I know that during this time of lockdowns and pandemic, it’s quite difficult for travellers. Uncertainties still prevail and we don’t know when things will get back to normal. I love travelling just like all of you and I can’t wait to explore. Till then, let’s go on a virtual tour to the Southernmost state of India, and look what makes it one of the most visited places in the Indian subcontinent.
Grab your popcorn and start reading.
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My hometown, Tamil Nadu has been listed in New York Times’ list of 52 destinations in the world to be seen in 2016. In fact it is the only Indian destination that has made it to the list. Temples, beaches, wildlife, rivers, culture, cuisine – the state has it all. The historic destinations here take you to the era of Cholas, Pandyas and Pallavas and the colonial period. Tamil Nadu is one of the few states in India where all the erstwhile colonial powers had their settlements – the Dutch, the Danes, the French, the British and the Portuguese. The cultural capital of India is known for its traditions, art, architecture besides heritage.
Every Indian state has a culture of its own. If we talk particularly about Tamil Nadu, it has vast and vibrant history and culture. You can find a number of ancient temples here. Mahabalipuram is a small yet fascinating town in Tamil Nadu which has become one of the top tourist destinations in recent years.
Also called Mamallapuram, Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu holds a major spot in the history of India. It has now become one of the most frequently visited towns in South India and has turned into a tourism centre.
Winter months from November to February are considered the best to visit the place. The temperature is generally above 16°C, making the weather pleasant and favourable. It is the best time for sightseeing as well as adventure sports.
Avoid visiting Mahabalipuram in the months of March and April as the temperature can go as high as 42°C, making it difficult for you to bear the heat.
Mahabalipuram is actually known as Mammallapuram.
It has been given designation of UNESCO world heritage site.
The temples of Mahabalipuram were built by the kings of Pallava dynasty
There were 7 shore temples out of which currently just one is standing tall while all others are submerged in the sea. You can take a catamaran ride to explore the hidden shore temples. We did find one temple in deep sea and it was the most exhilarating experience.
Some carvings have optical illusion. Get a good guide and nudge him to show it in detail. It is a good learning for kids as well.
Look for fascinating stories in the carvings. Opt for a dedicated guide rather than one who has a big group.
There is a lane in Mahabalipuram opening to the beach that is dedicated to foreign travellers interests. This lane reminisces of hippy culture. You will find open terrace restaurants overlooking the sea, shack style guest rooms and small shops catering to basic needs.
Ask for local beer. This is made at a local brewery in Chennai and served only in Mahabalipuram.
Fresh catch of the day is displayed on the tray and you have to choose from it along with your choice of preparation (dry, gravy, sautéed, pan-fried). Bon appetite!
Nestled in the ‘Blue Mountains’ of the Nilgiris, Ootacumund or Ooty stands at over 2,200 metres and has all the staples of a charming hill station. With cool temperatures all through the year, its inviting setting amidst verdant green hills has rightfully earned Ooty the moniker, ‘Queen of the Hills’. Quaint bungalows and heritage buildings reflect Ooty’s colonial past and make it an ever-growing and popular holiday destination in southern India.
- Fernhill Palace: Once the residence of the Maharaja of Mysore, the Fernhill Palace was built in 1844 over 50 sprawling acres of lush gardens and eucalyptus forests. Today, it is a restored heritage hotel that exudes the character of the royal palace that it once was.
- Emerald Lake: As the name suggests, Emerald Lake gets its name from the reflection of the green mountains that surrounds it. A picturesque picnic spot about 25 kilometres from Ooty’s city centre, Emerald Lake offers breath-taking sceneries.
- Doddabetta Peak: The highest mountain at over 2.600 metres in the Nilgiris Hills, Doddabetta Peak is ensconced by dense forests of eucalyptus and rhododendron trees. The observatory atop the peak offer 360-degree panoramic views of the pristine surroundings.
- St. Stephen’s Church: Dating back to 1830, St. Stephen’s Church was built using wooden beams from Tipu Sultan’s palace in Mysore. Built in Gothic-style architecture, stained glass windows depicting Christ’s crucifixion and a painting of the Last Supper are the masterpieces here.
Things to do
- Take a Toy Train Ride: The Nilgiris Mountain Railway was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. Covering a distance of 26 kilometres from Mettupayalam to Ooty, the ‘toy train’, as it’s called, makes its way through 16 tunnels and 250 bridges. With over 200 mountainous curves to navigate, the views throughout the entire journey are absolutely spectacular.
2.Go Boating on Ooty Lake: The single most visited attraction in Ooty is the Ooty Lake. A manmade lake commissioned in 1824 by then British Governor John Sullivan, the lake is a recreational hub for locals and tourists alike. Boating is a popular activity at the lake and enthusiasts can choose from paddle, row or motor boats. The views from the middle of Ooty Lake of the surrounding forests and gardens are magnificent.
3.Embark on a Tea Plantation Tour: The hillsides of Ooty are prolific tea country. A variety of teas flourish on the plantations scattered around Ooty and taking a tour of these tea plantations makes for an enlightening experience. Depending on the time of year, you can see tea buds being cultivated and harvested. Sampling tea at the town’s tea plantations is a year-round activity!
Sea shell souvenir vendors line the beach sidewalk, Indian pilgrims beach bathing and airing saris out to dry while overlooking the sea… visiting Kanyakumari you feel a spiritual vibe, both reverent and beachy. Kanyakumari is where Gandhi’s ashes were released and where the Indian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea swap tides. It’s got a gigantic statue of a famous Tamil poet, Tiruvalluvar, standing out of the waters as regal as the Statue of Liberty.
Best time to visit Kanyakumari:
The sunset can be seen from View Tower (a pink spiral building seen from the beach) through out the year, except June, July and August.
PLACES TO VISIT :
- Kanyakumari Temple : Kanyakumari Temple is also referred to as Bhagvaty Amman Temple and is one of the 108 Shakti Peetha in Hindu mythology. The temple is one of the major Hindu temples across India and is mentioned in almost all the ancient Hindu scriptures. The temple is frequented by thousands of pilgrims each year and the temple’s architecture is also unique.
- Vivekananda Rock Memorial : One of the iconic monuments in Kanyakumari, the Vivekananda Rock Memorial is located 100 meters from the shore and is one of the major tourist attractions in Kanyakumari. The small rock island can be reached by a ferry and consists of two main structures. The Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam are the two main complexes of the memorial and is frequented by thousands of tourists.
- Padmanabhapuram Palace : The old granite fortress was the residence of the Travancore Rulers and was constructed around 1601 AD. The fort complex contains several important buildings like the King’s council Chamber, Thai Kottaram or the Mother’s palace and the Natakasala or the house of performances etc. The fort also has a small museum that contains various artifacts from the older times and various weapons like swords and daggers, paintings, Chinese jars and a plethora of wooden furniture.
- Thiruvalluvar Statue : The massive 133 feet tall statue is of the Saint Poet Thiruvalluvar, who was considered to be one of the greatest Tamil poets in India. Thiruvalluvar Statue is one of the biggest in Asia and was unveiled on the 1st of January 2000. The pedestal of the statue is artistically designed and is decorated with 10 elephants that signify the various directions.Being a part of the princely state of Travancore and a major cultural and religious hub from the Sangam period, Kanyakumari is a place not to be missed on your visit to India. the above mentioned places are not only few of the most popular places in Kanyakumari but also the major attractions of India.
- Thirparappu Falls : Located at a distance of about 55 kilometers from Kanyakumari, the cascading waters of the Thirparappu Falls make up for an enchanting sight. This waterfall is a manmade one and falls from a height of 50 feet. The water collects in a quaint pool below which is an ideal place to frolick around, especially for children. The falls are surrounded by thick green foliage and indigenous fauna, which make it a nature lover’s paradise.
These falls are a unique combination of streams that flow together to form a magnificent waterfall. The containment below is no less than a top tier waterpark and is perfectly safe too. The entrance of this destination has a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is highly revered by the locals.
Enjoy a boat ride in the tranquil waters of Thirparappu and let the surrounding natural beauty consume you. This destination is the perfect spot to enjoy a fun filled day with family, and children will have a gala time here, guaranteed!
Kanyakumari has an authentic South Indian cuisine, with seafood and coconuts being an integral part of almost all dishes. Starting from light snacks to full course gourmet menus, Kanyakumari delights tourists with the numerous options it offers for eating out. While Kanyakumari is not a traditional shopping destination, you can buy plenty of souvenirs and curios from the numerous stalls and boutiques dotting the beachfront, with decorative seashell trinkets being a must-buy.
Yelagiri is a small hill station in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. This is one of the best hill station near Bangalore and among the popular places to visit near Chennai . Swamimalai Hill is the highest point in Yelagiri region which offers spectacular views of surrounding plains. The beauty of Yelagiri Hills is still untouched and is popular places to visit near Bangalore. Punganur Lake, Velavan Temple, Jalagamparai Waterfalls, and Nature Park are the top places to visit in Yelagiri. Being a hill station, Yelagiri also offers some adventure activities like trekking, nature walks and paragliding.
Places to visit
1.Punganoor Lake : Punganoor Lake is an artificial Lake situated in Yelagiri. This beautiful lake is one of the popular places to visit in Yelagiri Hills and is a favorite spot for locals as well as tourists. There is a walking track, a children park, a small tree top view point, fountains and few shops. Visitors can go for a short walk along the lake side and also enjoy a boat ride. The boat club here offers pedal and motor boat rides. The Punganoor Lake is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
2. Swamimalai Hill : The highest point in Yelagiri is the Swamimalai Hill which is standing tall at 4,338 feet. Swamimalai is one of the famous tourist places in Yelagiri and also a popular destination for trekkers. The hill provides a good number of trekking trails through thick forests. It is a perfect place for those who love to enjoy the pleasure of trekking amidst nature. The view from the summit of Swamimalai is breathtaking. Mangalam village is the starting point of the Swamimalai trek. One can use the ladder to climb up to watch fantastic view of the surrounding hills and plains.
3.Jalagamparai Waterfalls : Jalagamparai Waterfalls is a magnificent waterfall situated near Jadayanur in Tamilnadu. Bathing in this waterfall cures diseases as it passes through various herbal plants in the hills. The isolated location of the waterfalls attracts people in large groups for picnicking. There is a Murugan temple adjacent to the waterfall. This place is popular among lovebirds. The falls is at its best from November to February when it is gushing with water but it is dry in summer.
On the Coromandel Coast overlooking the Bay of Bengal is Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is also the most prominent cultural, educational, and economic center of southern India. As such, there is an endless list of incredible things to see and do in Chennai. The city, which is the sixth-most populous in India, is one of the most visited in the country by foreign tourists. It is also considered the safest city in India and welcomes a large number of health tourists as “India’s health capital.”
Things to do :
- Try mud coffee : If you’re exploring Chennai and find yourself in need of a caffeine boost, look no further than Mud Koffee in the beachfront area of Besant Nagar. At Mud Koffee, the South Indian filtered coffee is brewed in a metal container with the help of a kadai that’s filled with sand heated by a gas stove. A secret ingredient is added to the coffee and then it’s served in a cup made of mud! The thick, frothy, and milky coffee is incredibly flavorful.
- Visit Marina Beach : No trip to Chennai is complete without visiting Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world. Along the beach is a seafood market that sells shark, prawns, shrimp, eel, crab, and more, which are provided by the fishermen who work nearby. Many of the city’s fishermen live in the subsidized housing directly across from the beach.Even if you arrive at the beach later in the day, you can always take amazing photos along the rows of boats lined up on the sand!
- Visit Chennai Lighthouse : Before you leave Marina Beach, there is one last stop you must make before setting of to explore other parts of the city: Chennai Lighthouse. Formerly known as Madras Lighthouse, this famous landmark faces the Bay of Bengal and opened in 1977.The 150-foot-tall lighthouse is home to the local meteorological department and is also one of the few lighthouses in the world with an elevator. It’s also powered by a solar panel, making it a green lighthouse.
- Visit Kapaleeshwar temple : One of the best places in Chennai to learn about and experience Tamil culture is Kapaleeswarar Temple, one of the most famous Hindu temples in the city. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built 1,300 years ago in the 7th century. As with all Hindu temples in India, you must take your shoes off before you enter. Through the main gate are houses to the gods where people pray as well as a sitting hall.
- Go Shopping in T-Nagar : Tourists in Chennai looking to experience some of the city’s best shopping should make their way to the Thyagaraya Nagar neighborhood., better known as T. Nagar. This affluent and historic neighborhood in Chennai is one of the oldest areas of the city. It began as a residential neighborhood, but since its construction, has become Chennai’s commercial hub. T. Nagar is also considered India’s largest shopping district by revenue. Another spot in T. Nagar you won’t want to miss is Pondy Bazaar, where you can buy an assortment of souvenirs, including beautiful bangles, colorful fabrics, bags, keychains, and much more. The bazaar is also a great spot to eat, with several restaurants and street food stalls set up along the roads. With exceptional shopping and great food, there’s no doubt that spending some time in T. Nagar is one of the best things to see and do in Chennai!
Travelers who welcome diversity in their experiences cannot afford to skip the city of Chennai. Whether you come to India looking for amazing cultural experiences, wonderful shopping, great attractions, or magnificent food, you’ll find it all in Chennai and then some.
6. Pondicherry (Pondy/Puducherry)
Pondicherry, the French capital of India, is a destination that offers serenity and sanctity in its true sense. The city is calm and its urban architecture, depicting the French style, attracts people from all over the world. Besides sightseeing you don’t need to worry about what to do in Pondicherry, for the tiny holiday destination has a lot to offer to make it a fun-filled trip for you. In fact, you’ll be surprised to find the variety of experiences you can have here. Irrespective of who you visit with and what you seek, Pondicherry will never disappoint the explorer in you!
THINGS TO DO :
1. Promenade Beach – Enjoy A Beautiful Sunrise
The tiny coastal city boasts of some beautiful and untouched beaches. Additionally, the city has many beachside promenades. All this adds up to some wonderful locations to observe some of the most amazing sunrises in the country. So wake up early morning or stay up all night long. But do not miss the sunrise for watching the sunrise from the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry.
2.Paradise Beach Island – Take A Boat Ride
The popular venue offers spectacular boating facilities in Chunnambar River, with the lush green plantations and backwaters in the backdrop. Located along the Cuddalore Main Road, this is an amazing location for relaxing and chilling out. One can also sunbathe here and enjoy magnificent views of the sunset. The boats usually take people up to the placid and picturesque Paradise Island Pondicherry, also known as Plage Paradiso.
Along with boating up to the beach, there are some interesting and thrilling things to do in Pondicherry, especially this part of the city. You can go for backwater boating in Pondicherry, hiking, picnicking, and overnight camping in tree houses in backwaters. From here, people can also take short cruises to the sea. You can be lucky to spot dolphins too!
3. Ousteri Lake – Bird Watching
Ousteri Lake, also popular as Osudu Lake, is the most picturesque and important freshwater man-made lake of the Pondicherry region. The lake comprises of marshy lands & mudflats and is designated as one of the significant wetlands of Asia by International Union for Conservation of Nature & Natural Resources or IUCN.
The lake is serene and one of the spectacular tourist attractions in Pondicherry owing to its jaw-dropping sunset views. Experiencing the glorious beauty of the rising sun is one of the highly ranked things to do in Pondicherry. Moreover, the lake region and the marshes are rich in biodiversity. And, hence, the region houses many migratory and residential birds. Ousteri Lake is a paradise for nature lovers and birdwatchers!
4.Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Find Inner Peace
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a spiritual ashram. This peaceful and holy place has made Pondicherry a favorite tourist venue for many people all over the world. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Pondicherry for those who wish to attain eternal peace and harmony among the many other things to do at Pondicherry. One can view the various exhibitions and watch videos on life & works of Shri Aurobindo once here.
Tourists can also visit the bookshop & souvenir shop to buy books, greeting cards, incense, perfumed candles, and essential oils.
5. Auroville- Spend a day
Auroville, the City of Dawn, was established by The Mother, the one who had inherited Shri Aurobindo’s spiritual legacy. It is a settlement where people from different nations can come and live in harmony. This enormous village of red earth, picturesque houses, lush greenery till the where the eyes can see, and scores of cycles and bikes going about the dirt tracks, is among the most pristine places in India that should be on every nature lover’s and peace seeker’s bucket list.
Right in the heart of this modern village is the Matri Mandir, a huge golden sphere at whose center is a great crystal. Other upmarket things that dominate this green village include eclectic boutiques, a bookshop, café and restaurants serving international cuisine, and many modern entities that draw a steady stream of visitors throughout the year.
Other than exploring the village, one can also hit the Auroville Beach nearby which is a pristine, untouched expanse of white sand and shallow waters. You can also try limited water activities in Pondicherry while at Auroville Beach.
6. Mahe Beach – Enjoy Beautiful Sunset And Sunrise Views
One of the most famous beaches of Pondicherry, Mahe beach is a secluded beach known for its sunset and sunrise views. It is a perfect spot for peace seekers and honeymooners. It is also a good place for photographers to click amazing shots. Located on the coast of Pondicherry, visiting Mahe beach is one of the best things to do at Pondicherry. You can come around here to just stroll or relax.
7. Rock beach – Stunning sunrise
Does the idea of waking up to surreal sunrise views along the splashing waves and shimmering sands excite you? If yes, then Rock Beach can be one of the best destinations to soothe your soul. Head towards this well-maintained spectacular beach with your loved ones, and grab a chance to savor a sunrise view that may leave you agape like never before. This is one of the best places for adventure sports in Pondicherry!
8. Roof Garden Cafe – Memorable Things To See In Pondicherry
Located in the vicinity of Rock Beach, Roof Garden Cafe has an open area where you can cherish some really mouth-watering North Indian dishes along with a jaw-dropping beach view. Head directly to the rooftop facing the beach, and grab a chance to enjoy the spectacular view of the promenade while sipping your favorite beer.
Madurai is the seat of culture, literature, history, traditions and culture. The ancient city, apparently one of the oldest in the world. built on the banks of the River Vaigai is synonymous with the goddess Meenakshi or Parvati and her temple stands right in the heart of the city. The land of the Pandyas, the town resonates with literary works written in Tamil since the Sangam era. Many dynasties have ruled over Madurai as you can see from the Tirumalai Nayak Palace here. The old Jaina caves is one of the sites I want to visit here. There are several temples here dedicated to Muruga. But your Madurai experience is not complete if you have not sipped the famous Jigar thanda.
THINGS TO DO
1. Meenakshi Temple: Seek Blessings
Popularly known as the Meenakshi Amman or Meenakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, Meenakshi Temple is a world famed Hindu Temple in the region where devotees from worldwide locations keep visiting throughout the year. Located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city Madurai in Tamil Nadu, this temple had been built in 17th century. It attracts the pilgrims round the year. That is why it is always flocked by the devotees.
This temple remains one of the must-see South Indian temples during the Madurai visits as it mentions in the Tamil Sangam literature to describe the 6th century CE texts. With 500 pillars and 14 towers, it covers an area of 15 acres. Although this temple remains open round the clock for the visitors, tourists are advised to visit this temple either in the morning or evening hours.
2. Pudhu Mandapam-Keep calm and go for shopping
Your visit to Madurai will perhaps remain incomplete if you don’t explore the Puthu Mandapam shopping area. Located just opposite to the famous Meenakshi Temple, this shopping complex is home to the rows of tailors and stalls who sell wide range of countless varieties of fabric, scarves, jewellery, fashion accessories, handicrafts and art work. You can buy any such stuff that becomes a perfect souvenir that you visited Madurai. Almost all tourists visiting Madurai ensure exploring this market to buy high quality modern clothes, including decent replicas. Foreigners frequently visit this market to buy clothes which they take back to their respective countries as the memories to keep. So, make sure that you include it in your itinerary as it is one of the fun things to do in Madurai.
3.Thirumalai Nayak Palace: A Must-Visit Place
Built in the 17th century, Thirumalai Nayak Palace is one of the most visited places in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu state of India. This palace had been built by the then King Tirumala Nayaka who had remained an influential king of the Madurai’s Nayaka Dynasty. Made of the Dravidian and Islamic architecture, this place is worth admiring and exploring while it comes to exploring a Madurai tour today. Besides offering enough avenues to the history lovers to digress into the past era, this palace also keeps the common tourists hooked to visit to enjoy the sound and light shows. Such shows are conducted every evening at the palace to showcase the glimpse of the past era. The palace maintains peaceful and calm surroundings. It is one more reason for the tourist to gather and feel the tranquillity here thus enjoy the Madurai tour to the best.
4.Saint Mary’s Cathedral: Spend Some Time Praying
People from different religious views and faiths often attend to the prayers at Saint Mary’s Cathedral Church in the Madurai city of Tamil Nadu in India which is often denoted with its religious harmony. Popularly known with the name Church of Our Lady of Dolours, the Saint Mary’s Cathedral Church is one of the most popular and visited churches in Tamil Nadu. Constructed in the year 1841 by the New Madurai Mission, this church was later expanded to accommodate large gathering of people that comprised of domestic and international tourists. Notable attraction of this church is the magnificent architecture which features the two tall bell towers. Its stunning stained-glass work appeals to all and so is it a perfect amalgamation of the Roman, European and several other architectural styles.
5.Jain Caves: Get Ready For A Hike
If you are the one willing to explore the Jain sculptures and are looking for adventurous things to do in Madurai, then you must consider a hike between the Samanar Hills to the Jain caves for an experience to keep for the whole life. In the midway, there is a Keelakuyilkudi village, which is popular for its collection of the painted mud horses and Jain sculptures. Tourists stop by the village as they can easily encounter the mud horses in the surrounding of the village’s picturesque Karuppasamy Temple.
Such beautifully decorated mud horses are donated by the potters from Vilachery to the villagers for their village festivals that take place every year. Apart from ancient rock-cut sculptures of Jain deities, a tour to this region lets you to come across a panoramic view over the countryside.
6. South Indian food – Treat your taste buds
The city of Madurai is popular for several South Indian food ventures from the rich South Indian cuisines. If you are a food lover and want to taste best of the South Indian food in town, you should consider the renowned Murugan Idli Shop. It is famous among the locals as well as international tourists. Besides the simple and delicious taste of recipes cooked here, this restaurant maintains extreme level of hygiene. That is perhaps one of the primary reasons that this restaurant is always flocked by the food lovers. The famous recipes like Idli and Dosa are the must taste items in this restaurant. Such recipes are served to the food lovers with special blend of spicy chutney powders.
7.Meghamalai: Lose Yourself In Nature’s Beauty
Meghamalai is one of the destinations in Madurai that is immensely blessed by the wonders of mother nature. From sprawling grasslands to aromatic coffee plantations, from lush green wildlife sanctuaries to magical waterfalls, Meghamalai is a destination that is paradisiacal for all the nature lovers out there. Being a huge part of the Western Ghats, this destination is a great spot to witness the wild roaming around their habitats, spectate the ferocious waterfalls gushing down, soak in the beauty of sunsets from various viewpoints, seek blessings at various temples, and stroll around the plantations of cinnamon, coffee, tea, and cardamom. It surely has countless things to do in Madurai.
Thanjavur, ‘Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu’ is the capital of art and literature of Tamil Nadu state in India. During the Chola rule, Tanjore was the bustling capital of the empire. This city proves to be a perfect destination for an art and architecture lover considering its major attraction of the Thanjavur Big Temple. The smiling people of the city add to the beauty of the city along with dancing dolls called Thanjavur dolls or Bommai and Thanjavur paintings. It is said to have been named as Tanjor after a demon named “Tanoj”, who wished the town to be named after him. Reaching to this city is quite easy from Chennai and Bangalore through direct trains and buses. There are many amazing places to visit in Thanjavur Even if it is your One day tour to Thanjavur.
1) Brihadeeswarar Temple
The Thanjavur temple is the specimen of the architectural brilliance during the rule of Chola Kings. The city’s art and architecture reached its zenith during the rule of the king Raja Raja Chola I.
It is quite well maintained as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You need to walk a bit to reach the main shrine. On the front-right side of the temple, there is a Parvati (the wife of Shiva) Temple which has the lion pillars common in most of the South Indian Temples. Outside the Parvati temple, exactly in front of the Shiva Temple is a 13 ft tall monolith of Nandi (Bull) facing His Lord. The garden in the temple complex is quite well maintained where you can sit and gulp in a few sips of the surrounding spiritual vibes.
2) Thanjavur Palace
The huge Thanjavur palace complex comprises of a few artillery museums, a handicraft shop, Darbar Hall, Saraswati Mahal Library, Bell Tower and an ancient artifacts’ museum. It was the royal residence of the Bhonsle family, the Maratha ruler who ruled Thanjavur.
You can start with the beautiful Darbar Hall which is in a dilapidated condition, but still look beautiful with vibrant paintings on its walls, ceiling, and pillars. The paintings and the wall art has Shiva family, Vishnu and other gods and goddesses as its main theme. The carvings on pillars also depict the luxurious life of the kings and their consorts in dancing posture. An old horse-cart, Thanjavur dolls and a Royal statue of a lion are also kept at the entrance to the Darbar Hall. Do not forget to take a look in the garden for the ancient stone statues of consorts and gods.
3) Explore Saraswati Mahal Library
The old Tamil literature has been preserved here in Bamboo manuscripts. For the convenience of the researchers and students, each leaf has been scanned and stored in the digital media library. Thousands of years old books have been preserved here and are also being translated in certain local languages for the understanding of the people. A few books about the library and its history have been put up for sale in the corridor of the library. Don’t forget to notice the colourful ceiling at the library entrance. After getting mesmerized by the excellent collections and the conservation, you can move to the art museum on the right side of the library.
4) The Art Museum of Thanjavur and the Bell Tower
The art museum, located beside the Thanjavur Palace, showcases the ancient stone sculptures all around its garden. You can also climb the bell tower and can have a stunning view from the top. The terrace at the bell tower showcases a carcass of a huge whale. After moving down, you can enter the bronze statue gallery that has the collection of age-old bronze statues of Natraja, Ganesha, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi, other dancers, musicians and the wedding pose of Shiva-Parvati marriage. The beautiful Indian design can also be seen on the ceiling of this hall.
5)Thanjavur Bommai or Thanjavur Dolls at Tanjore Art Gallery
A small shop on your right while moving towards the bus-stand sells the Thanjavur Bommai (The dancing dolls) at a reasonable price. The dancing dolls are the specialty of this town that wouldn’t fail to grab your attention. At Tanjore art gallery, you would get the same dolls with ornamental stonework on it. The dolls are made of plaster of Paris and are made in such a way that they keep on dancing with even the slightest blow of wind.
6) Thanjavur Paintings
The Thanjavur paintings are famous for their gold plate work and the painted figures in between. The flat plates are hammered to engrave designs on the plates that can be filled with the paint. It is interesting to see the artists diligently engrossed in the paintwork at their workshops.
And that’s it for today ! Thank you so much for reading this post and I really hope you liked it !
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