One of the most ancient places in India. Tamil Nadu has a long followed tradition of great values and venerable culture. It is a vivid place that leaves one feeling surreal. Temples are so minutely and critically designed and the sculptures that take nearly a lifetime to understand are the result of the Dravidian architecture. Due to the demography of the place, Tamil Nadu is a humid state. During the summers the weather is quite harsh, on that account, the state can either be visited post-summer or during the festive season.
1. Mahabalipuram aka Mamallapuram
The incomparable monuments and the temples were built during the 7th and 8th centuries. The temples were designed and constructed by the Pallava dynasty. This temple is declared as a world heritage site since 1984. A whole day is consumed to visit major places in Mahabalipuram, which are:-
a) Shore Temple
There has always been a debate on the deity the temple focuses on. Although one can find sculptures of Lord Shiva as well as lord Vishnu in the temple. The temple is a combination of 3 shrines. The major shrine and the 2nd shrine is dedicated to Arkadeep. The 3rd shrine is located between the two and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, carved in a reclining pose and a serpent. The temple walls have been carved with large sculptures of Nandi. A small lion monolith on which goddess Durga is carved depicts the goddess as Mahishasuramardini.
b) Pancha Rathas:-
Also commonly known as the Pandava Rathas, named after the Panch Pandavas and their common wife Draupadi. The 5 Rathas are, Dharmaraja, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula Sahadeva, and Draupadi Ratha. The architecture is a paragon of Indian monolithic rock-cut carvings. Each Ratha is different from one another on the basis of layout and size. All the 5 Rathas resembles the chariot, hence the name. The chiseling is done on a single long stone.
c) Krishna’s Butter Ball
Vaanirai Kal, the granite boulder resting on a slope is just mind-boggling. Due to its phenomenal balance, it reckons to be a popular tourist attraction in Mahabalipuram. Perfect time to view at this stunning beauty is during the sunrise. The granite seems afloat in the air. Can you believe that this ginormous granite ball is at the same place since 1200 years and unmoved by any natural calamity. This place has constantly been a favorite spot for picnicking and clicking amazing pictures.
The cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the thoonganagaram is best known for the Dravidian style built-in shrine called Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple. Situated at the southern bank of Vaigai river, the temple is dedicated to Parvathi, wife of lord Shiva. According to the mythology, lord Shiva visited Madurai to marry goddess Parvathi aka Meenakshi amman. The exceptional 14 gopurams(gateway tower), of the temple is a architecture of Dravidian period. One has to enter from the main entrance which is called Ayiram Kaal Mandapam. It is a hall of 1000 pillars, richly carved depicting the miracles of lord Shiva and the life of goddess Meenakshi as the princess of Madurai. Golden lotus tank (Potramarai kulam) is believed to be the holy place where Tamil Sangam-ancient academy poets used to conduct their meetings.
a) Street food of Madurai
When it comes to trying out new food with no time bound attached. Madurai is the city. Fluffy idlis, golden crisp dosa, Bun parotta, Idiyapam(a tough competition to noodles), Kari dosa(dosa stuffed with fried chunks of meat), kola urundai(minced, fried meat balls), jigarthanda(well churned ice cream with almond jelly and dry fruits) and so so on. These are just few dishes that will blow your mind.
Formerly was known as Tanjore, is an important city that reflects the ancient culture, art and tradition. Tanjore paintings are world famous and the handicrafts like Tanjore dolls are so adorable. Brihadishwara temple is a prominent shrine and one of the largest temple in India. It was constructed during the ruling period of Raja Raja Chola I.
Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Brihadishwara, Gangaikonda, Airavatesvara shrines are together called the great living Chola temple. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.