Temple, Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India

Chennai and Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu, with its once referred to ‘Coromandel Coast’ boasts some of the most remarkable temple architecture in India.

Together with temple towns like Kanchipuram, Tanjore and Madurai and the former French territory of Pondicherry with its own distinctive colonial inheritance, Tamil Nadu is a rewarding state to visit.

Tamil Nadu also combines beautifully with a drive over the lush, green hills of the Western Ghats into Kerala for a relaxing end to your holiday.

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Meenakshi Temple
Gangaikondacholapuram temple, Tamil Nadu, India
Brihadisvara Temple
Shore Temple, Tamil Nadu, India
Mahabalipuram, India

Festivals in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is a land of festivals, great fervour, rangoli, bright silks, flowers, temples and lots of food. No fortnight ever passes without a festival and a temple visit.

Pongal is the most important. A harvest festival celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated every January and normally lasts for days. It celebrates the sun god for giving energy.

The temples are home to many local festivals, such as the Nathanjali Dance Festival in Chidambaram. Amongst others, the Thiruvaiyara Festival is a well renowned classical music festival in Tanjore, held every January on the banks of the River Cauvery.

Karthigal Deepam, the festival of lights, lasts for 10 days. This festival marks the end of the monsoon season. Witness rows of earthen lamps lit in front of houses in the evening, bonfires being lit outside temple entrances and a buzz in the air, as friends and family indulge in present giving.

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It’s all here. Things to see and do, places to explore and moments to discover.

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, India

Temple Towns

The temple towns of Kanchipuram, Tanjore, and Madurai boasts some of the most remarkable temple architecture in India.

Pongal Festival, Kerala, Iindia

Pongal Festival

The harvest festival, celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu. Celebrated in January, with much preparation for this festival starting a month before.

Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India

Visit Pondicherry

There is so much to see and do in Pondicherry. Cooking lessons, a Kolam art lesson, a tour of the art galleries and antique shops. Visit the ashrams in the French colonial quarter.

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Svatma £££££

  • India
  • Boutique

Svatma is a luxury, boutique heritage hotel located in a peaceful enclave of the city of Tanjore in Tamil Nadu, southern India. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, Svatma has been lovingly restored by its current owner into a beautifully designed boutique hotel.

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Palais De Mahe £££££

  • India
  • Boutique

Palais de Mahe is an elegant, chic hotel a short distance from the waterfront of Pondicherry.  

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Maison Perumal £££££

  • India
  • Boutique

Hotel Maison Perumal is a boutique hotel located in Pondicherry’s Tamil Quarter. The heritage building features a Franco-Tamil design renowned for its use of space, ventilated colonnades, and doorways and windows adorned with stained glass.

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De L’Orient £££££

  • India
  • Boutique

Pondicherry boasts stunning buildings reflecting its French colonial past, and Hotel De L’Orient offers a selection of suites in one of the old mansion houses.

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Visalam £££££

  • India
  • Boutique

Visalam heritage hotel, set in a converted mansion with original woodwork and art deco artefacts, is located in the small village of Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu. Visalam is a lovely base from which to explore a part of Tamil Nadu that has many surprises.

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The Leela Palace, Chennai £££££

  • India
  • City

The Palace lives up to its name, gleaming, vibrant, with the interiors twinkling with all that you imagine a palace should offer, with glass furnishings, chandeliers, paintings and sculpture. With state of the art technology in all the 326 rooms, boasting the largest bedrooms in Chennai, it is grand enough to make you feel like royalty during your stay. The ESPA spa, full gym and a 25-metre pool rooftop pool, provide all the distraction for the modern traveller. Coupled with out of this world dining, it is quickly turning into the place to be seen while staying in Chennai.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Kate Hitchen

My travels were first inspired by my love of the UK, which I take as much pleasure in exploring as countries far and wide. For me, travel is all about the adventure, the people I meet and the food I sample along the way.

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