Monday, 6 October 2014

Roundup of South India: History and Tourist Attractions Part-III

Tour of South India 
In this concluding session of roundup of tourist attractions of South India, we have a look at Tamilnadu and Kerala. Tamilnadu has plenty of temples, forts and museums. Kerala is an idyllic place where backwaters charm tourists and residents alike. Come partake in this adventure and get thrilled. 

A round up of best tourist spots in South India would include a journey through three states – Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. These places are ideal for family travel because they are close to each other. To understand the significance of various landmarks, forts, palaces and gardens, one must understand history of each place.

Kancheepuram and Mahabalipuram
In India, Varanasi is considered the holiest city. Next to it, is Kancheepuram, the city that has 1000 temples. Kancheepuram is also famous for its silks and
rock cut art. Most famous temples are Vardarajar temple, Ekambareeswarar temple and Vaikuntaperumal temple. Rock cut art in the form of ‘Five Rathas’, man-made caves, structured temples and stone chariots are on view for tourists. Mahabalipuram is a town in Kancheepuram. It was port city for Pallavas. It has mandapas and rathas alongside shore temple, which in entirety have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rock cut monolithic carvings is representative of Dravidian architecture of ancient times.

Seat of French settlement in India, Pondicherry has today an international community settlement in Auroville – the city of Dawn. Pondicherry museum houses several art pieces from Chola and Pallava period. There is a beach and plenty of wine since there is not much restriction on drinking in Pondicherry.

One of the most famous places in Tamilnadu, Trichy formed the base of operations for Chola dynasty. Rockfort along with its temples of Ganapati and Shiva are famous landmarks of Trichy. Trichy saw battles fought between English and French army. It has several picnic spots where you can spend time pleasurably. It also has a temple dedicated to ants dating back to ancient times.
LoggaWiggler Pixabay

Land of temples, Thanjavur as Tanjore was previously called, is rice bowl of Tamilnadu. Tanjore is an important centre for religion, architecture and art. It was also centre for culture and was made capital by Chola kings. Rajaraja
Cholan was the foremost among Chola kings. He built Grand Anicut, Serfoji Mahal Library and Big Temple. ‘Tanjan’ is a reference to asura giant who was killed by Neelamegha Perumal an incarnation of Vishnu according to Hindu mythology. It is famous for being home to Thanjavur painting a unique painting style. It is also renowned for Bharathanatyam, the South India dance form. Tamilnadu has many museums.
i) Saraswathi Mahal Library Museum
ii) Rajaraja Chola Museum
iii) Tamil University Museum
iv) Archaeological Museum
Most famous temples and tourist spots are as follows.
i) Brihadeeswarar Temple – declared UNESCO World Heritage Site built by Raja Raja Chola
ii) Gangaikonda Cholesvarar Temple – built by Rajendra Chola I
iii) Thanjavur Maratha Palace – home to the then rulers of Thanjavur, the Bhonsle family.
Sathaya Thiruvizha is most famous festival in Thanjavur that takes place to commemorate birthday of king Raja Raja Chola.

Most famous for its 1000-pillared Meenakshiamman temple built in 1560 AD, Madurai also offers tourists a look at history at its Gandhi Museum and Thirumalai Nayak’s Palace. If you visit during 12-day Chitrai season time (April), you will be able to witness the night ceremony where Shiva is escorted to goddess Parvathi’s bedchamber. It rose to splendour during the reign of the Nayak Dynasty. Tourists flock here on their family vacation to partake in the festival.

Kerala – Place God made

If you need a good travel destination, you must look at Munnar. Situated among hills, Munnar has extensive tea plantations. This is starting point for trekking to Anaimudi hills for tourists and adventure lovers. Tourists to Tamilnadu have a great time with their family in Munnar. Paragliding is another wonderful pastime that draws thousands. Other top attractions for tourists on their annual vacation are given here.
a) Lock Heart Gap
b) Lakkam Waterfalls
c) Kannan Devan Tea Museum
d) Chinar wildlife sanctuary

Kerala backwaters

For a truly tranquil experience, you should take a boat trip in the backwaters of Kerala. Kerala is particularly charming with its bountiful lush forests and mountain range, the Western Ghats. This is truly for those who love adventure. This trip takes you through endless interconnected channels with splendid views of countryside on both sides. You can even spend your nights on the boat in these Kerala backwaters, having your freshly cooked fish food meal and beer. Such luxury is unimaginable anywhere else in India. You can either take a short trip lasting a couple of hours or you can hire the boat along with a chef and navigator for a couple of days. Kerala is best place to spend your vacation time either alone or with family. And use some travel app to be organized.