Saturday, 9 November 2013

Tamil Nadu's Natural Splendor And Culture Cocktail — Soul Stirring

The Temple State of India, Tamil Nadu, placed in the southern corner of the country is kissed with breathtaking landscapes and culture. If you plan a trip to this wonderland, choose winter. Heatwaves might come in the way of a perfect holiday. Once you land here, these are some of the must dos.

Ooty, The Queen Bee: A much flocked tourist spot for a high dose of natural treasure. Placed in the Nilgiris, Ooty is a perfect summer getaway to beat the heat. Apart from pleasant weather, Ooty is a visual treat marked by streams, hilly terrains covered with tea gardens. Don't miss out on Pykara Falls with add to the beauty of Ooty.

The highest peak of Nilgiris, Doddabetta offers a bird's eye view of the hamlet. Sunsets at the view point seem heavenly, with a riot of saffron, grey, topped with silver as the moon tries to make its way through clouds.

You must have heard of The Botanical Gardens here, which boasts to be a haven of birds and flowers. Sprawling lawns bedecked with vibrant flowers and shrubs is a must visit. Summer Festival during May showcases wide variety of flora. En route to this green abode lies a tiny hamlet with tribal population, mainly Todas.

Pondicherry: Well-known for Aurobindo Ashram, a perfect place to meditate among hundreds of other tourists. Take a stroll through French colonies, with ancient buildings, good enough to take you down the memory lane. Auroville, a small spiritual community is a must visit. It aims to promote cosmopolitan culture. Matrimandir, a dome shaped structure at the Centre Auroville, is often referred to Temple of the Mother. It aims to boost meditation. No religions is the message. The planning and brilliant layout off this offbeat monument deserves a watch.

Beach fun on the run: Ideal place to kick back and relax! Elliot's Beach away from the crowd is known for sunbathing and swimming. If you plan to tour the beach, visit Velankanni Church and Ashtalakshmi Temple, the abode of Goddess Lakshmi. Next, taste some authentic south Indian delicacies from food stalls next to the beach.

Evening stroll at Marina beach,one of the world's largest beaches is advisable. Enjoy the sunset sipping into coffee or munching on small bites. Life size statutes of Tamil heroes and an amusement park with fun rides next to the beach are worth a visit.

Covelong beach lined with swaying coconut and palm trees looks lovely with white sand. There are arrangements Wind surfing, swimming here. If you're there with friends, try to arrange for a volleyball match before swimming. This place is a must visit!

Kodaikanal: Yet another hill station to take your breath away! Cascading waterfalls, hills marked by flowers and vegetation, a complete weekend break for domestic tourists. The hills receive heavy rainfall in winter. Summer temperatures hover around 16 °C, mercury dips to 10°C in December-January. What makes Kodaikanal unique is a rare shrub Kurinji which blossoms once in 12 years.

Heritage Tour: Get set to explore rock cut cave temples and finest architecture at Mahabalipuram. These temples owe their architecture to Pallavas who ruled south ages ago. The Shore Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu happens to be one of the oldest temples in India. The carefully carved Pandava rathas consist of five shrines which depict superb craftsmanship of the bygone era.

Few churches like Andrew’s Church, San Thome Cathedral and Luz Church speak volumes about archaeological marvels. Western influences are relived here.

To get a complete picture of the south, visit Dakshinachitra, a heritage village. Dakshinachitra aims to showcase cultural and art of southern Indian states—Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This is a must see, if you want to explore southern lifestyle.

Dancers perform during evenings on folk beats on an open air stage. Classical dance forms of the south, Bharatnatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathakali can be seen on special occasions.A south Indian restaurant on the same complex serves lip smacking delicacies.

Spoil your tastebuds: Different varieties of dosas are available. Health freaks try multi-grain dosa! You can choose the stuffing in case you opt for a masala dosa. Idlis, sambar and coconut chutneys rule! Coconut rice and curd rice are also on high demand.Non-vegetarian dishes cooked in coconut oil is a must try. Seafood platter is preferable. Chicken Chettinad being a favorite.Filter coffee is the most important beverage. If you're in Tamil Nadu, bid a temporary goodbye to mocktails and cold drinks, stick to coconut water. Masala milk with spices are a must try!Desserts mostly feature payasam or rice pudding.Adhirasam, pancakes made of rice and cardamom,soaked in jaggery.

Buy Buy: South Indian saris, bright colored made of heavy silk are a rage among Indians. You can take one home too. Home decor items and sculptures made of granite, metal work are a good buy. Light Pure silk saris and dress materials from State-owned handloom shops might grace your wardrobe classics.

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