Though I have traveled to many places in last few months but it has been a long time since I have written any post.
Two months back I went to Tamil Nadu for 10 days, covering Chennai, Kodaikanal, Madurai and Rameswaram. There are many more nice places to see in Tamil Nadu which I’ll be travelling to later. All these four cities offered a lot to cherish and share.
This one was my second solo trip (first one was to Hyderabad in November last year, which I’ll try to post asap). I had some amazingly unique experiences on this trip. Out of ten days, I spent 4 days in Chennai, 3 in Kodaikanal, 1 and a half each in Madurai and Rameswaram. I planned it quite well taking lot of help from TripAdvisor reviews. I pre-booked all my travels and hotels in advance. It was a medium budget comfortable trip and I spent roughly Rs. 30000 including airfares from Delhi. I traveled short distances by trains, local buses as well as cabs, stayed in good hotels and ate at lots of famous restaurants. There was NO shopping at all. For someone on a tight budget, the whole trip could be done for around Rs. 20000 without missing much fun. And if you are more people, many expenses can be shared too!
Climate : Tamil Nadu has tropical climate…summers are quite hot (from March to July-Aug), winters are pleasant (Nov to mid Feb, a light jacket is enough), and it usually rains during March and Aug to Oct. Best times to visit are Oct-Nov and mid Jan-Feb as it would be pleasant in most parts. Hill stations like Kodaikanal can be quite cold in winters and moderate rest of the year. Best advice would be to check latest weather updates before planning as rains can be uncertain sometimes.
Connectivity : Chennai and Madurai have international airports with good connectivity. Whole of Tamil Nadu is very well connected to rest of the India with a great railway network. Last mile transportation can be done easily through buses or taxis.
Language : Tamil is the main language of Tamil Nadu. There is good level of literacy and a lot of migrant population as well so you will find many people speaking Hindi and English. If you can speak English there won’t be much problem as a tourist.
Food : South Indian food comprises many dishes, not just Dosa-Idli. It is very tasty but quite spicy, can be little difficult for foreign tourists on longer trips. Popular vegetarian dishes include idli, vada, dal-vada, dosa, utappam, rice varieties, ragi dishes, sambhar, rasam, malabar parotha, etc. Thali system is very popular for main meals among locals. A large population of Tamil Nadu eats non-vegetarian food which includes fish, sea food, chicken, meat, etc. In addition, all big cities have multi-cuisine restaurants to cater the needs of all. Their Filter Coffee is so amazing that you will want it again and again. Though all fruits are consumed in plenty but Banana is the most popular. Here you will get many varieties of bananas varying in sizes and colour. Soon, I will be writing reviews of all the places where I ate on TripAdvisor.
There are numerous beautiful huge temples all over south India, constructed hundreds of years ago. They are quite similar in architecture and made of huge dark greyish stones with immaculate carvings. Many have beautiful colourful paintings depicting gods and goddesses. It is astonishing to see the high level of accuracy and workmanship in the times when there were hardly any tools available. And the structures stand up so strong even after hundreds of years, unshattered even by natural forces. The symmetry, use of geometry and practicality is really unbelievable. In most temples you will find a huge wooden entrance door, tall brass pillar, statue of the Nandi (the holy bull) and idols of various deities, gods and goddesses.
In Chennai I went to Vivekananda House and many well known temples namely Kapaleeshwar temple, Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Sri Sai Baba temple, Tirupati temple, Isckon temple and Parthasarthy temple. I also volunteered for a turtle walk which is organised by a group involved in conservation of Olive Ridley turtles. It was an awesome experience. I also visited Mahabalipuram which is about 55 kms from main Chennai city.
Kodaikanal is a beautiful hill station in Tamil Nadu, at height of around 2000 metres(approx. 6500 feet). It is a very green and peacefull hill station, not too much crowded, and has various tourist spots and amazing places to satisfy your taste buds.
Madurai is an ancient yet quite modern and well developed city of Tamil Nadu. It is known for very famous Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to the goddess Parvati, and there are many other beautiful temples. There is also a Gandhi Museum, which houses various photographs and things used by Mahatma Gandhi. It also includes a part of the blood-stained garment worn by Gandhi when he was assassinated.
Rameswaram is a small town located on Pamban island in Tamil Nadu. It is famous for Shri Ramanathaswamy Temple, which has great significance for hindus in India. It is one of the Char Dhaams and also one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. There is also famous Pamban railway bridge(first sea bridge in India) and beautiful Dhanushkodi beach.
Here, I’ll post few pictures from my trip. (click on the pictures to view enlarged images)
There’s a lot of information and wonderful pictures. I’ll cover my trip in few individual posts.