Coromandel Coast

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This article is about the Coromandel Coast of India. For the similarly named region in New Zealand, see Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel Coast is the name given to the southeastern coast of the Indian peninsula. It is generally thought to be derived from the Tamil phrase Chola Mandal, or the region (mandalam) of the Chola, an ancient dynasty of southern India. Historically the Coromandel Coast generally referred to the stretch of coast between Point Calimere (Kodikkarai), near the delta of the Cauvery River, north to the mouths of the Krishna River. Presently the Coromandel Coast is shared by the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the union territory of Pondicherry.

The coast is generally low, and punctuated by the deltas of several large rivers, including the Kaveri (Cauvery), Palar, Penner, and Krishna, which rise in the highlands of the Western Ghats and flow across the Deccan Plateau to drain into the Bay of Bengal. The alluvial plains created by these rivers are fertile and favour agriculture. The coast is also known for its ports and harbours, Pulicat, Chennai (Madras), Sadras, Pondicherry, Karaikal, Cuddalore, Tranquebar, Nagore, and Nagapattinam, which take advantage of their close proximity with regions rich in natural and mineral resources (like the Chhattisgarh belt and the mines of Golconda and Kolar) and/or good transport infrastructure. The planar geography of the region also favours urban growth and agglomerations.

The Coromandel Coast falls in the rain shadow of the Western Ghats, and receives a good deal less rainfall during the summer southwest monsoon, which contributes heavily to rainfall in the rest of India. The region averages 800 mm/year, most of which falls between October and December. The topography of the Bay of Bengal, and the staggered weather pattern prevalent during the season favours northeast monsoon, which has a tendency to cause cyclones and hurricanes rather than a steady precipitation. As a result, the coast is hit by inclement weather almost every year between October to January. The high variability of rainfall patterns are also responsible for water scarcity and famine in most areas not served by the great rivers. For example, the city of Chennai is one of the most driest cities in the country in terms of potable water availability, despite high percentage of moisture in the air, due to the unpredictable, seasonal nature of the monsoon.

The Coromandel Coast was the scene of rivalries among European powers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for control of the India trade. The British established themselves at Fort St George (Madras) and Masulipatnam, the Dutch at Pulicat and Sadras, the French at Pondicherry, Karaikal and Nizampatnam, and the Danish at Tranquebar. Eventually the British won out, although France retained the tiny enclaves of Pondicherry and Karaikal until 1954. Chinese lacquer goods, including boxes, screens, and chests, became known as "Coromandel" goods in the eighteenth century, because many Chinese exports were consolidated at the Coromandel ports.

The Coromandel Coast is home to the East Deccan dry evergreen forests ecoregion, which runs in a narrow strip along the coast. Unlike most of the other tropical dry forest regions of India, where the trees lose their leaves during the dry season, the East Deccan dry evergreen forests retain their leathery leaves year round. The Coromandel coast is also home to extensive mangrove forests along the low-lying coast and river deltas, and several important wetlands, notably Kaliveli Lake and Pulicat Lake, that are provide habitat to thousands of migrating and resident birds.

Template:2004Earthquake The tsunamis devastated the Coromandel Coast, killing many and sweeping away many coastal communities. Casualty figures are available on the main earthquake page.de:Koromandelküste fr:Côte de Coromandel no:Koromandelkysten

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