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Tamil Nadu State Information

Capital: Chennai

Districts: 30

Languages: Tamil, English

Introduction to Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has glorious past, a vibrant culture, a rich history, and natural bounty in the form of blue beaches and clear skies. One can enjoy on the Marina beach, go cruising in the theme parks, or let the mind search for peace in the midst of magnificent temples. Alternatively, one can relish the mouth-watering dosas, savor the refreshing filter coffee, or enjoy the Bharatnatyam performances. Tamil Nadu is not about the past only, but it has set it's site on the future. The state is developing rapidly on all the fronts whether it is economy, social, human resource, culture, and so on. Tamil Nadu is one of the top three Indian states, which receive highest foreign investment in the sectors like automobiles, information technology, power, telecommunication, and others. On the social front, the state has a high per capita income, there is easy availability of social resources to people, and it produces quite a large number of trained manpower to increase the productivity. No wonder that the past and present in Tamil Nadu has a harmonious coexistence.

Geography of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu, located in south India, is bounded on the north by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, on the south by the Indian Ocean, on the east by the Bay of Bengal, and by Kerala on the west. Point Calimere and the Mudumulai Wildlife Sanctuary mark the eastern and western limits of the state respectively. The northernmost limit is the Pulicat Lake while the southernmost tip, defining the end of the Indian landmass, is Cape Comorin or Kanyakumari. The land can be divided into five major physical divisions - the Kurinji or mountainous region, the Mullai or forest region, the Palai or arid region, the Marudham or the fertile plains and the Neidhal or coastal region. The Eastern and Western Ghats meet in Tamil Nadu and run along its eastern and western boundaries. The Cauvery River, originating in the Coorg district of the neighboring state of Karnataka, is the lifeline of the state. The lush Coromandal plains are irrigated by the Cauvery and its Thanjavur-Nagapattinam delta is called the granary of Tamil Nadu. Palar, Pennar, Vaigai, and Tamiraparani are the other rivers of the state.

Brief History of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu was ruled by three major dynasties-the Cholas in the east, the Pandyas in the central area and Cheras in the west. This was during the Sangam Age - the classical period of Tamil literature-that continued for some 300 years after the birth of Christ. The Pallava dynasty was influential particularly in the 7th and 8th centuries, testimonies to which are the monuments at Mamallapuram. In the 13th century, with threats of Muslim invasions from the north, the southern Hindu dynasties combined and the empire of Vijayanagar, which covered all of South India, was firmly established. However, by the 17th century, due to the disintegration of the Vijayanagar Empire, various small rulers like the Nayaks ruled southern India. By the middle of the 18th century, there were frequent conflicts between the British, French, Danes, and Dutch due to their interest in these areas. The British were finally victorious, while small pockets like Pondicherry and Karaikal remained under French control. Under the British rule, most of south India was integrated into the region called the Madras Presidency. In 1956, the Madras Presidency was disbanded and Tamil Nadu was established.

Districts of Tamil Nadu

The state of Tamil Nadu, in southeastern India is divided into 30 districts : Chennai, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Dindigul, Erode, Kanchipuram, Kanyakumari, Karur, Krishnagiri, Madurai, Nagapattinam, Namakkal, Perambalur, Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram, Salem, Sivaganga, Thanjavur, Theni, Thoothukudi, Tiruchirapalli, Tirunelveli, Tiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvarur, Vellore, Viluppuram and Virudhunagar

Economy of Tamil Nadu

There are a number of hydel power stations in Tamil Nadu. The atomic power plant is located at Kalpakkam, in the Chengalpattu MGR district. The major minerals found in this state are limestone, magnetite, mica, quartz, feldspar, salt, lignite, gypsum, and bauxite. The major industries include cotton textiles, chemicals, fertilizers, paper and paper products, printing and allied industries, diesel engines, automobiles and parts, cement, sugar, iron and steel, and railway wagon and coaches. The state is an important exporter of leather and leather products, cotton goods, tea, coffee, spices, tobacco, etc. The state's economy is largely agriculture-based and 70% of the population is involved in this industry. The principal food crops are rice, maize, jowar, bajra, ragi, and pulses. The cash crops include cotton, sugarcane, oilseeds, coffee, tea, rubber, and chilies. About 17% of the state's total land area is under forest cover.

Tamil Nadu Travel Information

Tamil Nadu is a land of varied beauty. It is mostly famous for its numerous Hindu temples based on the Dravidian architecture. The temples are of a distinct style, which is famous for its towering Gopuram. Popular temple towns include Madurai, Trichy, Tanjore, Kanchipuram, Palani, Tiruvallur and Mahabalipuram. The most famous temple is the Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur that is about 1000 years old and is on the UNESCO's World Heritage Site list. Tamil Nadu also has the Navagraha temples that are a popular pilgrim circuit. Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of peninsular India, is famous for its distinct and beautiful sunrise, Vivekanda Rock Memorial on the mid-sea, Thiruvalluvar statue and has some very green hilly landscape and picture-postcard perfect sceneries around the district and Nagercoil. Hill stations like Kodaikanal and Nilgiris boast some of the stunning landscapes in India. The Nilgiris also has one of the two mountain Railways in India and is being evaluated for the UNESCO's World Heritage Site list. The Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary located in Gudalur near the border of Karnataka known for its elephants, tigers and deer and the Pitchavaram Mangrove forests located in Chidambaram are two of the many eco-tourism spots of importance. Tamil Nadu, the cradle of south Indian temple architecture, is a living museum of styles that originated in the seventh century and matured in the huge temple complexes studded with towering gateways-Gopuram-that soar on the skyline of almost every town in the state.

Rivers of Tamil Nadu

The rivers of the state flow eastward from the western ghats and are entirely rain-fed. The perennial river fed by both the monsoons is the Cauvery, which flows across Tamil Nadu cutting the state in to two halves. The perennial rivers are Palar, Cheyyar, Ponnaiyar Kaveri, Meyar, Bhavan, Amaravati, Vaigai, Chittar and Tamaraparni. The non-perennial rivers are the Vellur, Noyal, Suruli, Gundar, Vaipar, Valparai and Varshali. The 760 km long Cauveri is the largest river of the state.

Education in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has a history that dates back to a thousand years or more. Tamil Nadu prides from the fact that the first engineering institution to come into being in the country was the Survey School established in 1794 at Chennai by the East India Company. Out of this grew the reputed College of Engineering, Guindy, and Chennai. Having made great strides in the field of Technical Education, Tamil Nadu is a frontline state in India imparting education in the field of technology. The State Government has undertaken several programs to overcome the problem of rural illiteracy and providing free elementary education among the masses. Schools in Tamil Nadu are either affiliated with the State Board or the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Tamil is the medium of instruction and study in the rural schools of Tamil Nadu. The State has a literacy rate of 74%, which is satisfactory as compared to the average literacy rate of the country. Major cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichi and Madurai are famous for their renowned educational institutions and research centers.

Food of Tamil Nadu

Tamil cuisine, traditionally vegetarian, consists of the famous dosas, which are crisp rice pancakes and idlis, which are steamed rice dumplings. Vadas, sambar, rasam, coconut chutney, and upma are other common delicacies. Rice is the staple diet of the state. Chettinad cuisine is a specialty in Tamil Nadu and will be a delight for those who like hot and spicy non-vegetarian food. This cuisine has several variations of fish, mutton, and chicken dishes of which the Chettinad Pepper Chicken is by far the best. The Tamil style of Mughlai food can be savored in the biryani and paya, which is a kind of spiced trotter broth and is eaten with either paratha or appam. Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai, is famous for its filter coffee, as most Tamils do not prefer instant coffee.

Arts & Culture of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is the home of the Tamils and their Dravidian culture. Human activity in this area may have begun as early as 3,00,000 years ago. Historians are of the opinion that the first Dravidians were a part of the Indus Valley Civilization and came to the south after the invasions in the north, around 1500 BC.

The main language spoken here is Tamil, followed by English. While around 88% of the state's population follows Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam are also followed here in Tamil Nadu. There is an established caste system, and the traditional differentiations here are a lot more pronounced than in many other parts of the country. The Brahmin community here is very religious and people normally have a white mark on their forehead to signify their caste. Gypsies have had a special place in Tamil history. Many tribes and castes have accepted this iterant way of life. The Tamil deity Murugan's group was identified variably as a Kuravar (in Tamil Nadu) or as a Veddha (an indigenous hunter gatherer tribe in Sri Lanka). The Badagas, Kotas, and Todas are other tribes found in the Nilgiri hills.

The innumerable temples of Tamil Nadu are themselves marvelous feats of art. The stone carvings of Mahabalipuram (also Mamallapuram), the paintings of Tanjore, the mats of Pattamadai, woodcarvings of Chettiand are famous throughout the country. Besides these, the dolls made during the Navratri celebrations and baskets made of bamboo reeds are other popular local crafts

Costumes of Tamil Nadu

Most men in the Tamil Nadu wear a Dhoti which is a simple, round stitched cloth, tied at the center. The Kanjivaram saris woven in Chennai are available in several varieties and are the traditional wear for women at weddings and special occasions. The women are easily distinguished by their long hair, usually tied into plaits and always adorned with fresh flowers. They are also bedecked with heavy jewelry, mostly of gold.

Dance & Music of Tamil Nadu

The land of Carnatic music, Tamil Nadu is the birthplace of many music legends. The main instruments used here are the violin, wooden flute, veena, gottuvadayam, mridangam, nadaswaram and ghatam. Bharatnatyam is probably the best known and one of the most respected classical dances of India and is Tamil Nadu's gift to Indian culture. It originated in the temples of Mahabalipuram, and was initially performed by the Devdasis, who were young women wedded to the temple deity. Today, besides being practiced extensively in India, it has many exponents the world over, especially in Europe.

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