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Kolli Hills is a beautiful and scenic mountain range situated at a jaw-dropping height of 1300 meter (4265 feet) above sea level. It is also dubbed as one of the coolest places in South India. Situated along the Eastern Ghats, this lesser-known hill station is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurous trekkers. Also, the numerous myths attract many tourists and mystery enthusiasts to this place.

How to reach Kolli Hills from Chennai

The way to Kolli Hills is laid with 70 hairpin bends. Once you get through this, you can enjoy the scenic views of the hills through various trekking and hiking activities. You can also plan for a road trip to Kolli Hills from Chennai. The distance from Chennai is about 367 km. It might take 7 to 7.5 hours to reach the top of the hills.

As shown in below map the best route takes around 7 hours to reach Kolli hills from Chennai via road.

Chennai > Dhindivanam > Vilupuram > Kallakurichi > Aathur > Kolli Hills

The other route is via Ambur which takes additional 1 or 1.5 hours you can take the route of

Chennai > Kanchipuram > Vellore > Ambur > Yelagiri > Krishnagiri > Dharmaburi > Salem > Namakkal > Kolli Hills

Here Yelagiri itself a cool scenic place with hills and a must see location, so with this option you can first visit Yelagiri and then later Kolli Hills.

Other alternative ways of travel from Chennai is to opt for train or flight. You can take a train from Chennai to Salem and then take a taxi or choose a state-run bus to reach Kolli Hills. You can also take a flight from Chennai to Trichy and then travel to the hills by opting for a cab or bus.

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Places to Visit in Tirunelveli

Tirunelveli is a district in southern Tamil Nadu has it’s a headquarters in Tirunelveli city.  The history of this ancient town goes back to 2000 years.

Tirunelveli’s prominence was second only to Madurai during the Pandya period.  In fact, Tirunelveli was the Pandya capital for some time.  The town is situated on the banks of the river. Tambraparni is located on the Madurai-Kanyakumari route.  The district is known for pattamadai corai mats, palm leaf utility articles and palm sugar.

Below are the places that need to be explored while you are travelling to Tirunelveli. Even if you are planning for an excursion the area wide ranges of an area that can be visited.

Places to Visit in and around Tirunelveli

Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple

This twin temple in Tirunelveli is dedicated to Parvathi (Kanthimathi) and Siva (Nellaiyappar).  There are a beautiful golden lily tank and a thousand pillared hall.  Also, noteworthy are the musical pillars and several beautiful sculptures in stone and mortar.

If you are planning for an excursion, then add these places to your list.

Abishekapatti (8 Km)

A well-known cattle-breeding farm is maintained here by the government.

Ambasamudram (35 Km)

The ancient name for this town is Elangakudi.  The temple of Throna Murugan is situated on a hill.

Gangaikondan (20 Km)

This town was established by the great king Rajendra Chola I.

Ilanji (59 Km)

King Adiveera Rama Pandiyan built a famous temple for Lord Murugan which was sung by Saint Arunagirinathar. This is a place of interest in Ilanji

Kadaiyam (51 Km)

Kadaiyam is the birthplace of Prime Azhagar who is the author of prose for Tirukkural.  Smt.Chellammal, wife of the great poet Bharathiyar was also born here.

Kalakkadu (43 Km)

A well-established wildlife sanctuary is situated here in Kalakkadu.

Krishnapuram (13 Km)

Krishnapuram teample. The presiding deity in this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is Thiruvenkatanathan.  There are some beautiful life-size sculptures in this temple, noteworthy for their intricate workmanship.

Kuttalam (Courtallam) (56 Km)

Popularly known as the ‘Spa of the South’, Kuttalam or Courtallam is one of the major tourist attractions of the State.  Situated at an elevation of about 167 m on the Western Ghats, the nine falls of Kuttalam are said to possess curative properties.  The waters run through forests of herbs before their descent and thus have a soothing effect on young and old alike.  Apart from the falls, there is a temple here which is dedicated to Lord Siva.  The presiding deity is Thirukuttralanathar.  The temple has several inscriptions relating to Chola and Pandya kings.  About a furlong away from here, there is yet another small temple called Chitra Sabha (Hall of pictures) which is supposed to be one of the five sabhas where Lord Nataraja performed the Cosmic Dance.

Manimuthar (47 Km)

Manimuthar is surrounded by beautiful gardens, this is yet another dam site with a very pleasant climate. One of the important dams in Tamilnadu

Melagaram (57 Km)

This is the birthplace of Thirikooda Rasappa Kavirayar who wrote the famous Kuttrala Kuravanchi. A scenic place to visit

Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary (45 Km)

Covering an area of 516 sqm km, this sanctuary houses the common langur, bonnet macaque, Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, sambhar, sloth bear, leopard, tiger and chital.  The best time to visit this sanctuary is between September and December.

Moondradaippu (21 Km)

Moondradaippu has a very good bird sanctuary.

Nanguneri (33 Km)

The headquarters of the Jeet Mut is situated here in Nanguneri. Famous industrial town

Palayankottai (2 Km)

This is known as the Oxford of South India.  The Fort here was built by the Nayak Kings.

Papanasam (53 Km)

This dam site is an ideal picnic spot.

Pattamadai (30 Km)

Famous for its beautiful coria mats, Pattamadai lies on the way between Tirunelveli and Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary.

Radhapuram (62 Km)

Bishop Caldwell, a foreign scholar lived here and worked for the development of Tamil Literature.

Rediyapatti (9 Km)

This is the birthplace of Krishnapillai, author of ‘Rakshanya Yaathreegam’.

Sankaran Kovil (51 Km)

The Arulmigu Sankaranarayanan temple here is famous. Twice a year, the sun’s rays fall on the pedestal in this temple.

Sengottai (63 Km)

This is the birthplace of the famous freedom fighter Sri Vanchinathan and also the renowned stage artist Sri S.G. Kittappa.

Tenkasi (55 Km)

Tenkasi means Kashi (Varanasi) of the South.  The temple is dedicated to Lord Siva.  The 400-year-old flagstaff of this temple is noted for its sculptural beauty.

Tirukkurungudi (53 Km)

The Hindu Vaishnavite saint, Thirumangai Azhwar spent his last days here.

Tirumalai (76 Km)

The Tirumalai Murugan temple sung in praise by Saint Arunagirinather is situated here. This is a famous Hindu temple spot

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Places to Visit in Kanchipuram

24 Places to Visit in Kanchipuram nearby the ancient city:

Kanchipuram district in Tamilnadu derives its name and fame from the ancient city of Kanchipuram, one of the seven most sacred Hindu pilgrim centres.  There are about 200 temples in Kanchi alone and several hundred in the district.  Kanchipuram is also known for its colourful silk sarees, woven from pure mulberry silk with fine gold thread (zari).

This ‘city of thousand temples’, was a Centre of Tamil learning and an important place of pilgrimage for Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.  The famous mutt of Kanchi kamakodi Peedam, established by Adi Sankaracharya, is situated here.

Kanchipuram occupies the greater space in Tamil Nadu so at the same time you will have many places to sight see in Kanchipuram, especially ancient temples. There also many enjoyable places like Beach, Mahabalipuram, Zoo and interesting part places that will really make you mesmerise while visiting. Let us see each place in detail. Some well known Kanchipuram points of interest are listed below.

1. EKAMBARESWARAR TEMPLE (1 KM):

This Siva temple was originally built by the Pallavas and additions were later made to it by the Chola and Vijayanagara kings.  The outer walls and the gateway towers were built by King Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagara in 1509.  The south gopuram (tower) which is about 57 m high is one of the largest and tallest towers in South India.  The presiding deity here is Prithvilingam (Earth).

2. VAIKUNTA PERUMAL TEMPLE (1 KM):

Built during the 7th century by the Pallava King Parameshwaravarnan, this is a famous Vishnu temple.  Battle scenes are depicted on the panels around the main prakaram.  The first eight panels show the descent of the Pallavas from Vishnu.

3. KAILASANATHAR TEMPLE (2 KM):

Built by Rajasimha Pallava in the 8th century, this temple is dedicated to Lord Siva.  The architecture of this temple is reminiscent of the store Temple at Mamallapuram.

4. VARADARAJA TEMPLE (3 KM):

This temple built by the Vijayanagara Kings is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.  The presiding deity is Devarajaswamy.  The hundred pillared hall of this temple is noted for its exquisite sculptures among which are a huge chain curved out a single stone.

 

5. KAMAKSHI AMMAN TEMPLE:

This temple was built by the Cholas in the 14th century and is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi (Parvathi) and is one of the three places of Sakthi worship in the country.  The other two are in Madurai and Varanasi.  There is yet another Chola temple nearby called Sakkiswarar temple.

6. THE HANDLOOM INDUSTRY:

The silk weavers of Kanchi settled here more than 400 years ago and even today, you can find them at work on quaint, old-fashioned, hand-operated looms, using the finest quality silk and pure gold zari.  Hand-woven Kanchi cotton sarees are also equally famous.  You can shop for Kanchi silk and cotton fabrics at the weaver’s co-operatives and government textile shops.

7. MUSARAVAKKAM (13 KM)

We have here an agricultural farm where research in hybrid varieties of rice is being done.

8. MAGARAL (20 KM)

A main Saivite religious centre mentioned in the ancient Tamil Literature Thevaram is located here.

9. UTTIRAMERUR (30 KM)

Where this destination is the Abode of goddess Ashtalakshmi and Lord Muruga cited in Thirupugazh.  Stone inscriptions reveal a system of election of village presidents by picking lots from mud pots.

10. SRIPERUMBUDUR (36 KM)

Besides its ancient temple and ashram, the town is now better known for the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial, built on the spot where the former Prime Minister of India was assassinated. A splendid motor-racing track, Dash N Splash – a water amusement park and the Hyundai Car Factory are located nearby.

11. TIRUKKALUKKUNDRAM (49 KM)

There is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Siva, a Pallava cave temple, and a hilltop temple here.  At around noon every day two sacred kites come to hill top temple and feed on the hands of the priest.

12. VEDANTANGAL (54 KM)

The oldest bird sanctuary in the country, thousands of birds fly in here from all over the world, to nest in the trees here in this 30-hectare swamp, from October to March every year.  It holds nearly 115 species of birds both migratory and resident – have been recorded in this sanctuary.  The best time for bird – watching would be early in the morning or evening.  Close by is the Karikili Bird Sanctuary, where an equally interesting variety of birds can be seen.

 

 

13. KUNNATHUR (55 KM)

This is the birthplace of poet Sekizhar who wrote  Periyapuranam.  He built a temple for Thiru Nageswarar.  On a hillock, there is a temple for Lord Subramanyaswamy.

14. MANGADU (58 KM)

The temple for Kamatchi Amman is here. The legend goes that Parvathi as Kamatchi did penance standing on a needlepoint in order to marry Lord Siva.

15. TIRUPPORUR (60 KM)

This place is the abode of Lord Kandaswamy whose temple is mentioned in the ancient Tamil Literature, Thiruppugazh.

16. VANDALUR (62 KM)

Spread over an area of 1,265 acres, the Anna Zoological Park at Vandalur is the Largest in South Asia and has a variety of different species of mammals, reptiles and birds.  The animals are housed in natural surroundings and there is also a special enclosure for nocturnal creatures.

17. MELMARUVATHUR (62 KM)

The temple dedicated to goddess Adiparasakthi is here where thousands of pilgrim flock for darshan.

18. SADRAS (64 KM)

The tiny village of Sadras, beyond Mamallapuram, has the remains of a fort and an ancient cemetery, which were part of a Dutch settlement dating back to 1647.

 

19. MAMALLAPURAM (65 KM)

Also known as Mahabalipuram, this ancient sea port was built by Emperor Mahendravarman Pallava in the 7th Century.  From here ships once left for countries in South East Asia and the Mediterranean.  Over the Passage of time, Mamallapuram ceased to function as a port but its glory lived on in its temples and monuments.  Time and natural forces have wrought changes on the solid rock surface of these monuments but each sculpture and image still succeed in conveying a message beauty and harmony.  Mamallapuram bears testimony and pays tribute to its Pallava artists and to the culture of South India.  Among the places of interest are Arjuna’s Penance, Krishna Mandapa, Mahishasuramardhini Cave, Mandapams, Pancha Rathas, Shore Temple and Varaha Mandapa.  The government school of sculpture here trains aspiring sculptors in the centuries-old art.  An annual Dance and Music Festival is held here in December-January.

20. KOVALAM (71 KM)

Just 40 km away from the hustle and bustle of Chennai, this picturesque village en route to Mamallapuram is the ideal place to smuggle in for a sunbath and take in the sea and suf at leisure.  The ruins of an old fort have been cleverly merged into the beautiful settings of Taj’s Fisherman’s Cove, which offers cosy cottages on the beach-front, besides delicious sea-food and facilities for swimming and windsurfing.

21. TIRUNEERMALAI (72 KM)

A centre for pilgrimage, a famous Vishnu temple is located here.

22. ACHARAPAKKAM (73 KM)

A temple for Lord Siva and Lord Muruga is situated here.  This temple has been mentioned in ancient Tamil Literature like Thevaram and Thiruppugazh.

23. CHENNAI TO MAMALLAPURAM – THE ENTERTAINMENT CORRIDOR

The best way to visit Mamallapuram would be to plan a weekend gateway from Chennai, for there is so much to see and experience en route to Mamallapuram, along with the East Coast Road.  Once you cross the city limit, Cholamandal Artists Village, an artist’s co-operative where modern art, sculpture, metal work and batiks are displayed and sold, greets you. Next in line is VGP Golden Beach, a popular beach resort frequented by the people of Chennai.  You can also stop over at MGM’s Dizzee World – an amusement park for kids, and the MGM Beach Resort.  A must-visit for tourists is Dakshina-Chitra, where traditional village streets from the four South Indian states have been re-created, with craftsmen in residence, who create and sell traditional handicrafts. A little further away is Mayajaal – Chennai’s first entertainment multiplex, complete with Cineplex, Bowling Alley, Games Parlour and Food Courts.  The Champ Sports Village, which contains an outdoor and indoor cricket stadium, mini golf course, tennis court, swimming pool, health club and a variety of indoor games facilities and Onshore – a leisure resort are also part of this complex.  The Muttukadu Backwaters nearby offer facilities for boating and windsurfing.  The annual windsurfing regatta is held in February.  Taj’s Fisherman’s Cove would be ideal for a late lunch and dip in the sea before heading for Crocodile Bank, where many species of crocodiles including alligators, gharials and other reptiles can be found.  The best time to visit is around 4.00 PM when the most venomous species of snakes in India are ‘milked’ to prepare anti-venom serum.  Around 7 km from here is Tiruvidaventhai, a classical temple village.  The last stop before you reach Mamallapuram would be the serene Tiger’s Cave, a half-finished private theatre built for the Pallava King.

 

 

24. TAMBARAM

Closer to Chennai, this is where the Madras Christian College is located on 365 acres of sylvan woodlands. A delight to walk through, the campus has a wide variety of flora and fauna.  Nearby is Kishkinta, an amusement park, offering many exciting fun rides including an artificial waterfall called ‘Chennai Courtallam’.

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Places to visit near Thoothukudi / Tuticorin

 

 (Thoothukudi map above)

Thoothukudi or Tuticorin is situated on the Eastern Coast of Southern Tamil Nadu; this district has its headquarters in Thoothukudi.

One of the major ports in the country, Thoothukudi was known at ancient times for its pearls.  It was one of the most prosperous cities on the Eastern Coast. It is a major pearl fishing Centre, with Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh now taking over as the Centre for the artificial pearl industries in the South.

Industrialized Thoothukudi is now better known for its fertiliser and heavy water plants as well as its thermal power station. It is also a major salt production Centre.

We have listed below certain tourist spots that need to be included when you plan for the vacation to Thoothukudi.

EXCURSIONS:

1. ETTAIYAPURAM (42 KM)

The revolutionary poet Bharathiyar was born here.  His home has now been converted into a memorial.

2. KAZHUGUMALAI

An important Jain religious centre, the Jain temples and bas-relief sculptures are one of the earliest kinds.   The rock-cut cave temple nearby is worth visiting.

3. KULASEKARAPATTINAM

A coastal village with a fine beach, the Mutharamman temple here is the venue of the popular Dasara festival in September-October.

4. MANAPPAD (52 KM)

There is an ancient Holy Cross Church here.  Built in 1581, the Church has some fragments of the True Cross from Jerusalem.  Pilgrims visit the church throughout the year but the period between September 1st and 14th is the festive season and therefore, more crowded.

5. OTTAPPIDARAM (30 KM)

This is the birthplace of the freedom fighters V.O. Chidambaram was popularly known as Kappalottiya Tamizhan.  His maiden venture in navigation against the East India Company led to his imprisonment by the British.  His home is now a memorial.

6. PANCHALAMKURICHI (52 KM)

This historic little village is the place from where one of the greatest warriors of the State, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, spoke out against the British regime in the 17th century.

The Kattabomman Memorial Fort here was built by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 1947.  The old fort which is now in ruins is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.

7. TIRUCHENDUR (38 KM)

This beautiful shore temple is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya.  It is believed to be the place where Subramanya once offered victory prayers to Lord Siva.  The Shanmuga Visalam, overlooking the ocean is particularly noteworthy.  From here, one can also visit the Srivaikuntam and Alwar Tirunagarai temples.

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Kolli Hills – an unconventional Hill station in Tamilnadu

 

Not many of them know that there remains an untouched hill station with its own myths and secrets in the Namakkal district of Tamilnadu. Kolli Hills is a beautiful and scenic mountain range situated at a jaw-dropping height of 1300 meter (4265 feet) above sea level. It is also dubbed as one of the coolest places in South India. Situated along the Eastern Ghats, this lesser-known hill station is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurous trekkers. Also, the numerous myths attract many tourists and mystery enthusiasts to this place.

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