Welcome to Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is the homeland of one of humanity’s living classical civilisations, stretching back uninterrupted for two millennia and very much alive today in the Tamils' language, dance, poetry and Hindu religion.But this deep-South state, with its age-old trading vocation, is as dynamic as it is immersed in tradition. Fire-worshipping devotees who smear tikka on their brows in Tamil Nadu's famously spectacular... Read More
Top experiences in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu activities
Private Cultural Tour: Day Trip to Mahabalipuram and Dakshinachitra from Chennai
After pickup from your hotel in the morning, your private guide will take you by air-conditioned vehicle to the village of Dakshinachitra, located about 18 miles (29 km) outside of Chennai. Spend approximately 45 minutes in Dakshinachitra, meaning ‘A Picture of the South,’ which preserves the traditional Dravidian way of life. See traditional Indian homes, explore the open-air museum, and visit the artisan workshops to learn about the Dravidian crafts of several regions in South India including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh – a great activity for kids. Here, you may see traditional theater performances as well as local craftsmen making pottery and baskets, weaving silk and building puppets. Then, drive approximately 14.5 miles (23.3 km) to Mahabalipuram, or what is now called Mamallapuram. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed city is full of rock-cut monuments built between the 7th and 9th centuries. These structures, most of which were built to honor Hindu gods, are some of the oldest existing examples of Dravidian architecture. With your guide, visit several cave temples and sculpted reliefs including Five Rathas, Arjuna Dhabas, Krishna Mandap, Krishna Butterball and Shore Temple. Your guide will point out the Buddhist elements of these impressive structures and explain the historical significance of the sites you pass. In between sightseeing, enjoy an authentic Indian lunch at a nearby restaurant in Mahabalipuram. After your full-day tour, you’ll be driven back to your Chennai hotel in the evening.
Peacock Trail Walking Tour in Mylapore
There are many stories hidden behind the mundane rituals of daily life. As you walk through Mylapore, you will discover that every sight you behold has a story to tell. Read the symbolism behind some everyday activities on the streets and you will find that spirituality here doesn’t just start and end within holy places.We will meet outside of Rasi Silks in Mylapore at 8:30am for morning departure or 4:00pm for afternoon departure. The Peacock Trail is a relaxing, enjoyable walk through Mylapore that comes with a bundle of stories – stories of local life, of Gods and demons, of ancient customs and symbolism, and of Mylapore and Madras. You might find them amusing or baffling and the stories should also help you make sense of the sights you are visiting.Why is it called the Peacock Trail? Well, of course there is a story, too. Visit the Kapaleeshwara Temple, the Santhome Church, and walk through the by-lanes of Mylapore with a storyteller during this 3-hour tour. The tour is mostly on foot with a short stretch in an auto-rickshaw (local tuk-tuk) that are arranged and included in the tour and it will end with south Indian refreshments.
Private Tour: Chennai Sightseeing Including Fort St George and Government Museum
After pickup from your hotel in the morning by air-conditioned vehicle, your private guide will take you on journey through Chennai, a bustling cultural hub that’s the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. On your tour of the city’s architectural landmarks, discover the mix of traditional Dravidian styles with European colonial influences while enjoying your guide's illuminating commentary, as well as fun facts and trivia. Visit Fort St George, the first English fortress in India, founded in 1644. It now serves as the headquarters for Tamil Nadu’s legislative assembly. Inside, tour St Mary's Church, Wellesley House and the Fort Museum, whose exhibits showcase relics from British rule in India including weapons, coins, medals and uniforms. Head to the Indo-Saracenic-style Government Museum (also called the Madras Museum), the second-oldest museum in India housing the largest collection of Roman antiquities outside of Europe. With your guide, browse diverse exhibits of archaeological findings, coins, sculptures, palm-leaf manuscripts and Amravati paintings, as well as rare works from artists like Raja Ravi Varma.Continue to San Thome Cathedral, built in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers and rebuilt by the British in 1893. Admire its Neo-Gothic style of architecture as you learn about its historical significance from your guide.In between sightseeing, you’ll head to a local restaurant to indulge in an authentic Indian meal served on a banana leaf. Then, experience India’s religious heritage at Kapaleeshwar Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shiva and built in the 7th century. See its imposing gopuram (ornate monumental tower) and learn how this is a fine example of Dravidian architecture.You’ll also visit the Indo-Saracenic-style Madras High Court, with beautiful painted ceilings and stained-glass doors, as well as the Ripon Building, combining three types of architecture: Gothic, Ionic and Corinthian.Before returning to your hotel, drive along Marina Beach and visit a flower market, where you’ll take a leisurely stroll and see a variety of bright, colorful flowers and fruit.
Private Tour: Half-Day Chennai Sightseeing with Government Museum and Kapaleeshwar Temple
You’ll be picked up from your Chennai hotel in the morning and taken on a sightseeing tour by private vehicle. Visit Fort St George, the oldest English fortress in India, founded in 1644. Learn how it now serves as the headquarters for the legislative assembly of the state of Tamil Nadu. Inside, tour St Mary's Church, Wellesley House and the Fort Museum, where you’ll see relics from British rule in India including weapons, coins, medals and uniforms.Then, head to the Indo-Saracenic-style Government Museum (also called the Madras Museum), which is the second-oldest museum in India and houses the largest collection of Roman antiquities outside of Europe!With your guide, browse an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures, both traditional and modern, and explore diverse exhibits featuring archaeological findings, coins, sculptures, palm-leaf manuscripts and Amravati paintings, as well as rare works from famous Indian artists like Raja Ravi Varma.Afterward, drive to Kapaleeshwar Temple, built in the 7th century and dedicated to the goddess Shiva. Learn about its Dravidian architecture, which is evident in its gopuram (ornate monumental tower). Before returning to your hotel, drive along Marina Beach for fantastic views of Chennai’s beautiful landscape.
Private Tour: Pondicherry Day Trip from Chennai
After pickup from your Chennai hotel in the morning, you’ll drive approximately 2.5 hours by private, air-conditioned vehicle to the Pondicherry region.When you arrive, your professional guide will take on a tour of this spiritual community, home to Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a spiritual site founded by Sri Aurobindo and his collaborator, known locally as ‘The Mother.’ Walk to the nearby Pondicherry Museum, located in Bharathi Park. Along the way, your guide will point out various structures that display effects of French colonial influence. Inside, discover the museum’s outstanding collection of artifacts, sculptures and archaeological findings from the ancient Arikamedu settlement, a Tamil fishing village that traded with the Romans. In between sightseeing, your guide will recommend a great restaurant in Pondicherry where can enjoy some French-Indian fusion cuisine (own expense).Then, you’ll drive approximately 4 miles (6.5 km) to Auroville, a small town and spiritual community also founded by Mirra Alfassa. Here, you’ll visit Matrimandir, meaning ‘Temple of the Mother’ in Sanskrit. Marvel at the plated gold of its 98-foot high (30-meter) dome with a lotus-shaped foundation urn. Wander inside to see the stark-white interior and large crystal in the center. Learn from your guide how this temple is an important spiritual place for practitioners of Integral yoga. After your tour, you’ll be driven back to your Chennai hotel or the Chennai airport for your departure flight.
Private Day Tour of Mahabalipuram from Chennai
You will be picked up at your hotel in Chennai at 9:00 am and then drive down the scenic East Coast Road. The first stop is the famous DakshinaChitra, also called the "living museum" of South India.Later visit the Madras Crocodile Bank, a reptile zoo and herpetology research station. In the 1970s, crocodile populations were severely depleted due to large-scale commercial hunting. Herpetologist Romulus Whitaker and his wife Zai Whitaker started the Madras Crocodile Bank in 1976 to protect crocodiles. Afterwards visit to Mahabalipuram where you will spend time exploring ancient rock cut temples and exquisite sculptures including Arjuna Pennace, Five Rathas , Tigar Cave, Sea Shore Temple, Krishna Mandapam and Mahabalipuram local market. Learn more about the history of the Pallavas, an ancient dynasty that once ruled an extensive part of India and beyond. Then a visit to a rural village to understand how life in India has been for many centuries and also to look into traditional customs and practices of Indian families. When the tour ends, you will be taken back to Chennai and dropped off at your hotel.