Tamil Nadu Holidays: an Overview

For a gentler introduction to India than the hustle and bustle of Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu has the majestic hills of the Western Ghat and the beaches on the Coromandel Coast, attractive little towns and many architectural treasures.

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Why we think you’ll love it

  • Because Tamil Nadu is relatively off the tourist trail, pilgrims to the many ancient sites far outnumber tourists.

More on Luxury Travel to Tamil Nadu...

Tamil Nadu, the 'land of many temples' (more than 30,000 in total) is often referred to as the cradle of Dravidian civilisation, very much in evidence in the shape of fantastic temples with towering rainbow coloured gopurams (gateway towers) and incredible intricate rock carvings.

Many of the temple complexes are more than mere places of worship, but also for social gatherings, education, celebrations and a place for art, in all its forms from music, dance, drama, and handicrafts, to flourish. Definitely worth a visit are Kanchipuram, Chidambaram, Thanjavur, Mamallapuram and Kumbakhonam.

Away from the temple trail, the Chettinad Region is full of wonderful fortress houses. Once home to some of Tamil Nadu's wealthiest families, many of the villages now feel like ghost towns but with some of the beautiful houses maintained. In the 19th century the Chettinad men were serious tradesmen with Burma and used to ship back wonderful teak and satinwood from which they would build their mansions.

In contrast to the rest of Tamil Nadu is Pondicherry - the former seat of the French in India - where you will find wonderful colonial French architecture and (if you know where to look) delicious French food.

Finally, the state capital of Chennai will likely feature on any itinerary and the city is worth a day or two's exploration, as is the cultural gem of Madurai.


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  • Average Temp. — 13°C / 55°F
  • Rainfall — 1cm / 0.6 inches
Flight from London

8:15 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +6 hrs


Top picks for Tamil Nadu

Visalam

Visalam

Tamil Nadu

Over half a century ago, and quite unusual at the time, Visalam was built for the daughter of a local merchant. The same love was taken in its restoration, allowing it to be opened as a hotel in 2007. Dispel thoughts of golden doors adorned with jewels, but rather local craftsmanship and original woodwork that stand at the heart of the Chettinad community.

Where to stay

Palais de Mahe

Palais de Mahe

Tamil Nadu

Palais de Mahe is an au courant take on the rich French culture and ancestry that swathes Pondicherry, with its white and mustard façade. Just two streets back from the seafront of the Bay of Bengal, not only is this boutique hotel conveniently located, but also benefits from a cool sea breeze - not something to be taken for granted in the intense heat of Indian summer.

Where to stay

Rajakkad

Rajakkad

Tamil Nadu

Rajakkad Estate, or more correctly the Pallam Palace that sits within the Rajakkad Estate, is a wonderfully tranquil place to stay in the beautiful hill country of Tamil Nadu.

Where to stay

The Bangala

The Bangala

Tamil Nadu

Over the last century this building has played the roles of a private men’s club, guest house and place to entertain visiting dignitaries, yet has always remained in the hands of the Meyyappa Chettiar family. Still under the same ownership with many long-existing members of staff, The Bangala is now a restored charismatic heritage hotel with the warm hospitality and feel of a private home.

Where to stay

The Leela Palace Chennai

The Leela Palace Chennai

Tamil Nadu

The Leela Palace Chennai sits beside the Adyar River as it reaches the Bay of Bengal, making this the only 5* hotel in Chennai with a seafront location. There are 326 comfortable rooms and suites in total, designed in contemporary style and with marble bathrooms, and spread across 11-storeys.

Where to stay

Svatma

Svatma

Tamil Nadu

Svatma is a new hotel in the city of Thanjavur, which was formerly known as Tanjore. The hotel is a wonderful old family residence that has been lovingly restored in traditional Tamil style and there are just 38 rooms in total, seven of which are in the original building.

Where to stay

Big thanks for your hard work and great choices - you hit the brief 100%

Peter

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