Green Gems Sustainable Places To Visit In Tamil Nadu

From pristine beaches to lush green farmlands, here is a list of places in the state that promote sustainability
Lush tea gardens on the hills of Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. Credit Shutterstock
Lush tea gardens on the hills of Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. Credit Shutterstock

Tamil Nadu offers a wide range of experiences for travellers to explore. While you may know about all the popular spots to visit, there are some hidden gems promoting sustainability that you can unearth on your next trip to Tamil Nadu.

Kurusadai Island

Kurusadai Island is a marine paradise that beckons to nature enthusiasts, marine scholars and biologists alike. Situated in the Gulf of Mannar, this island is a sight to behold from mainland Ramanathapuram. To visit this beautiful and practically untouched island, tourists must obtain permission from the Fisheries Department and embark on a guided tour to witness the vast array of marine life. The island spans an area of 10,500 sq km, housing a staggering 3,600 species of marine creatures. Imagine exploring the shoreline and spotting the vibrant red starfishes, the prickly sea urchins and the docile sea cucumbers. The echinoderms are a crowd favourite and are found in abundance, a true marvel to behold. Alongside the diverse marine life, Kurusadai Island is also a haven for bird enthusiasts, showcasing a plethora of avifauna species. Visitors will also be permitted to click pictures of the islands and the birds, flora and fauna there. The 90-minute boat trip to the Kurusadai islands starts at the jetty in Kunthukal, which is about 10 kilometres from Rameswaram. The island has been safeguarded for years with strict travel curbs, but has recently opened its doors to the public, promising an unforgettable experience.

Getting thereThe timing planned for these boat rides is 700 am till 200 pm. However, rides could be halted in case the weather conditions are unfavourable/chaotic. 


This tranquil Tamil Nadu village is a picturesque haven, enveloped by rolling emerald valleys and well-maintained farmlands. The journey from Kodaikanal, which is around 30 km away, is a sight to behold, with the lush greenery and scenic vistas casting a spell on you. Mannavanur is home to an eco-park and a number of goat farms. Once you venture into the sprawling farmlands that span across hundreds of acres, you'll catch a glimpse of the idyllic Mannavanur lake glistening on one side. The local farmers follow the terrace-style method of farming and cultivate various crops like carrots and cabbages. A few kilometres away from the village lies the enchanting Kookal lake, a popular spot for leisurely strolls and picnics. Nature's Trust has established the Camper's Club, a base camp spread across 26 acres that offers eight cozy cottages equipped with basic amenities. The club organises educational tours and treks, and offers training in eco-technology, clay modelling, homemade chocolate-making, dry flower arrangements, and natural dye painting on T-shirts. Camper's Club is the only lodging option available in Mannavanur, making it a unique and unforgettable experience.

Getting there Madurai International Airport, about 165 km away is the nearest airport, while the nearest railhead is the Palani Railway Station, 90 km away.

Kolli hills

Nestled in the enchanting district of Namakkal in Tamil Nadu lies the majestic Kolli Hills, also known as Kolli Malai, meaning the "Mountains of Death." Standing tall at 1,000 to 1,300 metres and spread across a vast area of 280 sq. km, these hills are adorned with almost 70 hairpin bends that take you to the summit, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The Kolli Hills are a part of the discontinuous Eastern Ghats, adding to their magnificence. There are a plethora of activities to indulge in and around Kolli Hills, such as visiting the Arapaleeswarar Temple, renowned for its striking Dravidian architecture and historical significance. One can also explore the Botanical Garden, which is home to a picturesque rose garden, a majestic viewpoint, and eco-friendly cottages. Children can have a fun-filled day at the nearby park. The enchanting beauty and allure of Kolli Hills are sure to leave you captivated. 

Getting there The nearest airport to Kolli Hills is Trichy, around 90 km away and Salem Railway Station is the nearest railhead.

Kovalam Blue Flag Beach

Nestled in the quaint fishing village of Covelongin, in the Kanchipuram district, lies the mesmerizing Kovalam Beach, also known as Covelong Beach. This pristine stretch of shore, located just 40 km from Chennai, is a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The beach's translucent blue waters and lush greenery provide the perfect atmosphere for relaxation and rejuvenation. In 2021, the Denmark Environment Agency awarded Kovalam Beach with the highly coveted blue flag, further solidifying its status as a must-visit, sustainable destination. With 37 facilities available, including a safe swimming zone, reclining bamboo loungers, hammocks, outdoor fitness equipment, a children's play area, and a seven-stage purified drinking water vending kiosk, visitors can indulge in a variety of activities while enjoying the stunning scenery. Kovalam Beach also boasts a greywater treatment plant, a 40 KW off-grid solar power plant, and an automatic composting machine, making it an eco-friendly paradise..

Getting there The nearest airport and railhead to this beach is located in Chennai.

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