Tamil Nadu - Quick Facts

Area: 130,058
State Capital: Chennai
Language: Tamil
Climate: Tropical
Annual Rainfall: 933mm
Religion: Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism

The places of tourist interest in the state are Chennai, the beautiful capital city; Mamallapuram, the beach resort; Kanchipuram, the land of 1000 temples; Madurai famous for the Meenakshi temple; Rameswara, Tiruchirapalli and Thanjavur, the temple trio; the charming hill resorts of Yercaud, Ootacamund and Kodaikanal and Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India, renowned for its fantastic sunrise and sunset.

The state of Tamil Nadu is divided into 26 Administrative Districts which in turn are further bifurcated into smaller divisions and subdivisions including a total of 17,272 villages. The state Capital, Madras now renamed as Chennai is the fourth largest city in the Indian sub-continent. It extends over an area of 174 Sq.km.

The history of Tamil Nadu dates back to the time the Dravidians had moved south, following the advent of Aryans in the north. Historically, South India consisted of four main Dravidian Kingdoms, the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas (who ruled over what is now Tamil Nadu) and the Chalukyas. The Muslim invasion of the South in the 14th century caused a retaliatory reaction from the Hindus, who rallied to build a strong new kingdom, with its capital at Vijaynagar. On independence, the Madras province, as the south was known then, was divided on a linguistic basis into states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. A mutual exchange of certain areas between Kerala and Tamil Nadu (Malabar and Kasargod to Kerala; Shencotta and Kanyakumari from Kerala) was undertaken according to the State Reorganisation Act, following which Madras adopted a new name, Tamil Nadu.

The Sound of Veena rends the morning air. A Bharatanatyam dancer is immersed in her daily practice. The aroma of “filter coffee” tickles the nostrils. Young girls with flowers in their hairs, draw bleft coloured “rangoli”pattern in front of their houses. Men clad in impeccably white dhotis, umbrellas in hand walk down to the vegetable market.

Chennai is the most Indian of all the Indian cities. Tradition is still alive here. Age old customs and rituals are still religiously followed. Food is till cooked the way “ajji”used to do it. Festivals are still celebrated with all the devotional fervour of yore. And yet Chennai is also managed to keep pace with the times. This Harmonious blend of the old and the new is one of the charming aspects of this lovely city. Close to Chennai is Mamallapuram-the land of beaches and Shore temples. A perfect Place to unwind. Dodge the waves. Build sand castles. Or simply soak in the Sun. Come Have a great Holiday at Chennai and Mamallapuram.

By Air
Chennai is one of the four major international airports of India. The Kamaraj Domestic Airport and the Anna International Airport are located at Tirusulam, 7 kms south of Chennai. The city has representation of almost all airlines of the world.

By Rail
Chennai is the headquarters of Southern Railway and well connected to all the major cities in India through a wide network of railways.

By Road
Well connected by all the major cities of India as well as states.

The people of Tamil Nadu lead by and large, relaxed lifestyles. Tamils have deep interest in music, dance and literature. Dance forms like Bharanatyam and various forms of music, including Carnatic Music, have flourished here for centures. Festivals are a daily feature in this region. Navaratri or Dussehra (September/October), Deepavali (October/ November), Karthika (November/December) and Pongal (January) are the popular ones. Handicrafts include the most intricately carved designes in wood, stone and metal. The exquisitely carved Bronze and Tanjore plate deserve special mention here.

The people of the state speak Tamil language. But of late owing to immigrants from other states into the urban centres of the state, there has been a discernible increase in the number of languages spoken in the state. Today several languages such as Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi and other Indian languages are being spoken in the state. Other than these languages, English is spoken by the educated in most parts of the state. Tamil Nadu has a literacy rate of 62.66 per cent with the male literacy rate being 63.78 per cent and the female literacy rate being 44.60 per cent.

Tamils are lovers of good food. Their favourite cuisines invariably consist of idly (steamed rice cakes), dosai (a pancake made from a batter of rice) and lentils crisp fried on a pan, vada (deep fried doughnuts made from a batter of lentils), pongal (a mish mash of rice and lentils boiled together and seasoned with ghee, cashew nuts, pepper and cumin seed), uppuma (cooked semolina seasoned in oil with mustard, pepper, cummin seed and dry lentils.) Lunch or meals consists of cooked rice served with an array of vegetable dishes, sambar, chutneys, rasam (a hot broth made with tamarind juice and pepper) and curd (yogurt).

Tamil Nadu, India’s cultural capital is renowned for its splendid temples and other architectural edifices. The state’s claim to fame lies in its magnificent and renowned Tanjore paintings that thrived in ancient Thanjavur during the Chola dynasty. The revered and traditional art form depicting the sacred deities is embellished with semi-precious stones, pearls, glass pieces and gold and colored in the vibrant hues. The modern Tanjore paintings however portray floral motifs, animals, birds as well as pretty human figures.

Tamil Nadu’s art and culture also abounds in musical instruments that strike a melodious chord. The Naadaswaram, the Silappadikaaram, the Kumbu, Tambours and vicarious lutes and percussion instruments add a musical note to the various colorful festivities of the state.

Paintings | Woodcraft | The Craft Of Making Musical Instruments | Jewelry | Stone Carving | Pottery | Metal ware.

A unique festival of Carnatic music, the Thyagaraja festival is held annually in January at Thiruvariyar, the birth place of famous singer poet Thyagaraja, where one can witness the amazing spectacle of mass performance, in total harmony and rhythm.

Tamil Nadu is a land of many festivals. January marks the beginning of the festival season in the state. Pongal is the first festival and it is celebrated with much enthusiasm. It is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu. “Pongal” is actually the name of a rice and lentil dish cooked in Tamil Nadu, and on this festive day Pongal is cooked. It is celebrated on January 14, each year. In fact, four festivals are celebrated in Tamil Nadu for four consecutive days in that week. Bhogi is celebrated on January 13, Pongal on Jan 14, Maattu Pongal on Jan 15, and Kannum Pongal and Thiruvalluvar Day on Jan 16.

Thiruvalluvar Day The poet saint Thiruvalluvar made a significant contribution to Tamil Literature with his Thirukkural. The book contains 1,330 verses in couplets. Each in these couplets talks about the different aspects of human life. People visit their alternative towns and villages during the harvest festival season.

Tamil Nadu, popularly referred as the cradle of Dravidian culture, offers exciting shopping experiences to its visitors. The state is renowned for its rich culture heritage including its exquisite arts and crafts, which are world-famous for their uniqueness. Traditional items like Kanchipuram silks, Pattamara mats and the leaf and palmyra-fiber handicrafts from Tirunelveli, bronze and brass castings and traditional jewelry from Kumbakonam, metal works from Tanjore and stone sculptures from Mahabalipuram are famous all over the country.

Chennai is a hustling bustling metropolitan city and is counted amongst the largest cites in India. Madras was an important trade center during the British rule and has been growing ever since. After the concepts of globalization and liberalization invaded the Indian markets, there has been a flood of international brands here. With this, the shopping mall culture is spreading at a speed not known before. Shopping Malls are mushrooming with the speed of fire and have completely changed the face of the city.

Chennai | Chidambaram | Coimbatore | Kanchipuram | Kanyakumari | Kodaikanal| | Mahabalipuram | Madurai | Rameshwaram | Thanjavur | Trichy | Udagamandalam | Vailankanni | Vellore | Yarcard.

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