Tamil Nadu, land of the Tamils has many ancient
It has been the cradle of the Dravidian
civilization. Manifestations of this old culture are in temples with
stepped gopurams (gateway towers) and fine decorated rock carvings.
Highlights are the temple cities
of Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, Thanjavur
and Madurai. Pondicherry has a
lot of French influences and is with Auroville
an important spiritual center.
Mahabalipuram - Kanchipuram
Mahabalipuram was a 7th century
port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas around 60
km south from the city of Chennai. Nowadays it is still a
Mahabalipuram has various historic monuments built largely
between the 7th and the 9th century, and is as a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kanchipuram is a major temple
city of Tamilnadu.
Brahmin Sthapathis have shown their excellent architecture
cognizance in planning the architecture and sculpting the
numerous temples at Kanchipuram. Today’s city is the opposite a
dirty, noisy mess.
The former French colony of
Pondicherry stands as a living monument of the French
culture in India. It colony exudes a Mediterranean aura with its
chic streets, elegant houses, ornamental gardens and the Hotel
What attracts most travelers to Pondicherry is the
Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its
offshoot, Auroville, 10 km outside
Thanjavur is famous for
The Brihadishwara Temple, which is
one of India's most prized architectural sites. It is a
brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas in
temple architecture. The temple is part of the
UNESCO World Heritage Site "Great
Living Chola Temples".
Nowhere on my journey there has been a
greater contrast then between the splendid monuments of ancient
India and the INCREDIBLE INDIA mess they make out of it
nowadays. I asked myself often what happened to the
people who created this great architecture?
Madurai is one of the oldest
continually inhabited cities in the Indian peninsula, with a
history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the
Madurai's cultural heritage goes back
2,500 years, and the city has been an important
commercial center and has conducted trade as far as Rome and
Greece since as early as 550 BC.