Going places

Print edition : November 06, 2009

THE LADIES SEAT viewpoint in Yercaud.-V. GANESAN

TAMIL NADU is a safe, all-season destination for tourists. It has much to offer hill stations, beaches, temples, world heritage monuments, archaeological sites, wildlife parks, botanical gardens, amusement parks, and so on. In December, Chennai, the State capital, comes alive with a festival of music and dance programmes organised by sabhas across the city. In January during the Pongal season the week-long Chennai Sangamam, a festival of folk music and dance, street plays, and martial arts, is held in the public parks in the metropolis.

After making Tamil Nadu one of the most preferred destinations in India, our next step is to generate repeat visitors to the State, said N. Suresh Rajan, State Tourism Minister. The number of tourists to the State went up to 6.40 crores in 2008 from four crores in 2006.

The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) has come up with innovative initiatives such as the Tamil Nadu Waterfall Circuit to attract tourists.

Tamil Nadu has the largest number of waterfalls in India, said A.C. Mohandoss, Director, Tamil Nadu Tourism, and Managing Director, TTDC.

Tamil Nadu Tourism is now focussing on popularising lesser-known destinations so as to decongest some of the popular destinations. As a result, places such as Yelagiri in Vellore district, Kolli Hills in Namakkal district, Taramangalam in Salem district, Pulicat and Periapalayam in Trivellore district, Sithannavasal in Pudukottai district, Valparai near Coimbatore, Kazhugumalai near Madurai, Meghamalai in Theni district and Tiruppudaimaruthur in Tirunelveli district have been getting more tourists.

According to Mohandoss, the focus is also on making Tamil Nadu an adventure hub of India. Parasailing and waterskiing at Mudaliarkuppam near Chennai, and the paragliding festival at Yelagiri are a part of this endeavour. In Chennai, the hop-on, hop-off tours within the city and to 13 tourist spots on the East Coast Road up to Mamallapuram are a big draw. There is a relay of buses operating to the tourists spots, explained N. Ravi, TTDC manager. Besides, the TTDC offers an eight-day Tamil Nadu tour, a 14-day Sunny South tour, a rail-cum-road tour, and a seven-day Andhra Pradesh tour.

During the paragliding festival in Yelagiri Hills in Vellore district in September 2008.-S.S. KUMAR

Of the 21 UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Monuments in India, five are in Tamil Nadu. They are the Mamallapuram complex; the Brihadisvara temple in Thanjavur; the Brihadisvara temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram; the Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram; and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway train that runs between Mettupalayam and Ooty.

Tamil Nadu Tourism has brought out a booklet on Jaina monuments in the State. Among the sites mentioned are Tiruparutikunram near Kanchipuram, Vallimalai near Vellore, Tirunathar Kundru and Melsithamur near Gingee and Tirumalai near Arani.

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