Karaikal district, part of the discontiguous union territory of Pondicherry, is a small enclave within Tamil Nadu. Karaikal and the other parts of Pondicherry are former French colonial territories in India. Karaikal district has a population of 200,000 and the main town is also called Karaikal.
- From Chennai by road and railway (Karaikal railway station started working now).
- From Kumbakonam, Mailaduthurai, Nagapattinam, Puducherry, Chidambaram by bus.
- PRTC (Puducherry Tourism), SETC (State Transport Bus), and private buses such as Parveen Travels, Universal Travels, KPN, PRN, SRM, Sharma, etc. are available from all parts to Karaikal.
- Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple. one of the sixty three Nayanmars.
- Karaikal Beach, Arasalar.
- Karaikal Church.
- Mastan Wali Dargah.
- Sri Thantondreeswarar Temple. built Before Raja Raja cholan's era, now under ASI control and The temple was declared as a protected monument in 1971
- Thirunallar Sri Dharberneeswarer, Saniswaran Temple.
- Tirukadiyur Sri Amirthakadeswarer, Abirami Amman Temple. famous for 60th year marriage.
- Anandamangalam Anjeneyar Temple.
- Dharmapuram Yazhmurinathar Devasthanam. Thiruneelakandar yazhpanar serviced place.
- Egambareswarar Temple.
- Nagore Durgah.
- Pandaravadai Near Sethur. built by Raja Raja cholan, now under ASI control.
- Thiruthelicherri Parvatheeswarar (Suyambu Lingam).
- Velankanni Church.
Karaikal is a small town which has not got anything to interest a normal tourist. It is surrounded by the Cauvery delta region, Tanjore, Tiruvarur, Kumbakonam, which were the hub of the ancient Chola kingdom, which is spotted by a number of temples which are rich in the Chola architecture. So mainly pilgrims and people with an interest in history and architecture will feel amused.
Formerly a fortified city, the lack of interest and irresponsible development destroyed the old town, which looked like the historical centre of Pondicherry, with the local particularity of an important presence of the indigenous Kaveri Delta region architecture and urban structure. But some streets bear a vanishing ancient look, notably the row of traditional goldsmith shops. If you travel to Karaikal and don't have great tasks to do, take a walk through these areas.
The best season to visit Karaikal is in the beginning of summer, between June and July, at the period of the famous Mangani Festival, an interesting local celebration renowned throughout Southern India that originates from the life of the local saint Ammaiyar, a simple, pious and gorgeous lady who took on an ascetic lifestyle after a miracle related to mangoes. This festivity is iconic for the day where some people throw mangoes from the roofs to the streets, where a gathering of pilgrims and tourists try to catch them.
Karaikal has got its own brand of alwas, though not as famous as the Trinelveli alwa, there are quite a few shops in the Barathiyar road, near the Tirunallar junction where you can buy these alwas as well as sweets like gulab jamuun.
- Muthupillai Bakery is a century old bakery serves traditional elite taste.
- The "Manikandan Mess" in the Kennadiyar street is a vegetarian mess where you get quality authentic south Indian food.
- Karaikal "NAGOOR HALWA KADAI" is a very famous halwa shop. Don't miss the taste.
- Hotel Sri Kandaas is a quite famous restaurant in the city, despite the crowded/popular look, their food is very good, particularly their spicy "Masala Dosas".
The JP sarbath shop in Church street (near Muthupillai's restaurant) is the place where you can get fresh fruit juices and sarbads at relatively cheaper cost. The Seven Eleven juice shop in the Church street, also called as "juice kadai" by the native people, is a good hang out place. In Karaikal liquor is cheaper than in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu, there are quite a few decent bars in Karaikal- -the Niagra bar in the nanda hotel -the Thunder bar in the paris international -the City bar - a very famous one in the town -The Sea Gulls Restaurant owned by the government of Pondicherry is at the sea shore and is good to hang out in the evenings.
- Hotel Aristo opposite the bus stand is convenient for moving around Karaikal
- Hotel Delice
- Hotel French Presidency
- Hotel Nandha
- Hotel Paris International
- Kumaran Guest House, No:160, Thirunallar Road Karaikal (Thirunallar), ☏ .
- Kumaran Residency (karaikal), No:18 Dr.Ambedkar Street (Bhathair Road), ☏ . Comfort Hotel
Karaikal is in the coastal front of Kaveri Delta region, an interesting ancient country, homeland of the famous Antiquity Chola Dynasty, who built numerous temples. So the three World heritage classed Living temples of Cholas where near, Darasuram is notably very close.
Kumbakonam, a great religious scholar center, is also at proximity of Karaikal. This city, except the religious side, is famous for it's handicraft, including the silk weaving.
Thanjavur, the former capital of the region, will not be mising, particulary the astonishing and world heritage Brihadishwara Temple. Like Kumbakonam, this town is also a great place for arts and handicraft interested persons.
Thirteen kilometers in the north, stand Tharangambadi, or like danishs says "Trankebar", an ancient scandinavian colony who still bare a unique touch with his preserved historical center. This destination is raising, and became more and more a stop for those who visited Pondicherry.
Pondicherry can't be missing when you talk about Karaikal, the "state capital" of the Puducherry state (Union Territory formed by the different french trading-post towns) is situed further north, at a distance more than 100 km. In the way, you can halt at the famous pilgrim town of Chidambaram, renowned for the sanctuary of lord Nataraja, the dancing and ignorance destructive mood of Shiva. Visit also the neighbor coastal town of Pichavaram, a tiny town surronded by the second largest mangrove forest of the world (the first is also in India, Sundarbans)