5 Tranquil and Immersive Sightseeing Activities for Travelers to Enjoy in Tamil Nadu
Apart from the wide range of adventure sports activities in the state, Tamil Nadu also offers other experiential and niche tourism activities. These activities provide a much more leisurely and laid-back experience that you can enjoy at your own pace.
Here are some of the state’s most popular experiential and niche tourism activities:
Rail and road tourism may be a vital part of the travel industry in Tamil Nadu, but lately cruise tourism has also taken off. The long coastline of Tamil Nadu, dotted with forests, peaceful islands and a rich cultural and historical heritage, offers many attractions for cruise passengers. Important stops on the Tamil Nadu cruise tour include Chennai, Thoothukudi, Madurai and Mamallapuram. Most recently, in early June 2022, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, MP Stalin inaugurated and paved the way for the development of cruise tourism in Chennai. Coinciding with this, a cruise ship, called The Empress, operated by Cordelia Cruises, started operations between Chennai and Pondicherry. Cruise routes between Chennai and Visakhapatnam and Chennai and Colombo have also been opened. These progressive plans have been touted as financially benefiting the state’s travel and tourism sector.
For foodies and aficionados, many cities and towns in Tamil Nadu are worth visiting due to the unique and delicious cuisines they offer. Unsurprisingly, walks and food tours are a familiar sight in many of these places. In Chennai alone, food trails wind through bustling neighborhoods such as the sprawling bazaar district of Georgetown with its clusters of specialty markets selling fruit and vegetables, arts and crafts, street food and more again, the lovely Sowcarpet Market which sells arguably some of the best sweets. , drinks, namkeenssnacks and cats in the city, and Koyambedu Market, Asia’s largest fruit and vegetable market where you’ll find fresh produce from India and beyond. Madurai, best known for its temples, also boasts of significant food trails that allow exploring the alleys and streets of this ancient city and other notable sites such as the Puthu Mandapam (supposedly the oldest trading complex of Madurai). While you’re in town, you can enjoy the company of comfort food and dishes such as idiyappam, dose, appams, and more, around every corner. Ooty, too, has a lot to offer in terms of food and dishes. Apart from your usual South Indian meals, there are good avian (a dish consisting of seven or eight vegetables) and chicken chettinade to have here. It goes without saying that Ooty is a drink-lover’s paradise with plenty of tea and coffee plantations. And, if you’re looking for fresh fruit, keep an eye out for strawberries, peaches, and pears, which are available here at significantly cheaper rates without compromising on quality.
Tamil Nadu is accredited for its incredibly rich biodiversity. The state accounts for almost a third of the number of floral species in the country. The number of wildlife species here is equally impressive – well over 2,000 species spread across terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The reason why Tamil Nadu has been able to present itself as a top wildlife tourist destination is directly related to how it has been able to conserve the species and raise awareness about it. There are three major biosphere reserves in the state, which have proven to be role models – Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve. In addition to these, there are five national parks, 15 wildlife sanctuaries, 15 bird sanctuaries, five elephant reserves, four tiger reserves, five crocodile farms, two zoos and a conservation reserve spread over different terrains. geographical. It is the fullness of the conservation areas that has allowed a wide range of animals (from panthers and tigers to elephants, different species of squirrels, black fallow deer, crocodiles, Nilgiri tahrs and more) and birds (such as egrets, herons, storks, peacocks, hornbills, pelicans, ibises, eagles and others) to thrive. Popular sanctuaries and reserves in the state include Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Anamalai Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary, and Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary, among others. Then there are other efforts that seek to impart educational values and raise public awareness – an example is the unique biodiversity park in Dindigul district which seeks to highlight the ecological importance of the Sirumalai Hills and which would be developed by Tamil Nadu. government.
Also Read: Tamil Nadu Tiger Reserves
A visit to the many plantations of Tamil Nadu can be a most enjoyable experience. The Nilgiris, in particular, are home to several huge tea and coffee plantations spread over acres. In Ooty alone, one can spend many peaceful hours exploring the plantation premises at places such as the Doddabetta Tea Factory and Tea Museum, the Government Botanical Garden (with a diverse range of flowers and plants extending over 55 acres), and the Government Tea Garden. In another impressive hill station, Valparai, one finds the Tea Estate, while the village of Burliyar is home to the Singara Tea Estate. However, one of the most impressive estates is at Kolukkumalai, about 35 kilometers from Munnar. Situated at a dizzying elevation of nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, Kolukkumalai Tea Estate is the highest tea estate in the world.
Tea and coffee aren’t all Tamil Nadu has to offer when it comes to plantations. If you’re looking to explore places that offer more than just tea and coffee, Kurangani is worth considering. This lush and verdant hill station is full of plantations and estates of coconut, mango and many spices. Another must-see destination is the Pichavaram Mangrove Forest in Cuddalore District, which is often considered the second largest mangrove forest in the world.
Also Read: The Appeal of Adventure Sports in Tamil Nadu
It is a move necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but Virtual Reality (VR) has come to the aid of Tamil Nadu’s travel and tourism sector. It is a vital intervention, especially in these times, due to the stop-start nature of displacement activities today. Virtual reality tools allow those who cannot travel to see and capture the essence of places and landmarks from the comfort of their homes. At the time of this writing, the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department offers virtual reality tours of some UNESCO World Heritage sites in the state – the Great Temple of Thanjavur, the Airavateswara Temple in Kumbakonam, Mamallapuram, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.
Go here to join the tours. To learn more about Tamil Nadu Tourism’s efforts, visit this website.