Tamil Nadu

Ooty featuring forest scenes
Take advantage of the cultural and natural treasures of this southern Indian state. Explore old temples, tour colorful bazaars and photograph big cats.

The state of Tamil Nadu features some of the largest temples in southern India, their ancient towers soaring above towns, cities, the green countryside and a long coastline. While the religious structures are a huge attraction, plan to investigate other shrines and pilgrimage sites as well as lovely beaches and wildlife sanctuaries.

Tamil Nadu’s beautiful temples are among its main highlights. Visit Kanchipuram, the city of a thousand temples. Stop at Kailasanathar Temple, an ancient Hindu temple that’s more than 1,000 years old. Come to Kodaikanal for the Kurinji Andavar Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Muruga, an important Hindu deity. See the Ellai Pedari Amman Temple in Salem. Put Vellai Vinayagar Temple in Thiruvalanchuzhi on your itinerary. Inside is a shrine to the Ganesh deity.

Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is also worth visiting. This major industrial, commercial, cultural and economic hub is one of the most populated cities in the country. It is also a place filled with attractions, both ancient and modern. Admire the architectural marvel of Wallajah Mosque and tour Vivekananda House where Swami Vivekananda, the founder of the Ramakrishna movement enjoyed a brief stay in 1897. Shop along the streets and bazaars near Fort St. George. Then claim your sunny spot on the city’s 8-mile (13-kilometer) Marina Beach.

Tamil Nadu has an extensive coastline stretching for 669 miles (1,076 kilometers). Find seaside relaxation on the multi-colored sands of Kanyakumari Beach and watch the sun rise and set over the ocean. During Chitra Pournami, a festival in April or May, the full moon rises here at the same time that the sun sets.

Enjoy more outdoor fun at Nilavoor Lake. Visit the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to spot elephants, tigers and panthers.

To reach Tamil Nadu, fly into one of the state's four international airports at Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli or Coimbatore. Rent a car to get around to the region’s temples, shrines, beaches and other natural attractions at your own pace.

Popular cities in Tamil Nadu

Chennai showing a city
Known for Shopping, Business and Temples
Temples and colonial monuments, food and festivals combine to showcase the best of South India’s artistic and religious heritage.

Reasons to visit

  • Anna Salai
  • Pondy Bazaar
  • Kapaleeswarar Temple
Ooty featuring a city
Known for Gardens, Forests and Natural parks
Nestled high in the Nilgiri mountains, Ooty is famous for excellent tea, stunning colonial architecture and breathtaking scenery.

Reasons to visit

  • Ooty Lake
  • Doddabetta Peak
  • Ooty Rose Garden
Kodaikanal showing a lake or waterhole and water sports as well as a small group of people
Known for Lakes, Boating and Forests
Head into the hills of the Dindigul district to walk through forests, explore botanical gardens and enjoy dramatic views.

Reasons to visit

  • Kodaikanal Lake
  • Silver Cascade
  • Kurinji Temple
Known for Temples, Culture and Monuments
Come to Madurai and enjoy its temples, monuments and riverfront.

Reasons to visit

  • Meenakshi Amman Temple
  • Thirumalai Nayak Palace
Known for Temples, Yoga and Hills
Upscale Coimbatore is calling! Discover its temples, basketball, theme park and more.
Known for Lakes, Temples and Monuments
Explore Salem: its temples, monuments, theme park and more!