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Tamil Nadu

AREA IN Sq. km 130,000


Tamil Nadu, state in southern India, bordered on the north by Andhra Pradesh state, on the northwest by Karnataka state, on the west by Kerala state, and on the east and south by the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Occupying the extreme south of the Indian peninsula, Tamil Nadu has an area of 130,058 sq km (50,215 sq mi).

The state is divided into 26 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

Its Legislative House has 235 seats. The state sends 57 members to the Indian national parliament: 18 to the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and 39 to the Lok Sabha (lower house). There are 18 local government administrative districts.


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.

Society, arts and culture

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. 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. 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 Telegu, 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 cummin 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).

Economy and Infrastructure

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the majority of the population. Irrigation has been practiced since the earliest times; today there are more than 20,000 km (12,430 mi) of irrigation channels. Important crops include sugarcane, groundnuts, oilseeds, cotton, bananas, potatoes, tea, and spices. Major forest products are timber, sandalwood, pulpwood and fuel wood, while the minor products include bamboo, eucalyptus, rubber, tea, cashew, honey and ivory.

Tamil Nadu has a 1000 km long coastline with its equatorial climate permitting year round fishery and farming. The state has a fairly stable presence in this sector with abundant skilled labour available, over 200 registered exporters of marine products, 29 freezing plants and 36 cold storages Investment opportunities in this sector include, shrimp farming and processing, Crab culture, Seaweed culture, etc, in additon to opportunities in infrastructure like air freight services, Cold storage facilities, Freezing plant etc.

Minerals like limestone, lignite, granite, clay, gypsum, feldspar, graphite and iron are found abundantly in Tamil Nadu. Besides these small quantities of gold, copper, magnesite, kaolin, bauxite, etc. are also found here

Industrial production is focused around Chennai and includes cotton, sugar, leather (more than 40 percent of India's exports), textiles, engineering, petrochemicals, and the manufacture of vehicles, railway rolling stock, and precision tools. Although power-generating capacity has increased, Tamil Nadu suffers from a shortage of electricity. A nuclear power station completed in 1986 and located south of Chennai at Kalpakkam is still not producing at full capacity

Tamil Nadu has a well-developed transportation network, including national and state highways; rail network; airports at Chennai, Madurai, and Tiruchchirappalli; and major ports at Chennai and Tuticorin

Tourist Centres

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; Rameshwaram, 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