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Bangalore
Best time to visit - January,February,March,September,October,November,December
If you live in a hot part of the country, Bangalore's good weather will immediately put you into a good mood. While the centre of the city has remained as it was during the British Raj, the area encircling it is on a constant boom with a vibrant student culture, popular pubs and a major electronic and industrial lifestyle. As a tourist, you can go see the Bangalore Castle. Modelled on the lines of the Windsor Castle, the one on Bangalore is a great example of the Tudor architectural style. It has beautiful gardens and the wooden carvings. The glass house at Lal Bagh and its botanical garden is a good place to relax while taking a walk. Cubbon park is one of the primary reasons why Bangalore was formerly nicknamed as the Garden City. The picturesque greenery in the middle of the city is stupefying. You can visit the Peninsular Gneiss to witness the oldest granite formations and also the look at the city from an elevated land. For a perfect end to the day, grab a beer at Toit or Peco’s. Follow it up with a grand meal at Koshy’s or Ebony, or the hundreds of other quirky restaurants in the city.
Pondicherry
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,October,November,December
For a dose of south Indian culture with a side of French flavours, travel to the city of Pondicherry (also known as Puducherry), perched on India’s east coast in Tamil Nadu. Peppered with Gallic landscapes of bougainvillea draped colonial townhouses, pastel villas and leafy boulevards, Pondicherry is a haven for both – the traveller in the quest for spiritual awakening, and the leisure-seeking tourist. One of the Puducherry’s most sacred attractions, is the internationally acclaimed Sri Aurobindo Ashram located off Goubert Ave. Drawing lakhs of devotees from across the world every year, the grounds are home to the shrines of Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa (The Mother), and a meditation hall, which is one of the most peaceful places to visit in Pondicherry. Another must visit destination is the township of Auroville that was founded in 1968, located 8kms away from Pondicherry. The community, houses people of 45 nationalities. One of the lesser known things to do in Puducherry is bird watching at the Ousteri Wetlands, 10kms from the heart of the town. You could spend your mornings at city’s major beaches - Auroville, Serenity, Promenade and Paradise, and end your trip with a walk along the seafront promenade, as you chase the setting sun.
Tirupati
Best time to visit - January,February,March,November,December
Known all over the country for the sacred Sri Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati is located in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is actually located in Tirumala along with a number of other temples, though Sri Venkateshwara Temple or Tirupati Balaji is the main attraction for visitors. Tirumala is always bustling with energy owing to the many tourists as well as the number of festivals celebrated here. Legend has it that one should visit Sri Varahaswami temple before visiting Sri Venkateswaraswami. Varahaswami owned the seven hills and agreed to give them to Sri Venkateswaraswami with the demand that he too should be worshipped. And for this, Sri Venkateswaraswami asked his pilgrims to visit the Sri Varahaswami temple before visiting him. For first timers there are a few things you should keep in mind including appropriate clothing, no alcohol and carrying extra locks for your rooms as well as vehicles. Before visiting the temple, you'll need darshan tickets, which are available at various TTD counters across the country. A beautiful place with immense spiritual energy, Tirupati is a must visit.
Thanjavur
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Thanjavur is more of a pilgrim centre than a tourist destination. It is also popularly known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. The city is dotted with temples and palaces that are reminiscent of the Dravidian civilisation, making it not only a temple town but also a cultural headquarter. The ancient Brihadishwara Temple with its ochre foundational blocks is a magnificent piece of South Indian temple architecture with the intricate detailing on its walls, ceilings and pillars. The Thanjavur Royal Palace is another marvel that speaks largely of the royalty of the past empires. There is an art gallery that not only houses art pieces and sculptures from the Chola period but also offers a beautiful view of the entire town. It is a delight to watch festivities such as Pongal, Ekadasi or Saraswati Puja over here when the entire city puts up a show and comes to life. There is a worldwide demand for Tanjore paintings, which have almost become souvenirs for festive occasions of the Thanjavur culture. The artistic brass plates and handloom silk sarees too are beautiful collectibles that are only available in Thanjavur. You can stay at Svatma or Ideal River View Resort to make the trip a rejuvenating one.
Tiruchirappalli
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
This city in Tamil Nadu does not provide much to see unless your sightseeing interests include religious dwellings. In that case Trichy can keep you busy throughout the day with a plethora of temples to visit, such as Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Brahmapureeswarar Temple, Jambukeswarar Temple and the Rock Fort Temple. There is also a majestic Gallo-Catholic church, St. Lourdes, which interestingly lies at the conjunction of a temple and a mosque, an attribute to secularism and diversity. The city is also home to a planetarium, located at the Anna Science Centre, which is worth a visit. Sangeetha, Hotel Kannappa Mannarpuram and Saba are good restaurants for vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Flights to Trichy operate from all around the country, and there are also bus and train services to this city.
Mahabalipuram
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Home to UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples, dreamy sunsets and spiritually-uplifting energy, Mahabalipuram is perhaps one of the most visited places in Tamil Nadu. Locally known as Mamallapuram, this was once the capital of the Pallava Empire. From exciting water sports to classic statuettes, the place is a delight for voyagers. Feel the shore underneath your feet at the Mahabalipuram beach and indulge in some super fun beach activities such as wind surfing and sea diving. The temples here have a special feature in common, they are built in the form of chariots with open air sanctoriums. The Shore Temple, standing strong like a marvellous rock-cut stone and overlooking the sea is known as the last creation of the Pallava kings. Another wonder in Mahabalipuram is the Panch Rathas, the five monuments that were etched out of a single rock in the 7th century. Pack your travel bags to explore the incredible Indian history by discovering the ageless stories of temples and their incredible architecture. You can get a bus from Koyembedu in Chennai or Pondicherry.
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