The Brahadeeswara temple is one of the most important landmarks of the city and was built by Raja Raja Chola- I and is known as the most intricate example of the South Indian temple architecture. It is a world heritage site and is said to have been constructed as a celebration of the victory of the Chola Kingdom. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the architecture of the temple is truly one of a kind as hundreds of lingams are carved onto the stone structure. The temple is surrounded by gardens and the entrance to the temple complex is free of cost. A trip to Thanjavur cannot be complete without visiting the Brihadishwara temple!
If you wish to entertain yourself in mythical style, Karaikudi is certainly your ultimate destination. The place has a huge collection of monuments and historical homes. The list of tourist sites in Karaikudi would remain incomplete without the opening of Dakshinachitra. The sensational place is made of arts, crafts and differently styled homes. Moving on, you should visit the Chettiar mansions. These homes are extremely famous for its entrances and doorways. Made of fine Burma Teak, these mansions are filled with unparalleled carvings. Similarly, the Chettiar Palace, Athangudi, Chettinad Museum and Kaviarsar Kannadhasan Mani Mandapam are few other places of importance in Karaikudi.
Nilgiri Mountain Rail
Covering a distance of 46 km in around 5 hours, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway takes tourists from Mettupalayam to Ootacamund or Ooty. This is a truly amazing journey that takes tourists from a height of 1069 feet to 7228 feet. The history of the train can be traced back to the times when it was very difficult to reach Udhagamandalam – as Ooty was called in those days. Travellers needed to ride on a horse back or carried on ‘dollies’ through a forested path to reach Ooty. It was this access difficulty that gave birth to an idea of constructing a rail line to connect the hilly areas of Coonoor and Ooty from plains. The first thought was kept in the year 1854, however, it took around another forty years before the actual work could begin. A Swiss inventor, Riggenback worked on it, and built up the initial line upto Coonoor by the year 1899. Later, by 1908, the track was extended upto Fernhill and then Ooty.
The Fort’s ownership passed from Vijayanagara Kings, to the Bijapur Sultans, to Marathas, to the Carnatic Nawabs and finally to the British, who held the fort until India gained independence. The Indian government maintains the Fort with the Archaeological Department. During British rule, the Tipu Sultan’s family and the last king of Sri Lanka, Sri Vikrama Rajasinha were held in as prisoners in the fort. The fort houses a Christian church, a Muslim mosque and a Hindu temple, the latter of which is famous for its magnificent carvings. The first rebellion against British rule erupted at this fort in 1806, and it is also a witness to the massacre of the Vijayanagara royal family of Sriranga Raya.
The Varaha Cave, a small rock-cut mandapam (hall), is a faceted and finished gem with four panels of the famous Pallava doorkeepers who wear an expression of “pious rapture,” as Heinrich Zimmer, a leading expert on Mahabalipuram put it. There is about them a mood of contemplative reverie, a lyrical softness and subtle grace totally at variance with the primordial machismo their role as guards of the gods imposes on them. Accommodation in Resorts Mahabalipuram close to the tourist spots can be arranged.