50 things to do in Tamil Nadu
How many of us have a bucket list of places to go and things to do there but never get around to actually going there or doing them. Yahoo! India reader Thennarasu wrote to us with an invitation to his home state, Tamil Nadu, with this list of 50 things to do while you're there.
1. Eat a meal on a banana leaf — there's a belief that it might cure Parkinson 's disease
2. Visit the Great Living Chola Temples, the UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 10th century
3. Go to Ooty on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway — it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a legacy of remarkable British engineering
4. Get blessed by an elephant — how often can you get one?
5. Visit the Cholamandalam Artists' Village, the pride of modern Tamil Art
6. Take an auto ride in Chennai. Chennai auto-drivers even have their own websites. Plus, it is the luxury of the middle-class.
7. Taste idli and dosa and wonder how many types of chutneys exist in Tamil Nadu. We are really a bunch of choosy pickers when it comes to idli and dosa!
8. Watch a Rajanikanth film in a movie theatre, if possible on the first day to understand the definition of hero worship!
9. Participate in Jallikattu -- bull taming -- in Madurai. Or, if you're chicken, just watch!
10. Find and listen to your favourite Ilayaraja or A R Rahman song — everybody's got to have one!
11. Men, sport a moustache. And women, plait your hair and decorate it with a garland of fragrant jasmine flowers!
12. Decorate the front of your house with kolam — a more decorative and artistic rendition of rangoli -- and hang bunches of harvested paddy outside your home for the birds to feed on. (We have our own homegrown Kolam Picassos, and the patterns they come out with are astonishing!)
13. Drink strong filter coffee In a Tamil-style cup and saucer known as davarah and tumbler
14. Visit the shore temples of Mahabalipuram (another UNESCO World Heritage Site of the 7th century) and admire the art of sculpting in this little town
15. Wander around to wonder at the Indo-Saracenic and Gothic style buildings of Chennai, some of which are over a hundred years old
16. Visit Pondicherry to marvel at the French Architecture (and our own French Connection)
17. Beat the heat by eating all your summer fruit glazed with a layer of salt-and-chilli-powder mixture! Cucumber, unripe mango, gooseberry, guava and pineapple taste best like this. And drink tender coconut or buttermilk or sugarcane juice to quench your thirst. And if you like it aerated, there's Bovonto, our very own answer to Coca Cola!
18. Shop for beautiful silk sarees at Kancheepuram (the Chinese may have invented silk, but Tamils perfected it)
19. Celebrate Pongal by cooking sweet rice outdoors in clay pots or join the annual celebration of Elephant Pongal at Top Slip
20. Buy Horlicks for someone sick
21. Feed crows on special occasions
22. Whistle for Chennai Super Kings at M A Chidambaram stadium!
23. Attend Thiruvaiyaru Music Festival
24. Visit Pichavaram, the world's second largest mangrove forests, for the Dawn Fest or Vidiyal Vizha
25. Sanctify your new dresses with turmeric
26. Visit Auroville, the international commune near Pondicherry
27. Visit the Toda tribal village in the Nilgiris (also learn about the other tribes -- Badaga, Irula, Kota and Kurumba)