6 Offbeat Places In Tamil Nadu For Your Next Trip

Planning a trip for the upcoming winter break? Leave touristy spots behind and opt for these lesser-known places in Tamil Nadu that offer a beautiful blend of the unexplored and the unexpected.

By V Saravana Kumar

6 Offbeat Places In Tamil Nadu For Your Next Trip

Ancient temples, historic monuments, heritage buildings, serene beaches, gurgling waterfalls, swaying fields, beautiful hill stations — Tamil Nadu has it all. Adorned with diversity, it has also preserved its unique traditions and arts over the ages. It is truly a bastion of rich culture and heritage!

But what comes to mind when you team Tamil Nadu and travel together? We bet it would be Chennai’s Marina Beach, Madurai’s Meenakshi temple, Velankanni’s church, Ooty's hilly viewpoints or maybe Tanjore’s mesmerising paintings. 

While most of us are aware of, or have visited these popular places of interest, there is so much more to Tamil Nadu, waiting to be explored. Should you ever get a chance, be sure to visit a couple of these offbeat destinations that certainly warrants a trip. Come along and explore these hidden beauties with us.

1. Vattakottai Fort: 

6 Offbeat Places In Tamil Nadu For Your Next Trip

This imposing 18th-century seaside fort, built by the erstwhile Travancore rulers, is located in a small town called Kottaram, in the Kanyakumari district. A visit to the fort, offers breathtaking views of the sea on one side and the Western Ghats on the other. With a sparkling river that flows near the fort, Vattakottai Fort makes for an ideal picnic spot.

How to get there:

By Air: Nearest airports – Thiruvananthapuram (90km); Madurai (240km) 
By Rail: Nearest railway station – Kanyakumari (8km)
By Road: Connected to all the major cities of Tamil Nadu
Accommodation: Many budget and luxury hotels are available at Kanyakumari

2. Adhiyamaan Fort: 

6 Offbeat Places In Tamil Nadu For Your Next Trip

Located in Dharmapuri district, this clay fort was built by King Adhiyamaan, one of the last seven benevolent Tamil kings. Archaeologists estimate this fort to be almost 2,000 years old. The Lord Someshwara temple and the Lord Kaalabhairava temple attract devotees from all over Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring states. Other astonishing features of this fort include the hanging pillars at the Kottaikovil and the Lord Mallikarjuneswara Temple, which stand testimony to the engineering expertise of the people who built it.

How to get there:

By Air: Nearest airports – Bengaluru (150km); Coimbatore (186km)
By Rail: Nearest railway station – Dharmapuri (8km) 
By Road: Connected to all major cities of Tamil Nadu
Accommodation: Dharmapuri has fairly decent hotels to stay. For better options, you could head to Salem (65km)

3. Chettinad Region: 

6 Offbeat Places In Tamil Nadu For Your Next Trip

Chettinad comprises small towns and villages like Karaikudi, Kaanaadukaathaan, Kundrakkudi and Pillaiyaarpatti of the Sivaganga district. It is famous for its palatial houses that are decorated lavishly and renowned for their ornamental elegance. Some of the houses are so huge and majestic that their front and back doors open up to two parallel streets! Also, you might have tried the popular Chettinad cuisine in many a restaurant, but to experience the authentic taste in itself, is something else altogether. You must head to this region, you’ll simply love it for its grandeur and food. 

How to get there (Karaikudi):

By Air: Nearest airport – Madurai (88km)
By Rail: Connected to major cities of Tamil Nadu
By Road: Connected to all major cities of Tamil Nadu
Accommodation: Many old mansions in the area have been converted into beautiful heritage hotels. There are also some good hotels at Karaikudi

4. Kazhugumalai:

6 Offbeat Places In Tamil Nadu For Your Next Trip

This place, situated in Thoothukudi district, has great archaeological significance, with its Jain rock carvings and sculptures. It is believed that Kazhugumalai was a Jain academic centre for close to 300 years during the 8th and 9th centuries. The 8th-century monolithic temple, Vettuvan Koil, built by the Pandyas, is an engineering marvel that has been carved out of a single piece of rock. What a sight to behold! 

How to get there:

By Air: Nearest airport – Thoothukudi (90km)
By Rail: Nearest railway station – Kovilpatti (20km)
By Road: Buses available from Kovilpatti and Sankarankovil
Accommodation: Good hotels are available at Thoothukudi

5. Kolli Hills:

6 Offbeat Places In Tamil Nadu For Your Next Trip

Located in the Eastern Ghats, Kolli Hills is home to diverse flora and fauna. If you want to enjoy the serene beauty of nature, this should be an ideal choice for you and your family. Mentioned in ancient Tamil literature, Kolli Hills is home to thousands of rare medicinal plants. The Arapaleeswarar Temple, Boat House, Botanical Gardens, Seekuparai View Point and Aakash Ganga Waterfalls are some of the places worth visiting. The road to this place from Namakkal includes a section of the Ghats with a whopping 70 hairpin bends! Get set for a thrilling drive. 

How to get there:

By Air: Nearest airport – Coimbatore (202km)
By Rail: Nearest railway station – Namakkal (55km)
By Road: Connected to all major cities of Tamil Nadu
Accommodation: There are some nice hillside resorts available at Kolli Hills

6. Thirparappu Waterfalls: 

6 Offbeat Places In Tamil Nadu For Your Next Trip

Located near Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district, Thirparappu waterfalls originates from the Kodayar River and plunge from a height of 50 feet. It is surrounded by thickly-wooded hills. A swimming pool and a park located near the waterfalls are added attractions making this place ideal for a family picnic.

How to get there:

By Air: Nearest airport – Thiruvananthapuram (53km)
By Rail: Nearest railway station – Marthandam (15km)
By Road: Buses available from Kulasekaram, Nagercoil and Marthandam
Accommodation: Nagercoil (35km) has a wide range of hotels to suit your budget

You will find each of these offbeat places steeped in an all-encompassing cultural heritage that is reflected in the richness of the regional art, architecture and even, the local cuisine. Well, now that you know about the hidden gems of Tamil Nadu, it's time to plan for a trip along with your kids. So go on, take these roads less travelled! 

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