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Tamilnadu

It goes without saying, Tamil Nadu, India invites you to surrender, to let go of your ego and to be mesmerised by the beauty and variety of its culture. Modern comfort and ancient tradition: Unity in diversity.  Allow Tamil Nadu to introduce you to a variety of yoga retreats, traditional ashrams and picturesque yoga shalas. Mix yoga and Ayurvedic treatments for the ultimate holistic experience in India. Meditate, chant, breath and cleanse. Begin again, rebirth with a yoga retreat in magical Tamil Nadu, India.

While discussing the weather might traditionally make for mundane small talk, it is an important factor when planning your trip to Tamil Nadu. Scroll down to find out information regarding India’s currency, dominant languages, and national holidays. We also have you covered on the best times to visit, visa requirements and, of course, the weather.

Important dates in India

  • January 26 – Republic Day when the Constitution of India was adopted
  • Diwali – the Festival of Light occurs in either October or November, on the 15th day of Kartika (the Hindu and Jain holy festival) and is determined by the position of the Moon. It celebrates the triumph of light over darkness.
  • October 2 – Mahatma Ghandi’s Birthday
  • August 15 – Independence Day from the British Empire
  • Holi – the Festival of Color is a Hindu festival that marks the arrival of Spring and good triumphing over evil. People gather in the streets and traditionally celebrate by throwing colored powder all over each other and the streets. The exact date changes each year.

India

Asia

Hindi and English

Indian Rupee

Interesting Facts About Tamil Nadu

State: Tamil Nadu

Country: India

Continent: Asia

Currency: Indian Rupees

Population: Over 72,138,960

Languages: Tamil is the official language, English is also widely spoken Religions: Around 88% Hindu, 5% Christian

Weather: The best time to visit is in the winter, from December through February, when temperatures reach 12°-24°C / 53°-75° F. From March through June, Tamil Nadu has its summertime, with temperatures averaging between 18°-34°C, / 64°- 93°F though cool winds do grace the hot days. July through September is monsoon season, with over 900 mm of water falling each year.

Located at the southernmost tip of India, Tamil Nadu is a state that is over three times the size of popular Kerala and a continuance of one of the world’s longest-standing civilizations. It is still relatively under the radar, offering its vast stretches of beaches, tea plantations, dense forests and rocky mountains rather un-crowded for your exploring.

Interesting facts: Tamil is the world’s oldest living language. India’s banking industry began by Tamilians, who pioneered the credit and debit system. Tamil Nadu is India’s 11th largest state and 7th most populated. Nearly 1,100 years ago, Tamil Nuda had a written Constitution and elections.

Good to know

Unless you are from Bhutan or Nepal, you will need a visa to enter India. Home countries offer multiple-entry tourist visas for anywhere from a month to ten years, but all visitors are only allowed to stay for six months at a time.

India allows visa handling to be done by private entities in each country. There are also separate permits required to enter some protected areas, called the Protected Area Permits. It is advisable to have a plan for the places you would most like to visit and check with the list of Protected Areas to see if you will require a Protected Area Permit in advance. At the least, it will take two weeks for your visa to process so plan with ample time in advance.

For complete information of visas check out here.

Culture and Etiquette in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has the highest saturation of Hindu temples in all of India. It is common for residents to draw kolams – geometric symbolic patterns – outside of their homes to welcome the good spirits.

It is tradition for women to wear a sari and men to wear a dhoti. Keeping the local culture in mind, visitors to the area should pick clothes that cover their shoulders and their knees as well as avoid tight clothing.

Locals will be pleased to see the foreigners paying respect to local traditions. As Tamil Nadu has so many temples, make sure to cover arms and legs completely and remove shoes when exploring them.

Check to see if photography is allowed before snapping a photo in the temples. Also be sure to ask before photographing someone or a religious ceremony.

When meeting someone for the first time, get in the habit of switching out your handshake for a Namaste bow. Bring your palms together at your chest center and nod down, saying Namaste. Men and women do not touch when they meet or greet eachother.

As always, be sure to keep any medications you may need with you, including mosquito repellent as there are many mosquito-carried illnesses in India.

It is best to avoid eating street food as your stomach’s bacteria is not primed to handle the microbes in India’s water and agriculture. Always carry your own bottled water.

Avoid pointing with one or two fingers and instead use the whole hand or chin to reference something. Use the right hand to exchange money.

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To really get to know India you have to become a part of it. Visit iconic points, meet the people, walk the streets, get a little lost, and let yourself experience the childlike wonder that comes with being somewhere new and unfamiliar. With so many fun things to do in India, take advantage of your time between yoga classes and participate in one of the many interesting activities found throughout the city.

We have researched and reviewed the best places to visit and the top things to do in India. Whether you are a fan of the hustle and bustle of city life or prefer a calm park or garden, we have you covered. Read on for a guide of cool things to do in India.

Chennai

The capital of Tamil Nadu, is known as the Gateway to India’s south. It offers museums, temples, Portugese architecture and more. It is well-known for Tamil music and dance as well as its colonial Fort St. George from 1644. For more information about Chennai, click here.

Kanchipuram

Also known as Kanchi is famous for its silk saris and over 100 temples. It is also one of the seven pilgrimage sites.

Madurai City & the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

The city is over 2500 years old and the temple is the central force. Within the temple there are hundreds of pillars and thousands of colorful and intricate Hindu carvings. For each month of the calendar year there is a festival in the temple. Every April the Meenakshi Thirukalyanam festival is celebrated. This is the most famous and important festival associated with the temple. For more information please visit their website.

Cluny Embroidery Centre

Visitors are welcome to this colonial garden building to admire the work of women who knit and embroider intricate and delicate home goods here. A local convent, The Cluny Sisters, run the facility and are known for their warmth and hospitality. This is a wonderful place to support local artists by purchasing handmade goods.

Brihadeeswarar Temple

Situated in Thanjavur, this over 1000-year-old temple is a part of one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ‘The Great Living Chola Temples”. The temple’s tower is one of the tallest in the world, standing at 198’ or 60m high. This temple is carved out of one single rock, was built by Raja Raja Chola and dedicated to Shiva. Check out the UNESCO site here.

Chettinad

If modern history and colonial architecture are your thing, you might consider heading over to Chettinad, where a multitude of mansions (we’re talking 15,000) stand, most decaying, in ode to the early 1900’s. When the 60-room estates popped up all over the small town, the Chettiars were, at that time, considered to be a powerful banking community.

See a Bharata Natyam dance

This classical Hindu dance began in Tamil Nadu and is the national dance of India. The dancers wear vibrant costumes that are similar to the Tamil Nadu’s bridal outfits.

Main Bazaar, Ooty

For a small-town shopping experience offering everything under the sun, stop by the main bazaar in Ooty. Remember to bargain for your prices, it’s part of the fun, and have some tea while you browse.

Parthasarty Temple

This 8th-century Hindu temple located in Chennai is dedicated to Krishna and exhibits typical Dravidian architecture. It is one of the oldest structures in Chennai.

Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site ancient shrines carved from rock in the 67th-7th centuries and for its temples in the shapes of chariots and cave sanctuaries. Check out the UNESCO website here.

Pondicherry

Pondicherry is nicknamed “The French Riviera of the East,” or Pondy, for short. It is where one can find French villas and palm tree lined streets, check out the monument to Gandhi at the Bay of Bengal on the north side of the Promenade, or take a stroll through the relaxing Bharati Park,

Ooty Botannical Garden

This 55-acre botanical garden is a beautiful flower garden full of many varietals of flowers and trees. It is over a century old and very well maintained. Highlights include the Monkey Puzzle Tree and a cork tree. The best times to visit are April, May and September. Click here for more information about the Ooty Botanical Garden.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway Toy Train

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, this railway was completed in 1908. It currently runs a track 28 miles long over 250 bridges and 16 tunnels. Riding this train, one sees the beautiful surrounding plantations, forests and rocky earth. Try to book your ride into Ooty months in advance if possible as the train fills up! You can find the timetable here.

Mount Arunachala

Referred to as ‘the most silent place on Earth,’ located in Tiruvannamalai, this 800m / 2,624’ inactive volcano is a famous stop for pilgrims and nature enthusiasts alike. Hindus consider the mountain to be a reincarnation of Shiva, and it is said to have the power to silence the mind. Spend the day hiking to the top, where a beautiful view awaits, or hire a bicycle there. Find a cave and spend a little time soaking in the energy of the mountain and really letting the mind silence. To read more about the story behind the volcano, click here.

Valparai

Covering 10,000 acres of tea plantations surrounded by a forest, Valparai is a great place for hiking, visiting tea plantations, and snapping photos of non-commercial India, in its natural beauty.

Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary

Locally referred to as ‘top slip’, this massive wildlife reserve and national park is home to a diverse array of species, including elephants, monkeys, giant squirrels, deer and more. In 2008, it became a Project Tiger sanctuary. There is a small fee to enter and an addtional fee if you intend to park a vehicle.

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