The Dindigul district in the heart of Tamil Nadu offers a true insight to local South Indian village life; a quaint and quiet area, off the beaten track and untouched by tourist influence.
Rolling green hills fringe the edges of vast open plains, which are dotted with patchworks of farmland and coconut groves, and winding roads carve around the edges of verdant hills, commanding spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. On the flat plains the temperatures can soar, but head out to the steep slopes of the Palani Hills towards Rajakkad Estate, leaving the balmy temperatures behind, and the air cools, the population thins, and the jungly forest envelops you. Dindigul area is perfect for those who enjoy the smaller things in life; reading, eating and relaxing, as well as hiking (some of the areas can be a little hilly to best take a sturdy pair of trainers or boots). The forests are criss-crossed with exploration hiking trails through the villages, plantations and fields… it is a nature lover's paradise.
The landscape is extremely fertile, growing the likes of pepper, cardamom, coffee, bananas, pomelos, oranges, as well as silk cotton. Farming and agriculture is the main industry here for local communities, who live off their produce and livestock – chickens, goats and cows roam free range, and provide everything needed to sustain the small villages. Walking tours around the local area uncover beautiful scenery, teamed with pockets of welcoming close-knit communities, who are delighted to show you around their rural way of life.
Dindigul city itself doesn’t have much of a tourist attraction, however the historical Rock Fort, of which the city’s history is centred around, is prominent. It was built in the 17th century by the Madurai Nayak Dynasty for strategic importance. There is a deconsecrated temple at the top of the fort, and a few canons left from the British East India Company during the Polygar Wars. Today it is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and is open to tourists. The city is located between the Palani and Sirumalai Hills, and was historically the gateway of the three prominent kingdoms of South India, the Pandyas, Cheras and Cholas.
The easiest way to reach the Dindigul district is from Madurai, roughly a 90-minute drive, which has an airport with flights daily from Chennai and Delhi. Alternatively, it is a 4- to 5-hour drive from Chettinad, and is easily added on at the end of a Tamil Nadu itinerary.
Features in the following itineraries
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Anonymous, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka