Archive for the ‘States of South India’ Category
Lord Venkateshwara temple at Tirupati is an important pilgrim centre for the Hindus. Generally, weekdays are less Crowded.The most popular destination for Hindu pilgrims in India, Tirupati is the site of the Shri Venkateshvara Temple, situated in the Tirumala Hills, 700 m (2.297 ft) above the town. The seven “sacred hills” of Tirumala are believed to symbolize the seven – headed serpent god Adisesha, on whose coils Vishnu sleeps. The temple dates to the 9th century, although it has often been expanded and renovated from the 15th century onwards.
The aura that surrounds Lord Venkateshvara (a form of Lord Vishnu, who is also known as Balaji) as the “Bestower of Boons” has made his temple the most visited and the richest in India. It eclipses Jerusalem and Rome in the number of pilgrims it attracts – around 25,000 a day, and up to 100,000 on festival days. The gold vimana and flagpole, and the gold – plated doorway into the inner sanctum, proclaim the temple’s wealth. The jet – black stone image, 2 – m (7-ft) high, stands on a lotus and is adorned with rubies, diamonds and gold. The deity also wears a diamond crown, believed to be the singlemost precious ornament in the world. He is flanked by his consorts, Sridevi and Bhudevi. The entrance portico has superb life – size images of the Vijayanagara king and queens, who worshipped Venkateshvara as their protective deity.The entire complex is built to accommodate the huge influx of pilgrims,, who come to seek favours from Lord Venkateshvara. This is one of the few temples in South India where non – Hindus are allowed into the inner sanctum. Devotees wait patiently in long queues for a special darshan, and make offerings of money, gold and jewellery that net the temple an annual income of nearly 1.5 billion rupees. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which runs the temple, employs a staff of 6,000 to see to the pilgrims’ needs and maintain the temple premises.
The temple complex includes a ritual bathing tank, and a small Art Museum with images of deities, musical instruments and Votive objects. Surrounding it are green valleys and the Akash Ganga waterfall, which is the source of the holy water used for bathing the deity.
A unique feature at Tirupati is that many devotees offer their hair to the deity, and there are separate enclosures for this purpose. It is believed that since hair enchances a person’s appearance, shaving it off shed vanity as well. This offering is usually made after the fulfilment of a wish. The hair – offerings are later exported to the United States and Japan where they are made into wigs.
Most pilgrims stop at the small Ganesha shrine in the foothills, and at the Govindarajaswamy Temple in Tirupati town, before driving up the hill to the Tirumala shrine. This temple, which dates to the 16th – 17th century, is dedicated to both Krishna and Vishnu. Built by the Nayakas, the successors to the Vijayanagar rulers, it is approached through a massive, grey outer gopura that dominates Tirupati’s skyline, and is carved with scences from the Ramayana. An exquisite pavilion in the inner courtyard has carved granite pillars, an ornate wooden roof, and impressive sculptures of crouching lions. The temple has a magnificent image of the reclining Vishnu, called Ranganatha, coated with bronze armour. A short distance north of the temple is the Venkateshvara Museum of Temple Arts, with temple models, photographs and ritual objects.Daily Darshan: 6 – 11am. Extra charges to join the shorter queue for special darshan of the deity.
HYDERABAD (5th Largest City in India), the capital city of Andhra Pradesh State (3rd Largest State in India). Population of more than 50 Lacs & Agglomerated area 727 sq. kms on the Deccan Plateau. The capital city of Hyderabad is well connected to most major Indian cities and some overseas. Secunderabad main station is well connected to all cities of the country. Hyderabad is well connected to national and international destinations with both national and international air carriers. Needless to say you can reach anywhere from Hyderabad in no time. Hyderabad is centrally located and exudes a huge potential to be transformed into a transit hub of South Asia.
Tourist Places in Hyderabad
One of the major historical sites worth visiting in the city of Hyderabad is the Charminar. Situated in the heart of the city, Charminar stands at the height of 46 m and is popularly called the Arc de Triomphe of the East.
The monument was built in 1591 AD by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. The history of the monument establishes Charminar as an important symbol of brotherhood and communal harmony. The markets surrounding Charminar are very popular and are frequently visited by tourists from different parts of the country.
Char Kaman refers to four different arcs made in the city of Hyderabad by Mir Momin. These arcs are situated at few meters at the four different roads of the city which intersects at a place where a blue colored fountain is situated. The arc to the North of the fountain is named as Machli Kaman, to the South of the fountain is called Charminar Kaman, to the East of the fountain is called Kali Kaman and the one to the West of the fountain is named as Kaman Sher Dil.
Mecca Masjid is a pious place visited by the followers of Islam all across the world. One of the largest mosques in India, Mecca Masjid can accommodate around 10000 worshippers at a time. Many of the arcs and walls of the Masjid are adorned by inscriptions from Quran.
Another tourist attraction in the city of Hyderabad Golconda Fort, a 16th century fortress situated on the western outskirts of Hyderabad city. Known for its collection of diamonds, it is said that the famous Kohinoor originally belonged to Golconda. The fort is one of the rare pieces of beautiful architecture in India.
The last Nizam of Hyderabad built the Falaknuma Palace, which housed the most expensive art objects, tapestries and carpets, in addition to the largest single-man collection of diamonds. Here the Nizam received their Majesties, the late King George V and King Edward VIII of England. The museum has a very unique collection of jades. The dining table in the palace can seat up to 100 people at a time.
Husain Sagar Lake and Durgam Cheruvu Lake
Husain Sagar Lake was built by Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah in 1575. It is a large artificial lake which connects the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. In the lake on an island there is a larger-than-life size statue of the Buddha. Boats take tourists across the lake to the island, on which the statue rests. The statue looks absolutely beautiful at night when it is illuminated. The Lumbini Park surrounding the statue boasts of musical fountains. Durgam Cheruvu is situated close to Shilparamam Crafts Village and Hitech City, behind Jubilee Hills. AP Tourism organizes boating in Durgam Cheruvu Lake which is surrounded by hills of the Deccan Plateau.
Salar Jung Museum
Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad has a rare collection of beautiful pieces of fine arts, tapestries, jade artifacts, weaponry, painting, sculpture and much more. The third largest museum in India, Salar Jung museum is named after Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III who was the Prime Minister of the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad. Some of the prized possessions of the museum include Tipu Sultan’s wardrobe, swords of Aurangzeb, Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings and furniture collection from the time of Napolean. The museum also has a great collection of Qurans (holy book of Muslims) from across the world in different fonts and proportions. The various clocks in the clock room of the museum show you time in style.
Malabar is a region located in the southwestern part of India in the state of Kerala. The region of Malabar has many prominent cities, which are all popular tourist destinations each with their own distinct features. Tourists visit the region of Malabar mainly to relax and rejuvenate along Malabar’s picturesque coastline and beaches.The region of Malabar encompasses Kannur, Wayanad, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kasaragode. The Malabar coastline is around eight hundred and forty five kilometers long (845 km). The coastline mainly derives its serene and picturesque beauty from the mountain ranges that flank the coastline on the east. The Malabar coastline is flanked by the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea on either sides. The deciduous forests in the southern part of Malabar, making the region picture perfect.
At an altitude of 286 m & 55 km from Kannur, is the unique beach side of Ezhimala. Unique because of its sculptured stone pillars scattered all over the beach! Its picturesque location at the backdrop of a hillock, also has a ancient mosque & a Naval academy base in its vicinity.
Known for being one of Asia’s only drive in beaches, the Muzhappilangad beach is located parallel to NH 17 between Thalassery & Kannur. The beach festival celebrated in the month of April is a big crowd puller, as you find the youth driving cars & wheeling in bikes along the sandy shores. An unpaved road winding through coconut grooves leads to this serene beach, which is 5 km long. Beach goers can drive for a full 4 km on the its sandy shores. The beach is lined with black rocks which protects it from the strong currents from the ocean.
Moppila Bay or Mappila Bay, is a natural harbor situated in Kannur. Flanked by Fort St. Angelo, built by the Portuguese in the 15th century on one side & the Arakkal Palace on the other, this bay was famous during the Kolathiri’s regime serving as a commercial harbour that linked Kolathunadu with Lakshadweep and other foreign countries, for imports.
The city of smiles, of lights, of a thousand faces, endearingly called the Pearl City, Hyderabad offers a variety of tourist attractions ranging from Heritage monuments, Lakes and Parks, Gardens and Resorts, Museums to delectable cuisine and a delightful shopping experience. To the traveller, Hyderabad offers a fascinating panorama of the past, with a richly mixed cultural and historical tradition spanning 400 colourful years. Some of the tourist attractions include.
The Charminar is as much the signature of Hyderabad as the Taj Mahal is of Agra or the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, built Charminar in 1591 at the centre of the original city layout. It is said to be built as a charm to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. Four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7 m above the ground. Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it. Visitors can view the architectural splendour inside the Charminar.
The monument is illuminated in the evenings and a pedestrianisation project around the monument is under implementation.
Mecca Masjid: A two hundred yards southwest of the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, so named because the bricks were brought from Mecca to build the central arch. The Qutb Shahis never finished the building of the mosque, which was completed by Aurangzeb in 1694.
Laad Baazar: This is famous, colourful shopping centre of the old city, tucked away in one of the streets leading off from Charminar. Bridal wear, Pearls and the traditional Hyderabadi glass and stone studded bangles are sold here.
The glorious past of Golconda Fort is narrated effectively with matchless Sound and Light effects. The unique Sound & Light Show takes you right back in time, when Golconda was full of life, glory and grandeur.
Qutb Shahi Tombs: The tombs of the legendary Qutb Shahi kings lie about a kilometre away from Banjara Darwaza of the Golconda Fort. Planned and built by the Qutb Shahis themselves, these tombs are said to be the oldest historical monuments in Hyderabad. They form a large group and stand on a raised platform. The tombs are built in Persian, Pathan and Hindu architectural styles using grey granite, with stucco ornamentation, the only one of its kind in the world where an entire dynasty has been buried at one place.
Osmansagar, better known as Gandipet, on the outskirts of Hyderabad is an excellent picnic spot. Osmansagar is one of the two lakes on the city’s periphery that supplies drinking water to the great metropolis. The lake is a reservoir created by a dam across the Isa, a tributary of the River Musi. Abutting the lake and the bund are lush gardens that provide the ideal ambience for an outing. Overlooking the lake is the heritage building, Sagar Mahal, built as a resort by the Nizam of Hyderabad and converted now into a lake resort managed by AP Tourism.
Located 24 km to the north of Secunderabad, Shamirpet has a beautiful lake and a deer park. Its peaceful environs make it a great picnic spot. AP Tourism offers comfortable cottage facilities for accommodation, while the forest lodges can be booked with the AP Forest Department office at Saifabad.
Hyderabad Botanical Gardens
The first Botanical Gardens in Andhra Pradesh, spread over 120 acres. Already open to public is the first phase, with the completion of some sections. The sections include medicinal plants, timber trees, fruit trees, ornamental plants, aquatic plants and bamboos. The Park has been designed to have large water bodies, Rolling Meadows, natural forests, rich grasslands and exquisite rock formations.
One of the most exotic places to go in India is the city of Kanyakumari, also known as Cape Comorin, which is filled with many and interesting tourist attractions. Perhaps what makes it so interesting is the fact that it is located at the southernmost part of India, hence it is somewhat of a well of culture ready to be explored by tourists.
The rich history and the cultural heritage of Kanyakumari is one of mixed culture and profound heritage. The city of Kanyakumari have been around for thousands of years as it has been the city of culture, history, arts, economy and the hub of civilization for centuries. In Kanyakumari, you can find instances of many religions like Islam, Christianity, or Hinduism easily. Its mixed heritage of the city has called out for many people for pilgrimage that has been going on for centuries.
The city of Kanyakumari with its southern coast to the vast and the powerful Indian Ocean impressed the British so much, that they decided to rename it to Cape Comorin to accentuate its beauty. Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) represents all the beautiful things that India has to offer the world. You can find many temples, churches, religious pillars and statues that will keep the head spinning. It is a place of mixed culture that is reflected in the arts, buildings and even in the food. You can have an excursion to the Kumari Amman Temple or to the Vattakottai Fort that stands erect even today.
Mathur Hanging Trough/Bridge
Mathur Hanging Trough is one of those monuments or places that is world famous for its many qualities. It is located in southernmost district of India. Mathur Hanging Trough is a bridge trough that is situated over the river of Pahrali. However, what makes Mathur Hanging Trough so interesting is the fact that Mathur Hanging Trough is the longest and also the highest aqueduct that can be found in the continent of Asia. Although Mathur Hanging Trough was constructed as a drought measure, it was kept in place due to its qualities and historical attraction that it offered.
When you think of palaces then perhaps besides England with its famous palaces, the second place that comes into the mind is definitely India. Padmanabhapuram Palace is one of these many palaces that symbolize the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India that has been around for many centuries. However, what is interesting about this palace is the fact that Padmanabhapuram Palace is made entirely from wood and not any other substance. Kerala Government is responsible for maintaining this magnificent palace and Padmanabhapuram Palace draws hundreds of visitors every day continuously. It is one of the best 10 palaces in the world.
Sitharal Jain Monuments
When you visit the southernmost region, Kanyakumari is one of the prominent tourism places which have to be visited. These monuments and temples are the representation of the diversity of the culture and the religions that are founded in India. Sitharal Jain Monuments are one of these culturally rich monuments. Almost every day, you can see people who are traveling to Sitharal Jain Monuments to honor their gods and values. This monument grabs the attention of quite number of visitors with its excellent mesmerizing divine and spiritual values. Plenty number of visitors make their visit to the place and enjoy the beauty of its rich look.
Kodaikanal is the most beautiful and popular hill station in Tamil Nadu. It is located in the famous Palani Hills in Western Ghats and is known as the Princess of hill stations.
Kodaikanal is situated about 7,200 feet above the sea level.
Kodaikanal is the most sought after honeymoon destination in South India because of its scenic beauty and it has the attribute to leave any nature lover mesmerized by its charms.
The word Kodaikanal means gift of the forest in local language. The dense forest with many varieties of trees, the huge rocks in the wilderness and the enchanting waterfalls, makes it a real gift for the tourists visiting this place. Kodaikanal is famous for eucalyptus oil, homemade chocolates, plums and pears. Kodaikanal is famous for the kurinji – flowers, which blossoms only once in twelve years. Woolen clothing is available at cheaper rates in the Tibetan refugee bazaar.
PLaces to Visit in Kodaikanal
Berijam Lake located at a distance of 21-km from Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu is one among the beautiful lakes of South India. Spread over an area of 24 hectares, the lake is star shaped and is known for its pure water.
Adventure in Kodaikanal
Head for Kodaikanal in the Palani Hills for small-time trekking. You can take short treks and hikes to tourist spots close by as well to local viewpoints. Overnight treks are also possible here where one can spend a night at a local village.
Fairs & Festivals – Kodaikanal
There are several beautiful hill stations in Tamil Nadu. With the Summer Festivals, the hills are even hospitable to welcome the visitors. The summer festival is held in the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’, the evergreen Ooty; the exquisite Kodaikanal or the salubrious heights of Yercaud. Cultural programs, adventure sports, boat races, flower and fruit shows add to the splendour of the festival.
Leisure – Kodaikanal
The famous places to visit in Kodaikanal for shopping are the Khadi Emporium, Handloom Co-operative Stores and Travancore Crafts Work, Government Sales Emporium, Kurinji Mini Supermarket, Spencer and Company.
The Golf Club is located 5-km from the Kodaikanal Lake. Boating and Angling facilities are available at the Kodaikanal Lake. Picturesque trek routes are available in and around Kodaikanal. For details, contact: The Trek Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu, Chennai.
Kerala tourist places are the most popular destinations in India. Kerala is well known for its Backwaters, Beaches, Wild life sanctuaries, Hill stations and Ayurvedic treatments. Kerala Beaches are spread along the 900 km Arabian Sea coastline and it become one of the main attraction in Kerala Tourism. The Kerala Backwaters are a network of interconnected brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast. SightSeeing in Kerala is very interesting.
The following are some of the must see Tourist Places in Kerala
Location: Alappuzha, South Kerala.
Referred to as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha has always enjoyed an important place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today, it is famous for its boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Alappuzha beach is a popular picnic spot. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya Beach Park add to the attraction of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse nearby which is greatly fascinating to visitors.
Another delightful experience while in Alappuzha is a houseboat cruise. The ones you find in the backwaters of Alappuzha are in fact reworked version of kettuvallams of olden times. The original kettuvallams or rice barges used to carry tons of rice and spices. The kettuvallam or ‘boat with knots’ was so called because the entire boat was held together with coir knots only.
Location: About 16 km South of Kasaragod on the national highway, Kasaragod district, North Kerala
Kasaragod, the Northern most district of Kerala is renowned as the land of gods, forts, rivers, hills and beautiful beaches. The imposing fort at Bekal is one of the largest and best preserved forts in Kerala. The beautiful expanse of the shallow beach near the Bekal fort known as Bekal Fort Beach has been developed as an exotic beach location by the Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC).
Beautification: Beautification of the site includes installation of two sculptures of Theyyam created using laterite on the beach and a shed the walls of which are adorned with murals created by artisans from Nilambur. Apart from these a rock garden at the parking area has been developed where laterite boulders of various sizes have been utilised. Under the social forestry scheme, trees have been planted in the beach area.
Location: About 13 km from Ernakulam town.
To explore the historic town of Fort Kochi, there is no better choice than setting out on foot. Relax, breathe deep and come out in cotton dresses, soft shoes and yes – a straw hat. At each and every nook of this island steeped in history, there is something amusing awaiting you. It is a world of its own, retaining the specimens of a bygone era and still proud of those days. If you can smell the past, nothing can stop you from walking through these streets.
Walking straight through the K. J. Herschel Road and turning left, you can have a glimpse of Fort Immanuel. This bastion once belonged to the Portuguese and is a symbol of the strategic alliance which existed between the Maharaja of Cochin and the Monarch of Portugal, after whom the fort is named. This fort was built in 1503 and reinforced in 1538. Walking a bit further, you come across the Dutch cemetery. Consecrated in 1724 and managed by the Church of South India, the tomb stones here silently remind visitors of those Europeans who left their homeland to expand their colonial empires.
The next spot to watch is the ancient Thakur House, which stands erect as a concrete specimen of the colonial era. The building is simply graceful. Formerly known as Kunal or Hill Bungalow, it was home to the managers of the National Bank of India during the British rule. Now, it belongs to the Thakur and Company, renowned tea trading firm.
Walk on and there is another colonial structure awaiting you – David Hall. It was built around 1695 by the Dutch East India Company. The hall is associated with Hendrik Adriaan van Reed tot Drakeston, renowned Dutch commander, who is more admired for his monumental book on the flora of Kerala namely Hortus Malabaricus. However, David Hall is named after David Koder, a later occupant of the hall.
Location: Just 16 km from Thiruvananthapuram city, South Kerala.
Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favourite haunt of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing.
The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centres.
Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, is just 16 km away from Kovalam and getting there is no hassle. But if you are on holiday it is better to stay in Kovalam and visit the city.
Location: 16 km away from Kottayam town, Central Kerala.
The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist’s paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teals, waterfowls, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian Stork visit here in flocks and are a fascinate the visitors.
An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom offers visitors many other leisure options. Boating and fishing facilities are available at the Taj Garden Retreat, a sprawling old bungalow-turned-resort.
Waterscapes, the backwater resort of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has independent cottages built on stilts, set amidst coconut groves and panoramic view of the backwaters. Holiday packages involving houseboats, traditional Kettuvalloms (rice barges) offer great experiences.
Elegantly placed in the shores of Coromandel Coast, Chennai boast of a rich heritage, which is elaborately intertwined with the culture, traditions and living style of the people through generations. One of the prettiest metropolitan cities in India, Chennai perfectly mixes the elegance of past with the vibrancy of modernism. This contemporary city is often referred as the Gateway to the South India. Chennai was formerly called as Madras and to the rest of India, Madrasis represents the entire south Indians.
An ancient city, which has got a rich history of long 350 years, Chennai has been able to preserve its ethnicity and charm. In between the long busy sandy beaches, parks, sculptures and historic landmarks, one can see a vivacious and lively city which is ever growing, sprouting, mounting and shifting in harmony with the modern trends. One of the oldest cities of India, Chennai is a melting point of culture and tradition. The harvest festival – Pongal is seven day event, showcases the art of Tamil Nadu.
Ashtalakshmi Temple is a highly revered shrine situated in Besant Nagar, on the shores of Bay of Bengal. The architecture of the temple is unique, with the deities installed in four levels. It looks different than the other South Indian temples as it a modern construction, less than 25 years old. The temple enshrines Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth and Lord Vishnu as the principal deities. The temple has separate shrine for the Ashtalakshmi forms of Goddess Lakshmi. Ashtalakshmi Temple has a shrine for the Dasavathars (the 10 incarnations) of Lord Vishnu. Other deities worshipped here include Tumbikai Aazhwar (Lord Ganesha), Guruvaayurappan (Lord Krishna), Chakrathaazhwar and Narasimha (on either side of the same idol), Anjaneyar (Lord Hanuman) and Dhanvantri. Visit to this temple brings the well being for the devotees.
ISKCON (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) Temple
ISKCON Temple is located in the Injambakkam region in Thyagaray Nagar of Chennai. The temple is one of the many popular worshipping places established by the ISKCON society in the region of India. It is a blend of tradition and modernity to give the artistic style as well as the best of latest scientific technology. The ISKCON Temple at Chennai like other ISKCON centres is the axis point from where the teachings of Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya are spread. The deities worshipped in the temple include those of Rukmini and Krishna. The image of deity Satyabhama, one of the eight wives of Krishna, is also housed in the temple premises. Other deities worshipped in the temple include Jagannath, Baladeva, Subhadra and Gaura-Nitai. ISKCON Chennai also promotes and protects traditional art and craft of South India.
VGP Golden Beach
VGP Golden Beach is situated at the East Coast Road, in Chennai city. Basically, the resort is essentially an amusement park which is stationed closest to the Chennai city. The resort hosts a wide variety of amusement activities which includes go-kart, dashing car, water chute, super trooper, giant wheel, aero ship, jungle safari, roller coaster and many more.
Apart from the above mentioned, the resort also offers different contemporary, cultural as well as folk shows for the visitors to enjoy. The Ecstasy Land inside the VGP Golden Beach features an open-air theatre, banquet, conference halls, bars & a private beach. It is a perfect spot to have complete fun and entertainment.
MGR Film City
The Government of Tamil Nadu manages the MGR Film City, established in 1994 in memory of MG Ramachandran, popular film actor and longtime Chief Minister of Tamilnadu.
Covering 70 acres at Taramani in Chennai, the MGR Film City was a popular tourist spot and the setting of several South Indian films. The film city has a film school, indoor and outdoor shooting locations, replicas of village and urban areas, temple, church, mosque, post office, police station, prison, courtroom, and landscaped gardens in Italian, Japanese and Mughal styles. The recently opened MGR Knowledge Park adds to the attraction.