Things to do in
Tamil Nadu

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Top sights in Tamil Nadu

Our most recommended things to do in Tamil Nadu

Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram Private Caves & Temples Tour

1. Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram Private Caves & Temples Tour

Enjoy a full-day guided tour of Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. Starting in Chennai, you'll be transported to Mahabalipuram, famous for its splendid 7th and 8th-century art and architecture, especially its stone carvings. You will start your tour by visiting the magnificent 7th-century Shore Temple which is surrounded by lush gardens. In addition, you’ll also visit the 7th-century Five Rathas shrine, also known as Pancha Rathas. After visiting Mahabalipuram you'll stop to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before driving to Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram is known as the "golden city of a thousand temples" and is also one of the 7 sacred cities of India. The city has some grand and majestic buildings that reflect the architectural experiments undertaken by different dynasties ruling the city over the centuries. Visit historic spots like the Kailasanatha Temple, Vaikunda Perumal Temple, Kamaskhi Amman Temple and Ekambareswara Temple. All of these are excellent specimens of the architectural splendor of the medieval period.   

Full-day Chennai Private Sightseeing Tour

2. Full-day Chennai Private Sightseeing Tour

Join a tour through the fascinating city of Chennai. This large Indian city, the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, has its roots as a colonial city. In the 17th century the British built a town called St. George, which continued to thrive and grow until it was renamed Chennai in the year 2000 by the Indian government. Today, this energy-filled city has not only historic sights and shopping to offer tourists, but gorgeous white sandy beaches as well. Your professional English-speaking tour guide will lead you from Chennai’s past as St. George to its present state today, starting with Fort St. George. This is the first British fort built in India, constructed in 1639. Today, it houses the secretariat, legislative assembly of the Tamil Nadu state, and the Fort Museum. You will also see St. Mary’s Church. Standing in Fort St. George, the church is the oldest British building in India. This beautiful, tall white church has a stunning altar piece of the Last Supper. In addition, you will have the opportunity to visit culturally important museums such as the Government Museum and the National Art Gallery. The Government Museum, in particular, houses an extensive collection of archeological and numismatic artifacts. Last, but most certainly not least, you can marvel at the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, built for the god Shiva. Constructed in the 17th century, this temple has absolutely stunning, colorful gopuram that need to be seen to be believed. Don’t miss the chance! Chennai is not only a beautiful Indian city, it is a beautiful world city. Take the opportunity to visit this city on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal and experience the wonders of India for yourself.

Auroville & Pondicherry Private Excursion from Chennai

3. Auroville & Pondicherry Private Excursion from Chennai

From Chennai you will be driven to Pondicherry for a full-day excursion. En route you will also visit the town of Auroville where you will explore the Matrimandir. In Pondicherry you will visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Pondicherry Museum along with the sculpture gallery situated at Bharati Park. It contains beautiful artifacts representing the historic eras.  You will also be taken to a local restaurant where you can enjoy a complementary lunch. You will learn all about Pondicherry's history and discover its French roots, you will also see that some people still speak French, as well as Tamil. The streets, buildings and other structures convey a typical French design.  Pondicherry is recognized as one of the holiest places in India where pilgrims come to pay their respects to Rishi Aurobindo. He was a freedom fighter, who later became a spiritual philosopher. After your sightseeing, you will be dropped back in Chennai.

Chennai: Mahabalipuram Tour with Lunch

4. Chennai: Mahabalipuram Tour with Lunch

Your experience will begin as you are collected from your accommodation at 7:30AM, at which point you will make your way to Mahabalipuram. Once having arrived, Panch Rathas is your first destination. These are rock-cut monolith structures which are dedicated to the lead cast of the Mahabharata epic. They are dedicated to Draupadi, Arjuna, Nakul-Sahadeva, Bhima and Yudhister. There is also a sculpture of an elephant next to the ratha of Nakul-Sahadeva. Next in the itinerary is Arjuna’s Penance, a 100-foot by 45-foot open-air rock relief where an entire masterpiece from the Mahabharata epic has been carved. The River Ganga is at the center of the panel, and is surrounded by divine beings, hunters, animals, birds, and trees belonging to the Himalayan ranges. The next stop is to Krishna’s Butterball, a 5-meter ball-shaped boulder which is perched precariously on a slope and seems to defy Newton’s laws of gravity. Next up, the magnificent Shore Temple beckons you. This 8th-century structural temple is made of granite, and served as a beacon for seafarers of the time. Legend says that this was a part of a complex of 7 temples dotted along the sea, and the legendary traveler Marco Polo also mentioned Mahabalipuram in his memoirs, referring to it as the "City of 7 Pagodas". Following this final stop, you will travel back to Chennai where you will be dropped off back to your hotel by 3:30PM.

Chennai: 2-Day Great Living Chola Temples Cultural Tour

5. Chennai: 2-Day Great Living Chola Temples Cultural Tour

Day 1 Following an early morning pickup from your hotel in Chennai, head in direction of Tanjore. At around 1:00 PM, you will arrive in Tanjore, the first capital of the Ancient Chola Empire. Visit the famous Brihadeeswara Temple located at the Great Living Chola Temples Trail and gaze in awe at one of the most imposing architectural structures in India. On this trail, you'll also visit the Thanjavur Big Temple, a more than a 1000-year-old temple with remains of the finest specimen of architecture, sculpture, bronze casting, and painting. Admire the excellent collection of frescoes that can be found on the walls around the sanctum and see the legendary tales of Lord Shiva depicted on the walls. Learn about the special material that was used to paint the murals and the secret they were able to last for so many centuries. Another highlight in Tanjore is the Grand Palace, built during the Nayak rule and repaired during the rule of the Marathas. Walk through the queen’s courtyard and witness divine scenes painted on the walls of the Durbar Hall. Then, search for the underground passage in this palace. There is also the Royal Museum, a gallery, and the Saraswati Mahal Library stationed within the palace complex. In the evening, stay overnight in Tanjore and continue your adventure the next morning. Day 2 Drive to Darasuram from Tanjore and visit the Airavateswar Temple, the second destination in the Great Living Chola Temples Trail. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple was built by Chola King Raja Raja II in the 12th century AD. Learn the history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site which is considered a treasure trove of art, carvings, and architecture. The final stop in the Great Living Chola Temples Trail is the city of Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Built in 1025 by Rajendra Chola, son of the famous Chola emperor Raja Raja, it was meant to commemorate his victory over the Pala Empire across the Ganges. Gangaikonda Cholapuram served as the capital of the mighty Chola Empire for 250 years and is most famous for its Shiva Temple. Visit other highlights of this lost city of Cholas including The Royal Palace made of burnt brick, a giant Nandi, and a magnificent lion figure next to the well where the King poured the Ganges water brought from his conquests. Following the final stop, return to Chennai from Gangaikonda Cholapuram where you'll be dropped off at your hotel at around 8:30 PM.

Chennai: Marina Beach Heritage Walk

6. Chennai: Marina Beach Heritage Walk

Start the tour at 4 PM at Marina Light House where your tour will commence. Meet your guide and follow them as you set off along the beach. First, climb up the lighthouse for a great view of the beach and the city, before heading back down to explore the Maritime Museum. Continue your walk and soak up the festive atmosphere as you listen to your guide tell the story of Chennai through its statues. The statues tell a great story about the evolution of the city from a small fishing village to a thriving metropolis. Next, head to the famous Vivekananda House and learn about Swamy Vivekananda and his landmark speech about Indian Philosophy. Hear more about how he was the first religious leader in India to understand the need to provide food and other bare necessities of life to the hungry millions.  Make your last stop at the ancient Parthsarathy Temple. Take a guided walk inside the temple and its surroundings as you get to know the rituals. Admire incarnations of Vishnu and shrines which were built during the rule of Cholas and Vijayanagara Kings. Be spellbound by the intricately carved pillars of the temple. Finally, end the tour at 7 PM outside the temple.

Chennai, Kapaleeshwarar Temple & Marina Beach Private Tour

7. Chennai, Kapaleeshwarar Temple & Marina Beach Private Tour

Start your tour of Chennai with a visit to the St. George Fort, located on the banks of the Bay of Bengal. The fort is believed to be the first establishment of the British in India. Fort St. George was named after St. George, the patron saint of England, and is deemed to be one of the most prominent tourist spots in Chennai. The Fort Museum is a large repository of arms and armaments. It also exhibits a wide range of artifacts dating back to the British period. These artifacts comprise of uniforms, manuscripts, paintings, letters, coins and much more. Afterwards, it's on to the Kapaleeshwarar, which was built around the 7th-century and is a good example of Dravidian architecture Then a visit to the Government Museum of Chennai, one of the best museums in India and a prime tourist attraction. The museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and other historical objects from the Chola, Hoysala, Vijayanagar and Chalukya dynasties. You'll then end the day with a visit to Marina Beach to relax and unwind. Marina Beach is the second longest beach in the world from where you can watch the sunset.

Coimbatore to Coimbatore Airport Transfer

8. Coimbatore to Coimbatore Airport Transfer

Be collected from your accommodation and allow your driver to place your luggage in the sedan car, minibus, or bus, depending on the number of passengers. After that, your chauffeur will safely drive you to the Coimbatore Airport (Airport Code: CJB) as per your schedule. Change the pick-up time as you prefer by calling the customer support team at any time free of charge. 

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What people are saying about Tamil Nadu

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 15 reviews

We had a fairly large group of 13, varying ages and accompanying stamina levels. While there was a fair amount of walking, only one site had significant amount of stairs. You could enjoy the area without taking the stairs. The guide, Kannan, was knowledgeable, open to any questions we had and thoroughly shared information of the various areas we visited. The mini bus used was very comfortable and the driver and assistant were good as well as friendly. Overall I give this tour company a high rating for knowledge, communication, choice of lunch stops, no hard sell to visit stores and its ability to assist me above and beyond the normal duties of a tour company.

It was a very positive experience. Pick up was sharp. Dhanalakshmi was very jovial and took care of my parents the entire trip. The guide was very knowledgeable and made the extra effort to explain the historical significances outside the scope of Mahabalipuram as well. The driver and the entire team was equally professional. Thanks and great wishes for the 5 senses team!!

Excellent tour. Very knowledgeable guide. Couldn’t have asked for a better tour. Took time to explain things. Would definitely use this company again.

One hour comfortable drive under the blue sky. A world heritage world created by shaving rocky mountains.

Well organised trip, very knowledgeable guides and amazing sights, well worth the trip.