Tamil Nadu is in the deep south of India with Kanniyakumari on the southern most tip. From the capital city of Madras or Chennai as it is called, this is a deeply religious and traditional population. However, there are cool hangouts and bohemian Auroville and French Quarter in Pondicherry to contrast things a bit. This is the cradle of classical dance of Bharatnatyam and Carnatic music, which is said to have the same benefits as listening to Beethoven and Mozart symphonies. From cool Ooty to Kodaikkanal and Yercaud, to hot but arty Tanjore, Chettinad, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram and Trichy or the magnificent temple at Madurai, there's much to see and do. Film world and politics often merge here leading to sometimes dangerous adulation, but no one will ever say the Tamils are not a passionate lot. Enjoy the best of South Indian delicacies here in the many successful chain restaurants all over the state.
John Lennon could well have sung about Auroville, City of Dawn, when he sang ‘Imagine’. See how Utopian ideas can come to life in the artists’ work and in the bohemian way of life here.
- Meditate | Eat | Shop | Experience
Discover the closest point between India and Sri Lanka in Rameshwaram and important pilgrimage centre to the Hindus. In fact, a bath in sea here near Dhanushkodi is part of life cycle for the Hindu, which includes a bath in Allahabad and prayers in temples in both places to complete the cleansing away of sins to attain final nirvana or no rebirth.
- Meditate | Learn | Walk | Discover | Pray
Nothing is quite as it seems in Covelong Beach, especially the Fisherman's Cove Taj Resort with its own private beach. The Catamarans are mere logs tied together, but then the term 'catamaran' was borrowed by the English from the 'Kattumaram' in Tamil. Enjoy beach activities in this secluded beach, which can usually be arranged even if you are not staying at the resort.
Climb up 1500 m to see the splendours of the Eastern Ghats and the Shevaroy Hill and lake. Poor man's Ooty is a misnomer for this place that is rich in nature's beauty and far more charming in its non touristy way!
- Relax | See | Walk | Climb
The deep traditional South India travel begins in Chennai. The city is huge and is like any other modern city. From sprawling malls to famous temples and churches. Beaches, events, music, cinema and passionate people make Chennai an interesting halt.
- Walk | Experience | Discover
Enjoy a beach holiday at the World Heritage site with rock sculptures, temples and the white sands of Mahabalipuram. Observe the master weavers of Kanchipuram who work with traditional motifs handed down across generations for the women of South India.
Famous colonial hangout from the fierce summer heats and famous for its railway line. Visit Ooty while staying in the charming, quiet Coonoor nearby. Walks around Ooty are picturesque and treks in Coonoor are peaceful with fewer people around.
- Relax | Walk
Experience traditional South India in Tanjore or Thanjavoor, which has become synonymous for its orante, golden paintings of cherub like Krishnas and other mythological tales.
- Learn | See | Discover
If Pondicherry seems familiar to you, it may be from the scenes in Life of Pi that was filmed in the city. Explore this outpost of colonial France with its French bread and quiet streets and cuisine before venturing deeper into Tamil Nadu.
- Relax | Eat | Walk
India’s hottest cuisine spices up Chettinad’s dusty plains and rarely visited opulent palaces. See amazing temple architecture and sculptures in this rich merchant town full of art patrons.
- Eat | See | Discover
Visit Madurai to get in touch with the soul of the Tamil ethos. This is the ancient capital that traded with Europeans and watched over the essence of the Dravidian culture. Madurai is synonymous with the iconic Meenakshi Temple with its intricately carved towers that can resemble the pagodas or the Mayan structures.
- Learn | See | Discover
Walk your way through Kodai or bicycle around the lake, spot birds or watch the hills turn blue every 12 years if you happen to be in time for the kurinji flowering. The more adventurous hunt for the hallucinogenic Kodai mushroom or simply enjoy a peaceful stay in the many resorts here. Kodai is home to the endangered grizzled giant squirrel, which is of great interest to nature lovers.
- Relax | Walk | Love | Explore
Kanyakumari is at the southern most tip of India, where the Arabian Sea meets the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean and as expected millions of Hindus come here for a ritual dip. Rise up early for sunrise, which is applauded like a performance by the hundreds who gather for the show. Kanya Devi or the Virgin Goddess and her diamond nose ring, her pining for the Lord Siva add to the aura of the place.
- Meditate | Watch | Swim