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HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PLACES IN TAMIL NADU


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Madras : It was the bastion of the British East India Company which came to settle down in India in 1639 A.D. The places to be visited are :-
Kapaleeswarar temple : This ancient Siva temple, with its massive and intricately carved gopuram towering into the sky, is situated in the southern suburb of Mylapore. According to a legend, the Saivite Saint Thirugnanasambandar brought life back to a dead girl in this temple.

Parthasarathy temple : Dedicated to Parthasarathy or Lord Vishnu, this temple, situated in the Triplicane area, is believed to have been built in the eighth century by a Pallava king. Subsequently, in the 16th century, the Vijayanagar rulers renovated the temple.

Marina Beach : It is considered one of the longest and loveliest beaches in the world.

Fort St. George and St. Mary's Church : It was raised by the British East India Company in the year 1653 A.D. The St. Mary's Church, built during 1678-80 and believed to be the oldest Protestant church in the East, is situated inside the church.

San Thome Cathedral : This noble Cathedral of San Thome is closely associated with the legend of St. Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ. St. Thomas, it is believed, came to Mylapore to preach the Gospel and founded a church on the site where the present magnificent Cathedral stands.

Kalakshetra : This school of classical Indian music and dance is situated at Adyar.



Mamallapuram :
It was the second capital of the Pallava kings, who ruled from Kanchipuram from the third to the close of the ninth century. Places to be visited are :-
Shore temple : Spanning 12 centuries of history, the shore temple stands as a symbol of the soaring aesthetic aspirations of the Pallavas.

Krishna Mandapam : It recreates one of the episodes from the life of Lord Krishna.

Mahishasuramardhini Mandapam : In this cave, the Pallava artists have scaled the summit of glory by depicting a battle scene with haunting aesthetic perfection.

Varaha Mandapam : The Varaha Cave is one of the best finished gems of Pallava art.



Kanchipuram :
It is the second holiest place in India next to Varanasi. It is known for its hand-woven silk fabrics. Places to be visited are :-
Kailasanatha temple : It is at least 2000 years old, built by Rajasimha Pallava in the early decades of the eight century.

Sri Kamakshi temple : This temple is consecrated to Kamakshi. Here, the Goddess is worshipped in the form of a Chakra placed in front of the idol. An image of Shankaracharya is also worshipped. Sri Shankaracharya is said to have defeated Bhuddhist philosophers in debate here.


Pondicherry : It is now a Union territory. The world-famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram is situated here. The Auroville complex is the brainchild of "The Mother", the late French woman devotee of Sri Aurobindo to whom the spiritual authority was passed on after the death of Sri Aurobindo.

Tiruchi : It is a thriving commercial center in Tamil Nadu. It is also famous for artificial diamonds, cigars & handloom cloths. Places to be visited are :-

Thanjavur : It was the capital of Chola emperors from 10th to 14th century A.D. Built in 1003 A.D by king Rajaraja. The majestic tower of the temple rises 216 ft. high over the city. The temple is capped by a monolithic cupola formed by a single granite block weighing 80 tonnes. This enormous stone is said to have been positioned by moving it along an inclined plane which commenced in a village 6km away - a technique adopted by the pyramid-builders of ancient Egypt. Places to be visited are :-
Thanjavur Palace : This vast structure of masonry was built partly by the Nayaks around 1550 A.D and partly by the Marathas.

Saraswathi Mahal Library : Dating back to about 1700 A.D., this library contains 30,000 volumes in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and some European languages on a variety of subjects such as science, medicine, engineering, astronomy, painting and dancing.

Schwartz Church : This was, interestingly, built by a Maratha ruler in 1799 A.D. as a token of esteem for a Danish missionary, the Rev. C.V.Schwartz.


Coimbatore : It is situated at the foot of the Nilgiri mountains. It is a major textile and engineering center.

Ooty : It is situated on the Nilgiris range at an altitute of 7,500 feet above the sea level. The entire plateau is full of splendid green downs and lofty hills of extraordinary scenic beauty and is endowed with a salubrious climate similar to the English summer.

Madurai : It was the capital of the Pandyan empire till 14th century A.D. Madurai was the seat of Tamil learning : the last of the 3 Tamil Sangams(Academies) flourished here nearly 2,000 years ago. Places to be visited are :-
Meenakshi temple : This is an exquisite example of temples built by the Pandyan rulers.

Thirumalai Nayak Mahal : This imposing palace of the Nayak rulers was built in the year 1636 in the Indo-Saracenic style. The stucco work on its domes and arches is eye-catching.


Kodaikanal : It is set in gentle sloping woods abundant in birdlife. The scenic way up by road runs through coffee plantations and thick forests.

Rameswaram : The holy town of Rameswaram is known for one of India's most venerated temples. A bath in the sea at Danushkodi is considered holy. Sri Ramanathaswamy temple is famous here. According to a legend, this temple was installed by Sri Rama.

Kanyakumari : The 3 seas - The Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea - meet here, and a dip in their confluence is considered holy. The magnificent sunrise and sunset and moonrise at Kanyakumari should not be missed. Places to be visited are :-
Kanyakumari temple : This temple, picturesquely located on the shores, is dedicated to Parashakthi, the Virgin Goddess doing penance.

Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial : This grand memorial to Swami Vivekananda is on one of the twin rocks jutting out from the sea about 200 meters offshore. Before he went abroad as a leading religious crusader of India, Swami Vivekananda came down to Kanyakumari in 1892 and sat on the rock for meditation. The Memorial was built in 1970.

Mahatma Gandhi Memorial : This memorial to Gandhiji is raised at the spot where his ashes were kept for public darshan before immersion.


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