Annamalaiyar temple has been around for thousands of years now and attracts many tourists in Tamil Nadu. The weather in Thiruvannamalai is generally pleasant.
One of the most famous cities in Tamil Nadu, Madhurai is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu. It also happens to be one of the oldest cities in India, inhabited for thousands of years. Alternatively known as The Lotus City, it is interesting to know that Madhurai is carved out in the shape of a lotus. Moreover, since it was ruled by the Pandya dynasty for the majority of its existence, there are numerous stunning temples with the Dravidian architecture around the city. Be sure to check out the Meenakshi Amman Temple, Gandhi Memorial Museum, Sri Koodal Azhagar Temple, and several other tourist spots to get the best of the city.
If you visit Chettinad, you’re bound to fall in love with it helplessly. This gorgeous region is located in the center of Tamil Nadu and is known all over India for its mansions. Chettinad initially came into existence when a tribe, Nattukottai Chettiar migrated to this region when their previous home perished in an unfortunate flood. Today, not much has changed in this amazing town. Highly famous for its jewelry, there is no doubt that you’ll simply adore the exquisite designs of Chettinad jewelry! Apart from this, also pay a visit to the nine temples (kovlis) in the area to witness the extraordinary architecture and mind-blowing temple carvings they have to offer.
The phrase ‘Kashmir to Kanyakumari’ is indeed, very famous in India and is used often. Kanyakumari is a wonderful town tucked away right at the bottom-most part of Tamil Nadu. It is comparatively smaller in size; however, its natural bounty is unmatched. Packed with fresh trees, thundering waterfalls, mesmerizing sunsets, serene beaches, and lip-smacking coastal food, living in Kanyakumari is no less than a truly magical experience. There are a host of things to do in Kanyakumari – Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Thiruvalluvar Statue, Sunset View Point, Padmanabhapuram Palace, and many more places are the perfect getaway destinations to have fun with your family and friends.
Since religion is an important part of Tamil Nadu’s culture, it is no mystery that there is yet another town famous for temples. Kumbakonam is a temple town situated between the great rivers of Cauvery and Arsala. According to historians, this ancient town was built in the 3rd century and was ruled by a host of rulers. Attracted by the intense temple architecture or for pilgrimage, tourists often end up marveling at the beauty of Kumbakonam. The Nageswaran, Adi Kumbeswarar, Brahma, and Kasi Viswanathar are some of the famous temples in Kumbakonam. Unravel yourself in the exquisite history of the city as you let loose!
Pondicherry (alternatively known as Puducherry or Pondy) is a charming town situated on the southeast coast of India. It was an important and apparently, the largest French colony in the earlier years of colonial rule. Due to a mix of cultures, Pondicherry is fondly called the French Riviera of the East. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find this enchanting place a stunning replica of the streets of France. The architecture, the cafes, and the bakeries in French are also widely understood in the town. Visit this mini France to get a piece of Europe without leaving India!
A gift of nature to humanity, Tranquebar is what its name suggests – tranquil and relaxing. Also known as Tharagambi, this place was an outstanding trading port in earlier times. Interestingly, the town closely resonates with the Danish culture as the Danes held power in the tower till 1845, before the East India Company took over. Some must-see places in Tranquebar include The Danish Fort, Zion Church, Ziegenbalg House, and many more. What a delight!
These sumptuous places in Tamil Nadu speak loudly of the importance given to culture, arts, and tourism by the state. We get to learn a ton about the Indian ancient history and culture by closely observing the historical heritage of the state. And of course, with so many places to visit, you’re sure to have a leisurely trip. An experience of a lifetime, as they say, it!