Medical Tourism In India
Tamil Nadu
State Information
Cities : - Chennai | Kanya Kumari | Rameshwaram | Mahabalipuram | Ooty | Madurai

Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram (also spelt as Rameswaram) is a pilgrimage centre of nationwide importance, as Rama is said to have worshipped Shiva here on his way back from SriLanka. The temple is in the island of Rameshwaram, the Banares of the South , connected to the mainland by a bridge. The deity here constitutes one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India.

The Sacred Pilgrimage To Rameshwaram
A pilgrimage to Rameshwaram is among the important injunctions laid on the Hindu from time immemorial. The great temple of Sri Ramanatha is connected by tradition with Kashi. A pilgrimage to Kashi is not considered complete without a pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. In olden days groups of pilgrims, many of them quite old, walked huge distances to the two temples, taking months and years, and some failing to survive the rigours and dangers of such incredibly long journeys. Men and women knew this cost might be exacted of them, but they repaid it cheerfully.

The Rameshwaram pilgrimage has long been a tradition in South India, particularly in Tamil Nadu, and has passed into folklore. Many kings of old prided themselves on having planted columns of victory in Rameshwaram-Krishna III the Rashtrakuta, in the 10th century; the Hoysala, Vishnuvardhana, in the 12th century.

Temple Architecture
The temple 264m east to west and 200m north to south, and with three Prakaras, two big Gopuras and two more unfinished ones, faces east, a few metres from the sea. It contains two Lingas under worship. There are innumerable other shrines and twenty-two "Tirthas" (also spelt as Teerthas), or sacred bathing places.

At the main eastern entrance stands a huge Gopura of nine storeys and 38.4m high. The outermost, or third, corridor, 196m long and 120.4 wide, is one of the achievements of the Hindu artist down the ages. There are about four thousand pillars, each 3.7m high. All are located on a platform 1.5m high. They look like an orderly, petrified forest.

A huge Nandi, 6.7m long and 5m high, stands beyond the second Prakara. It is made of 'Sudai', a material used for sculptures on Gopuras. On either side of it there are portraits of two of the Nayaks, Visvanatha and Krishnappa.

The western Gopura is smaller than the eastern, but still impressive, being 24m high. On the northern and southern sides there are unfinished Gopuras.

Sethu
5-km south of the temple is Sethu, where there is a celebrated temple of Sri Anjaneya, and where, tradition holds, Sri Rama built a bridge to Sri Lanka. In Devipatnam, or Navapashanam, also by the sea, there are nine stones visible at low tide. It is believed that they were set up by Sri Rama to represent the nine planets, the Navagrahas.

How To Get There
Air : The nearest airport is at Madurai, at a distance of 154-km.

Rail : Rameshwaram is well connected by trains from all the major cities of India.

Road : State transport buses are available from the railway station to the various places in and around Rameshwaram. For local transportation taxis, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws and tongas are available. Also city bus service is available in the island.


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Mahabalipuram

Temple Town Of Tamil Nadu
Located at a distance of 58-km from Chennai, Mahabalipuram has everything that makes a site memorable; tradition, history, piety, western annals, and current importance as a centre of tourism.

Name Of The Site
The proper name of the site is "Mamallapuram", after Mamalla, an honorific of the Pallava king, Narasimha Varman I (630-668), who created the earliest of its monuments. But it is popularly called "Mahabalipuram", or "The city of Bali", whom Lord Vishnu chastised for his pride and of whom there is a relief in one of the excavated temples here.

About Mahabalipuram
The history of Mahabalipuram dates back to two thousand years, it contains nearly forty monuments of different types including an "open air bas relief" which is the largest in the world, for centuries it has been a centre of pilgrimage, it figures in the early annals of the British search for the picturesque in India in the 18th century, today it attracts shoals of foreigners in search of relaxation and sea bathing, and most strange of all, it has an atomic power plant for neighbour. A small library has been written on it. Over its history and that of its monuments a number of scholarly controversies rage.

Mahabalipuram was already a centre of pilgrimage when, in the 7th century Mamalla made it a seaport and began to make temples fashioned of rock. It was through Mahabalipuram that many Indian colonists, who included sages and artists, migrated to Southeast Asia. Sri Lanka's national chronicle, the "Mahavamsa" testifies to this fact.

Mahabalipuram- A Classical Site Of Indian Historical Archaeology
When the first British visitors went to Mahabalipuram in the eighteenth century, they found the monuments under sand, a few completely so. It must have fallen into neglect after the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire or, at least, Vijayanagar authority. It had prospered under the Cholas and their successors until about the seventeenth century. Europe knew of it as early as the 13th century when, following Marco Polo's visit, it appears in the Catalan Map of 1275.

The first European to mention it directly, but with no personal knowledge, of it, did so in 1582. The first English visitor was William Chambers in 1788. Following this, earnest antiquarians from Madras puzzled over it. One of them, Colin Mackenzie, dug out some of the monuments from sand and deputed assistants to collect its traditions and coins. In this way Mahabalipuram became one of the classical sites of Indian historical archaeology.

How to get there
Air : Chennai (58-km) is the nearest airport with both domestic and international terminus. Chennai is connected with all the major places in India through the numerous domestic flights. International flights operate from various parts of the world to Chennai.

Rail : The nearest railway stations are Chengalpattu (29-km) and Chennai (58-km). From these stations one has to take road to reach the Mahabalipuram.

Road : Buses are available from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai to Mahabalipuram daily. The road to Mahabalipuram is good. Tourists can also hire a taxi from Chennai.


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Ooty

Udhagamandalam (Ooty), the capital of Nilgiri district, is popularly known as the "Queen of hill stations' among the tourist circuits. It is situated at a distance of 105 km away from Coimbatore. The height of the hills in the Nilgiri range varies between 2280 and 2290 metres, the highest peak being Doddabetta at a height of 2623 metres.

History Of This Beautiful Hill Resort
It is believed that the name Nila, has been in use for over 800 years since, the King of the Hoysalas Vishnu Vardhana, who ruled from 1104 to 1141 AD seized the Nilgiris Plateau. His general Ponisia recorded this fact in 1117 AD with mention of Todas. The name Nilgiri was due to the blue haze, which envelops the range with most distant hills of considerable size.

This Nilgiri territory came into possession of the East India Company as part of the ceded lands, held by Tipu Sultan, by the treaty of Srirangapatnam in 1799. Rev. Jacome Forico, a priest was the first European who visited Nilgiris in 1603 and released his notes about the place and people of Nilgiris. In 1812 surveyor William Keys and Macmohan visited the top of the plateau.

In 1818, Wishand Kindersley, Assistant and Second Assistant to Collector of Coimbatore visited this spot and submitted their experience report to the Collector of Coimbatore Mr. John Sullivan. Settlement in Udhagamandalam began in 1822 with the construction of the Stone House by John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. The bungalow, which is locally called "Kal Bangla", is one of the landmarks of Udhagamandalam and is now the Chamber of the Principal of the Government Arts College.

The Tea
The establishment of numerous tea estates made Ooty famous. Lofty mountains, dense forest, sprawling grasslands and miles and miles of tea gardens greet the passengers on most routes. The annual Tea and Tourism Festival attracts crowds in huge numbers. Visit Ooty during this festival, when tea lovers from all over the world converge. An occasion not to be missed! Visit Indian Hillstations

Prime Attractions
Botanical Gardens
Botanical gardens are a major tourist attraction for those who visit Ooty, one of the most popular hill stations of India. They sprawl over 50-acre and lie on the lower slopes of Doddabetta peak, which is the highest point in Ooty. Marquis of Tweeddale established these gardens in the year 1848.

The gardens are formally laid out with lily ponds, and there are clipped bushes in the form of elephants, with raised trunks. One can find a thousand different species of plants including some thirty types of eucalyptus in these gardens. There is also a fossilised tree trunk, which is said to be 20 million years old. Towards the eastern part of the garden there is a wooden house made of logs known as "Toda Mund", which provides an excellent view.

Ooty Lake
About 1-km distance there is an artificial lake with a charming look, which was formed in 1824 by Mr. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore.

Doddabetta
Doddabetta is the highest peak (2623 meters) in the Nilgiris, which is about 10-km from Ooty. It is a beautiful place lying between the junction of the Western and Eastern Ghats and offers a beautiful view of the Nilgiri hill ranges. It is surrounded by dense Sholas.

Deer Park
At a distance of 1-km from the Lake there is a Deer Park, which is worth visiting.

How To Get There
Air : Coimbatore, 105 km from Ooty, is the nearest airport.

Rail : Ooty is on the narrow gauge railway, connected to Mettupalayam (47 km), which is directly connected to Coimbatore and Chennai. The famous toy train connects Ooty with Mettupalayam and Coonoor.

Road : A good network of roads and national highways connect Ooty with all major towns and cities. There are regular bus services to and from Coimbatore, Trichy, Bangalore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Mysore, Palghat, Calicut, Tirupati and other important destinations in South India. Ooty is also well connected with major cities of Kerala and Karnataka.

Entertainment In Ooty
Trekking
The Nilgiris are a trekker's paradise. Landscaped by nature, the hills abound in trek for lovers of nature. There are treks and treks in whichever direction you turn and from whichever point you start. A trek can be full of thrill, excitement and adventure and a way of seeing and enjoying nature in all its beauty and splendour.

Udhagamandalam (Ooty) offers several trek routes, which vary in distance, altitudes and terrain. There is a base camp at Parsons valley, from where one can start trekking to various points within Western Ghats. The down hills of Western Ghats on the North ends up with meeting the extensions of Eastern Ghats, where the sprawling Mudumalai Sanctuary lies which opens vistas for adventure tourists.

Trekking pamphlets are available with the Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association (NWLEA). There are guides who have sound knowledge of certain areas. If necessary, their services may be hired. And for further details contact the Tourist Information Office at Charring Cross, Ooty.

Hang-Gliding
Hang-glidng courses are also organised during March to May every year, with the assistance of the Department of Tourism. Contact the Tourist Officer, Ooty for assistance.

Angling
Goad Trout, Carp and mixed water fishing is possible in various streams and lakes of Ooty. The Assistance Director of Fisheries issues the fishing licence.


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Madurai

Location : Tamil Nadu
Historical Significance : Remained The Capital Of Pandayan Empire Till 14th Century.
Main Attractions : Meenakshi Temple, Koodal Azhagar Temple, Thirumalai Nayak Mahal
Festive Attractions : Meenakshi Kalyanam In April-May And The Teppam Festival

Madurai or the "city of nectar" is the oldest and second largest city of Tamil Nadu. This city is located on Vaigai River and was the capital of Pandyan rulers till the 14th century. The Pandyan king, Kulasekhara had built a gorgeous temple around which he created a lotus shaped city. Mythology says when city was being named; Lord Shiva blessed the city and its people. On the auspicious occasion some Divine nectar ("Madhu") fell from the matted locks of Shiva and hence the city was named "Madhurapuri". This sacred town of south attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors from India as well as abroad.

Madurai's Pilgrimage - Meenakshi Temple
The life of Madurai revolves around the Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple. This magnificently carved temple is the main attraction of Madurai and its huge Gopurams towers over the city. Meenakshi temple has a thousand pillared 'Mandapam'. Precisely there are 985 pillars and each of them is delicately and exquisitely carved. Among these are the musical pillars, which produce music when tapped. Surprisingly, these musical pillars are carved out of a single granite rock. The temple has been a hub of Tamil culture and has been sponsoring literature, art, music, and dance in the region for a long time. The temple also has an art museum. The city apart from temple is crammed with shops, street markets and temples, pilgrims choultries, hotels and restaurants. Though Madurai is considered as pilgrimage but it has also developed as a business centre and is famed for its traditional handicrafts in bronze and brass.

Prime Attrcations
Meenakshi Amman Temple
An excellent example of Dravidian Architecture, the Meenakshi Temple attracts devotees from all over India and Tourist from all over the world. One can climb to the southern Gopuram of the temple to get a great view of the city.

Koodal Azhaar Temple
One of the most ancient temples in Madurai, Koodal Azhagar temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. In this temple he is seen in various postures sitting, standing, reclining one over the other. There are intricate woodcarvings in here, including one of Lord Rama's coronation.

Vandiyur Kanmoy Tourist Complex
This is an ideal picnic spot with TTDC providing boathouses restaurants services.

Thirumalai Nayak Mahal
This palace is an excellent example of Indo-Sarcenic architecture. It was built in 1523 AD and originally was four times larger than what it is today. The gardens, the defensive wall all have gone and what remains are the main entrance gate, the dancing hall and the main hall. Lord Napier renovated the palace in 1866-72 and later further restoration works were carried on. Today, the main attraction of the palace is light and sound show, which is based on the life of "Tirumalai Nayak" and "Silapathikaram".

Vanditur Mariamman Teppakulam
This huge tank is covers an area equal to the six of Meenakshi temple. Tirumalai Nayak built it in 1646. It is said that channels from the Vaigai River connect the tank. Today, this tank remains empty for most of the year except during the Teppam Festival.

The Gandhi Museum
The museum was initially the palace of Rani Mangammal. It gives a clear account of the history of Independence movement of India. This museum also tells some little known facts about Gandhiji but the real piece of Gandhi Memorabilia is the blood stained Dhoti, which he was wearing at the time of his assassination. The local government museum is also situated over here. The small bookshop offers plenty of reading material from Gandhiji's works.

Thirupparankundram
This is one of the abodes of Lord Sundareshwara, a rock cut temple carved out of a mountain, just 8-km from the city.

Azhagar Koil
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is located 18-km northeast of Madurai on a picturesque hilltop. The gold image of Azhagar travels for the Celestial marriage during the Chithirai festival.

Pazhamudhirsolai
On the same hills of Azhagar Koilthis is again one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya.

Excursions
Vaigai Dam
Vaigai dam is surrounded by well-manicured gardens and has come up as a popular picnic spots, just 70-km from Madurai.

Kodaikkanal
One of the best hill stations in India and one of the few in South India, Kodaikkanal or Kodai is a very beautiful place near Madurai. It takes just 121-km of travel to reach Kodai. Kodai is located 2,130 m above the sea level in the Western Ghats.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the well-known wildlife sanctuaries in the south, Periyar sanctuary attracts a large number of nature lovers every year. Also called the Tekkadi wildlife sanctuary, this place is appropriate to watch and observe the animals in their natural habitat. The forest of this sanctuary slope into the man made lake at the bottom of the hill

Megamalai
The tea estates on the slopes of the Western Ghats nestles Megamalai. This lovely place is bound to capture your imagination. Good place to stay and enjoy a lovely surrounding. One can also watch the animals roaming in the forest, which are close to Megamalai, Just 130-km from Madurai.

Suruli Falls
123-km from Madurai city is Suruli falls, which are located in a picturesque area. It is an ideal spot and an excellent picnic spot to spend one day.

Courtallam
Courtallam is located about 167-km on the Western Ghats and is an excellent health resort in this part of the country. This place is also known as the 'Spa of the South'. Courtallam is located just 160-km from Madurai. This place has got nine splendid waterfalls, which attracts a large number of visitors. TTDC offers here a boathouse accommodation apart from the restaurant.

Palani
118-km from Madurai is the temple dedicated to Lord Subramanyam. The temple is located on top of a hill 180 meter high. The temple attracts many devotees and people coming to Madurai do not miss visiting Palani. From the hill top one gets an excellent view of the nearby area.

Viraganur Dam
This ideal picnic spot is located just 8-km from Madurai.

Kumbakkarai Water Falls
This place serves as the base camp for the trekkers who venture in the hills of Kodai. Kumbakkarai Water Falls are 105-km from Madurai and form an excellent picnic spot. Waterfall surrounded by forests combined with the pristine beauty of the hills creates a very soothing atmosphere.

How To Get There
Air : Madurai has its own airport and there are flights, which connect the city with Chennai, Tiruchirappalli. The airline services have at least one flight daily from Madurai to Chennai. From there one can take flight to anywhere in India.

Rail : Madurai has one of the major railway junctions of South India. It is connected with the all the major tourist as well as religious places in Tamil Nadu. Though there are not many trains, which connect the city with major cities of India such as, Madurai is easily accessible from any part of the nation.

Road : There are good motorable roads, which connect this, second largest city of Tamil Nadu with other parts of the state as well as other places in India. Madurai has five bus stands, which cater to the needs of the people.

Madurai has got a wide range of accommodation, varying from reasonable ones to luxurious that cater for the flocks of pilgrims and tourists. Most of the reasonable places to stay are located at Town Hall Road and West Perumal Maistry Street, not far from the railway station.

Other Tourist Info
Fairs & Festivals
Most important festival of Madurai is the sacred wedding ceremony of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwar. This festival is held during March -April. During this festival the city displays a colourful and joyous mood. Images of the divine couple are taken around the city in a tastefully decorated chariot, amidst the presence of a huge gathering of devotees. The notes of Nadaswaram and drums further aggravate the festive ambience.

The annual float festival marks the images of Meenakshi and her consort floating on the Mariamman tank on an illuminated raft bedecked with flowers. As such there are festivals throughout the year in Madurai. All most 11 big annual festivals are celebrated in Madurai, which are spread through the year with exception of the monsoon months.

Shopping
Madurai has been a textile center since ages. The streets and lanes are lines with shops and tailors offering readymade as well as fabric material manufactured in Madurai. The Puthu Mandapam, an old pillared hall along the entrance to Meenakshi temple is popular among the visitors and locals for the cotton fabric and the Batiks. The lovely Sungundi Sarees are in great demand among Indian women. Collectors are delighted to have the Brass lamps from Madurai.

Premier shopping areas are Chithirai, Avanimoola, Puthumandapam and Thevangu Chetty Choultry. The handicrafts Emporiums of the states are also here, which offer a varied range of handicrafts from all over the India.

Climate
The climate of Madurai is warm. The temperature seldom comes below 20° C even during the winters. The rainfall is very frequent and spread throughout the year, just like the flow of pilgrims and tourists is the same during the year.

Population
About 1.23 Million

Nearby Cities
Coimbatore - 227-km
Rameshwara- 173-km
Kanyakumari - 253-km
Tekkadi - 137-km
Courtalam - 160-km
Kodaikkanal - 121-km


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Tamil Nadu
State Information
Cities : - Chennai | Kanya Kumari | Rameshwaram | Mahabalipuram | Ooty | Madurai






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