Tamil Nadu, a land steeped in culture and tradition, has more to offer than its bustling cities and famous temples. Venture off the beaten path, and you’ll discover a realm of offbeat destinations that beckon the intrepid traveler. Escape the ordinary and immerse yourself in the serene charm of Tamil Nadu’s lesser-known gems. In this article, we unveil the top 4 must-visit offbeat places that should be on your itinerary when you next explore this enchanting state.

Vattakanal: The ‘Little Israel of India’

Vattakanal, affectionately known as Vatta, is a picturesque town nestled near Kodaikanal. Its fame as the ‘Little Israel of India’ stems from its popularity among Israeli tourists. Located just 6 kilometers from Kodaikanal, adventurous travelers often hitchhike or embark on a scenic walk to reach this tranquil destination.

Exploring Vattakanal’s Attractions

Tourists flock to Vattakanal for its captivating attractions, such as Dolphin’s Nose and the enchanting Pine Tree Forest. For a laid-back experience, pay a visit to Altaf’s, a charming spot renowned for its authentic tahini, falafel, and invigorating ginger lemon tea. Alternatively, find a cozy nook at Manna’s Café to immerse yourself in a good book. If you seek inner peace, consider joining yoga and meditation classes conducted by both locals and expatriates who have made Vattakanal their home.

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Tharangambadi: A Glimpse into History

Tharangambadi, formerly a Danish colony later acquired by the British, is a town rich in historical significance. Begin your exploration with a visit to Dansborg Fort, which houses a small yet captivating museum. Discover the architectural beauty of Zion Church and New Jerusalem Church, both popular attractions in this charming town.

Heritage and Culture

Tharangambadi is a treasure trove of heritage, boasting the Old Danish Cemetery and the awe-inspiring 700-year-old Sri Masilamani Nathar Temple, showcasing a unique fusion of Chinese and Hindu architectural styles. A must-visit destination is the Ziegenbalg Museum Complex, renowned for hosting India’s first printing press, which produced new Tamil testaments in 1714.

Jawadhu Hills: Nature’s Paradise

Jawadhu Hills, an extension of the Eastern Ghats, sprawl across Vellore and Tiruvannamalai districts in northern Tamil Nadu. This picturesque landscape is characterized by bluish-grey granites and peaks that reach heights of 3,600–3,800 feet. The hills are sparsely populated, primarily inhabited by Malayali tribes.

Exploring Jawadhu Hills

Embrace adventure by trekking through the uncharted paths of the Amrithi forests or head to Yelagiri village for orchards and rose gardens. Experience relaxation at Beemanmadavu Waterfalls or indulge in boating and picnics at Kommutteri Lake, the largest in the area, featuring an artificial island. Don’t forget to visit the Kavalur Observatory, home to the Vainu Bappu Telescope, offering a mesmerizing glimpse into the celestial wonders above.

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Yelagiri: Where Nature and Spirituality Converge

Yelagiri Hills are synonymous with natural beauty and spiritual tranquility. Swami Malai Hills, the highest point in Yelagiri, is a must-see for nature enthusiasts. Enjoy leisurely boat rides on Nilavoor Lake or Punganoor Lake, and witness awe-inspiring sunsets at Forest Hills.

Discovering Yelagiri’s Unique Attractions

Explore Fundera Park, a haven for exotic birds, and near Punganoor Lake, you’ll find a children’s park and a Herbal Farm maintained by the Forest Department, featuring rare herbs used in Siddha and Ayurvedic treatments. For those seeking spiritual solace, Yelagiri boasts temples like Jalagandeeswarar Temple and Moksha Vimochana.


Tamil Nadu’s offbeat treasures await your exploration, promising a journey filled with history, nature, and spirituality. Whether you’re savoring authentic cuisine in Vattakanal, delving into Tharangambadi’s rich heritage, embracing the wilderness of Jawadhu Hills, or finding inner peace in Yelagiri, each destination offers a unique experience. These hidden gems are sure to make your trip to Tamil Nadu truly unforgettable.


How do I reach Vattakanal from Kodaikanal?

To reach Vattakanal from Kodaikanal, you can either hitchhike, walk, or hire a local taxi.

What is the best time to visit Jawadhu Hills?
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The best time to visit Jawadhu Hills is during the cooler months, from October to March, when the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities.

Are there accommodation options in Tharangambadi?

Yes, Tharangambadi offers various accommodation options, including hotels and guesthouses, to suit different budgets.

Can I explore Yelagiri in a day trip?

While it’s possible to visit Yelagiri on a day trip, it’s recommended to spend at least a couple of days to fully enjoy its natural beauty and attractions.

Do I need special permits for trekking in Jawadhu Hills?

No, you generally don’t need special permits for trekking in Jawadhu Hills. However, it’s advisable to check with local authorities for any specific regulations or guidelines.