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Top 12 Destinations to Visit in Tamil Nadu, South India

Savour a memorable holiday filled with unforgettable experiences as travellers look forward to visiting Tamil Nadu’s most stunning destinations. These locations offer an excellent combination to assist tourists in creating an amazing trip schedule, with their abundance of tranquil beaches, stunning temples renowned for their Dravidian architecture, busy bazaars for shopping, and exciting wildlife locations.

Planning a visit to some of Tamil Nadu’s most breathtaking sights? If so, then prepare to have a blast. These locations will astound you with its breathtaking scenery and the green tea estates. Whether you are travelling for adventure, leisure, or backpacking, there is an amazing experience waiting for everyone. One can get a taste of all types of sightseeing and experiences thanks to Tamil Nadu’s abundance of tourist attractions. Let’s take a virtual trip through this blog to see the top 12 destinations that attract tourists of all kinds to Tamil Nadu.

Here is a List of Top 12 best tourist places to visit in Tamil Nadu:

  • Chennai
  • Mahabalipuram
  • Kanchipuram
  • Rameswaram
  • Thanjavur
  • Yelagiri
  • Kanyakumari
  • Ooty
  • Kodaikanal
  • Coonoor
  • Madurai
  • Tiruvannamalai

Some Popular Tour Packages for Exploring the Sights of Tamil Nadu Tourism


Chennai - Marina Beach Chennai Tamil Nadu

Chennai, the state capital, is one of the top tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu for getting a genuine taste of South India and its way of life. It is also home to many stunning temples, cathedrals, and beaches. This location is unique, offering a plethora of attractions in Chennai, including Marina Beach, museums, the Kapaleeshwar temple, and much more.

With a population of more than 8 million, Chennai is known as the “Cultural Capital of India” and is the fourth biggest city in the nation. The current town, once known as Madras, was established in 1639 by Sir Francis Day, an immigrant who came with the East India Company. The little fishing town of Chennai became the site of a fort and trade post built by the British East India Company. It has become a significant industrial and educational hub in the modern era. Chennai, which has the Bay of Bengal to its west, was a significant British commerce hub for many years. If you have any interest in culture, history, or the arts, you should certainly think about going here!

Tourist Attractions

  • Marina Beach
  • Government Museum
  • Fort St. George
  • Edward Elliot’s Beach
  • Ashtalakshmi Temple
  • Mylapore
  • Valluvar Kottam

Best Time to Visit: November to February

Also Read: Must Visit Temples in Chennai


Ganesh Ratha Mahabalipuram

A little town called Mahabalipuram is located in Tamil Nadu’s southeast, nestled between the Great Salt Lake and the Bay of Bengal. It is a well-known city that embodies our rich Indian history and culture. It is primarily a seaport and is located 58 km from Chennai, the nation’s capital.

The Pallava monarchs of Kanchipuram had their second capital at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an old, historic town that was a thriving harbour in the seventh century AD when the Pallava kings ruled over it. It is named after the demon king Mahabali, who was known for his kindness, so says the story. Some claim that Mamallapuram got its name after the legendary wrestler Narasimha Varman I, a Pallava king known by the name Mamallan.

Mahabalipuram is renowned for its monuments and temples, particularly the well-known Shore Temple. It was established in the eighth century and is made up of three temples housed in a single compound. The city offers visitors stunning beaches with fine sand and an unusual shopping experience. This city offers a unique visiting experience, from the architecture to the tranquillity, the calming mood, and the stunning backdrop.

Some of the top things to do here is explore the Crocodile Bank for a chance to see some gorgeous varieties of alligators and crocodiles. The Five Rathas is a very apprised and peaceful place to be. A must-see in Mahabalipuram are the fishing towns of Covelong (Kovalam) and Sadras, which have been transformed into luxurious beach resorts.

Tourist Attractions

  • Shore Temple
  • Descent of the Ganges
  • Pancha Rathas
  • Varaha Cave Temple
  • Thirukadalmallai

Best Time to Visit: November to February

Also Read: Top Things to Do in Mahabalipuram


Kailasanathar Temple Kanchipuram Tamil Nadu

Kanchipuram is known for its sarees and is often called the “Golden City of Thousand Temples”. The location is well known for its exquisite Kanchipuram sarees, which are crafted using only the finest mulberry silk thread. Kanchipuram is a popular pilgrimage site in India because many people who are interested in Hinduism or who just want to see the wonder of South Indian architectural grandeur go to the city from all over the world. Renowned for serving as the centre of philosophy and culture, Kanchi is a must-visit place in Tamil Nadu to gain inner strength and tranquillity.

The majority of the known temples were constructed in the city, which was the capital of the Pallava Dynasty. Kanchi served as the capital of the Pallavas, who reigned over an area that stretched from the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh to the Kaveri River in the south, from the third to the ninth century CE. It also serves as a significant hub for Tamil education and showcases the rich Dravidian legacy.

Kanchipuram has a lot of sites to see that leave an enduring imprint on the senses. Kanchipuram’s rejuvenating atmosphere and clean air bring you closer to nature, with its gorgeous gardens, sparkling lakes, and bird sanctuary.

Tourist Attractions

  • Ekambareswarar Temple
  • Kailasanathar Temple
  • Kamakshi Amman Temple,
  • Tiru Parameswara Vinnagaram
  • Thiru Ekambaranathar Temple
  • Kanchi Mutt

Best Time to Visit: October to March

Also Read: Must Visit Temples in South India


Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Temple

One of the most sacred locations in India is Rameswaram, which is situated on an island. Rameswaram, which lies across the Pamban Channel from Sri Lanka, is believed to be the location where Lord Rama built the bridge that connects the two countries. Based on mythology, Lord Rama constructed a bridge over the sea from Rameswaram to save his beloved Sita from Ravana. Rama worshipped Lord Shiva here as well to atone for his guilt of murdering Ravana.

In the Gulf of Mannar, at the extreme point of the Indian peninsula, is the island that is home to Rameshwaram: Pamban Island. The Pamban Bridge, also known as the Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge, connects Pamban Island, which is divided from the Indian mainland by the Pamban Channel.

It is a pilgrimage centre renowned as the Varanasi of the South, visited by both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. The location is well known for its spectacular prakaras, which have enormous sculptured pillars on either side. The world’s longest hallway is found in the Ramanathaswamy Temple, which is situated on the other side.

Tourist Attractions

  • Arulmigu Ramanathaswamy Temple
  • Villoondi Tirtham
  • Lakshmana Tirtham
  • Panchamukhi Hanuman Temple
  • Agniteertham
  • Dhanushkodi Temple

Best Time to Visit: October to April

Also Read: Top Places to Visit in Rameshwaram



Thanjavur, often known as Tanjore or the City of Temples, is a vibrantly cultural place. The area is famous for its saris, handicrafts, textiles, antiques, and Tanjore paintings. Named after the demon “Tanjan-an-asura,” Thanjavur dates back to the Chola Empire’s rule in the tenth century and is well-known for having the greatest rice fields in southern India.

Not only that, but travellers also find Thanjavur’s Carnatic music and musical instruments to be quite appealing. Both Tamil Nadu locals and tourists together are given new life every day by the vibrant cultures of the past and present. The neighbourhood and its surroundings are home to several houses of worship.

Seeing a live Bharatanatyam performance is one of the best things to experience in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The performances are especially great at the serene Brihadeshwara Temple. Thanjavur is well-known across the globe for its dance traditions. Here, one can continuously see how the great and vibrant cultures of the past and present breathe life into and coexist with the ordinary, giving the region a distinct and splendid character.

Tourist Attractions

  • Brihadeshwara Temple
  • Siva Ganga Garden
  • Saraswathi Mahal Library
  • Sangeetha Mahal
  • Thanjavur Maratha Palace
  • Schwartz Church

Best Time to Visit: October to March

Also Read: Famous Hindu Temples in Tamil Nadu


Yelagiri Lake Tamil Nadu

Yelagiri is a popular hiking location that sits at 4,626 feet above sea level. Situated in the Vellore district, this stunning hill station is surrounded by verdant valleys and covered with rose gardens and orchards. The area, which consists of 14 villages spread across four hills, is a lovely spot to spend time with a loved one. Enjoy expansive, magnificent views of the hills and the surrounding areas. There are some excellent hiking opportunities here, including the Javadi and Palamathi hills and the walk to Swami Malai Hill through lush woods.

About 400 years ago, people first settled in Yelagiri. It is believed that soldiers from the army of Tipu Sultan turned farmers after settling there. Once owned by the Yelagiri Zamindar family, the hill station gained fame during British colonial control when the British utilised it as a summer retreat. Since then, it has emerged as one of South India’s best-kept secrets, featuring rocky hills and breathtaking scenery that make it the ideal getaway from the hectic pace of city life.

The man-made Punganur Lake in the area is one of the top visiting and breathtaking places in Tamil Nadu, drawing a large number of tourists and visitors each year. It is another among the several locations to explore in Yelagiri during your vacation.

Tourist Attractions

  • Swamimalai Hills
  • Yelagiri Lake
  • Yelagiri Nature Park
  • Murugan Temple
  • Stellar Cave
  • Jalagamparai Falls

Best Time to Visit: May to June and November to February

Also Read: Popular Hill Stations to Explore in Southern India


Vivekananda Rock Memorial Tamil Nadu

Kanyakumari, also referred to as the southernmost point of India, is renowned for its stunning beaches, the Vivekananda Memorial, and picture-perfect sunsets. It is undoubtedly among the most fascinating destinations in India. There are locations here that never cease to astound; there are cathedrals, temples, sculptures and religious structures everywhere.

The Hindu deity Kanyakumari, often referred to as Kumari Amman, is the source of the city’s name. It has been found that Swami Vivekananda spent some time living and practising meditation here. It is located where the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Bay of Bengal converge. This location gives breathtaking views of the sunset and sunrise. It is the only location in India where, on full moon days, one may witness the amazing spectacle of Sunset and Moonrise simultaneously.

History lovers could go on an excursion to these top tourist places in Tamil Nadu which include Vattakottai Fort or the Kumari Amman Temple as these places exhibit an ideal blend of the local cultures in their artwork and architecture of the area. It’s truly unique to spend time on beaches like Sanguthurai Beach and Sothavilai Beach, among many more. The city’s must-see attraction is the wax museum, a unique yet enticing location for tourists.

Tourist Attractions

  • Vivekananda Rock Memorial
  • Kanyakumari Beach
  • Sarvani Shaktipeeth Shri Bhagavathy Temple
  • Mahatma Gandhi Mandapam
  • Our Lady of Ransom Church

Best Time to Visit: October to March

Also Read: Best Destinations for Spiritual Tour in South India


Ooty Hill Station

Ooty, an iconic hill station in India, is located in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris area. Situated 2,240 metres above sea level, Ooty is a popular destination for honeymooners as well. Ooty, adorned with picturesque tea states, verdant rolling slopes, and expansive grasslands, requires no introduction to establish its status as one of the top tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.

The magnificent “Queen of the Hills” in the south is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which is renowned for its exquisite and delicate ecology. It is most commonly referred to as a “hotspot” in the ecological community, a term that serves as justification for the Western Ghats region’s UNESCO World Heritage status. Ooty, which was formerly the British Madras Presidency’s summer capital, is appropriately referred to as “India’s Switzerland.”

After independence, Ooty became a popular tourist destination, which makes sense considering its qualifications for it. This is because of all that it has to offer from nature, including its favourable climate, breathtaking scenery, unique local sights and sounds, abundance of wildlife, and, of course, its own tea and coffee.

Tourist Attractions

  • Government Rose Garden
  • The Tea Factory & The Tea Museum
  • Stephen’s Church
  • Tiger Hill
  • Ooty Lake
  • Botanical Garden

Best Time to Visit: October to May

Also Read: Top Destinations to Explore in Ooty


Kodaikanal Tourism

The most popular honeymoon location in South India is Kodaikanal because of its breathtaking scenery, which makes for really unforgettable experiences for its guests. Kodaikanal is endowed with a thick forest full of different kinds of plants, huge rocks in the middle, and picturesque waterfalls. Trekking, boating, and horseback riding are just a few of the best things to do at Kodaikanal which is also considered as one of the best places to visit in Tamil Nadu for a getaway to experience the breathtaking mountains there.

This place is commonly referred to as the ‘Princess of Hill stations’. It is located on the southernmost point of the upper Palani hills at an elevation of around 7000 feet (2133 metres). The Palaiyar tribal people were Kodaikanal’s first inhabitants. American Christian missionaries and British officials founded the present-day Kodaikanal in 1845 as an escape from the lowlands’ oppressive heat and tropical illnesses. A few rich Indians began moving to this charming hill station in the 20th century, and nature enthusiasts soon began to explore it.

Tourist Attractions

  • Coaker’s Walk
  • Kodaikanal Lake
  • Silver Cascade Falls
  • Bryant Park
  • Kurinji Andavar Temple
  • Bear Shola Falls

Best Time to Visit: October to June

Also Read: Most Visited Places in Kodaikanal


Coonoor, Tamil Nadu

Coonoor is a municipality and a Taluk in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, India, near the state’s western border. Coonoor is fast becoming one of the most popular hill retreats in Tamil Nadu. Only 19 kilometres from Ooty, it is the second-largest hill station in the Nilgiri Hills among the three beautiful hill stations, perched at an elevation of 1930 metres. It offers a wide-angle view of the Catherine Falls and the Nilgiri Hills. Rich vegetation, well-maintained hills, Colonial culture, and breathtaking scenery make this place a fantasy vacation spot.

Around Coonoor, there are several trekking and hiking paths. Visitors can enjoy a thrilling and unique journey on the toy train that links Coonoor with Mettupalayam and Ooty. In addition, Coonoor offers a few guesthouses and heritage homes that overlook the hills and are ideal for a getaway or staycation. This location is ideal for a summer getaway as it provides some of the best tourist spots for its visitors, including hills covered in tea plantations, scattered with various attractions, and blessed with cool temperatures all year round.

Tourist Attractions

  • Sim’s Park
  • High Field Tea Estate
  • Droog Fort
  • Tiger Hill Cemetery
  • Lamb’s Rock
  • Wellington Lake

Best Time to Visit: October to March

Also Read: Top Hill Stations in Tamil Nadu


Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Madurai, known for its Meenakshi Temple, is one of India’s oldest towns. The city is claimed to be built in the shape of a lotus and is known as Lotus City. Madurai is mostly a destination for individuals who appreciate architecture or have a strong interest in Hinduism. Madurai is situated on the banks of the River Vaigai. The city appears to have a purifying influence, and when one enters it, an unexpected feeling of serenity begins to settle in them.

According to mythology, the forest area known as Kadambavanam was cleared for the construction of Madurai. Drops of nectar from Lord Shiva’s hair dropped on the ground when he emerged on the day the city was named. Thus, Madurai, the name of the city, comes from the Tamil word “mathuram,” which means “sweetness.”

The capital of the Pandyan Empire was Madurai. The famous Pandya rulers of South India ruled from this capital city, which was constructed by Kulasekhara, a Pandyan king. Later, the Cholas, Pandyas, Madurai Sultanate, Vijayanagara, Madurai Nayaks, and ultimately the British dominated it. Madurai city and the Meenakshi Amman Temple owe significance to the Pandyas and Nayaks.

Apart from Meenakshi Temple, some of the other popular destinations in Tamil Nadu include Thiruparankundram, which is one of the ancient temples devoted to Lord Muruga (Karthikeya) and another attraction in Madurai is the Gandhi Museum.

Tourist Attractions

  • Meenakshi Amman Temple
  • Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal
  • Koodal Azhagar Temple
  • Vaigai Dam
  • Thiruparankundram Temple

Best Time to Visit: December to February


Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple Tamil Nadu

Tiruvannamalai also spelt as Tiruvannamalai is a mediaeval town whose magnificent architecture is inspired by Hindu mythology. Tiruvannamalai, a holy town perched atop the Malai hill, is renowned for its Arunachala temple in addition to several other temples and ashrams.

One of the main centres of the Saiva faith is Temple Town, Tiruvannamalai. Tamil people have worshipped the Arunachala Peak and its surroundings for ages. The temple is rich in customs, history, and festivals and has a magnificent concept and structure. The most important Deepam festival draws followers from throughout South India. The Cholan of Sambuvarayar governed this area during the late Chola era.

In addition to Tiruvannamalai, it boasts ancient sites such as Arni, Vandavasi, and Devikapuram that are linked to French businesses and East India. Some of the best tourist places in Tamil Nadu you must explore include Sri Ramana Ashram, Sathanur Dam, and Sri Seshadri Swamigal Ashram. The Arunachaleswarar temple festival, which is a must-see event in Tamil Nadu, brings the city to life.

Tourist Attractions

  • Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple
  • Virupaksha Cave,
  • Agni Lingam,
  • Sri Ramanasramam

Best Time to Visit: October to March and June to September

Also Check Out: Popular Tamil Nadu Tourism Packages

Discovering the best travel destinations in Tamil Nadu is like walking through a tapestry of spirituality, history, and breathtaking scenery. From the serene surroundings of Ooty and Kodaikanal to the vibrant metropolitan attractiveness of Chennai, every location reveals a different facet of Tamil Nadu’s rich cultural past.

The historic temples of Madurai and Rameswaram are resonant with age-old customs, while Yelagiri’s colonial ambience lends a hint of French charm. Whether admiring the imposing Mahabalipuram architecture or taking in the captivating dawn in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu fascinates tourists with an abundance of experiences. The cities skillfully combine heritage and technology, while the hill stations provide a cool retreat.

Tamil Nadu invites visitors to immerse themselves in a vibrant and unique trip by revealing itself as a region where spirituality, history, and natural beauty combine in every corner.

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Published: 29 Nov, 2023

About the author

Moumita Kundu

Moumita Kundu is a dedicated writer and researcher covering topics related to travel, eco-friendly behavior, and sustainable living. She has turned her travel dreams into reality by penning travel blogs. Moumita writes with a creative flair, allowing her to share her insights and experiences. Beyond her talent as a writer, she harbors a genuine love for animals and those around her.