Tamil Nadu

From Academic Kids

State Seal Missing image

Capital Chennai
Language Tamil
Governor Surjith Singh Barnala
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa
Area 130, 058sq.km
 - Total
 - Density

62,110,839 (2001)

Literacy rate :
 - Total
 - Male
 - Female


Tamil Nadu (தமிழ் நாடு, "Land of the Tamils") is a state at the southern tip of India. The bordering states/territories are Pondicherry, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The island nation of Sri Lanka, which has a significant Tamil minority, lies off the southeast coast.

Tamil Nadu was formerly part of the Madras Presidency of British India, which also included parts of present-day Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala. Upon India's independence, Madras Presidency became Madras state; in 1953, the Telugu-speaking northeastern part of the state became the new state of Andhra Pradesh, and Bellary district became part of Mysore state. In 1956, the state acquired its present borders when the western portion of Madras state, on the Arabian Sea, was divided between Mysore state (later Karnataka) and the new state of Kerala. In August 1968 Madras state was re-named Tamil Nadu. State politics continue to have a focus on protecting and celebrating the Tamil (and Dravidian) language and culture.

Unlike most other parts of the country, Tamil Nadu gets its rainfall largely from the "North-East monsoon" in the months of October-December. Farmers are very dependent on the fickle handful of cyclonic storms that are formed in this season in the Bay of Bengal. Tamil Nadu was one of the states affected by the Asian Tsunami on December 26, 2004.

There is a long standing dispute with Karnataka over the matter of water from the Cauvery River. The river flows south from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, and both regions draw on water from the river, prompting concerns over whether the upper riparian Karnataka has released its fair share of river water to the lower riparian Tamil Nadu.

Chennai, which was known until 1996 as Madras, is the largest city and the state capital. Chennai is the home of Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world. Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Salem and Tirunelveli are other large cities of Tamil Nadu. Silver Beach in Cuddalore is the longest beach next only to Marina and has importance as a tourist attraction.

Tamil Nadu is known for its rich tradition of literature, music and dance which continue to flourish today. It is one of the most progressive and industrialized states in India. Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu (as well as one of the official languages of India).

Some of the prominent personalities from the state are Subramanya Bharathy, C.V. Raman, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, R K Narayan, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Abdul Kalam, Peraringnar Anna, Thanthai Periyar, Kalaingnar Karunanidhi, A. R. Rahman, Padmashree Kamal Haasan, and Vilayanur Ramachandran. Other mythological and/or ancient personalities include Kannagi, Thiruvalluvar, Kambar and Manuneedhi Chozan. Alan Turing, a prominent figure in Computer Science, spent his early childhood in the then Madras presidency. Tamil Nadu is also home to India's second largest film industry after Bollywood, producing a huge number of Tamil films each year. Often chennai been refered as Kollywood (the locality of kodambakkam in chennai, houses all the cinema related facilities of chennai)as it was the center of all the four south Indian language movies for a longtime.

Missing image
Tamilnadu - Hilly landscape of Ooty



Tamil Nadu's recorded history dates back about 6000 years and the origin of its people is closely tied to the debates of the Aryan invasion theory. Those who uphold this theory favour the view that the Tamils belong to the Dravidian race and were part of the early Indus Valley settlers. Later with the advent of the Aryan invasion, the Dravidians were pushed back into the deep south where they ultimately settled. The present day states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh constitute the Dravidian culture. Whatever the historical truth, the identity of the Tamils has largely been forged on this ground.

The Dravida Nadu of which modern Tamil Nadu formed a part was constituted by various kingdoms such as that of the Pallava, the Chera, the Chola, the Pandya, the Chalukya and the Vijayanagara. Also unfettered by the changes happening in the rulers and kingdoms in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere was the region of Kongu Nadu, comprising the present-day districts of Coimbatore, Erode, Karur, Namakkal, Salem and parts of Dharmapuri and Dindigul. Though this region is still populated by mostly agricultural communities, they are still politically very powerful and culturally distinct communities. In fact, the Kongu leaders had so much freedom, independence, reverence and respect during all three periods of Pandyas, Cholas and Cheras, that they often acted as intermediaries in solving issues arising from the three kingdoms. They also had the right to crown the kings of Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas.

The history of the Pandyan kingdom dates as early as 6th century BCE. Madurai was founded by the first Pandyan king Kulasekara. The Pandyas excelled in trade and learning. They controlled the present districts of Madurai, Tirunelveli, and part of south Kerala. The Pandyas had trading contacts with Greece and Rome and were powerful in their own right, though they were subjugated during various periods by the Pallavas and Cholas.

The kingdom of the Cheras comprised of the modern state of Kerala, along the western or Malabar Coast of southern India. Their proximity to the sea favoured trade with Romans. This region never experienced Muslim conquest and remained independent until the British period.

Missing image
Thiruvalluvar statue in kanyakumari

1st to 9th centuries

The early Cholas reigned between 1st and 4th centuries CE. The first and the most famous king of this period was Karikalan, who built the Kallanai (kall - stone, anai - bund), a dam across the Cauvery River, which is considered to be an engineering marvel of that time. The Cholas occupied the present Thanjavur and Tiruchirapalli districts and excelled in military exploits.

During the later half of 4th century, Pallavas the great temple builders emerged into prominence dominated the south for another 400 years. They ruled a large portion of Tamil Nadu with Kanchipuram as their base. In the 6th century they defeated the Cholas and reigned as far as Sri Lanka. Among the greatest Pallava rulers were Mahendravarman-l and his son Narasimhavarman. Dravidian architecture reached its epitome during Pallava rule. The last Pallava King was Aparajitha. He was defeated by Aditya Chola towards the end of the 9th century.

9th to 13th centuries

The Cholas again rose to power by 9th century. Under Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose as a notable power in South India. The Chola empire stretched as far as central India, Orissa and parts of West Bengal. Rajaraja Chola conquered the eastern Chalukya kingdom, defeated the Cheras, and annexed parts of Ceylon by defeating the Pandyas. Rajendra Chola went beyond, occupying the islands of Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Sumatra, Java, Malaya and the islands of Pegu with his fleet of ships. He defeated Mahipala the king of Bihar and Bengal, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital called Gangaikonda Cholapuram. The power of the Cholas declined around the 13th century.

14th century

With the decline of the Cholas, the Pandyas rose to prominence once again in the early 14th century. This was short lived -- they were soon subdued by Muslim Khilji invaders from the north in 1316. The city of Madurai was ransacked and completely destroyed. The invasion weakened both the Cholas and Pandyas and led to the establishment of Bahmani Kingdom in the northern Deccan.

This 14th century invasion caused a retaliatory reaction from the Hindus, who rallied to build a strong new kingdom, called the Vijayanagara empire. It absorbed all strongholds of Cholas and other local Hindu rulers to check the Muslims. Governors called Nayaks were engaged to run different territories of the empire. With Hampi as the Capital, Vijayanagar Empire was the most prosperous dynasty in the south. But by 1564 the empire came to an end at the hands of Deccan sultans in the battle of Talikota. The empire was split into many parts and was given to the Nayaks to rule. Tamil Country under Nayaks was peaceful and prosperous. The Nayaks of Madurai and Thanjavur were most prominent of them all. They reconstructed some of the oldest temples in the country.

17th century

Around 1609, the Dutch established a settlement in Pulicat. In 1639, the British, under the British East India Company, established a settlement further south, in present day Chennai. The British used petty quarrels among the provincial rulers (divide and rule) to expand their sphere of influence.

The British fought with the various European powers, notably the French at Vandavasi (Wandiwash) in 1760, and the Dutch at Tharangambadi (Tranquebar), driving the Dutch away entirely, and reducing the French dominions in India to Pondicherry. The British also fought four wars with the Kingdom of Mysore under Hyder Ali and later his son Tipu Sultan, which led to their eventual domination of India's south. They consolidated southern India into the Madras Presidency.

Some notable Chieftains or Poligars who fought the British East India Company as it was expanding, were Veerapandya Kattabomman, Maruthus and Pulithevan.

20th century

When India became independent in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras State, comprising of present day Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh, northern Kerala, and the southwest coast of Karnataka.

The state was subsequently split up along linguistic lines. In 1953 the northern districts formed Andhra Pradesh. Under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, Madras State lost its western coastal districts. The Bellary and South Kanara districts were ceded to Mysore state, and Kerala was formed from the Malabar district and the former princely states of Travancore and Cochin. In 1968, Madras State was renamed Tamil Nadu, partly to resist the imposition of Hindi as a national language by the Central Government in New Delhi.

Periyar - Father of the Dravidian movement
Periyar - Father of the Dravidian movement


List of political parties in the state List of Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu had a bicameral legislature until 1986, when it was replaced with a unicameral legislature, like most other states in India.

Regional parties have dominated state politics since 1967.

One of the earliest regional parties was the South Indian Welfare Association, which was founded in 1916. It came to be known as the "Justice Party" after the name of its English-language daily, Justice. E.V. Ramaswamy, popularly known as "Periyar", renamed the party Dravidar Kazhagam 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 Periyar and C.N. Annadurai, the party was split.

Missing image
DMK and AIADMK use almost the same colors (Black and Red) for branding, except that AIADMK uses an extra white strip between the black and red.

Annadurai left the party to form the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. The DMK decided to enter into politics in 1956. The Anti-Hindi agitations in mid-1960s made the DMK more popular and more powerful in the state. The DMK routed the Congress Party in the 1967 elections and took control of the state government, ending Congress's stronghold in Tamil Nadu. M. Karunanidhi became the party's leader after the death of Annadurai 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 All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). He was the Chief Minister of the state from 1977 until his death in 1987. After the death of MGR, the party split again into two factions, one led by Janaki Ramachandran, wife of MGR, and the other led by J. Jayalalithaa. After the defeat of AIADMK in 1989 assembly polls, both factions were merged and Jayalalithaa took control of the party. She was elected as the General Secretary of the unified AIADMK.

There have been splits in both the DMK and the AIADMK, but since 1967 one of those two parties has held power in the state. Currently, the leader of the AIADMK, J. Jayalilathaa, is the Chief Minister of the state.


Tamil Nadu's population stood at 62,110,839 as of 00.00 hours of March 1, 2001. It is the sixth most populous State of the Indian Union behind Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. The State accounts for 6.05 per cent of the country's population. Its population density at 478 persons per square kilometre, up from 429 in 1991, and much higher than the all-India density of 324, makes it the eleventh most densely populated State (1991 rank:10). [1] (http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1809/18090930.htm)

During the decade 1991-2001, Tamil Nadu reported the second lowest decadal growth in population after Kerala, among the group of States with population exceeding 20 million in 2001. While Kerala's population grew by 9.42 per cent between 1991 and 2001, Tamil Nadu's grew by 11.19 per cent. In fact, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Orissa are the only three States in this group to have shown a decline in decadal percentage change in population in every decade since 1971.


Missing image
Tamilnadu - Lake view of Kodaikanal

As the third largest state in terms of Economy, Tamil Nadu is among the industrialised states in India. It ranks third in the country in total foreign direct investment (FDI) of Rs. 22,582.64 crores, next only to Maharashtra (Rs. 36,602.41 crores) and Delhi (Rs. 30,303.79 crores). The State's investment constitutes 9.12 per cent of the total FDI in the country [2] (http://www.hindu.com/2005/04/22/stories/2005042211030100.htm).Unlike many other states, the economic resource and the infrastructure excellence is spreadout. According to the 2001 Census, Tamil Nadu has the highest level of urbanization (43.86 percent) in India, accounting for 6% of Indias total population and 9.6% of the urban population.

Textile: Textile industry plays a significant role in Indian economy by providing direct employment to an estimated 35 million people, and thereby contributing 4% of GDP and 35 % of Gross Export Earnings. The textile sector contributes to 14% of the manufacturing sector. The city of Tirupur in Tamilnadu is the largest garment exporter in India and sometime refered as Textile valley of India. In 2004, the export turnover from the town was more than Rs 5,000 crores. Some 7,000 garment units in the town provides employment opportunity to 1 million people. 56% of India's total knitwear exports come from Tirupur. The Export Import Policy of 2002-2007 tributes to Tirupur for its contribution to the export efforts [3] (http://in.rediff.com/money/2005/feb/15bspec.htm).

Industrial: The heavy engineering manufacturing companies are centered around the suburbs of Chennai. Chennai boasts with presence of global car manufacturing giants like Ford, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi as well as home grown companies like MRF, TI cycles of India, Ashok leyland and TVS. Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant, Neyveli Lignite Power Plant and the Narimanam Natural Gas Plants are sources of fuel and energy. As of 2005, Tamil Nadu is one of the few Indian states with surplus power. Indias leading steel producer Salem steel plant is in Tamilnadu. [4] (http://www.sail.co.in/plant_special_salem.asp)

The town of Sivakasi is the leader for Printing, Fireworks, Safety matches Production in India. It was fondly called as Kutty Japan or little Japan by Mr.Jawaharlal Nehru. It contributes to 80% of India's total Safety Matches Production as well as 90% of India's Total Fireworks Production. Also Sivakasi provides over 60% of India's Total Offset Printing Solutions and ranks as one of the highest Tax payer towns in India. Sivakasi also is a 100% employed town, among a few towns in India.Tamilnadu is leading producer of Cement in India ,it is the home for leading cement brands in the country such as Chettinad cements, Dalmia cements, Ramco cements(Madras cement ltd.,), etc.,

Tamilnadu government owns the World's biggest bagasse based Paper mills [5] (http://www.tnpl.co.in/) as well as the World's sixth largest manufacturer of watches together with TATA, with a brand as TITAN (TATA Industries and TamilNadu)[6] (http://www.titanworld.com/titan/stores/watches/watcheshome.asp?catalogid=titan).

IT & Software: Tamilnadu ranks next only to Bangalore in the software exports in India and grossed over Rs 10,000 crore in 2005 [7] (http://www.elcot.com/). India's leading Software giants like Cognizant Technology Solutions, Infosys, TCS, Sathyam, Wipro have their research centres in Chennai. Apart from Chennai , Coimbatore and Hosur are also in the software tier II cities in India. Chennai has become the most preferred BPO hub in India and South Asia [8] (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1037825.cms). As the Health capital and Banking Capital, Chennai has attracted the presence of International companies as well as The World bank. Presence of India's leading healthcare facilities like Apollo, Malar hospitals, Cancer Research Institute facilitate as a destination for Healthcare BPO in India. Tamil Nadu has a network of about 110 industrial parks/estates that offer developed plots with supporting infrastructure[9] (http://www.tidelpark.com/)[10] (http://www.itpchennai.com/). Also, the Government is promoting other industrial parks like Rubber Park, Apparel Parks, Floriculture Park, TICEL Park for Biotechnology [11] (http://www.ticelbiopark.com/), Siruseri IT Park, Agro Export Zones among others.


Tamil Nadu has been a pioneering state in E-Governance initiatives in India. A large part of the government records like land ownership records are already digitised and all major offices of the state government like land registration offices, and transport offices have been computerized, thereby improving the quality of service and transparency in operations.

Social development

The Dravidian movement, which began in Tamil Nadu, aimed at providing opportunities to all irrespective of gender, caste or religion. Educating the people and eradicating superstitions were some of their objectives. They had a commitment to social justice which led to an education revolution in the state. Today many of India's premiere colleges are located in the state. One of the biggest achievements of the Dravidian parties and the earlier Kamaraj regime was their dedication to providing primary education. Schemes such as Mid-day meals, by then Chief Minister MG Ramachandran, ensured children went to school and lead to a tremendous increase in the literacy rates in the state. Another recent achievement by the present Chief Minister Dr. J.Jayalalithaa include the Womens Self Help Group that imparted social and financial independence to women in the state.

Tamil Nadu has also performed reasonably well in terms of literacy growth during the decade 1991-2001. The State's literacy rate increased from 62.66 per cent in 1991 to 73.47 per cent in 2001.[12] (http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1809/18090930.htm)


Main article: Districts of Tamil Nadu

There are 30 Districts in Tamil Nadu, with Krishnagiri District being the 30th with headquarters at Krishnagiri, by bifurcating the Dharmapuri district



Pongal, a four day harvest festival, is the most celebrated festival of Tamil Nadu, followed in importance by Diwali. Tamil New Year, which generally falls on April 14 or 15 of the English calendar, is another event of celebration. The first month in the tamil calendar is Chittirai. Apart from these, other national festivals like Dasara, Holi and Vinayaka Chathurthi are also celebrated.

Almost every major temple in Tamilnadu has a special celebration called The Kumbabishekam. Vaikunta Ekadasi, Thai Poosam, Aadi Velli are a few occasions when many temples wear a festive look.

In addition the Velankanni Church and The Nagore mosque stand testimony to the secular and multi-religious nature of the state. Christians are a fast growing group.


Missing image
View of Kodaikanal hills

Tamil Nadu is a land of varied beauty. It is mostly famous for its numerous Hindu temples based on the Dravidian architecture. The temples are of a distinct style which is famous for its towering Gopuram. Popular temple towns include Madurai, Trichy, Tanjore, Kanchipuram, Palani and Mahabalipuram. Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of peninsular India, is famous for its Thiruvalluvar statue. Hill stations like Kodaikanal and Nilgiris boast some of the stunning landscapes in India. The Nilgiris also has one of the two mountain Railways in India and is being evaluated for the UNESCO's World Heritage Site list.The Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary known for its elephants, tigers, and deer and The Pitchavaram Mangrove forests are two of the many eco-tourism spots of importance.

In Tiruvallur,near chennai is the Sri Viswaroopa Panchamukha AnjaneyaSwami Ashram (http://www.panchamukha.org) which has one of the largest Murthi's of Lord Anjneya. The Idol is made of a single green granite stone,brought from Hassan,Karnata and it stands 40 feet tall. The idol is an sculptural marvel.The Anjaneya Swami here is five faced - Anjaneya,Hayagriva,Narasimha,Varaha and Garuda Faces.

External links

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