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Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu

Overview
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Its capital and largest city is Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory
Union Territory
A Union Territory is a sub-national administrative division of India, in the federal framework of governance. Unlike the states of India, which have their own elected governments, union territories are ruled directly by the federal government; the President of India appoints an Administrator or...

 of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

, and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

. It is bound by the Eastern Ghats
Eastern Ghats
The Eastern Ghats or Eastern Ghauts are a discontinuous range of mountains along India's eastern coast. The Eastern Ghats run from West Bengal state in the north, through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka. They are eroded and cut through by the...

 in the north, the Nilgiri, the Anamalai Hills, and Palakkad
Palakkad
Palakkad , formerly known as Palghat, is a municipality and a town in the state of Kerala in southern India, spread over an area of 26.60 km2.The city is situated about north of state capital Thiruvananthapuram. It is the administrative headquarters of Palakkad District...

 on the west, by the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 in the east, the Gulf of Mannar
Gulf of Mannar
The Gulf of Mannar is a large shallow bay forming part of the Laccadive Sea in the Indian Ocean. It lies between the southeastern tip of India and the west coast of Sri Lanka. A chain of low islands and reefs known as Adam's Bridge, also called Ramsethu, which includes Mannar Island, separates the...

, the Palk Strait
Palk Strait
Palk Strait is a strait between the Tamil Nadu state of India and the Mannar district of the Northern Province of the island nation of Sri Lanka. It connects the Bay of Bengal in the northeast with the Palk Bay and thence with the Gulf of Mannar in the southwest. The strait is wide. Several...

 in the south east, and by the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 in the south.

Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest state in India by area and the seventh most populous state.
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Encyclopedia
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Its capital and largest city is Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory
Union Territory
A Union Territory is a sub-national administrative division of India, in the federal framework of governance. Unlike the states of India, which have their own elected governments, union territories are ruled directly by the federal government; the President of India appoints an Administrator or...

 of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

, and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

. It is bound by the Eastern Ghats
Eastern Ghats
The Eastern Ghats or Eastern Ghauts are a discontinuous range of mountains along India's eastern coast. The Eastern Ghats run from West Bengal state in the north, through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka. They are eroded and cut through by the...

 in the north, the Nilgiri, the Anamalai Hills, and Palakkad
Palakkad
Palakkad , formerly known as Palghat, is a municipality and a town in the state of Kerala in southern India, spread over an area of 26.60 km2.The city is situated about north of state capital Thiruvananthapuram. It is the administrative headquarters of Palakkad District...

 on the west, by the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 in the east, the Gulf of Mannar
Gulf of Mannar
The Gulf of Mannar is a large shallow bay forming part of the Laccadive Sea in the Indian Ocean. It lies between the southeastern tip of India and the west coast of Sri Lanka. A chain of low islands and reefs known as Adam's Bridge, also called Ramsethu, which includes Mannar Island, separates the...

, the Palk Strait
Palk Strait
Palk Strait is a strait between the Tamil Nadu state of India and the Mannar district of the Northern Province of the island nation of Sri Lanka. It connects the Bay of Bengal in the northeast with the Palk Bay and thence with the Gulf of Mannar in the southwest. The strait is wide. Several...

 in the south east, and by the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 in the south.

Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest state in India by area and the seventh most populous state. It is the fourth largest contributor (as of 2010) to India's GDP and ranks tenth in Human Development Index as of 2006. Tamil Nadu is also the most urbanised state in India. The state has the highest number (10.56%) of business enterprises and stands second in total employment (9.97%) in India, compared to the population share of about 6%.

The region has been the home of the Tamil people
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

 since atleast 500 BCE. Its official language Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 has been in use in inscriptions and literature for over 2000 years. Tamil Nadu is home to many natural resources, Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. They consist primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Koils which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting...

, hill stations, beach resorts, multi-religious pilgrimage sites and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Prehistory


Tamil Nadu's history dates back to pre-historic times. Archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in India. In Adichanallur
Adichanallur
Adichanallur is an archaeological site near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, India. The town is known locally as Aathichanallur, and has been the site of a number of very important archeological digs.-Archaeological excavations:...

, 24 km (15 mi) from Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli , also known as Nellai , and historically as Tinnevelly, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District and the sixth biggest city in Tamil Nadu...

, archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India
Archaeological Survey of India
The Archaeological Survey of India is a department of the Government of India, attached to the Ministry of Culture . The ASI is responsible for archaeological studies and the preservation of archaeological heritage of the country in accordance with the various acts of the Indian Parliament...

 unearthed 169 clay urns containing human skulls, skeletons and bones, plus husks and grains of rice, charred rice and Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 celts
Celt (tool)
Celt is an archaeological term used to describe long thin prehistoric stone or bronze adzes, other axe-like tools, and hoes.-Etymology:The term "celt" came about from what was very probably a copyist's error in many medieval manuscript copies of Job 19:24 in the Latin Vulgate Bible, which became...

, giving evidence confirming them to be of the Neolithic period, 3800 years ago. The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script used at that site is "very rudimentary" Tamil Brahmi. Adichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies. About 60% of the total epigraphical inscriptions found by ASI in India are from Tamil Nadu and most of which are in Tamil language
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

. Geologists have discovered hundreds of fossilized dinosaur eggs, perhaps 65 million years old, underneath a stream in a tiny village in Ariyalur district. Researchers from the Salem-based Periyar University believe that the clusters of eggs belonged to the aggressive Carnosaur and the leaf-eating Sauropoda
Sauropoda
Sauropoda , or the sauropods , are an infraorder of saurischian dinosaurs. They had long necks, long tails, small heads , and thick, pillar-like legs. They are notable for the enormous sizes attained by some species, and the group includes the largest animals to have ever lived on land...

.

Medieval Period (600–1300)




The Cholas who were very active during the Sangam age were entirely absent during the first few centuries. The period started with the rivalry between the Pandyas and the Pallavas, which in turn caused the revival of the Cholas. The Cholas went on to becoming a great power. Their decline saw the brief resurgence of the Pandyas. This period was also that of the re-invigorated Hinduism during which temple building and religious literature were at their best.
The Cheras
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

 ruled in southern India from before the Sangam era (300 BCE – 250 CE) over the Coimbatore
Coimbatore District
Coimbatore District is one of the more affluent and industrially advanced districts of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Coimbatore is known as the Manchester of South India. It one of the most industrialized towns of Tamil Nadu. It has the highest GDP among the districts of Tamil Nadu, even ahead...

, Karur
Karur District
Karur District is located center along the Kaveri & Amaravati rivers in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The main town in Karur District is the city of Karur, which is also the district headquarter. It had a population of 935,686 as of 2001. It is 33.27% urbanized as per Census 2001...

, Salem
Salem District
Salem District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Salem is the district headquarters. Other major towns in the district are Mettur, Omalur and Attur...

 Districts in present day Tamil Nadu and present day Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 from the capital of Vanchi Muthur in the west, (thought to be modern Karur
Karur
Karur is a large town and a municipality in Karur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu situated on the banks of Amaravati. Karur district was formed on 30 September 1995 by trifurcating Tiruchirappalli district. It is the administrative headquarters of Karur District. Karur has a very long...

). They traded extensively from nearby Muziris
Muziris
Muziris is an ancient sea-port in Southwestern India on the Periyar River 3.2 km from its mouth. The derivation of the name Muziris is said to be from "Mucciripattanam," "mucciri" means "cleft palate" and "pattanam" means "city". Near Muziris, Periyar River was branched into two like a...

, in spices, ivory, timber, pearls and gems, with the ancient kingdoms of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Rome, Greece, Ceylon, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, Arabia, Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 and Persia. The Kalabhras
Kalabhras
The Kalabhras dynasty ruled over the entire Ancient Tamil country between the 3rd and the 6th century in an era of South Indian history called the Kalabhra interregnum. The Kalabhras displaced the kingdoms of the early Cholas, early Pandayan and Chera dynasties. Information about its origin and...

, invaded and displaced the three Tamil kingdoms and ruled between the third and the seventh centuries CE of the Sangam period. This is referred to as the Dark Age in Tamil
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

 history. They were expelled by the Pallavas and the Pandyas in sixth century.

During Kalabhras' rule Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 flourished in the land of the Tamils. The didactic work Naaladiyar was composed during their reign. It consists of moral sayings in the venpa
Venpa
Venpa is a form of classical Tamil poetry. Classical Tamil poetry has been classified based upon the rules of metric prosody. Such rules form a context-free grammar. Every Venpa consists of between two to twelve lines....

meter, 400 in number in 40 chapters, each by one Jain ascetic, according to tradition. Following in the tradition of Jainism, Naaladiyar emphasizes virtues such as control of the senses, asceticism, renunciation, and other desirable social qualities. Because the Kalabhras gave protection to Jains and perhaps Buddhists, too, some have concluded that they were anti-Hindu, although this latter view is not undisputed.
During the forth to eighth centuries century CE, Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallavas under Mahendravarman I
Mahendravarman I
Mahendravarman I was a Pallava king who ruled the Northern regions of what forms present-day Tamil Nadu in India in the early 7th century. He was the son of Simhavishnu, who defeated the Kalabhras and re-established the Pallava kingdom....

 and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I
Narasimhavarman I
Narasimhavarman I was a Tamil king of the Pallava dynasty who ruled South India from 630–668 CE. He shared his father Mahendravarman I's love of art and completed the work started by Mahendravarman in Mahabalipuram....

 and his uncle Bodhidharman. Pallavas ruled a large portion of South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 with Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

 as their capital. Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. They consist primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Koils which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting...

 reached its peak during the Pallava rule. Narasimhavarman II
Narasimhavarman II
Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha was a Pallava king who ruled in South India during the 6th century. Succeeding his father Paramesvaravarman I in the year 700 CE, he ruled for nearly 3 decades, until he was succeeded by his son Paramesvaravarman II in 728 CE.-Ascension to the throne:By the time...

 built the Shore Temple
Shore Temple
The Shore Temple is so named because it overlooks the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. It was built on a promontory sticking out into the Bay of Bengal at Mahabalipuram, a village south of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu,...

 which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Pallavas were replaced by the Cholas as the dominant kingdom in the 10th century C.E and they in turn were replaced by Pandyas in the 13th century C.E. The Pandyan capital Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 was in the deep south away from the coast. They had extensive trade links with the Southeast Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya
Srivijaya
Srivijaya was a powerful ancient thalassocratic Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, modern day Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. The earliest solid proof of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6...

 and their successors, as well as contacts, even formal diplomatic contacts, reaching as far as the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. During the 13th century C.E. Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 mentioned the Pandyas as the richest empire in existence. Temples such as the Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-alavai is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India...

 at Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 and Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple is one of the famous Shiva Temples situated at the heart of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India.-History:...

 at Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli , also known as Nellai , and historically as Tinnevelly, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District and the sixth biggest city in Tamil Nadu...

 are the best examples of Pandyan temple architecture. The Pandyas excelled in both trade and literature. They controlled the pearl fisheries along the South Indian coast, between Sri Lanka and India, which produced some of the finest pearls in the known ancient world.

Chola Empire




By the 9th century, during the times of the second Chola monarch Aditya I
Aditya I
Aditya I , the son of Vijayalaya, was the first great Chola king of South India who extended the Chola dominions by the conquest of the Pallavas.- Pallava Civil War :...

, his son Parantaka I
Parantaka I
Parantaka Chola I ruled the Chola kingdom in southern India for forty-eight years. The best part of his reign was marked by increasing success and prosperity.-The Invasion of the Pandya Kingdom:...

, Parantaka Chola II
Parantaka Chola II
Parantaka Chola II ruled for approximately twelve years. Parantaka II was also known by the name Madhurantakan Sundara Chola. He was the son of Arinjaya Chola. His mother’s name was Kalyani, a princes from the clan of Vaidumbas...

 itself the Chola empire had expanded into what is now interior Andhra Pradesh and coastal Karnataka, while under the great Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose as a notable power in south Asia. The Chola Empire stretched as far as Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

. At its peak, the empire spanned almost 3,600,000 km² (1,389,968 sq mi). Rajaraja Chola conquered all of peninsular South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 and parts of the Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. Rajendra Chola's navies went even further, occupying coasts from Burma (now Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

) to Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep , formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 km off the coast of the South West Indian state of Kerala...

, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

, Malaya
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

 in South East Asia and Pegu islands. He defeated Mahipala
Mahipala
Mahipala I is considered the second founder of the Pala dynasty. Gopala I established the dynastic rule of the Palas in the middle of the 8th century CE. The Pala Dynasty ruled Bengal and Bihar for about four centuries from the middle of the 8th century CE...

, the king of the Bengal, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital and named it Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram was erected as the capital of the Cholas by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, the great Chola who conquered a large area in South India at the beginning of the 11th century C.E. It occupies an important place in the history of India. As the capital...

.Nearby this chola capital an sculptural carvings fitted temple Melakadambur
Melakadambur
Melakadambur is a village located from Chidambaram,and can reach at 6 km from Kattumannarkoil, Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu, India. It is known for Arulmigu Amirthakateshwarar Thirukkoil, constructed during the reign of Cholas by Kulothunga Chola...

 is located,the only Karakkoil in Tamilnadu

The Cholas excelled in building magnificent temples. Brihadeshwara Temple
Brihadeeswarar temple
The Peruvudaiyar Koyil , also known as Rajarajeswaram, at Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world's first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas kingdom Vishwakarmas in Tamil architecture. It is a tribute and a reflection of the...

 in Thanjavur is a classical example of the magnificent architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 of the Chola kingdom. Brihadshwara temple is an UNESCO Heritage Site under "Great Living Chola Temples." Another example is Annamalaiyar Temple
Annamalaiyar Temple
Annamalaiyar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva, located at the foothills of the Annamalai Hill in the town of Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, India. Shiva is worshipped as Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleswarar represented by lingam, withhis consort, Unnamalaiyaal...

  located at the city of Tiruvannamalai
Tiruvannamalai
Thiruvannamalai is a pilgrimage Temple city and special grade municipality in Thiruvannamalai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Thiruvannamalai district. Thiruvannamalai is home to the Annamalaiyar Temple located at the foot of the Annamalai hill and...

  and the Chidambaram Temple
Chidambaram Temple
Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in the town of Chidambaram, East-Central Tamil Nadu, South India. The temple is known as the foremost of all temples to Saivites and has influenced worship, architecture, sculpture and performance art for over two...

 in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram
Chidambaram
Chidambaram is a fast growing industrial city in Eastern part of Tamil Nadu and the taluk headquarters of the Cuddalore district. It is located in 58 km from Pondicherry, 60 km from Karaikal, and 240 km south of Chennai by rail...

.
Raja Raja Chola and Rajendra Chola period is said to be the golden period of Tamil Nadu, and under them the Chola empire rose to be the most powerful empire in all of South-India. With the decline of the Cholas between 1230 and 1280 CE, the Pandyas rose to prominence once again, under Maravarman Sundara Pandya
Maravarman Sundara Pandya
Maravarman Sundara Pandyan I was a Pandyan king, who ruled regions of South India between 1216–1238 CE. He laid the foundation for the Pandya revival, after being dominated by the Cholas for several centuries.-Accession:...

 and his younger brother, the celebrated Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan
Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan
Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I was king and Lord Emperor of the Pandyan dynasty, ruling regions of Tamilakkam Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I was king and Lord Emperor of the Pandyan dynasty, ruling regions of Tamilakkam Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I was king and Lord Emperor of the Pandyan...

.

This revival was short-lived as the Pandya capital of Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 itself was sacked by Alauddin Khilji
Alauddin Khilji
Ali Gurshap Khan better known by his titular name as Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji was the second ruler of the Turko-Afghan Khilji dynasty in India.He was a well and capable ruler. He belonged to the Afghanized Turkic tribe of the Khiljis...

's troops under General Malik Kafur
Malik Kafur
Malik Kafur, General , or Chand Ram as his name was originally, was a slave who became a head general in the army of Alauddin Khilji, ruler of the Delhi sultanate from 1296 to 1316 AD. He was originally seized by Alauddin's army after the army conquered the city of Khambhat...

 in 1316. The Muslim invasion led to the establishment of the short lived Madurai Sultanate
Madurai Sultanate
The Madurai Sultanate or the Ma'bar Sultanate was a short lived independent Muslim kingdom based in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India during the 14th century CE. It lasted from 1335 until 1378...

.

Vijayanagar and Nayak period (1336–1646)



These Muslim invasions triggered the establishment of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

 in the Deccan. It eventually conquered the entire Tamil country (c. 1370 CE). This empire lasted for almost two centuries till the defeat of Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara is in Bellary District, northern Karnataka. It is the name of the now-ruined capital city "which was regarded as the second Rome" that surrounds modern-day Hampi, of the historic Vijayanagara empire which extended over the southern part of India....

 in the Battle of Talikota in 1565. Subsequent to this defeat, many incompetent kings succeeded to the throne of Vijayanagara with the result that its grip loosened over its feudatories among whom the Nayaks of Madurai and Tanjore were among the first to declare their independence, despite initially maintaining loose links with the Vijayanagara kingdom." As the Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

 went into decline after mid-16th century, the Nayak
Nayak (ethnic group)
-History and origin:The word nayak means a head of a regiment. This word is derived from the Sanskrit senanayaka, which means head of a regiment. The community trace there descent from the Vaghela Rajputs who converted to Islam in the 12th Century. They established a number of petty states in...

 governors, who were appointed by the Vijayanagar kingdom to administer various territories of the empire, declared their independence. The Nayaks of Madurai and Nayaks of Thanjavur were most prominent of them all in the 17th century. They reconstructed some of the oldest temples in the country such as the Meenakshi Temple.

Rule of Nawabs and Nizams (1692–1801)


In the early 18th century, the eastern parts of Tamil Nadu came under the dominions of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of the Carnatic
Nawab of the Carnatic
Nawabs of the Carnatic , ruled the Carnatic region of South India between about 1690 and 1801. They initially had their capital at Arcot,vellore city...

. While Wallajah
Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah
Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah was the Nawab of Arcot in India and an ally of the British East India Company. Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah was born to Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan, by his second wife, Fakhr un-nisa Begum Sahiba, was a niece of Sayyid Ali Khan Safavi ul-Mosawi of Persia, sometime Naib suba...

 was supported by the English, Chanda Shahib
Chanda Shahib
Chanda Shahib was the Nawab of the Carnatic between 1749 and 1752. His birth name is Husayn Dost Khan. He was the son-in-law of the Nawab of Carnatic Dost Ali Khan, under whom he worked as a Dewan. He came from the Nait community which had ruled the Carnatic under Aurangzeb...

 was supported by the French by the middle of the 18th century. In the late 18th century, the western parts of Tamil Nadu, came under the dominions of Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

 and later Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

, particularly with their victory in the Second Anglo-Mysore War
Second Anglo-Mysore War
The Second Anglo-Mysore War was a conflict in Mughal India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British East India Company. At the time, Mysore was a key French ally in India, and the Franco-British conflict raging on account of the American Revolutionary War helped spark Anglo-Mysorean...

.

European rule (1801–1947)




Around 1609, the Dutch established a settlement in Pulicat
Pulicat
Pulicat is a historic seashore town in Thiruvallur District, of Tamil Nadu state, South India. It is about 60 km north of Chennai and 3 km from Elavur, on the barrier island of Sriharikota, which separates Pulicat Lake from the Bay of Bengal. Pulicat lake is a shallow salt water lagoon...

, while the Danish had their establishment in Tranquebar (Tharangambadi). In 1639, the British, under the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, established a settlement further south of Pulicat, in present day Chennai. In the late 18th century, the British fought and reduced the French dominions in India
French India
French India is a general name for the former French possessions in India These included Pondichéry , Karikal and Yanaon on the Coromandel Coast, Mahé on the Malabar Coast, and Chandannagar in Bengal...

 to Pondicherry. Nizams of Hyderabad and the Nawabs of the Carnatic bestowed tax revenue collection rights on the East India Company for defeating the Kingdom of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

. After winning the Polygar war
Polygar War
Polygar War or Palayakarar Wars refers to the wars fought between the Polygars of former Madurai Kingdom in Tamil Nadu, India and the British East India Company forces between March 1799 to May 1802. The British finally won after carrying out long and difficult protracted jungle campaigns against...

s, the East India Company consolidated most of southern India into the Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

 coterminous with the dominions of Nizam of Hyderabad. Pudukkottai
Pudukkottai
Pudukkottai is a town and a municipality in Pudukkottai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Pudukkottai District was carved out of Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur districts in January 1974.It is the administrative headquarters of Pudukkottai District....

 remained as a princely state
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...

.

Tamil Nadu in independent India (1947 -)


When India became independent in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras State
Madras State
Madras State was the name by which the Indian districts in Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Northern Kerala, Bellary and Dakshina Kannada were collectively known as from 1950 to 1953....

, comprising present day Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh up to Ganjam district in Orissa, South Canara district Karnataka, and parts of Kerala. The state was subsequently split up along linguistic lines. In 1969, Madras State was renamed Tamil Nadu, meaning Tamil country.

Geography




Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130058 square kilometres (50,215.7 sq mi), and is the eleventh largest state in India. The bordering states are Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 to the west, Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 to the northwest and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

 to the north. To the east is the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 and the union territory of Pondicherry. The southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula is located in Tamil Nadu. At this point is the town of Kanyakumari which is the meeting point of the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean.

The western, southern and the north-western parts are hilly and rich in vegetation. The Western Ghats
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

 and the Eastern Ghats
Eastern Ghats
The Eastern Ghats or Eastern Ghauts are a discontinuous range of mountains along India's eastern coast. The Eastern Ghats run from West Bengal state in the north, through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka. They are eroded and cut through by the...

 and they both meet at the Nilgiri hills. The Western Ghats dominate the entire western border with Kerala, effectively blocking much of the rain bearing clouds of the South West Monsoon from entering the state. The eastern parts are fertile coastal plains and the northern parts are a mix of hills and plains. The central and the south central regions are arid plains and receive less rainfall than the other regions.

Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 910 kilometres (565.4 mi) which is the country’s third longest coastline. Tamil Nadu's coastline bore the brunt of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami when it hit India, which caused 7,793 direct deaths in the state. Tamil Nadu falls mostly in a region of low seismic hazard with the exception of the western border areas that lie in a low to moderate hazard zone; as per the 2002 Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) map, Tamil Nadu falls in Zones II & III. Historically, parts of this region have experienced seismic activity in the M5.0 range.

Climate



Tamil Nadu is heavily dependent on monsoon rains, and thereby is prone to droughts when the monsoons fail. The climate of the state ranges from dry sub-humid to semi-arid. The state has three distinct periods of rainfall:
  • advancing monsoon period, South West monsoon
    Monsoon
    Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

     from June to September, with strong southwest winds;
  • North East monsoon from October to December, with dominant northeast winds;
  • dry season from January to May.


The normal annual rainfall of the state is about 945 mm (37.2 in) of which 48% is through the North East monsoon, and 32% through the South West monsoon. Since the state is entirely dependent on rains for recharging its water resources, monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe drought.

Tamil Nadu is classified into seven agro-climatic zones: north-east, north-west, west, southern, high rainfall, high altitude hilly, and Cauvery Delta (the most fertile agricultural zone). The table below shows the maximum and minimum temperatures that the state experiences in the plains and hills.
Plains Hills
Max. 43 °C (109.4 °F) 32.3 °C (90.1 °F)
Min. 13.1 °C (55.6 °F) 3 °C (37.4 °F)

Governance and administration


The Governor is the Constitutional head of the state while the Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

 is the head of the government and the head of the council of ministers. The Chief Justice
Chief Justice
The Chief Justice in many countries is the name for the presiding member of a Supreme Court in Commonwealth or other countries with an Anglo-Saxon justice system based on English common law, such as the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Court of Final Appeal of...

 of the Madras High Court
Madras High Court
The Madras High Court is a senior court located at Chennai , in India. The court buildings, which are believed to be the second largest judicial complex in the world, are located near the beach, in one of the city's major business districts....

 is the head of the judiciary. The present Governor, Chief Minister and the Chief Justice are Konijeti Rosaiah
Konijeti Rosaiah
Konijeti Rosaiah is the current Governor of Tamil Nadu and a former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. He was previously an MLC, MLA & MP of the Indian National Congress numerous times and has handled many ministerial posts over his long political career spanning over half a century...

, J. Jayalalithaa and M. Y. Eqbal respectively. Administratively the state is divided into 32 districts. It has 10 city corporations
Municipal Corporations of Tamil Nadu
Municipal corporations of Tamil Nadu . There are 10 municipal corporations in Tamil Nadu-List of municipal corporations:-List of Corporations based on Administration:-See also:* Municipal Corporations of India...

, 125 municipalities, 529 town panchayats and 12,524 village panchayats. Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

 (formerly known as Madras) is the state capital. It is the fourth largest city in India and is also one of the eight Metropolitan cities of India. The state comprises 39 Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

 constituencies and 234 Legislative Assembly constituencies,

Tamil Nadu had a bicameral legislature
Bicameralism
In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

 until 1986, when it was replaced with a unicameral legislature
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

, like most other states in India. The term length of the government is 5 years, as is elsewhere in India. The present government run by the ADMK led alliance came to power in 2011 and consists of a council of 33 ministers, headed by the Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha. The Tamil Nadu legislative assembly is housed at the Fort St. George in Chennai. The state had come under the President's rule
President's rule
President's rule is the term used in India when a state legislature is dissolved or suspended and the state is placed under direct federal rule...

 rule on four occasions – first from 1976 to 1977, next for a short period in 1980, then from 1988 to 1989 and the latest in 1991.

The local administration is divided into revenue administration and developmental administration. Revenue Divisions of Tamil Nadu provides the Revenue divisions and Taluks of Tamil Nadu. These administrative units are classified based on the district. Each of the 32 districts in Tamil Nadu is divided into divisions, which are further divided to Taluks. Each of these Taluks have a list of revenue villages under them. Tahsildar is the head of these Taluks. Developmental administration, in contrast, is carried out by Panchayat Unions (called blocks) in rural areas. These panchayat unions have a set of panchayat villages under them. In urban areas, the governance is done by municipal corporations
Municipal Corporations of Tamil Nadu
Municipal corporations of Tamil Nadu . There are 10 municipal corporations in Tamil Nadu-List of municipal corporations:-List of Corporations based on Administration:-See also:* Municipal Corporations of India...

, municipalities or town panchayats based on the size of the town. Tamil Nadu has 10 municipal corporations: Chennai
Chennai Corporation
Chennai Corporation , formerly known as Madras Corporation, is the civic body that governs the city of Chennai , India. The Chennai Corporation is the oldest municipal body of the Commonwealth of Nations outside the United Kingdom and the oldest corporation in India...

, Madurai
Madurai Municipal Corporation
Madurai Municipal Corporation is the civic body which administers the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body. The legislative body is headed by the city mayor while the executive body is headed by a Chief Commissioner.- History :The municipality of...

, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli
Tiruchirappalli Municipal Corporation
Tiruchirappalli Municipal Corporation is the municipal corporation which looks after the city administration of Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body...

, Salem
Salem Municipal Corporation
Salem City Municipal Corporation is a civic body that governs Salem city, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body.The legislative body is headed by the city mayor while the executive body is headed by a Chief Commissioner....

, Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation
Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation ) is the civic body which administers the city of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body...

, Erode
Erode Municipal Corporation
Erode Municipal Corporation ) is a civic administrative body that governs the City of Erode, India. The Corporation consists of a legislative boby, headed by the City Mayor and an executive body headed by the Corporation Commissioner...

, Tirupur
Tiruppur Municipal Corporation
The City Municipal Corporation of Tiruppur or Tiruppur Municipal Corporation ) is a civic body that governs Tiruppur city, India. This corporation consist of 52 wards and is headed by a Mayor who presides over a Deputy Mayor and 50 councillors who represent eachwards in the city....

, Vellore
Vellore Municipal Corporation
The City Municipal Corporation of Vellore or Vellore Municipal Corporation . is a civic body that governs Vellore city, India. This corporation consist of 60 wards and is headed by a Mayor who presides over a Deputy Mayor and 60 councillors who represent each wards in the city....

 and Thoothukudi
Thoothukudi Municipal Corporation
The City Municipal Corporation of Thoothukudi or Thoothukudi Municipal Corporation . is a civic body that governs Thoothukudi city, India. This corporation consist of 51 wards and is headed by a Mayor who presides over a Deputy Mayor and 49 councillors who represent each wards in the...

.

Tamil Nadu has been a pioneering state of E-Governance
E-Governance
Several dimension and related factors influence the definition of eGovernance. The word “electronic” in the term e-Governance implies technology driven governance...

 initiatives in India. A large part of the government records like land ownership records are digitised and all major offices of the state government like Urban Local Bodies — all the Corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s and Municipal Office activities — revenue collection, land registration offices, and transport offices have been computerised. Tamil Nadu is one of the states where law and order has been maintained largely successfully. The Tamil Nadu Police
Tamil Nadu Police
The Tamil Nadu Police Force is the law enforcing agency / department of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is over 150 years old and is the fifth largest state police force in India. Tamil Nadu has a Police population ratio of 1 : 632.-Administration:...

 Force is over 140 years old. It is the fifth largest state police force in India and has the largest strength of women police personnel in the country. As of 2003, the state had a total police population ratio of 1:668, higher than the national average of 1:717. The current Director General of Police (law and order) of Tamil Nadu is K. Ramanujan.

Districts


The 32 districts of Tamil Nadu are listed below with the numbers corresponding to those in the image at right.
  1. Ariyalur district
    Ariyalur district
    Ariyalur is an administrative district in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. The district headquarters are located at Ariyalur...

  2. Chennai district
    Chennai district
    The Chennai District is a district in the state of Tamil nadu, in India. It is the smallest of all the districts in the state, but has the highest population. The district is a city district which means that it does not have a district headquarters. Most of the city region of Chennai comes under...

  3. Coimbatore district
    Coimbatore District
    Coimbatore District is one of the more affluent and industrially advanced districts of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Coimbatore is known as the Manchester of South India. It one of the most industrialized towns of Tamil Nadu. It has the highest GDP among the districts of Tamil Nadu, even ahead...

  4. Cuddalore district
    Cuddalore District
    Cuddalore District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Cuddalore is the district headquarters. For the first time, urn burial grave goods were found in the village of Marungur in the district, carrying inscriptions in Tamil Brahmi from the 1st century...

  5. Dharmapuri district
  6. Dindigul district
    Dindigul District
    Dindigul District is an administrative region in the south of Tamil Nadu, India. The district was carved out of Madurai District in the year 1985...

  7. Erode district
    Erode District
    Erode District is a western district of the state of Tamil Nadu, India, with Erode as its headquarters. Until the year 1996, Erode district was called as Periyar District....

  8. Kanchipuram district
    Kanchipuram district
    Kanchipuram district is a district in the northeast of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is bounded in the west by Vellore and Thiruvannamalai districts, in the north by Thiruvallur District and Chennai District, in the south by Viluppuram District and in the east by the Bay of Bengal. It lies...

  9. Kanyakumari district
    Kanyakumari District
    Kanyakumari District ) is a district of Tamil Nadu state, India and is the southernmost land area of mainland India.The district is the second most urbanised district in Tamilnadu, next only to Chennai and ahead of Coimbatore. It also has the highest literacy and education levels in the...

  10. Karur district
    Karur District
    Karur District is located center along the Kaveri & Amaravati rivers in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The main town in Karur District is the city of Karur, which is also the district headquarter. It had a population of 935,686 as of 2001. It is 33.27% urbanized as per Census 2001...

  11. Krishnagiri district
    Krishnagiri District
    Krishnagiri is a district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The municipal town of Krishnagiri is the district headquarters. In Tamil Nadu, E-Governance was first introduced at Krishnagiri district under the National e-Governance Project in Revenue, Social Welfare departments on a pilot basis...

  12. Madurai district
    Madurai District
    Madurai district is one of the 32 districts of the state of Tamil Nadu, in southeastern India. The city of Madurai serves as the district headquarters. It houses the world famous Sri Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple and is situated on the banks of river Vaigai. Thiruparankundram is one of the major...

  13. Nagapattinam district
  14. Namakkal district
    Namakkal District
    Namakkal District is an administrative district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The district was bifurcated from Salem District with Namakkal town as Head Quarters on 25-07-1996 and started to function independently from 01-01-1997...

  15. The Nilgiris district
    The Nilgiris District
    The Nilgiris District is in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Nilgiri is also the name given to a range of mountains spread across the states of Tamilnadu as well as Karnataka and Kerala. The Nilgiri Hills are part of a larger mountain chain known as the Western Ghats...

  16. Perambalur district


  1. Pudukkottai district
    Pudukkottai District
    Pudukkottai District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Pudukkottai is the district headquarters...


  2. Ramanathapuram district
    Ramanathapuram District
    Ramanathapuram District is an administrative district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Ramanathapuram is the district headquarters. Ramanthapuram District has an area of 4123 km²...


  3. Salem district
    Salem District
    Salem District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Salem is the district headquarters. Other major towns in the district are Mettur, Omalur and Attur...


  4. Sivaganga district
    Sivaganga District
    Sivaganga District is an administrative district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Sivaganga is the district headquarters. It is bounded by Pudukkottai district on the Northeast, Tiruchirapalli district on the North, Ramanathapuram district on South East, Virudhunagar district...


  5. Thanjavur district
    Thanjavur District
    Thanjavur District is one of the 32 districts of the state of Tamil Nadu, in southeastern India. Its headquarters is Thanjavur.-Geography:...


  6. Theni district
    Theni District
    Theni District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in South India. The city of Theni is the district headquarters. The district is divided into two natural divisions: The hilly areas constituted by parts of the three taluks Periyakulam, Uthamapalayam and Andipatti with thick vegetation and...


  7. Thoothukudi district
    Thoothukudi District
    Thoothukudi District, also known as Tuticorin District, is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. Thoothukudi is the district headquarters. It is also known for Pearl cultivation with abundance of pearls found in the seas of Thoothukudi...


  8. Tiruchirapalli district
  9. Tirunelveli district
    Tirunelveli District
    Tirunelveli District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Tirunelveli is the district headquarters. A unique feature of this district is that it encompasses all five geographical traditions of Tamil Literature; kurinji , mullai , marudham , neithal and palai...


  10. Thirupur district
  11. Thiruvallur district
  12. Thiruvannamalai district
  13. Thiruvarur district
  14. Vellore district
    Vellore District
    Vellore district is one of the 32 districts in the Tamil Nadu state of India. Vellore City is the headquarters of this district. It had a population of 3,477,317 as of 2001. It is 37.62% urbanised...


  15. Viluppuram district
    Viluppuram District
    Villupuram is one of the thirty districts which make up Tamil Nadu state situated on the southern tip of India. The district headquarters is located at Villupuram. Villupuram district came into existence on 30 September 1993 when it was created out of South Arcot district...


  16. Virudhunagar district
    Virudhunagar District
    Virudhunagar District is an administrative district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. Virudhunagar is the district headquarters. Virudhunagar district was formed from parts of Tirunelveli and Madurai districts....


Politics



Political
Alliance
Assembly
(2011)
Lok Sabha
Indian general election in Tamil Nadu, 2009
The Indian general election, 2009 polls in Tamil Nadu was held for 39 seats in the state. There was a radical change in the alliances in this election compared to the last election, reminiscent of the 1999 election in Tamil Nadu...


(2009)
AIADMK+
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. The party was founded by M. G. Ramachandran and is now headed by J. Jayalalithaa. The party headquarters is in Royapettah, Chennai, and was gifted to the party in 1986 by its...

203 12
DMK+
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. It is a Dravidian party founded by C. N. Annadurai as a breakaway faction from the Dravidar Kazhagam headed by Periyar...

31 27
Independent/Other 0 0
Source: Election Commission of India.



Prior to Indian independence Tamil Nadu was under British colonial rule as part of the Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

. The main party in Tamil Nadu at that time was the Congress Party. Regional parties have dominated state politics since 1916. One of the earliest regional parties, the South Indian Welfare Association, a forerunner to Dravidian parties
Dravidian parties
Dravidian parties include an array of regional political parties in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, which trace their origins and ideologies either directly or indirectly to the Dravidian movement of Periyar E. V...

 in Tamil Nadu, was started in 1916. The party was called after its English organ, Justice Party
Justice Party (India)
The Justice Party , officially known as South Indian Liberal Federation, was a political party in the Madras Presidency of British India. The party was established in 1917 by T. M. Nair and Theagaroya Chetty as a result of a series of non-Brahmin conferences and meetings in the presidency...

, by it opponents. Later, South Indian Liberal Federation was adopted as its official name. The reason for victory of the Justice Party in elections was the non-participation of the Congress Party, demanding complete independence of India. Freedom movement saw great leaders like K. Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj
Kumarasami Kamaraj better known as K. Kamaraj was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975...

, Subramanya Bharathi (a poet who inspired the freedom movement by his poetic skills), Subramania Siva,V. O. Chidambaram Pillai(Industrialist, who managed ships under the free India banner), Tiruppur Kumaran
Tiruppur Kumaran
Tiruppur Kumaran , was an Indian revolutionary who participated in the Indian independence movement. Kumaran was born in Chennimalai, a small town in the Erode District in Tamil Nadu region of south India...

, Rajagopalachariar (Rajaji) and Sathyamurthi.

Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
Erode Venkata Ramasamy , affectionately called by his followers as Periyar , Thanthai Periyar or E. V...

 popularly known as Periyar, believed in agitational politics and took the Justice Party away from its original path. The Justice Party which had a moribund existence under E.V.Ramaswamy. He renamed the party Dravidar Kazhagam
Dravidar Kazhagam
Dravidar Kazhagam or Dravida Kazhagam was the first fully Dravidian party in India. It was a radical party formed by E. V. Ramaswamy, also called Thanthai Periyar of erstwhile Madras Presidency...

 (DK for short) in 1944. DK was a non-political party which demanded the establishment of an independent state called Dravida Nadu. However, due to the differences between its two leaders EVR and C.N. Annadurai
Annadurai
Annadurai can refer to:* C. N. Annadurai, an Indian politician* Mylswamy Annadurai, an Indian scientist...

, the party was split. Annadurai left the party to form the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. It is a Dravidian party founded by C. N. Annadurai as a breakaway faction from the Dravidar Kazhagam headed by Periyar...

 (DMK). The DMK decided to enter politics in 1956.


In the 19th century, western scholars discovered that the Dravidian languages
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

  dominating South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 formed a different linguistic group than the Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

  predominant in North India
North India
North India, known natively as Uttar Bhārat or Shumālī Hindustān , is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage...

. They also classified Indians into distinct Aryan and Dravidian races
Dravidian peoples
Dravidian peoples is a term used to refer to the diverse groups of people who natively speak languages belonging to the Dravidian language family. Populations of speakers of around 220 million are found mostly in Southern India. Other Dravidian people are found in parts of central India, Sri Lanka,...

. It was proposed that the generally darker-skinned Dravidians constituted a distinct race. This concept has affected thinking in India about racial and regional differences and had an impact on aspects of Tamil nationalism
Tamil nationalism
Tamil nationalism in India is an aspiration by some Tamils to establish, at minimum, self determination or at maximum secession from India to establish an Independent Tamil State of which would consist of today's Tamil nadu, Puducherry and Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka...

, which has appropriated the claim that Dravidians are the earliest inhabitants of India, and the Aryan population were oppressive interlopers from whom Dravidians should liberate themselves.

Re-organisation of Indian states according to linguistic and ethnic basis has moderated Tamil nationalism, especially the demand for separation from the Indian Union. The Anti-Hindi agitations
Anti-Hindi agitations
The Anti-Hindi agitations of Tamil Nadu are a series of agitations that happened in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu during both pre- and post-Independence periods...

 in mid-1960s made the DMK more popular and a more powerful political force in the state. The DMK routed the Congress Party
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 in the 1967 elections and took control of the state government, ending Congress' stronghold in Tamil Nadu. C.N. Annadurai became the DMK's first Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

.

Muthuvel Karunanidhi took over as Chief Minister and party leader after Annadurai's death in 1969. Karunanidhi's leadership was soon challenged by M.G. Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR. In 1972, he split from DMK and formed the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) and later renamed the party as All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam. He was the Chief Minister of the state from 1977 until his death in 1987. After the death of MGR AIADMK was defeated in 1989 assembly polls because of the Split of the party into two factions headed by Janaki (Wife of MGR) and Jayalalithaa. Later on J. Jayalalithaa
J. Jayalalithaa
Jayalalithaa Jayaram ; born 24 February 1948) commonly referred to as J. Jayalalitha, is the Chief Minister of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. She is the incumbent general secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam , a Dravidian party. She is called Amma and Puratchi Thalaivi by her...

 took control of the party. She was elected as the General Secretary of the unified AIADMK. There have been several splits in both the DMK and the AIADMK, but since 1967 one of those two parties has held power in the state.

Demographics


Tamil Nadu is the seventh most populous state in India with a population of 72,138,958 (5.96% of India's population; census 2011 fig.). It is the seventh most densely populated state in India with a population density of 555 persons per square kilometre as of 2011, having increased from 429 in 1991, significantly higher than the Indian average of 382 persons per square kilometre. 44% of the state's population live in urban areas, the highest among large states in India.
Tamil Nadu's population grew by 15.6% between 2001 and 2011, the sixth lowest rate for that period amongst populous states (states whose population exceeded 20 million in 2011). Although its decadal rate of population growth has declined since 1971, the population growth during the last decade (2001–2011) has increased. The state has registered the lowest fertiliy rate
Indian states ranking by fertility rate
This is a list of the States of India ranked in order of number of children born for each woman. Based on this study, seven Indian states including Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab and Sikkim do not contribute anymore to the population explosion of India.In fact,...

 along with Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

 and Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 in India in year 2005–06 with 1.8 children born for each woman, lower than required for population sustainability.

Hinduism is followed by the majority of the people. The distribution of population based on their faith, as of the 2001 census, is shown in the bar graph above. Hinduism is the dominant religion has a higher percentage of adherents in Tamil Nadu (88%) when compared to other states. Christianity, though a minority, has the highest population in absolute numbers when compared to other states. Jains make up 0.13% of the population. Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes comprise 19% and 1% of the population respectively. Tamil is the official and the principal spoken language of the state. As of the 2001 Census, Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 is spoken by 89.00% of the population followed by Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

 at 5.66%, Kannada at 2.0%, Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

 at 1.51% and Malayalam at 0.59%.

Education and social development



Tamil Nadu is one of the most literate states in India. Tamil Nadu has performed reasonably well in terms of literacy growth
Literacy in India
Literacy in India is key for socio-economic progress, and the Indian literacy rate grew to 74.04% in 2011 from 12% at the end of British rule in 1947. Although this was a greater than sixfold improvement, the level is well below the world average literacy rate of 84%, and India currently has the...

 during the decade 2001–2011. The state's literacy rate increased from 73.47% in 2001 to 80.3% in 2011 which is above the national average. A survey conducted by the Industry body Assocham ranks Tamil Nadu top among Indian states with about 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in primary and upper primary education. One of the basic limitations for improvement in education in the state is the rate of absence of teachers in public schools, which at 21.4% is significant. The analysis of primary school education in the state by Pratham
Pratham
Pratham is a non-governmental organisation that works towards the provision of quality education to the underprivileged children in India. Established in Mumbai in 1994 to provide pre-school education to children in slums, it now has activities in 21 states of India and has supporting chapters in...

 shows a low drop-off rate but poor quality of state education compared to other states.

Tamil Nadu has 37 universities, 455 engineering colleges, 449 Polytechnic Colleges and 566 arts and science colleges, 34335 elementary schools, 5167 high schools, 5054 higher secondary schools and 5000 hospitals. Some of the notable educational institutes present in Tamil Nadu are University of Madras
University of Madras
The University of Madras is a public research university in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the three oldest universities in India...

, IIT Madras, NIT Tiruchi, IIM Tiruchirappalli, College of Engineering, Guindy
College of Engineering, Guindy
College of Engineering, Guindy in Chennai, India, is India's oldest engineering and technical institution, having been established in 1794. Today it is one of the four constituent colleges of Anna University, Chennai....

, PSG College of Technology
PSG College of Technology
PSG College of Technology is an autonomous, government aided institution, affiliated to Anna University. The college offers a total of 48 full time and part time programs in Science, Engineering and Management at Undergraduate & Postgraduate levels. The College was founded in 1951 by...

, Coimbatore Institute of Technology
Coimbatore Institute of Technology
The Coimbatore Institute of Technology is one of the DOTE engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu located at Coimbatore, India. It was founded in the year 1956 by V.Rangaswamy Naidu Educational Trust with the aim of disseminating knowledge in the fields of science, engineering and technology.It is a...

, Madras Christian College
Madras Christian College
The Madras Christian College, commonly known as MCC, is a liberal arts and sciences college in Madras , India. Founded in 1837, MCC is one of Asia's oldest extant colleges. Currently, the college is affiliated to the University of Madras, but functions as an autonomous institution from its campus...

, Christian Medical College
Christian Medical College & Hospital
Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore is one of the largest medical centres in India. This century-old Christian institution was founded by Ida S...

, Vellore Institute of Technology
Vellore Institute of Technology
VIT University, commonly called Vellore Institute of Technology or VIT, is located in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India. VIT has nine schools.-Academic organisation:...

, Thiagarajar College of Engineering
Thiagarajar College of Engineering
Thiagarajar College of Engineering , Madurai, is an ISO 9001:2008 certified Autonomous institution located in Madurai, Tamilnadu, India. It is affiliated to Anna University, Chennai. It is one of the several educational and philanthropic institutions founded by Philanthropist and Industrialist...

, Bharathidasan Institute of Management
Bharathidasan Institute of Management
Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli or BIM-Trichy is a business school, established in 1984 in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India...

, Madras Medical College
Madras Medical College
The Madras Medical College is an educational institution located in Chennai, India. It was established on February 2, 1835. It is the oldest medical college in India, along with the Medical College Kolkata.-History:...

, Loyola College
Loyola College, Chennai
Loyola College is a Jesuit institution in Chennai, India. The college admits undergraduates and post-graduates and offers degrees in the liberal arts, sciences and commerce. It is an autonomous institution affiliated with the University of Madras.-History:...

, Ethiraj College for Women
Ethiraj College for Women
Ethiraj College for Women is a degree-granting college for women in Chennai, India. It was founded in 1948 by V. L. Ethiraj.-Founder:In 1948 the philanthropy of a single individual, Thiru. V. L. Ethiraj, financed the college. Ethiraj graduated from Presidency College, Chennai...

 and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University came into being on June 1, 1971. However, it had its genesis from establishment of an agricultural school at Saidapet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, in 1868 and was later relocated at Marudamalai Road in Coimbatore....

, Madurai Medical College
Madurai Medical College
Madurai Medical College is a medical school attached to the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. The hospital provides tertiary care to more than twenty million people in the southern part of Tamil Nadu. The hospital was established in 1842 and became a teaching hospital in 1954...

. The Indian Institute of Management is scheduled to open in Trichy by 2009–2010. Tamil Nadu produces the highest number of engineering graduates in India (around 1,75,000) every year.

India has a human development index calculated as 0.619, while the corresponding figure for Tamil Nadu is 0.736, placing it among the top states in the country. The life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 at birth for males is 65.2 years and for females it is 67.6 years. However, it has a high level of poverty especially in the rural areas. As of 2004–2005, the poverty line was set at 351.86/month for rural areas and 547.42/month for urban areas. Poverty in the state dropped from 51.7% in 1983 to 21.1% in 2001 For the period 2004–2005, the Trend in Incidence of Poverty in the state was 22.5% compared with the national figure of 27.5%. The World Bank is currently assisting the state in reducing poverty High drop-out and low completion of secondary schools continue to hinder the quality of training in the population. Other problems include class, gender, inter-district and urban-rural disparities. Based on URP – Consumption for the period 2004–2005, percentage of the state's population Below Poverty Line
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 was 27.5%. The Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative ranks Tamil Nadu to have a Multidimensional Poverty Index
Multidimensional Poverty Index
The Multidimensional Poverty Index ' was developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme.-History:...

 of 0.141, which is in the level of Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 among the developing countries. Corruption is a major problem in the state with Transparency International ranking it the second most corrupt among the states of India.

The Dravidian movement
Self-Respect Movement
The Self-Respect Movement was founded in 1925 by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy in Tamil Nadu, India. The movement has the aim of achieving a society where backward castes have equal human rights, and encouraging backward castes to have self-respect in the context of a caste based society that...

, which championed the causes of educating tamils and eradicating superstitions, began in Tamil Nadu. The movement was committed to social justice which led to the expansion of reservations
Reservation in India
Reservation in India is a form of affirmative action designed to improve the well being of socially backward and underrepresented communities of citizens in India. There are laws in place, wherein a certain percentage of total available slots in Jobs and Education are set aside for people from...

 for the deprived communities. Tamil Nadu now has 69% reservation in educational institutions, the highest among all Indian states.

The Mid-day Meal Scheme program in Tamil Nadu, initiated by Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj
Kumarasami Kamaraj better known as K. Kamaraj was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975...

, was expanded considerably during the rule of the AIADMK in 1983, although the state is among the 12 states in India that have alarming level of hunger according to the 2008 Global Hunger Index.
``

Culture



Tamil Nadu has a long tradition of venerable culture. Tamil Nadu is known for its rich tradition of literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, music and dance which continue to flourish today. Unique cultural features like Bharatanatyam (dance), Tanjore painting
Tanjore painting
Tanjore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting native to the town of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India. The art form dates back to about 1600 AD, a period when the Nayakas of Tanjavur encouraged art—chiefly, classical dance and music—as well as literature, both in Telugu...

, and Tamil architecture were developed and continue to be practised in Tamil Nadu.

Language and literature


Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 is the only official language of Tamil Nadu. English is also in common usage as an official language of India. When India adopted national standards Tamil was the very first language to be recognized as a classical language of India. The Tamil people regard their language a very important part of their cultural identity.

Most early Tamil literary works are in verse form, with prose not becoming more common until later periods. Throughout its history, Tamil literature has sought to inform and inspire, educate and entertain.
முகத்தான் அமர்ந்துஇனிது நோக்கி அகத்தானாம்

இன்சொ லினிதே அறம் -(திருக்குறள் - 93)
'Calm face, sweet look, kind words from heart

Such is the gracious virtue's part'

(Tirukkural
Tirukkuṛaḷ
Tirukkuṛaḷ , sometimes spelt 'Thirukkural, is a classic of couplets or Kurals or aphorisms celebrated by Tamils. It was authored by Thiruvalluvar, a poet who is said to have lived anytime between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD. Although the exact period of its composition is still disputed,...

 – 93)

Notable examples of Tamil poetry include the Tirukkural
Tirukkuṛaḷ
Tirukkuṛaḷ , sometimes spelt 'Thirukkural, is a classic of couplets or Kurals or aphorisms celebrated by Tamils. It was authored by Thiruvalluvar, a poet who is said to have lived anytime between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD. Although the exact period of its composition is still disputed,...

, written during the Tamil Sangams period. The poem encompasses a universal outlook, as the author, Tiruvalluvar
Tiruvalluvar
Thiruvalluvar , or Tiruvalluvar, was a celebrated Tamil poet whose contribution to Tamil literature is the Thirukkural, a work on ethics. Thiruvalluvar is thought to have lived sometime between the 2nd century BC and the 8th century AD. This estimate is based on linguistic analysis of his writings,...

, does not mention his religion, land, or the audience for his work. He is often portrayed as a holy saint of Tamil Nadu today. Ancient Tamil literature is predominantly secular and deals with everyday life in the Tamil Context.

The first Tamil printing press was established at Tarangambadi by the Danish missionaries. During the Indian freedom struggle
Indian independence movement
The term Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia...

, many Tamil poets and writers sought to provoke national spirit, social equity and secularist thoughts among the common man, notably Subramanya Bharathy
Subramanya Bharathy
Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar was a Tamil poet from Tamil Nadu, India, an independence fighter and iconoclastic reformer. Known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar , he is celebrated as one of South India's greatest poets...

 and Bharathidasan
Bharathidasan
Bharathidasan was a twentieth century Tamil poet and rationalist whose literary works handled mostly socio-political issues. His writings served as a catalyst for the growth of the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu...

. Even today, Tamil Nadu is home to creative writers like Vairamuthu
Vairamuthu
Vairamuthu Ramaswamy Thevar is an award-winning Tamil poet and lyricist.Debuting in the film Nizhalgal with the lyrics for the song "Ponmalai Pozhudhu", he has now about 5800 songs to his credit as of January 2009. His partnership with the composers Ilaiyaraaja, and later A. R...

, Jayakanthan
Jayakanthan
- Biography:Jayakanthan was born in 1934 in a family of agriculturists in Cuddalore, in the South Arcot district of Tamil Nadu. He quit school after completing grade 3 education. He was then considered a problematic child. He was close to his mother and grandfather. He had a rocky relationship with...

,and Indira Parthasarathy
Indira Parthasarathy
Indira Parthasarathy is the pen name of R. Parthasarathy. Born on July 10, 1930 in Chennai in a traditional Iyengar family...

.

Tamil is spoken by 89.43% of the population. Minority languages include Telugu (5.65%), Kannada (1.68%), Urdu (1.51%), Malayalam (0.89%), Gujarati / Saurashtri (0.32%), Hindi (0.30%) and Marathi (0.10%).

Religions



Population by religion, 2001
Religious group Population (million) %
Hindu 55.0 88.1
Christian 3.79 6.1
Muslim 3.47 5.6
Total 62.4 100


About 88% of the population identifies as Hindu and Tamil Nadu is the home of the core schools of medieval and modern Hinduism as well as several non-mainstream Hindu movements. These include Saiva Siddhanta, Ramanuja's
Ramanuja
Ramanuja ; traditionally 1017–1137, also known as Ramanujacharya, Ethirajar , Emperumannar, Lakshmana Muni, was a theologian, philosopher, and scriptural exegete...

 Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita Vedanta is a sub-school of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy, the other major sub-schools of Vedānta being Advaita, Dvaita, and Achintya-Bheda-Abheda. VishishtAdvaita is a non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy...

, Alvars
Alvars
The alwar or azhwars were Tamil poet saints of south India who lived between the sixth and ninth centuries A.D. and espoused ‘emotional devotion’ or bhakti to Visnu-Krishna in their songs of longing, ecstasy and service. Sri Vaishnava orthodoxy posits the number of alvars as ten, though there are...

' Sri Vaishnavism
Sri Sampradaya
Sri Sampradaya or Sri Vaishnavism is a Vaishnava sect within Hinduism. Its origin and codification is generally traced back to Sri, Mahalakshmi eternal consort of Lord Vishnu. Around the 10th century when a collection of the devotional hymns and songs by Alvars was organized by Sri Nathamuni, who...

, and Nayanmars Saivisim. Several important Hindu Tamil figures became important figures for Hinduism as a whole (e.g.Ramanuja
Ramanuja
Ramanuja ; traditionally 1017–1137, also known as Ramanujacharya, Ethirajar , Emperumannar, Lakshmana Muni, was a theologian, philosopher, and scriptural exegete...

.) In modern times, well known figures for Hinduism in the state include Ramana Maharishi and the Kanchi Paramacharya. Murugan
Murugan
Murugan also called Kartikeya, Skanda and Subrahmanya, is a popular Hindu deity especially among Tamil Hindus, worshipped primarily in areas with Tamil influences, especially South India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius and Reunion Island. His six most important shrines in India are the...

, Thirumal (Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

), Sivan
Sivan
Sivan is the ninth month of the civil year and the third month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a spring month of 30 days...

, Sakthi
Shakti
Shakti from Sanskrit shak - "to be able," meaning sacred force or empowerment, is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism. Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes...

 in various forms and a large number of village deities are also worshiped by Hindus in Tamil Nadu. The emblem of Government of Tamil Nadu
Government of Tamil Nadu
The Government of Tamil Nadu, headquartered at Chennai is the governing authority for the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. It is seated at the Fort St. George...

 depicts the Gopuram (Entrance Arch) of the temple at Srivilliputhur
Srivilliputhur
Srivilliputhur is a semi-urban town and a municipality in Virudhunagar district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu....

.
Christians
Christianity in Tamil Nadu
Christianity in the state of Tamil Nadu, India is believed to be 2000 years old. It possibly was introduced to Tamil Nadu by St. Thomas Didymus , one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ between 52-72 AD. But the colonial age brought a large number of Portuguese, Dutch, British and Italian Christians...

 and Muslims together form over 11% of the population. Christians are mainly concentrated in the southern districts of Kanyakumari (44% of the population, 2001), Thoothukudi (17%, 2001) and Tirunelveli (11%,2001). St. Thomas Mount
St. Thomas Mount
St. Thomas Mount, or Parangimalai is a small hillock located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Located near the neighbourhood of Guindy and very close to Chennai International Airport, St. Thomas Mount is associated with St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ, who is believed to have been martyred here...

 in Chennai, the place where St. Thomas
Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in . He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman...

, one of the disciples of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, was believed to have been martyred, is an important pilgrimage site for Indian Christians. The Santhome Basilica, widely believed by Christians in India to have been built atop the tomb of St. Thomas, and the Vailankanni
Vailankanni
Velankanni , officially spelled as Vailankanni , also spelled as "Velanganni" , is a Parish under Tanjore Roman Catholic Diocese and a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu...

 Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is located at the small town of Velankanni in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. The Roman Catholic Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health...

 are churches revered by Christians in India. The Church of South India
Church of South India
The Church of South India is the successor of the Church of England in India. It came into being in 1947 as a union of Anglican and Protestant churches in South India. With a membership of over 3.8 million, it is India's second largest Christian church after the Roman Catholic Church in India...

 and the Pentecostal Mission Church are headquartered in Chennai.

Muslims are mainly concentrated in areas such as Adirampattinam, Kayalpatnam
Kayalpatnam
Kayalpatnam or Korkai is a town in the Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu, India. Kayal is referred to in Marco Polo's travel diaries dating to 1250 AD. Korkai or Kayal was an ancient port dating to the 1st centuries of the Christian era and was contemporaneous to the existence of Kollam, another...

, Kilakarai
Kilakarai
-About:Kilakarai, Kilakkarai or Keelakarai is a municipality in Ramanathapuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.Kilakarai is an ancient coastal town and a port, located in the southern Tamil Nadu. It was a flourishing sea port and a gateway to places as far as Madurai till the early 20th...

, Pernambut, Ambur, Vaniyambadi, Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

, Nagore, and Melapalayam, with the state capital Chennai also home to a number of Muslims. Among Muslims, 97.5% are Sunni and the rest are Shias. The Sunnis adhere to either Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 or Shafi schools of thought. Erwadi
Erwadi
Ervadi or Erwadi is a village in Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu in southern India belonging to Kadaladi Taluk and Keelakarai Town panchayat. The village is the location of the grave and shrine of Qutbus Sultan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed Badusha, the then ruler of Madinah Al Munawwara...

 in Ramanathapuram district and Nagore in Nagapattinam district are important pilgrimage sites for Muslims. Kazimar Big Mosque
Kazimar Big Mosque
Kazimar Periya Pallivasal or Kazimar Big Mosque is a famous mosque located at the heart of Madurai city, within 500 metres of the Periyar bus stand and within 1 kilometre South East of the Madurai Junction and 800 meters south west of the Meenakshi Temple...

 in Kazimar Street
Kazimar Street
Kazimar Street is an ancient street in Madurai, India, where people inhabited during 13th century AD. Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin is the one who settled here after preaching Islam in South India.99.2% population of this street are Muslims and 0.8% Hindus.The famous Kazimar periya pallivasal which is...

, Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 and Karpudaiyar masjid in Kayalpatnam are one of the earlier mosques in Tamil Nadu.

Samanars or Tamil Jains have a legacy dating back 250 BC. They made significant contributions to Tamil literature. According to the 2001 census there were 83,359 Jains in Tamil Nadu. There is a popular atheist movement in the 1940s as well.

Festivals


Pongal
Pongal
Thai Ponggal is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Indian Union Territory of Pondicherry and in Sri Lanka. Pongal coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over" or "spill over". The boiling...

, also called as Tamizhar Thirunaal (festival of Tamils) or Makara Sankranti elsewhere in India, a four-day harvest festival is one of the most widely celebrated festivals throughout Tamil Nadu. The Tamil language saying Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum — literally meaning, the birth of the month of Thai will pave way for new opportunities — is often quoted with reference to this festival. The first day, Bhogi Pongal, is celebrated by throwing away and destroying old clothes and materials by setting them on fire to mark the end of the old and emergence of the new. The second day, Surya Pongal, is the main day which falls on the first day of the tenth Tamil month Thai (14 January or 15 January in western calendar). The third day, Maattu Pongal, is meant to offer thanks to the cattle, as they provide milk and are used to plough the lands. Jallikattu
Jallikattu
Jallikattu or Eruthazhuvuthal or Manju Virattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations usually on Mattu Pongal day. This is one of the oldest living ancient sports seen in the modern era. Although it sounds similar to the Spanish running of the bulls, it is...

, a bull taming contest, marks the main event of this day. During this final day, Kaanum Pongal — the word "kaanum", means 'to view' in Tamil.

The first month in the Tamil calendar is Chitterai and the first day of this month in mid-April is celebrated as Tamil New Year. Thiruvalluvar Calendar is 31 years ahead of Gregorian Calendar, that is 2000 CE in Gregorian calendar is represented as 2031 in Thiruvalluvar Calendar. Aadi Perukku is celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month Aadi, which celebrates the rising of the water level in the river Cauvery. Apart from these major festivals, in every village and town of Tamil Nadu, the inhabitants celebrate festivals for the local gods once a year and the time varies from place to place. Most of these festivals are related to the goddess Maariyamman, the mother goddess of rain.

Other major Hindu festivals including Deepavali (Death of Narakasura), Ayudha Poojai, Saraswathi Poojai (Dasara), Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 Jayanthi and Vinayaka Chathurthi are also celebrated. Ayya Vaikunda Avataram
Ayya Vaikunda Avataram
The Ayya Vaikunda Avataram is a festival celebrated by the followers of Ayyavazhi on the 20th day of the Tamil Month of Masi, the date on which the Ayyavazhi followers believe that Lord Vaikundar arose from the sea at Thiruchendur as the son of Mummorthies to destroy the evil spirit of Kali and...

, is celebrated predominantly in the southern districts. In addition, Christmas, Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

, Easter and Bakrid are celebrated by Christians and Muslims in the state

Music




The Kings of ancient Thamizhagam created sangams for Iyal Isai Nadagam (Literature, Music and Drama). Music played a major role in sangams. Music in Tamil Nadu had different forms. In villages where farming was the primary occupation, women who worked in the fields used to sing kulavai songs. Odhuvars, Sthanikars or Kattalaiyars offer short musical programmes in the temples by singing the devotional Thevaram
Thevaram
Thevaram is a panchayat town in Theni district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.Thevaram located in the border of Kerala separated by western ghats-Demographics:...

 songs. In sharp contrast with the restrained and intellectual nature of Carnatic music
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

, Tamil folk music tends to be much more exuberant. Popular forms of Tamil folk music include the
{{Use dmy dates|date=October 2010}}
{{Contains Indic text}}

Tamil Nadu ({{indic|lang=ta|indic=தமிழ் நாடு|trans=Tamiḻ Nāṭu}}, t̪ɐmɨɻ n̪aːɽɯ) is one of the 28 states
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Its capital and largest city is Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory
Union Territory
A Union Territory is a sub-national administrative division of India, in the federal framework of governance. Unlike the states of India, which have their own elected governments, union territories are ruled directly by the federal government; the President of India appoints an Administrator or...

 of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

, and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

. It is bound by the Eastern Ghats
Eastern Ghats
The Eastern Ghats or Eastern Ghauts are a discontinuous range of mountains along India's eastern coast. The Eastern Ghats run from West Bengal state in the north, through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka. They are eroded and cut through by the...

 in the north, the Nilgiri, the Anamalai Hills, and Palakkad
Palakkad
Palakkad , formerly known as Palghat, is a municipality and a town in the state of Kerala in southern India, spread over an area of 26.60 km2.The city is situated about north of state capital Thiruvananthapuram. It is the administrative headquarters of Palakkad District...

 on the west, by the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 in the east, the Gulf of Mannar
Gulf of Mannar
The Gulf of Mannar is a large shallow bay forming part of the Laccadive Sea in the Indian Ocean. It lies between the southeastern tip of India and the west coast of Sri Lanka. A chain of low islands and reefs known as Adam's Bridge, also called Ramsethu, which includes Mannar Island, separates the...

, the Palk Strait
Palk Strait
Palk Strait is a strait between the Tamil Nadu state of India and the Mannar district of the Northern Province of the island nation of Sri Lanka. It connects the Bay of Bengal in the northeast with the Palk Bay and thence with the Gulf of Mannar in the southwest. The strait is wide. Several...

 in the south east, and by the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 in the south.

Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest state in India by area and the seventh most populous state. It is the fourth largest contributor (as of 2010) to India's GDP and ranks tenth in Human Development Index as of 2006. Tamil Nadu is also the most urbanised state in India. The state has the highest number (10.56%) of business enterprises and stands second in total employment (9.97%) in India, compared to the population share of about 6%.

The region has been the home of the Tamil people
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

 since atleast 500 BCE. Its official language Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 has been in use in inscriptions and literature for over 2000 years. Tamil Nadu is home to many natural resources, Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. They consist primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Koils which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting...

, hill stations, beach resorts, multi-religious pilgrimage sites and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Prehistory


Tamil Nadu's history dates back to pre-historic times. Archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in India. In Adichanallur
Adichanallur
Adichanallur is an archaeological site near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, India. The town is known locally as Aathichanallur, and has been the site of a number of very important archeological digs.-Archaeological excavations:...

, 24 km (15 mi) from Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli , also known as Nellai , and historically as Tinnevelly, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District and the sixth biggest city in Tamil Nadu...

, archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India
Archaeological Survey of India
The Archaeological Survey of India is a department of the Government of India, attached to the Ministry of Culture . The ASI is responsible for archaeological studies and the preservation of archaeological heritage of the country in accordance with the various acts of the Indian Parliament...

 unearthed 169 clay urns containing human skulls, skeletons and bones, plus husks and grains of rice, charred rice and Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 celts
Celt (tool)
Celt is an archaeological term used to describe long thin prehistoric stone or bronze adzes, other axe-like tools, and hoes.-Etymology:The term "celt" came about from what was very probably a copyist's error in many medieval manuscript copies of Job 19:24 in the Latin Vulgate Bible, which became...

, giving evidence confirming them to be of the Neolithic period, 3800 years ago. The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script used at that site is "very rudimentary" Tamil Brahmi. Adichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies. About 60% of the total epigraphical inscriptions found by ASI in India are from Tamil Nadu and most of which are in Tamil language
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

. Geologists have discovered hundreds of fossilized dinosaur eggs, perhaps 65 million years old, underneath a stream in a tiny village in Ariyalur district. Researchers from the Salem-based Periyar University believe that the clusters of eggs belonged to the aggressive Carnosaur and the leaf-eating Sauropoda
Sauropoda
Sauropoda , or the sauropods , are an infraorder of saurischian dinosaurs. They had long necks, long tails, small heads , and thick, pillar-like legs. They are notable for the enormous sizes attained by some species, and the group includes the largest animals to have ever lived on land...

.

Medieval Period (600–1300)


{{Main|History of Tamil Nadu}}

The Cholas who were very active during the Sangam age were entirely absent during the first few centuries. The period started with the rivalry between the Pandyas and the Pallavas, which in turn caused the revival of the Cholas. The Cholas went on to becoming a great power. Their decline saw the brief resurgence of the Pandyas. This period was also that of the re-invigorated Hinduism during which temple building and religious literature were at their best.
The Cheras
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

 ruled in southern India from before the Sangam era (300 BCE – 250 CE) over the Coimbatore
Coimbatore District
Coimbatore District is one of the more affluent and industrially advanced districts of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Coimbatore is known as the Manchester of South India. It one of the most industrialized towns of Tamil Nadu. It has the highest GDP among the districts of Tamil Nadu, even ahead...

, Karur
Karur District
Karur District is located center along the Kaveri & Amaravati rivers in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The main town in Karur District is the city of Karur, which is also the district headquarter. It had a population of 935,686 as of 2001. It is 33.27% urbanized as per Census 2001...

, Salem
Salem District
Salem District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Salem is the district headquarters. Other major towns in the district are Mettur, Omalur and Attur...

 Districts in present day Tamil Nadu and present day Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 from the capital of Vanchi Muthur in the west, (thought to be modern Karur
Karur
Karur is a large town and a municipality in Karur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu situated on the banks of Amaravati. Karur district was formed on 30 September 1995 by trifurcating Tiruchirappalli district. It is the administrative headquarters of Karur District. Karur has a very long...

). They traded extensively from nearby Muziris
Muziris
Muziris is an ancient sea-port in Southwestern India on the Periyar River 3.2 km from its mouth. The derivation of the name Muziris is said to be from "Mucciripattanam," "mucciri" means "cleft palate" and "pattanam" means "city". Near Muziris, Periyar River was branched into two like a...

, in spices, ivory, timber, pearls and gems, with the ancient kingdoms of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Rome, Greece, Ceylon, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, Arabia, Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 and Persia. The Kalabhras
Kalabhras
The Kalabhras dynasty ruled over the entire Ancient Tamil country between the 3rd and the 6th century in an era of South Indian history called the Kalabhra interregnum. The Kalabhras displaced the kingdoms of the early Cholas, early Pandayan and Chera dynasties. Information about its origin and...

, invaded and displaced the three Tamil kingdoms and ruled between the third and the seventh centuries CE of the Sangam period. This is referred to as the Dark Age in Tamil
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

 history. They were expelled by the Pallavas and the Pandyas in sixth century.

During Kalabhras' rule Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 flourished in the land of the Tamils. The didactic work Naaladiyar was composed during their reign. It consists of moral sayings in the venpa
Venpa
Venpa is a form of classical Tamil poetry. Classical Tamil poetry has been classified based upon the rules of metric prosody. Such rules form a context-free grammar. Every Venpa consists of between two to twelve lines....

meter, 400 in number in 40 chapters, each by one Jain ascetic, according to tradition. Following in the tradition of Jainism, Naaladiyar emphasizes virtues such as control of the senses, asceticism, renunciation, and other desirable social qualities. Because the Kalabhras gave protection to Jains and perhaps Buddhists, too, some have concluded that they were anti-Hindu, although this latter view is not undisputed.
During the forth to eighth centuries century CE, Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallavas under Mahendravarman I
Mahendravarman I
Mahendravarman I was a Pallava king who ruled the Northern regions of what forms present-day Tamil Nadu in India in the early 7th century. He was the son of Simhavishnu, who defeated the Kalabhras and re-established the Pallava kingdom....

 and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I
Narasimhavarman I
Narasimhavarman I was a Tamil king of the Pallava dynasty who ruled South India from 630–668 CE. He shared his father Mahendravarman I's love of art and completed the work started by Mahendravarman in Mahabalipuram....

 and his uncle Bodhidharman. Pallavas ruled a large portion of South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 with Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

 as their capital. Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. They consist primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Koils which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting...

 reached its peak during the Pallava rule. Narasimhavarman II
Narasimhavarman II
Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha was a Pallava king who ruled in South India during the 6th century. Succeeding his father Paramesvaravarman I in the year 700 CE, he ruled for nearly 3 decades, until he was succeeded by his son Paramesvaravarman II in 728 CE.-Ascension to the throne:By the time...

 built the Shore Temple
Shore Temple
The Shore Temple is so named because it overlooks the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. It was built on a promontory sticking out into the Bay of Bengal at Mahabalipuram, a village south of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu,...

 which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Pallavas were replaced by the Cholas as the dominant kingdom in the 10th century C.E and they in turn were replaced by Pandyas in the 13th century C.E. The Pandyan capital Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 was in the deep south away from the coast. They had extensive trade links with the Southeast Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya
Srivijaya
Srivijaya was a powerful ancient thalassocratic Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, modern day Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. The earliest solid proof of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6...

 and their successors, as well as contacts, even formal diplomatic contacts, reaching as far as the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. During the 13th century C.E. Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 mentioned the Pandyas as the richest empire in existence. Temples such as the Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-alavai is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India...

 at Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 and Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple is one of the famous Shiva Temples situated at the heart of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India.-History:...

 at Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli , also known as Nellai , and historically as Tinnevelly, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District and the sixth biggest city in Tamil Nadu...

 are the best examples of Pandyan temple architecture. The Pandyas excelled in both trade and literature. They controlled the pearl fisheries along the South Indian coast, between Sri Lanka and India, which produced some of the finest pearls in the known ancient world.

Chola Empire


{{Main|Chola dynasty}}

By the 9th century, during the times of the second Chola monarch Aditya I
Aditya I
Aditya I , the son of Vijayalaya, was the first great Chola king of South India who extended the Chola dominions by the conquest of the Pallavas.- Pallava Civil War :...

, his son Parantaka I
Parantaka I
Parantaka Chola I ruled the Chola kingdom in southern India for forty-eight years. The best part of his reign was marked by increasing success and prosperity.-The Invasion of the Pandya Kingdom:...

, Parantaka Chola II
Parantaka Chola II
Parantaka Chola II ruled for approximately twelve years. Parantaka II was also known by the name Madhurantakan Sundara Chola. He was the son of Arinjaya Chola. His mother’s name was Kalyani, a princes from the clan of Vaidumbas...

 itself the Chola empire had expanded into what is now interior Andhra Pradesh and coastal Karnataka, while under the great Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose as a notable power in south Asia. The Chola Empire stretched as far as Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

. At its peak, the empire spanned almost 3,600,000 km² (1,389,968 sq mi). Rajaraja Chola conquered all of peninsular South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 and parts of the Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. Rajendra Chola's navies went even further, occupying coasts from Burma (now Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

) to Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep , formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 km off the coast of the South West Indian state of Kerala...

, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

, Malaya
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

 in South East Asia and Pegu islands. He defeated Mahipala
Mahipala
Mahipala I is considered the second founder of the Pala dynasty. Gopala I established the dynastic rule of the Palas in the middle of the 8th century CE. The Pala Dynasty ruled Bengal and Bihar for about four centuries from the middle of the 8th century CE...

, the king of the Bengal, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital and named it Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram was erected as the capital of the Cholas by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, the great Chola who conquered a large area in South India at the beginning of the 11th century C.E. It occupies an important place in the history of India. As the capital...

.Nearby this chola capital an sculptural carvings fitted temple Melakadambur
Melakadambur
Melakadambur is a village located from Chidambaram,and can reach at 6 km from Kattumannarkoil, Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu, India. It is known for Arulmigu Amirthakateshwarar Thirukkoil, constructed during the reign of Cholas by Kulothunga Chola...

 is located,the only Karakkoil in Tamilnadu

The Cholas excelled in building magnificent temples. Brihadeshwara Temple
Brihadeeswarar temple
The Peruvudaiyar Koyil , also known as Rajarajeswaram, at Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world's first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas kingdom Vishwakarmas in Tamil architecture. It is a tribute and a reflection of the...

 in Thanjavur is a classical example of the magnificent architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 of the Chola kingdom. Brihadshwara temple is an UNESCO Heritage Site under "Great Living Chola Temples." Another example is Annamalaiyar Temple
Annamalaiyar Temple
Annamalaiyar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva, located at the foothills of the Annamalai Hill in the town of Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, India. Shiva is worshipped as Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleswarar represented by lingam, withhis consort, Unnamalaiyaal...

  located at the city of Tiruvannamalai
Tiruvannamalai
Thiruvannamalai is a pilgrimage Temple city and special grade municipality in Thiruvannamalai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Thiruvannamalai district. Thiruvannamalai is home to the Annamalaiyar Temple located at the foot of the Annamalai hill and...

  and the Chidambaram Temple
Chidambaram Temple
Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in the town of Chidambaram, East-Central Tamil Nadu, South India. The temple is known as the foremost of all temples to Saivites and has influenced worship, architecture, sculpture and performance art for over two...

 in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram
Chidambaram
Chidambaram is a fast growing industrial city in Eastern part of Tamil Nadu and the taluk headquarters of the Cuddalore district. It is located in 58 km from Pondicherry, 60 km from Karaikal, and 240 km south of Chennai by rail...

.
Raja Raja Chola and Rajendra Chola period is said to be the golden period of Tamil Nadu, and under them the Chola empire rose to be the most powerful empire in all of South-India. With the decline of the Cholas between 1230 and 1280 CE, the Pandyas rose to prominence once again, under Maravarman Sundara Pandya
Maravarman Sundara Pandya
Maravarman Sundara Pandyan I was a Pandyan king, who ruled regions of South India between 1216–1238 CE. He laid the foundation for the Pandya revival, after being dominated by the Cholas for several centuries.-Accession:...

 and his younger brother, the celebrated Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan
Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan
Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I was king and Lord Emperor of the Pandyan dynasty, ruling regions of Tamilakkam Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I was king and Lord Emperor of the Pandyan dynasty, ruling regions of Tamilakkam Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I was king and Lord Emperor of the Pandyan...

.

This revival was short-lived as the Pandya capital of Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 itself was sacked by Alauddin Khilji
Alauddin Khilji
Ali Gurshap Khan better known by his titular name as Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji was the second ruler of the Turko-Afghan Khilji dynasty in India.He was a well and capable ruler. He belonged to the Afghanized Turkic tribe of the Khiljis...

's troops under General Malik Kafur
Malik Kafur
Malik Kafur, General , or Chand Ram as his name was originally, was a slave who became a head general in the army of Alauddin Khilji, ruler of the Delhi sultanate from 1296 to 1316 AD. He was originally seized by Alauddin's army after the army conquered the city of Khambhat...

 in 1316. The Muslim invasion led to the establishment of the short lived Madurai Sultanate
Madurai Sultanate
The Madurai Sultanate or the Ma'bar Sultanate was a short lived independent Muslim kingdom based in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India during the 14th century CE. It lasted from 1335 until 1378...

.

Vijayanagar and Nayak period (1336–1646)


{{Main|Vijayanagara Empire}}
These Muslim invasions triggered the establishment of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

 in the Deccan. It eventually conquered the entire Tamil country (c. 1370 CE). This empire lasted for almost two centuries till the defeat of Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara is in Bellary District, northern Karnataka. It is the name of the now-ruined capital city "which was regarded as the second Rome" that surrounds modern-day Hampi, of the historic Vijayanagara empire which extended over the southern part of India....

 in the Battle of Talikota in 1565. Subsequent to this defeat, many incompetent kings succeeded to the throne of Vijayanagara with the result that its grip loosened over its feudatories among whom the Nayaks of Madurai and Tanjore were among the first to declare their independence, despite initially maintaining loose links with the Vijayanagara kingdom." As the Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

 went into decline after mid-16th century, the Nayak
Nayak (ethnic group)
-History and origin:The word nayak means a head of a regiment. This word is derived from the Sanskrit senanayaka, which means head of a regiment. The community trace there descent from the Vaghela Rajputs who converted to Islam in the 12th Century. They established a number of petty states in...

 governors, who were appointed by the Vijayanagar kingdom to administer various territories of the empire, declared their independence. The Nayaks of Madurai and Nayaks of Thanjavur were most prominent of them all in the 17th century. They reconstructed some of the oldest temples in the country such as the Meenakshi Temple.

Rule of Nawabs and Nizams (1692–1801)


{{see also|Nawab of the Carnatic|Nizam of Hyderabad|Kingdom of Mysore}}

In the early 18th century, the eastern parts of Tamil Nadu came under the dominions of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of the Carnatic
Nawab of the Carnatic
Nawabs of the Carnatic , ruled the Carnatic region of South India between about 1690 and 1801. They initially had their capital at Arcot,vellore city...

. While Wallajah
Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah
Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah was the Nawab of Arcot in India and an ally of the British East India Company. Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah was born to Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan, by his second wife, Fakhr un-nisa Begum Sahiba, was a niece of Sayyid Ali Khan Safavi ul-Mosawi of Persia, sometime Naib suba...

 was supported by the English, Chanda Shahib
Chanda Shahib
Chanda Shahib was the Nawab of the Carnatic between 1749 and 1752. His birth name is Husayn Dost Khan. He was the son-in-law of the Nawab of Carnatic Dost Ali Khan, under whom he worked as a Dewan. He came from the Nait community which had ruled the Carnatic under Aurangzeb...

 was supported by the French by the middle of the 18th century. In the late 18th century, the western parts of Tamil Nadu, came under the dominions of Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

 and later Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

, particularly with their victory in the Second Anglo-Mysore War
Second Anglo-Mysore War
The Second Anglo-Mysore War was a conflict in Mughal India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British East India Company. At the time, Mysore was a key French ally in India, and the Franco-British conflict raging on account of the American Revolutionary War helped spark Anglo-Mysorean...

.

European rule (1801–1947)


{{Main|Madras Presidency}}

Around 1609, the Dutch established a settlement in Pulicat
Pulicat
Pulicat is a historic seashore town in Thiruvallur District, of Tamil Nadu state, South India. It is about 60 km north of Chennai and 3 km from Elavur, on the barrier island of Sriharikota, which separates Pulicat Lake from the Bay of Bengal. Pulicat lake is a shallow salt water lagoon...

, while the Danish had their establishment in Tranquebar (Tharangambadi). In 1639, the British, under the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, established a settlement further south of Pulicat, in present day Chennai. In the late 18th century, the British fought and reduced the French dominions in India
French India
French India is a general name for the former French possessions in India These included Pondichéry , Karikal and Yanaon on the Coromandel Coast, Mahé on the Malabar Coast, and Chandannagar in Bengal...

 to Pondicherry. Nizams of Hyderabad and the Nawabs of the Carnatic bestowed tax revenue collection rights on the East India Company for defeating the Kingdom of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

. After winning the Polygar war
Polygar War
Polygar War or Palayakarar Wars refers to the wars fought between the Polygars of former Madurai Kingdom in Tamil Nadu, India and the British East India Company forces between March 1799 to May 1802. The British finally won after carrying out long and difficult protracted jungle campaigns against...

s, the East India Company consolidated most of southern India into the Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

 coterminous with the dominions of Nizam of Hyderabad. Pudukkottai
Pudukkottai
Pudukkottai is a town and a municipality in Pudukkottai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Pudukkottai District was carved out of Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur districts in January 1974.It is the administrative headquarters of Pudukkottai District....

 remained as a princely state
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...

.

Tamil Nadu in independent India (1947 -)


When India became independent in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras State
Madras State
Madras State was the name by which the Indian districts in Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Northern Kerala, Bellary and Dakshina Kannada were collectively known as from 1950 to 1953....

, comprising present day Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh up to Ganjam district in Orissa, South Canara district Karnataka, and parts of Kerala. The state was subsequently split up along linguistic lines. In 1969, Madras State was renamed Tamil Nadu, meaning Tamil country.

Geography




Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130058 square kilometres (50,215.7 sq mi), and is the eleventh largest state in India. The bordering states are Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 to the west, Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 to the northwest and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

 to the north. To the east is the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 and the union territory of Pondicherry. The southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula is located in Tamil Nadu. At this point is the town of Kanyakumari which is the meeting point of the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean.

The western, southern and the north-western parts are hilly and rich in vegetation. The Western Ghats
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

 and the Eastern Ghats
Eastern Ghats
The Eastern Ghats or Eastern Ghauts are a discontinuous range of mountains along India's eastern coast. The Eastern Ghats run from West Bengal state in the north, through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka. They are eroded and cut through by the...

 and they both meet at the Nilgiri hills. The Western Ghats dominate the entire western border with Kerala, effectively blocking much of the rain bearing clouds of the South West Monsoon from entering the state. The eastern parts are fertile coastal plains and the northern parts are a mix of hills and plains. The central and the south central regions are arid plains and receive less rainfall than the other regions.

Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 910 kilometres (565.4 mi) which is the country’s third longest coastline. Tamil Nadu's coastline bore the brunt of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami when it hit India, which caused 7,793 direct deaths in the state. Tamil Nadu falls mostly in a region of low seismic hazard with the exception of the western border areas that lie in a low to moderate hazard zone; as per the 2002 Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) map, Tamil Nadu falls in Zones II & III. Historically, parts of this region have experienced seismic activity in the M5.0 range.

Climate



Tamil Nadu is heavily dependent on monsoon rains, and thereby is prone to droughts when the monsoons fail. The climate of the state ranges from dry sub-humid to semi-arid. The state has three distinct periods of rainfall:
  • advancing monsoon period, South West monsoon
    Monsoon
    Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

     from June to September, with strong southwest winds;
  • North East monsoon from October to December, with dominant northeast winds;
  • dry season from January to May.


The normal annual rainfall of the state is about 945 mm (37.2 in) of which 48% is through the North East monsoon, and 32% through the South West monsoon. Since the state is entirely dependent on rains for recharging its water resources, monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe drought.

Tamil Nadu is classified into seven agro-climatic zones: north-east, north-west, west, southern, high rainfall, high altitude hilly, and Cauvery Delta (the most fertile agricultural zone). The table below shows the maximum and minimum temperatures that the state experiences in the plains and hills.
Plains Hills
Max. 43 °C (109.4 °F) 32.3 °C (90.1 °F)
Min. 13.1 °C (55.6 °F) 3 °C (37.4 °F)

Governance and administration


{{Main|Government of Tamil Nadu|Legislature of Tamil Nadu}}

{{Tamil Nadu symbols}}
The Governor is the Constitutional head of the state while the Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

 is the head of the government and the head of the council of ministers. The Chief Justice
Chief Justice
The Chief Justice in many countries is the name for the presiding member of a Supreme Court in Commonwealth or other countries with an Anglo-Saxon justice system based on English common law, such as the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Court of Final Appeal of...

 of the Madras High Court
Madras High Court
The Madras High Court is a senior court located at Chennai , in India. The court buildings, which are believed to be the second largest judicial complex in the world, are located near the beach, in one of the city's major business districts....

 is the head of the judiciary. The present Governor, Chief Minister and the Chief Justice are Konijeti Rosaiah
Konijeti Rosaiah
Konijeti Rosaiah is the current Governor of Tamil Nadu and a former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. He was previously an MLC, MLA & MP of the Indian National Congress numerous times and has handled many ministerial posts over his long political career spanning over half a century...

, J. Jayalalithaa and M. Y. Eqbal respectively. Administratively the state is divided into 32 districts. It has 10 city corporations
Municipal Corporations of Tamil Nadu
Municipal corporations of Tamil Nadu . There are 10 municipal corporations in Tamil Nadu-List of municipal corporations:-List of Corporations based on Administration:-See also:* Municipal Corporations of India...

, 125 municipalities, 529 town panchayats and 12,524 village panchayats. Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

 (formerly known as Madras) is the state capital. It is the fourth largest city in India and is also one of the eight Metropolitan cities of India. The state comprises 39 Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

 constituencies and 234 Legislative Assembly constituencies,

Tamil Nadu had a bicameral legislature
Bicameralism
In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

 until 1986, when it was replaced with a unicameral legislature
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

, like most other states in India. The term length of the government is 5 years, as is elsewhere in India. The present government run by the ADMK led alliance came to power in 2011 and consists of a council of 33 ministers, headed by the Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha. The Tamil Nadu legislative assembly is housed at the Fort St. George in Chennai. The state had come under the President's rule
President's rule
President's rule is the term used in India when a state legislature is dissolved or suspended and the state is placed under direct federal rule...

 rule on four occasions – first from 1976 to 1977, next for a short period in 1980, then from 1988 to 1989 and the latest in 1991.

The local administration is divided into revenue administration and developmental administration. Revenue Divisions of Tamil Nadu provides the Revenue divisions and Taluks of Tamil Nadu. These administrative units are classified based on the district. Each of the 32 districts in Tamil Nadu is divided into divisions, which are further divided to Taluks. Each of these Taluks have a list of revenue villages under them. Tahsildar is the head of these Taluks. Developmental administration, in contrast, is carried out by Panchayat Unions (called blocks) in rural areas. These panchayat unions have a set of panchayat villages under them. In urban areas, the governance is done by municipal corporations
Municipal Corporations of Tamil Nadu
Municipal corporations of Tamil Nadu . There are 10 municipal corporations in Tamil Nadu-List of municipal corporations:-List of Corporations based on Administration:-See also:* Municipal Corporations of India...

, municipalities or town panchayats based on the size of the town. Tamil Nadu has 10 municipal corporations: Chennai
Chennai Corporation
Chennai Corporation , formerly known as Madras Corporation, is the civic body that governs the city of Chennai , India. The Chennai Corporation is the oldest municipal body of the Commonwealth of Nations outside the United Kingdom and the oldest corporation in India...

, Madurai
Madurai Municipal Corporation
Madurai Municipal Corporation is the civic body which administers the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body. The legislative body is headed by the city mayor while the executive body is headed by a Chief Commissioner.- History :The municipality of...

, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli
Tiruchirappalli Municipal Corporation
Tiruchirappalli Municipal Corporation is the municipal corporation which looks after the city administration of Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body...

, Salem
Salem Municipal Corporation
Salem City Municipal Corporation is a civic body that governs Salem city, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body.The legislative body is headed by the city mayor while the executive body is headed by a Chief Commissioner....

, Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation
Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation ) is the civic body which administers the city of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body...

, Erode
Erode Municipal Corporation
Erode Municipal Corporation ) is a civic administrative body that governs the City of Erode, India. The Corporation consists of a legislative boby, headed by the City Mayor and an executive body headed by the Corporation Commissioner...

, Tirupur
Tiruppur Municipal Corporation
The City Municipal Corporation of Tiruppur or Tiruppur Municipal Corporation ) is a civic body that governs Tiruppur city, India. This corporation consist of 52 wards and is headed by a Mayor who presides over a Deputy Mayor and 50 councillors who represent eachwards in the city....

, Vellore
Vellore Municipal Corporation
The City Municipal Corporation of Vellore or Vellore Municipal Corporation . is a civic body that governs Vellore city, India. This corporation consist of 60 wards and is headed by a Mayor who presides over a Deputy Mayor and 60 councillors who represent each wards in the city....

 and Thoothukudi
Thoothukudi Municipal Corporation
The City Municipal Corporation of Thoothukudi or Thoothukudi Municipal Corporation . is a civic body that governs Thoothukudi city, India. This corporation consist of 51 wards and is headed by a Mayor who presides over a Deputy Mayor and 49 councillors who represent each wards in the...

.

Tamil Nadu has been a pioneering state of E-Governance
E-Governance
Several dimension and related factors influence the definition of eGovernance. The word “electronic” in the term e-Governance implies technology driven governance...

 initiatives in India. A large part of the government records like land ownership records are digitised and all major offices of the state government like Urban Local Bodies — all the Corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s and Municipal Office activities — revenue collection, land registration offices, and transport offices have been computerised. Tamil Nadu is one of the states where law and order has been maintained largely successfully. The Tamil Nadu Police
Tamil Nadu Police
The Tamil Nadu Police Force is the law enforcing agency / department of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is over 150 years old and is the fifth largest state police force in India. Tamil Nadu has a Police population ratio of 1 : 632.-Administration:...

 Force is over 140 years old. It is the fifth largest state police force in India and has the largest strength of women police personnel in the country. As of 2003, the state had a total police population ratio of 1:668, higher than the national average of 1:717. The current Director General of Police (law and order) of Tamil Nadu is K. Ramanujan.

Districts



{{Main|Districts of Tamil Nadu}}
The 32 districts of Tamil Nadu are listed below with the numbers corresponding to those in the image at right.
  1. Ariyalur district
    Ariyalur district
    Ariyalur is an administrative district in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. The district headquarters are located at Ariyalur...

  2. Chennai district
    Chennai district
    The Chennai District is a district in the state of Tamil nadu, in India. It is the smallest of all the districts in the state, but has the highest population. The district is a city district which means that it does not have a district headquarters. Most of the city region of Chennai comes under...

  3. Coimbatore district
    Coimbatore District
    Coimbatore District is one of the more affluent and industrially advanced districts of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Coimbatore is known as the Manchester of South India. It one of the most industrialized towns of Tamil Nadu. It has the highest GDP among the districts of Tamil Nadu, even ahead...

  4. Cuddalore district
    Cuddalore District
    Cuddalore District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Cuddalore is the district headquarters. For the first time, urn burial grave goods were found in the village of Marungur in the district, carrying inscriptions in Tamil Brahmi from the 1st century...

  5. Dharmapuri district
  6. Dindigul district
    Dindigul District
    Dindigul District is an administrative region in the south of Tamil Nadu, India. The district was carved out of Madurai District in the year 1985...

  7. Erode district
    Erode District
    Erode District is a western district of the state of Tamil Nadu, India, with Erode as its headquarters. Until the year 1996, Erode district was called as Periyar District....

  8. Kanchipuram district
    Kanchipuram district
    Kanchipuram district is a district in the northeast of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is bounded in the west by Vellore and Thiruvannamalai districts, in the north by Thiruvallur District and Chennai District, in the south by Viluppuram District and in the east by the Bay of Bengal. It lies...

  9. Kanyakumari district
    Kanyakumari District
    Kanyakumari District ) is a district of Tamil Nadu state, India and is the southernmost land area of mainland India.The district is the second most urbanised district in Tamilnadu, next only to Chennai and ahead of Coimbatore. It also has the highest literacy and education levels in the...

  10. Karur district
    Karur District
    Karur District is located center along the Kaveri & Amaravati rivers in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The main town in Karur District is the city of Karur, which is also the district headquarter. It had a population of 935,686 as of 2001. It is 33.27% urbanized as per Census 2001...

  11. Krishnagiri district
    Krishnagiri District
    Krishnagiri is a district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The municipal town of Krishnagiri is the district headquarters. In Tamil Nadu, E-Governance was first introduced at Krishnagiri district under the National e-Governance Project in Revenue, Social Welfare departments on a pilot basis...

  12. Madurai district
    Madurai District
    Madurai district is one of the 32 districts of the state of Tamil Nadu, in southeastern India. The city of Madurai serves as the district headquarters. It houses the world famous Sri Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple and is situated on the banks of river Vaigai. Thiruparankundram is one of the major...

  13. Nagapattinam district
  14. Namakkal district
    Namakkal District
    Namakkal District is an administrative district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The district was bifurcated from Salem District with Namakkal town as Head Quarters on 25-07-1996 and started to function independently from 01-01-1997...

  15. The Nilgiris district
    The Nilgiris District
    The Nilgiris District is in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Nilgiri is also the name given to a range of mountains spread across the states of Tamilnadu as well as Karnataka and Kerala. The Nilgiri Hills are part of a larger mountain chain known as the Western Ghats...

  16. Perambalur district


  1. Pudukkottai district
    Pudukkottai District
    Pudukkottai District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Pudukkottai is the district headquarters...


  2. Ramanathapuram district
    Ramanathapuram District
    Ramanathapuram District is an administrative district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Ramanathapuram is the district headquarters. Ramanthapuram District has an area of 4123 km²...


  3. Salem district
    Salem District
    Salem District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Salem is the district headquarters. Other major towns in the district are Mettur, Omalur and Attur...


  4. Sivaganga district
    Sivaganga District
    Sivaganga District is an administrative district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Sivaganga is the district headquarters. It is bounded by Pudukkottai district on the Northeast, Tiruchirapalli district on the North, Ramanathapuram district on South East, Virudhunagar district...


  5. Thanjavur district
    Thanjavur District
    Thanjavur District is one of the 32 districts of the state of Tamil Nadu, in southeastern India. Its headquarters is Thanjavur.-Geography:...


  6. Theni district
    Theni District
    Theni District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in South India. The city of Theni is the district headquarters. The district is divided into two natural divisions: The hilly areas constituted by parts of the three taluks Periyakulam, Uthamapalayam and Andipatti with thick vegetation and...


  7. Thoothukudi district
    Thoothukudi District
    Thoothukudi District, also known as Tuticorin District, is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. Thoothukudi is the district headquarters. It is also known for Pearl cultivation with abundance of pearls found in the seas of Thoothukudi...


  8. Tiruchirapalli district
  9. Tirunelveli district
    Tirunelveli District
    Tirunelveli District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Tirunelveli is the district headquarters. A unique feature of this district is that it encompasses all five geographical traditions of Tamil Literature; kurinji , mullai , marudham , neithal and palai...


  10. Thirupur district
  11. Thiruvallur district
  12. Thiruvannamalai district
  13. Thiruvarur district
  14. Vellore district
    Vellore District
    Vellore district is one of the 32 districts in the Tamil Nadu state of India. Vellore City is the headquarters of this district. It had a population of 3,477,317 as of 2001. It is 37.62% urbanised...


  15. Viluppuram district
    Viluppuram District
    Villupuram is one of the thirty districts which make up Tamil Nadu state situated on the southern tip of India. The district headquarters is located at Villupuram. Villupuram district came into existence on 30 September 1993 when it was created out of South Arcot district...


  16. Virudhunagar district
    Virudhunagar District
    Virudhunagar District is an administrative district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. Virudhunagar is the district headquarters. Virudhunagar district was formed from parts of Tirunelveli and Madurai districts....


Politics


{{Main|Elections in Tamil Nadu|Politics of Tamil Nadu|Dravidian parties}}
Political
Alliance
Assembly
(2011)
Lok Sabha
Indian general election in Tamil Nadu, 2009
The Indian general election, 2009 polls in Tamil Nadu was held for 39 seats in the state. There was a radical change in the alliances in this election compared to the last election, reminiscent of the 1999 election in Tamil Nadu...


(2009)
AIADMK+
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. The party was founded by M. G. Ramachandran and is now headed by J. Jayalalithaa. The party headquarters is in Royapettah, Chennai, and was gifted to the party in 1986 by its...

203 12
DMK+
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. It is a Dravidian party founded by C. N. Annadurai as a breakaway faction from the Dravidar Kazhagam headed by Periyar...

31 27
Independent/Other 0 0
Source: Election Commission of India.



Prior to Indian independence Tamil Nadu was under British colonial rule as part of the Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

. The main party in Tamil Nadu at that time was the Congress Party. Regional parties have dominated state politics since 1916. One of the earliest regional parties, the South Indian Welfare Association, a forerunner to Dravidian parties
Dravidian parties
Dravidian parties include an array of regional political parties in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, which trace their origins and ideologies either directly or indirectly to the Dravidian movement of Periyar E. V...

 in Tamil Nadu, was started in 1916. The party was called after its English organ, Justice Party
Justice Party (India)
The Justice Party , officially known as South Indian Liberal Federation, was a political party in the Madras Presidency of British India. The party was established in 1917 by T. M. Nair and Theagaroya Chetty as a result of a series of non-Brahmin conferences and meetings in the presidency...

, by it opponents. Later, South Indian Liberal Federation was adopted as its official name. The reason for victory of the Justice Party in elections was the non-participation of the Congress Party, demanding complete independence of India. Freedom movement saw great leaders like K. Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj
Kumarasami Kamaraj better known as K. Kamaraj was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975...

, Subramanya Bharathi (a poet who inspired the freedom movement by his poetic skills), Subramania Siva,V. O. Chidambaram Pillai(Industrialist, who managed ships under the free India banner), Tiruppur Kumaran
Tiruppur Kumaran
Tiruppur Kumaran , was an Indian revolutionary who participated in the Indian independence movement. Kumaran was born in Chennimalai, a small town in the Erode District in Tamil Nadu region of south India...

, Rajagopalachariar (Rajaji) and Sathyamurthi.

Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
Erode Venkata Ramasamy , affectionately called by his followers as Periyar , Thanthai Periyar or E. V...

 popularly known as Periyar, believed in agitational politics and took the Justice Party away from its original path. The Justice Party which had a moribund existence under E.V.Ramaswamy. He renamed the party Dravidar Kazhagam
Dravidar Kazhagam
Dravidar Kazhagam or Dravida Kazhagam was the first fully Dravidian party in India. It was a radical party formed by E. V. Ramaswamy, also called Thanthai Periyar of erstwhile Madras Presidency...

 (DK for short) in 1944. DK was a non-political party which demanded the establishment of an independent state called Dravida Nadu. However, due to the differences between its two leaders EVR and C.N. Annadurai
Annadurai
Annadurai can refer to:* C. N. Annadurai, an Indian politician* Mylswamy Annadurai, an Indian scientist...

, the party was split. Annadurai left the party to form the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. It is a Dravidian party founded by C. N. Annadurai as a breakaway faction from the Dravidar Kazhagam headed by Periyar...

 (DMK). The DMK decided to enter politics in 1956.


In the 19th century, western scholars discovered that the Dravidian languages
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

  dominating South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 formed a different linguistic group than the Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

  predominant in North India
North India
North India, known natively as Uttar Bhārat or Shumālī Hindustān , is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage...

. They also classified Indians into distinct Aryan and Dravidian races
Dravidian peoples
Dravidian peoples is a term used to refer to the diverse groups of people who natively speak languages belonging to the Dravidian language family. Populations of speakers of around 220 million are found mostly in Southern India. Other Dravidian people are found in parts of central India, Sri Lanka,...

. It was proposed that the generally darker-skinned Dravidians constituted a distinct race. This concept has affected thinking in India about racial and regional differences and had an impact on aspects of Tamil nationalism
Tamil nationalism
Tamil nationalism in India is an aspiration by some Tamils to establish, at minimum, self determination or at maximum secession from India to establish an Independent Tamil State of which would consist of today's Tamil nadu, Puducherry and Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka...

, which has appropriated the claim that Dravidians are the earliest inhabitants of India, and the Aryan population were oppressive interlopers from whom Dravidians should liberate themselves.

Re-organisation of Indian states according to linguistic and ethnic basis has moderated Tamil nationalism, especially the demand for separation from the Indian Union. The Anti-Hindi agitations
Anti-Hindi agitations
The Anti-Hindi agitations of Tamil Nadu are a series of agitations that happened in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu during both pre- and post-Independence periods...

 in mid-1960s made the DMK more popular and a more powerful political force in the state. The DMK routed the Congress Party
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 in the 1967 elections and took control of the state government, ending Congress' stronghold in Tamil Nadu. C.N. Annadurai became the DMK's first Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

.

Muthuvel Karunanidhi took over as Chief Minister and party leader after Annadurai's death in 1969. Karunanidhi's leadership was soon challenged by M.G. Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR. In 1972, he split from DMK and formed the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) and later renamed the party as All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam. He was the Chief Minister of the state from 1977 until his death in 1987. After the death of MGR AIADMK was defeated in 1989 assembly polls because of the Split of the party into two factions headed by Janaki (Wife of MGR) and Jayalalithaa. Later on J. Jayalalithaa
J. Jayalalithaa
Jayalalithaa Jayaram ; born 24 February 1948) commonly referred to as J. Jayalalitha, is the Chief Minister of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. She is the incumbent general secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam , a Dravidian party. She is called Amma and Puratchi Thalaivi by her...

 took control of the party. She was elected as the General Secretary of the unified AIADMK. There have been several splits in both the DMK and the AIADMK, but since 1967 one of those two parties has held power in the state.

Demographics


{{Main|Demographics of Tamil Nadu}}
{{IndiaCensusPop
| title= Population Growth
| 1951= 30119000
| 1961= 33687000
| 1971= 41199000
| 1981= 48408000
| 1991= 55859000
| 2001= 62406000
| 2011= 72138958
| estimate=
| estyear=
| estref=
| footnote=Source:Census of India
}}
{{bar box
|width=250px
|barwidth=100px
|title=Religions in Tamil Nadu
|titlebar=#ddd
|left1=Religion
|right1=Percent
|float=left
|bars=
{{bar percent|Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

|#FF8000|88.34}}
{{bar percent|Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

|#0080FF|6.08}}
{{bar percent|Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

|#009000|5.57}}
{{bar percent|Others|#FFFF00|0.26}}
}}
Tamil Nadu is the seventh most populous state in India with a population of 72,138,958 (5.96% of India's population; census 2011 fig.). It is the seventh most densely populated state in India with a population density of 555 persons per square kilometre as of 2011, having increased from 429 in 1991, significantly higher than the Indian average of 382 persons per square kilometre. 44% of the state's population live in urban areas, the highest among large states in India.
Tamil Nadu's population grew by 15.6% between 2001 and 2011, the sixth lowest rate for that period amongst populous states (states whose population exceeded 20 million in 2011). Although its decadal rate of population growth has declined since 1971, the population growth during the last decade (2001–2011) has increased. The state has registered the lowest fertiliy rate
Indian states ranking by fertility rate
This is a list of the States of India ranked in order of number of children born for each woman. Based on this study, seven Indian states including Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab and Sikkim do not contribute anymore to the population explosion of India.In fact,...

 along with Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

 and Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 in India in year 2005–06 with 1.8 children born for each woman, lower than required for population sustainability.

Hinduism is followed by the majority of the people. The distribution of population based on their faith, as of the 2001 census, is shown in the bar graph above. Hinduism is the dominant religion has a higher percentage of adherents in Tamil Nadu (88%) when compared to other states. Christianity, though a minority, has the highest population in absolute numbers when compared to other states. Jains make up 0.13% of the population. Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes comprise 19% and 1% of the population respectively. Tamil is the official and the principal spoken language of the state. As of the 2001 Census, Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 is spoken by 89.00% of the population followed by Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

 at 5.66%, Kannada at 2.0%, Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

 at 1.51% and Malayalam at 0.59%.

Education and social development


{{Main|Education in Tamil Nadu}}

Tamil Nadu is one of the most literate states in India. Tamil Nadu has performed reasonably well in terms of literacy growth
Literacy in India
Literacy in India is key for socio-economic progress, and the Indian literacy rate grew to 74.04% in 2011 from 12% at the end of British rule in 1947. Although this was a greater than sixfold improvement, the level is well below the world average literacy rate of 84%, and India currently has the...

 during the decade 2001–2011. The state's literacy rate increased from 73.47% in 2001 to 80.3% in 2011 which is above the national average. A survey conducted by the Industry body Assocham ranks Tamil Nadu top among Indian states with about 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in primary and upper primary education. One of the basic limitations for improvement in education in the state is the rate of absence of teachers in public schools, which at 21.4% is significant. The analysis of primary school education in the state by Pratham
Pratham
Pratham is a non-governmental organisation that works towards the provision of quality education to the underprivileged children in India. Established in Mumbai in 1994 to provide pre-school education to children in slums, it now has activities in 21 states of India and has supporting chapters in...

 shows a low drop-off rate but poor quality of state education compared to other states.

Tamil Nadu has 37 universities, 455 engineering colleges, 449 Polytechnic Colleges and 566 arts and science colleges, 34335 elementary schools, 5167 high schools, 5054 higher secondary schools and 5000 hospitals. Some of the notable educational institutes present in Tamil Nadu are University of Madras
University of Madras
The University of Madras is a public research university in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the three oldest universities in India...

, IIT Madras, NIT Tiruchi, IIM Tiruchirappalli, College of Engineering, Guindy
College of Engineering, Guindy
College of Engineering, Guindy in Chennai, India, is India's oldest engineering and technical institution, having been established in 1794. Today it is one of the four constituent colleges of Anna University, Chennai....

, PSG College of Technology
PSG College of Technology
PSG College of Technology is an autonomous, government aided institution, affiliated to Anna University. The college offers a total of 48 full time and part time programs in Science, Engineering and Management at Undergraduate & Postgraduate levels. The College was founded in 1951 by...

, Coimbatore Institute of Technology
Coimbatore Institute of Technology
The Coimbatore Institute of Technology is one of the DOTE engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu located at Coimbatore, India. It was founded in the year 1956 by V.Rangaswamy Naidu Educational Trust with the aim of disseminating knowledge in the fields of science, engineering and technology.It is a...

, Madras Christian College
Madras Christian College
The Madras Christian College, commonly known as MCC, is a liberal arts and sciences college in Madras , India. Founded in 1837, MCC is one of Asia's oldest extant colleges. Currently, the college is affiliated to the University of Madras, but functions as an autonomous institution from its campus...

, Christian Medical College
Christian Medical College & Hospital
Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore is one of the largest medical centres in India. This century-old Christian institution was founded by Ida S...

, Vellore Institute of Technology
Vellore Institute of Technology
VIT University, commonly called Vellore Institute of Technology or VIT, is located in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India. VIT has nine schools.-Academic organisation:...

, Thiagarajar College of Engineering
Thiagarajar College of Engineering
Thiagarajar College of Engineering , Madurai, is an ISO 9001:2008 certified Autonomous institution located in Madurai, Tamilnadu, India. It is affiliated to Anna University, Chennai. It is one of the several educational and philanthropic institutions founded by Philanthropist and Industrialist...

, Bharathidasan Institute of Management
Bharathidasan Institute of Management
Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli or BIM-Trichy is a business school, established in 1984 in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India...

, Madras Medical College
Madras Medical College
The Madras Medical College is an educational institution located in Chennai, India. It was established on February 2, 1835. It is the oldest medical college in India, along with the Medical College Kolkata.-History:...

, Loyola College
Loyola College, Chennai
Loyola College is a Jesuit institution in Chennai, India. The college admits undergraduates and post-graduates and offers degrees in the liberal arts, sciences and commerce. It is an autonomous institution affiliated with the University of Madras.-History:...

, Ethiraj College for Women
Ethiraj College for Women
Ethiraj College for Women is a degree-granting college for women in Chennai, India. It was founded in 1948 by V. L. Ethiraj.-Founder:In 1948 the philanthropy of a single individual, Thiru. V. L. Ethiraj, financed the college. Ethiraj graduated from Presidency College, Chennai...

 and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University came into being on June 1, 1971. However, it had its genesis from establishment of an agricultural school at Saidapet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, in 1868 and was later relocated at Marudamalai Road in Coimbatore....

, Madurai Medical College
Madurai Medical College
Madurai Medical College is a medical school attached to the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. The hospital provides tertiary care to more than twenty million people in the southern part of Tamil Nadu. The hospital was established in 1842 and became a teaching hospital in 1954...

. The Indian Institute of Management is scheduled to open in Trichy by 2009–2010. Tamil Nadu produces the highest number of engineering graduates in India (around 1,75,000) every year.

India has a human development index calculated as 0.619, while the corresponding figure for Tamil Nadu is 0.736, placing it among the top states in the country. The life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 at birth for males is 65.2 years and for females it is 67.6 years. However, it has a high level of poverty especially in the rural areas. As of 2004–2005, the poverty line was set at {{INR}} 351.86/month for rural areas and {{INR}} 547.42/month for urban areas. Poverty in the state dropped from 51.7% in 1983 to 21.1% in 2001 For the period 2004–2005, the Trend in Incidence of Poverty in the state was 22.5% compared with the national figure of 27.5%. The World Bank is currently assisting the state in reducing poverty High drop-out and low completion of secondary schools continue to hinder the quality of training in the population. Other problems include class, gender, inter-district and urban-rural disparities. Based on URP – Consumption for the period 2004–2005, percentage of the state's population Below Poverty Line
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 was 27.5%. The Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative ranks Tamil Nadu to have a Multidimensional Poverty Index
Multidimensional Poverty Index
The Multidimensional Poverty Index ' was developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme.-History:...

 of 0.141, which is in the level of Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 among the developing countries. Corruption is a major problem in the state with Transparency International ranking it the second most corrupt among the states of India.

The Dravidian movement
Self-Respect Movement
The Self-Respect Movement was founded in 1925 by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy in Tamil Nadu, India. The movement has the aim of achieving a society where backward castes have equal human rights, and encouraging backward castes to have self-respect in the context of a caste based society that...

, which championed the causes of educating tamils and eradicating superstitions, began in Tamil Nadu. The movement was committed to social justice which led to the expansion of reservations
Reservation in India
Reservation in India is a form of affirmative action designed to improve the well being of socially backward and underrepresented communities of citizens in India. There are laws in place, wherein a certain percentage of total available slots in Jobs and Education are set aside for people from...

 for the deprived communities. Tamil Nadu now has 69% reservation in educational institutions, the highest among all Indian states.

The Mid-day Meal Scheme program in Tamil Nadu, initiated by Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj
Kumarasami Kamaraj better known as K. Kamaraj was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975...

, was expanded considerably during the rule of the AIADMK in 1983, although the state is among the 12 states in India that have alarming level of hunger according to the 2008 Global Hunger Index.
``

Culture



{{Main|Tamil people|Temples of Tamil Nadu|Tamil literature}}

Tamil Nadu has a long tradition of venerable culture. Tamil Nadu is known for its rich tradition of literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, music and dance which continue to flourish today. Unique cultural features like Bharatanatyam (dance), Tanjore painting
Tanjore painting
Tanjore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting native to the town of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India. The art form dates back to about 1600 AD, a period when the Nayakas of Tanjavur encouraged art—chiefly, classical dance and music—as well as literature, both in Telugu...

, and Tamil architecture were developed and continue to be practised in Tamil Nadu.

Language and literature


Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 is the only official language of Tamil Nadu. English is also in common usage as an official language of India. When India adopted national standards Tamil was the very first language to be recognized as a classical language of India. The Tamil people regard their language a very important part of their cultural identity.

Most early Tamil literary works are in verse form, with prose not becoming more common until later periods. Throughout its history, Tamil literature has sought to inform and inspire, educate and entertain.
முகத்தான் அமர்ந்துஇனிது நோக்கி அகத்தானாம்

இன்சொ லினிதே அறம் -(திருக்குறள் - 93)
'Calm face, sweet look, kind words from heart

Such is the gracious virtue's part'

(Tirukkural
Tirukkuṛaḷ
Tirukkuṛaḷ , sometimes spelt 'Thirukkural, is a classic of couplets or Kurals or aphorisms celebrated by Tamils. It was authored by Thiruvalluvar, a poet who is said to have lived anytime between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD. Although the exact period of its composition is still disputed,...

 – 93)

Notable examples of Tamil poetry include the Tirukkural
Tirukkuṛaḷ
Tirukkuṛaḷ , sometimes spelt 'Thirukkural, is a classic of couplets or Kurals or aphorisms celebrated by Tamils. It was authored by Thiruvalluvar, a poet who is said to have lived anytime between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD. Although the exact period of its composition is still disputed,...

, written during the Tamil Sangams period. The poem encompasses a universal outlook, as the author, Tiruvalluvar
Tiruvalluvar
Thiruvalluvar , or Tiruvalluvar, was a celebrated Tamil poet whose contribution to Tamil literature is the Thirukkural, a work on ethics. Thiruvalluvar is thought to have lived sometime between the 2nd century BC and the 8th century AD. This estimate is based on linguistic analysis of his writings,...

, does not mention his religion, land, or the audience for his work. He is often portrayed as a holy saint of Tamil Nadu today. Ancient Tamil literature is predominantly secular{{Citation needed|date=May 2011}} and deals with everyday life in the Tamil Context.

The first Tamil printing press was established at Tarangambadi by the Danish missionaries. During the Indian freedom struggle
Indian independence movement
The term Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia...

, many Tamil poets and writers sought to provoke national spirit, social equity and secularist thoughts among the common man, notably Subramanya Bharathy
Subramanya Bharathy
Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar was a Tamil poet from Tamil Nadu, India, an independence fighter and iconoclastic reformer. Known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar , he is celebrated as one of South India's greatest poets...

 and Bharathidasan
Bharathidasan
Bharathidasan was a twentieth century Tamil poet and rationalist whose literary works handled mostly socio-political issues. His writings served as a catalyst for the growth of the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu...

. Even today, Tamil Nadu is home to creative writers like Vairamuthu
Vairamuthu
Vairamuthu Ramaswamy Thevar is an award-winning Tamil poet and lyricist.Debuting in the film Nizhalgal with the lyrics for the song "Ponmalai Pozhudhu", he has now about 5800 songs to his credit as of January 2009. His partnership with the composers Ilaiyaraaja, and later A. R...

, Jayakanthan
Jayakanthan
- Biography:Jayakanthan was born in 1934 in a family of agriculturists in Cuddalore, in the South Arcot district of Tamil Nadu. He quit school after completing grade 3 education. He was then considered a problematic child. He was close to his mother and grandfather. He had a rocky relationship with...

,and Indira Parthasarathy
Indira Parthasarathy
Indira Parthasarathy is the pen name of R. Parthasarathy. Born on July 10, 1930 in Chennai in a traditional Iyengar family...

.

Tamil is spoken by 89.43% of the population. Minority languages include Telugu (5.65%), Kannada (1.68%), Urdu (1.51%), Malayalam (0.89%), Gujarati / Saurashtri (0.32%), Hindi (0.30%) and Marathi (0.10%).

Religions



Population by religion, 2001
Religious group Population (million) %
Hindu 55.0 88.1
Christian 3.79 6.1
Muslim 3.47 5.6
Total 62.4 100


About 88% of the population identifies as Hindu and Tamil Nadu is the home of the core schools of medieval and modern Hinduism as well as several non-mainstream Hindu movements. These include Saiva Siddhanta, Ramanuja's
Ramanuja
Ramanuja ; traditionally 1017–1137, also known as Ramanujacharya, Ethirajar , Emperumannar, Lakshmana Muni, was a theologian, philosopher, and scriptural exegete...

 Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita Vedanta is a sub-school of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy, the other major sub-schools of Vedānta being Advaita, Dvaita, and Achintya-Bheda-Abheda. VishishtAdvaita is a non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy...

, Alvars
Alvars
The alwar or azhwars were Tamil poet saints of south India who lived between the sixth and ninth centuries A.D. and espoused ‘emotional devotion’ or bhakti to Visnu-Krishna in their songs of longing, ecstasy and service. Sri Vaishnava orthodoxy posits the number of alvars as ten, though there are...

' Sri Vaishnavism
Sri Sampradaya
Sri Sampradaya or Sri Vaishnavism is a Vaishnava sect within Hinduism. Its origin and codification is generally traced back to Sri, Mahalakshmi eternal consort of Lord Vishnu. Around the 10th century when a collection of the devotional hymns and songs by Alvars was organized by Sri Nathamuni, who...

, and Nayanmars Saivisim. Several important Hindu Tamil figures became important figures for Hinduism as a whole (e.g.Ramanuja
Ramanuja
Ramanuja ; traditionally 1017–1137, also known as Ramanujacharya, Ethirajar , Emperumannar, Lakshmana Muni, was a theologian, philosopher, and scriptural exegete...

.) In modern times, well known figures for Hinduism in the state include Ramana Maharishi and the Kanchi Paramacharya. Murugan
Murugan
Murugan also called Kartikeya, Skanda and Subrahmanya, is a popular Hindu deity especially among Tamil Hindus, worshipped primarily in areas with Tamil influences, especially South India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius and Reunion Island. His six most important shrines in India are the...

, Thirumal (Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

), Sivan
Sivan
Sivan is the ninth month of the civil year and the third month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a spring month of 30 days...

, Sakthi
Shakti
Shakti from Sanskrit shak - "to be able," meaning sacred force or empowerment, is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism. Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes...

 in various forms and a large number of village deities are also worshiped by Hindus in Tamil Nadu. The emblem of Government of Tamil Nadu
Government of Tamil Nadu
The Government of Tamil Nadu, headquartered at Chennai is the governing authority for the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. It is seated at the Fort St. George...

 depicts the Gopuram (Entrance Arch) of the temple at Srivilliputhur
Srivilliputhur
Srivilliputhur is a semi-urban town and a municipality in Virudhunagar district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu....

.
Christians
Christianity in Tamil Nadu
Christianity in the state of Tamil Nadu, India is believed to be 2000 years old. It possibly was introduced to Tamil Nadu by St. Thomas Didymus , one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ between 52-72 AD. But the colonial age brought a large number of Portuguese, Dutch, British and Italian Christians...

 and Muslims together form over 11% of the population. Christians are mainly concentrated in the southern districts of Kanyakumari (44% of the population, 2001), Thoothukudi (17%, 2001) and Tirunelveli (11%,2001). St. Thomas Mount
St. Thomas Mount
St. Thomas Mount, or Parangimalai is a small hillock located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Located near the neighbourhood of Guindy and very close to Chennai International Airport, St. Thomas Mount is associated with St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ, who is believed to have been martyred here...

 in Chennai, the place where St. Thomas
Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in . He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman...

, one of the disciples of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, was believed to have been martyred, is an important pilgrimage site for Indian Christians. The Santhome Basilica, widely believed by Christians in India to have been built atop the tomb of St. Thomas, and the Vailankanni
Vailankanni
Velankanni , officially spelled as Vailankanni , also spelled as "Velanganni" , is a Parish under Tanjore Roman Catholic Diocese and a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu...

 Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is located at the small town of Velankanni in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. The Roman Catholic Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health...

 are churches revered by Christians in India. The Church of South India
Church of South India
The Church of South India is the successor of the Church of England in India. It came into being in 1947 as a union of Anglican and Protestant churches in South India. With a membership of over 3.8 million, it is India's second largest Christian church after the Roman Catholic Church in India...

 and the Pentecostal Mission Church are headquartered in Chennai.

Muslims are mainly concentrated in areas such as Adirampattinam, Kayalpatnam
Kayalpatnam
Kayalpatnam or Korkai is a town in the Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu, India. Kayal is referred to in Marco Polo's travel diaries dating to 1250 AD. Korkai or Kayal was an ancient port dating to the 1st centuries of the Christian era and was contemporaneous to the existence of Kollam, another...

, Kilakarai
Kilakarai
-About:Kilakarai, Kilakkarai or Keelakarai is a municipality in Ramanathapuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.Kilakarai is an ancient coastal town and a port, located in the southern Tamil Nadu. It was a flourishing sea port and a gateway to places as far as Madurai till the early 20th...

, Pernambut, Ambur, Vaniyambadi, Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

, Nagore, and Melapalayam, with the state capital Chennai also home to a number of Muslims. Among Muslims, 97.5% are Sunni and the rest are Shias. The Sunnis adhere to either Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 or Shafi schools of thought. Erwadi
Erwadi
Ervadi or Erwadi is a village in Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu in southern India belonging to Kadaladi Taluk and Keelakarai Town panchayat. The village is the location of the grave and shrine of Qutbus Sultan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed Badusha, the then ruler of Madinah Al Munawwara...

 in Ramanathapuram district and Nagore in Nagapattinam district are important pilgrimage sites for Muslims. Kazimar Big Mosque
Kazimar Big Mosque
Kazimar Periya Pallivasal or Kazimar Big Mosque is a famous mosque located at the heart of Madurai city, within 500 metres of the Periyar bus stand and within 1 kilometre South East of the Madurai Junction and 800 meters south west of the Meenakshi Temple...

 in Kazimar Street
Kazimar Street
Kazimar Street is an ancient street in Madurai, India, where people inhabited during 13th century AD. Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin is the one who settled here after preaching Islam in South India.99.2% population of this street are Muslims and 0.8% Hindus.The famous Kazimar periya pallivasal which is...

, Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 and Karpudaiyar masjid in Kayalpatnam are one of the earlier mosques in Tamil Nadu.

Samanars or Tamil Jains have a legacy dating back 250 BC. They made significant contributions to Tamil literature. According to the 2001 census there were 83,359 Jains in Tamil Nadu. There is a popular atheist movement in the 1940s as well.

Festivals


Pongal
Pongal
Thai Ponggal is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Indian Union Territory of Pondicherry and in Sri Lanka. Pongal coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over" or "spill over". The boiling...

, also called as Tamizhar Thirunaal (festival of Tamils) or Makara Sankranti elsewhere in India, a four-day harvest festival is one of the most widely celebrated festivals throughout Tamil Nadu. The Tamil language saying Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum — literally meaning, the birth of the month of Thai will pave way for new opportunities — is often quoted with reference to this festival. The first day, Bhogi Pongal, is celebrated by throwing away and destroying old clothes and materials by setting them on fire to mark the end of the old and emergence of the new. The second day, Surya Pongal, is the main day which falls on the first day of the tenth Tamil month Thai (14 January or 15 January in western calendar). The third day, Maattu Pongal, is meant to offer thanks to the cattle, as they provide milk and are used to plough the lands. Jallikattu
Jallikattu
Jallikattu or Eruthazhuvuthal or Manju Virattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations usually on Mattu Pongal day. This is one of the oldest living ancient sports seen in the modern era. Although it sounds similar to the Spanish running of the bulls, it is...

, a bull taming contest, marks the main event of this day. During this final day, Kaanum Pongal — the word "kaanum", means 'to view' in Tamil.

The first month in the Tamil calendar is Chitterai and the first day of this month in mid-April is celebrated as Tamil New Year. Thiruvalluvar Calendar is 31 years ahead of Gregorian Calendar, that is 2000 CE in Gregorian calendar is represented as 2031 in Thiruvalluvar Calendar. Aadi Perukku is celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month Aadi, which celebrates the rising of the water level in the river Cauvery. Apart from these major festivals, in every village and town of Tamil Nadu, the inhabitants celebrate festivals for the local gods once a year and the time varies from place to place. Most of these festivals are related to the goddess Maariyamman, the mother goddess of rain.

Other major Hindu festivals including Deepavali (Death of Narakasura), Ayudha Poojai, Saraswathi Poojai (Dasara), Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 Jayanthi and Vinayaka Chathurthi are also celebrated. Ayya Vaikunda Avataram
Ayya Vaikunda Avataram
The Ayya Vaikunda Avataram is a festival celebrated by the followers of Ayyavazhi on the 20th day of the Tamil Month of Masi, the date on which the Ayyavazhi followers believe that Lord Vaikundar arose from the sea at Thiruchendur as the son of Mummorthies to destroy the evil spirit of Kali and...

, is celebrated predominantly in the southern districts. In addition, Christmas, Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

, Easter and Bakrid are celebrated by Christians and Muslims in the state

Music


{{See also| Ancient Tamil music|Carnatic music}}

The Kings of ancient Thamizhagam created sangams for Iyal Isai Nadagam (Literature, Music and Drama). Music played a major role in sangams. Music in Tamil Nadu had different forms. In villages where farming was the primary occupation, women who worked in the fields used to sing kulavai songs. Odhuvars, Sthanikars or Kattalaiyars offer short musical programmes in the temples by singing the devotional Thevaram
Thevaram
Thevaram is a panchayat town in Theni district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.Thevaram located in the border of Kerala separated by western ghats-Demographics:...

 songs. In sharp contrast with the restrained and intellectual nature of Carnatic music
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

, Tamil folk music tends to be much more exuberant. Popular forms of Tamil folk music include the
{{Use dmy dates|date=October 2010}}
{{Contains Indic text}}

Tamil Nadu ({{indic|lang=ta|indic=தமிழ் நாடு|trans=Tamiḻ Nāṭu}}, t̪ɐmɨɻ n̪aːɽɯ) is one of the 28 states
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Its capital and largest city is Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory
Union Territory
A Union Territory is a sub-national administrative division of India, in the federal framework of governance. Unlike the states of India, which have their own elected governments, union territories are ruled directly by the federal government; the President of India appoints an Administrator or...

 of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

, and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

. It is bound by the Eastern Ghats
Eastern Ghats
The Eastern Ghats or Eastern Ghauts are a discontinuous range of mountains along India's eastern coast. The Eastern Ghats run from West Bengal state in the north, through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka. They are eroded and cut through by the...

 in the north, the Nilgiri, the Anamalai Hills, and Palakkad
Palakkad
Palakkad , formerly known as Palghat, is a municipality and a town in the state of Kerala in southern India, spread over an area of 26.60 km2.The city is situated about north of state capital Thiruvananthapuram. It is the administrative headquarters of Palakkad District...

 on the west, by the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 in the east, the Gulf of Mannar
Gulf of Mannar
The Gulf of Mannar is a large shallow bay forming part of the Laccadive Sea in the Indian Ocean. It lies between the southeastern tip of India and the west coast of Sri Lanka. A chain of low islands and reefs known as Adam's Bridge, also called Ramsethu, which includes Mannar Island, separates the...

, the Palk Strait
Palk Strait
Palk Strait is a strait between the Tamil Nadu state of India and the Mannar district of the Northern Province of the island nation of Sri Lanka. It connects the Bay of Bengal in the northeast with the Palk Bay and thence with the Gulf of Mannar in the southwest. The strait is wide. Several...

 in the south east, and by the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 in the south.

Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest state in India by area and the seventh most populous state. It is the fourth largest contributor (as of 2010) to India's GDP and ranks tenth in Human Development Index as of 2006. Tamil Nadu is also the most urbanised state in India. The state has the highest number (10.56%) of business enterprises and stands second in total employment (9.97%) in India, compared to the population share of about 6%.

The region has been the home of the Tamil people
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

 since atleast 500 BCE. Its official language Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 has been in use in inscriptions and literature for over 2000 years. Tamil Nadu is home to many natural resources, Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. They consist primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Koils which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting...

, hill stations, beach resorts, multi-religious pilgrimage sites and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Prehistory


Tamil Nadu's history dates back to pre-historic times. Archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in India. In Adichanallur
Adichanallur
Adichanallur is an archaeological site near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, India. The town is known locally as Aathichanallur, and has been the site of a number of very important archeological digs.-Archaeological excavations:...

, 24 km (15 mi) from Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli , also known as Nellai , and historically as Tinnevelly, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District and the sixth biggest city in Tamil Nadu...

, archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India
Archaeological Survey of India
The Archaeological Survey of India is a department of the Government of India, attached to the Ministry of Culture . The ASI is responsible for archaeological studies and the preservation of archaeological heritage of the country in accordance with the various acts of the Indian Parliament...

 unearthed 169 clay urns containing human skulls, skeletons and bones, plus husks and grains of rice, charred rice and Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 celts
Celt (tool)
Celt is an archaeological term used to describe long thin prehistoric stone or bronze adzes, other axe-like tools, and hoes.-Etymology:The term "celt" came about from what was very probably a copyist's error in many medieval manuscript copies of Job 19:24 in the Latin Vulgate Bible, which became...

, giving evidence confirming them to be of the Neolithic period, 3800 years ago. The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script used at that site is "very rudimentary" Tamil Brahmi. Adichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies. About 60% of the total epigraphical inscriptions found by ASI in India are from Tamil Nadu and most of which are in Tamil language
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

. Geologists have discovered hundreds of fossilized dinosaur eggs, perhaps 65 million years old, underneath a stream in a tiny village in Ariyalur district. Researchers from the Salem-based Periyar University believe that the clusters of eggs belonged to the aggressive Carnosaur and the leaf-eating Sauropoda
Sauropoda
Sauropoda , or the sauropods , are an infraorder of saurischian dinosaurs. They had long necks, long tails, small heads , and thick, pillar-like legs. They are notable for the enormous sizes attained by some species, and the group includes the largest animals to have ever lived on land...

.

Medieval Period (600–1300)


{{Main|History of Tamil Nadu}}

The Cholas who were very active during the Sangam age were entirely absent during the first few centuries. The period started with the rivalry between the Pandyas and the Pallavas, which in turn caused the revival of the Cholas. The Cholas went on to becoming a great power. Their decline saw the brief resurgence of the Pandyas. This period was also that of the re-invigorated Hinduism during which temple building and religious literature were at their best.
The Cheras
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

 ruled in southern India from before the Sangam era (300 BCE – 250 CE) over the Coimbatore
Coimbatore District
Coimbatore District is one of the more affluent and industrially advanced districts of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Coimbatore is known as the Manchester of South India. It one of the most industrialized towns of Tamil Nadu. It has the highest GDP among the districts of Tamil Nadu, even ahead...

, Karur
Karur District
Karur District is located center along the Kaveri & Amaravati rivers in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The main town in Karur District is the city of Karur, which is also the district headquarter. It had a population of 935,686 as of 2001. It is 33.27% urbanized as per Census 2001...

, Salem
Salem District
Salem District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Salem is the district headquarters. Other major towns in the district are Mettur, Omalur and Attur...

 Districts in present day Tamil Nadu and present day Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 from the capital of Vanchi Muthur in the west, (thought to be modern Karur
Karur
Karur is a large town and a municipality in Karur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu situated on the banks of Amaravati. Karur district was formed on 30 September 1995 by trifurcating Tiruchirappalli district. It is the administrative headquarters of Karur District. Karur has a very long...

). They traded extensively from nearby Muziris
Muziris
Muziris is an ancient sea-port in Southwestern India on the Periyar River 3.2 km from its mouth. The derivation of the name Muziris is said to be from "Mucciripattanam," "mucciri" means "cleft palate" and "pattanam" means "city". Near Muziris, Periyar River was branched into two like a...

, in spices, ivory, timber, pearls and gems, with the ancient kingdoms of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Rome, Greece, Ceylon, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, Arabia, Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 and Persia. The Kalabhras
Kalabhras
The Kalabhras dynasty ruled over the entire Ancient Tamil country between the 3rd and the 6th century in an era of South Indian history called the Kalabhra interregnum. The Kalabhras displaced the kingdoms of the early Cholas, early Pandayan and Chera dynasties. Information about its origin and...

, invaded and displaced the three Tamil kingdoms and ruled between the third and the seventh centuries CE of the Sangam period. This is referred to as the Dark Age in Tamil
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

 history. They were expelled by the Pallavas and the Pandyas in sixth century.

During Kalabhras' rule Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 flourished in the land of the Tamils. The didactic work Naaladiyar was composed during their reign. It consists of moral sayings in the venpa
Venpa
Venpa is a form of classical Tamil poetry. Classical Tamil poetry has been classified based upon the rules of metric prosody. Such rules form a context-free grammar. Every Venpa consists of between two to twelve lines....

meter, 400 in number in 40 chapters, each by one Jain ascetic, according to tradition. Following in the tradition of Jainism, Naaladiyar emphasizes virtues such as control of the senses, asceticism, renunciation, and other desirable social qualities. Because the Kalabhras gave protection to Jains and perhaps Buddhists, too, some have concluded that they were anti-Hindu, although this latter view is not undisputed.
During the forth to eighth centuries century CE, Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallavas under Mahendravarman I
Mahendravarman I
Mahendravarman I was a Pallava king who ruled the Northern regions of what forms present-day Tamil Nadu in India in the early 7th century. He was the son of Simhavishnu, who defeated the Kalabhras and re-established the Pallava kingdom....

 and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I
Narasimhavarman I
Narasimhavarman I was a Tamil king of the Pallava dynasty who ruled South India from 630–668 CE. He shared his father Mahendravarman I's love of art and completed the work started by Mahendravarman in Mahabalipuram....

 and his uncle Bodhidharman. Pallavas ruled a large portion of South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 with Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

 as their capital. Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. They consist primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Koils which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting...

 reached its peak during the Pallava rule. Narasimhavarman II
Narasimhavarman II
Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha was a Pallava king who ruled in South India during the 6th century. Succeeding his father Paramesvaravarman I in the year 700 CE, he ruled for nearly 3 decades, until he was succeeded by his son Paramesvaravarman II in 728 CE.-Ascension to the throne:By the time...

 built the Shore Temple
Shore Temple
The Shore Temple is so named because it overlooks the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. It was built on a promontory sticking out into the Bay of Bengal at Mahabalipuram, a village south of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu,...

 which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Pallavas were replaced by the Cholas as the dominant kingdom in the 10th century C.E and they in turn were replaced by Pandyas in the 13th century C.E. The Pandyan capital Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 was in the deep south away from the coast. They had extensive trade links with the Southeast Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya
Srivijaya
Srivijaya was a powerful ancient thalassocratic Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, modern day Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. The earliest solid proof of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6...

 and their successors, as well as contacts, even formal diplomatic contacts, reaching as far as the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. During the 13th century C.E. Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 mentioned the Pandyas as the richest empire in existence. Temples such as the Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-alavai is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India...

 at Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 and Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple is one of the famous Shiva Temples situated at the heart of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India.-History:...

 at Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli , also known as Nellai , and historically as Tinnevelly, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District and the sixth biggest city in Tamil Nadu...

 are the best examples of Pandyan temple architecture. The Pandyas excelled in both trade and literature. They controlled the pearl fisheries along the South Indian coast, between Sri Lanka and India, which produced some of the finest pearls in the known ancient world.

Chola Empire


{{Main|Chola dynasty}}

By the 9th century, during the times of the second Chola monarch Aditya I
Aditya I
Aditya I , the son of Vijayalaya, was the first great Chola king of South India who extended the Chola dominions by the conquest of the Pallavas.- Pallava Civil War :...

, his son Parantaka I
Parantaka I
Parantaka Chola I ruled the Chola kingdom in southern India for forty-eight years. The best part of his reign was marked by increasing success and prosperity.-The Invasion of the Pandya Kingdom:...

, Parantaka Chola II
Parantaka Chola II
Parantaka Chola II ruled for approximately twelve years. Parantaka II was also known by the name Madhurantakan Sundara Chola. He was the son of Arinjaya Chola. His mother’s name was Kalyani, a princes from the clan of Vaidumbas...

 itself the Chola empire had expanded into what is now interior Andhra Pradesh and coastal Karnataka, while under the great Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose as a notable power in south Asia. The Chola Empire stretched as far as Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

. At its peak, the empire spanned almost 3,600,000 km² (1,389,968 sq mi). Rajaraja Chola conquered all of peninsular South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 and parts of the Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. Rajendra Chola's navies went even further, occupying coasts from Burma (now Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

) to Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep , formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 km off the coast of the South West Indian state of Kerala...

, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

, Malaya
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

 in South East Asia and Pegu islands. He defeated Mahipala
Mahipala
Mahipala I is considered the second founder of the Pala dynasty. Gopala I established the dynastic rule of the Palas in the middle of the 8th century CE. The Pala Dynasty ruled Bengal and Bihar for about four centuries from the middle of the 8th century CE...

, the king of the Bengal, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital and named it Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram was erected as the capital of the Cholas by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, the great Chola who conquered a large area in South India at the beginning of the 11th century C.E. It occupies an important place in the history of India. As the capital...

.Nearby this chola capital an sculptural carvings fitted temple Melakadambur
Melakadambur
Melakadambur is a village located from Chidambaram,and can reach at 6 km from Kattumannarkoil, Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu, India. It is known for Arulmigu Amirthakateshwarar Thirukkoil, constructed during the reign of Cholas by Kulothunga Chola...

 is located,the only Karakkoil in Tamilnadu

The Cholas excelled in building magnificent temples. Brihadeshwara Temple
Brihadeeswarar temple
The Peruvudaiyar Koyil , also known as Rajarajeswaram, at Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world's first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas kingdom Vishwakarmas in Tamil architecture. It is a tribute and a reflection of the...

 in Thanjavur is a classical example of the magnificent architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 of the Chola kingdom. Brihadshwara temple is an UNESCO Heritage Site under "Great Living Chola Temples." Another example is Annamalaiyar Temple
Annamalaiyar Temple
Annamalaiyar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva, located at the foothills of the Annamalai Hill in the town of Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, India. Shiva is worshipped as Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleswarar represented by lingam, withhis consort, Unnamalaiyaal...

  located at the city of Tiruvannamalai
Tiruvannamalai
Thiruvannamalai is a pilgrimage Temple city and special grade municipality in Thiruvannamalai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Thiruvannamalai district. Thiruvannamalai is home to the Annamalaiyar Temple located at the foot of the Annamalai hill and...

  and the Chidambaram Temple
Chidambaram Temple
Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in the town of Chidambaram, East-Central Tamil Nadu, South India. The temple is known as the foremost of all temples to Saivites and has influenced worship, architecture, sculpture and performance art for over two...

 in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram
Chidambaram
Chidambaram is a fast growing industrial city in Eastern part of Tamil Nadu and the taluk headquarters of the Cuddalore district. It is located in 58 km from Pondicherry, 60 km from Karaikal, and 240 km south of Chennai by rail...

.
Raja Raja Chola and Rajendra Chola period is said to be the golden period of Tamil Nadu, and under them the Chola empire rose to be the most powerful empire in all of South-India. With the decline of the Cholas between 1230 and 1280 CE, the Pandyas rose to prominence once again, under Maravarman Sundara Pandya
Maravarman Sundara Pandya
Maravarman Sundara Pandyan I was a Pandyan king, who ruled regions of South India between 1216–1238 CE. He laid the foundation for the Pandya revival, after being dominated by the Cholas for several centuries.-Accession:...

 and his younger brother, the celebrated Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan
Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan
Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I was king and Lord Emperor of the Pandyan dynasty, ruling regions of Tamilakkam Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I was king and Lord Emperor of the Pandyan dynasty, ruling regions of Tamilakkam Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan I was king and Lord Emperor of the Pandyan...

.

This revival was short-lived as the Pandya capital of Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 itself was sacked by Alauddin Khilji
Alauddin Khilji
Ali Gurshap Khan better known by his titular name as Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji was the second ruler of the Turko-Afghan Khilji dynasty in India.He was a well and capable ruler. He belonged to the Afghanized Turkic tribe of the Khiljis...

's troops under General Malik Kafur
Malik Kafur
Malik Kafur, General , or Chand Ram as his name was originally, was a slave who became a head general in the army of Alauddin Khilji, ruler of the Delhi sultanate from 1296 to 1316 AD. He was originally seized by Alauddin's army after the army conquered the city of Khambhat...

 in 1316. The Muslim invasion led to the establishment of the short lived Madurai Sultanate
Madurai Sultanate
The Madurai Sultanate or the Ma'bar Sultanate was a short lived independent Muslim kingdom based in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India during the 14th century CE. It lasted from 1335 until 1378...

.

Vijayanagar and Nayak period (1336–1646)


{{Main|Vijayanagara Empire}}
These Muslim invasions triggered the establishment of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

 in the Deccan. It eventually conquered the entire Tamil country (c. 1370 CE). This empire lasted for almost two centuries till the defeat of Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara is in Bellary District, northern Karnataka. It is the name of the now-ruined capital city "which was regarded as the second Rome" that surrounds modern-day Hampi, of the historic Vijayanagara empire which extended over the southern part of India....

 in the Battle of Talikota in 1565. Subsequent to this defeat, many incompetent kings succeeded to the throne of Vijayanagara with the result that its grip loosened over its feudatories among whom the Nayaks of Madurai and Tanjore were among the first to declare their independence, despite initially maintaining loose links with the Vijayanagara kingdom." As the Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

 went into decline after mid-16th century, the Nayak
Nayak (ethnic group)
-History and origin:The word nayak means a head of a regiment. This word is derived from the Sanskrit senanayaka, which means head of a regiment. The community trace there descent from the Vaghela Rajputs who converted to Islam in the 12th Century. They established a number of petty states in...

 governors, who were appointed by the Vijayanagar kingdom to administer various territories of the empire, declared their independence. The Nayaks of Madurai and Nayaks of Thanjavur were most prominent of them all in the 17th century. They reconstructed some of the oldest temples in the country such as the Meenakshi Temple.

Rule of Nawabs and Nizams (1692–1801)


{{see also|Nawab of the Carnatic|Nizam of Hyderabad|Kingdom of Mysore}}

In the early 18th century, the eastern parts of Tamil Nadu came under the dominions of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of the Carnatic
Nawab of the Carnatic
Nawabs of the Carnatic , ruled the Carnatic region of South India between about 1690 and 1801. They initially had their capital at Arcot,vellore city...

. While Wallajah
Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah
Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah was the Nawab of Arcot in India and an ally of the British East India Company. Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah was born to Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan, by his second wife, Fakhr un-nisa Begum Sahiba, was a niece of Sayyid Ali Khan Safavi ul-Mosawi of Persia, sometime Naib suba...

 was supported by the English, Chanda Shahib
Chanda Shahib
Chanda Shahib was the Nawab of the Carnatic between 1749 and 1752. His birth name is Husayn Dost Khan. He was the son-in-law of the Nawab of Carnatic Dost Ali Khan, under whom he worked as a Dewan. He came from the Nait community which had ruled the Carnatic under Aurangzeb...

 was supported by the French by the middle of the 18th century. In the late 18th century, the western parts of Tamil Nadu, came under the dominions of Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

 and later Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

, particularly with their victory in the Second Anglo-Mysore War
Second Anglo-Mysore War
The Second Anglo-Mysore War was a conflict in Mughal India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British East India Company. At the time, Mysore was a key French ally in India, and the Franco-British conflict raging on account of the American Revolutionary War helped spark Anglo-Mysorean...

.

European rule (1801–1947)


{{Main|Madras Presidency}}

Around 1609, the Dutch established a settlement in Pulicat
Pulicat
Pulicat is a historic seashore town in Thiruvallur District, of Tamil Nadu state, South India. It is about 60 km north of Chennai and 3 km from Elavur, on the barrier island of Sriharikota, which separates Pulicat Lake from the Bay of Bengal. Pulicat lake is a shallow salt water lagoon...

, while the Danish had their establishment in Tranquebar (Tharangambadi). In 1639, the British, under the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, established a settlement further south of Pulicat, in present day Chennai. In the late 18th century, the British fought and reduced the French dominions in India
French India
French India is a general name for the former French possessions in India These included Pondichéry , Karikal and Yanaon on the Coromandel Coast, Mahé on the Malabar Coast, and Chandannagar in Bengal...

 to Pondicherry. Nizams of Hyderabad and the Nawabs of the Carnatic bestowed tax revenue collection rights on the East India Company for defeating the Kingdom of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

. After winning the Polygar war
Polygar War
Polygar War or Palayakarar Wars refers to the wars fought between the Polygars of former Madurai Kingdom in Tamil Nadu, India and the British East India Company forces between March 1799 to May 1802. The British finally won after carrying out long and difficult protracted jungle campaigns against...

s, the East India Company consolidated most of southern India into the Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

 coterminous with the dominions of Nizam of Hyderabad. Pudukkottai
Pudukkottai
Pudukkottai is a town and a municipality in Pudukkottai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Pudukkottai District was carved out of Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur districts in January 1974.It is the administrative headquarters of Pudukkottai District....

 remained as a princely state
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...

.

Tamil Nadu in independent India (1947 -)


When India became independent in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras State
Madras State
Madras State was the name by which the Indian districts in Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Northern Kerala, Bellary and Dakshina Kannada were collectively known as from 1950 to 1953....

, comprising present day Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh up to Ganjam district in Orissa, South Canara district Karnataka, and parts of Kerala. The state was subsequently split up along linguistic lines. In 1969, Madras State was renamed Tamil Nadu, meaning Tamil country.

Geography




Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130058 square kilometres (50,215.7 sq mi), and is the eleventh largest state in India. The bordering states are Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 to the west, Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 to the northwest and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

 to the north. To the east is the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 and the union territory of Pondicherry. The southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula is located in Tamil Nadu. At this point is the town of Kanyakumari which is the meeting point of the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean.

The western, southern and the north-western parts are hilly and rich in vegetation. The Western Ghats
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

 and the Eastern Ghats
Eastern Ghats
The Eastern Ghats or Eastern Ghauts are a discontinuous range of mountains along India's eastern coast. The Eastern Ghats run from West Bengal state in the north, through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka. They are eroded and cut through by the...

 and they both meet at the Nilgiri hills. The Western Ghats dominate the entire western border with Kerala, effectively blocking much of the rain bearing clouds of the South West Monsoon from entering the state. The eastern parts are fertile coastal plains and the northern parts are a mix of hills and plains. The central and the south central regions are arid plains and receive less rainfall than the other regions.

Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 910 kilometres (565.4 mi) which is the country’s third longest coastline. Tamil Nadu's coastline bore the brunt of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami when it hit India, which caused 7,793 direct deaths in the state. Tamil Nadu falls mostly in a region of low seismic hazard with the exception of the western border areas that lie in a low to moderate hazard zone; as per the 2002 Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) map, Tamil Nadu falls in Zones II & III. Historically, parts of this region have experienced seismic activity in the M5.0 range.

Climate



Tamil Nadu is heavily dependent on monsoon rains, and thereby is prone to droughts when the monsoons fail. The climate of the state ranges from dry sub-humid to semi-arid. The state has three distinct periods of rainfall:
  • advancing monsoon period, South West monsoon
    Monsoon
    Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

     from June to September, with strong southwest winds;
  • North East monsoon from October to December, with dominant northeast winds;
  • dry season from January to May.


The normal annual rainfall of the state is about 945 mm (37.2 in) of which 48% is through the North East monsoon, and 32% through the South West monsoon. Since the state is entirely dependent on rains for recharging its water resources, monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe drought.

Tamil Nadu is classified into seven agro-climatic zones: north-east, north-west, west, southern, high rainfall, high altitude hilly, and Cauvery Delta (the most fertile agricultural zone). The table below shows the maximum and minimum temperatures that the state experiences in the plains and hills.
Plains Hills
Max. 43 °C (109.4 °F) 32.3 °C (90.1 °F)
Min. 13.1 °C (55.6 °F) 3 °C (37.4 °F)

Governance and administration


{{Main|Government of Tamil Nadu|Legislature of Tamil Nadu}}

{{Tamil Nadu symbols}}
The Governor is the Constitutional head of the state while the Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

 is the head of the government and the head of the council of ministers. The Chief Justice
Chief Justice
The Chief Justice in many countries is the name for the presiding member of a Supreme Court in Commonwealth or other countries with an Anglo-Saxon justice system based on English common law, such as the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Court of Final Appeal of...

 of the Madras High Court
Madras High Court
The Madras High Court is a senior court located at Chennai , in India. The court buildings, which are believed to be the second largest judicial complex in the world, are located near the beach, in one of the city's major business districts....

 is the head of the judiciary. The present Governor, Chief Minister and the Chief Justice are Konijeti Rosaiah
Konijeti Rosaiah
Konijeti Rosaiah is the current Governor of Tamil Nadu and a former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. He was previously an MLC, MLA & MP of the Indian National Congress numerous times and has handled many ministerial posts over his long political career spanning over half a century...

, J. Jayalalithaa and M. Y. Eqbal respectively. Administratively the state is divided into 32 districts. It has 10 city corporations
Municipal Corporations of Tamil Nadu
Municipal corporations of Tamil Nadu . There are 10 municipal corporations in Tamil Nadu-List of municipal corporations:-List of Corporations based on Administration:-See also:* Municipal Corporations of India...

, 125 municipalities, 529 town panchayats and 12,524 village panchayats. Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

 (formerly known as Madras) is the state capital. It is the fourth largest city in India and is also one of the eight Metropolitan cities of India. The state comprises 39 Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

 constituencies and 234 Legislative Assembly constituencies,

Tamil Nadu had a bicameral legislature
Bicameralism
In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

 until 1986, when it was replaced with a unicameral legislature
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

, like most other states in India. The term length of the government is 5 years, as is elsewhere in India. The present government run by the ADMK led alliance came to power in 2011 and consists of a council of 33 ministers, headed by the Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha. The Tamil Nadu legislative assembly is housed at the Fort St. George in Chennai. The state had come under the President's rule
President's rule
President's rule is the term used in India when a state legislature is dissolved or suspended and the state is placed under direct federal rule...

 rule on four occasions – first from 1976 to 1977, next for a short period in 1980, then from 1988 to 1989 and the latest in 1991.

The local administration is divided into revenue administration and developmental administration. Revenue Divisions of Tamil Nadu provides the Revenue divisions and Taluks of Tamil Nadu. These administrative units are classified based on the district. Each of the 32 districts in Tamil Nadu is divided into divisions, which are further divided to Taluks. Each of these Taluks have a list of revenue villages under them. Tahsildar is the head of these Taluks. Developmental administration, in contrast, is carried out by Panchayat Unions (called blocks) in rural areas. These panchayat unions have a set of panchayat villages under them. In urban areas, the governance is done by municipal corporations
Municipal Corporations of Tamil Nadu
Municipal corporations of Tamil Nadu . There are 10 municipal corporations in Tamil Nadu-List of municipal corporations:-List of Corporations based on Administration:-See also:* Municipal Corporations of India...

, municipalities or town panchayats based on the size of the town. Tamil Nadu has 10 municipal corporations: Chennai
Chennai Corporation
Chennai Corporation , formerly known as Madras Corporation, is the civic body that governs the city of Chennai , India. The Chennai Corporation is the oldest municipal body of the Commonwealth of Nations outside the United Kingdom and the oldest corporation in India...

, Madurai
Madurai Municipal Corporation
Madurai Municipal Corporation is the civic body which administers the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body. The legislative body is headed by the city mayor while the executive body is headed by a Chief Commissioner.- History :The municipality of...

, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli
Tiruchirappalli Municipal Corporation
Tiruchirappalli Municipal Corporation is the municipal corporation which looks after the city administration of Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body...

, Salem
Salem Municipal Corporation
Salem City Municipal Corporation is a civic body that governs Salem city, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body.The legislative body is headed by the city mayor while the executive body is headed by a Chief Commissioner....

, Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation
Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation ) is the civic body which administers the city of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, India. It consists of a legislative and an executive body...

, Erode
Erode Municipal Corporation
Erode Municipal Corporation ) is a civic administrative body that governs the City of Erode, India. The Corporation consists of a legislative boby, headed by the City Mayor and an executive body headed by the Corporation Commissioner...

, Tirupur
Tiruppur Municipal Corporation
The City Municipal Corporation of Tiruppur or Tiruppur Municipal Corporation ) is a civic body that governs Tiruppur city, India. This corporation consist of 52 wards and is headed by a Mayor who presides over a Deputy Mayor and 50 councillors who represent eachwards in the city....

, Vellore
Vellore Municipal Corporation
The City Municipal Corporation of Vellore or Vellore Municipal Corporation . is a civic body that governs Vellore city, India. This corporation consist of 60 wards and is headed by a Mayor who presides over a Deputy Mayor and 60 councillors who represent each wards in the city....

 and Thoothukudi
Thoothukudi Municipal Corporation
The City Municipal Corporation of Thoothukudi or Thoothukudi Municipal Corporation . is a civic body that governs Thoothukudi city, India. This corporation consist of 51 wards and is headed by a Mayor who presides over a Deputy Mayor and 49 councillors who represent each wards in the...

.

Tamil Nadu has been a pioneering state of E-Governance
E-Governance
Several dimension and related factors influence the definition of eGovernance. The word “electronic” in the term e-Governance implies technology driven governance...

 initiatives in India. A large part of the government records like land ownership records are digitised and all major offices of the state government like Urban Local Bodies — all the Corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s and Municipal Office activities — revenue collection, land registration offices, and transport offices have been computerised. Tamil Nadu is one of the states where law and order has been maintained largely successfully. The Tamil Nadu Police
Tamil Nadu Police
The Tamil Nadu Police Force is the law enforcing agency / department of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is over 150 years old and is the fifth largest state police force in India. Tamil Nadu has a Police population ratio of 1 : 632.-Administration:...

 Force is over 140 years old. It is the fifth largest state police force in India and has the largest strength of women police personnel in the country. As of 2003, the state had a total police population ratio of 1:668, higher than the national average of 1:717. The current Director General of Police (law and order) of Tamil Nadu is K. Ramanujan.

Districts



{{Main|Districts of Tamil Nadu}}
The 32 districts of Tamil Nadu are listed below with the numbers corresponding to those in the image at right.
  1. Ariyalur district
    Ariyalur district
    Ariyalur is an administrative district in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. The district headquarters are located at Ariyalur...

  2. Chennai district
    Chennai district
    The Chennai District is a district in the state of Tamil nadu, in India. It is the smallest of all the districts in the state, but has the highest population. The district is a city district which means that it does not have a district headquarters. Most of the city region of Chennai comes under...

  3. Coimbatore district
    Coimbatore District
    Coimbatore District is one of the more affluent and industrially advanced districts of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Coimbatore is known as the Manchester of South India. It one of the most industrialized towns of Tamil Nadu. It has the highest GDP among the districts of Tamil Nadu, even ahead...

  4. Cuddalore district
    Cuddalore District
    Cuddalore District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Cuddalore is the district headquarters. For the first time, urn burial grave goods were found in the village of Marungur in the district, carrying inscriptions in Tamil Brahmi from the 1st century...

  5. Dharmapuri district
  6. Dindigul district
    Dindigul District
    Dindigul District is an administrative region in the south of Tamil Nadu, India. The district was carved out of Madurai District in the year 1985...

  7. Erode district
    Erode District
    Erode District is a western district of the state of Tamil Nadu, India, with Erode as its headquarters. Until the year 1996, Erode district was called as Periyar District....

  8. Kanchipuram district
    Kanchipuram district
    Kanchipuram district is a district in the northeast of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is bounded in the west by Vellore and Thiruvannamalai districts, in the north by Thiruvallur District and Chennai District, in the south by Viluppuram District and in the east by the Bay of Bengal. It lies...

  9. Kanyakumari district
    Kanyakumari District
    Kanyakumari District ) is a district of Tamil Nadu state, India and is the southernmost land area of mainland India.The district is the second most urbanised district in Tamilnadu, next only to Chennai and ahead of Coimbatore. It also has the highest literacy and education levels in the...

  10. Karur district
    Karur District
    Karur District is located center along the Kaveri & Amaravati rivers in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The main town in Karur District is the city of Karur, which is also the district headquarter. It had a population of 935,686 as of 2001. It is 33.27% urbanized as per Census 2001...

  11. Krishnagiri district
    Krishnagiri District
    Krishnagiri is a district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The municipal town of Krishnagiri is the district headquarters. In Tamil Nadu, E-Governance was first introduced at Krishnagiri district under the National e-Governance Project in Revenue, Social Welfare departments on a pilot basis...

  12. Madurai district
    Madurai District
    Madurai district is one of the 32 districts of the state of Tamil Nadu, in southeastern India. The city of Madurai serves as the district headquarters. It houses the world famous Sri Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple and is situated on the banks of river Vaigai. Thiruparankundram is one of the major...

  13. Nagapattinam district
  14. Namakkal district
    Namakkal District
    Namakkal District is an administrative district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The district was bifurcated from Salem District with Namakkal town as Head Quarters on 25-07-1996 and started to function independently from 01-01-1997...

  15. The Nilgiris district
    The Nilgiris District
    The Nilgiris District is in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Nilgiri is also the name given to a range of mountains spread across the states of Tamilnadu as well as Karnataka and Kerala. The Nilgiri Hills are part of a larger mountain chain known as the Western Ghats...

  16. Perambalur district


  1. Pudukkottai district
    Pudukkottai District
    Pudukkottai District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Pudukkottai is the district headquarters...


  2. Ramanathapuram district
    Ramanathapuram District
    Ramanathapuram District is an administrative district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Ramanathapuram is the district headquarters. Ramanthapuram District has an area of 4123 km²...


  3. Salem district
    Salem District
    Salem District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Salem is the district headquarters. Other major towns in the district are Mettur, Omalur and Attur...


  4. Sivaganga district
    Sivaganga District
    Sivaganga District is an administrative district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Sivaganga is the district headquarters. It is bounded by Pudukkottai district on the Northeast, Tiruchirapalli district on the North, Ramanathapuram district on South East, Virudhunagar district...


  5. Thanjavur district
    Thanjavur District
    Thanjavur District is one of the 32 districts of the state of Tamil Nadu, in southeastern India. Its headquarters is Thanjavur.-Geography:...


  6. Theni district
    Theni District
    Theni District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in South India. The city of Theni is the district headquarters. The district is divided into two natural divisions: The hilly areas constituted by parts of the three taluks Periyakulam, Uthamapalayam and Andipatti with thick vegetation and...


  7. Thoothukudi district
    Thoothukudi District
    Thoothukudi District, also known as Tuticorin District, is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. Thoothukudi is the district headquarters. It is also known for Pearl cultivation with abundance of pearls found in the seas of Thoothukudi...


  8. Tiruchirapalli district
  9. Tirunelveli district
    Tirunelveli District
    Tirunelveli District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Tirunelveli is the district headquarters. A unique feature of this district is that it encompasses all five geographical traditions of Tamil Literature; kurinji , mullai , marudham , neithal and palai...


  10. Thirupur district
  11. Thiruvallur district
  12. Thiruvannamalai district
  13. Thiruvarur district
  14. Vellore district
    Vellore District
    Vellore district is one of the 32 districts in the Tamil Nadu state of India. Vellore City is the headquarters of this district. It had a population of 3,477,317 as of 2001. It is 37.62% urbanised...


  15. Viluppuram district
    Viluppuram District
    Villupuram is one of the thirty districts which make up Tamil Nadu state situated on the southern tip of India. The district headquarters is located at Villupuram. Villupuram district came into existence on 30 September 1993 when it was created out of South Arcot district...


  16. Virudhunagar district
    Virudhunagar District
    Virudhunagar District is an administrative district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. Virudhunagar is the district headquarters. Virudhunagar district was formed from parts of Tirunelveli and Madurai districts....


Politics


{{Main|Elections in Tamil Nadu|Politics of Tamil Nadu|Dravidian parties}}
Political
Alliance
Assembly
(2011)
Lok Sabha
Indian general election in Tamil Nadu, 2009
The Indian general election, 2009 polls in Tamil Nadu was held for 39 seats in the state. There was a radical change in the alliances in this election compared to the last election, reminiscent of the 1999 election in Tamil Nadu...


(2009)
AIADMK+
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. The party was founded by M. G. Ramachandran and is now headed by J. Jayalalithaa. The party headquarters is in Royapettah, Chennai, and was gifted to the party in 1986 by its...

203 12
DMK+
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. It is a Dravidian party founded by C. N. Annadurai as a breakaway faction from the Dravidar Kazhagam headed by Periyar...

31 27
Independent/Other 0 0
Source: Election Commission of India.



Prior to Indian independence Tamil Nadu was under British colonial rule as part of the Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

. The main party in Tamil Nadu at that time was the Congress Party. Regional parties have dominated state politics since 1916. One of the earliest regional parties, the South Indian Welfare Association, a forerunner to Dravidian parties
Dravidian parties
Dravidian parties include an array of regional political parties in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, which trace their origins and ideologies either directly or indirectly to the Dravidian movement of Periyar E. V...

 in Tamil Nadu, was started in 1916. The party was called after its English organ, Justice Party
Justice Party (India)
The Justice Party , officially known as South Indian Liberal Federation, was a political party in the Madras Presidency of British India. The party was established in 1917 by T. M. Nair and Theagaroya Chetty as a result of a series of non-Brahmin conferences and meetings in the presidency...

, by it opponents. Later, South Indian Liberal Federation was adopted as its official name. The reason for victory of the Justice Party in elections was the non-participation of the Congress Party, demanding complete independence of India. Freedom movement saw great leaders like K. Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj
Kumarasami Kamaraj better known as K. Kamaraj was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975...

, Subramanya Bharathi (a poet who inspired the freedom movement by his poetic skills), Subramania Siva,V. O. Chidambaram Pillai(Industrialist, who managed ships under the free India banner), Tiruppur Kumaran
Tiruppur Kumaran
Tiruppur Kumaran , was an Indian revolutionary who participated in the Indian independence movement. Kumaran was born in Chennimalai, a small town in the Erode District in Tamil Nadu region of south India...

, Rajagopalachariar (Rajaji) and Sathyamurthi.

Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
Erode Venkata Ramasamy , affectionately called by his followers as Periyar , Thanthai Periyar or E. V...

 popularly known as Periyar, believed in agitational politics and took the Justice Party away from its original path. The Justice Party which had a moribund existence under E.V.Ramaswamy. He renamed the party Dravidar Kazhagam
Dravidar Kazhagam
Dravidar Kazhagam or Dravida Kazhagam was the first fully Dravidian party in India. It was a radical party formed by E. V. Ramaswamy, also called Thanthai Periyar of erstwhile Madras Presidency...

 (DK for short) in 1944. DK was a non-political party which demanded the establishment of an independent state called Dravida Nadu. However, due to the differences between its two leaders EVR and C.N. Annadurai
Annadurai
Annadurai can refer to:* C. N. Annadurai, an Indian politician* Mylswamy Annadurai, an Indian scientist...

, the party was split. Annadurai left the party to form the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. It is a Dravidian party founded by C. N. Annadurai as a breakaway faction from the Dravidar Kazhagam headed by Periyar...

 (DMK). The DMK decided to enter politics in 1956.


In the 19th century, western scholars discovered that the Dravidian languages
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

  dominating South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 formed a different linguistic group than the Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

  predominant in North India
North India
North India, known natively as Uttar Bhārat or Shumālī Hindustān , is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage...

. They also classified Indians into distinct Aryan and Dravidian races
Dravidian peoples
Dravidian peoples is a term used to refer to the diverse groups of people who natively speak languages belonging to the Dravidian language family. Populations of speakers of around 220 million are found mostly in Southern India. Other Dravidian people are found in parts of central India, Sri Lanka,...

. It was proposed that the generally darker-skinned Dravidians constituted a distinct race. This concept has affected thinking in India about racial and regional differences and had an impact on aspects of Tamil nationalism
Tamil nationalism
Tamil nationalism in India is an aspiration by some Tamils to establish, at minimum, self determination or at maximum secession from India to establish an Independent Tamil State of which would consist of today's Tamil nadu, Puducherry and Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka...

, which has appropriated the claim that Dravidians are the earliest inhabitants of India, and the Aryan population were oppressive interlopers from whom Dravidians should liberate themselves.

Re-organisation of Indian states according to linguistic and ethnic basis has moderated Tamil nationalism, especially the demand for separation from the Indian Union. The Anti-Hindi agitations
Anti-Hindi agitations
The Anti-Hindi agitations of Tamil Nadu are a series of agitations that happened in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu during both pre- and post-Independence periods...

 in mid-1960s made the DMK more popular and a more powerful political force in the state. The DMK routed the Congress Party
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 in the 1967 elections and took control of the state government, ending Congress' stronghold in Tamil Nadu. C.N. Annadurai became the DMK's first Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

.

Muthuvel Karunanidhi took over as Chief Minister and party leader after Annadurai's death in 1969. Karunanidhi's leadership was soon challenged by M.G. Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR. In 1972, he split from DMK and formed the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) and later renamed the party as All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam. He was the Chief Minister of the state from 1977 until his death in 1987. After the death of MGR AIADMK was defeated in 1989 assembly polls because of the Split of the party into two factions headed by Janaki (Wife of MGR) and Jayalalithaa. Later on J. Jayalalithaa
J. Jayalalithaa
Jayalalithaa Jayaram ; born 24 February 1948) commonly referred to as J. Jayalalitha, is the Chief Minister of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. She is the incumbent general secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam , a Dravidian party. She is called Amma and Puratchi Thalaivi by her...

 took control of the party. She was elected as the General Secretary of the unified AIADMK. There have been several splits in both the DMK and the AIADMK, but since 1967 one of those two parties has held power in the state.

Demographics


{{Main|Demographics of Tamil Nadu}}
{{IndiaCensusPop
| title= Population Growth
| 1951= 30119000
| 1961= 33687000
| 1971= 41199000
| 1981= 48408000
| 1991= 55859000
| 2001= 62406000
| 2011= 72138958
| estimate=
| estyear=
| estref=
| footnote=Source:Census of India
}}
{{bar box
|width=250px
|barwidth=100px
|title=Religions in Tamil Nadu
|titlebar=#ddd
|left1=Religion
|right1=Percent
|float=left
|bars=
{{bar percent|Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

|#FF8000|88.34}}
{{bar percent|Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

|#0080FF|6.08}}
{{bar percent|Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

|#009000|5.57}}
{{bar percent|Others|#FFFF00|0.26}}
}}
Tamil Nadu is the seventh most populous state in India with a population of 72,138,958 (5.96% of India's population; census 2011 fig.). It is the seventh most densely populated state in India with a population density of 555 persons per square kilometre as of 2011, having increased from 429 in 1991, significantly higher than the Indian average of 382 persons per square kilometre. 44% of the state's population live in urban areas, the highest among large states in India.
Tamil Nadu's population grew by 15.6% between 2001 and 2011, the sixth lowest rate for that period amongst populous states (states whose population exceeded 20 million in 2011). Although its decadal rate of population growth has declined since 1971, the population growth during the last decade (2001–2011) has increased. The state has registered the lowest fertiliy rate
Indian states ranking by fertility rate
This is a list of the States of India ranked in order of number of children born for each woman. Based on this study, seven Indian states including Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab and Sikkim do not contribute anymore to the population explosion of India.In fact,...

 along with Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

 and Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 in India in year 2005–06 with 1.8 children born for each woman, lower than required for population sustainability.

Hinduism is followed by the majority of the people. The distribution of population based on their faith, as of the 2001 census, is shown in the bar graph above. Hinduism is the dominant religion has a higher percentage of adherents in Tamil Nadu (88%) when compared to other states. Christianity, though a minority, has the highest population in absolute numbers when compared to other states. Jains make up 0.13% of the population. Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes comprise 19% and 1% of the population respectively. Tamil is the official and the principal spoken language of the state. As of the 2001 Census, Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 is spoken by 89.00% of the population followed by Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

 at 5.66%, Kannada at 2.0%, Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

 at 1.51% and Malayalam at 0.59%.

Education and social development


{{Main|Education in Tamil Nadu}}

Tamil Nadu is one of the most literate states in India. Tamil Nadu has performed reasonably well in terms of literacy growth
Literacy in India
Literacy in India is key for socio-economic progress, and the Indian literacy rate grew to 74.04% in 2011 from 12% at the end of British rule in 1947. Although this was a greater than sixfold improvement, the level is well below the world average literacy rate of 84%, and India currently has the...

 during the decade 2001–2011. The state's literacy rate increased from 73.47% in 2001 to 80.3% in 2011 which is above the national average. A survey conducted by the Industry body Assocham ranks Tamil Nadu top among Indian states with about 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in primary and upper primary education. One of the basic limitations for improvement in education in the state is the rate of absence of teachers in public schools, which at 21.4% is significant. The analysis of primary school education in the state by Pratham
Pratham
Pratham is a non-governmental organisation that works towards the provision of quality education to the underprivileged children in India. Established in Mumbai in 1994 to provide pre-school education to children in slums, it now has activities in 21 states of India and has supporting chapters in...

 shows a low drop-off rate but poor quality of state education compared to other states.

Tamil Nadu has 37 universities, 455 engineering colleges, 449 Polytechnic Colleges and 566 arts and science colleges, 34335 elementary schools, 5167 high schools, 5054 higher secondary schools and 5000 hospitals. Some of the notable educational institutes present in Tamil Nadu are University of Madras
University of Madras
The University of Madras is a public research university in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the three oldest universities in India...

, IIT Madras, NIT Tiruchi, IIM Tiruchirappalli, College of Engineering, Guindy
College of Engineering, Guindy
College of Engineering, Guindy in Chennai, India, is India's oldest engineering and technical institution, having been established in 1794. Today it is one of the four constituent colleges of Anna University, Chennai....

, PSG College of Technology
PSG College of Technology
PSG College of Technology is an autonomous, government aided institution, affiliated to Anna University. The college offers a total of 48 full time and part time programs in Science, Engineering and Management at Undergraduate & Postgraduate levels. The College was founded in 1951 by...

, Coimbatore Institute of Technology
Coimbatore Institute of Technology
The Coimbatore Institute of Technology is one of the DOTE engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu located at Coimbatore, India. It was founded in the year 1956 by V.Rangaswamy Naidu Educational Trust with the aim of disseminating knowledge in the fields of science, engineering and technology.It is a...

, Madras Christian College
Madras Christian College
The Madras Christian College, commonly known as MCC, is a liberal arts and sciences college in Madras , India. Founded in 1837, MCC is one of Asia's oldest extant colleges. Currently, the college is affiliated to the University of Madras, but functions as an autonomous institution from its campus...

, Christian Medical College
Christian Medical College & Hospital
Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore is one of the largest medical centres in India. This century-old Christian institution was founded by Ida S...

, Vellore Institute of Technology
Vellore Institute of Technology
VIT University, commonly called Vellore Institute of Technology or VIT, is located in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India. VIT has nine schools.-Academic organisation:...

, Thiagarajar College of Engineering
Thiagarajar College of Engineering
Thiagarajar College of Engineering , Madurai, is an ISO 9001:2008 certified Autonomous institution located in Madurai, Tamilnadu, India. It is affiliated to Anna University, Chennai. It is one of the several educational and philanthropic institutions founded by Philanthropist and Industrialist...

, Bharathidasan Institute of Management
Bharathidasan Institute of Management
Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli or BIM-Trichy is a business school, established in 1984 in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India...

, Madras Medical College
Madras Medical College
The Madras Medical College is an educational institution located in Chennai, India. It was established on February 2, 1835. It is the oldest medical college in India, along with the Medical College Kolkata.-History:...

, Loyola College
Loyola College, Chennai
Loyola College is a Jesuit institution in Chennai, India. The college admits undergraduates and post-graduates and offers degrees in the liberal arts, sciences and commerce. It is an autonomous institution affiliated with the University of Madras.-History:...

, Ethiraj College for Women
Ethiraj College for Women
Ethiraj College for Women is a degree-granting college for women in Chennai, India. It was founded in 1948 by V. L. Ethiraj.-Founder:In 1948 the philanthropy of a single individual, Thiru. V. L. Ethiraj, financed the college. Ethiraj graduated from Presidency College, Chennai...

 and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University came into being on June 1, 1971. However, it had its genesis from establishment of an agricultural school at Saidapet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, in 1868 and was later relocated at Marudamalai Road in Coimbatore....

, Madurai Medical College
Madurai Medical College
Madurai Medical College is a medical school attached to the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. The hospital provides tertiary care to more than twenty million people in the southern part of Tamil Nadu. The hospital was established in 1842 and became a teaching hospital in 1954...

. The Indian Institute of Management is scheduled to open in Trichy by 2009–2010. Tamil Nadu produces the highest number of engineering graduates in India (around 1,75,000) every year.

India has a human development index calculated as 0.619, while the corresponding figure for Tamil Nadu is 0.736, placing it among the top states in the country. The life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 at birth for males is 65.2 years and for females it is 67.6 years. However, it has a high level of poverty especially in the rural areas. As of 2004–2005, the poverty line was set at {{INR}} 351.86/month for rural areas and {{INR}} 547.42/month for urban areas. Poverty in the state dropped from 51.7% in 1983 to 21.1% in 2001 For the period 2004–2005, the Trend in Incidence of Poverty in the state was 22.5% compared with the national figure of 27.5%. The World Bank is currently assisting the state in reducing poverty High drop-out and low completion of secondary schools continue to hinder the quality of training in the population. Other problems include class, gender, inter-district and urban-rural disparities. Based on URP – Consumption for the period 2004–2005, percentage of the state's population Below Poverty Line
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 was 27.5%. The Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative ranks Tamil Nadu to have a Multidimensional Poverty Index
Multidimensional Poverty Index
The Multidimensional Poverty Index ' was developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme.-History:...

 of 0.141, which is in the level of Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 among the developing countries. Corruption is a major problem in the state with Transparency International ranking it the second most corrupt among the states of India.

The Dravidian movement
Self-Respect Movement
The Self-Respect Movement was founded in 1925 by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy in Tamil Nadu, India. The movement has the aim of achieving a society where backward castes have equal human rights, and encouraging backward castes to have self-respect in the context of a caste based society that...

, which championed the causes of educating tamils and eradicating superstitions, began in Tamil Nadu. The movement was committed to social justice which led to the expansion of reservations
Reservation in India
Reservation in India is a form of affirmative action designed to improve the well being of socially backward and underrepresented communities of citizens in India. There are laws in place, wherein a certain percentage of total available slots in Jobs and Education are set aside for people from...

 for the deprived communities. Tamil Nadu now has 69% reservation in educational institutions, the highest among all Indian states.

The Mid-day Meal Scheme program in Tamil Nadu, initiated by Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj
Kumarasami Kamaraj better known as K. Kamaraj was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975...

, was expanded considerably during the rule of the AIADMK in 1983, although the state is among the 12 states in India that have alarming level of hunger according to the 2008 Global Hunger Index.
``

Culture



{{Main|Tamil people|Temples of Tamil Nadu|Tamil literature}}

Tamil Nadu has a long tradition of venerable culture. Tamil Nadu is known for its rich tradition of literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, music and dance which continue to flourish today. Unique cultural features like Bharatanatyam (dance), Tanjore painting
Tanjore painting
Tanjore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting native to the town of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India. The art form dates back to about 1600 AD, a period when the Nayakas of Tanjavur encouraged art—chiefly, classical dance and music—as well as literature, both in Telugu...

, and Tamil architecture were developed and continue to be practised in Tamil Nadu.

Language and literature


Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 is the only official language of Tamil Nadu. English is also in common usage as an official language of India. When India adopted national standards Tamil was the very first language to be recognized as a classical language of India. The Tamil people regard their language a very important part of their cultural identity.

Most early Tamil literary works are in verse form, with prose not becoming more common until later periods. Throughout its history, Tamil literature has sought to inform and inspire, educate and entertain.
முகத்தான் அமர்ந்துஇனிது நோக்கி அகத்தானாம்

இன்சொ லினிதே அறம் -(திருக்குறள் - 93)
'Calm face, sweet look, kind words from heart

Such is the gracious virtue's part'

(Tirukkural
Tirukkuṛaḷ
Tirukkuṛaḷ , sometimes spelt 'Thirukkural, is a classic of couplets or Kurals or aphorisms celebrated by Tamils. It was authored by Thiruvalluvar, a poet who is said to have lived anytime between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD. Although the exact period of its composition is still disputed,...

 – 93)

Notable examples of Tamil poetry include the Tirukkural
Tirukkuṛaḷ
Tirukkuṛaḷ , sometimes spelt 'Thirukkural, is a classic of couplets or Kurals or aphorisms celebrated by Tamils. It was authored by Thiruvalluvar, a poet who is said to have lived anytime between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD. Although the exact period of its composition is still disputed,...

, written during the Tamil Sangams period. The poem encompasses a universal outlook, as the author, Tiruvalluvar
Tiruvalluvar
Thiruvalluvar , or Tiruvalluvar, was a celebrated Tamil poet whose contribution to Tamil literature is the Thirukkural, a work on ethics. Thiruvalluvar is thought to have lived sometime between the 2nd century BC and the 8th century AD. This estimate is based on linguistic analysis of his writings,...

, does not mention his religion, land, or the audience for his work. He is often portrayed as a holy saint of Tamil Nadu today. Ancient Tamil literature is predominantly secular{{Citation needed|date=May 2011}} and deals with everyday life in the Tamil Context.

The first Tamil printing press was established at Tarangambadi by the Danish missionaries. During the Indian freedom struggle
Indian independence movement
The term Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia...

, many Tamil poets and writers sought to provoke national spirit, social equity and secularist thoughts among the common man, notably Subramanya Bharathy
Subramanya Bharathy
Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar was a Tamil poet from Tamil Nadu, India, an independence fighter and iconoclastic reformer. Known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar , he is celebrated as one of South India's greatest poets...

 and Bharathidasan
Bharathidasan
Bharathidasan was a twentieth century Tamil poet and rationalist whose literary works handled mostly socio-political issues. His writings served as a catalyst for the growth of the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu...

. Even today, Tamil Nadu is home to creative writers like Vairamuthu
Vairamuthu
Vairamuthu Ramaswamy Thevar is an award-winning Tamil poet and lyricist.Debuting in the film Nizhalgal with the lyrics for the song "Ponmalai Pozhudhu", he has now about 5800 songs to his credit as of January 2009. His partnership with the composers Ilaiyaraaja, and later A. R...

, Jayakanthan
Jayakanthan
- Biography:Jayakanthan was born in 1934 in a family of agriculturists in Cuddalore, in the South Arcot district of Tamil Nadu. He quit school after completing grade 3 education. He was then considered a problematic child. He was close to his mother and grandfather. He had a rocky relationship with...

,and Indira Parthasarathy
Indira Parthasarathy
Indira Parthasarathy is the pen name of R. Parthasarathy. Born on July 10, 1930 in Chennai in a traditional Iyengar family...

.

Tamil is spoken by 89.43% of the population. Minority languages include Telugu (5.65%), Kannada (1.68%), Urdu (1.51%), Malayalam (0.89%), Gujarati / Saurashtri (0.32%), Hindi (0.30%) and Marathi (0.10%).

Religions



Population by religion, 2001
Religious group Population (million) %
Hindu 55.0 88.1
Christian 3.79 6.1
Muslim 3.47 5.6
Total 62.4 100


About 88% of the population identifies as Hindu and Tamil Nadu is the home of the core schools of medieval and modern Hinduism as well as several non-mainstream Hindu movements. These include Saiva Siddhanta, Ramanuja's
Ramanuja
Ramanuja ; traditionally 1017–1137, also known as Ramanujacharya, Ethirajar , Emperumannar, Lakshmana Muni, was a theologian, philosopher, and scriptural exegete...

 Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita Vedanta is a sub-school of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy, the other major sub-schools of Vedānta being Advaita, Dvaita, and Achintya-Bheda-Abheda. VishishtAdvaita is a non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy...

, Alvars
Alvars
The alwar or azhwars were Tamil poet saints of south India who lived between the sixth and ninth centuries A.D. and espoused ‘emotional devotion’ or bhakti to Visnu-Krishna in their songs of longing, ecstasy and service. Sri Vaishnava orthodoxy posits the number of alvars as ten, though there are...

' Sri Vaishnavism
Sri Sampradaya
Sri Sampradaya or Sri Vaishnavism is a Vaishnava sect within Hinduism. Its origin and codification is generally traced back to Sri, Mahalakshmi eternal consort of Lord Vishnu. Around the 10th century when a collection of the devotional hymns and songs by Alvars was organized by Sri Nathamuni, who...

, and Nayanmars Saivisim. Several important Hindu Tamil figures became important figures for Hinduism as a whole (e.g.Ramanuja
Ramanuja
Ramanuja ; traditionally 1017–1137, also known as Ramanujacharya, Ethirajar , Emperumannar, Lakshmana Muni, was a theologian, philosopher, and scriptural exegete...

.) In modern times, well known figures for Hinduism in the state include Ramana Maharishi and the Kanchi Paramacharya. Murugan
Murugan
Murugan also called Kartikeya, Skanda and Subrahmanya, is a popular Hindu deity especially among Tamil Hindus, worshipped primarily in areas with Tamil influences, especially South India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius and Reunion Island. His six most important shrines in India are the...

, Thirumal (Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

), Sivan
Sivan
Sivan is the ninth month of the civil year and the third month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a spring month of 30 days...

, Sakthi
Shakti
Shakti from Sanskrit shak - "to be able," meaning sacred force or empowerment, is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism. Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes...

 in various forms and a large number of village deities are also worshiped by Hindus in Tamil Nadu. The emblem of Government of Tamil Nadu
Government of Tamil Nadu
The Government of Tamil Nadu, headquartered at Chennai is the governing authority for the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. It is seated at the Fort St. George...

 depicts the Gopuram (Entrance Arch) of the temple at Srivilliputhur
Srivilliputhur
Srivilliputhur is a semi-urban town and a municipality in Virudhunagar district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu....

.
Christians
Christianity in Tamil Nadu
Christianity in the state of Tamil Nadu, India is believed to be 2000 years old. It possibly was introduced to Tamil Nadu by St. Thomas Didymus , one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ between 52-72 AD. But the colonial age brought a large number of Portuguese, Dutch, British and Italian Christians...

 and Muslims together form over 11% of the population. Christians are mainly concentrated in the southern districts of Kanyakumari (44% of the population, 2001), Thoothukudi (17%, 2001) and Tirunelveli (11%,2001). St. Thomas Mount
St. Thomas Mount
St. Thomas Mount, or Parangimalai is a small hillock located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Located near the neighbourhood of Guindy and very close to Chennai International Airport, St. Thomas Mount is associated with St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ, who is believed to have been martyred here...

 in Chennai, the place where St. Thomas
Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in . He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman...

, one of the disciples of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, was believed to have been martyred, is an important pilgrimage site for Indian Christians. The Santhome Basilica, widely believed by Christians in India to have been built atop the tomb of St. Thomas, and the Vailankanni
Vailankanni
Velankanni , officially spelled as Vailankanni , also spelled as "Velanganni" , is a Parish under Tanjore Roman Catholic Diocese and a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu...

 Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health
The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is located at the small town of Velankanni in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. The Roman Catholic Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health...

 are churches revered by Christians in India. The Church of South India
Church of South India
The Church of South India is the successor of the Church of England in India. It came into being in 1947 as a union of Anglican and Protestant churches in South India. With a membership of over 3.8 million, it is India's second largest Christian church after the Roman Catholic Church in India...

 and the Pentecostal Mission Church are headquartered in Chennai.

Muslims are mainly concentrated in areas such as Adirampattinam, Kayalpatnam
Kayalpatnam
Kayalpatnam or Korkai is a town in the Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu, India. Kayal is referred to in Marco Polo's travel diaries dating to 1250 AD. Korkai or Kayal was an ancient port dating to the 1st centuries of the Christian era and was contemporaneous to the existence of Kollam, another...

, Kilakarai
Kilakarai
-About:Kilakarai, Kilakkarai or Keelakarai is a municipality in Ramanathapuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.Kilakarai is an ancient coastal town and a port, located in the southern Tamil Nadu. It was a flourishing sea port and a gateway to places as far as Madurai till the early 20th...

, Pernambut, Ambur, Vaniyambadi, Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

, Nagore, and Melapalayam, with the state capital Chennai also home to a number of Muslims. Among Muslims, 97.5% are Sunni and the rest are Shias. The Sunnis adhere to either Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 or Shafi schools of thought. Erwadi
Erwadi
Ervadi or Erwadi is a village in Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu in southern India belonging to Kadaladi Taluk and Keelakarai Town panchayat. The village is the location of the grave and shrine of Qutbus Sultan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed Badusha, the then ruler of Madinah Al Munawwara...

 in Ramanathapuram district and Nagore in Nagapattinam district are important pilgrimage sites for Muslims. Kazimar Big Mosque
Kazimar Big Mosque
Kazimar Periya Pallivasal or Kazimar Big Mosque is a famous mosque located at the heart of Madurai city, within 500 metres of the Periyar bus stand and within 1 kilometre South East of the Madurai Junction and 800 meters south west of the Meenakshi Temple...

 in Kazimar Street
Kazimar Street
Kazimar Street is an ancient street in Madurai, India, where people inhabited during 13th century AD. Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin is the one who settled here after preaching Islam in South India.99.2% population of this street are Muslims and 0.8% Hindus.The famous Kazimar periya pallivasal which is...

, Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 and Karpudaiyar masjid in Kayalpatnam are one of the earlier mosques in Tamil Nadu.

Samanars or Tamil Jains have a legacy dating back 250 BC. They made significant contributions to Tamil literature. According to the 2001 census there were 83,359 Jains in Tamil Nadu. There is a popular atheist movement in the 1940s as well.

Festivals


Pongal
Pongal
Thai Ponggal is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Indian Union Territory of Pondicherry and in Sri Lanka. Pongal coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over" or "spill over". The boiling...

, also called as Tamizhar Thirunaal (festival of Tamils) or Makara Sankranti elsewhere in India, a four-day harvest festival is one of the most widely celebrated festivals throughout Tamil Nadu. The Tamil language saying Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum — literally meaning, the birth of the month of Thai will pave way for new opportunities — is often quoted with reference to this festival. The first day, Bhogi Pongal, is celebrated by throwing away and destroying old clothes and materials by setting them on fire to mark the end of the old and emergence of the new. The second day, Surya Pongal, is the main day which falls on the first day of the tenth Tamil month Thai (14 January or 15 January in western calendar). The third day, Maattu Pongal, is meant to offer thanks to the cattle, as they provide milk and are used to plough the lands. Jallikattu
Jallikattu
Jallikattu or Eruthazhuvuthal or Manju Virattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations usually on Mattu Pongal day. This is one of the oldest living ancient sports seen in the modern era. Although it sounds similar to the Spanish running of the bulls, it is...

, a bull taming contest, marks the main event of this day. During this final day, Kaanum Pongal — the word "kaanum", means 'to view' in Tamil.

The first month in the Tamil calendar is Chitterai and the first day of this month in mid-April is celebrated as Tamil New Year. Thiruvalluvar Calendar is 31 years ahead of Gregorian Calendar, that is 2000 CE in Gregorian calendar is represented as 2031 in Thiruvalluvar Calendar. Aadi Perukku is celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month Aadi, which celebrates the rising of the water level in the river Cauvery. Apart from these major festivals, in every village and town of Tamil Nadu, the inhabitants celebrate festivals for the local gods once a year and the time varies from place to place. Most of these festivals are related to the goddess Maariyamman, the mother goddess of rain.

Other major Hindu festivals including Deepavali (Death of Narakasura), Ayudha Poojai, Saraswathi Poojai (Dasara), Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 Jayanthi and Vinayaka Chathurthi are also celebrated. Ayya Vaikunda Avataram
Ayya Vaikunda Avataram
The Ayya Vaikunda Avataram is a festival celebrated by the followers of Ayyavazhi on the 20th day of the Tamil Month of Masi, the date on which the Ayyavazhi followers believe that Lord Vaikundar arose from the sea at Thiruchendur as the son of Mummorthies to destroy the evil spirit of Kali and...

, is celebrated predominantly in the southern districts. In addition, Christmas, Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

, Easter and Bakrid are celebrated by Christians and Muslims in the state

Music


{{See also| Ancient Tamil music|Carnatic music}}

The Kings of ancient Thamizhagam created sangams for Iyal Isai Nadagam (Literature, Music and Drama). Music played a major role in sangams. Music in Tamil Nadu had different forms. In villages where farming was the primary occupation, women who worked in the fields used to sing kulavai songs. Odhuvars, Sthanikars or Kattalaiyars offer short musical programmes in the temples by singing the devotional Thevaram
Thevaram
Thevaram is a panchayat town in Theni district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.Thevaram located in the border of Kerala separated by western ghats-Demographics:...

 songs. In sharp contrast with the restrained and intellectual nature of Carnatic music
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

, Tamil folk music tends to be much more exuberant. Popular forms of Tamil folk music include the {{IAST, a form of music performed with a bow, and the {{IAST
Naattupurapaattu
Naattupurapaattu is a form of Tamil folk music.Tamil Nadu has a very ancient and rich form of folk music, some of which is disappearing due to the importance given to Carnatic music as well as the pop movie industries taking over....

, ballads that convey folklore and folk history. Some of the leading Tamil folk artists in the early 21st century are Pushpuvanam Kuppuswamy, Dr. Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan
Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan
Dr Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan is a Tamil folk singer and composer and a renowned exponent of Tamil folk art. Together with her husband Dr M Navaneethakrishnan, she has conducted several years of research and study on Tamil folk music and dances and devoted a lifetime to research, collection,...

, Chinnaponnu, Paravai muniammal etc.

Carnatic music is the classical music form of Southern India. This is one of the world's oldest & richest musical traditions. The Trinity of Carnatic music Tyagaraja
Tyagaraja
Kakarla Tyagabrahmam , colloquially known as Tyāgarājar and Tyagayya was one of the greatest composers of Carnatic music or classical South Indian music. He, along with his contemporaries Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Shastry, forms the Trinity of Carnatic music...

, Muthuswami Dikshitar
Muthuswami Dikshitar
Muthuswami Dikshitar is a South Indian poet and composer and is one of the Musical Trinity of Carnatic music...

 and Syama Sastri
Syama Sastri
Syama Sastri is one of the most renowned composers of Carnatic music. He was the eldest of the so-called Trinity of Carnatic music, Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar being the other two. A major source for his biography is a chapter in P. Sambamoorthy's book, Great Composers, 69-94...

 were from Tamil Nadu. Thyagarajar Aaradhanai (worship) takes place every year in the month of Marghazhi in Thiruvaiyaru
Thiruvaiyaru
-External links:**...

 all carnatic musicians render their obesiance to Saint Thyagarajar by singing his compositions. The composers belonging to the Tamil Trinity
Tamil Trinity
The Tamil Trinity commonly refers to the three Tamil composers of early Carnatic music. They were Muthu Thandavar , Arunachala Kavi and Marimutthu Pillai , and lived five decades before the Tiruvarur Trinity or Trinity of Carnatic Music...

, namely Muthu Thandavar
Muthu Thandavar
Muthu Thandavar was composer of Carnatic music. He was an early architect of the present day Carnatic kriti format, which consists of the pallavi , anupallavi and charanam. He lived in the town of Sirkazhi in Tamil Nadu. His contributions to Carnatic music have been largely forgotten and not many...

 (?1560 – ?1640 CE), Arunachala Kavi
Arunachala Kavi
Arunachala Kavi was a Tamil poet and a composer of Carnatic music. He was born in Tillaiyadi in Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu. The three Tamil composers Arunachala Kavi, Muthu Thandavar and Marimutthu Pillai are considered the Tamil Trinity, who contributed to the evolution of Carnatic...

 (1712–1779) and Marimutthu Pillai
Marimutthu Pillai
Marimutthu Pillai was a composer of Carnatic music and along with Arunachala Kavi and Muthu Thandavar was one of the pioneering Tamil Trinity of Carnatic music. He was a contemporary of Arunachala Kavi....

 (1717–1787) composed hundreds of devotional songs in Tamil and helped in the evolution of Carnatic music. Chennai hosts a large cultural event, the annual Madras Music Season
Madras Music Season
Madras Music Season is an event hosted every December–January in the present-day south Indian metropol of Chennai. Spanning some six weeks, a number of large and small kutcheris are performed by highly competent musicians...

 during December–January, which includes performances by hundreds of artists all over the city.

In terms of modern cine-music, Ilaiyaraaja
Ilaiyaraaja
Ilaiyaraaja is an Indian film composer, singer, and lyricist mainly in the Tamil film Industry. He is regarded as one of the finest music composers in India. Ilaiyaraaja is also an instrumentalist, conductor, and a songwriter...

 was a prominent composer of film music in Tamil cinema during the late 1970s and 1980s. His work highlighted Tamil folk lyricism and introduced broader Western musical sensibilities to the South Indian musical mainstream. Tamil Nadu is also the home of the double Oscar Winner A.R. Rahman who has composed film music in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi films
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

, English and Chinese films, was once referred to by Time magazine
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 as "The Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 of Madras
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

".

Arts and dance



Tamils
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

 have a large number of folk dances. These are performed for every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, weddings and festivals. Tamil dance is closely intertwined with the Tamil theatrical tradition. The most celebrated of these is karakattam
Karakattam
Karakattam is an ancient folk dance of Tamil Nadu performed in praise of the rain goddess Mariamman. The performers balance the water pot on their head very beautifully...

. In its religious form, the dance is performed in front of an image of the goddess Mariamman
Mariamman
Māri ,Tulu, also known as Mariamman , both meaning "Mother Mari", spelt also Maariamma , or simply Amman or Aatha is the South Indian Hindu goddess of disease and rain. She is the main South Indian mother goddess, predominant in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and...

. The dancer bears on his or her head a brass pot filled with uncooked rice, decorated with flowers and surrounded by a bamboo frame, and tumbles and leaps to the rhythm of a song without spilling a grain. Karakattam is usually performed to a special type of song known as temmanguppāṭṭu or thevar pāṭṭu, a folk song in the mode of a lover speaking to his beloved, to the accompaniment of a nadaswaram
Nadaswaram
The nadaswaram, also spelt nadhaswaram, and also called nagaswaram , is one of the most popular classical musical instruments in the South Indian culture and the world's loudest non-brass acoustic instrument...

 and melam
Melam
Melam is the common name for percussion instruments that are unique to Tamilnadu, Kerala and parts of South India. The most traditional of all melams is the Pandi Melam, which is generally performed outside the temple. Another melam called the Panchari Melam, which is similar to Pandi Melam, but...

. Other Tamil folk dances include {{IAST
Mayilattam
Mayilattam is an artistic and religious form of dance performed in the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu in reverence to Lord Subrahmanya....

, where the dancers tie a string of peacock feathers around their waist; ōyilāttam
Oyilattam
Oyilattam is a folk dance with origins in the Madurai region of Tamil Nadu. The dance has its origins in southern Tamil Nadu and is primarily performed in Madurai district, Tirunelveli district and Tiruchirapalli district...

, danced in a circle while waving small pieces of cloth of various colours; poikkal kuthiraiyaaṭṭam, where the dancers use dummy horses; manattam, where the dancers imitate the graceful leaping of deer; paraiyāṭṭam, a dance to the sound of rhythmical drumbeats, and thīppandāṭṭam, a dance involving playing with burning wooden torches.

Bharatanatyam
Bharatanatyam
Bharata Natyam or Chadhir Attam, is a classical dance form from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, practiced predominantly in modern times by women. The dance is usually accompanied by classical Carnatic music...

 is a classical dance form originating from Tamil Nadu. Prior to the colonial perriod, it used to be performed in Hindu temples by Devadasis. In this form, it as also been called sadir or chinna melam. Many of the ancient sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

s in Hindu temples are based on Bharata Natyam dance postures. Bharatanatyam is a traditional dance-form known for its grace, purity, tenderness, and sculpturesque poses. It continues to be a popular dance style at present times and is practised by male and female dancers all over India. Terukkuttu
Terukkuttu
Terukkuttu or Kattaikkuttu is a Tamil street theatre form practised in Tamil Nadu state of India and Tamil-speaking regions of Sri Lanka. Terukuttu is a form of entertainment, a ritual, and a medium of social instruction. The terukkuttu plays various themes...

 or Kattaikkuttu is a traditional form of Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 street theatre
Street theatre
Street theatre is a form of theatrical performance and presentation in outdoor public spaces without a specific paying audience. These spaces can be anywhere, including shopping centres, car parks, recreational reserves and street corners. They are especially seen in outdoor spaces where there are...

 folk dance/drama.

Film industry


{{Main|Cinema of Tamil Nadu}}
Tamil Nadu is also home to the Tamil film
Tamil cinema
Tamil cinema is the film industry based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to the production of films in the Tamil language. It is based in Chennai's Kodambakkam district, where several South Indian film production companies are headquartered...

 industry. It is known for being the second largest film industry in terms of revenue and worldwide distribution, in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. It is based at Kodambakkam in Chennai city.

Cuisine


{{Main|Tamil cuisine}}

Tamil cuisine is basically South Indian cuisine, where rice and rice-derived dishes form the major portion of a diet (see rice and curry
Rice and curry
Rice and curry is a popular dish in Sri Lanka and the Southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.Rice and curry dinner comprises the following:* A large bowl of rice, most often boiled, but frequently fried...

). There are regional sub-varieties namely Chettinadu, Kongunadu, Madurai, Tirunelveli varieties etc. Traditionally, food is served on a banana leaf
Banana leaf
Banana leaf is the leaf of the Banana plant. It is used for various functions, such as for decorative elements, wrappings, plate mat, and employed in cooking method....

 instead of a plate
Plate (dishware)
A plate is a broad, concave, but mainly flat vessel on which food can be served. A plate can also be used for ceremonial or decorative purposes.-Materials:...

 and eaten with the right hand. Rice is the staple food of Tamils and is typically eaten mixed with sambhar (with or without ghee
Ghee
Ghee is a class of clarified butter that originated in South Asia and is commonly used in South Asian cuisine....

), vegetarian or non-vegetarian kulambu, rasam
Rasam
Rasam is a South Indian soup. Traditional preparation involves tamarind juice as base in addition to tomato, chili pepper and other spices as seasonings. Steamed lentils are added by some along with any preferred vegetables. Nowadays all the seasonings required are combined and ground beforehand...

, curd
Curd
Curds are a dairy product obtained by curdling milk with rennet or an edible acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar, and then draining off the liquid portion. The increased acidity causes the milk proteins to tangle into solid masses, or curds. The remaining liquid, which contains only...

 and buttermilk
Buttermilk
Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. It also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates where unrefrigerated fresh milk otherwise sours quickly...

. This is accompanied with various vegetarian and/or non-vegetarian dishes like kootu
Kootu
Kootu is a Tamil word means 'add' i.e. vegetable added with lentils which form the dish, made of vegetable and lentils and are semi-solid in consistency, i.e., less aqueous than sambhar, but more so than dry curries...

, aviyal
Aviyal
Avial is a dish that has a unique place in typical Kerala as well as Tamil cuisine and Udupi cuisine. It is a thick mixture of vegetables, curd and coconut, seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves...

, poriyal, appalam, varuval, peratal, kothsu, varieties of pickle
Pickled cucumber
A pickled cucumber is a cucumber that has been pickled in a brine, vinegar, or other solution and left to ferment for a period of time, by either immersing the cucumbers in an acidic solution or through souring by lacto-fermentation.-Gherkin:A gherkin is not only...

s and chicken, mutton, or fish fry. Breakfast and snack items include dosai, Adai, idly, vadai, pongal
Pongal
Thai Ponggal is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Indian Union Territory of Pondicherry and in Sri Lanka. Pongal coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over" or "spill over". The boiling...

, appam (aappam), paniyaram, puttu, uppumavu (uppuma), santhakai (a sort of noodles), idiyappam
Idiyappam
Idiyappam is a culinary specialty in Tamilnadu, Kerala and Coastal areas of Karnataka. It is also popular in certain areas of Sri Lanka...

 and uthappam. These items are eaten along with sambar, varieties of chatni and podi. Traditionally prepared filter coffee is unique in taste and popular all over the state. The Chettinad region is famous for its spicy non-vegetarian cuisine, while Ambur
Ambur
Ambur Ambur is a developed Industrial Town of Vellore District in Tamil Nadu, India. Ambur is located at the 'Palaar' River Bank,on the Chennai - Bangalore Highway, both sides at a distance of approx 180 – 200 km....

, Dindigal and Sankarankoil
Sankarankoil
Sankarankovil is a city and a municipality in the Tirunelveli district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.- The temple :Sankarankovil is home to the famous Sankara Narayanan temple. It is situated at Tirunelveli District and 56 km away from Thirunelveli City. Sankarankovil is the second...

 are known for their Biriyani. Sweet items that are native to Tamil Nadu and prepared at homes are Athirasam, Chakkarai Pongal (prepared during Pongal) and Kuli Paniyaram. Tirunelveli is known for its unique wheat Halwa and Palani is renowned for its Panchamirtham. North Indian, Western, Chinese and fast food
Fast food
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a...

 culture are also popular in Tamil Nadu.

Economy


{{Main|Economy of Tamil Nadu|List of conglomerates in Tamil Nadu|List of rivers in Tamil Nadu}}
Gross State Domestic Product in {{INR}} Crores and Current Prices
Year GSDP Change Share of India
1994–95
1996–97
1998–99
2000–01
2002–03
2004–05

Tamil Nadu's gross state domestic product for 2011 is estimated at US$ 97.970 Billion in current prices. The state experienced a GDP growth rate of 12.1% for 2007-08. It was the third largest economy (2007–2008) among all states in India, and also the most industrialised state in India. It ranks third in foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

 (FDI) approvals (cumulative 1991–2002) of {{INR}} 225,826 million ($5,000 million), next only to Maharashtra and Delhi constituting 9.12% of the total FDI in the country. The per capita income in 2007–2008 for the state was {{INR}} 43,000 ranking second among the South Indian states and steadily been above the national average.

According to the 2001 Census, Tamil Nadu has the highest level of urbanisation (43.86%) in India, accounting for 6% of India’s total population and 9.6% of the urban population. and is the most urbanized
Urbanized
Urbanized is a 2011 documentary film by Gary Hustwit released on 26 October 2011 and considered the third of a three-part series on design known as the Design Trilogy, the first being Helvetica about the typeface and the second being Objectified about industrial design.The documentary discusses...

 state in India. Services contributes to 45% of the economic activity in the state, followed by manufacturing at 34% and agriculture at 21%. Government is the major investor in the state with 51% of total investments, followed by private Indian investors at 29.9% and foreign private investors at 14.9%. Tamil Nadu has a network of about 113 industrial parks and estates offering developed plots with supporting infrastructure.

According to the publications of the Tamil Nadu government the Gross State Domestic Product at Current Prices (Base year 1999–2000) for the year 2008–2009 is {{INR}} 339,212 crores. The percapita income at current price is {{INR}} 51, 097.

Agriculture


{{Main|Agriculture in Tamil Nadu|Animal husbandry in Tamil Nadu}}
Tamil Nadu has historically been an agricultural state and is a leading producer of agricultural products in India. In 2008, Tamil Nadu was India's fifth biggest producer of Rice. The total cultivated area in the State was 56.10 million hectares in 2007–08. The Cauvery delta region of the composite Thanjavur district
Thanjavur District
Thanjavur District is one of the 32 districts of the state of Tamil Nadu, in southeastern India. Its headquarters is Thanjavur.-Geography:...

 is known as the Rice Bowl of South India. In terms of production, Tamil Nadu accounts for 10% in fruits and 6% in vegetables, in India. Annual food grains production in the year 2007–08 was 100.35 lakh mt. Mango and Banana are the leading fruit crops in Tamil Nadu accounting for over 87% of the total fruit production. The main vegetables grown are tapioca, tomato, onion, brinjal and drumstick. Tamil Nadu is also a leading state in the production of flowers with the total production of horticultural crops
Horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

 standing at {{INR}} 99.47 Lakhs during 2003–04. The main flowers grown in Tamil Nadu are Jasmine, Mullai, Chrysanthemum, Marigold and Rose.
The state is the largest producer of banana
Banana
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red....

s, flowers, tapioca, the second largest producer of mango
Mango
The mango is a fleshy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to India from where it spread all over the world. It is also the most cultivated fruit of the tropical world. While...

, natural rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

, coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

, groundnut
Peanut
The peanut, or groundnut , is a species in the legume or "bean" family , so it is not a nut. The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing tall...

 and the third largest producer of coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, sapota, Tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 and Sugarcane
Sugarcane
Sugarcane refers to any of six to 37 species of tall perennial grasses of the genus Saccharum . Native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, they have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres tall...

. Tamil Nadu's sugarcane yield per hectare is the highest in India. The state has 17,000 hectares of land under oil palm cultivation, the second highest in India.
Tamil Nadu is the home to Dr M.S. Swaminathan
M. S. Swaminathan
Maankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan is an Indian agriculture scientist in Kuttanad, kerala. He was the second of four sons of a doctor.He is known as the "Father of the Green Revolution in India", for his leadership and success in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat in...

, known as the "father of the Green Revolution
Green Revolution in India
The introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation are known collectively as the Green Revolution, which provided the increase in production needed to make India self-sufficient in food grains, thus improving agriculture in India...

" in India. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University came into being on June 1, 1971. However, it had its genesis from establishment of an agricultural school at Saidapet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, in 1868 and was later relocated at Marudamalai Road in Coimbatore....

 with its seven colleges and thirty two research stations spread over the entire state contributes to evolving new crop varieties and technologies and disseminating through various extension agencies. Among states in India, Tamil Nadu is one of the leaders in livestock, poultry
Poultry
Poultry are domesticated birds kept by humans for the purpose of producing eggs, meat, and/or feathers. These most typically are members of the superorder Galloanserae , especially the order Galliformes and the family Anatidae , commonly known as "waterfowl"...

 and fisheries production. Tamil Nadu had the second largest number of poultry amongst all the states and accounted for 17.7% of the total poultry population in India. In 2003–2004, Tamil Nadu had produced 37,836 lakhs of eggs
Egg (food)
Eggs are laid by females of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen , and vitellus , contained within various thin membranes...

, which was the second highest in India representing 9.37% of the total egg production in the country. With the third longest coastline in India, Tamil Nadu represented 27.54% of the total value of fish and fishery products exported by India in 2006.

Textile, automobile and heavy industries


{{Main|Automobile industry in Chennai}}
Textile mills and engineering industries are present around the city of Coimbatore
Coimbatore
Coimbatore , also known as Kovai , is the second largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a major commercial centre in Tamil Nadu and is known as the "Manchester of South India"....

. It is home to textile, automotive spare parts and motor pump manufacturing units. Cities of Tirupur
Tirupur
Tiruppur pronounced as is a textile city located on the banks of Noyyal River. It is also called Dollar city. It is the administrative headquarters of the Tiruppur district. It forms a part of the ancient Kongu Nadu region of South India, where its people were the first to establish territorial...

 and Erode
Erode
Erode is a city, a municipal corporation and the headquarters of Erode district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.It is situated at the center of the South Indian Peninsula, about southwest from the state capital Chennai and on the banks of the rivers Cauvery and Bhavani, between 11° 19.5"...

 are the country's largest exporters of knitwear. They are well known for textile manufacturing industries and exports to such extent that the districts of Coimbatore, Tirupur and Erode are referred to as 'Textile Valley of India'.



Tamil Nadu is one of the highly industrialised states in India. Over 11.2% of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Tamil Nadu. Many heavy engineering and manufacturing companies are located in and around the suburbs of Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

 and Tiruchirappalli. Tamil Nadu has seen major investments in the automobile industry over many decades manufacturing cars, railway coaches, battle-tanks, tractors, motorcycles, automobile spare parts and accessories, tyres and heavy vehicles. Major global automobile companies including BMW
BMW
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands...

, Ford
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

, Renault
Renault
Renault S.A. is a French automaker producing cars, vans, and in the past, autorail vehicles, trucks, tractors, vans and also buses/coaches. Its alliance with Nissan makes it the world's third largest automaker...

-Nissan, Caterpillar
Caterpillar Inc.
Caterpillar Inc. , also known as "CAT", designs, manufactures, markets and sells machinery and engines and sells financial products and insurance to customers via a worldwide dealer network. Caterpillar is the world's largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas...

, Hyundai
Hyundai
Hyundai ) is a global conglomerate company, part of the Korean chaebol, that was founded in South Korea by one of the most famous businessmen in Korean history: Chung Ju-yung...

, Mitsubishi Motors
Mitsubishi Motors
is a multinational automaker headquartered in Minato, Tokyo. In 2009 it was the fifth-largest Japan-based automaker and the 17th-largest in the world measured by production...

 and Michelin
Michelin
Michelin is a tyre manufacturer based in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne région of France. It is one of the two largest tyre manufacturers in the world along with Bridgestone. In addition to the Michelin brand, it also owns the BFGoodrich, Kleber, Riken, Kormoran and Uniroyal tyre brands...

 as well as local automobile majors like Ashok Leyland
Ashok Leyland
Ashok Leyland is a commercial vehicle manufacturing company based in Chennai, India. Founded in 1948, the company is one of India's leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses, as well as emergency and military vehicles. Operating six plants, Ashok Leyland also makes...

, Hindustan Motors
Hindustan Motors
Hindustan Motors is an automobile manufacturer from India. It is part of the Birla Technical Services industrial group. The company was the largest car manufacturer in India before the rise of Maruti Udyog....

, TVS Motors
TVS Motors
TVS Motor Company is the third largest two-wheeler manufacturer in India.It is the flagship company of the parent TVS Group employing over 40,000 people with an estimated 15 million customers. It manufactures motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and auto rickshaws...

, Irizar
Irizar
Irizar Group is a Spanish-based builder of luxury coach vehicle bodies, established in 1889. It is located in Ormaiztegi in the Basque Country, Spain...

-TVS
TVS Motors
TVS Motor Company is the third largest two-wheeler manufacturer in India.It is the flagship company of the parent TVS Group employing over 40,000 people with an estimated 15 million customers. It manufactures motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and auto rickshaws...

, Royal Enfield
Royal Enfield
Royal Enfield was the name under which the Enfield Cycle Company made motorcycles, bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary engines. This legacy of weapons manufacture is reflected in the logo, a cannon, and their motto "Made like a gun, goes like a bullet". Use of the brand name Royal Enfield was...

, MRF
Madras Rubber Factory
Madras Rubber Factory, popularly known as MRF, is a major tyre manufacturing company located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.The name was later changed as "Manorama Rubber Factory". MRF is mainly involved in making vehicle tyres. It is India's largest tyre manufacturing company, and among the dozen...

, Apollo Tyres
Apollo Tyres
Apollo Tyres Ltd is the world's 15th biggest tyre manufacturer, with annual revenues of Rs 88.6 billion in 2010. It was founded in 1976. Its first plant was commissioned in Perambra, Kerala. In 2006 the company acquired Dunlop Tyres International of South Africa...

, TAFE Tractors
TAFE Tractors
Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited is an Indian manufacturer of tractors and other farm equipment with its corporate headquarters in Chennai. The company was established in 1960 and has a reported annual revenue of $ 1.3 billion and a sales volume of over 117,000 tractors annually.Tractors and...

, DaimlerChrysler AG and PSA Peugeot Citroën
PSA Peugeot Citroën
PSA Peugeot Citroën is a French manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles sold under the Peugeot and Citroën marques. Headquartered in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, PSA is the second largest automaker based in Europe and the number eight in the world.-History:In December 1974 Peugeot S.A....

 Company also invested ({{INR}}) 4 billion for establishing new plant in Tamil Nadu have manufacturing operations in Tamil Nadu. Karur
Karur
Karur is a large town and a municipality in Karur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu situated on the banks of Amaravati. Karur district was formed on 30 September 1995 by trifurcating Tiruchirappalli district. It is the administrative headquarters of Karur District. Karur has a very long...

 is a hub for bus body building industries.

The region around Coimbatore, Tirupur, Karur
Karur
Karur is a large town and a municipality in Karur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu situated on the banks of Amaravati. Karur district was formed on 30 September 1995 by trifurcating Tiruchirappalli district. It is the administrative headquarters of Karur District. Karur has a very long...

 and Erode is referred to as the "Textile Valley of India" with the export turnover from the Tirupur in 2004 at {{INR}} 50,000 million ($1,000 million). 56% of India's total knitwear exports come from Tirupur.Namakkal is the major source of Heavy Vehicle Transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

 and body building, It is also one of the main source of Egg
Egg (food)
Eggs are laid by females of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen , and vitellus , contained within various thin membranes...

 production in India. Karur generates around (35,500 million) $750 million a year in foreign exchange. Arani and Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

 are famous for their handloom and silk weaving industries.
Sivakasi
Sivakasi
Sivakasi is an active town and a municipality in Virudhunagar District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the capital of India’s firecracker industry with about 8,000 factories, big and small, producing 90 percent of the total fireworks output.It is also known as "kutti japan" meaning "small...

 is a major centre of fireworks and safety match production and offset printing in India, over 60% of firework production is contributed from sivakasi

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, one of India's largest electrical equipment manufacturing company, has manufacturing plants at Tiruchirapalli
Tiruchirapalli
Tiruchirappalli ) , also called Tiruchi or Trichy , is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Tiruchirappalli District. It is the fourth largest municipal corporation in Tamil Nadu and also the fourth largest urban agglomeration in the state...

 and Ranipet
Ranipet
Ranipet, Vellore is a locality and part of Vellore city in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. It is a medium-sized community located about 26 kilometers from the Vellore city center and 100 kilometers from Chennai, the fourth largest urban area in India...

. India's leading steel producer, SAIL
Steel Authority of India Limited
Steel Authority of India Limited from 116950 The company's current chairman is C.S Verma. With an annual production of 13.5 million metric tons, SAIL is the 14th largest steel producer in the world....

 has a steel plant in Salem. Sterlite Industries has their copper smelter plant in Tuticorin and aluminium plant in Mettur
Mettur
Mettur is an industrial Town municipality in Salem district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is best known for the Mettur Dam.However in recent years it has been associated with rampant industrial polluting, with the Chennai-based Community Environmental Monitoring arguing in their report...

. The state government owns the Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Ltd. (TNPL), the world's biggest bagasse
Bagasse
Bagasse is the fibrous matter that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice. It is currently used as a biofuel and as a renewable resource in the manufacture of pulp and paper products and building materials....

 based Paper mills in Karur
Karur
Karur is a large town and a municipality in Karur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu situated on the banks of Amaravati. Karur district was formed on 30 September 1995 by trifurcating Tiruchirappalli district. It is the administrative headquarters of Karur District. Karur has a very long...

, as well as the world's sixth largest manufacturer of watches together with TATA
Tata Group
Tata Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Tata Group is one of the largest companies in India by market capitalization and revenue. It has interests in communications and information technology, engineering, materials, services, energy,...

 at Hosur
Hosur
Hosur is a town and a municipality in Krishnagiri district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.The name of the town is from Kannada language which means 'New settlement/town' . It is a taluk of Krishnagiri district. It is located about 40 kilometres south-east of Bangalore and 38 kilometres from...

, under the brand name of "Titan".

Electronics and software



Electronics manufacturing is a growing industry in Tamil Nadu, with many telecommunications giants like Nokia
Nokia
Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational communications corporation that is headquartered in Keilaniemi, Espoo, a city neighbouring Finland's capital Helsinki...

, Flextronics
Flextronics
Flextronics International Ltd. is an electronics manufacturing services provider that offers services to original equipment manufacturers . It also provides supporting supply chain services, including packaging and transportation throughout the world, as well as design and after-sales...

, Motorola
Motorola
Motorola, Inc. was an American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, which was eventually divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011, after losing $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009...

, Sony-Ericsson, Foxconn
Foxconn
The Foxconn Technology Group is a multinational business group anchored by the Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. , a Taiwan-registered corporation headquartered in Tucheng, Taiwan...

, Samsung
Samsung
The Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea...

, Cisco
Cisco
Cisco may refer to:Companies:*Cisco Systems, a computer networking company* Certis CISCO, corporatised entity of the former Commercial and Industrial Security Corporation in Singapore...

, Moser Baer
Moser Baer
Moser Baer is the world's 2nd largest optical storage media manufacturer and supplies to the world's top dozen brands. They now make CD-R's for Memorex , TDK , Verbatim Sony and Agfa-Gevaert . They used to make CD-R's for Imation and Staples . The company was founded in New Delhi in 1983...

 and Dell
Dell
Dell, Inc. is an American multinational information technology corporation based in 1 Dell Way, Round Rock, Texas, United States, that develops, sells and supports computers and related products and services. Bearing the name of its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest...

 having chosen Chennai as their South Asian manufacturing hub. Products manufactured include circuit boards and cellular phone handsets.

Tamil Nadu is the second largest software exporter by value in India, second only to Karnataka. Software exports from Tamil Nadu grew from {{INR}} 76 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2003–04 to {{INR}} 207 billion {$5 billion} by 2006–07 according to NASSCOM
NASSCOM
The National Association of Software and Services Companies of IT software and services related activities for use of both the software developers as well as interested companies overseas....

 and to {{INR}} 366 billion in 2008–09 which shows 29% growth in software exports according to STPI. Major national and global IT Companies such as Infosys
Infosys
Infosys Limited, formerly Infosys Technologies Limited is a global technology services company headquartered in Bangalore, India. It is the second largest IT exporter in India with 133,560 employees as of March 2011. It has offices in 33 countries and development centers in India, China,...

, Wipro
Wipro
Wipro Limited formally Western India Products Limited is a global IT services and consulting company headquartered in Bangalore, India. As of 2011, Wipro is the second largest IT services company by turnover in India and employs more than 120,000 people worldwide as of March 2011...

, HCL, Tata Consultancy Services
Tata Consultancy Services
Tata Consultancy Services Limited is a global IT services, business solutions and outsourcing company headquartered in Mumbai, India. It is the largest provider of information technology in Asia and second largest provider of business process outsourcing services in India...

, Mahindra Satyam, Verizon, Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard Company or HP is an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA that provides products, technologies, softwares, solutions and services to consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses and large enterprises, including...

, Amazon.com
Amazon.com
Amazon.com, Inc. is a multinational electronic commerce company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. Amazon has separate websites for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and...

, Paypal
PayPal
PayPal is an American-based global e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. Online money transfers serve as electronic alternatives to paying with traditional paper methods, such as checks and money orders....

, IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

, Accenture
Accenture
Accenture plc is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company headquartered in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. It is the largest consulting firm in the world and is a Fortune Global 500 company. As of September 2011, the company had more than 236,000 employees across...

, Ramco Systems
Ramco Systems
Ramco Systems Limited is a software products and services provider incorporated in India. Ramco Systems is a provider of Aviation Maintenance & Engineering and Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Software....

, Computer Sciences Corporation
Computer Sciences Corporation
Computer Sciences Corporation is an American information technology and business services company headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, USA...

, Cognizant Technology solutions, Tech Mahindra
Tech Mahindra
Tech Mahindra Limited is a provider of information technology , networking technology solutions and business process outsourcing services to the global telecommunications industry. Headquartered at Pune, India...

, Polaris
Polaris
Polaris |Alpha]] Ursae Minoris, commonly North Star or Pole Star, also Lodestar) is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor. It is very close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star....

, Aricent
Aricent
Aricent Group is a global innovation and technology services company. The company develops software and provides technology services to application, infrastructure, and service providers with operations in 19 countries worldwide....

, MphasiS
MphasiS
MphasiS , a unit of Hewlett-Packard Co., is an information technology services company based in Bangalore, India. MphasiS is certified with ISO 9001:2008, ISO/IEC 27001:2005 and is assessed at CMMI v 1.2 Level 5.It is the sixth largest IT company in India with more than 38,000 employees as of 2010...

, MindTree
MindTree
MindTree Limited, formerly known as MindTree Consulting Limited , is a mid-sized international information technology consulting and implementation company. It operates in two units: production engineering services and IT services. MindTree was started in 1999 by ten industry professionals from...

, Symantec
Symantec
Symantec Corporation is the largest maker of security software for computers. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, and is a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500 stock market index.-History:...

, iNautix, R Systems International Limited CSS Corp
CSS Corp
CSS Corp is global Information and communications technology Company headquartered in San Jose, USA, lead by Tiger Ramesh as the CEO. And with global multi-cultural workforce of more than 5000 individual across 20 locations worldwide, the company has established a record for designing, developing,...

 and many others have offices in Tamil Nadu.

Leather industry


The state accounts for 70 per cent of leather tanning capacity in India and 38 per cent of leather footwear and components. The exports from Tamil Nadu are valued at about US $ 762 million, which accounts for 42 per cent of Indian leather exports. Hundreds of leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

 and tannery industries are located around Vellore and its nearby towns such as Ranipet
Ranipet
Ranipet, Vellore is a locality and part of Vellore city in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. It is a medium-sized community located about 26 kilometers from the Vellore city center and 100 kilometers from Chennai, the fourth largest urban area in India...

, Ambur
Ambur
Ambur Ambur is a developed Industrial Town of Vellore District in Tamil Nadu, India. Ambur is located at the 'Palaar' River Bank,on the Chennai - Bangalore Highway, both sides at a distance of approx 180 – 200 km....

 and Vaniyambadi
Vaniyambadi
Vaniyambadi is a town and a municipality, part of the Vellore district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The major population comprises people following Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Jainism population...

. The Vellore
Vellore
Vellore It is considered one of the oldest cities in South India and lies on the banks of the Palar river on the site of Vellore Fort. The city lies between Chennai and Bangalore and the Temple towns of Thiruvannamalai and Tirupati...

 district is the top exporter of finished leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

 goods in the country. Vellore
Vellore
Vellore It is considered one of the oldest cities in South India and lies on the banks of the Palar river on the site of Vellore Fort. The city lies between Chennai and Bangalore and the Temple towns of Thiruvannamalai and Tirupati...

 leather accounts for more than 37% of the country's Export of Leather and Leather related products such as finished leathers, shoes, garments, gloves and so on. The tanning industry in India has a total installed capacity of 225 million pieces of hide and skins of which Tamil Nadu alone contributes to an inspiring 70%. Leather industry occupies a pride of place in the industrial map of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu enjoys a leading position with 40% share in India 's export. It currently employs about 2.5 million persons Leather exports by the end of the year 2000-2001 were Rs. 9000 crores.

Infrastructure


{{Main|Transport in Tamil Nadu|Road network in Tamil Nadu}}

Tamil Nadu has a transportation system that connects all parts of the state. Tamil Nadu is served by an extensive road network, providing links between urban centers, agricultural market-places and rural areas. There are 24 national highways in the state, covering a total distance of 2002 km (1,244 mi). The state is also a terminus for the Golden Quadrilateral
Golden Quadrilateral
The Golden Quadrilateral is a highway network connecting India's four largest metropolises: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, thus forming a quadrilateral of sorts. Four other top ten metropolises: Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Surat, are also served by the network...

 project. The state has a total road length of 167000 km (103,769 mi), of which 60628 km (37,673 mi) are maintained by Highways Department. This is nearly 2.5 times higher than the density of all-India road network. The major road jn. are Chennai, Trichy, Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem, Karur, Krishnagiri, Dindigul, Kanniyakumari,.,etc

Tamil Nadu has a well-developed rail network as part of Southern Railway
Southern Railway (India)
The Southern Railway is the earliest of the 16 zones of the Indian Railways created in independent India. It was created on April 14, 1951 by merging three state railways namely Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, the South Indian Railway, and the Mysore State Railway. The South Indian Railway...

. Headquartered at Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

, the Southern Railway network extends over a large area of India's Southern Peninsula, covering the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, Pondicherry, a small portion of Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 and a small portion of Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

. Tamil Nadu has a total railway track length of 5952 km (3,698 mi) and there are 532 railway stations in the state. The system connects it with most major cities in India. Main rail junctions in the state include Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore
Coimbatore
Coimbatore , also known as Kovai , is the second largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a major commercial centre in Tamil Nadu and is known as the "Manchester of South India"....

, Salem, Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) and Erode. Chennai has a well-established suburban railway
Transport in Chennai
Chennai has a well-developed transport infrastructure. The city and its suburbs may be traversed using its road and rail networks.- Roads :Chennai's economic development has been closely tied to its port and transport infrastructure, and it is considered as the best infrastructure in India.The city...

 network and is in the process of developing a metro.

Tamil Nadu has a major international airport, Chennai International Airport
Chennai International Airport
Chennai International Airport , formerly known as Madras International Airport is located in Tirusulam, south of Chennai , India...

, that is connected with 19 countries with more than 169 direct flights every week. This is the third largest airport in India after Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

 and Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 and has a passenger growth of 18%. Other international airports present in the state are Tiruchirapalli International Airport
Tiruchirapalli Airport
Tiruchirapalli Airport or Trichy Airport is an airport mostly serving Tiruchirapalli and adjacent districts in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The airport, located on the NH 210 Tiruchirapalli - Rameswaram highway, is south of the city centre....

, Coimbatore International Airport
Coimbatore Airport
Coimbatore Airport is a customs airport located at Peelamedu, Coimbatore. It was previously known as Coimbatore Civil Aerodrome. It is about from the city center. It is located along Peelamedu and Neelambur, with passenger entry at Neelambur and cargo entry at Peelamedu...

. The Madurai Airport
Madurai Airport
Madurai Airport is fourth largest airport in Tamil Nadu and serves Madurai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The airport is located about from the Madurai railway station. The airport was established in 1957. -Airport specifications:...

, Salem Airport
Salem Airport (India)
Salem Airport is located in Kamalapuram, Salem, India. This airport serves Salem city and the districts of Salem, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri. Salem Airport is being connected only by from Chennai....

 and Tuticorin Airport
Tuticorin Airport
Tuticorin Airport is a domestic airport located from Thoothukudi , Tamil Nadu, India.-Structure:Tuticorin Airport has one asphalt runway, oriented 10/28, 1351 metres long and 30 metres wide. Its 100 by 60 metre apron provides parking space for 2 ATR 72 or similar aircraft at a time, while its...

 are domestic airports which connect their respective cities to other parts of the country. Increased industrial activity has given rise to an increase in passenger traffic as well as freight movement which has been growing at over 18 per cent per year.

Tamil Nadu has three major seaports at Chennai
Chennai Port
Chennai Port , formerly known as Madras Port, is the second largest port of India, behind the Mumbai Port, and the largest port in the Bay of Bengal. Being the third oldest port among the 12 major ports of India, it is over 125 years old, although maritime trade started way back in 1639 on the sea...

, Ennore
Ennore Port
Ennore Port, located on the Coromandel Coast about 24 km north of Chennai Port, Chennai, it is the 12th major port of India, and the first port in India which is a public company. The Ennore Port is the only corporatised major port and is registered as a company...

 and Tuticorin
Tuticorin Port
Tuticorin Port is one of the 12 major ports in India. It was declared to be a major port on 11 July 1974. It is second-largest port in Tamil Nadu and fourth-largest container terminal in India after Kochi International Container Transshipment Terminal, Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Chennai Port....

, as well as one intermediate port, at Nagapattinam
Nagapattinam
Nagapattinam is a town in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Nagapattinam District. It is a prominent seaport on the east coast of India and an important centre of trade and commerce.The town of Nagapattinam dates back to the Sangam period...

 (Seven other minor ports including Cuddalore
Cuddalore
Cuddalore is a fast growing industrial city and headquarter of Cuddalore district in the Tamil Nadu state of southern India. Located south of Pondicherry on the coast of Bay of Bengal, Cuddalore has a large number of industries which employ a great deal of the city's population.Cuddalore is known...

 and Nagapattinam
Nagapattinam
Nagapattinam is a town in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Nagapattinam District. It is a prominent seaport on the east coast of India and an important centre of trade and commerce.The town of Nagapattinam dates back to the Sangam period...

). Chennai Port is an artificial harbour situated on the Coromandel Coast in South-East India and it is the second principal port in the country for handling containers. Ennore Port handles all the coal and ore traffic in Tamil Nadu. The volume of cargo in the ports grew by 13 per cent during 2005.

As of 2005, Tamil Nadu is one of the few Indian states with surplus Electricity generation
Electricity generation
Electricity generation is the process of generating electric energy from other forms of energy.The fundamental principles of electricity generation were discovered during the 1820s and early 1830s by the British scientist Michael Faraday...

 capacity, enabling the electrical authority to sell it to neighbouring states of Andra Pradesh & Karnataka. The Kalpakkam
Kalpakkam
Kalpakkam is a small town in Tamil Nadu, India, situated on the Coromandel Coast 70 kilometres south of Chennai. A conglomerate of two villages and a DAE township, it is about 55 km from Thiruvanmiyur....

 Nuclear Power Plant, Ennore Thermal Plant, Neyveli
Neyveli
Neyveli is a mining and power generation township in Cuddalore district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located at 11.30° N - 79.29° E. It is 52 km inland from Bay of Bengal, west of Pondicherry and 197 km south of Chennai. The township was developed after mining of lignite...

 Lignite Power Plant, many hydroelectric plants including Mettur and the Narimanam Natural Gas Plants are major sources of Tamil Nadu's electricity. It is presently adding the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant
Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant
Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power station currently under construction in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu...

 to its energy grid, which on completion would be the largest atomic power plant in the country, in terms of capacity. The total installed capacity for electricity in the State is 8,249 MW. The installed capacity of State Sector is 5,288 MW, and that of Private Sector is 1,058 MW. Apart from this, 1,903 MW is available as share from Central Sector.

Tamil Nadu sources a significant proportion of its power needs from renewable sources with wind power installed capacity at over 3600 MW or over 40% of the maximum peak demand. Tamil Nadu ranks first nationwide
States of India by installed power capacity
This is a list of States and Union Territories of India by installed capacity of power utilities with generation mode break-up as of 31-03-11 by the Ministry of Power with figures in millions of watts ....

 in diesel-based thermal electricity generation with a national market share of over 34%.{{Citation needed|date=December 2007}} 55% of all wind-generated electricity in India is created by windmills in Tamil Nadu. Renowned Danish wind power company NEG Micon
NEG Micon
NEG Micon is a former Danish wind turbine manufacturer. It was formed in 1997 as a result of a merger between Nordtank Energy Group and Micon....

 has established its manufacturing unit in Chennai.

Environment


{{Main|Protected areas of Tamil Nadu|Wildlife of Tamil Nadu}}

Tamil Nadu includes a wide range of Biomes, extending east from the South Western Ghats montane rain forests
South Western Ghats montane rain forests
The South Western Ghats montane rain forests are an ecoregion of southern India, covering the southern portion of the Western Ghats range in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, at elevations over 1000 meters...

 in the Western Ghats
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

 through the South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests
South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests
The South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests is a dry broadleaf forest ecoregion of southern India. The ecoregion lies in the southern Deccan Plateau, within the Western Ghats' rain shadow. It receives of rain annually, much less than the North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests and South...

 and Deccan thorn scrub forests
Deccan thorn scrub forests
The Deccan thorn scrub forests is a xeric shrubland ecoregion of India and northernmost Sri Lanka, a large area that was once forest and home to large numbers of elephants and tigers.-Location and description:...

 to tropical dry broadleaf forests
Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests
The tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forest biome, also known as tropical dry forest, is located at tropical and subtropical latitudes. Though these forests occur in climates that are warm year-round, and may receive several hundred centimeters of rain per year, they have long dry seasons...

 and then to the beach
Beach
A beach is a geological landform along the shoreline of an ocean, sea, lake or river. It usually consists of loose particles which are often composed of rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles or cobblestones...

es, estuaries, salt marsh
Salt marsh
A salt marsh is an environment in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and salt water or brackish water, it is dominated by dense stands of halophytic plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh...

es, mangrove
Mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

s, and coral reef
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...

s of the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

.

The state has a range of flora and fauna with many species and habitats. To protect this diversity of wildlife there are Protected areas of Tamil Nadu, including two Biosphere Reserves, five National Parks and several Wildlife Sanctuaries.

There are about 2000 species of wildlife that are native to Tamil Nadu. Protected areas provide safe habitat for large mammals including elephant
Indian Elephant
The Indian Elephant is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant, and native to mainland Asia. Since 1986, Elephas maximus has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years...

s, tiger
Bengal Tiger
The Bengal tiger is a tiger subspecies native to the Indian subcontinent that in 2010 has been classified as endangered by IUCN...

s, leopard
Indian leopard
The Indian leopard is a leopard subspecies widely distributed on the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the five big cats found in India, apart from Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, snow leopard and clouded leopard....

s, wild dog
Dhole
The dhole is a species of canid native to South and Southeast Asia. It is the only extant member of the genus Cuon, which differs from Canis by the reduced number of molars and greater number of teats...

s, sloth bear
Sloth Bear
The sloth bear , also known as the labiated bear, is a nocturnal insectivorous species of bear found wild within the Indian subcontinent. The sloth bear evolved from ancestral brown bears during the Pleistocene and shares features found in insect-eating mammals through convergent evolution...

s, gaur
Gaur
The gaur , also called Indian bison, is a large bovine native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. The species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986 as the population decline in parts of the species' range is likely to be well over 70% over the last three generations...

s, lion-tailed macaque
Lion-tailed Macaque
The lion-tailed macaque is an Old World monkey that is endemic to the Western Ghats of South India.-Physical Characteristics:...

s, Nilgiri Langur
Nilgiri Langur
The Nilgiri langur is a lutung found in the Nilgiri Hills of the Western Ghats in South India. Its range also includes Kodagu in Karnataka,Kodayar Hills in Tamil Nadu and many other hilly areas in Kerala and Tamil nadu. This primate has glossy black fur on its body and golden brown fur on its head...

s, Nilgiri Tahr
Nilgiri Tahr
The Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiritragus hylocrius, known locally as the Nilgiri Ibex or simply Ibex, is an ungulate that is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in southern India. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu...

s, Grizzled Giant Squirrel
Grizzled Giant Squirrel
The grizzled giant squirrel is a large tree squirrel in the genus Ratufa found in the highlands of the Central and Uva provinces of Sri Lanka, and in patches of riparian forest along the Kaveri River and in the hill forests in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states of southern India...

s and Sambar deer
Sambar Deer
The Sambar ' is a large deer native to southern and southeast Asia. Although it primarily refers to R. unicolor, the name "Sambar" is also sometimes used to refer to the Philippine Deer and the Rusa Deer...

, resident and migratory birds such as Cormorant
Cormorant
The bird family Phalacrocoracidae is represented by some 40 species of cormorants and shags. Several different classifications of the family have been proposed recently, and the number of genera is disputed.- Names :...

s, Darter
Darter
The darters or snakebirds are mainly tropical waterbirds in the family Anhingidae. There are four living species, three of which are very common and widespread while the fourth is rarer and classified as near-threatened by the IUCN. The term "snakebird" is usually used without any additions to...

s, Heron
Heron
The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae. There are 64 recognised species in this family. Some are called "egrets" or "bitterns" instead of "heron"....

s, Egret
Egret
An egret is any of several herons, most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Many egrets are members of the genera Egretta or Ardea which contain other species named as herons rather than egrets...

s, Open-billed Stork
Asian Openbill Stork
The Asian Openbill or Asian Openbill Stork, Anastomus oscitans, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka east to Southeast Asia....

s, Spoonbill
Spoonbill
Spoonbills are a group of large, long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae, which also includes the Ibises.All have large, flat, spatulate bills and feed by wading through shallow water, sweeping the partly opened bill from side to side...

s and White Ibis
Black-headed Ibis
The Black-headed Ibis or Oriental White Ibis is a species of wading bird of the ibis family Threskiornithidae which breeds in South Asia and Southeast Asia from Pakistan to India, Sri Lanka east up to Japan...

es, Little Grebe
Little Grebe
The Little Grebe , also known as Dabchick, member of the grebe family of water birds. At 23 to 29 cm in length it is the smallest European member of its family. It is commonly found in open bodies of water across most of its range.-Description:The Little Grebe is a small water bird with a pointed...

s, Indian Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt
The Black-winged Stilt or Common Stilt is a widely distributed very long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family . Opinions differ as to whether the birds treated under the scientific name H. himantopus ought to be treated as a single species and if not, how many species to recognize...

s, a few migratory Duck
Duck
Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds, which also includes swans and geese. The ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the Anatidae family; they do not represent a monophyletic group but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered...

s and occasionally Grey Pelicans, marine species such as the Dugong
Dugong
The dugong is a large marine mammal which, together with the manatees, is one of four living species of the order Sirenia. It is the only living representative of the once-diverse family Dugongidae; its closest modern relative, Steller's sea cow , was hunted to extinction in the 18th century...

s, Turtle
Turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

s, Dolphin
Dolphin
Dolphins are marine mammals that are closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin in 17 genera. They vary in size from and , up to and . They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating...

s and Balanoglossus
Balanoglossus
Balanoglossus is an ocean-dwelling acorn worm genus of great zoological interest because, being a Hemichordate, it is an "evolutionary link" between invertebrates and vertebrates...

 and a wide variety of fish and insects.

The Angiosperm diversity of India includes 17,672 species. Tamil Nadu ranks 1st among all states in the Country, with 5640 species, 1/3 of the total flora of India{{Citation needed|date=May 2011}}. This includes 1559 species of medicinal plants, 533 endemic species, 260 species of wild relatives of cultivated plants and 230 red-listed
Red-listed
Red-listed species includes any indigenous species or subspecies considered to be extirpated, endangered, or threatened in their locale. Extirpated taxa no longer exist in the wild in the locale in which they are listed , but do occur elsewhere. Endangered taxa are facing imminent extirpation or...

 species. The Gymnosperm
Gymnosperm
The gymnosperms are a group of seed-bearing plants that includes conifers, cycads, Ginkgo, and Gnetales. The term "gymnosperm" comes from the Greek word gymnospermos , meaning "naked seeds", after the unenclosed condition of their seeds...

 diversity of the country is 64 species of which Tamil Nadu has four indigenous species and about 60 introduced species. The Pteridophyte
Pteridophyte
The pteridophytes are vascular plants that produce neither flowers nor seeds, and are hence called vascular cryptogams. Instead, they reproduce and disperse only via spores. Pteridophytes include horsetails, ferns, club mosses, and quillworts...

s diversity of India includes 1022 species of which Tamil Nadu has about 184 species. Vast numbers of bryophyte
Bryophyte
Bryophyte is a traditional name used to refer to all embryophytes that do not have true vascular tissue and are therefore called 'non-vascular plants'. Some bryophytes do have specialized tissues for the transport of water; however since these do not contain lignin, they are not considered to be...

s, Lichen
Lichen
Lichens are composite organisms consisting of a symbiotic organism composed of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner , usually either a green alga or cyanobacterium...

s, Fungi, Algae
Algae
Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

 and Bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 are among the wild plant diversity of Tamil Nadu.

Common plant species include the state tree: Palmyra Palm, Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia...

, Rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

, Cinchona
Cinchona
Cinchona or Quina is a genus of about 38 species in the family Rubiaceae, native to tropical South America. They are large shrubs or small trees growing 5–15 metres in height with evergreen foliage. The leaves are opposite, rounded to lanceolate and 10–40 cm long. The flowers are white, pink...

, Clumping Bamboos (Bambusa Arundinacea
Bambusa
Bambusa is a large genus of clumping bamboos. These species are usually giant ones, with numerous branches at a node and one or two much larger than the rest...

), Common teak, Anogeissus latifolia
Anogeissus latifolia
Anogeissus latifolia is a species of small to medium-sized tree native to the India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Its common names are axlewood , bakli, dhau, dhawa, dhawra, or dhaora , takhian-nu , and raam .It is one of the most useful trees in India...

, Indian Laurel, Grewia
Grewia
The large flowering plant genus Grewia is today placed by most authors in the mallow family Malvaceae, in the expanded sense as proposed by in the APG. Formerly, it was placed in either the linden family or the Sparrmanniaceae...

, and blooming trees like Indian labumusum, Ardisia
Ardisia
Ardisia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Myrsinaceae , native to warm temperate to tropical regions of the Americas, Asia, and Australasia...

, and Solanaceae
Solanaceae
Solanaceae are a family of flowering plants that include a number of important agricultural crops as well as many toxic plants. The name of the family comes from the Latin Solanum "the nightshade plant", but the further etymology of that word is unclear...

. Rare and unique plant life includes Combretum ovalifolium, Ebony
Ebony
Ebony is a dense black wood, most commonly yielded by several species in the genus Diospyros, but ebony may also refer to other heavy, black woods from unrelated species. Ebony is dense enough to sink in water. Its fine texture, and very smooth finish when polished, make it valuable as an...

 (Diospyros nilagrica), Habenaria rariflora
Habenaria
Habenaria, commonly called bog orchids, are a far ranging genus of orchid, one of approximately 800 described Orchidaceae genera within that large and diverse family. There are species in both tropical and temperate zones.-Description:...

 (Orchid), Alsophila
Cyathea sect. Alsophila
Alsophila is a section in the subgenus Cyathea. The name was originally applied to a genus of tree ferns which is now considered to be syonymous with Cyathea.-Classification:*Subgenus Cyathea**Section Alsophila...

, Impatiens elegans
Impatiens
Impatiens is a genus of about 850–1,000 species of flowering plants, widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere and tropics. Together with the puzzling Hydrocera triflora, this genus makes up the family Balsaminaceae...

, Ranunculus reniformis
Ranunculus
Ranunculus is a large genus of about 600 species of plants in the Ranunculaceae. Members of the genus include the buttercups, spearworts, water crowfoots and the lesser celandine....

, and Royal fern
Royal fern
Osmunda regalis, the Old World Royal fern, is a species of Osmunda, native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, growing in woodland bogs. The species is sometimes known as flowering fern due to the appearance of its fertile fronds.-Description:...

.

There are number of environmental organization
Environmental organization
An environmental organization is an organization that seeks to protect, analyze or monitor the environment against misuse or degradation or lobby for these goals....

s involved with environmental conservation and environmental education
Environmental education
Environmental education refers to organized efforts to teach about how natural environments function and, particularly, how human beings can manage their behavior and ecosystems in order to live sustainably. The term is often used to imply education within the school system, from primary to...

 in Tamil Nadu. These organizations are notable for the diversity of their members and their intended impact groups, ranging from urban to rural, local to national, elementary students to government policy makers and rich to poor. The intent of these organizations is increased awareness of environmentalism
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 by the state's population.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests through its Department of Environment and the Tamil Nadu Forest Department
Tamil Nadu Forest Department
The Tamil Nadu Forest Department was established as the Madras Forest Department in 1855 by Dr. Hugh Francis Cleghorn, "the father of scientific forestry in India". The department is responsible for managing all the protected areas and forests plus environmental and wildlife related issues of Tamil...

 is the primary Government organization planning and implementing environmental policy
Environmental policy
Environmental policy is any [course of] action deliberately taken [or not taken] to manage human activities with a view to prevent, reduce, or mitigate harmful effects on nature and natural resources, and ensuring that man-made changes to the environment do not have harmful effects on...

 in the state.
The Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology coordinates government scientific agencies and creates environmental awareness programs in the state, There are several prominent leaders worth public roles in these efforts. There are environmental NGOs working in the state who are characterized by funding from private sources, programs of environmental activism and a high degree of autonomy and volunteerism.

Sports


{{See also|List of sportspeople from Tamil Nadu}}Kabaddi
Kabaddi
Kabaddi is a South Asian team sport...

, also known locally as Sadugudu, is the state game of Tamil Nadu. But the most popular game just like rest of India is Cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

. M. A. Chidambaram Stadium
M. A. Chidambaram Stadium
The M. A. Chidambaram Stadium is a cricket stadium in Chennai , India, named after M. A. Chidambaram, the former President of BCCI and the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. The stadium was formerly known as Madras Cricket Club Ground or Chepauk Stadium. Commonly known as Chepauk, its first match was...

 in Chennai is an international cricketing arena with a capacity of 50,000 and houses the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association is the governing body of the Cricket activities in the Tamil Nadu state of India and the Tamil Nadu cricket team...

.

The Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) is the government body that is vested with the responsibility of developing sports and related infrastructure in the state. The SDAT owns and operates world class stadiums and organizes sporting events. It also accommodates sporting events, both at domestic and international level, organized by other sports associations at its venues. It has national racing tracks like Irungattukottai Race Track
Irungattukottai Race Track
The Irungattukottai Race Track is a permanent motor racing circuit located in Irungattukottai, Sriperumbudur, Chennai, India. It was built in the late 80s. The Madras Motor Sports Club is owning and operating the racing....

 in Sriperumpudur near Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

 district, where national level Bike and Car races were conducted. The YMCA
YMCA
The Young Men's Christian Association is a worldwide organization of more than 45 million members from 125 national federations affiliated through the World Alliance of YMCAs...

 College of Physical Education at Nandanam in Chennai was established in 1920 and was the first college for physical education in Asia.

Cricket contests between local clubs, franchises and teams are also popular across the state. Chennai, the capital of state is also one of the ten Indian cities to be featured in the nation level Twenty-20 Cricket competition
Twenty20
Twenty20 is a form of cricket, originally introduced in England for professional inter-county competition by the England and Wales Cricket Board , in 2003. A Twenty20 game involves two teams, each has a single innings, batting for a maximum of 20 overs. Twenty20 cricket is also known as T20 cricket...

, the Indian Premier League
Indian Premier League
The Indian Premier League is a professional league for Twenty20 cricket competition in India. It was initiated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India , headquartered in Mumbai, and is supervised by BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla, who serves as the league's Chairman and Commissioner...

. The team, owned by the cement manufacturers, India Cements, is called Chennai Super Kings.
The MRF Pace Foundation
MRF Pace Foundation
MRF Pace Foundation is a coaching clinic for training fast bowlers from all over the world. This was created with the help of former Australian pace spearhead Dennis Lillee. Through this program, young aspiring fast bowlers are trained under Dennis Lillee in a facility located at the campus of...

 in Chennai is a much sought after fast bowling academy by pace bowlers all over the world. The state game of Kabaddi, and Silambam, are sports played in the rural areas.

The ATP
Association of Tennis Professionals
The Association of Tennis Professionals or ATP was formed in 1972 by Donald Dell, Jack Kramer, and Cliff Drysdale to protect the interests of male professional tennis players. Since 1990, the association has organized the worldwide tennis tour for men and linked the title of the tour with the...

 Chennai Open
Chennai Open
The Chennai Open is a professional tennis tournament played on outdoor hard courts. It is currently part of the ATP World Tour 250 series of the Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour...

 tournament held in Chennai every January is the biggest Tennis event in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

.

Tamil Nadu has a long standing motor sports culture. The sport was pioneered by Sundaram Karivardhan in its early days. Notable sports persons from Tamil Nadu in the field are Narain Karthikeyan
Narain Karthikeyan
Kumar Ram Narain Karthikeyan , is the first Formula One motor racing driver from India. He has previously competed in A1GP, and the Le Mans Series. He made his Formula One debut in with the Jordan team, and was a WilliamsF1 test driver in and...

, the first Indian to participate in F1
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

 racing, and Karun Chandhok. Motor racing events are held at the Irungattukottai track (near Sriperumbudur), Sholavaram track and Kari Motorspeedway near Coimbatore.


The Tamil Nadu Hockey Association is the governing body of Hockey
Field hockey
Field Hockey, or Hockey, is a team sport in which a team of players attempts to score goals by hitting, pushing or flicking a ball into an opposing team's goal using sticks...

 in the state. Vasudevan Baskaran
Vasudevan Baskaran
Vasudevan Baskaran is a former hockey player from India. He captained the Indian team, which won the gold medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Soviet Union.-Career:...

 was the captain of the Indian team that won gold medal in 1980 Olympics at Moscow. The Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium
Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium
Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium is a field hockey stadium at Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It was the venue to the 1996 Men's Champions Trophy, and hosted the tournament again in December 2005...

 in Chennai hosts international hockey events and is regarded by the International Hockey Federation
International Hockey Federation
The International Field Hockey Federation is the global governing body of field hockey...

 as one of the best in the world for its infrastructure. Chennai hosted the SAF Games in 1995. Anju Bobby George
Anju Bobby George
Anju Bobby George is an Indian athlete. Anju Bobby George made history when she won the bronze medal in Long Jump at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics in Paris. With this achievement, she became the first Indian athlete ever to win a medal in a World Championships in Athletics jumping...

, a world renowned athlete, represents Tamil Nadu in the national arena.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai
The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is a Chennai stadium and seats 40,000. It hosts football , and athletic competitions. The complex also houses a multi purpose indoor stadium with a seating capacity of 8000 which hosts volleyball, basket ball, table tennis etc. The stadium is named after Jawaharlal...

 in Chennai is a multi-purpose stadium hosting Football and Track & Field events. The Indian Triathlon Federation and the Volleyball Federation of India are headquartered in Chennai. Chennai hosted India’s first ever International Beach Volleyball
Beach volleyball
Beach volleyball, or sand volleyball, is an Olympic team sport played by two teams of two players on a sand court divided by a net.Like volleyball, the object of the game is to send the ball over the net in order to ground it on the opponent’s court, and to prevent the same effort by the opponent....

 Championship in 2008.

World Chess champion and Indian Grand Master Viswanathan Anand
Viswanathan Anand
V. Anand or Anand Viswanathan, usually referred as Viswanathan Anand, is an Indian chess Grandmaster, the current World Chess Champion, and currently second highest rated player in the world....

 and Arjuna Awardee and two-time world carrom champion Maria Irudayam hail from Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu boasts of total of 8 Grand Masters and numerous International Masters.
Snooker
Snooker
Snooker is a cue sport that is played on a green baize-covered table with pockets in each of the four corners and in the middle of each of the long side cushions. A regular table is . It is played using a cue and snooker balls: one white , 15 worth one point each, and six balls of different :...

 was invented by General Sir Frederick Roberts at the Ooty Club in Ooty, a hill station in the state.

The SDAT – TNSRA Squash
Squash (sport)
Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball...

 Academy in Chennai, one of the very few modern squash facilities in South Asia, hosts international squash events.

Tamil Nadu has six 18-hole Golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

 courses, the most popular of which are Kodaikanal Golf Club
Kodaikanal Golf Club
Kodaikanal Golf Club is a private membership club with a 18 hole, par 71 Golf course. It is located about southwest from the center of Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu, South India at an elevation of ....

, established in 1895, Ooty Golf Course
Ooty Golf Course
Ooty Golf Course is located in the town of Ooty in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The golf course is set at an altitude of 7600 feet. It is owned by the Gymkhana club in Ooty...

, established in 1896, and Gymkhana Club, Chennai. The Madras Boat Club
Madras Boat Club
The Madras Boat Club, located in the South of India, in the historic city of Chennai is one of the oldest rowing centres in India.-History:It was a few Englishmen in Madras who founded the club in 1867...

, set up in 1867, hosts regular rowing races on the Adyar River
Adyar River
Adyar or Adayar, originating near the Chembarambakkam Lake in Chengalpattu district, is one of the two rivers which winds through Chennai , South India, and joins the Bay of Bengal at the Adyar Estuary. The 42.5 km-long river contributes to the estuarine ecosystem of Chennai. Despite the high...

. The 232-year-old Guindy race course in Chennai is a horse racing venue. Adventure sports have gained popularity, especially amongst the tourists visiting the state.

Tourism


{{Main| Tourism in Tamil Nadu}}

Tamil Nadu's tourism industry is the second largest in India, with an annual growth rate of 16%. Tourism in Tamil Nadu is promoted by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), a Government of Tamil Nadu undertaking. The tagline adopted for promoting tourism in Tamil Nadu is Enchanting Tamil Nadu. Approximately 1,753,000 foreign and 50,647,000 domestic tourists visited the state in 2007.
Tamil Nadu is a land of varied beauty. It boasts some of the grandest Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 temples of Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. They consist primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Koils which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting...

. These temples are of a distinct style renowned for their towering Gopurams. The Brihadishwara Temple in Thanjavur, built by the Cholas, the Airavateswara temple in Darasuram
Darasuram
Darasuram or Dharasuram is a panchayat town located 3 kilometres from Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, India. According to the 2001 census, the town had a population of 13,027. The town is known for the Airavateswara temple constructed by the Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century AD...

 and the Shore Temple
Shore Temple
The Shore Temple is so named because it overlooks the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. It was built on a promontory sticking out into the Bay of Bengal at Mahabalipuram, a village south of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu,...

, along with the collection of other monuments in Mahabalipuram also called as Mamallaburam have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple is one of the famous Shiva Temples situated at the heart of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India.-History:...

 situated in the heart of Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli , also known as Nellai , and historically as Tinnevelly, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District and the sixth biggest city in Tamil Nadu...

 city. Madurai is home to one of the grandest Hindu temples in the World — Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-alavai is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India...

. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam is the largest functioning temple in the world, Tiruchirappalli where the famous Rockfort Temple temple is located, Rameshwaram whose temple walk-ways corridor (Praagarams) are the longest [1.2 km] of all Indian temples in the world, Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

 and Palani
Palani
Palani is a city and a municipality in the Dindigul district of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located about 100 km South of Coimbatore City and 60 km west of Dindigul...

 are important pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Other popular temples in Tamil Nadu include those in Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram was erected as the capital of the Cholas by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, the great Chola who conquered a large area in South India at the beginning of the 11th century C.E. It occupies an important place in the history of India. As the capital...

, Chidambaram
Chidambaram
Chidambaram is a fast growing industrial city in Eastern part of Tamil Nadu and the taluk headquarters of the Cuddalore district. It is located in 58 km from Pondicherry, 60 km from Karaikal, and 240 km south of Chennai by rail...

, Thiruvannaamalai, Tiruttani
Tiruttani
Tiruttani is a town in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the main tourist centre in Thiruvallur district about 84 km from Chennai. Thiruthani Murugan Temple is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga. Tiruttani is 15 km from Andhra Pradesh state...

, Kumbakonam
Kumbakonam
Kumbakonam , also spelt as Coombaconum in the records of British India , is a town and a special grade municipality in the Thanjavur district in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located 40 kilometres from Thanjavur and 272 kilometres from Chennai, it is the headquarters of the Kumbakonam...

, Tiruvannamalai
Tiruvannamalai
Thiruvannamalai is a pilgrimage Temple city and special grade municipality in Thiruvannamalai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Thiruvannamalai district. Thiruvannamalai is home to the Annamalaiyar Temple located at the foot of the Annamalai hill and...

, Karur
Karur
Karur is a large town and a municipality in Karur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu situated on the banks of Amaravati. Karur district was formed on 30 September 1995 by trifurcating Tiruchirappalli district. It is the administrative headquarters of Karur District. Karur has a very long...

, Bhavani
Bhavani
Bhavani is a ferocious aspect of the Hindu goddess Parvati. Bhavani means "giver of life", the power of nature or the source of creative energy. In addition to her ferocious aspect, she is also known as Karunaswaroopini, "filled with mercy"....

, Srivilliputhur
Srivilliputhur
Srivilliputhur is a semi-urban town and a municipality in Virudhunagar district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu....

, Namakkal, Tiruchendur
Tiruchendur
Thiruchendur is a panchayat town in Thoothukudi district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This town has a different name called Thirucheer Alaiwai.-Demographics:...

, Tiruvarur
Tiruvarur
Tiruvarur is a town and a municipality in Tiruvarur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tiruvarur is the administrative headquarters of Tiruvarur district. Tiruvarur is one of the oldest towns which has been popular as cultural head quarters for many centuries...

, Vellore
Vellore
Vellore It is considered one of the oldest cities in South India and lies on the banks of the Palar river on the site of Vellore Fort. The city lies between Chennai and Bangalore and the Temple towns of Thiruvannamalai and Tirupati...

, Coimbatore
Coimbatore
Coimbatore , also known as Kovai , is the second largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a major commercial centre in Tamil Nadu and is known as the "Manchester of South India"....

,
Kanniyakumari etc.,.

Tamil Nadu is also home to beautiful hill stations. Popular among them are Udhagamandalam (Ooty), Kodaikanal
Kodaikanal
-Climate:Kodaikanal has a monsoon-influenced subtropical highland climate . The temperatures are cool throughout the year due to the high elevation of the city.-Economy:...

, Yercaud, Coonoor
Coonoor
Coonoor is a town and a municipality in the Nilgiris district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is known for its production of Nilgiri tea....

, Topslip
Topslip
Topslip is located above the from the sea level on the Anamalai mountain range. It is a small place in Indira Gandhi National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary that lies in the Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu at the southern part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve...

, Valparai
Valparai
Valparai is a hill station in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu,India. It is located 3,500 feet above sea level on the Anaimalai Hills range of the Western Ghats, at a distance of 100 km from Coimbatore and 65 km from Pollachi.There are 40 hairpin bends on the way to Valparai from Azhiyar...

, Yelagiri
Yelagiri
Yelagiri is a hill station / village in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India, situated off the Vaniyambadi-Tirupattur road. Located at an altitude of 1,410 metres above Mean Sea Level and spread across 30 km2, the Yelagiri village is surrounded by orchards, rose-gardens, and green...

 and Manjolai. The Nilgiri hills, Palani hills, Shevaroy hills, Kolli Hills
Kolli Hills
Kolli Hills or Kolli Malai is a small mountain range located in central Tamil Nadu in Namakkal district of India. The mountains are about 1000 to 1300 m in height and cover an area of approximately 280 km². The Kolli Hills has 72 hair pin bends to reach the top of the hills...

 and Cardamom hills are all abodes of thick forests and wildlife. Mukurthi National Park
Mukurthi National Park
Mukurthi National Park is a 78.46 km² protected area located in the south-eastern corner of the Nilgiris Plateau west of Ootacamund hill station in the northwest corner of Tamil Nadu state in the Western Ghats mountain range of South India...

 & Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve , situated in the Southern Western Ghats in Tirunelveli district, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the second largest protected area in Tamil Nadu State.-History:...

 are the two tiger reserves in the state. Tamil Nadu has many National Parks, Biosphere Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Elephant and Bird Sanctuaries, Reserved Forests, Zoos and Crocodile farms. Prominent among them are Mudumalai National Park
Mudumalai National Park
The Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary Tamil:முதுமலை வனவிலங்கு காப்பகம், now also declared a Tiger Reserve, lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills , in Nilgiri District, about north-west of Coimbatore in the westernmost part of Tamil Nadu, on the interstate boundaries with...

, The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary and Arignar Anna Zoological Park
Arignar Anna Zoological Park
Arignar Anna Zoological Park , also known as the Vandalur Zoo, is a zoological garden located in Vandalur, a suburb in the southwestern part of Chennai, India, about from the city centre and from Chennai Airport on GST Road. The zoo is contiguous with the Guindy National Park. Founded in 1855,...

. The mangrove
Mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

 forests at Pichavaram
Pichavaram
Pichavaram is located near Chidambaram in Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu, in South India. The nearest railway station is Chidambaram from where it is accessible by road....

 are also eco-tourism spots of importance.
Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of peninsular India, is famous for its beautiful sunrise, Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a sacred monument and popular tourist attraction in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, India. The memorial stands on one of two rocks located about 500 meters off mainland of Vavathurai, India's southernmost tip...

 and Thiruvalluvar's statue built off the coastline. Marina Beach
Marina Beach
Marina Beach is a beach in the city of Chennai , India, along the Bay of Bengal, part of the Indian Ocean. The beach runs from near Fort St. George in the north to Besant Nagar in the south, a distance of , making it the longest urban beach in the country and the world's second longest...

 in Chennai is one of the longest beaches in the world. The stretch of beaches from Chennai to Mahabalipuram are home to many resorts, theme parks and eateries. The prominent waterfalls in the state are Courtallam
Courtallam
Courtallam is a panchayat town situated at a mean elevation of on the Western Ghats in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu, India. Many seasonal and a few perennial rivers such as the Chittar River, the Manimuthar River, the Pachaiyar River and the Tambaraparani River originate in this region...

, Hogenakal, Papanasam, Manimuthar, Thirparappu, Pykara
Pykara
Pykara is a river located 19 km from Ooty in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Pykara is considered very sacred by the Todas. The Pykara river rises at Mukurthi peak. It passes through hilly tract, generally keeping to North and turns to West after reaching the Plateau's edge...

 and Silver Cascade. The Chettinad region of the state is renowned for its Palatial houses and cuisine. With medical care in Chennai, Vellore, Coimbatore and Madurai, Tamil Nadu has the largest numbers in Medical tourism
Medical tourism
Medical tourism is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of travelling across international borders to obtain health care...

 in India.

See also


{{satop|Geography|Eurasia|Asia|South Asia|India|Tamil Nadu|Chennai}}
  • Tamil Eelam
    Tamil Eelam
    Tamil Eelam , is the name given by certain Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora to the independent state which they aspire to create in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Tamil Eelam has no official status or recognition by any other state or authority...

  • Dravidian
    Dravidian peoples
    Dravidian peoples is a term used to refer to the diverse groups of people who natively speak languages belonging to the Dravidian language family. Populations of speakers of around 220 million are found mostly in Southern India. Other Dravidian people are found in parts of central India, Sri Lanka,...


{{clear}}

External links



{{Geographic location
|Centre = Tamil Nadu
|North = Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...


|Northeast =
|East = Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...


|Southeast = Palk Strait
Palk Strait
Palk Strait is a strait between the Tamil Nadu state of India and the Mannar district of the Northern Province of the island nation of Sri Lanka. It connects the Bay of Bengal in the northeast with the Palk Bay and thence with the Gulf of Mannar in the southwest. The strait is wide. Several...


|South = Indian Ocean
|Southwest =
|West = Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....


|Northwest = Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...


}}

{{Tamil Nadu}}
{{States and territories of India}}