Fun things to do in State of Tamil Nadu

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    Trekking In The Nilgiris

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 23, 2011

    Forming the junction of the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, the Nilgiris- the `Blue Mountains’- are amongst India’s oldest mountain ranges. The hills, a part of the Nilgiri District of Tamilnadu, stretch across the borders of the state into the adjoining states of Kerala and Karnataka. Easier to traverse than the mighty Himalayas, the Nilgiris are often cited as being better suited for novice trekkers. The gentle slopes and temperate climate of the region mean that even those with little or no experience won’t end up getting completely fatigued. The beauty of the Nilgiris, however, is such that even veteran hikers will enjoy themselves.

    The three main towns of the Nilgiris- Udhagamandalam (better known as Ootacamund, or, more familiarly, Ooty); Kotagiri and Coonoor- are perfect bases for interesting treks into the Nilgiris. Low, gentle slopes, where dense forests of shola trees alternate with tea estates, orange groves and coffee plantations; a land where tribes like the Todas, the Kurumbhas and the Irulas still live in a way which has changed little over the past centuries.

    Best time to visit
    The Nilgiris, unlike the Himalayas, are a year-round destination. Never do these hills get too hot or too cold for trekking; summer temperatures range between 12 and 25ºC, while winter temperatures never go below 3ºC. Summer, however, is when the area is pretty crowded, so winter- particularly between November and February- is a better time if you would rather give the crowds a miss.

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    Queen of hills - Ooty

    by Justin_goa Written Apr 26, 2009

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    Ooty also known as Udhagamandalam is the "Queen of hill stations" and the capital of Nilgiris district. It is one of the most popular tourist resorts in India. Nilgiris means "Blue Mountains". It is a land of picturesque picnic spots. Used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britishers during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level. An added attraction for the tourists to Udagamandalam is the mountain train journey on a ratchet and pinion track which commences from Kallar, near Mettupalayam and wends its way through many hair-raising curves and fearful tunnels and chugs along beside deep ravines full of verdant vegetation, gurgling streams and tea gardens.

    The 22 Acre Botanical Garden was laid out in 1847 and is presently maintained by the government of Tamil Nadu. The original purpose of the "Botanical Gardens" was purely academic: to promote and study the various flora in and around Nilgiris. Now, it is open to the public as a park that can be enjoyed by visitors. The Botanical Garden is also a heaven for bird watchers where a variety of birds, both seasonal and year-round residents, can be sighted. A flower show along with an exhibition of rare plant species is held every year in the month of May at this garden. The garden also has a 20 million year old fossilized tree.
    Stone House
    This was the first "Pukka" house in Ooty, built by John Sullivan. It is situated inside the premises of the Government Arts College.
    Toda Huts
    There are a few number of Toda Huts up in the hills of Botanical Garden's were Todas still dwell.
    Railway Station
    The railhead of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. The station itself is part of this World Heritage Site. Ooty Railway station offers a unique glimpse of the British raj built railways.
    Ooty Lake & Boat House
    This is an artificial lake built by John Sullivan. It used to be much larger than its present size, and encompassed the present bus stand and race course as well as much of the present market. Next to the lake there is a Mini Garden with an amusement park for children and a toy train.
    The Fernhills Palace
    Fernhill Palace was the erstwhile summer residence of the Maharaja of Mysore[4]. The first Fernhills bungalow was built in 1844. This former palace situated around 1 km from the Ooty bus stand can be visited for an entry fee of Rs 50.

    Doddabetta Peak.
    The highest point in the Nilgiri Hills, offering spectacular views over the town and district. There is road access to the summit. There is a reserved forest area around the peak.

    Mountain Train Old bridge Our car Ooty lake
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    Chennai Crocodile Bank

    by Justin_goa Updated Nov 15, 2008

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    The Chennai Crocodile Bank is located about 44 Km from the Chennai city. This crocodile bank houses several species of Indian and African crocodiles and alligators. Here, the crocodiles are kept in their natural environment in open pools and can be viewed from safe proximity. The Crocodile farm at Chennai was set up to increase the crocodile population of the wildlife sanctuaries in the country.

    The Crocodile Bank is spread over an area of about 3.2 hectares. The bank offers a green bed of tropical vegetation, which provides sufficient shade to the crocodiles inside the bank. The crocodile Bank has about seven crocodilian species including three Indian types. The Indian species include the 3.6-meter long Marsh/Mugger variety (which is the most widely distributed species), the four to five meter long Gharials (the crocodile with the longest jaw) and the saltwater crocodiles, the largest of reptiles.

    The Chennai/Madras Crocodile Bank was started to protect the dwindling crocodile population. This bank has already produced more than 6,000 crocodiles till now. One more attraction is the snake farm where anti venom is produced. The snake venom extractions are a great pull to the visitors to the bank.

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    Sivaganga Palace near Madurai

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 15, 2008

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    The Sivaganga palace, also called "Gowri Vilasam", is situated in the Sivaganga district about 40 km from Madurai. It was once the seat of Marava kings. At present the palace is in dilapidated condition but the architectural beauty can still be appreciated. The architectural style of the palace reflects elements borrowed from the Thirumalai Nayak's period and infused with Rajputana arts.

    Inside the Palace
    The Temple of Sri Raja Rajeshwari
    The only portion intact at the Gowri Vilasam is the temple of Sri Raja Rajeshwari. It is the family deity of the royal family. Sri Raja Rajeshwari temple is open for the public only in the evenings and on auspicious days. On the Southern part of the temple there is a huge hall supported with numerous pillars. It is believed that the entire royal household functions used to take place there. There is a palanquin in the front facade of the palace that lies in a decrepit condition.

    Nadai Kinaru
    Nadai Kinaru is another important and interesting feature in the Sivaganga palace. It is actually a miniature swimming pool. It is believed that the tank had direct connections so that fresh water could be provided and also fill two huge tanks beside the Nadai Kinaru. It was apparently meant for the womenfolk of the royal family.

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    THE SENATE HOUSE -Chennai

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 15, 2008

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    One of Chennai's most impressive architectural marvels, Senate House, at the Madras University campus on the Marina, was constructed under the supervision of Robert Fellowes Chisholm, one of the greatest architects of the 19th century.

    This building, whose foundation stone was laid in 1869, was occupied in 1873. The entire structure is a harmonious blend of Indo-Saracenic style, with Byzantine architectural features.

    The Senate House has a central hall on the ground floor, 130 feet long, 58 feet broad and 54 feet high, with the corridors supported by six massive stone pillars on either side. The stone arches between the pillars, with the four towers rising high at the corners of the building, surmounted by exquisitely shaped domes (painted in different colours) gives the building a grandeur that is difficult to match.

    The main entrance at the north, leads to the convocation hall, while a corresponding entrance, in the South, leads to the rooms on the southern wing. Besides these, there are two entrances on the eastern wing of the convocation hall and two corresponding entrances on the west. Elegantly constructed porticos adorn the frontage of all these entrances. A parapet surrounds each of these porticos, at the corner of which appears a decorated dome of a miniature size.

    Initially, the Senate House housed some of the University departments and the offices of the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar. In some of the smaller halls the meetings of the Senate, Academic Council and the Faculties were held. But after the construction of the new departmental library building and later on the centenary building, the use of Senate House was limited to the holding of the convocation and examinations, besides being used as classrooms for teaching foreign languages. However, since 1965, convocations have been held only at the massive centenary auditorium, built in 1960.

    The ravages of time and the extremes in climatic conditions have left the Senate House dilapidated; with cracks on the walls and ceilings, broken drainage pipes, damaged flooring and broken windowpanes. Sporadic attempts to renovate were made by way of red oxide painting of the original red brick stones, cementing against original lime mortar plastering and plain glass replacements for stained glass windows.

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    Valluvar Kottam -Chennai City

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 15, 2008

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    The memorial to the poet-saint Tiruvalluvar is shaped like a temple chariot and is, in fact, the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. A life-size statue of the saint has been installed in the chariot which is 33m. tall.

    The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot. The auditorium at Valluvar Kottam is said to be the largest in Asia and can accommodate about 4000 people. It stands as a modern memorial to the great poet who represents the glorious culture of the Tamils.

    Thirukkural, are inscribed on the granite pillars that surround the auditorium and it has got no pillars for support. There is a 101-feet high temple chariot structure with a life-size image of the poet in it. This chariot is a replica of the temple car of Thiruvarur in Tamil Nadu. The base of the chariot shows in bas-relief the 133 chapters of the Thirukkural. Over 3,000 blocks of stone were used to create this memorial to Tamil culture

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    Madras War Cemetery Chennai

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 15, 2008

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    The War Cemetery in Chennai is a tribute to the soldiers of the Second World War. The Stone of Remembrance in the Cemetery welcomes its visitors with a beautiful line etched on it, “Their Name Liveth For Evermore”. The line has been taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus. Besides, it was designed by Edward Lutyens, the person who designed Delhi.

    The War Cemetery in Chennai honors 855 people of the Commonwealth Services and one Polish Airman who died at the line of duty while serving in various units during the Second World War. This is a War Memorial that is visited by a good number of tourists all around the year.

    The Madras War Cemetery in Chennai also has three non wear graves apart from the others. There is also a ‘Cross of Sacrifice’ in the Cemetery which salutes the sacrifice of these brave martyrs who died in the battlefield.

    Walking amidst the rows of gravestones one is often filled with a deep sense of patriotism at the sight of thousands of martyrs at their resting places.

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    The Lourde of the east

    by 6aruna Updated Oct 6, 2008

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    A church dedicated to our lady of health situated on the shore of bay of Bengal. Built by the Portuguese in 16th century the rituals in this church are a mixture of Hindu and christian traditions.
    There is a small museum which displays objects donated by the devotees .These are mainly replicas of human organs made in some precious metal . Again this is another custom usually seen in Hindu temples

    velankanni church

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    Gopuram Temple in Chennai (Madras)

    by Pinoy_Traveller Written May 20, 2008

    One of the famous temples in Chennai is the Kapaleeswarar Temple at Mylapore. It is between 300 and 400 years old, although it is said to hold fragments of inscriptions dating back to 1250 AD, which may be traces of the earlier shore temple that once dominated the town.

    It is this ancient temple that the newer Kapaleeswarar Temple replaced, with Lord Shiva (or Kapaleeswarar) and Goddess Karpagambal as its deities. It is a typical representation of the pure Dravidian style: side entrances, gopurams (entrance towers), courts and a tank built around the central shrine.

    The main shrine faces west and is approached through the western gopuram behind the huge tank. This western gopuram is older and smaller than the impressive 120-foot eastern gopuram, which was built in 1906. At the eastern entrance there is a majestic chariot, drawn by devotees during the annual "car festival".

    Today, the rectangular site of the temple complex is filled with stalls - temple jewellers, silk merchants and flower sellers included, making it a fascinating place to while away a few hours.

    Note: but you need to remove your shoes to enter the temple so you may want to bring a pair of disposable socks so you would not worry much about it later.

    Also prepare about Rs 50 for entrance fee.

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    Fort St George, Chennai

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 10, 2007

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    Fort St George is the name of the first British fortress in India, founded in 1639 at the coastal city of Madras (modern city of Chennai.) The construction of the fort provided the impetus for further settlements and trading activity, in what was originally a no man's sand. Thus, it is a feasible contention to say that the city evolved around the fortress.

    The Company, which had entered India around 1600 for trading activities, had begun licensed trading at Surat, which was its initial bastion. However, to secure its trade lines and commercial interests in the spice trade, it felt the necessity of a port closer to the Malaccan Straits. It succeeded in purchasing a piece of coastal land, originally called Madraspattinam (Channapatnam - by a few accounts.), from a local chieftain, where it began construction of a harbour and a fort. The fort was completed on April 23rd, coinciding with St. George's Day, celebrated in honour of St. George, the patron saint of England. The fort, hence christened Fort St. George faced the sea and a few fishing villages, and soon became the hub of merchant activity. It gave birth to a new settlement area called George Town, which grew to envelop the villages and led to the formation of the city of Madras. It also helped establish British influence over the Carnatic region, and keep the kings of Arcot and Srirangapatna, as well as the French forces based at Pondicherry, at bay.

    The fort is a stronghold with 6 meter high walls that withstood a number of assaults in the 18th century. It briefly passed into the possession of the French from 1746 to 1749, but was restored to the British under the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which ended the War of Austrian Succession.

    Today, the Fort serves as the administrative headquarters for the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu state, and still houses a garrison for troops in transit to various locations at South India and the Andamans. The Fort Museum contains many relics of the Raj, including portraits of many of the Governors.

    Tallest flag post in India is here
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    Chennai [Madras] thge capital city

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 10, 2007

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    Chennai formerly known as Madras , is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and is on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. With an estimated population of 7.5 million (2007), it is the fourth largest metropolitan city in India and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world.

    The city was established in the seventeenth century by the British, who developed it into a major urban center and naval base. By the twentieth century, it had become an important administrative center, as the capital of the Madras Presidency.

    The name Chennai is an eponym, etymologically derived from Chennapatnam, the name of the town that grew up around Fort St George, built by the British in 1640.

    The former name, Madras, is derived from Madraspatnam, a fishing village that lay to the north of Fort St. George. The origin of the name Madraspatnam is a subject of disagreement. One theory holds that the Portuguese, who arrived in the area in the sixteenth century, may have named the village Madre de Deus. However, historian S. Muthiah believes that the village's name came from the once prominent Madeiros family (variously known as Madera or Madra in succeeding years), who had consecrated the Madre de Deus church in Santhome in 1575 (demolished in 1997). Another theory says that the village was named after a Mohammadan college (a madrasa) which was located in the area. After the British gained possession of the area in the seventeenth century, the two towns, Madraspatnam and Chennapatnam, eventually merged. The British referred to the united town as Madraspatnam, while the locals preferred to call it Chennapatnam.

    The city was officially renamed Chennai in 1996, about the same time that many Indian cities were undergoing name changes. Madras was seen as a Portuguese name.

    Ripon Building 18th century painting of Fort of St. George Anna University building Busy market
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    Gingee Fort

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 9, 2007

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    Gingee Fort also known as Chinji or Jinji in Tamil Nadu, India is one of the few surving forts in Tamil Nadu — which is much more popular for its temples than forts. It lies in Villupuram district, 160 km (100 mi) from the state capital, Chennai, and is close to the union territory of Pondicherry. So well fortified was this place that Shivaji ranked it as the "most impregnable fortress in India" and it was called the "Troy of the East" by the British.

    The fort consists of three hills, connected by walls enclosing an area of 7 km². It was built at a breathtaking height of 800 feet (240 m), and protected by an 80-foot (24 m) wide moat. It had an eight-storeyed Kalyana Mahal (marriage hall), granaries, prison cells, a military gymnasium and a temple dedicated to its presiding female Hindu deity called Chenjiamman. The fortifications contain a sacred pond known as aanaikulam.The walls of the fort are a mixture of the naturally hilly terrain comprising the Krishnagiri, Chakkilidrug and Rajagiri hills, while the gaps were sealed with the main wall that measures 20 metres in thickness. It was thus an impressive sight where the defender could seal himself indefinitely.

    View of the fortress
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    Gangaikonda Cholapuram

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 9, 2007

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    Gangaikonda Cholapuram was erected as the capital of the Cholas by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, the great Chola who conquered a large area in South India at the beginning of the 11th century C.E. It occupies an important place in the history of India. As the capital of the Cholas from about 1025 C.E. for about 250 years, the city controlled the affairs of entire south India, from the Tungabhadra in the north to Ceylon in the south. The great temple of Siva at this place is next only to the Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur in its monumental nature and surpasses it in sculptural quality.
    The city seems to have had two fortifications, one inner and the other outer. The outer was probably wider. The remains of the outer fortification can be seen as a mound running all around the palace.

    The outer fortification built of burnt bricks, was about six to eight feet wide. It consisted of two walls, the intervening space (the core) being filled with sand. The bricks are fairly large in size and are made of well-burnt clay. Systematic brick robbing by the local inhabitants has reduced this structure to its current state.

    The outer fortification was known as Rajendra Chola Madil and is mentioned in inscriptions. The inner fortification was around the royal palace, probably identical with the Utpadi vittu madil of the inscriptions.

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    Madurai Meenakshi Temple

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 9, 2007

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    The Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple, which stands today as one of India's cultural and architectural landmarks, was originally built by the early Pandya King Kulasekara. The ancient city of Madurai was supposed to be laid out in a lotus-like formation with the temple at the center and streets and main thoroughfares layered one after the other in a concentric fashion. Legend has it that on the day the city was to be named, Lord Shiva blessed the land and its people while divine nectar showered on the city from his matted locks. The city hence came to be known as "Madhurapuri" meaning "The City of Divine Nectar". It is most likely a late legend attempting to Sanskritise the otherwise Dravidian derivative of 'Madurai'. Perplexingly there remains another ancient city in the North by the name of Madura of Krishna fame.
    The city has often been referred to as "Athens of the East" perhaps due to its monumental temples. Much of the monumentalism can be attributed to the medieval Vijayanagara-Nayaka Kings who embellished the original structures with numerous prakaras (circumambulatory pathways) and mandapas (halls). The thousand-pillared hall was one such innovation of the period. The thousand-pillared hall of the Meenakshi Sundareswara temple is particularly famous for its beautiful sculptural depictions of Rati, Kama, Nritya Ganapati and Bhairava amongst countless others. The Thirukalyanam or Divine Wedding of Meenakshi and her spouse Sundareswara is rendered in poignant manner by the Nayaka artists. The temple is a treasure-trove of statuary of varying quality, the new stucco being somewhat clumsier and gaudy in the face of the austere and imposing granitic works of the Vijayanagar-Nayaka period.

    Temple Complex
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    Chitharal Jain Monuments

    by Justin_goa Written Nov 9, 2007

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    The Chitharal Jain Monuments are located in a small village situated at a distance of 7 km from Marthandam and 55 km from Kanyakumari. Chitharal is historically known as Thirucharanathupalli – the abode of Jain monks belonging to Digambara sect.It is famous for the hillock which has a cave containing rock-cut sculptures of Thirthankaras and attendant deities carved inside and outside dating back to the 9th century A.D. Jain influence in this region was due to the Jain King Mahendra Verman-I (610-640 AD).

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