ANDHRA PRADESH

Andhra Pradesh: is the fifth largest state in the peninsular India. It is a historic land of temples and mosques, a combination of Dravidian culture and the Muslim cultural heritage from the western and central Asia. Andhra Pradesh is a mineral rich and industrially developing state. Area: 275,068 sq.km Population: 75,727,541 (2001 Census) Languages: Telugu, Urdu and Tamil Climate: Summer - March to June Winter - Nov. to Feb Manson - June to Dec Best Time to Visit: October through February Capital City: Hyderabad Airports: Hyderabad, Cuddapah, Rajamundri, Ramagudam, Warangal, Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam, and Tirupati. Major Cities: Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Cuddapah, Kakinada, Rajamundri, Ramagudam, Warangal, Vijayawada, and Vishakhapatnam HISTORY: The history of Andhra Pradesh dates back to the epic era of Ramayana and Mahabharatha. But the documented history points to 236 BC when Satavahana established a kingdom and a dynasty around the modern Hyderabad. During the reign of 450 years, Buddhism flourished in the kingdom. The Ikshvakus succeeded the Satavahanas and ruled the kingdom for 57 years. The Pallavas annexed the area South of River Krishna and ruled till the end of 6th century. The rise of Chalukyas in the seventh century changed the destiny of Andhra. Under their 400-year's rule, Andhra flourished to the zenith of its Telugu culture. During the 12th and 13th centuries Kakatiyas Empire ruled Andhra. During 1509- 1529 Andhra was under the rule of Vijayanagara Empire. Qutab Sahis succeeded Vijayanagara Empire and ruled Andhra for nearly 200 years. Qutab Sahis were great patrons of art and architecture. During their rule, many palaces were built for the rulers. They had also built many lakes, tanks etc for the benefit of the people. Aurangzeb conquered the Decca in 1687 and left his governors, the Nizam, to rule Andhra. The British and French took over from the Nizam. Andhra became a part of Indian Union in 1947. The present state was formed in 1953, merging a part of the then Madras State (present Tamil Nadu) and the princely state of Hyderabad. Culture: The cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh is rich with classical and folk-arts ranging from the ballad singing 'Burrakatha' to the refined classical form of 'Kuchipudi' dance. As the home of abundant folk tradition, Andhra Pradesh has more than sixty classical and folk dance forms. A few of the popular performing arts are: 1. Kuchipudi Dance: Kuchipudi, one of the famous classical dances in India takes its name from a village, Kuchelapuram, 60km away from Vijayawada. This dance drama enactment throbs with Telugu lyrics and Sanskrit verses. It is distinguished from other dance forms by narrative interruptions that make it very popular and expressive. This art form emphasizes on animation. Apart from that it is akin to 'Bharatanatyam'. The present style of Kuchipudi and its development are accredited to 'Siddhendra Yogi' and 'Tirtha Narayana'. 2. Andhra Natyam: The traditional dance form of 'Andhra Natyam' originated as a temple dance that dates back to as early as 2000 years. The dance form was categorized as 'Agma Nartana' performed in the temples, 'Carnatakam' performed in the royal courts, and 'Darbari Attam' performed in the courtyards of temples for the common

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man. Andhra Natyam is similar in style to Bharatanatyam and is based on Nandikesa's 'Abhinaya Darpana' and Bharata's 'Natya Shastra'. This was the female tradition (Lasya) of dance that was characterized by a rich display of footwork and superior 'Abhinaya'. Unlike the original version, the present Andhra Natyam is performed with stylish costumes, makeup, ornaments and orchestra. 3. Perini Thandavam: 'Perini Thandavam' is a vigorous male dance form flourished during the Kakatiyas of Warangal. The warriors enacted the dance in front of the idol of 'Lord Siva' before they left for the battlefield. The dance is done to the resounding beats of drums. The dancers invoke and invite Siva offering their bodies to him to dance through. Perini almost disappeared after the decline of Kakatiyas dynasty. Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna revived the dance form to the present day status. 4. Tappetta Gullu: It is a folk dance in narrative form that combines devotion with entertainment. 'Tappatta Gallu' is confined to Vishakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts. The dance involves 15 - 30 dancers dressed in colorful attire with a small drum locally called 'tappetta gundu'. With rhythmic beat of the drum, the performers sing and dance to enchant the villagers. This dance form has become a popular ballad being performed at important cultural festivals in Andhra Pradesh. 5. Burra Katha: 'Burra Katha' is the most popular narrative folk form in Andhra Pradesh. The name Burra Katha came from the percussion instrument used in the narrative. This folk form has perfected by fusing the dramatic and narrative elements with music and humor. The performing team consists of three narrators in colorful dress. The main narrator co-ordinates with narration, description, explanations etc. while the assistants provide rhythm with small drums and chorus. 6. Dappu Dance: Used to publicize information and royal orders in the olden days, the present 'dappu' dancer still plays an important role during village festivals and village Panchayat. Using 'dappu', a percussion instrument, the dappu dancer moves rhythmically in circles during a performance. Over the years 'dappu dance' had transformed into two variations, dappu with songs and 'kolattam dappu' where players use sticks to make rhythmic strikes at each other's. 7. Kolattam: 'Kollattam' or the stick dance is one of the most popular dance narratives in Andhra Pradesh. Known in different names in different places of the state, kolattam can be traced back to 7th century AD. A rural art usually performed during village festivals, kolattam is a combination of rhythmic movements, songs and music. In kolattam, performed by 8 to 40 artists grouped in pairs, The stick provides the main rhythm. The artists lead by the leader move into two circles, the inner circle receiving the strikes while the outer circle delivering them. 8. Yakshagana: Began as a ballad singing art form in the olden days, Yakshagana transformed into a dance drama form. It was initially performed by a single dancer and gradually evolved into a complete dramatic form with many characters. The ballad form, the poetic patterns, the musical styles and the theoretical works contributed to the making of Yakshagana. With passing of time, the structure of Yakshagana form underwent a lot of changes with the interaction of classical drama tradition. The evolution of Kuchipudi Yakshagana form set an example for the performing groups where verses and prose were introduced. The art form is experimented with social themes without altering the basic structure. 9. Puli Vesham: This is an open-air performance usually enacted during Dasara or Moharrum in villages and during festivals in towns. It is one of the most popular dance forms in Andhra Pradesh and variations are seen throughout South India. The Puli Vesham is a dance performed by two, the hunter and the hunted. The dance is supplemented with musical instruments. The dance usually starts with the 'tiger' jumping

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and marching to the rhythm of drumbeats. The hunter enters and wounds the tiger. Then the encounter to subdue each other begins. The dance ends with the tiger falling dead. The costume and makeup of the Puli Vesham is complicated. The body of the person who plays tiger is smeared with yellow paint with bold black stripes. He also wears a mask and a long tail. The acrobatic skills, fearful facial expressions and charging moves make Puli Vesham a very active, awe-inspiring and popular entertainment. Places of Interest in Adilabad District: Adilabad district is the northern tip of Andhra Pradesh. It is connected by NH7 to Hyderabad. Other places of the state are also connected with Adilabad by road. Basar: This village on the bank of river Godavari has one of India's only two temples dedicated to Goddesses Saraswathi. The other temple is in Kashmir. It is believed that the temple is one of the three temples constructed near the confluence of Manjira and Godavari rivers by Astrakutas. According to 'Brahmandapuranam', Valmiki installed Saraswathi and wrote Ramayana in Basar. The temple festival during Feb. Mar. and Sept.-Oct. attracts large crowds of pilgrims from all over the country. Kunthala Water falls: This is the highest waterfall in Andra Pradesh. It drops from a height of 45 meters and is near Kunthala village on the banks of Kadam River. Nirmal: Nirmal town is known for its fort built by the French engineers in the Nisam's service. Nirmal is also famous for toys and Nirmal Plates (plates with miniature paintings and floral design), which flourished with the availability of lightwood in the area. Kawal Sanctuary: The sanctuary, established in 1965, is 260 km from Hyderabad and is accessible by road. It spreads over 893sq.km with dry deciduous teak forest, bamboo and miscellaneous species of flora. Cheetal, Sambar, Nilgai, Muntjac (barking deer), Indian Bison (Gaur), Sloth Bear, Panther, Tiger and variety of birds are seen in the sanctuary. Pranahitha Sanctuary: Another wildlife sanctuary situated approximately 300 km from Hyderabad. The habitat is dry deciduous teak forests spread over 136sq. km along the Pranahita River with undulating terrain. Cheetal, Black Buck, Nilgai, Sloth Bear, Panther, Tiger and birds including Brahmin Ducks, Teals, Storks and Herons are seen here. Places of Interest in Ananthapur District: Ananthapur town is connected to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Bellary, Kurnool and Chittoor. It is also connected to most important cities of the state. Lepakshi: Lepakshi is a religious center 480 km from Hyderabad. It is easily accessible from Tirupati. Lepakshi is famous for the Veerabhadra temple built in Vijayanagar style. The huge Nagalingam standing on a granite block shrouded by a seven-headed serpent carved out of rock and the monolithic Nandi (4.5m x 8.23m) carved in a single rock are attractions for devotees and tourists. Puttaparthi: Puttaparthi, once a sparsely populated village, shot into international fame as the abode of Bhagwan Sri Satya Sai Bhaba. People seeking spiritual solace come to Prasanthi Nilayam at Puttaparthi throughout the year. The nearest railway station is Dharmavaram, 30 km away. Nearest airports are at Tirupati (250km) and Bangalore (300km). Regular bus services are available from most of the towns. Places of Interest in Chittoor District: Chittoor is the capital of Chittoor district. It is 154 km from Chennai and 183 km from Bangalore. The town is well connected by rail and road with other parts of the state and neighboring states. The nearest airport is Tirupati. Tirupati: Tirupati is one of the most venerated and ancient shrines in India. The deity is Lord Venkateswara, the preserver of the trinity. The temple is situated in the foothills of Thirumala. The main temple is a magnificent example of Dravidian temple architecture. The annual festival in September attracts tens of thousands of devotees from all over

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India. There are many more temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and other deities in the vicinity of Tirupati. Tirupati is connected by air to Chennai, Hyderabad and Vijayawada. Horsely Hills: It is a hill station named after former collector of Cuddapah district who used it as his summer residence. Horsely Hills is at 1265 m above sea level. It is 144 km from Tirupathi. The shady slopes are wooded with green lush vegetation. The popular Rishi Valley Public school is here amidst the thick wooded hills. Srikalahasthi: A religious center where Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of 'Vayulinga'. The temple is about 36 km from Tirupati and between two steep hills on the bank of River 'Swarnamukhi'. Kailasnath Konda: Kailasnath Konda is a perennial waterfall in Nagari valley of Chittoor district with mineral rich and clear water. The water is considered sacred with curative value. It has a small temple of Shiva and Parvati. Chandragiri: Chandragiri was a strong hold of the Vijayanagar Empire for a long time. Situated on the bank of River Swarnamukhi, the fort was built on a huge rock a thousand years ago. Ruins of palaces and temples can be seen in the fort. The fort is 11 km from Tirupati. Places of Interest in East Godavari District: The capital is Kakinada that is a busy

fishing harbor and a minor port. Rail and road connect the city to other important centers of the state.
Coringa wild life sanctuary: A sanctuary of 235sq.km was established in 1978. It is in the Godavari delta. Fishing cats, crocodiles, otters and many water birds are seen here. Papikonda Sanctuary: Spread over an area of 591sq.km, the sanctuary is situated along the slopes of Papikonda range. Many animals including tiger and birds are seen here. Rajamundry: 155 km from Vijayawada, Rajamundri is a place of historical and religious importance. 'Pushkaram', the 'Kumbhamela' of South is celebrated here once in every 12 years. The long rail and road bridge over 56 spans (2743m) is another impressive sight. Draksharamam: 'Draksharamam' is a Shivite temple 17 km from Kakkinada and 185 km from Vijayawada. The temple has a unique "sphadika lingam" and many inscriptions on the walls. The temple art shows influence of Chalukya and Chola styles. The temple festival of 'Bhimaswami's Kalyanam' is celebrated for five days in Jan.-Feb. Places of Interest in Guntur District: Guntur is the headquarters for Guntur district. It is an important railway junction. The city is also connected to other parts of the state by road. Guntur is an important commercial center. Amaravathi: 'Amaravathi' was one of the major centers of Buddhist worship in the country. The largest Buddhist 'stupa' is in Amaravathi. Carvings on the dome and railings of the stupa portray scenes from the life of Buddha. Amaravathi is considered as one of the most sacred Pilgrims centers in South India. Nagar Una Sagar & Nagar Una Konda: Nagar Una Sager, named after the Buddhist saint Acharya Nagar Una, was known as Vijayapuri in the past. It is an important Buddhist site about 150 km from Hyderabad. Relics of the Buddhist civilization existed in the 3rd century were excavated and preserved in a man-made island called Nagar Una Konda. Other excavations unearthed the remains of a university, vihara, monasteries, sacrificial altar and prehistoric tools from the Paleolithic and Neolithic era. Nagar Una dam, the world's largest masonry dam is another attraction. Ethipothala Waterfalls: Situated 11 km downstream of Nagar Una Dam is the beautiful Ethipothala Waterfalls. It drops from a height of 21.3 m into a lagoon and flows through a green valley much frequented by tourists.

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Nagar Una Sagar – Srisailam Sanctuary: Spread over 3568 sq.km, this sanctuary is the largest tiger reserve in the country. 130 km from Hyderabad, the sanctuary is a home for many animals and birds. Places of Interest in Karimnagar District: Karimnagar has the biggest thermal power station in Andra Pradesh. The city is linked by road to other parts of the state. Dharmapuri: Dharmapuri is a place of religious importance. The Narasimhaswami temple is famous and the festival of Kalyanotsavam is celebrated in Feb.-Mar. each year. Siva ram Sanctuary: This small sanctuary of 36sq.km is located on the banks of River Godavari near Madhya Pradesh border. Many animals are seen here. Places of Interest in Kammam District: Khammam is an ancient town that was an important administrative center during the reign of Kakatiyas in the 13th century. Khammam is 257km from Hyderabad by rail. Roads link the city to other parts of the state. Bhadrachalam: A very famous religious center for the temple of Sri Seetharamachandra Swami. It is a pilgrim's center for the Hindus. The temple is considered as one of the holiest shrines in South India. The holy 'Kalyana Mahotsavam' attracts over 300,000 devotees to the temple. Kinnersani Sanctuary: A wildlife sanctuary of 655sq.km, situated near Paloncha in Khammam district. The sanctuary includes the big reservoir kinnersani. Many animals including tigers and leopards live here. Places of Interest in Krishna District: The capital of Krishna district is Machilipatnam. It is one of the oldest British settlements in the Indian subcontinent. Machilipatnam is famous for its kalankari printing and gold covering works. Nearest airport is Vijayawada. Machilipatnam can be reached easily from all towns of Andra Pradesh by rail and road. Vijayawada: Vijayawada, the third largest city in Andra Pradesh, is a major buisiness center. The city is located between River Krishna a Budameru, its tributary. The Mogalrajapuram caves, Undavalli caves, Kanakadurga temple, Prakasam Barrage (1223.5m long), Gunadala Church, Hazrat BAL mosque and Gandhi Stupa (15.8m high) are some of the places of interest in the city. The city is 275km from Hyderabad and easily accessed by air, rail or road. Kuchipudi: Kuchipudi lends its name to Andra's famous performing classical dance, Kuchipudi. The village is 60km from Vijayawada and the birthplace of Sidhenra Yogi who developed the present Kuchipudi dance form. Places of Interest in Kurnool District: Kurnool was the temporary capital of Andra Pradesh when the state was formed. It is well connected with other parts of the state by rail and road. Adoni: Ruins of Vijayanagar Empire fort and the Jama Masjid are worth visiting. Abohilam: 360km from Hyderabad and also known as Sin gavel Kundram, Abohilam is dedicated to Lord Narasimha, the lion form of Lord Vishnu. The lower Abohilam is the abode of the Prahaladavarada Narasimha temple. From the foot of the hill one can reach the Nava Narasimha Shrine situated at 2800 feet above sea level by foot. The hill path is about 9km. The nine incarnations of Lord Vishnu is worshipped here. Srisailam: Srisailam is 232km from Hyderabad on the banks of River Krishna. The famous Mallikarjunaswamy temple, situated on Rishabagiri Hill, is one of the most ancient and revered temples in South India. It is one of the 12 'Jyothirlingas' in India. There are many other sacred temples dedicated to many deities in Srisailam. Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary: The sanctuary that covers an area of 3568 sq. km in five adjoining districts is a home for tigers, panthers, crocodiles and a variety of other animals and birds.

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Places of Interest in Mahbub Nagar District: Once known as the 'Cholawadi' or the land of the Cholas, Mahbub Nagar, the headquarters of Mahbub Nagar district, is 96km from Hyderabad and is easily reached by road or rail. Pillalamari: Pillalamari is famous for the 5000 years old Banyan tree which covers an area of over 3 acres. The tree can accommodate about 1000 people under its shade. Alampur: Situated on the banks of River Tungabhadra, Alampur is only 27km from Hyderabad. It has two groups of temples called Brahmeswara temple and Papanatham temple of the Chalukyas times. It is a haven for those interested in archeology. Wanaparthi: The Sarla Sagar Project the biggest siphon dam is nearby. The ancient Vittaleswara temple is in Wanaparthi. Places of Interest in Medak District: The city of Sangareddi is the headquarters of Medak district. Medak assumes its name from the Telugu word 'methuku' meaning a grain of cooked rice. Alladrug: A huge carved Nandi in front of the Veerabhadra temple is a popular tourist attraction in Alladrug. This is a place of archeological value. Kondapur: It was a Buddhist center in the past. The archeological museum in Kondapur has Buddhist collections and gold coins from Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar. Manjira Sanctuary: A small sanctuary of river line forest on the banks of River Manjira that homes many water bird species, mugger crocodiles and fresh water turtles. Medak Fort: Situated in Medak town (96km from Hyderabad) originally built by Kakatiyas kings and rebuilt by Qutb-Shahi kings, this fort is one of the important hill forts of Deccan. The Medak St. Mary's Church: It is the largest Bishopric in India. The church has a beautiful cathedral, one of the three biggest in South India. It has large stained glass windows telling the stories from the Bible. The cathedral can accommodate 5000 people and stands as a fine example of Gothic architecture in India. Places of Interest in Nalagonda District: Nalagonda town is the headquarters. It is situated about 103km from Hyderabad. Nalagonda has many monuments, temples and forts from its historic past. The 13m high monolithic pillar from the 13th century Kakatiyas period and the temples at Panugal by Kakatiyas are renowned for their architectural style and beauty. Kolanpak: It is an important pilgrim center and has a well-maintained Jain temple and many Hindu temples. Nagarjunasagar Dam: This dam built across the Krishna River is 124m high and the tallest masonry dam in the world. Nandikonda: Situated 8.5km from Nagarjunasagar these are the remains of the Ikshvaku citadel and many Buddhist monasteries and halls. Pillalamarri: Temples built by Kakatiyas dynasty gives a clear picture of their culture through the exquisite pillars, beautiful paintings and several ancient inscriptions. Rachakonda: Another location depicting the Kakatiyas art and architecture. The 'Dasavathara' sculptures in a cave and the five temples in the town are of Touristik interest. Places of Interest in Nell ore District: Nell ore derives its name from the extensive paddy cultivation in the district. It is an important commercial center. Nell ore is 210km from Chennai and 515km from Hyderabad. Talpagiri Ranganathaswamy temple and its architecture are worth visiting. Telepath Bird Sanctuary: Established in 1976, it is a small water bird sanctuary. Grey pelicans, storks, herons and many other birds are seen here. Polecat Lake: A major portion of the lake on the Andra-Thailand border is in Andra Pradesh. Boating facilities to observe flamingos, migrant and other resident birds are available.

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Sriharikota: It is a rocket-launching center for Indian Space Research organization. Udaigiri: Ruins of a mighty fort of the Vijayanagar Empire and ancient temples of Chola and Pallava dynasties are in the Udaigiri village. Venkatagiri: The handloom industry produces sarees those are popular as Venkatagiri sarees. Places of Interest in Nizambad District: Originally known as Indur during Qtub-Shahi and Moghul times, thee district was renamed Nizambad in 1905. A 10th century fort, Jain artifacts, Sarangapuram temple dedicated to Hanuman and Sri Neelakanteswara Shrine built on Jain style architecture are some of the interesting places to visit in the city. The city is 203km from Hyderabad and accessible by road and rail. Places of Interest in Prakasam District: The headquarters, Ongole, is an ancient town mentioned in the inscriptions of the Pallava rulers of the 3rd and 4th century. The Chennakeswary temple (18th century) and the Kasivisveswaraswamy temple are places of interest in the city. Ongole is 138km from Vijayawada. Roads connect the city with other important places of the state. Bhairavakonda: The temple of eight-faced Durga-Bhairavaswamy is in the midst of thick forests. A 60m high waterfall adds beauty to the surroundings. Motupalle: Motupalle is an ancient seaport that flourished under various dynasties from 1st century AD. Buddhist ruins indicate that it was a Buddhist center in the old days. Places of Interest in Rangareddi District: Hyderabad is the headquarters of the district and the capital of Andhra Pradesh. Air, road and rails connect the city with other states and cities of the country. Hyderabad is a place of historical and cultural importance worth visiting. The charminars, Golconda fort, Salarjung museum, Qtub-Shahi tombs, Buddha statue, Nehru zoological park, Mecca Masjid, Public gardens, Birla Planetarium, Osmaniya university etc. are some of the places one should visit. Himayt sagar lake (13km), Osmansagar dam, Vikarabad (summer resort, 1153m above sea level and 83km) etc are places of interest outside Hyderabad. Places of Interest in Srikakulam District: Srikakulam district came into being in 1950. Until then it was part of Vishakhapatnam. Srikakulam town is the district headquarters. The nearest airport is Vishakhapatnam at 106km. Roads and rails connect the city to other parts of the state. Arasaville: The ancient Sun-God temple is famous and attracts many devotees from all over the country. Srikurmam: A pilgrim center for devotees of Lord Vishnu. The inscriptions on the temple shed light on the various kingdoms those ruled the region. Srimukhalingam: The 9th century Srimukhalingeswara temple of Indo-Aryan style has remarkable sculptures. Places of Interest in Vishakhapatnam District: The city popularly known, as Vizag is the headquarters of the district. It has the largest shipbuilding yard in the country. The city also got a powerful lighthouse, other industries and long beaches. It is 673km from Hyderabad. It has an airport and other parts of the state can be accessed via air, road or rail. Dolphin's Nose: The massive rock, on which the lighthouse was built, is jutting out to the sea reminding the shape of a dolphin's nose Ramakrishna Beach and Lawsons Bay are long stretch of golden beaches with sunshine to bask carefree and explore on foot. Rishikonda Beach: A golden unspoiled beach 8km from Vishakhapatnam that is ideal for swimming, water-skiing and wind surfing. Bhimunipatnam Beach: it is located at the mouth of River Gosthani, 24km from Vishakhapatnam. This beach is one of the safest for swimmers.

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Araku valley: Araku valley, about 115km from Vizag, is the home of as many as 17 tribes whose folklores and traditions are attractions for the visitors. The journey to the Araku valley by the well-laid Ghat road that winds through the forests, orchards and plantations is a breath taking experience. The Zilda waterfalls add beauty to the fertile valley. Borra Caves: These limestone caves are stalactite and stalagmite formations. The caves are one million years old. A. P. tourism department had illuminated the caves. The train journey from Arraku valley to Borra caves is through winding tunnels and lush green forests. Sankaram: It is a place of archeological interest. Sankarm has many Buddhist relics including a life size statue of Buddha. It is 41km from Vishakhapatnam. Simhachalam: Simhachalam is 16km from Vizag. The 11th century Varaha Lakshminarasimha temple that resembles to the Konark Sun temple in Orissa is situated here. Places of Interest in Warangal District: Warangal is a district of lakes, temples and rich wildlife. Warangal, the headquarters of this district, was once the capital of Kakatya Empire. The city is also mentioned in Marco Polo's travel diary. The city is 157km from Hyderabad and is well connected with other places of the state via rail and road. Bhadrakali Temple: the famous bhadrakali temple of the Kakatiyas period, situated on a hill with a 2.7m tall stone image of the Goddess is the major attraction. Thousand Pillar Temple: This temple dedicated to Siva, Vishnu and Surya is star shaped. Built in 1163AD in the style ofChalukyan temples is a fine example of Kakatya architecture and sculpture. The shrine is famous for its richly caved pillars, fine sculptures and a black Nandi, a monolith, which has a very polished finish. Warangal Fort: The 13th century fort was built by Kakatiyas king Ganapathy Deva and his daughter Rudramma. It took nearly 62 years to complete the fort. Many sculptures and other pieces of architectural values can be seen here. Ethurnagaram Sanctuary: Spread over 812km of dry deciduous mixed forests, this sanctuary homes tigers, leopards, many other animals and birds. Pakhal Lake: This manmade lake is situated 50km from Warangal and completed by Kakatiyas in 1213 AD. Pakhal wildlife sanctuary sprawls over 100 areas around its shoreline. Pakhal wildlife Sanctuary: In an area of 860sq.km with dry deciduous mixed type forests, many types of animals including tiger, hyena, wild dogs and birds are seen. Places of Interest in West Godavari District: The headquarters of the district is Elluru. The city is at the banks of the swamp that surrounds Kolleru Lake. The temples of Janardhana and Jalapahareswara, ruins of an old fort and the woolen pile carpet industry are main attractions of the city. Kolleru Bird Sanctuary: This large bird sanctuary spreads over 900sq.km of wet and marshlands around the Kolleru Lake. Pelicans, gray herons, egrets and many other birds can be seen in the sanctuary. Travel Information Andra Pradesh Travel and Tourism Development Corporation provides budgeted and decent accommodation in their guesthouses spread over the state. The tariff ranges from Rs. 100 to Rs. 500. Air-conditioned rooms are available in most of the guesthouses. The guesthouses are situated in Hyderabad, Secundarabad, Nagarjunasagar, Tirupathi, Mantralayam, Horsely hills (Chittoor), Vijayawada, Araku Valley, and Amaravathi. Festival: Andhra Pradesh has traditional, religious and state festivals organized and celebrated throughout the state. These festivals are full of messages depicting one or more aspects of human life, relationships or ancient traditions. Many of these festivals such as

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Deepawali, Dasara, Mohurrum, Shivaratri, etc. are celebrated nation wide. Some of the popular festivals are briefed below. State Festivals: Andhra Pradesh Tourism conducts four festivals every year. Deccan Festival: the Deccan festival highlights Hyderabad arts, crafts, culture and cuisine. This festival also includes a Pearls and Bangles fair and a food fair. Cultural programs, food stalls arts and craft shops etc. is also organized. Lumbini Festival: This festival is organized to celebrate the Buddhist Heritage of Andra Pradesh. The festival is celebrated in Nagarjunasagar and Hyderabad for three days from 2nd Friday of December every year. Visaka Utsav: The festival is organized to bring together the arts, crafts and cuisine of Vishakhapatnam District. The festival is celebrated from the 3rd Sunday of January in every year and lasts for three days. Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival: Organized in October to highlight the arts and cuisine of Rasyalaseema area of Tirupati, Chitoor District. Other Festivals Makara Sakranti: This harvest festival is celebrated for 3 days in Mid January. The first day is Bhogi that is spent with gaiety. The second day is Sakranthi when the sun enters the Makara Rasi (the zodiac sign of Capricorn). Traditionally this period is considered an auspicious day. Many families arrange a doll show and invite their friends and give alms to the poor. The third day is Kanuma. The Community being agrarian, they acknowledge their gratitude to the part taking of the animals. They decorate the bulls; conduct games including cockfights, bullfights and ram fights. Rich and poor alike will have a good time. Sivaratri: It is one of the pre-historic festivals celebrated all over India in February/March. It is a religious festival devoted to Lord Shiva, the Destroyer. The devotees dedicate the entire day to the worship of Lord Shiva. During the night people remain awake, go to the temple and listen to the Vedic recitals and their meanings. Ugadi: This native New Year comes soon after the celebration of 'holy' in April-May. Spring is considered as the first season of this native New Year of Andhra. Vinayaka Chaturthi: The day when Lord Ganesh or Vinayaka was born (created) is celebrated as Vinayaka Chaturthi. The day is celebrated with devotion and enthusiasm throughout the country. Every year the largest Ganesh idol is installed at Khairatabad in Hyderabad that is taller than thirty feet. On the 11th day of celebration, processions converge at Hussein Sager Lake. The ten-day Ganesh festival concludes with the immersion of Ganesh idols in the lake. Diwali: The festival of light is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh together with other places of the country. It is a festival that revolves around Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. During the festival the whole country explodes into colour and noise. Moharrum: is celebrated in Hyderabad and is as popular as Dasara in Mysore. Muslims also celebrates Milad-un-Nabi with assemblies held Mecca Masjid and at Dar-usSalaam.

KARNATAKA
Karnataka: Called as the Karunadu (elevated land) in the ancient times, present Karnataka is the sixth largest state in the Union of India. Located on the lower West coast of India, it is one of the most industrialized states in India. Area: 191,791 sq.km Population: 52,733,958 (2001 census) Languages: Kannada, Urdu and Tamil Climate: Summer - Mar. to Jun. (26 - 35o C) Winter - Nov. to Feb. (14 - 25o C) Mansoon - Jun. to Oct.

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Best Time October through April Capital City: Bangalore Airport: Bangalore, Belgaum, and Mangalore Major Towns: Bangalore, Belgaum, Bellary, Hassan, Hubli, Mangalore, and Mysore History: The earliest history of Karnataka is perhaps as old as the Hardpan culture. But the recorded history points to the 3rd century BC when Chandragupta Maurya spent his last years at Sravanabelagola, 96km from Mysore. His grandson Ashoka ruled over a large part of Karnataka. By first century BC, the Satavahanas succeeded the Mauryas. The Kadambas of Bavanasi ruled over the modern Karnataka in 3rd century except for the South that was under Ganges. In the 4th century AD, the Ganges built the massive 17m tall statues of Lord Gomateswara and the Jain temple at Sravanabelagola. The Chalukyas of Badami ruled Karnataka for 250 years from 550 AD. They built cave temples and evolved Chalukya style of architecture. By the early 8th century, Rashtrakutas consolidated their power over Karnataka after defeating the Chalukyas. The Rashtrakutas were patrons of fine arts and poetry. The Kalyan dynasty that was an offshoot of the Chalukyas overthrew the Rashtrakutas in 973 AD and ruled Karnataka till the 12th century when two separate kingdoms emerged. The Northern Kingdom was that of Yadavas of Devagiri and the Southern one was that of Hoyasalas of Dwarasamudra who attained fame for their magnificent structures, sculptures and temples. The frequent wars between the two weakened them enabling the Muslim rulers to defeat them in the 13th century. But before they could became real power, the Vijayanagara Empire came into being in 1336 AD. It was famed for its great capital at Hampi, fabulous wealth, trade and military supremacy. Gigantic granite temples and monuments were built at Hampi. The empire stood strong for two centuries. The Bahmani Kingdoms of Bijapur and Bidar, contemporary to Vijayanagara Empire, also added their share to cultural and architectural glory of Karnataka. They built many great structures in Islamic style. The most famous is Gol Gumbaz with its fantastic whispering gallery at Bijapur. After the fall of Vijayanagara Empire, Karnataka was under many petty rulers. The southern half came under Wodeyar Dynasty and the north came under Marathas. In 1791 Hyder Ali took over power from the Wodeyars. Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sultan are notable figures in the history of Karnataka. They expanded the Mysore kingdom and resisted the British to preserve the freedom of their land. They also built tanks, dams, palaces, and gardens in Mysore. After the fall of Tippu in 1799, the Wodeyars were reinstated to power and ruled Mysore until independence. In 1947, Mysore was acceded to Indian Union as Mysore State. In 1956 while reorganizing states, Karnataka acquired additional Kannada speaking territories from Madras, Hyderabad, and Bombay to form the present state of Karnataka with Bangalore as its capital. Culture: The contribution of Karnataka to the composite culture of India is no way inferior to that of any other region of India. Its contribution in the fields of art, music, religion and philosophy are exemplary. Music: Karnataka's contribution to music is unparalleled. It developed a school of music that is called Karnatic School. Carnatic music spread all over south India and it is one of the two dominant musical styles in India. Yakshagana: It is one of the two ancient and rich folk theatrical forms of Karnataka, the other being puppet theatre. Earlier, it was called 'Bayalata', 'Bhagavathara ate' or 'Dashavatara anta'. It acquired its present name because these plays were written in the form of musical dramas and that particular style of music was called Yakshagana. This historic south Indian dance drama evolved 400 years ago. This powerful spectacle, somewhat similar to Kathakali of Kerala in costumes and vigorous dancing, is a potent

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mix of song, dance and dialogue. The Raga melodies, in which Yakshagana songs are sung, belong to an older Dravidian style of music, as most of the names of Raga's are not found in the Carnatic System of music. Dance: 'Silappatikaram', the Tamil text, refers to a dance of the Kannadigas performed in the court of Chera king Senguttavan. An inscription in Pattadakal reveals that Devadasis were engaged in 'Nirtya seva' in temples. Ganges, Rashtrakutas and the later Chalukyas were patrons of Dance. Bhandary Lakshminarayana, the Natyacharya in Krishnadevaraya court, was called 'Abhinaya Bharata'. Dancers were encouraged to perform during the annual Dasara celebrations by the Vijayanagar rulers. The Mysore court also encouraged traditional dance, following the footsteps of the Vijayanagar rulers. Botada Kunita (Dance of the Divine Cult), Nagamandala and Demon Dance are some form of rituals celebrated Dakshina Kannada coastal area. Places of interest in Bangalore District: Bangalore City is the district capital as well as the capital of Karnataka State. Bangalore has a salubrious climate that made it the summer resort of the British Empire. Places of interest in Bagalkot District: This city is the capital of newly formed Bagalkot district. It is a major center for trade, commerce, education and industries. Bagalkot is accessible by rail or road from almost all places of South India. The nearest airport is Belgaum. Badami: Badami was the capital of Chalukya Empire. Situated at the confluence of River Krishna and River Malaprabha, it is also an important pilgrim center. Pattadakal: It is known for its 7th and 8th century temples in Chalukyan style of architecture. Places of Interest in Belgaum: This is the district headquarters and a town of historical interest. It was the capital of Ratta kings during the 13th century. Currently it is a modern cantonment town. Belgaum has a small airport and the city is connects Bangalore and other centers via rail and road. The ancient oval shaped stone fort of 100 acres and the Jain Temple and the Safe Mosque inside the temple are some of the places of interest. Gokak Falls (80km): The 170ft fall is on the river Ghatprabha that plunges into the Gokak valley. Halashi (70km): This was the second capital of Kadamba Dynasty. It has three large temples. Kittur (70km): The Basava Temple has inscriptions dating back to 12th century. This is the place where Queen Channamma of Kittur bravely resisted the British in 1824. Places of interest in Bellary: The city is situated between two hills. The hills are said to be sites of prehistoric settlements. Bellary can be reached by road and rail from other parts of the state. The nearest airport is Belgaum. Hampi (74km): The ruins of Vijayanagar Empire in and around the village of Hampi are one of the most fascinating historical sites in Southern India. It is a thriving traveler's center. Places of interest in Hampi are the 15th century Virupaksha temple with its 50m high gopuram, Hemakunta Hill with ruins of Jain temples and a monolithic Sculpture of Narasimha, the 16th century Vittala Temple, Sule Bazar, Achutaraya Temple, Royal Center that has Lotus Mahal and Elephant stables etc. The Archeological Museum at Kamalapuram is worth visiting. It has some fine sculptures and floor models of Vijayanagara ruins. Hospet: Krishnadevaraya, the popular Vijayanagara king built the town. There is a temple of Jambunatha on a hill nearby.

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Thungabhadra Dam: This 2km long, 40m high dam is the largest irrigation dam in South India. Places of Interest in Bider: Bider was the capital of Bahmani kings in the early 15 th century. Bider has the only sub-terranean stream in Karnataka. It is also an important Jain Pilgrim Center. Bider can be reached by rail and road from other major towns of South India. Chaubara, an old cylindrical observation tower, the formidable 15th century fort built by Ahmed Shah Behmani, the palaces of Rangeen Mahal, Chini Mahal, Turkish Mahal, the Madrasa of Mahmood Gawan etc. are among the interesting places a tourist should visit. Basavakalyan (77km): It is an ancient center of wealth and learning. The fort has ancient sculptures those survived the ravage of time. The Basaveswara temple, the Anubhava Mantapa and the tomb of Sayed Tajuddin are other places of Interest. Places of Interest in Bijapur: Once the stronghold of Bijapur Sultans, this medieval walled city of domes and minarets, was bursting with architectural activities under Adil Shah Dynasty. Bijapur has many mosques, tombs and a number of palaces. Rail and road connect Bijapur to other parts of the state. The nearest airport is Belgaum. The Fort: Yousuf Adil Shah built this fort that is six and a quarter miles in circumference and has five massive gates. Deep most were dug around the fort all along. Asar Mahal: In 1646, Mohamed Adil Shah built this Hall of Justice. This building is supposed to be having two hairs from the beard of Prophet Mohamed. The walls and ceiling of the building is decorated with paintings and designs. Women are not allowed inside. Gagan Mahal: this structure built in 1561 served as the royal palace and the Durbar Hall. Gol Gumbaz: An outstanding engineering marvel, Gol Gumbaz is the tomb of Mohamed Adil Shah. Its enormous whispering dome is the second largest in the world next to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The acoustical system in the dome carries the faintest whisper around the dome and returns to the listener nine times. The gallery around the dome provides a fabulous view of Bijapur. Ibrahim Rauza: Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1580-1626) built this impressive, delicate and elegant structure for his queen. It is said that its tall minarets have inspired those of Taj Mahal. Ibrahin Adil Shah II. His queen, his two sons, his daughter and his mother are interred in Ibrahim Rauza. Jama Masjid: Ali Adil Shah (1557-80) built this finely proportional Jama Masjid that covers an area of 10810sq.m. The Masjid has a fine dome and beautiful arches. Malik-e-Maidan: It means king of the plain. Malik-e-Maidan is a huge cannon measuring over 4m long 1.5m in diameter and weigh about 55tons. It was cast and brought to Bijapur in 1549 as a war trophy. Sath Manzil (the seven-storey palace of Mohamed Adil Shah), Jala Manzil (once a water pavilion) and Bara Kaman (the mausoleum of Ali Rouza) are in ruins, but worth to have a peek. Places of interest in Chamrajnagar: This district has been bifurcated recently from Mysore district. The ruins of an antique city, Manipura are nearby. Chamarajeswara temple built in 1825 is another place of interest in the district. Rail and road connect the town with rest of the country. Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary (52km): Situated on the Mysore - Ooty road, this sanctuary is brought under project tiger since 1974. Biligiri Rangaswamy temple of Dravidian Style (109km) and the Kaveri fishing camp at Bhandeshwar are of interesting places for tourists.

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Places of interest in Chikamangalur: The town of Chikmangalur is the district headquarters. It is a centre for education, trade and commerce. The town enjoys a very healthy climate and has revered monuments of all religions. Places of interest in the town are the fort and its moat, the Parasuraman temple, the Kali shrine, the Ishwara temple, St. Joseph's Cathedral, Kodandarama Temple etc. Kemmangudi (54km): It is an ideal retreat with bracing climate and located at 4700ft above sea level. The sites of Kalahasti and Hebbe waterfalls are ideal picnic spots. Sringeri (103km): Situated on the banks of Tunga River the Sringeri Mutt was founded by Sri. Adi Shankara. the exponent of the Adwaita philosophy. The Vidyashankar Temple has 12 zodiac pillars and a huge paved courtyard. The pillars are constructed in such a way that the rays of the sun fall on the pillar corresponding to the month. Other places of interest around the town are Bhadia Wildlife Sanctuary (38km), Bhadra Reservoir (76km) etc. Places of Interest in Chitra Durga: A place existed during the epic period of Ramayana and Mahabharatha, this district was a place of prominence for all dynasties those ruled Karnataka. Rail and road connect the town to most of the important places of the state. Built in part by the Palegars, Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan, the fort has seven series of enclosure walls and many ancient temples. Places of Interest in Dakshin Kannad: Mangalore is the district headquarters. Located near the backwaters formed by the Netravathi and Gurupur rivers, it was once a major seaport and shipbuilding center of Hyder Ali. The backwaters, the palm trees and the pleasant climate make Mangalore a unique place. Mangalore is connected to Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore and Kochi by air. Roads and rails connect Mangalore to other parts of the state. Places of interest in Mangalore are the Sultan Battery, a remnant of Tippu Sultan's fort, a picturesque Ullal Beach situated at the mouth of two rivers entering the sea, the Shreemanthi Bai Memorial Govt. Museum, the Kadri temple, Mangladevi Temple etc. The River Netravati surrounds the town Dharmastala (70km) in all sides. The famous Manjunatha Temple is in situated here. 30km east is Katil with the Durga Parameswary Temple. 35km northeast is Moodabidri and the famous Jain temple here has 1000 pillars. 52km northeast is Karkala. It is a 15th century Jain centre and has a 13m tall monolithic statue of Bahubali Places of Interest in Gulbarga: Formerly known as Kalbugi, Gulbarga is the headquarters of the district. The town rose into prominence when the founder of Bahmani kingdom shifted the capital from Daulatabad to Gulbarga. It continued to be the capital until 1424AD. The town is 613km from Bangalore and accessible by rail and road from every important place of the state. The Fort: Raja Gulchand originally built the fort. Ala-u-Din Bahmani strengthened it later. The fort has 15 towers and 26 guns. One of the guns is 8m long. In the fort there is an imposing mosque that resembles the mosque of Cordona in Spain. Situated within the fort walls is the Jama Masjid with stilted domes and narrow entrances in the Persian style of architecture. Places of Interest in Hassan: Hassan is the headquarters of the district. This fairly large city was developed into a tourist centre because of the proximity to Belur and Halebid. Hassan is 194km from Bangalore on the national highway linking Mangalore and Bangalore. The district has a salubrious climate. Rail and roads connect Hassan to important centers of the state. Belur: 34km from Hassan, Belur is a tourist attraction with its exquisite temples. Located on the banks of river Yagachi, the Chennakeswara Temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It took 103 years to complete and you can see why

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when you see it. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures friezes with no portion kept blank. The interior of the temple is even better and contains many exquisite panels and richly carved pillars. The Veeranarayana Temple and other smaller shrines are also worth visiting. Halebidu: 16km from Belur and 39km from Hassan, the Hoysaleswara Temple of Halebidu is a wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of gods, goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls giving importance to the minutest details. Yet no two facets of the temple are the same. Two massive monolithic bulls guard the temple. Despite 86 years of hard work, the temple is not completed. Sravanabelagola: An unspoiled township between the Indragiri hills and Chandragiri hills, Sravanabelagola is a great Jain Centre. It is 52km southeast of Hassan and 160km from Bangalore. Thousands of pilgrims flock to see the gigantic statue of Jain Saint, Lord Gomateswara also known as Bahubali. The statue was anointed in 981 AD. Carved from a single block of stone, the statue stands 17m tall and is visible from 30km away. It is one of the largest monolithic statutes in the world. Thousands of devotees gather here to perform the "Mahamastakabhisheka", a spectacular ceremony held once in every 12 years, when the statue will be anointed with milk, curds, ghee, saffron, and gold coins. The next Mahamastakabhisheka is due in 2005. There are several Jain temples and monasteries on the Chandragiri Hills those are worth visiting. Places of Interest in Kodagu: Kodagu (Coorg), the thickly wooded grandeur on the Western Ghats, is the most beautiful hill station of Karnataka. It is the home of Kodava people. Madikeri (Mercara) is the headquarters of the district. Kodagu is situated at 4000ft above sea level. Madikeri is full of dense forests, plantations, orange groves and paddy fields. Madikeri is 124km from Mysore and 248km from Bangalore. Paved roads connect Madikeri to other parts of the state. Abbey falls, formerly known as Jesse falls is a good picnic spot. The fort that houses government offices now and Omkareswara Temple are of tourist interest in Madikeri. Nagarhole National Park (77km): Spread over 570sq.km this wild life sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Kabini River. A rewarding stopover for the wild life enthusiasts, this sanctuary has tigers, leopards, elephants and many species of monkeys and deer. Talakaveri (40km): The sacred River Kaveri originates here. The annual Kaveri Jatra begins on the Tula Samkramana day in October. The annual festival in April attracts large gathering. Places of Interest in Kolar: Kolar town is the headquarters of the district. Until 4th century AD kolar was the capital of Gannas. In the 11th century, the Cholas annexed it. Later it came under Vijayanagar rule. In 1768 British took it over and gave to Tippu Sultan in 1792. Kolar is well connected with rail and road. Kolaramma Temple built by Rajendra Chola, The Makbara of Fateh Mohamed, father of Hyder Ali and the Kolar Betta hill are places of interest in Kolar. Kolar gold Fields: The gold mines here has the deepest mine shaft in the world. A double-decked elevator takes the visitors down where they can the gold bearing rocks. Nandi Hills: Located 60km from Bangalore, a range of craggy hills, It is a popular health resort of today. It was also the place where assorted royalty retired to escape the din of battle and heat of summer. Places of Interest in Mandya: Mandya district is on the southeastern part of Karnataka. Rivers Kaveri, Hemavati, Lokapavani and Shimsha flow through the district and give the district religious importance and scenic beauty. Mandya town is the headquarters of the district. Rail and roads connect Mandya to important parts of the state.

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Kokrebellur Bird Sanctuary (20km): This small bird sanctuary attracts migrating cranes, painted storks, pelicans and other birds from Australia, Africa and Europe. The best season to watch the birds is October-March. Maddur: It was originally known as Arjunapura after the pilgrimage of Arjuna, the Pandava Prince. The Narasimha temple of the Hoysala period built of black stone and the pre-Chola Varadaraja Temple are important among the temples here. Sivasamudram (44km): Forested hills and valleys surround this island town. The River Kaveri cascades into two waterfalls and plunges into a depth of 100m. The falls are best viewed in its full glory during Monsoon (Jul-Nov). Brindavan Gardens (43km): Though normally associated with Mysore, the garden is situated in Mandya district. These gardens are laid out beside the Krishnarajasagar dam. This immensely popular gardens stretch out in terraces along the length of the dam. Innumerable fountains and pools complement many beautiful flowerbeds and lawns. In the night the garden is transformed into a fairyland with swirling fountains dancing to the music and colourful fairy lights. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary (36km): 4km from Srirangapattana, this bird sanctuary is a feast for the eyes of bird watchers. Migratory birds from Siberia and even Americas are seen here. A boar ride around the many islets offers a wonderful view of herons, ibis, storks, cormorants and other water birds. Srirangapattana: Once the capital of Tippu Sultan, Srirangapattana is located on an island between two branches of Kaveri River. From 1610 to 1799, it was also the capital of several Mysore kings. The fort, Darya Daula Bagh (Tipu's Summer Palace), Gumbaz (Mausoleum built by Tippu for his parents), Juma Masjid, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple built in 894 AD etc. are places worthwhile to visit. Places of Interest in Mysore: The third largest city in Karnataka, Mysore gets its name from Mahishasura, the demon from Puranas, who used to rule here. This city of palaces, flowers and sandalwood is the headquarters of Mysore District. Located 140km from Bangalore at a height of 770m above sea level, the city has a non-variant climate. Mysore can be reached by rail and road from any part of the country. To know more follow the link. Places of Interest in Raichur: Once known as Kishkinda, the legendary kingdom of 'vanaras' (monkeys), Raichur is associated with epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Raichur town is the headquarters of the district. Rail and roads connect Raichur to other parts of the state. Ek-Minaret Masjid built in Persian style; the Hill Fort and Jama Masjid built by Adil Shahi dynasty are places of interest in the town. Mudgal: It is a historical town once belonged to the Yadavas of Devagiri. The main attractions are the remnants of a Mudgal Fort and an ancient Roman Catholic Church built before 1557AD. Places of Interest in Shimoga: Located 273km southwest of Bangalore is Shimoga the headquarters of Shimoga District. It was once a stronghold of the Keladi Nayaks. The fort, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus built in Roman and Gothic styles and the Government Museum are worth a visit in the town. The nearest airport is Mangalore, 200km away. Rail connects Shimoga to Bangalore, Mysore and Hubli. There are good road connections from here to important centers of the state. Jog Falls: This is the highest waterfall in India. At this place, the river Sharavati plunges down over a rocky bed and reaches a deep chasm of 292m in four distinct falls. The falls are more voluminous during the monsoon. The countryside is perfect for hiking. Rest houses and hotels are available in the near vicinity of the falls

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Gajanur: Situated near the Western Ghats, Gajanur has an elephant camp for training elephants. A dam constructed across the river Tunga is an ideal picnic spot. Places of Interest in Udupi: Udupi is a new district bifurcated from Mangalore. The headquarters is Udupi town. The town is well connected with rail and roads to other parts of the country. Udupi is a famous centre for pilgrimage. Chandramouleshvara Temple is located in the centre of the town. The local legends say that the famous 'Masala Dosa' was first created in Udupi. Manipal: it is a prominent industrial, commercial and educational centre. Karkala: It is a 15th century Jain centre and has a 13m tall monolithic statue of Bahubali. Places of Interest in Uttar Kannad: Located on the western coast, Karwar is the district headquarters. Surrounded by many beaches, Karwar is an excellent beach resort. The district is one of the major tourist districts in the state and is near Goa. Roads connect Karwar to the other parts of the country. It is a seaport and is chosen as the site for a major naval base. Karwar harbour, River Kalinadi with boating facilities and the muslin factory are places of interest in the town. Bavanasi (137km): It is a temple town mentioned in the Epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Situated on the left bank of the Varada River, Bavanasi once was the capital of Kadambas. Places to visit are: Madhukeshvara Temple, the ruins of a Buddhist Stupa, the Veerabhadra Temple and several idols and Jain icons. Dandeli (125km): It is an industrial township surrounded by forests. Dandeli Sanctuary that covers an area of 207sq.km has wildlife population that includes elephant, tiger, bison, panther, sambar etc. The other tourist spots in Dandeli are Najheri View, Kawala Caves, Synthery Rocks, and Vincholi Rapids etc. Lushington Falls (110km) in Siddapur Taluk, Magod Falls (125km) on the river Gangavatiand Yana (72km), and a pilgrim center are other tourist interests in the district. Festivals: National festivals like Independence Day, the Republic Day and Gandhiji birthday are celebrated in Karnataka. In addition to these, because of Karnataka's multi-religious population, many religious festivals are celebrated harmoniously. Dussehra: The pride of Karnataka's festivals is Dussehra. It is a celebration that lasts for ten days. The rulers of Vijayanagara Empire used to celebrate Dussehra with remarkable brilliance. The rulers of Mysore continued the tradition. The Maharaja of Mysore used to hold a Durbar for 9 days and on the 10th day went in a procession on a caparisoned elephant. With the ending of the royal rule, a picture of Bhuvaneshwari, the patron goddess of Karnataka, is taken out in procession. It is a unique and significant festival of the Hindus. Yugadi: The Kannadiga New Year day Yugadi that falls on late March or early April is celebrated with devotion and delight. Usually the festival dinner starts with jaggery and neem leaves symbolic of joys and sorrows interwoven in life. Karaga: Karaga is celebrated on the full moon day of Chaitra, the first month of Hindu calendar. It is a unique festival in honor of Draupathi, the heroine of Mahabharata. The celebrations start at the Darmaraya Temple in Bangalore. Rajyotsava Day: The formation of the Karnataka State is celebrated on the 1st of November. This is a state festival Makara Samkramana, Sri Ramanavami, Sri Krishna Janmastami, Ganesh Chaturthi and Deepawali are other Hindu festivals celebrated in devotion together with other regions of the country.

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Like other regions of the country, Muslims celebrate religious festivals with congregational prayers. The important festivals celebrated are Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha, Milad-un-Nabi and Moharrum. Christian festivals like Christmas, Easter, Good Friday etc are also celebrated along with the rest of the nation. Buddha Poornima and Mahaveera Jayanthi are celebrated in certain regions of the State.

KERALA
Kerala is the tropical paradise, God's own country, recommended by the National Geography Magazine as one of the 50 destinations in the world that one should visit. Situated at the southwest corner of Indian Peninsula, Kerala is one of the smaller states. The Arabian Sea in the west, Tamil Nadu in the South and East and Karnataka in the north surround Kerala. Isolation from the other parts of India by the Western Ghats helped Kerala to retain its culture in its original form for a long time. Area: 38, 863 sq.km Population: 31,838,619 (2001 census) Languages: Malayalam Climate: Summer - March to June (Max. Temp. 35oC) Winter - Nov. to Feb (Min. Temp. 22oC) Monsoon - June to Oct Best Time to Visit: October – February Capital City: Thiruvananthapuram Airport: Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode Major Towns: Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Kochi, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Kannur History: Legends say that Kerala was reclaimed from the Sea God 'Varuna' by Parasuraman, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, by throwing his battle-axe into the sea. Varuna retreated to the point where the axe fell. The reclaimed land was distributed to 64 Brahmins and Parasuraman went back to continue his penance. In the older days, Kerala was known as the 'Cheranadu'. The prehistoric inhabitants belonged to the Negrito race. Their successors are still living on some hilly areas of Kerala. The Negritos were replaced by the wandering Proto-Australians who settled on the plains. The powerful Mediterranean race, the predecessors of Tamils, replaced them during BC 700. By the advent of Aryans, caste system also formed in Kerala. From times of Sumerian civilization, Chinese, Mesopotamians and other Arabs arrived in Kerala for Trade. In 1000BC, King Solomon's ships arrived here for ivory, sandalwood and spices. The epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata mention the existence of Kerala in them. The documented records indicate that Kerala was under Mauryas (BC322- BC270). During the Sangham Age (1st-5th centuries AD) Kerala was part of Tamil Country. The original language was Tamil and through centuries Malayalam evolved into a full-fledged language. During the Sangham era, mainly three political powers reined Kerala. The southern region was under the Ay kings while Ezhimala Kings ruled the northern region. The area between these two kingdoms was the early Chera country. From the beginning of the Christian era, the Cheras were prominent. They ruled Kerala for 250 years. After the Sangham age, during the 7th and 8th centuries, the history of Kerala is in the dark. By 9th century AD, Cheras again came to power. Their rulers were known as 'Kulasekhara'. By 1102 AD, their rule came to an end. During their reign arts, culture, literature etc.

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flourished. The renowned Sage Adi Shankara, the advocate of Adwaita in Hinduism was a contemporary of one of these rulers. After the decline of Cheras, the kingdom broke into smaller regions under local chieftains. This led to the formation of provincial states. Venadu, Kolathunadu, Kochi and Kozhikode were prominent among them. With the arrival of Vasco da Gama in 1498, a new era started in the history of Kerala. The Dutch and the British followed the Portuguese. The Europeans cashed in on the rivalries of the local rulers and ultimately took the power from them. In 1766 Hyder Ali of Mysore conquered Kochi and Kozhikode and his son Tippu Sultan continued the conquest. The British did not like the idea of Tippu becoming powerful. They teamed up with local rulers and defeated Tippu. According to the treaty of Srirangapattana in 1792, Malabar, Kochi and Coorg became part of East India Company. By the treaty of 1805, Travancore also started paying Rs. 800, 000 as tribute to the British accepting their supremacy. By the early 19th century, the control over Travancore was also complete. There was resentment among people about the way British handled matters. In not so organized scale, movements were staged against the British. Pazhasi Raja of Kottayam and Veluthampi Dalava of Travancore were among those who gave their lives in these freedom struggles. Kurichya Movement and Mappila Movement are a few among the freedom movements staged in Kerala. After Independence, Malabar was attached to Madras. Travancore and Cochin stood as independent princely states. By regrouping princely states in 1949, the state of Travancore-Cochin was formed. In 1956, Nov.1, when states were reorganized based on languages; Kerala was formed with Kasargode from Mysore, Malabar from Madras, Travancore and Cochin. A governor was appointed as the head of state in the place of 'Rajapramughan'. Culture: The cultural Heritage of Kerala goes way back to ancient times. The contribution of Kerala to literature, music and arts of Indian heritage is unique and exemplary. Isolation of Kerala from the other parts of India by Western Ghats helped Kerala to retain its cultural heritage almost to its original form. Performing Arts Koodiyattam: Koodiyattam is the sole surviving classical Sanskrit theatre in India. Koodiyattam literally means, "acting together". This is the earliest classical dramatic art form of Kerala. Kathakali 2000 years old predecessor, Koodiyattam is performed as a votive offering to the deity in the temple. Chakyars enact the male-characters and Nangiars (the women of the Nambiars) enact the female-characters. Nambiars play Mizhavu, the major percussion instrument in Koodiyattam. The character Vidooshaka who speaks three languages- Sanskrit, Prakrit (Crude form of Sanskrit) and the local dialect (Malayalam), portrays the true character of the protagonist with his words and actions. The four-fold concept of acting dealt with in the Natyasastra find its due significance in Koodiyattam. Hand-gestures, bodymovements, verbal acting, make-up, costuming and facial expressions in Koodiyattam are highly stylized. Kathakali: The name Kathakali is derived form the two words "Katha" meaning story and "Kali" for dance. It is a beautiful mix of dance, drama and music that the connoisseurs of art world qualified as 'a total art form of immense sophistication and power'. Kathakali was born only in the 17th century. But in less than four centuries it grew up to represent India's cultural heritage to the world outside. An eclectic art Kathakali evolved its classicism receiving inspiration from most of its predecessors like Koodiyattam, Krishnanattam, Theyyam, Kalaripayattu etc.

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Kathakali plays are composed from Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Bhagavatha. The play synchronizes on stage Nirtta (pure dance), Nirtya (Expressional Dance), Natya (Histrionics), Geeta (Vocal Music) and Vadya (Percussion Ensemble). The language of hand-gestures, body movements and facial expressions are the means of communication. The principal and supporting vocalists sing the text of the play. The dancers translate the songs into appropriate gestures, movements and expressions. Mohiniyattam: Mohiniyattam (dance of the enchantress), the classical female dancetradition of Kerala, probably was evolved in the seventeenth century. Known for its graceful and sensuous movements, it depicts emotions in ways, which are universally understood. Mohiniyattam falls within the soft, graceful traditions of lays - the expression of the cosmic feminine creativity. Mohiniyattam flourished in the court of King Swathi Thirunal who ruled Travancore in the 18th century. The post-Swathy period witnessed the downfall of Mohiniyattam. Mahakavi Vallathol rescued Mohiniyattam from total extinction and added to the carriculam of Kalamandalam. The make-up and dressing of Mohiniyattam is simple and semi-realistic. The dancer's face is made up of yellow and pink-paste. She wears sandal coloured jacket and sari. Jasmine flowers adorn her tied up hair. She decorates her eyes with Kajal and the lips are reddened. The theme of Mohiniyattam is devotion to love of God. Mridangam, Violin and Edakka lend excellent support to the vocal music and to the visual rhythm of Mohiniyattam. Chakiyar Koothu: The members of the Chakiar caste perform the Chakiarkuthu, introduced to Kerala by the Aryan immigrants. An orthodox entertainment, staged in a theatre known as 'koothambalam', in earlier days witnessed only by the Hindus of the higher castes. The Chakiar acts the role of all the characters to the tune of the Mizhavu played by the Nambiar and the cymbals by the Nangiar. He expounds puranic stories drawing parallels from contemporary life in order to emphasize a point or relate a moral from the stories he is narrating. Chakiars has the privilege to crack jocks even at the expense of the dignitaries present in the audience. Thullal: Thullal is a solo dance-drama created 200 years ago by Kunjan Nambiar. The basic element of Thullal is satire, through which Nambiar set about correcting the evils that prevailed in the society. All the sixty plays of Thullal composed by Kunchan Nambiar are replete with humour, sarcasm and social criticism. Thullal has three divisions Seethankan, Ottan and Parayan. The distinction between them lies mostly in the makeup and costumes and to some extent in the metres and the rhythm used. Thullal is a combination of the humorous elements of Koothu and some elements of Kathakali and is performed by a single actor wearing colourful costumes. Thullal often reflects the literary, artistic and cultural life of the medieval Kerala. In Thullal, episodes from the Indian Epics are retold in simple Malayalam poetry. The performer establishes easy rapport with the audience through verbal acting, which is full of humour and social references. Chavittunadakam: It is a Christian dance-drama art form of Kerala. During the 16th Century AD the Portuguese introduced this art form, which spoke of the heroic exploits of legendary Christian warriors. In this musical drama, the actors wear Greco-Roman costumes and even the stage props bear several foreign influences. In the past, the Chavittunatakom was performed on open stages. The players sung their lines loudly with exaggerated gestures, rich dialogues and songs to the accompaniment of beating of country drums. The language is a colloquial mix of Tamil and Malayalam. Folk Arts Theyyam: Theyyam, also known as Kaaliyattam, is a ritual dance popular in north Kerala. It incorporates dance, mime and music and enshrines the rudiments of ancient tribal cultures, which attached great importance to the worship of heroes and the spirits

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of ancestors. Appointed people in fulfillment of vows of devotees perform these in temples. The dancers are men in feminine attire wearing colourful costumes made of palm leaves, cloth and brass jewellery, ferocious masks and big head gear Oppana: A dance form essential to the wedding entertainment and festivities of the Malabar Muslims, now performed among all Muslim communities in Kerala. Maidens and young female relatives sing and dance around the bride, clapping their hands. The songs of Mappilappattu are first sung by the leader and are repeated by the chorus. The themes are often teasing comments and innuendoes about the bride's anticipated nuptial bliss. Oppana is often presented as a stage item today. Thiruvathirakali: Thiruvathirakali is a dance performed by women, in order to attain everlasting marital bliss, on Thiruvathira day in the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December - January). The dance is a celebration of marital fidelity and the female energy. The dancers perform around a nilavilakku. The dance follows a circular, pirouetting pattern accompanied by clapping of the hands and singing. Today, Thiruvathirakali has become a popular dance form for all seasons. Kakkarissi Natakom: Kakkarissi natakom is a satirical dance-drama that questions and ridicules injustice and evil practices those prevail in the society. It is based on the puranic legends of Lord Siva and his consort Parvati when they assumed human forms as Kakkalan and Kakkathi, a nomadic tribe of fortunetellers, and set out to reform the society. The language is a blend of Tamil and Malayalam. The chief characters are Kakkalan, Kakkathi, Vetan, Velichappadu, Thampuran and the Jester. The Dholak, Ganchira, Chenda and the Harmonium perform in the background. Painting: Kerala claims its share in the field of Indian painting as well. The renowned Raja Ravi Varma was (1848-1906) a great artist who brought Indian Painting to the attention of the World. His magnificent paintings like Hamsadamayanti, Sakuntala, Milkmaid etc., still shine in their undying golry. Music: Kerala's rulers and musicians contributed to the development of Carnatic music. Swathithirunal Maharaja in the 19th century promoted karnatic music and wrote many keerthanas, pada and thillanas. The stand-alone music of Kerala is Sopanasangeetham that is used to sing kathakali padas and temple songs of rituals. In addition there are two percussion instruments, Chenda and Edakka, those are unique contribution of Kerala to Indian musical instruments. Places of Interest Starting one's journey from the southern district, Thiruvananthapuram, is an ideal choice. The city of Thiruvananthapuram, built on seven hills and named after the sacred serpent god Anantha on whom Lord Vishnu reclines, is the capital of Kerala and district headquarters. Thiruvananthapuram can be reached by air rail and road. Kollam District: Situated on the banks of Astamudi Lake, Kollam (Quilon) is the district headquarters. The town is situated about 71km from Thiruvananthapuram and is a major railway junction. National highway NH47 passed through it. The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram. Kollam was an ancient seaport where spices with Chinese, Arabs and Europeans were traded. It is still one of the important commercial centers in Kerala. Ashtamudi Lake: This is one of the largest lakes in Kerala. The District Tourism Promotion Council organizes backwater boating on the traditional boats of Kerala. The boating from Kollam to Alappuzha (approx. 9 hours) through the canals, lakes and backwaters will be a remarkably memorable experience. The DTPC also conducts guided tours to Manroe isle in Ashtamudi Lake. From Dec. 26 to Jan. 10, the annual Ashtamudi Craft and Art Festival of India is held at the Asramam Maidan.

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Thankassery: Located about 5km from Kollam, Thankassery has an 18th century church and ruins of an 18th century Portuguese fort. It also has a 44m tall lighthouse. Palaruvi: About 65km from Kollam and 5km from Ariyankavu near the Tamil Nadu border, is this unspoiled picnic spot. The Palaruvi falls from a height of 300 feet into a shallow pool that is ideal for a swim. Krishnapuram Palace Museum: The museum is situated at Kayamkulam, 35km from Kollam towards Alappuzha. The Krishnapuram Palace, a fine example of Kerala style architecture, is fully restored and converted into a museum. The museum houses murals, antiques, sculptures and bronzes. One of the largest murals in Kerala is among the collections named "Gajendra Moksham" that is 14ft X 11 feet in size. Pathanamthitta District: Situated closer to the Western Ghats and hedged by hills, forests and rivers, Pathanamthitta is a treat for the nature lover. Pathanamthitta town is the district headquarters. The nearest airport is Kochi about 175km away. The nearest railhead is Chengannur; roads from other towns of Kerala can access 30km from Pathanamthitta and the town. Aranmula: Famous for the hand-made mirrors of polished metal, known as the "Aranmula Kannadi", Aranmula is an important pilgrim centre. The Parthasarathy temple is situated on the banks of River Pamba. The major tourist attraction is the Aranmula snake boat race held during the Onam season (Aug.-Sept.) Sabarimala: Aboard of Lord Ayyappa, Sabarimala is a very well known pilgrim centre. During the pilgrimage season in Nov. - Jan., millions of people from different places of India pay homage to Lord Ayyappa. Kozhencherry: Located 13km from Pathanamthitta on the banks of River Pamba, Kozhencherry is famous for the Maramon Convention held in Feb-March. This is the biggest religious gathering of Christians in Asia and the second biggest in the world. The Vijnana Kalavedi Cultural Centre: Founded by Louba Schild, a French scholar, the centre is supported by UNESCO. The centre offers residential training courses in traditional arts and crafts of Kerala. Training under expert supervision is given in Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Carnatic music, Kalaripayattu, woodcarving, painting, Ayurvedic medicine, religion, astrology and cooking. Alappuzha (Alleppy) District: Alappuzha is an easy-going pleasant market town. Built around canals, backwaters and surrounded by coconut palms Alappuzha town is the headquarters of the district. There are several canals and lakes in the district those are fit for boating. Houseboats with all amenities are available for hire. Alappuzha is accessible by rail and road. The nearest airport is Kochi, about 75km north. Mullakkal Rajarajeswary Temple: The temple is in the heart of the town. Two festivals are celebrated every year. The Navaratri festival held in Sept. - Oct. is more important. Colourful processions with nine caparisoned elephants are held during the last two days of the celebration. India's finest artists conduct several cultural programs including Thullal and Carnatic music. Pathiramanal: It is a small but beautiful island in the Vembanad Lake. Regular boat services are organized from Kumarakam and Muhamma. Ambalapuzha: The Sri Krishna temple in Ambalapuzha is a classical example of Kerala style temple architecture. Situated 14km from Alappuzha, it is a very famous pilgrim centre. The temple festival is celebrated in March-April. Kunjan Nambyar, the creator of Thullal, an original performing art of Kerala, enacted his first performance in this temple courtyard in the 16th century. Karumadi: Close to Ambalpuzha is Karumadi, known for the 9th century black granite sculpture of Buddha. Arthunkal St. Andrews Basilica: Arthunkal is located 22km from Alappuzha. The Portuguese built the St. Andrews Basilica that is a popular Christian pilgrim centre.

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Nehru Trophy Boat Race: The most popular tourist attraction in Alappuzha is the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race that began in 1952 when the erstwhile Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, visited Alappuzha. The race is held every year on the second Saturday of August. Many gigantic snake boats with 100 rowers in each representing different villages take part in the race. Another Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held in midJanuary to promote tourism Kottayam District: Situated between the palm-fringed backwaters on the west and Western Ghats on the east, Kottayam presents some of the most beautiful natural scenes of Kerala. Kottayam town is the district headquarters. The town can be accessed by rail or road from other places of the state. The nearest airport is Kochi 100km north of Kottayam. Valiyapalli: Not far from the city centre, this St. Mary's Church was built in 1550 for the Knanaya Orthodox Syrians. The church is known for the 8th century Persian cross with the Pahlavi inscription on it. Cheriyapally: Located about 100m from Valiyapalli (Big Church), this smaller St. Mary's Church built in 1579 has an elegant façade with an interior noted for its 400 years old paintings depicting biblical and other themes. Bharananganam: An important Christian pilgrim centre where the mortal remains of Sister Alphonsa (1916-1946) are interned in a chapel next to the 1000 years old St. Mary's Church. The church has an attractive grotto of Virgin Mary. Kumarakam Bird Sanctuary: On the banks of Vembanad Lake, 12km from Kottayam, Kumarakam is a bird watcher's haven known for local and migratory birds. Cormorants, teals, ducks, owls and water fouls are seen from October to February. Feb.-July is the time for the snakebirds, night herons, egrets, and Siberian storks. The ideal time to watch the birds is around 0630 hrs. Kumarakam tourist village is a 101 acre wooded complex with many luxury resorts and houseboats. Boats are available on hire for backwater cruises in the lake. Vikom: Famous for the Shiva temple, Vikom is 40km from Kottayam. It is believed that Parasuraman, the mythological creator of Kerala, built the temple. The Ashtami festival in Nov-Dec is popular for elephant processions as well as dance and music performances. Ettumanur: Famous for the Shiva Temple, Ettumanur is 17km from Kottayam. The temple has inscriptions dating back to 16th century or older. The temple is admired for the superb woodcarvings and murals. The temple festival is held in Feb-Mar. NonHindus are not allowed inside the temple. Athirampuzha: Situated 3km from Ettumanur towards Kottayam, St. Mary's Fiona Church is famous for its annual feast known as "Athirampuzha Nercha". The grand feast is an eight days event. Idukki District: Idukki is an unspoiled nature lover's paradise. With high ranges, forests, abundant wildlife, ridges, valleys and streaming rivers, it indeed is the queen of Kerala tourism. Painavu is the district headquarters. The nearest railhead is Kottayam, about 133km. Idukki can be reached via road from most parts of the state. Cheruthoni: Located around Idukki and Cheruthoni dams, near Painavu, Cheruthoni is at a height of 3900 feet from the sea level. On a clear sunny day one can see the far away Kochi from here. Boats can be rented for cruises between Cheruthoni and Kulamavu. Peerumedu: Situated at about 3000 feet from the sea level, Peerumedu is on the way to Thekkady. The Travancore Rajas used to spend their summer in this small hill station. Peerumadu is full of plantations, waterfalls and open grass fields. Munnar: Munnar literarily means three streams. Munnar has Muthirapuzha, Nallathani and Kundala flowing through and meeting the water demand of the town. It is a hill

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station at a height of 5300-6000 feet from the sea level. 135km from Kochi, it was the summer retreat of the European settlers. Different types of accommodation are available to suit one's whims and budget. Mattupetty: The Indo-Swiss dairy farm is located here. Mattupetty is 13km from Munnar and has a rose garden that attracts many tourists. Devikulam: Devikulam is another small hill station in Idukki. It is located at 16km from Munnar. According to legend Sita, the consort of Sri Ram, once had a dip in the lake and the name Devikulam originated from that. Devikulam has a number of tea plantations. Malankara Dam And Reservoir: It is an artificial lake formed as part of Muvattupuzha valley irrigation project. The dam is 6km from Thodupuzha and easily accessed by road. Boating facilities in the reservoir is available. Periyar National Park: The most renowned destination in Idukki is the Periyar National Park at Thekkady. The wildlife can be observed from boat-ride or by trekking. Though a tiger reserve, it is the best sanctuary to observe elephants. There are other wildlife sanctuaries in Idukki. They are Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary covering an area of 70sq.km, Eravikulam-Rajamalai sanctuary known for the largest population of Nilgiri Tahr, Chinnar wildlife sanctuary and Thattekad Bird sanctuary home to Malabar grey hornbills, Sri Lankan frog mouth and rose billed roller. Thommankuthu: Situated at 28km from Thodupuzha, this place is renowned for its numerous waterfalls. A 12km trekking brings one to the top of the hill from where one can experience the breadth-taking panoramic view of the valley. Ernakulam District: The cosmopolitan city of Kochi is the commercial capital of Kerala. The harbour around which Kochi grew to be known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea is one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Ernakulam is the district headquarters that is located on the mainland where most of Kochi's commercial centers are located. Kochi consists of Ernakulam, Mattancherry, Fort Kochi and islands of Willingdon, Bolgatty, Gundu and Vypin. All these areas are linked with ferry services. Bridges also link Ernakulam to Willingdon and Mattancherry. Ernakulam can be accessed by rail, road or air. Kochi domestic and international airports are about 30km north from the city centre. From Kochi harbour, periodic scheduled passenger services are organized to Lakshadweep. Mattancherry: Almost all historical sites in Kochi are situated in Fort Kochi or Mattancherry. It is a blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and England. Mattancherry Palace: The Portuguese built the palace in 1555 and presented to Veera Kerala Varma, the erstwhile ruler of Kochi. The Dutch renovated it in 1663. Hence the palace is also known as the Dutch Palace. The two-storey structure surrounds a courtyard containing a temple. The murals in the palace depicting scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata are some of the best in India. The palace is open for visits from Saturday through Thursday. Entry is free. Synagogue: The synagogue was built in 1568. The Portuguese destroyed it in 1662. When the Dutch took-over Kochi, it was rebuilt. The Chinese hand-painted willow pattern tiles of the 18th century and the scrolls of the Old Testament are of interest to the visitors. A stone slab inscribed in Hebrew from an earlier synagogue, built in 1344 at Kochangadi, can be seen in the Mattancherry synagogue. The synagogue can be visited from Sunday to Friday. Fort Kochi: St. Francis Church: Built in 1503 by the Portuguese this church said to be the oldest European-built church in India. The original wooden structure was rebuilt in stone during the middle of 16th century. The Dutch restored the church in 1779. In 1795 when British occupied Kochi, it became an Anglican church. In 1524 Vasco de Gama was buried here for 14 years before his mortal remains were moved to Lisbon.

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Chinese Fishing Nets: The entrance to the harbour is dotted with fixed and cantilevered Chinese fishing nets. Traders from the court of Kublai Khan introduced these to Kochi. Each net requires three men to operate. Bolgatty Island: This is the island where the Dutch built the Bolgatty palace in 1744. When British occupied Kochi, this palace became the seat of the British resident of Kochi. Today KTDC has converted it into a three star hotel. The hotel ground has a small golf course. Willingdon Island: Named after Lord Willington, the British Viceroy of India, it is a manmade island created with material dredged up to deepen the harbour. Two of the top hotels (Taj Malabar & Casino Hotel) are located in Willingdon Island. The headquarters of the South Naval Command and the Govt. of India Tourist Office are also located here. Ernakulam: Parikshath Tampuran Museum: It is an archaeological museum next to the Siva Temple on Darbar Hall Road. The museum has collections of prehistoric monuments, old coins, oil paintings from the 19th century, stone sculptures etc. Hill Palace Museum: Located at Thripunithura, 13km from Ernakulam, the museum displays artifacts and belongings including the king's throne and crown of the royal family of Kochi. Aluva: 21km from Ernakulam, Aluva is a pilgrim centre. The town is located on the banks of River Periyar. The annual Sivaratri festival is colorfully celebrated on the banks of the river. Kalady: 45km from Kochi and situated on the banks of river Periyar, Kalady is a pilgrim centre and the birth place of Adi Shankara, of the 8th century, the advocate of Adwaita in Hinduism. Vypin: Ferries shuttle across the narrow strait from Fort Kochi to Vypin Island. The island has a lighthouse. The Pallipuram Fort (Azhikode Fort) built in 1403 by the Portuguese is in hexagonal shape. It is considered as one of the oldest European monuments in India. Festivals Athachamayam: It is a spectacular procession accompanied by caparisoned elephants and floats making the beginning of Onam Festival. Conducted at Thripunithura and Piravam, it displays folk and temple arts of Kerala. Cochin Carnival: The origin of the carnival is traced to the New Year celebration of the Portuguese during the colonial days. Noted for the unique games and competitions, the feast is observed during the last week of December with a grand procession on the New Year day. Indira Gandhi Boat race: The race is conducted during the last week of December to coincide with the tourism fair. Several snake boats representing different villages participate in this race. Thrissur: Being considered as the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur continue to assume the role with its numerous festivals, art schools and institutions those promote cultural activities. Situated 80km from Kochi, Thrissur town is the headquarters of the district. Thrissur is built around a hillock crowned by the famed Vadakkunathan Temple. The nearest airport is Kochi at 50km towards south of the town. The town is accessible by rail and road from different places of India. Archaeological Museum: Situated on the Town Hall Road, the archaeological museum has a collection of temple models, stone relieves, Gandharan pieces and reproduction of some of the Mattancherry murals. Zoo & Arts Museum: 2km from town centre, the zoo spreads over an area of 13.5 acres. The zoo has a variety of animals and a snake park. Within the compound of the

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zoo is the Arts Museum that has exhibits of woodcarvings, bronzes, Kathakali figures etc. Vadakkunathan Temple: Vadakkunatan Temple is the landmark of Thrissur. It is believed that Parasuraman, the mythological creator of Kerala built the temple. A classic example of temple architecture of Kerala, the temple has shrines of Siva, Parvathy, Shankaranarayana, Ganapathy, Rama and Krishna. The central shrine and koothambalam have exquisite vignettes of carved wood. The temple festival Pooram celebrated in the month of April-May is the grandest in Kerala. Guruvayoor: The Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayoor is one of the most famous temples and a popular pilgrim centre in Kerala. The temple is said to have been built in the 16th century. Non-Hindus are not permitted into the temple. Punnathur Kotta, an old Zamorin palace, is where the elephants of the temple are kept. Visiting the palace definitely is worthwhile. Irinjalakuda: Located 21km from Thrissur on the NH47 towards Kochi, Irinjalakuda has a temple dedicated to Bharata, brother of Rama. Perhaps this is the only temple in India where Bharata is worshipped. Cheruthuruthi: Cheruthuruthi is 29km from Thrissur and near the Shornur railway station. It is where Kerala Kalamandalam, the home of traditional Kerala arts is situated. Students undergo rigorous training in Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattam, Thullal, music and drama. Athirapally: The Athirapally Waterfall is situated near the entrance to the Sholayar forest range east of chalakkudi and falls from a height of 80ft. The Vazhachal Fall is 5km from Athirapally. These falls are becoming very popular tourist attractions. Peechi Dam: This is an irrigation dam built across the River Mandi. 15km from Thrissur, it is a tourist centre. Boating facilities in the reservoir are available. Kodungallur (Cranganore): Formerly known as Muziris, Kodungallor was a major seaport on India's west coast. It was the capital of Cheraman Perumal. His famous palace Allal Perumkovilakam was near Thiruvanchkulam. It is also believed that St. Thomas, an apostle of Jesus Christ landed in Muziris in 52 AD. Cheraman Parambu, the ancient Thiruvanchikulam Temple, the Bhagavathy Temple, the Portuguese fort and the old mosque built in the lines of a Hindu temple are of tourist interest in Kodungallur. Palakkad: The district lies at the foot of the Western Ghats. Much of the area is made up of plains of midlands and highlands with a few hillocks. Palakkad is the headquarters of district and can be reached by rail and road. The nearest airport is Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu about 55km away. Kochi airport is 130km south of Palakkad. Fort: Hyder Ali, the erstwhile ruler of Mysore built this fort in 1766. The British conquered the fort in 1784 after defeating Tippu Sultan. Later for a brief period, it was in the possession of the Zamorin. But the British took it back in 1790. The fort is well preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India. Attappadi: Attappadi is an extensive mountain region with dense forests, plantations and rivulets those drain to River Bhavani. Predominantly a tribal area, Attappadi offers forests in its elemental magnificence. Malampuzha: The irrigation dam built across the Bharathapuzha, the longest river in Kerala, is a popular tourist centre. The town is at the base of the hills of Western Ghats. The children's amusement park, miniature zoo and the beautiful rose gardens are set for the pleasure of the children. Facilities for a boat-ride in the reservoir are also available. The famous sculpture "Yakshi" (nymph) by Kanai Kunjuraman is another attraction in the garden. Nelliampathy: It is a forest range 75km from Palakkad. The range is a chain of ridges cut off from one another with valleys of evergreen forests. Nelliampathy is a hill station with cooler climate and can be reached by road from Palakkad.

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Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary: Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, a continuation of the Anamalai sanctuary of Tamil Nadu, spreads over an area of 285sq.km. The wildlife includes elephant, bison, gaur, sloth bear, wild boar, sambar, chital, crocodiles and a few tigers and panthers. Thunakadavu is the headquarters of the sanctuary. The forest department has a rest house and a treetop house those are available for tourists. Boating can be arranged in the lake at Parambikulam. Silent Valley National Park: Silent Valley is the only virgin rain forest in the Western Ghats. Spread over 90sq.km, it contains India's last stretch of substantial evergreen rain forest and many rare species of wild animals. Trithala: Trithala has ruins of a large fort and Kattil Madom Temple with domed granite structure. Malappuram: Bifurcated from Palakkad and Kozhikode, Malappuram was once a centre for Vedic learning and teaching. Malappuram town is the district headquarters. Roads connect Malappuram to the other towns of Kerala. The nearest railhead is Shornur, 33km from Malappuram. The nearest airport is Kozhikode about 30km to the north. The Jama-at Mosque: The mosque is an important religious centre for Muslims. The four-day annual festival (Nercha) is celebrated in April. Adjacent to the mosque is the mausoleum of Malappuram Shaheeds who fought bravely against the Zamorin's army. Angadippuram: Angadippuram is a pilgrim centre for both Hindus and Muslims. The mosque at Puthanangadi has ancient Arabic inscriptions on one of its planks. Thirumandakkunnu Durga temple is one of the three Bhagavati temples in Kerala. The Pooram celebration of the temple is an important temple festival in the Central Malabar. Kottakkal: Kottakkal is well known for the Arya Vydyasala that provides ayurvedic treatment for various ailments. P. S. warier, the famous Ayurvedic physician, established the vydyasala and people from different parts of the world come to Kottakkal for treatment. The township is 12km from Malappuram. Thirunavaya: Thirunavaya is a place of historic importance. Located on the banks of the River Bharathapuzha, it is 7km from Tirur, a railhead on the Mangalore-Chennai route. In the olden days Mamangam, a gathering of the local rulers to choose the king among them, was held in Thirunavaya. The last mamangam was held in 1755. Tirur: Tirur is an important business centre in Malappuram. 3km from Tirur railways station is Trikkandiyur where Tunjan Parambu, the birthplace of Ezhuthachan who lived in the 16th century, is situated. Tunjath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan is considered as the father of Malayalam literature. On the Vijayadasami day, in Dec., people come to Thunjan Parambu with their children to initiate them to the world of letters. Nilambur: At the foot of the Western Ghats, Nilambur is famous for its bamboos and teaks. Nilambur boasts the oldest teak plantation in the world. The oldest teak Kannimeri is an attraction for visitors. The teak museum is located on the Nilambur-Gudallur road, about 4km from Nilambur. The museum will educate a visitor about every aspects of teak. Trikandiyur Shiva Temple: Located near Tirur, it is believed that Parasuraman, the mythological creator of Kerala, built this temple. Devotees from far and near places visit the temple to pay homage to Lord Shiva. Kondotty: Kondotty is a township near to the Kozhikode airport. The 18th century pazhayangadi mosque where the first Kondotty Thangal, believed to be a descendant of Prophet Mohamed, is buried. The Nercha is held at the tomb of the Thangal. Tanur: Tanur is situated 8km from Tirur. It is a coastal town where the Portuguese set up one of their earliest settlements. It is believed that St. Francis Xavier visited this place in 1546. Ponnani: Ponnani was one of the oldest seaports in ancient Kerala. Arabs, Chinese and Europeans were trading in spices. Now Ponnani is an important fishing centre.

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Kozhikode: Previously known as Calicut, Kozhikode is a historical town. It was the capital of Zamorins of Kozhikode. In 1498, Vasco de Gama landed in India at Kappad beach near Kozhikode. Kozhikode was a major seaport in the olden days and steamers even today call for cargo at the port. Being a major centre for timber, Kozhikode has thriving boat-building industry. The city of Kozhikode has a domestic and international airport at Karipur, 23km to the south. Roads and rails connect Kozhikode to major centers of the country. Manachira Square: This is the heart of the city. Once it was the courtyard of the Zamorins who ruled Kozhikode. The Tali Temple, Kuttichira Mosque and the Church of South India in the square represent the major religions of India. Manachira Library that boasts the literary heritage of Kozhikode is worth a visit. Pazhassiraja Museum: The museum is situated at East Hill, 5km north of town. The museum has archaeological displays of bronzes, copies of ancient murals, coins and models of temples and megalithic monuments. Krishna Menon Museum: Krishna Menon Museum: The museum is next door to Pazhassiraja museum and has a section devoted to honour the great Indian leader V. K. Krishna Menon. His personal belongings and souvenirs are exhibited here. Art Gallery: The Art Gallery is located next to the museums. It exhibits paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Raja Varma. Dolphin's Point: At dolphin's Point, in the early hours of dawn, one can see the dolphins swimming and playing in the sea. It is 2km from the city centre. Kappad: Kappad is the beach 16km from Kozhikode where Vasco de Gama set foot in India on the 27th of may 1498. A non-descriptive stone memorial is erected at the beach to commemorate his landing. Beypore: Beypore is a small coastal town 11km south of Kozhikode. For centuries it was famous for shipbuilding. It is still famous for its country crafts built by traditional shipbuilders. Beypore is a popular shopping centre for Arabs who look for large boats. Vadakara: Famous for the Kerala martial art, Kalaripayattu, Vadakara has a historical in the town. 5km from the town is the Lokanarkavu Bhagavathy Temple dedicated to Durga, one of the three famous Bhagavathy Temples in Kerala. Vellarimala: Vellarimala is the unspoilt hilly reaches of Kozhikode not crowded by tourists. The Kanjirapuzha, tributary of Chaliar, takes a winding path through the rocky terrain of Vellarimala forming many attractive waterfalls. Thusharagiri: Located 50km from Kozhikode, Thusharagiri is a tribal tourist spot. Two streams originating from the Western Ghats merge here to form the River Chalipuzha. The river diverges into three waterfalls creating a snowy spray. One of the waterfalls plunges to a depth of 75m. Wayanad: Wayanad is situated at a height of 700-2100m above sea level. It is one of the few districts in Kerala that could retain its pristine nature. The geography and the climate of Wayanad make it ideal for cultivation of tea, coffee, spices and rubber. Kalpetta town is the headquarters of the district. The nearest airport is Kozhikode. The nearest railhead is also Kozhikode. Roads link Kalpetta to other parts of the state. Wayanad is known for its Jain temples and past Jain influence in the state. The famous Ananthanathaswamy Jain temple is located at Puliyarmada near Kalpetta. The glass temple of Kottamunda dedicated to Parswanathaswamy, the third Thirthankara of the Jain faith is located 20km from Kalpetta, on the slopes of Vellarimala. Lakkadi: Lakkadi is a nature's beauty with hills, streams and lush green forests. At 700m from sea level, Lakkadi registers the second highest rainfall in the world. Mananthavadi: Located on the Western Ghats, Mananthavadi is the final resting place of Pazhassiraja, the famed freedom fighter. Thirunelli Temple is 32km from Mananthavadi.

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It is believed that Lord Brahma himself installed the idol of Lord Vishnu in the Temple. The Nagarhole wildlife sanctuary is only 40km from here. Sultan Bathery Sultan Bathery: 98km from Kozhikode, Sultan Bathery has an 18th century fort built by Tippu Sultan. The ruins of Pazhassiraja fort are located at Panamaram, 29km from Sultan Bathery. Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated between the Nagarhole and Mudumalai sanctuaries, this 345sq. km wildlife sanctuary is under project elephant. It is the second largest sanctuary in the state. The wildlife includes elephants, tigers, leopards and various species of deer, monkeys and birds. Pookote Lake: It is a deep and wide freshwater lake surrounded with lush green meadows and trees. Boating facilities, a children's Park, a freshwater aquarium and a handicrafts and spice emporium are available for the tourists. Edakkal Caves: These caves are located at a height of 1000m from sea level on the Ambukuthi Hills, 10km from Sultan Bathery. The caves formed by a natural split in the huge rock present one of the richest pictographic galleries of the world. Archaeologists consider this as one of the earliest human dwellings. The caves contain paintings and graphical writings of the new stone-age civilization. In 1894, F. Fawcet, the then Superintendent of Police accidentally discovered the caves. Kannur: Formerly a major spice-trading seaport, Kannur is known for its handloom industries and forest ranges. From 15th century AD, various colonial powers like Portuguese, Dutch and British exerted their influence on Kannur. In his book of travels, Marco Polo mentioned his visit to Kannur in 1250AD. Kannur Town is the headquarters of the district. The town has a railhead. The nearest airport is Kozhikode, 93km south. Major roads link Kannur to other centers of the state. St. Angelo's Fort: The Portuguese built this triangular fort of laterite in 1505 after getting consent of the Kolathiri Rajas. Under the British it became a major military base. They modified laterite fortifications and several buildings in the fort. Now the Indian Army occupies the cantonment area near the fort. Parassinikadavu Temple: The Muthappan temple is located on the banks of Valapattanam River, 18km northeast of Kannur. Open to all, this is the only place where regular Theyyam is performed daily throughout the year. The timing is usually between 0400hrs to 0900hrs. Talassery Fort: Talassery is 20km south of Kannur. The British established their settlement in 1683 and completed the fort in 1708. Though abandoned, the old English church on Nettur Hill with stained glass windows is worth visiting. Parasdsinikadavu Snake Park: The snake park is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of snakes those are getting extinct. The park has a collection of over 150 snakes those include cobras, Russel vipers, pit vipers, king cobras, pythons and nonpoisonous snakes. Taliparambu: The Vishnu temple at Taliparambu is an example of medieval Kerala temple architecture. The temple is said to be built in the 10th century. It has stonewalls, murals and woodcraft work for the visitors to see Kasargod: Kasargod is the northern-most district of Kerala. It is a land of forts, rivers, hills and beaches. The district is known for its coir and handloom industries. Kasargod is the district headquarters. The nearest airport is Mangalore, in Karnataka, 50km away. The town has an important railhead. Roads connect the town to other parts of the state and neighboring states. Bakel Fort: Bakel fort is the largest of best-preserved forts in Kerala. 16km south of Kasargod town and on the national highway, the imposing circular laterite fort covers 35 acres of land and stands 130 ft above sea level. The history changed the ownership of the fort from one ruler to another. During the ancient times the Kadambas owned it. Then

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it came under Kolathiri Rajas. Later it became part of Vijayanagar Empire. During the late 18th century Tippu Sultan captured it. Bekal served as an important military station of Tippu Sulthan when he led the great military expedition to capture Malabar. The coins and other artifacts unearthed by the recent archaeological excavation at Bekal fort indicate the strong presence of the Mysore Sultans. After his death, it became the property of British. During the reign of the Company Bekal become the headquarters of the newly organized Bekal Taluk of South Canara District in Bombay Presidency. Chandragiri Fort: Sivappa Nayak of Bedanore built this fort in the 17th century. The fort was built in a square shape. It is located 10km from Bakel. The Chandragiri fort, one of a chain of forts built by the same ruler, offers breathtaking view of the meandering Chandragiri river and the Arabian Sea. It is a vantage point to watch the sunset. Hosdurg Fort: Somasekhara Nayak of Ikkeri dynasty built a chain of forts in Kanjangad. He captured Manjeswaram and Taliparambu and built a fort at Hosdurg known as the new port. It is a main tourist attraction. Hosdurg is also known for Nityanandashram, an internationally renowned spiritual centre. Ananthapura Lake temple: This is the only lake temple in Kerala. This 9th century temple is the original abode of Anandapadmanabha of Anandapadmanabhaswamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram. Festivals Kerala celebrates traditional, religious, state and national festivals. These festivals are full of messages depicting one or more aspects of human life, relationships or ancient traditions. Some of the popular festivals are briefed below. The Village Fair: An entire village of the bygone days of rural Kerala is recreated with artisans, Nalukettu (traditional house), temple, astrologer etc., so that the visitors will be able to see and visualize how people of Kerala in those days went about their lives. The festival lasts for a week from 3rd January. The village is set near Kovalam with displays of cultural performances like kathakali, koodiyattam, kalaripayattu, theyyam etc. The great Elephant Race: It is a four daylong extravaganza arranged by the tourism department of Kerala. 101 caparisoned elephants march from Thrissur on the 17th of every January reaching Thiruvananthapuram on the fourth day with stopovers at Kochi and Alappuzha. Boat races and folk art performances are arranged during this period where tourists can have glimpses of Kerala culture. The festival is concluded on the fourth day at Kovalam Beach with cultural programs and seaside barbecue. Food Festival: The festival is conducted at Thiruvananthapuram during the 2nd week of February. Specialized chefs man stalls for each state. Spread through seven evenings, one can taste almost all types of delicacies of Indian cuisine from various regions of India those are prepared and sold. It will be worthwhile to have a go at the dishes from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Nishagandhi Dance Festival: The Tourism Development Corporation organizes the dance festival. Leading artists of Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Odissi, modern ballet and other folk form will perform at the open-air theatre of Nishagandhi in the Kanakakunnu Palace compound at Thiruvananthapuram. Admission is free and the festival usually is accompanied with music. Onam Festival: Onam is a harvest festival celebrated throughout Kerala in AugustSeptember to welcome the yearly homecoming of the legendary King 'Mahabali' who was generous, just and kind. People decorate their homes, wear new cloths and hold special games and competitions. Onam being the state festival, the tourism week is also celebrated with it. The streets of the capital are illuminated. Various cultural and traditional programs are staged at Kanakakunnu Palace and selected premises of the city. The tourism week concludes

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with a grand and colourful procession where floats and folk performances from every part of Kerala are presented. Vetta & Arattu: This festival is celebrated twice in a year, once in Oct.-Nov. and other in March-April. Vetta represents Lord Vishnu hunting down the demon of evil in the forest. Late afternoon in the next day the Arattu procession begins. Images of Lord Padmanabha, Lord Krishna and Lord Narasimha are carried to the Arabian Sea at Sangumugham beach (Thiruvananthapuram), escorted by the members of the Royal Family. At sunset the images are ritually bathed in the sea. Returning the images in a procession back to the Padmanabhaswamy temple concludes the event. Several cultural programs including all-night Kathakali are performed during the festival. Thrissur Pooram: Thrissur Pooram is the most colourful temple festival of Kerala. The festival attracts large masses of devotees and tourists from all parts of Kerala. Celebrated in the Malayalam month of Medom (April-May) caparisoned elephant processions from neighboring Krishna and Devi temples proceed to the Vadakunathan Temple. Saktan Tampuran, the ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Kochi introduced this festival. Though held in the premises of Vadakkunathan temple, Vadakkunathan is a mere spectator of the event. The best of the elephants will be displayed with panchavadyam (music by five percussion and wind musical instruments) followed by magnificent display of fireworks. Nehru Trophy Boat Race: One of the most popular tourist attraction in Kerala is the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race that began in 1952 when the erstwhile Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, visited Alappuzha. The race is held every year on the second Saturday of August. Many gigantic snake boats with 100 rowers in each representing different villages take part in the race. Another Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held in midJanuary to promote tourism Athachamayam: It is a spectacular procession accompanied by caparisoned elephants and floats making the beginning of Onam Festival. Conducted at Thripunithura and Piravam, it displays folk and temple arts of Kerala. Cochin Carnival: Celebrated in Kochi, The origin of the carnival is traced to the New Year celebration of the Portuguese during the colonial days. Noted for the unique games and competitions, the feast is observed during the last week of December with a grand procession on the New Year day. Indira Gandhi Boat race: The race is conducted in the Vembanad Lake (Kochi) during the last week of December to coincide with the tourism fair. Several snake boats representing different villages participate in this race.

TAMIL NADU
Tamil Nadu: The land of Tamils, temples and Dravidian culture, Tamil Nadu is one of the most ancient regions in India. Flanked by Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bay of Bengal, Pondicherry and the Indian Ocean, it is the 11th largest state in India. Area: 130, 058sq.km. Population: 62,110,839 (2001 census) Languages: Tamil Climate: Summer (43 degree C max.) Winter (18 degree C. Min) Monsoon (October-December) Best time to visit: November – February Best Time to Visit: October through February Capital City: Chennai Airport: Chennai, Thiruchirapalli, Madurai, Coimbatore

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Major Towns: Chennai, Thiruchirapalli, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tanjavur, Udakamandalam. HISTORY: The history of Tamil Nadu is very ancient and it is believed that human activity in this area began as early as 300, 000 years ago. It is also suggested that the first Dravidians of Tamil country were part of the early Indus Valley settlers and moved south during the advent of Aryans around 1500BC. However the documented history goes back only to the 4th century BC. There are references in the early Sangham literature to the social, economic and cultural life of people. The proximity to the sea established the Tamil Country on the maritime map of the world even before the dawn of Christian era. The Tamils had trade links with ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Prior to the Christian era, the Cheras, Cholas and Pandias ruled Tamil Country. This was the classical period of Tamil literature, the Sangham Age that continued three centuries after Christ. The domains of these three dynasties changed many times over the centuries. At times other dynasties like Pallavas and Chalukyas came into power. All these dynasties engaged in continual skirmishes; but their steady patronage of arts served the expansion of Dravidian culture. The Cholas took several measures to the welfare of the people. Karikala Chola constructed a barrage across the river Cauvery. Tanjavur and Kumbakonam were prominent Chola centers. During the later half of 4th century AD, Pallavas the great temple builders emerged into prominence. Dravidian architecture reached its epitome during Pallava rule. The monuments at Mamallapuram, Kailasanathar Temple at Kanchipuram and the Kapaleswarar temple at Chennai are only a few examples. The Pallavas were constantly in war with Chalukyas. By the end of 11th century AD, Chalukyas rose into power together with the Cholas and Pandyas. Eventually Cholas became prominent and ruled Tamil Country for the next two centuries. Under Rajaraja Chola and Rajendra Chola Sumatra, Java, Lakshadweep and Sri Lanka became part of Chola Empire. In the 14th century Muslim invasion weakened Cholas and led to the establishment of Bahmani Kingdom. An alternate Power in the south during this period was Vijayanagar Empire that absorbed all strongholds of Cholas and other local Hindu rulers to check the Muslims. Governors called Nayaks were engaged to run different territories of the empire. With capital at Hampi, Vijayanagar Empire was the most prosperous dynasty in the south. But by 1564 the empire came to an end at the hands of Deccan Sultans in the battle of Talikota. The empire was split into many parts and was given to the Nayaks to rule. Tamil Country under Nayaks was peaceful and prosperous. The Nayaks of Madurai and Tanjavur were most prominent of them all. The reconstructed some of the oldest temples in the country. East India Company established itself in Tamil Nadu and in 1640 they negotiated the use of Madraspatnam (Chennai) as a trading post. Petty quarrels among provincial rulers helped the British to gain administrative control over them. Under the British colonial rule, most of the south India was integrated into the region called Madras Presidency. With the formation of Indian National Congress in 1885, the freedom movement gained momentum in Tamil Nadu. Many Tamils played a significant role in the freedom struggle. When India became independent in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras State. In 1956 the Madras State was re-formed to present day Tamil Nadu on linguistic lines.

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Culture: The cultural Heritage of Tamil Nadu goes way back to ancient times. The contribution of Tamil Nadu to literature, music and arts of Indian heritage is exemplary. Music and dance are the essence of Tamil Nadu. Rowing bands travel from village to village singing ballads and rendering entertainment to the common folks. Some of the important folk dance forms are briefed below. Bharatha Natyam: It is one of the oldest dance forms of India that originated in Tamil Nadu. It was originally performed in temples as part of the religious rituals. The salient features of bharatanatyam are that the dancer moves and creates a series of geometrical patterns. Bharatanatyam is a purest form of classical dance. It is a blend of Nirtta (the rhythmic movement of the body without any expression of emotion), Nirtya (the combination of rhythm with expression through eyes, hands and facial movements) and Natya (the dramatic element). Bharatanatyam is performed with Abhinaya (expression), rasa (emotion) and mudras (hand formations). All Dances are structured around 'nava rasas' (the common emotions of happiness, anger, disgust, fear, sorrow, courage, compassion, wonder and serenity). The dance is accompanied by carnatic music. Karagam Dance: A folk dance performed by a performer balancing a decorated pot on his head. Kavadi Attam: the devotees of Lord Murugan, the son of Lord Shiva, perform the dance. Dressed in bright yellow or saffron robes, devotees performing kavadiyattam smear vibhoothi or sacred ash all over their body. Each one carries on his shoulder an ornate Kavadi - a huge bow, richly decorated with peacock feathers, (it is believed that the peacock is the vehicle of Sree Subramanya). Kavadiyattam literally means dance carrying a kavadi. Kavadies are usually of different sizes and shapes, each with its own significance. The dancers twist and spin in a row. A group of such kavadi dancers make an exotic sight. The dancers gradually move in a frenzy, in step with the rising beats of percussion instruments accompanying the procession. Sometimes nadaswaram, a wind instrument, is also used. Poikkal Kuthirai Attam: Another performing folk dance. The performer dresses and pretends as if he is riding a horse and dance to the rhythmic music. Music: As stated earlier, music is an essence of Tamil Nadu. The classical form of music in South India is Carnatic Music. It is a treatise of Sage Bharata and might have originated as a result of Bakti Movement. With the temples as the focal points, music flourished through the ages. Tamil Nadu provided the right environment for the promotion of music. The performing artists had preserved the purity of the traditional styles even today. The Music Academy at Chennai and other cultural organizations throughout Tamil Nadu patronize music and present cultural functions to entertain the visitors. Literature: Tamil Language and literature have greater antiquity than most of the Indian languages including Hindi. The Sangam literature from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD is considered a landmark in the literary and cultural history of Tamils. The greatest literary work of the Sangam age is Thiruvalluvar's Thirukkural, composed with 1330 couplets dealing with morality in public and private life. Even after the Sangam age, Tamil writers continued to produce excellent literary works under the patronage of royal dynasties. Silapathikaram (200 ~ 300AD) by Ilango Adigal and Manimekalai (200 ~ 300AD) by Sathanar are such great Tamil epics. Over the ages the south produced great poets like Kamban who composed the Tamil version of the Ramayana. Sculpture: The history of architecture and sculpture in Tamil Nadu begins with the Pallava Temples, the specific Dravidian style. The temples in Kanchi and the rock-cut temples known as the seven pagodas in Mamallapuram are built in Pallava style. The

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fine sculptures on rock walls; the wonderful monolithic temples and many rock-cut caves stand in testimony to the superb Pallava arts. The Cholas who succeeded the Pallavas were mighty builders as well. The Dravidian style was almost perfected under them. The best example of this style is the great Brihadeswarar temple built at Tanjavur by the great Rajaraja Chola. Chola art is characterized by a massive grandeur. The huge structures were decorated with minute sculptures those involved immense labor and pain. The Cholas also contributed significantly to the arts of bronzes. The Chola bronzes speak volumes about the artistry and skill of the carvers with which they were made. Nataraja, the dancing Shiva at Chidambaram is a classic example of Chola craftsmanship. The Pandyas of Madurai also contributed their share to the temple heritage. The temples of Madurai are befitting examples of Pandya style of temple architecture. Cuisine: The Tamil cuisine is perhaps the oldest representative of the continuous vegetarian cultures of the world. The delicious dishes from the state are relished all over the country and abroad. The cuisine has important delicacies like dosa, idli and vada served with sambar and chutneys. There is a wide range of rice and vegetable preparations. The Tamil food is of great value and good quality. The meals are traditionally served on banana leaves. Places of Interest Chennai: Chennai is the capital of the State of Tamil Nadu. A city of Contrasts and diversities, Chennai is the forth-largest city in India. Known world wide as Madras until recently, the city was renamed Chennai, evolved from the age-old name, Chennapattinam. Mamallapuram: Located 60km from Chennai, Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram was the second capital and seaport of Pallavas. Mahendravarman built the seaport during the 7th century AD. The Pallava chisels breathed life into stones. The sculptures in Mamallapuram emphasize on blending mythology, epics and day today life of the people. The most important of the architectural relics are the shore temple, the five chariots, Arjuna's penance and the Mahishasuramardhini temple. Mamallapuram can be reached by road that runs along the coast. Regular buses operate from Chennai. Chennai is the nearest airport. Various types of accommodation are available in plenty. But during weekends and seasons, hotels will be fully booked. Shore Temple: This beautiful temple built in the 7th century AD represents the final phase of Pallava art. The temple has two shrines, one dedicated to Vishnu in the reclining form and the other to Shiva. Arjuna's Penance: The open-air rock sculpture known, as Arjuna's Penance is the largest bas-relief in the world. It depicts the penance of Arjuna to obtain the legendary arrow Pasupathastra from Lord Shiva. The legend has been carved on a rock measuring 80x30 feet. There are others who believe that it represents Bhagiratha who brought the celestial Ganges to the earth. The natural cleft in the center of the rock is conceived as the celestial Ganges descending to earth. On the two wings of the rock are beautiful sculptures of people, gods, birds and animals. Five Rathas (Chariots): These are monolithic temples named after the five Pandava Brothers, the heroes of epic Mahabharata. Each temple represents different style of architecture and looks like a chariot. The architecture of these Rathas reminds one of about the ancient Dravidian temples. Mahishasuramardhini: This cave has two superb sculptures, Goddess Durga on her lion mount vanquishing Mahishasura, the buffalo headed demon, is one of them. This is considered as the crown jewel of Pallava sculptures. The second is of Lord Vishnu reclining on the legendary serpent Anantha.

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There are eight Mandapams situated in Mamallapuram within a radius of one kilometer. The most famous are those of Mahishasura and Krishna. Salivan Kuppam, a cave temple complex is four km north from here. Sculpture Museum: The museum contains about 3000 sculptures of wood, metal, brass etc. Local artisans make the sculptures. On the way to Mamallapuram, one can visit Cholamandal Artist's village (18km from Chennai), Dakshinachitra (12km, Arts and crafts of Southern India), Covelong Beach (38km) and Crocodile Bank (15km). Tiger cave: This rock cut shrine dedicated to Durga is located 5km from Mamallapuram. The shrine might have been built in the 7th century. The entrance of the cave resembles the mouth of a tiger. Thirukkalukundram: This hilltop temple dedicated to Shiva is located 14km from Mamallapuram. Everyday two eagles, believed to be from Varanasi, visit the temple at noon. Vedandangal: 53km from Mamallapuram, this bird sanctuary attract visitors to watch thousands of water birds those congregate every year during the season from Nov Feb. Kanchipuram: This city of thousand temples is situated about 76km from Chennai on the Chennai -Bangalore highway. It was the capital of Pallavas during 6th - 8th centuries and during this period the best temples were built. Later it became the citadel of Cholas, the Vijayanagar kings, the Muslims and the British. Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities of India. Kanchipuram is also famous for its pure silk fabrics woven from pure mulberry. The city can be reached by rail and road from different places of the state. The nearest airport is Chennai. Kailasanathar Temple: This is the oldest and perhaps the most beautiful temple in Kanchipuram. The architecture reflects the simple early Dravidian style. King Rajasimha built this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the 7th century. There are 58 small shrines around the main shrine those honor Shiva, Parvati, Murugan and Ganesh. Ekambaranathar Temple: This is one of the largest temples in Kanchi. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and covers approximately 12 hectares. The Pallavas built this thousand-pillared temple in the 7th century. Later the Cholas and the Vijayanagara kings improved it. Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar dynasty built the 59m tall gopuram and the massive outer stonewall in 1509. The mango tree in the temple yard, believed to be 3500 years old, has four branches representing four Vedas. The tree still bears fruits. Vaikuntaperumal Temple: This temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is built shortly after the Kailasqnathar temple. Pallava king Nandivarman Pallavamalla built the temple. The main shrine, on three levels, has images of Vishnu in standing, sitting and reclining positions. Numerous inscriptions relating to the wars between the Pallavas and the Chalukyas are found here. Varadaraja Perumal Temple: Located on Hastagiri rock at the end of Kanchipuram town, the temple is dedicated to Vishnu. The temple provides glimpses of 16th century pillared pavilion with exuberant workmanship. Kamakshi Amman Temple: This 14th century Chola temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati in the guise of Kamakshi, the presiding deity of Kanchi. This is one of the three holiest places of Shakti worship in India. The other two is being Madurai and Varanasi. The temple car festival is in Feb. - Mar. Devarajaswamy Temple: Vijayanagara kings built this temple dedicated to Vishnu. It has a beautifully sculptured pillared hall and a marriage hall. Within the large temple tank a 10m statue of Vishnu is immersed. Once in every 40 years the tank will be drained so that the statue could be viewed. It was viewed last in 1979 and said to have had visitors over 10 million.

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Vellore: The small town of Vellore surrounded by the hills of Western Ghats is 135km from Chennai. Vellore is best known for its fort and the Christian Medical College. One can reach Vellore by road or rail from other parts of the state. Fort: Built in the 16th century by a Vijayanagar Chieftain, the fort is one of the finest examples of military architecture in this part of the country. In 1676 Marathas occupied the fort for a brief period. The British took control of it in 1760 after the defeat of Tippu Sultan. Inside the fort there are several buildings and the Jalakanteswara Temple. The temple and the fort are in excellent state of preservation. Christian Medical College: Dr. Ida Scuddar, a medical missionary started this world famous institution. This is one of the best hospitals in the country. Vellamalai: (18km from Vellore) Named after Valli, second wife of Lord Murugan, the temple is dedicated to Murugan. Situated on the top of a hill, the main temple is carved from a massive rock. Thiruvannamalai (85km): This is a Saivite town where Shiva is revered as Arunachaleswar. The temple that covers an area of ten hectares is one of the largest in India. The temple was constructed in the 11th century. But much of the structures were completed during 17th - 19th century. The legend says that Shiva appeared on the hill as a column of fire. The Karthigai Deepam festival celebrates this legend by lighting a great fire on the sacred hilltop on the Karthigai (Full Moon) day of Nov./Dec. Ramanashramam: This small ashram of Sri Ramana Maharishi draws devotees of the Guru who died in 1950 after fifty years of contemplation. Thiruthani: It is 82km from Chennai on the Chennai-Raichur section of the Southern Railway. The temple is dedicated to Lord Subramanya (Murugan). The temple has 365 steps leading to the shrine and each step is supposed to be representing a day of the year. Cuddalore: Located on the East Coast of Tamil Nadu, Cuddalore is the headquarters of the district. It was an important British trading post and port. The most important landmark in Cuddalore is Fort St. David from where Robert Clive worn his spurs during the campaign against the French. Cuddalore is 192km from Chennai. The nearest airport is Thiruchirapalli. It can be reached from any part of the state by rail or road. Chidambaram Nataraja Temple (44km from Cuddalore): Chidambaram was a Chola capital from 907AD - 1310AD and the Nataraja temple were erected during the later time of the administration. The temple complex has four large gopurams. The north and south ones are 49m tall. The presiding deity is Shiva in his aspect of as the cosmic dancer. The Chidambaram temple is situated in the middle of the town surrounded by four broad chariot streets. The temple gopurams have sculptures depicting 108 dance postures of Lord Shiva. The temple complex is another fine example of Dravidian architectural delight. The ten-day temple car festivals are celebrated in PRIL-May and Dec.-Jan. The Natyanjali dance festival is in February and prominent performers from all over the country take part in it. Poompuhar: This ancient capital of Cholas is situated 40km from Chidambaram. Originally known as Kaveripoopattinam, it had submerged underwater except for a small village. The seven-storey museum has a pictorial representation of Silappatikaram in bas-relief. Parangi Pettai: It is 25km from Chidambaram. This port town still has the ruins of the Dutch cemetery and the battlefield where the British defeated Hyder Ali. Pichavaram: This is a 3000-acre mangrove picnic spot located about 15km from Chidambaram. Viruddachalam: This is a major town located 45km from Chidambaram. The ancient temple dedicated to Shiva as Virudhagreeswarar with his consorts Periyanayaki and Ilayanayaki.

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Gangaikonda Cholapuram: About 60km from Chidambaram and situated on the Chennai-Tanjavur highway, Gangaikonda Cholapuram was the capital of Cholas until the end of 13th century. The temple built in 1020AD is dedicated to Shiva. The sanctum tower is very large and second only to that of the temple of Tanjavur. The temple has beautiful sculptures of Shiva, Parvati and Saraswati. The lingam is one of the largest in Southern India. The temple also has some excellent bronzes of Chola age. Tanjavur: Tanjavur town is the headquarters of Tanjavur district. It is situated on the eastern coast of central Tamil Nadu. This ancient city's history goes way back to the Sangham Age. Between 10th and 14th century this Chola capital reached the zenith of its glory. Thanjavur has about 75 temples and the most famous of them all is the Brihadeswarar temple. Brihadeswarar temple: Rajaraja Chola built this great monument of Chola architecture that is acclaimed as the grandest temple in South India. This Saivite temple's tower over the sanctum rises to a height of 65.4m and has a monolithic cupola on the top that weighs 80 tons. A gigantic monolithic Nandi, the second largest of its kind in the country guards the portals of the shrine. The Palace: This palace with huge corridors, spacious halls, arsenal towers and shady courtyards was partially constructed by the Nayaks of Madurai in 1550 and partially by the Marathas. The Royal Museum in the palace has a collection of royal memorabilia and an art gallery. It has a collection of over 30,000 palm leaf and paper manuscripts. The Sangeetha Mahal in the palace is an acoustically perfected music hall. Archeological Museum: This is on the southern side of the temple courtyard. The museum has some unique sculptures and photographs those show the temple before restoration. It is worthwhile to have a peek at the exhibits of the museum. Darasuram: Located 30km from Tanjavur, the main attraction of Darasuram is the Shiva temple. Rajendra Chola built this temple. The temple has some fine sculptures. Kumbhakonam: Situated 30km from Tanjavur, this town is famous for its association with art, literature, music and dance. Kumbhakonam has four large temples; two of them are Saivite while the other two are Vaishnava. The temples are marked for their sculptures and carvings. The Mahamagam festival celebrated once in every 12 years draws thousand and thousand of devotees. Thiruvarur (55km): This is the birthplace of Saint Thyagaraja, the great music composer. The Thyagarajaswamy temple in Tiruvarur has the largest temple chariot in Tamil Nadu. The car festival is celebrated in April-May. During the 10-day festival, the huge chariot is hauled through the streets. Thiruvaiyaru (13km): It is here, the famous January international musical festival is hosted in honor of Thyagaraja, the saint and composer. Velanganni (95km): This renowned church dedicated to Virgin Mary is an important Christian pilgrim center. Nagore (80km): This is a famous Muslim pilgrim center. It has the Dargah of Hazrat Meera Sultan Sayed Shahadul Hameed, a Muslim saint. Thiruchirapalli: This city of ancient history before the Christian Era is 319km from Chennai. Located on the banks of River Kaveri, Thiruchirapalli is the headquarters of the district. It was a Chola citadel during the Sangham age. Though the Cheras, Cholas, Pallavas, Pandyas, Chalukyas and Vijayanagar Empire contributed to the monuments of Trichi, the Nayaks of Madurai built most of them. The city is connected with other parts of the state by rail, road and air. Rock Fort Temple: Thiruchirapalli's most famous landmark is the Rock Fort Temple. The Nayaks of Madurai built the spectacular fort on an 83m high massive rock. The temple dedicated to Shiva is located at halfway. The 344 rock-cut steps take one to the Uchipillayar temple dedicated to Vinayaka, located at the top.

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Srirangam: The Sriranganathaswamy temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the reclining form is situate din Srirangam, 10km from Thiruchirapalli. The temple inscriptions date the temple's existence since 10th century. Many dynasties contributed to the construction of the temple throughout. The largest Gopuram that is 73m tall is completed in 1987. This temple at 60 hectares with its seven walls and 21 gopurams is probably the largest and most sacred Vaishnavite temple complex in India. Sri Jambukeswara Temple: This temple dedicated to Shiva and Parvati is as old as the Sriranganathaswamy temple. The temple is built around a partially immersed Shiva Lingam honoring one of the five elements - water. Lourdes Church: This church built in 1896 is modeled on the neo-Gothic Basilica in France. An annual procession, the feast of Our Lady Lourdes is held on the 11th February. Nathwerwala Darga: This tomb of the popular Muslim Saint Nath-her in an impressive building has 20m high dome with pinnacles. Madurai: Madurai is one of the ancient cities of the world. Its history goes several centuries before Christ. Tamil and Greek documents record its existence from 4th century BC. The city is situated on the banks of River Vaigai. The Pandyans ruled Madurai until 10th century AD. This was the golden era of Tamil culture, literature and learning. Then Madurai changed hands with Cholas, Pandyas, Muslim rulers, Vijayanagar rulers and finally the Madurai Nayaks under whom Madurai became the cultural center of Tamils. Madurai is situated about 472km from Chennai. One can reach Madurai by road, rail or air. Flights from Chennai, Bangalore and Trichy connect Madurai by air. Meenakshi Temple: the landmark of Madurai is the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple dedicated to Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Kulasekhara Pandya originally built the temple. But the credit for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayak dynasty that ruled Madurai from 16th - 18th centuries. It is a twin temple; one dedicated to Meenakshi and the other to Lord Sundareswarar (Shiva). The rectangular temple is graced by twelve gopurams (towers). The southern gopuram is the tallest and rises to 49m. The thousand-pillared hall has beautiful sculptures. The temple is a fitting example of Dravidian temple architecture. Mariamman Teppakulam: This huge temple tank is about 5km from the temple. The mandapam in the center of the tank has an idol of Vinayaka (Lord Ganesh) Gandhi Museum: The museum is housed in an old palace of Rani Mangammal. The government museum is also located on the same grounds. Koodal Alagar Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and it is as old as Madurai. Vishnu is depicted in three postures - standing, sitting and reclining one over the other. Alagar Koil: 21km from Madurai and situated at the bottom of the Alagar Hills, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Vishnu came down to this place from his abode Vikunta to give away Meenakshi to Lord Sundereswarar. Thiruparangundram: Located 8km from Madurai, the temple here is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya (Murugan). It is believed that Subramanya got married to Deivayani in this place. Kodaikanal: Known as "The Princess among Hill Stations", Kodaikanal, situated in the Nilgiris, is 120km from Madurai. It has a solar physics observatory, museum, orchidarium and Kurinji flowers that bloom once in every 12 years. Its star shaped lake is popular for boating and fishing. Palani: Palani's Malaikovil (hill temple) is the most famous temple dedicated to Lord Murugan. One has to climb 650 steps to access the inner sanctum of the temple. During

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January, for the Taipusam, over 200,000 devotees gather at Palani. Palani is 64km from Kodai and 57km from Dindigul. Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary: Located along the Tamil Nadu - Kerala border, the sanctuary covers about 1000sq.km. The fauna includes elephant, gaur, tiger, panther, leopard, spotted deer, bear and many species of birds. The sanctuary is open throughout the year. Coimbatore: Coimbatore is situated at the foot of the Nilgiri Hills in the Western Tamil Nadu. It is a highly industrialized city known as the Manchester of South India because of its production of textiles. One can arrive in Coimbatore by road, rail or air. Coimbatore is a major rail junction. Many trains operate daily to major towns of the state from here. Accommodations of different ranges are also available in and around the town. Avanashi Lingeswarar Temple: This temple built by Cholas in the 12th century is the biggest temple in the district. The temple is located 41km from Coimbatore. Siruvani Waterfalls: This picturesque waterfall is located 37km from Coimbatore and is the source of water supply to the town. Udhamandalam: Referred as the "Queen of Hill Stations", Ooty is a very popular hill station that is situated in the Nilgiris. It offers spectacular scenic beauty and bracing climate. Places of interest in Ooty are botanical gardens, boat club, golf course etc. Tirupur: Situated 50km from Coimbatore, Tirupur is a very famous textile center known for its hosiery products. Salem: The name Salem is derived from the Sanskrit word Sailam meaning an area surrounded by hills. Salem is an important industrial area known for its stainless steel, sago industry and hand weaving. Salem is 328km from Chennai and the nearest airport is Thiruchirapalli. The town is accessible by rail and road from other parts of the state. The town houses the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, the second of its kind in India. The Government museum contains valuable sculptures and terracotta. Salem is also well known for its mineral wealth and its mangos. Mettur Dam: 49km from Salem the dam is constructed in a gorge, where the River Kaveri enters the plains. This is one of the largest dams in the world. It irrigates 108,400 hectares in and around Salem, Thiruchirapalli and Tanjavur districts. There is a beautiful park close to the dam. Yercaud: Located 23kms from Salem in the Shevaroy range, Yercaud is a quiet restful hill resort. It is also one of the most beautiful places in the state. The cool climate with the beautiful vistas and breath-taking views makes it one of the most sought tourist destinations in the south. Killiam Falls, Bear's Cave, Kavery Peak, Pagoda Point, and temples are some of the places of interest. Lake: It is a picturesque pool surrounded by gardens and well wooded trees. Boating in cold water of the lake is enhancing as well as refreshing. Kiliyur Waterfalls: This 300 feet high waterfall is situated amidst picturesque surroundings. Ladies Seat: It links the winding Ghat Road and provides a breath-taking view. Tourists can have a panoramic view of the plains below with the help of the telescope mounted at the Lady's Seat. Hogenakkal: Located 114km from Salem on the border of Karnataka, Hogenakkal is at the confluence of River Kaveri and River Chinnar. From here the Kaveri develops a series of impressive waterfalls. The main attraction is the bath in the falls dropping verically from a height of 20m. Hogenakkal in Kannada means 'Smocking Rock' a name derived from the cloud of mist and spray that engulfs the spasm. Tirunelveli: Tirunelveli was a popular cultural center during the reign of Pandians. It was even the Pandya capital for some time. The town is on the banks of River Tambrapani on

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the Madurai - Kanyakumari road. One can reach Tirunelveli by rail and road. The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram. Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple: This is a twin temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathi and Lord Shiva. The temple complex has a beautiful golden lily tank and a thousand pillared hall. The musical pillars and several beautiful sculptures are worth having a look at. Kuttalam (Courtallam): Kuttalam is situated 56km from Thirunelveli. It is popularly referred as the Spa of the South. Kuttalam is a major tourist attraction of the state. Situated on the Western Ghats, Kuttalam is endowed with nine waterfalls. The water of the falls is said to have curative values. The town is noted for its salubrious climate and scenic beauty. Kuttalam also has an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Mundanthurai Wildlife Sancturary: Located at 45km from Tirunelveli on the Western Ghats near the Kerala border, this sanctuary covers an area of 516sq.km. Though principally a tiger reserve, it is also noted for chital, sambar, lion-tailed macaque etc. Kunthakulam Bird Sanctuary: It is situated 33 Km south of Tirunelveli in Nanguneri Taluk. This village is covered with natural forest and ponds. During Jan. -Apr., more than 10 thousand birds from countries like Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Australia will migrate here and when the season is over the birds will return. Kalakadu Wildlife Sanctuary: This sanctuary, 47km from Tirunelveli, is very popular with botanists and ornithologists as it has a great variety of fauna and birds. Animals like tiger, panther, jackal, wild-dogs and reptile population including cobra, python and several other snakes are found here. The lion-tailed macaque can be spotted at the Kalakad Sanctuary. It is a Lion-tailed macaque preserve. The best season to visit this sanctuary is between March and September. Ramanathapuram: Ramanathapuram or Ramnad is the headquarters of the district. Located at 450km by road from Chennai, the town has historical and religious importance. Ramanathapuram. It is on the rail route to Rameswaram from Madurai. Ramalinga Palace: This palace was built in the late17th century and belonged to the Sethupathi Rajaswho were the traditional guardians of Rama's mythical passage to Lanka. It is the paintings in the palace those make the visit worthwhile. The huge murals in the palace are well preserved. Rameswaram: It is located in an island in the Gulf of Mannar, 36km from Ramnathapuram. Rameswaram is connected to the mainland at mandapam by rail and with Indira Gandhi Bridge by road. It is a major pilgrimage center for both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. Ramanathaswamy Temple: The temple is fine example of late Dravidian temple architecture. Four magnificent long corridors lined with elaborately sculptured pillars are the most renowned features of the temple. Shiva is the presiding deity. It is believed that Sri Rama built this temple. Sri Ramanathaswamy temple is one of the most revered temples in South India. Kodandaraswamy Temple: This temple is located in Danushkodi, 12km from Rameswaram. It is believed that Vibhishana, brother of Ravana who abducted Sita, surrendered to Rama at this spot. Adam's Bridge: Adams bridge is the chain of reefs, sandbanks and islets those almost connect Sri Lanka with India. According to legend, these are the stepping-stones used by Hanuman to access Lanka to locate Sita. Gandhamadhana Parvatham: Located 3km northwest of Rameswaram, the shrine on the hillock has the footprints of Sri Rama. Thiruchendur: South of Tutucorin on the coast is the shore temple, one of the six abodes of Lord Murugan. The original temple was built in the 9th century. But much of it was replaced during the early 20th century due to damage by salt.

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Kanyakumari: Kanyakumari is the southern most extreme of the country. The district headquarters is Nagercoil. Nagercoil is about 700km from Chennai. The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, 60km away. Nagercoil is connected to other parts of the state with rail and roads. Nagaraja Temple: The Nagaraja Temple in Nagercoil has a shrine dedicated to Ananthakrishna (Lord Vishnu). The temple architecture resembles Chinese. Images of Jain saints Mahavira and Paravanthar have been carved on the pillars of the temple. Kanyakumari: Kanyakumari is the land's end of peninsular India. It is in Kanyakumari where the three seas namely the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal meet. On the full moon day, one can watch the sunset and the moonrise simultaneously. Kumari Amman Temple: The Kumari Amman temple is dedicated to the Virgin Goddess Kanyakumari, an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi who single handedly conquered and vanquished the demons and protected the world. The temple car festival is in May-June and the Navaratri festival in Sept.-Oct. celebrates the victory of Devi over the demons. Gandhi Memorial: A portion of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi was immersed in the seas and a memorial was built over the place where the ashes were kept for public view. The memorial was designed in such a way that on the birthday of Gandhiji (2nd October) the sunrays fall on the exact spot where the ashes were kept before immersion. Vivekananda Memorial: The memorial is bulit on two rocky islands 400m offshore. Swami Vivekananda Sat and meditated here before setting out as one of India's most important religious reformers. The mandapam built in his memory reflects different architectural styles from allover India A ferry takes the tourist to the island. Suchindram: 13km by road towards Thiruvananthapuram, this temple of trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) is a repository of art treasures belonging to many dynasties. The temple has many ancient records inscribed in Tamil, Sanskrit and Pali. There is a 6m tall statue of Hanuman in the temple complex. Padmanabha Puram (45 kms): The capital of Travancore until 1333, Padmanabha Puram is known for its fort, which encloses, among other buildings, a palace and a temple. The palace has some important art relics while the Ramaswamy temple has exquisitely carved panels depicting scenes from the Ramayana. Udaigiri Fort: located at 34km from Kanyakumari, this fort was built during the reign of Marthandavarma in the 18th century. The fort was used as a foundry to cast guns. The grave of the Dutch General De Lennoy, one of the most trusted generals of the king, lies within the fort. Festivals Tamil Nadu celebrates many local, state and national festivals. Pongal: It is the harvest festival of thanks giving to Sun, Earth and the Cow. The festival is celebrated in the month of January for three days. Sugarcane, turmeric, sheaves of paddy, newly prepared jaggery; vegetables and pulses are offered to the Sun god. The earth and the cow are also worshiped and offerings were made. The festival ends with 'Kanum Pongal' on the third day when children enjoy watching the celebrations. Vinayaka Chathuthi: Lord Ganesh or Vinayaka, the elephant headed god is among the most worshiped deities of the State. The Ganesh Puja is performed with fervor and gaiety. The celebration ends on the ninth day when the idols of Vinayaka will be carried in procession chanting his name and submerged in water in wells, lakes, rivers or ocean. The festival falls on the month of. Navaratri: Another festival that lasts for nine days as the name indicates. The goddesses of Durga, Lakshmi and Sarawathy, the consorts of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma respectively are worshiped. The festival falls in the months of September - October and is marked with traditional displays of handmade dolls.

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Deepawali: This festival of lights is usually celebrated in Oct.- Nov. It generates an atmosphere of gaiety, friendliness and excitement. Chithirai Festival: Held in the temple of Madurai in the Tamil month of Chithirai (April), the festival lasts for 10 days. In the festival the marriage of Goddess Meenakshi to Lord Shiva is enacted with pomp and gaiety. The marriage procession is the major attraction of the festival. Mahamagam Festival: A holy festival that will bring you to Kumbakonam once in 12 years - the temple city that gets its name from "Kumbha" - the divine pot. Legend has it that Brahma, the Creator, held a pot containing nectar and the seed of creation. Shiva, in the form of a hunter shot an arrow at the pot - spilling the nectar into the famous Mahamagam tank at the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple. Velankanni Festival: Mysterious legends surround the church. The most famous being that of the ship-wrecked Portuguese sailors, who in the 16th century, vowed to build a great shrine for the Virgin Mary, for saving their lives in a terrible storm. The Velankanni festival attracts thousands, clad in orange robes to the sacred spot where the ship landed. Equally famous are the Virgin Mary's miraculous healing powers - earning for the church the name 'Lourdes of the East'. Mamallapuram Dance Festival: This annual festival begins on the 25th of December and concludes during the first week of February. The programs are conducted on all Saturdays, Sundays and Government holidays. Renowned dancers and musicians from all over India and even abroad will be participating in the festival. Summer Festivals: These festivals are held in the hill stations of Tamil Nadu, namely Ooty, Kodaikanal and Yercaud. Conducted in May-June, the highlights of the festival are cultural programs, adventure sports, boat races, flower and fruit shows etc. Natyanjali Festival: A festival of dance, conducted in Feb.-Mar. at Chidambaram, a special tribute to Lord Nataraja (Shiva), the cosmic dancer. Renowned dancers from the country part take in this event that is staged at the premises of the golden roofed temple of Chidambaram. Aruvathimoovar Festival: The bronze statues of 63 Shivite saints in the magnificent Kapaliswarar temple at Mylapore, who lived in devotion and penance, are taken in a colorful procession, once in every year, through the streets of Mylapore, Chennai. Music Festival: In December, a music festival is conduced in Chennai to celebrate the priceless heritage of carnatic music and dance. A galaxy of star artistes, old and new from all over the country will part take in the celebration. Tourist Fair: In January, Chennai experiences a pleasant and cool respite from her famous hot weather. TTDC conducts a colourful a Trade and Tourism Fair in January. The exhibition presents a panorama of Tamil Nadu - all her places of tourist interest, her cultural wealth and economic progress. National festivals like Independence Day, Republic day, Gandhiji birthday etc. are celebrated throughout the state. Muslim festivals like Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha, Muharrum, Birthday of Prophet Mohamed and Christian festivals like Christmas, Easter, Good Friday etc. are celebrated harmoniously as in other regions of the country.

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Goa
Destination Goa: Goa, a tiny emerald land of 3072sq.km was once a pride of Portugal's Eastern Empire. The relatively new state of India with its wide and attractive beaches is a haven for holidaymakers. Even though independent, Portuguese colonial practices still prevalent in the ways of life. The Roman Catholicism is still Orthodox in Goa. Good food and wine grace the humblest of tables. The life is full of song, dance and merriment. Goa is a place for holidaymaker who seeks sun and sand, food and wine and even old forts and temples. Area: 3702 sq.km Population: 1,343,998 (2001 census) Languages: Kongani, Portuguese and Marathi, Hindi and English Climate: Summer - March to June (24oC - 32.7oC) Winter - Nov. to Feb (21.3oC - 32.2oC) Mansoon - June to Sep. (Rain fall=320cm) Best Time to Visit: October through April Capital City: Panaji Airport: Dabolim (Vasco) Major Towns: Dabolim, Panaji, Margao HISTORY: The earliest documented history of Goa goes to Sumerian times of 2200BC, when the Sumerians referred it as Gubio. Around 1775BC, Phoenician started settlements in Goa. During the Vedic period (1000AD-500BC), when Mahabharatha was written, Goa was referred as Gomantak. By 200BC Emperor Ashoka annexed Goa to his Empire. After Mauryas various dynasties took control of Goa. The Scytho-Parthians (2nd - 4th century AD), the Chalukyas of Badami (6th - 8th century AD), the Rastrakutas (8th - 10th century), the Kadambas and Yadavas of Devagiri (11th - 14th century), Vijayanagar Empire (14th and 15th century), the Bahmanis and Bijapur Sultans 15th -16th century) were in possession of Goa. During the reign of Chalukyas and Kadambas (937-1310AD) Chandrapur (Chandor) served as their capital. In 1530 Alfonso De Albuquerque landed in Goa and took over Goa from Bijapur Sultan. By 1543 they have widened their control over Salcette, Marmagao and Bardez. By 16th century AD Goa reached its peak and was referred as the golden Goa. Goa reached its present size by 18th century with a series of annexations. The Marathas almost overrun the Portuguese in the late 18th century. There was a brief occupation by British during the war with Napoleon in Europe. Other than that Goa continued to be under the rule of Portugal until 1961. In 1961 India liberated Goa through a military expedition. Goa remained a union territory for 26 years and became a state in 1985. Culture: Goa's cultural heritage evolved from its history of Hindu, Muslim and Portuguese rulers. Each one left behind distinctive marks on the land and the lives of the people. The traditional crafts of Goa are pottery, terracotta, brass metal works, wooden lacquer ware, crochet and embroidery, bamboo craft, seashell craft and coconut mask carving. Goan cuisine is a delicate art. Being a coastal state, seafood is the specialist of Goan cooking. It blends the Indian and western verities to serve delicacies on the table. The Goans are a highly talented people. They evolved distinctively different forms of art, craft and music blending creatively the East with the West. There are a number of traditional dances performed at different occasions.

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Dekni is a folkdance form performed by women. The dance is performed with a blend of Indian and western rhythms. Dhangar Dance is performed during the Navaratri days. It is a vigorous session of worship and dance. Fugdi & Dhalo is the most common folkdance form performed in Goa. Women also perform the dance. Morulem is a traditional folkdance form performed by the backward community during Shigmo festival. Places of Interest: Goa, famed for its beautiful beaches, white washed Portuguese churches and its cuisine, has a coastal line of 120km bordering a clear and seemingly endless sapphire sea. The famed beaches of Goa fringe along this coastal line. Beaches like Anjuna, Baga, Baina, Betul, Bogamalo, Calangute, Colva, Dona Paula, Harmal, Mandrem, Mirmar, Morgim, Palolem, Siridao, and Vagator are secluded and unspoiled spots. These beaches unravel the ultimate in aquatic sports. Parasailing, speed boating, water skiing, yachting, windsurfing and deep-sea diving hold out pursuance of adventure on the sea. Ancient and historic temples, cathedrals, palaces, forts, beautiful gardens etc., are some of the other attractions in Goa. Panaji Panaji is the capital of Goa. It is a midget town but one of the most beautiful in India. From the wooded Altinho Hill the town slopes to the Mandovi River. Among the places to see in Panaji are: Idalcao Palace: Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur built the palace during the 14th century. Presently the palace houses the secretariat. Next to the secretariat is the bronze statue of Abbe Faria, believed to be the father of hypnotism. Fort Aguada: Situated 10km North of Panaji, the Aguada Fort has the first lighthouse in Asia. It was built in 1612 to protect Old Goa by controlling the entry to River Mandovi. The fort was equipped with an ammunition room, barracks and a church. Once it was a place of Portuguese strength and power. Today it serves as the Central Jail. Goa State Museum: The museum has several galleries featuring Christian art, Hindu and Jain sculptures and bronzes, and paintings from all over India Santa Monica: Ferrying across the river Mandovi in the ferry Santa Monica is a unique experience. Goa Tourism Development Corporation conducts the cruise. The church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception built in 1541 stands atop Altinho Panaji. The 500 years old Bhagavati temple is 26km from the city. Beaches Dona Paula beach is 7km from Panaji. It is an idyllic spot for action as well of laze. Calangute is the most popular beach in Goa. The beach is 15km from Panaji and stretches for 7 km with its twin beach Candolim. Siridao beach is 6km from Panaji. The calm and shallow waters of Siridao beach make it ideal for swimming. Vagator beach is 25km from Panaji. This secluded beach is enhanced with the Chapora fort that marks the entrance to the bay. Old Goa: Velha Goa is on the outskirts of Panaji. It was the capital of Portuguese during the 16th century. Old Goa was abandoned after the 1738 plague when disaster struck. Now Old Goa is a ghost city but it strives on its majestic, grand and amazingly numerous churches. Bom Jesus Basilica: The church is a fine example of Jesuit architecture. Built in 1594, the most precious relic of the church is the remains of St. Francis Xavier.

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Se Cathedral: The church has impressive vaulted interiors and a belfry with a huge golden bell said to be the biggest in the world. The church has 14 side chapels, every one unique in style. Adjacent to the cathedral is Church of St. Francis of Assisi and Chapel of St. Catherine. St. Cajetan Church: The church is built in Corinthian style on the lines of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Convent and church of St. Monica is another interesting church in Old Goa. Margao: This is the second largest town in Goa and the largest in South Goa. The city is a commercial metro and has fine parks and broad squares. Margao has gained more significance with the opening of the Konkan railway and it is the main railway terminal at South Goa. Interesting places in Margao are: Kolva beach: About 6km from Margao is Kolva beach, the pride of Salcete and considered as the rival to Calangute in scenic splendour. It is a series of beaches blended in harmony to provide an 18 km stretch of beach with Palolem and Betul beaches at the far end. Agonda beach: Situated about 33km from Margao, Agonda is a secluded small beach where nature lovers can find peace and tranquillity. Palolem Beach: the beach is 37km from Margao. Palolem is one of the most enchanted beaches in Goa and yet not very crowded. Canacona: 40 km from Margao on the way to Karwar is the intricately carved wooden temple of Sri Mallikarjunaor Lord Shiva. Mapusa: Mapusa is located 15km from Panaji across the river Mandovi. It is the principal town of Mapusa in North Goa with easy access to the beaches of Calangute, Vagator, Anjuna and Chapora. This largest urban centre of north Goa has become popular due to the exotic weekly bazaars that are held in this town on every Friday. The tourists and Goans from nearby areas gather here to buy everything from an old brass lamp to garments or to witness the trading in the market. Ponda: This is the administrative Headquarters of Ponda taluka. Located 28km from Panaji, one of the main tourist attraction is the Safa Masjid, the biggest and most famous of all 27 mosques in Ponda. Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur built the mosque in 1560. Shi Mangueshi temple: About 10km from Old Goa and on the way to Ponda lies Farmagudi and Mangesh where there are fine Hindu Temples those survived the onslaught of the Portuguese. The 400 years old Mangeshi temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at Priol is the most celebrated of them all. A unique feature of these temples is their multi-storied lamp towers. Kavalem: In the valley of Ponda lies Kavalem, where the Shanta Durga temple with an impressive idol of Goddess of Durga in a tranquil mood flanked by Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, is situated. Vasco-Da-Gama: This is one of the two major railway terminuses into Goa the other being Margao. Vasco-Da-Gama is close to the Marmugao harbour and is only 3km from Goa's Dabolim Airport Other Places of Interest Dudsagar Waterfalls: Located 100km from Panaji is the Dudsagar Waterfalls, the most impressive waterfalls in Goa that attract many tourists. It is a popular spot to trekkers and hikers. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: The sanctuary is located on the island of Chorao along River Mandovi. It covers an area of 1.78sq.km. Many species of local and migratory birds are seen here. Bhagavan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated at Molem 160km from Panaji, this sanctuary covers an area of 240sq.km.of thick forest.

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Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary: 52km from Panaji, this is the smallest sanctuary in Goa. The Sanctuary has a zoo, a botanical garden and a deer-park. FESTIVALS Goa is a place where festivals are a way of life and celebrated around the year. Most of the celebrations are woven around religious occasions. Singing and dancing being a part of life, the Goans thrive on festivals. Some of the festivals that are celebrated with pomp are listed below. The visit to Goa is better to be synchronized with the major festivals that are celebrated during the months of November through April. Carnival: Carnival in Goa is a three-day non-stop festival of colour, song and music. Adopted from the Portuguese, carnival with grand parades, floats, singing and dancing are organized by the Government and the tourism industry. Every year, carnival is held from 12th to 15th February. Colourful processions lead by 'King Mom', shows, parades, floats etc., makes carnival a great spectacle. Carnival is one of the most awaited summer festivals in Goa that also heralds the time of lent for the Goan Christian community. Shigmo Festival: Shigmo festival is Goa's version of Holi, an ancient Hindu festival. It is celebrated in the month of March during the full moon period from the 11th to 15th moon day that marks the beginning of spring. People irrespective of caste, religion or creed gather to watch the Shigmo parade held in Panjim. Ganapati Chathurthi: This is perhaps the most significant Hindu festival in Goa. Ganesh festival is celebrated in Goa with religious fervor and spontaneity similar to other parts of India. The idols of Ganesh are carried in procession and immersed in water in ponds, rivers or sea. Zatra: Zatra is another Hindu festival of temple feast and processions. This is celebrated in the early part of May, every year, in the town of Shirgao in Bicholim. Thousands of devotees gather and indulge in rituals and pujas to Goddess Shree Lairai. A thrilling and exciting fire walking is performed early in the morning. Feast of the passion of Christ: this feast is celebrated on the Sunday following Easter. The festival attracts more than 50,000 people from all over Goa. The feast is celebrated in Siridao, a small village in Tiswadi. Diwali: The festival of lights is celebrated together with the rest of the country to rejoice the triumph of good over evil. Many other religious and non-religious festivals are also celebrated in Goa.

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