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  Tamil Nadu
• Chennai  • Kanyakumari  • Madurai


Tamil Nadu shares its boundary with Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in the north and Kerala in the west. The waters of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean lap the coastal eastern and southern boundaries respectively. The Point Calimere and Mudumalai wildlife sanctuaries define the eastern and westerntips of the state while on the northern extreme is Pulicat Lake and the southernmost tip is Cape Camorin or Kanyakumari - the landís end of India. With an area of 130,058 sq km and population over 55 million, Tamil Nadu is the 11th largest state in India. The Union Territory of Pondicherry is a small enclave in the district of South Arcot. Traditionally, the land of Tamils has been divided into 5 major physiographic divisions - the Kurinji or mountainous region, the Mullai or forest region, the Palai or arid region, the Marudham or the fertile plains and the Neidhal or coastal region.

Tamil Nadu is a famous destination for pilgrimage tours for visitors within and out of India. The state is better described as the abode of all Gods. The capital city of the state Chennai itself is a stunning destination for those who opt pilgrimage trip. Even if the visitor is a Hindu or Christian, the city owns perfect terminuses for them. The St Thomas Mount, the Mylapore temple and the Kapleshwaran temple add to the secular beauty of the city. Other top destinations in the state include Kanchipuram, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Chidambaram, Tiruchirappalli (Trichy), and Madurai.

::::::::::: Popular Destinations in Tamil Nadu:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Chennai

Chennai is the fourth largest metropolis in India. Located on a 17 km stretch of the Coramandel coast, the city is trisected by the watercourses of Cooum and Adayar and the Buckingham Canal. With a population of 6 million people, Chennai is a vibrant city ever growing, expanding and changing every year. Popularly regarded as the "Gateway to the South", Chennai presents a culture that is distinctly different from that of northern India. Music, dance and all other art forms of the South are treasured and nurtured in this city, which, though industrialized, continues to be traditional and schematic in many ways.

Chennai is a benignant city that has clear skyline, long sandy beaches, parks, historic landmarks and tourist substructure facilities that make it a convenient entry point or base to start your tour of Tamil Nadu and South India. As far as religion is concerned, history has surely left its mark on this city, which is believed to have been the place of St. Thomas, in the outskirt of the city. There are a number of churches in Chennai that are colligated with the life and times of this apostle. There are also several ancient temples around Chennai, and, within the city itself are two glorious temples - a temple in Triplicane and another in Mylapore.

Kanyakumari

At the southern tip of Tamil Nadu, lies the land end of India or the point where the three seas meet, enchanting Kanyakumari or Cape Comorin is one of the most popular tourist spots in the state and indeed, in the country. Part of the fascination is of course due to the fact that it is the very tip of the Indian peninsula and the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. The other part is that the nature is so spectacular at Kanyakumari that several other Indian beaches pale by comparison. Kanyakumari is at its best during Chitra Pournami(full moon day in April) when the sun and moon are face to face at the same horizon but other full moon days are also special when you can see the sun set and the moon rise almost at the same time, as if by prior arrangement.

Madurai

Known as the Athens of the East, Madurai, the second largest city in Tamil Nadu is situated on the banks of the river Vaigai. An ancient city, more than 2,500 years old, Madurai is believed to having been built by the Pandyan King Kulasekara in the 6th century BC. The city is said to have got its name from the drops of nectar (Mathuram) that fell from Shiva's locks when he came to bless its people for constructing a temple for him. Originally named Madhurapuri or the 'land of nectar', the name later got modified to Madurai. From such legendary beginnings, the actual history of Madurai egresses sometime during the 3rd century BC when it was the prosperous Pandyas' then capital which had trading contacts with Greece and Rome.

Apart from a brief period when it fell to the Cholas, Madurai remained with the Pandyas until the decline of the empire. The next major rulers of Madurai were the Vijayanagara kings who won over the territory in 1371. They appointed the Nayaks as governors who, in time, became powerful in their own right. The 200 - year old reign of the Nayaks marks the golden period of Madurai when art, architecture and learning, scaled new heights. In fact, the most beauteous buildings in the city including its most famous landmark, the Meenakshi temple, are Nayak contributions. But unlike the other temple cities of Tamil Nadu whose fame relies heavily on the fabulous contributions of great empires, Madurai, though undoubtedly known first and frontmost for the Meenakshi temple, is very much modern and progressive city.

Weather

Tamil Nadu is blessed with monsoons from both ends, the southeast monsoon and the northwest monsoons. The Southeast monsoon starts in the month of June and extends till the month of August and the Northwest monsoon starts during mid October and lasts till the end of November. Tamil Nadu becomes too hot during the months of March till April. On a whole the state accepts dry weather throughout the year.

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