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Tourism in Tamil Nadu, India

TamilNadu Tourism

Tamil Nadu is the gateway to the South of India and is situated in the Indian Peninsula.

It is bordered by the Bay of Bengal on the East and in the south by the Indian Ocean. On the North it borders Andhra Pradesh and the west by God´s Own Country, Kerala. The state has the magnificient Western Ghats separating it form Kerala. Ootacamund or Ooty often called as the Blue Hills or the Queen of Hill Stations is situated here.

Tamil Nadu has the southern most point in India-Kanyakumari which is at the meeting point of three Seas-The Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea. The sunrise and the sunset viewed from here is a breathtaking sight. Chennai also has the Marina Beach which is the second longest beach in the world.

It has retained its ancient Dravidian identity, but it is at the same time one of the most progressive and developed states in India. The Dravidians or the Tamils had inhabited the land from the fifth century BC and they had witnessed the rise and fall of great dynasties-the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Cheras, and the Pallavas. All these rulers who had presided over Tamil Nadu had left a lasting imprint on its history and antiquity.

It is a land of temples. The Meenakshi Temple, one of the architectural wonders of India is situated at Madurai which is the second biggest city in Tamil Nadu after Chennai, the capital. The other great Hindu Pilgrim centers at Srirangam, Chidambaram, Rameswaram, Tiruvanamalai are all situated in Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu is the only place in the country where the Navagragha temples are found in a close cluster around Kumbakonam. For more information on the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu, visit Temples

There are other historic monuments that one should visit when in Tamil Nadu. Tirumalai Nayak Mahal, Madurai, which was constructed in 1636 ,very near the famous Meenakshi Temple. For more on Tirumalai Nayak Mahal see Madurai.

Fort St George at Chennai, the seat of the Government of Tamil Nadu is another marvelous monument. It was constructed in the 17th century (1640) to protect the trading outpost of the East India Company. Inside the Fort is St Mary’s Church the oldest Anglican Church in India. Completed in 1680, it was rebuilt in 1759 without disturbing the original structure.

Tamil Nadu is also home to Bharata Natyam, an Indian Classical dance and Carnatic Music, which is classical music. Every year during the cool month of December, a festival of classical music and dance is conducted at Chennai. Artistes from all over the world perform at the festival.

Tamil Language is spoken by the majority of the people in Tamil Nadu. The Tamil people are very comfortable in English which is understood and spoken by a very large segment of society, especially in the urban areas and in the towns. The traditional Tamil people are deeply religious. But the people of the state respect other religions also. Unlike in other parts of India where religious riots had broken out sometimes,Tamil Nadu ,in contrast, has largely been an oasis of peace. A reflection in Tamil Nadu’s attitude to religion,i s the unique pilgrim trail followed by the people. A visit to Karaikal’s Saneeeswarar temple, is followed by worship at Velankanni’s Mother Mary Church and the Nagore Durgah, an Muslim Shrine

ASTROLOGY For those who are interested in what the future holds for them, do not fail to visit an astrologer, who tells Nadi Joshiyam or palm leaf astrology. Vaitheeswaran Temple is one of the main centers for palm leaf astrology in the country. Nadi Joshiyam is an amazingly accurate method to read the person’s past and to foretell the future. It is said that some saints of ancient years wrote the future of all individuals to come on palm leaves. Though many of the leaves were destroyed due to passage of time, some were preserved at the Saraswati Mahal Library at Tanjore. At an auction conducted by the British, some families from Vaitheeswaran Temple town, bought them and pass on their study of the leaves to the many people who strongly believe in these palm leaves. There is a centre at Tambaram near Chennai and also one at Delhi. Many foreigners visit these centers and come away very satisfied. For more details visit Nadi Josiyam or Nadi Astrology

The climate is warm throughout the year more pleasant months of the year are from December to March. The rainy months are from October to December when it sometimes rains for three to four days at a stretch.

The five major cities are Chennai, which is the capital, Madurai, Coimbatore,Trichirapalli, Tirunelveli and Salem. The major cities are well connected by road, air and by rail. There are plenty of fairly cheap hotels, which provide clean lodging and good food all over the state. The people are traditionally hospital and are very friendly and helpful. It is a relatively a crime free state and it is safe for tourists to travel alone.

Pondicherry or Puducherry as it is now known lies about 162 Km south of Chennai. It is a former French settlement and is easily approachable by the East Coast Road which runs parallel to the Bay of Bengal. The town is a curious mixture of things French and Indian. You would see a lot of tourists from France visiting. Many of the Indians (Locals) who have settled in Pondicherry know and speak French very well. When France gave Pondicherry its freedom its residents were asked to choose between French and Indian Citizenship. There are many people who chose France as their country ,but continue to live in Pondicherry. Separate polling booths are set up for these people at the time of French Elections.

It draws a huge crowd of tourists regularly because of the Ashram founded by Sri Aurobindo and his disciple ,a French companion Mirra Alfassa, referred to as "The Mother".THis ashram is a centre for the practice of Yoga and modern sciences. The ashram promotes the idea of a peaceful community living. The ashram organises many cultural, educational and social activities.The main ashram has the marble samadhi (tomb) of Aurobindo and the Mother.

Located 10 km north of the town, is Auroville ( City of Dawn). It is supposed to be a Universal Town and is a tribute to Shri Aurobindo. Spread over many acres, it has 80 settlements. These have people from different nationalities ,beliefs and faiths living in peace and harmony. Activites include agriculture. alternative technology, computer research, tree plantation, dairy ,handicrafts, windmills,eduation,healthcare,village industry. The centre does not encourage sightseeing but welcomes people with genuine interest.

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