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Tamil Nadu Holidays

Tamil Nadu holidays

Tamil Nadu holidays

In the land of temples and Dravidian art

When Indians talk about 'Southern India', they usually refer to Tamil Nadu. It is the heart of Hindu Dravidian India where the Tamil language prevails. Located along the southeastern coast of India, and traditionally protected by the distance and military power of the southern Deccan kingdoms, this region was less exposed to Nordic influences than its neighbours. Thus the three powerful dynasties (Cholas, Pallavas and Pandyas) who dominated the South for more than a thousand years were able to develop their own religious and political institutions without being disturbed by Muslim marauders.

The most visible legacy of this prolonged cultural bloom is a profusion of astonishing temples, whose gigantic towers, or gopurams, still rise above many towns and villages. It is the image of these colossal pyramids, on which cling gods, goddesses and mythological creatures painted with bright colours, that one keeps in memory after a trip to Tamil Nadu.

The connection that the Tamils ​​have with their Dravidian ancient past is very strong. As a result, their way of life, which has evolved over a very long and uninterrupted period of time, distinguishes them from the rest of the subcontinent. It is one of the last places in the world where classical culture has survived to this day. It remains the 'holy land of India' described by Marco Polo as the 'most splendid province in the world'.

Despite its fort on the waterfront, its great homes and its reputation for excellence in the theatre, Chennai (formerly Madras), the capital of the state, is dusty and noisy, and therefore unattractive. Mahabalipuram, a little further south, is a much more attractive seaside village: in addition to its rock-cut monuments listed on Unesco World Heritage (5th-9th centuries), the village has a long white sand beach. More inland, Kanchipuram is a pilgrimage center with illustrious past. On the coast, the union territory of Pondicherry, an enclave into Tamil Nadu, recalls the French presence in India.

temples du Tamil Nadu
voyage au Tamil Nadu
Voyage inde sud tamil nadu

Continuing southward, the traveller reaches the Chola kingdom (9th-11th century), whose dynasty has left us the temples of Chidambaram, Gangaikondacholapuram, Kumbakonam and Darasuram, with their extraordinary architecture. Capital of the kingdom for four centuries, Thanjavur (ex-Tanjore), meanwhile, is home to nearly a hundred temples and the most beautiful 'Chola bronzes'. 

In the center of the state, north of Tiruchirappalli (or Trichy) is Srirangam which houses one of the largest temples in southern India. There once passed the Nayaks (14th-16th centuries), whose capital Madurai, further south, also welcomed pilgrims, priests, street vendors and tailors. It remains today one of the most attractive stop during a tour of Tamil Nadu. 

Rameshwaram, located on the long strip of land that goes down to Sri Lanka, and Kanyakumari, at the extreme southern tip of India, where the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet, are two important pilgrimage centres, with the added benefit of enjoying cool breezes and sea views.

Finally, while it is undeniable that the temples are the main interest of a trip to Tamil Nadu, other sites, located in the West of the state can also attract the visitor. Among these destinations, for a more nature-oriented stay, are the mountain resorts of Kodaikanal and Ooty. Verdant, they offer beautiful views of teak forests and tea and coffee plantations.

Why a trip to Tamil Nadu ?

Of all the possibilities in South India, holidays in Tamil Nadu remain different and authentic for the following reasons: 
- The people are proud of their ancient culture and language, which sets them apart from other regions.  
- the extraordinary richness of the heritage and the multitude of temples, which cannot be found anywhere else. 
- Kanyakumari (ex-Cape Comorin), the southernmost point of the Indian peninsula.

Best time to visit Tamil Nadu

Infos on the best time to go to Tamil Nadu:
- Between December and March, temperatures remain cool, so this is the best time to go.
- April to June: temperatures rise to their maximum when the heat becomes overwhelming.
- July to September: hot period when the monsoon that sweeps the rest of India spares the state.
- October and November are the months of heaviest rainfall.

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