Tamil Nadu, a south Indian state, is justly famed for its Dravidian-style Hindu temples, fantastic beaches and glorious plantation scenery.
In Madurai, Meenakshi Amman Temple has tall ‘gopuram’ towers ornamented with colourful figures. On Pamban Island, Ramanathaswamy Temple is a pilgrimage site. The town of Kanyakumari, at India’s southernmost tip, is the site of ritual sunrises.
Capital Chennai, formerly Madras, is known for beaches and landmarks including the colonial Fort St. George built in 1664.
Chennai is a gateway to the towns of: Kanchipuram, noted for hand-woven silk saris and sacred sites like Kamakshi Amman Temple, Mahabalipuram is home to the Pancha Rathas, 7th-century shrines. Coastal Puducherry (Pondicherry), a former French territory, retains an atmospheric French Quarter and an interesting and delicious blend of Indian and French cuisine.
Tiruchirappalli’s Rock Fort is an old citadel with sweeping views and Thanjavur is home to 11th-century Brihadeeswarar Temple. On Srirangam Island the vast Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple complex has an ornate 72m-tall tower. The forested Western Ghat mountains have hill stations and tea and coffee plantations including Ooty, once a summer resort of the British Raj and the final stop on the famous Unesco listed Nilgiri Mountain railway with its steam locomotive pulled trains.
The Chetinnad mansions are delightful and there is also a host of wildlife spotting opportunities. There is some fabulous accommodation along the route such as; the Rajjakad estate near Dindigul, Visalam at Kanadukathan in Chetinnad, the Dune de L’Orient in Pondicherry and Svatma in Thanjavur. So you can relax and rejuvenate after a hard days temple visiting with a long soak and a G&T.