Tamil Nadu
  (2 votes)

Introduction

Tamil Nadu, situated on the southernmost part of India, is the eleventh largest state among the 29 states in the country. The state is named after the people and the language spoken (Tamil Nadu – “Tamil” language and Nadu meaning country”. Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh are the neighbouring states and Pondicherry or Puducherry is the nearest union territory to the state on the Indian Mainland. The state is bordered by two seas namely Bay of Bengal in the east and Indian Ocean in the south. Eastern Ghats on the northern side and the state of Kerala on the west mark the land boundaries of the state. Kanyakumari, a district in Tamil Nadu, is the southernmost tip of the Indian Mainland.

According to the 2011 census, Tamil Nadu was ranked as the sixth most populous state in the country and sixth according to the Human Development Index. The state is also the third most developed state of the country with an employment percentage share of 9.97% of India, while the population of the state constituting 6% of the country’s population. Tamil Nadu has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and has a wide range of flora and fauna, beaches, and pilgrimage sites. Marina beach located on the seashore of Bay of Bengal in the state capital Chennai is the second longest urban beach in the world, with a length of 13km. The state is well known for the South Indian Classical (Carnatic) Music and Bharatanatyam is the dance form of Tamil Nadu that originated in the 19th-20th century in the temples of Tamil Nadu. The official language of the state, Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world and it has rich literary works over a period of more than 2500 years and thus holding the status of classical language.

History

Prehistory:

Tamil Nadu belongs to one of the oldest civilizations. It has been continuously inhabited over more than 3800 years (Neolithic age). The bones and skulls of human beings, grains of rice, and celts excavated near Adichanallur (Tirunelveli district), 24km from Tirunelvi are evidences to the early civilizations. The place is also marked as a site for excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It is said that the classical language Tamil has been taught to Sage Agastya by the Hindu God Shiva and the first Tamil grammar, Agathiyam was written by him in the 7th or 6th century BCE. He was also a master in spirituality and medicine and today about 96 books authored by him are available. The state has a good record of its history, written in Tamil and it contributes to about 60 percent of inscriptions found in India. The Genographic Project identified Virumandi Andithevar, of Piramalai Kallar community as the direct descendants of the first human settlers from African coast, who migrated around 60,000 years ago.

Indus valley script between 2000 and 1500 BC:

The Neolithic stone celt, with Indus script discovered by Iruvatham Mahadevan near Mayiladuthurai (Tamil Nadu) is the first evidence to the Indus Valley civilization and its script which dates back to around 1500 BC. Dravidian language was spoken by the Neolithic people of the state.

Early history (Sangam Period 300 BC – AD 300):

Sangam Tamil literature speaks about the Sangam period and the literary works between 300 BC to AD 300, ruled by the three prominent empires of the region – Cheras, Cholas, and Pandyas. The three Tamil Sangams (Meeting of great Tamil scholars) were held in the city of Madurai, which was the then capital of Pandyian Empire. The Pandyas ruled the Southern part of today’s Tamil Nadu and the Cherans ruled the whole of today’s Kerala and western parts of Tamil Nadu and the Cholas ruled the central part of today’s Tamil Nadu. The three kingdoms had trade exchanges of commodities such as rice, spices, ivory, pearls, and beads with the Greek, Romans, Egyptians, Persians, and Arabians. During the Sangam age, based on the socio-cultural differences, the Tamil Nadu (Tamil Country) was divided into Kongu Nadu, Thondai Nadu, Puzhinadu, Nanjilnadu, Venadu and Ay Nadu.

Medieval Period (600–1300):

The Dravidians were great architects and engineers. The Kallanai or Grand Anicut dam constructed by Karikala Chola, Chola King of 2nd century AD, over River Kaveri in Tiruchirapalli (Tamil Nadu) is one of the oldest water division structures used even today.

Between 3rd and 7th century, Kalabhras ruled the land of Tamils under whom Buddhism flourished and Naaladiyar was composed in meters of 400 and in 40 chapters. The control of the six senses, the epicentre of Buddhism philosophy is described in Naaladiyar.

Between 4th and 8th century AD, the Pallavas ruled Tamil Nadu and magnificent structures were built during that period. Mahabalipuram Shore Temple is declared as one of the World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO. This temple was built by Narasimha Varman II, Pallava king.

Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Hindu Goddess Parvati (Meenakshi) and Lord Shiva (Sundareswarar) is one among the top 30 nominees of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” and this temple was built by the Cholas in the 10th century AD. Later in the 13th century AD, the Pandyas took over the region and Nellaiappar temple in Tirunelvi shows the architectural marvel of their dynasty.

Chola Empire:

The Cholas reigned for about three centuries between 9th century and early 13th century AD. The kingdom was at its peak during the great rule of King Raja Raja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola. The empire conquered over 3,600,000 square kilometres of land extending from today’s state of West Bengal to Sri Lanka, including the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands. Raja Raja Chola also conquered Burma, Vietnam, Java, Sumatra, Malaya, Philippines and he operated from Thanjavur, his capital city. He named the city of Bengal as Gangaikonda Cholapuram after ousting the king Mahipala. Raja Raja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola built many temples such as Brihadeshwara Temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Brihadeshwara Temple in Thanjavur, and Airavatesvara Temple of Darasuram which are titled by UNESCO as the Great Living Chola Temples among the World Heritage Sites. The Cholas also built Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam and Sarabeswara Temple at Thirubhuvanam. Cholas also mastered bronze sculpting and the Nataraja sculpture depicting the dance form of Lord Shiva is a classic example. Cholas in the 12th century were attacked continuously by the Chalukyas, Hoysalas of Kannada (Karnataka) and the Sultanate of Delhi and eventually they were ousted by the Vijayanagar Empire.

Vijayanagar and Nayak Empire (1336-1646)

Vijayanagar Empire took over Tamil Country in 1370 AD, ruled over two centuries, and they operated from today’s Karnataka, their capital. Subsequently, the Nayaks defeated them and took over and they were responsible for the renovation of Madurai Meenakshi Temple and the Nayaks of Madurai were popular and the Tirumalai Nayakkar Mahal built during their period, is maintained by the Archaeological Department of Tamil Nadu.

Rule of Palaiyakkarars (1692-1801)

Palaiyakkarars or the poligars as pronounced by British were the first to revolt against the British. They ruled over the southern part of Tamil Country in small areas of land called Palayams. Nawab of Carnatic granted British to collect taxes and this led to wedges between the Nawabs and the Palaiyakkarars. Puli Thevar (1715-1767) was the first to raise voice against British and he was also instrumental in creating an armed force called Puli Thevar Force against British. He was ditched by Marudhanayagam who later rebelled against the British in 1750s-1760s. Rani Velu Nachiyar, Queen of Sivagangai, was the first women to revolt against British, who wanted to avenge the murder of her husband and king of Sivagangai, Vaduganatha Thevar (1750–1772) by the British officials Benjour and Joseph Smith. She was succeeded by Marudhu Brothers. Kattabomman (1760–1799), king of Panchalakurichi, fought the First Poligar War against British for ruthless tax collection by the East India Company and he was captured by the British and hanged to death. His General Veeran Sundaralingam lost his life while saving the palace of Kattabomman by blowing himself in order to demolish the British ammunition dump. Kattabomman’s younger brother, Oomaithurai took refuge under the Marudhu Brothers and they formed a coalition army with the Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja and Dheeran Chinnamalai and fought the Second Poligar War.

European Rule (1801-1947):

The Dutch established themselves near Pulicat around 1609 and the Danes in Tharangambadi or Tranquebar. The British East India Company established themselves in today’s Chennai (South of the then Pulicat) in 1639 and they restricted the French within Puducherry. Nizams of Hyderabad and the Nawabs of the Carnatic sought help from the British to defeat the Kingdom of Mysore and the help was rendered with an agreement of rendering tax to the British East India Company. Subsequently, the Company invaded the whole of Southern India and ruled under Madras Presidency.

The Vellore Mutiny in 1806 predating the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 (First War of Independence), was the first revolt against the British that took place in Vellore (Tamil Nadu) which though lasted for only a day was severe enough to kill 200 British troops.

India (1947-present):

Post independence, Madras Presidency constituted of present day Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and up to Ganjam district of Orissa and it also included parts of Kerala and South Canara. The region was then divided into states based on the language spoken in the different parts and on that basis the name Tamil Nadu (Land of Tamils) was coined in 1969. The temple tower of Srivilliputhur Andal Temple, tallest temple tower in the state, is the Emblem of Tamil Nadu.

Geography

Tamil Nadu spans over 130,058 square kilometres and it is bordered by a coastline of 910 kms along the seashore of Bay of Bengal. The southernmost tip of Indian Penninsula, Kanyakumari is the meeting point of Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea. The state is surrounded by Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh states. Puducherry is the union territory to the east of the state. Tamil Nadu falls in seismic Zone II and Zone III. The eastern part of the state is fertile and an important agriculture belt of the country while the Eastern Ghats are rich in flora and fauna and the hilly terrains in these areas allow them to be good land for cultivation of plantations such as Tea, potatoes, etc. The Western Ghats bordering Kerala and Tamil Nadu act as a barrier to southwest monsoon rains to enter the state. Nilgiri Hills, fondly called as the Queen of Hills is the meeting point of the Eastern and Western Ghats. In the year 2004, the state suffered a huge natural calamity of Tsunami on the coast of Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean that led to a death toll of around 8000 people.

Flora and Fauna

The state has rich fauna of about 2000 wildlife species and it has a number of sanctuaries in order to preserve this vast diversity of species ranging from elephants, leopards, tigers, wild dogs, Nilgiri Langurs, gaurs, sloth-bears, Sambar deer, Grizzled Giant squirrels, Lion-tailed Macaque, and Nilgiri Tahrs and the bird species that are native to the state are cormorants, herons, darters, Open-billed storks, egrets, White Ibises, Spoonbills , Indian Moorhen, Little Grebes, Black-winged Stilts, Grey pelicans, and ducks. The marine species such as the Dugongs, turtles, and dolphins and other varieties of fishes are also seen.

Tamil Nadu is native to 5,640 species of floral plants that comprises one-third of Indian floral diversity of 17,672 species making it the leading state in all the states in India. This constitutes of 533 endemic species, 1559 medicinal species, 260 varieties of wild plants related to the cultivated plants, and 230 poisonous species. Tamil Nadu has 184 varieties of Pteridophytes out of the total 1022 species of the country and four of 64 varieties of gymnosperm species. The common plants of the state are Rubber, Eucalyptus, Palmyra Palm, Common Teak, Cinchona, Indian Laurel, Clumping Bamboos, and flowering trees such as Indian labumusum, Solanaceae, and Ardisia. The unique species include Royal fern, Combretum ovalifolium, Habenaria rariflora (Orchid), Ebony (Diospyros nilagrica), Alsophila, Ranunculus reniformis, and Impatiens elegans.

National and State Parks

The topography and climate of the state is diverse making it a home to a wide variety of fauna extending from the rain forest regions of Western Ghats, the deciduous forests of the Southern Deccan Plateau, thorn shrub forest and the dry tropical forests in the Deccan, and mangroves, marshlands and the coral reefs of Bay of Bengal. In order to protect the endangered species, the state has five national parks each in Anamalai, Gulf of Mannar, Guindy (located in the centre of state capital Chennai), Mukurthi and Mudumalai. Biosphere Reserve in Gulf of Mannar is a marine ecosystem with marshlands, coral reefs and mangrove forests. It was established in 1986. Nilgiri Reserve situated on the Western and Eastern Ghats is shared by the state of Karnataka and Kerala. The state also has three tiger reserves at Satyamangalam, Kalakkad Mundanthurai and Mukurthi forests. Satyamangalam Tiger Reserve is the habitat of largest number of elephants in the country. Vedanthangal is one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the world situated near the capital of the state and is home to millions of migrant birds, travelling thousands of kilometres across the world. The state also has a snake and crocodile park at Guindy, Chennai. Apart from the national parks, there are many state and central governed zoos and sanctuaries in the state.

Climate

The state has climatic conditions that range from humid (near the coastal areas) and semi-arid (near the interior of the state). The state depends heavily on the monsoon rains that occur in three phases throughout the year for agriculture and water supply. These are rains during the hot and dry season from January to May, the southwest monsoon rains from Kerala during June to September and the northeast monsoon rains during the month of October till December. The annual rainfall recorded in the state is 945mm and since the state is dependent on the monsoon rains, if the rain fails then there is a possibility of drought condition in the state.

Governance and Administration

The state is divided into 32 districts, which are further divided into 12 city corporations, 125 municipalities, 529 town panchayats and 12,524 village panchayats for administrative purposes. Chennai, the fourth largest metropolitan city of India, is the capital of the state and the state is headed by the Chief Minister, supported by the council of members and the Governor serves as the constitutional head. The state has 39 Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) constituencies and 234 Legislative Assembly constituencies. The Chief Justice of the Madras High Court is the supreme head of judiciary of the state. The administration in the state is split into revenue administration and development administration, the former is divided into 32 districts, further into Taluks (a set of villages) headed by the Tahsildar, to keep a track on the revenue of the state and the latter is divided into Panchayat Unions for the developmental activities at the village level and into Municipal Corporations at the city level developments.

The state administration is organized to a greater extent compared to the other states in India and almost all the land registrations, birth and death registrations, revenue collection records, etc are computerised and the law and order is well maintained largely. The Police Force of Tamil Nadu is the fifth largest state police force in the country and is 140 years old with a population ratio of 1:668 police while the national average police ratio being 1:717. The state also stands first in India in the largest number of women police personnel to protect the rights of the women.

Demographics

Tamil Nadu, with a population of 200,322,229 in 14,900,973 households is ranked sixth among the most populous states of India. 44 percent of the state’s population dwell in urban areas, making it a leader in the urban agglomeration list among the Indian states. The state has a sex ratio of 987 while the national average ratio being only 929 females out of 1000 males. The state records a literacy rate of 75.55%. As per 2005-06 record, the state recorded the lowest fertility rate, lesser than the required population sustainability, of 1.07 children born to a woman. Chennai is the most populated city in the state and the state topped in the human development index (HDI) list with .736 as per 2011, while the national HDI was .619. Poverty is the major issue in the state with a Below Poverty Line (BPL) of 27.5 percent and the state is assisted by the World Bank to eradicate poverty and the other issues in the state are gender, class, and urban-rural disparities. The state is also ranked as the second most corrupt state in India.

Religion

Hindus form the majority community of the state with a percentage of 86%. Some of the spiritual leaders from Tamil Nadu such as Kanchi Sankaracharya and Ramana Maharishi became the spiritual Gurus to Hindus all over the world. There were a large number of spiritual movements during the medieval period in the state of Tamil Nadu to revoke Hinduism which included Saiva Siddhanta, Nayanmars Saivism, Sri Vaishnavism, Alvar Vaishnavism, and Ayya-Vazhi. Lord Muruga, son of Lord Shiva is the Tamil God and the state has eight renowned world heritage sites declared by UNESCO. Tamil Nadu tops the list of largest number of Hindu temples in the world and it houses Meenakshi Amman Temple (Madura), Sri Ranganathswamy Temple (Srirangam), Natarajar Temple (Chidambaram), Ekambareswarar Temple (Kanchipuram) and many more.

Muslims and Christians form 12 percent of the population. Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Vellore, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Nagapattinam are the major areas where Muslim population is more. About 97.5% of the Muslims are from Sunni Muslims school of thought. Kazimar Big Mosque (Madurai), Mosque at Nagore (Nagapattinam), and Erwadi (Ramanathapuram) are the major mosques in Tamil Nadu. Christians constitute 6% percent of the population and they are found in major parts of Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin. Vailankanni Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is a famous pilgrimage site of the South Indian Christians. St. Thomas Mount Church in Chennai is believed to be the place where the direct disciple of Jesus, St. Thomas is martyred. Jains contribute to .13 percent of the population.

Language

Tamil, the first classical language of India is the official language of Tamil Nadu state. English is also identified as the official language. Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Urdu, Gujarati/Saurashtri, Hindi, and Marathi are the minority languages spoken across the state in the decreasing order of percentage.

Education

Tamil Nadu has a high literacy rate and the state has less percentage of dropouts. However, the quality of state education is poor compared to the other states in India. Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirapalli, College of Engineering, Guindy, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Indian Institute of Management, Tiruchirapalli, Madras Medical College are some of the most revered institutions in the country. Apart from these institutions, Tamil Nadu has 37 Universities, 455 Engineering colleges, 449 Polytechnic colleges, 566 arts and science colleges, 5054 higher secondary schools, 5167 high schools and 34335 elementary schools.

Culture

Tamil Nadu is known for its rich culture and tradition that has its foundation laid over 2000 years ago. Tamil Nadu is famous for its classical music, Bharatanatyam dance form, Tanjore Painting and kolam art forms. These prevail in the households of Tamils even today.

Literature

Tamil, being one of the oldest languages has a rich collection of literature. The ancient Tamil books (Sangam period) were written in verse form dealing with human relationships, emotions and the day-to-day life of Tamils and were highly secular without any indication to religious practises and Tirukkural written in Sangam age, by Tamil Saint Tiruvalluvar preaches the right virtues to be practised in the everyday walk of life. The first Tamil printing press was established by the Danish in Tarangambadi and during the freedom struggle, many Tamil poets such as Subramanya Bharathy provoked the people of India through their patriotic compositions.

Festivals and traditions

Pongal (Tamizhar Thirunaal or festival of Tamils) is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai that falls in January. It is a four-day festival and sports such as Jallikattu or the bull-taming, cock fight are famous during this festival. Alanganallur Jallikattu is world famous. The festival is celebration of harvest and during the first day of the festival, old clothes and materials are burnt as a symbol of burning the bad deeds inside humans. On the second day, the Sun God is worshipped and on the third day the bulls and the cows that are a helping hand in agricultural activities are worshipped and on this day bull-taming contests are conducted. On the fourth day (Kaanum (to visit in Tamil) Pongal), the relatives meet each other. On the 18th day of Tamil month Aadi, Aadi Perukku is celebrated as a token of respect to the rising water of Cauvery River. Apart from these festivals, Deepavali, Dasaherra, Vinayaka Chathurthi, Krishna Jayanthi and Mariamman festivals are celebrated with great zeal and vigour. The Kumbamela of South or the Mahamagam bathing festival in Kumbakonam is celebrated once in twelve years and people across the world gather to witness this occasion.

Music

The rulers of ancient Tamil Nadu were great patrons of art and music form and Tamil Sangams (gathering of Tamil scholars) were conducted which were a forum for Iyal Isai and Nadagam (Literature, Music and Drama). The songs of Tamil ranged from intellectual songs rendered by trained musicians of Carnatic Music to the village songs called the kulavai songs sung by the agricultural women during occasions such as birth, death, and wedding and also to forget the pains of labour in the field. Urumee, ballads, villuppattu, and nattuppurappattu sing the history of folk people. Dr. Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan, Pushpavanam Kuppusamy, Chinna Ponnu, and Paravai Muniamma are leading folk artists of 21st century.

Carnatic Music, one of the world’s oldest and richest music traditions is the classical form of South India. Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, and Syama Sastri were from Tamil Nadu, who are the Trinity of Carnatic Music. Every year in the Tamil month of Margazhi, on the Banks of River Cauvery, Thiruvaiyaaru (birth place of Tyagaraja), hundreds of Carnatic musicians from all over the world gather to pay respects to the saint Tyagaraja by rendering his songs and millions attend the function to offer their prayers to the saint. The Annual Madras Music Season held every year during the month of December-January called the Margazhi Maha Utsavam invites Carnatic music lovers from all over the world to the city of Chennai (formerly Madras) to witness the performances rendered by hundreds of Carnatic music artists.

Ilayaraja, modern film music composer has composed thousand of songs in Tamil movies by blending Tamil folk music with Carnatic Music and Western Music. A. R. Rahman, also referred as the “Mozart of Madras” is a double Oscar award winner who has composed songs in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, English, and Chinese movies.

Arts and Dance

Tamils have a rich tradition of folk dances such as the Karakattam – the dancer bears a pot full of grains decorated with flowers and dances to the rhythm of Tavil and Nadhaswaram without spilling the grains while dancing, Poikkalkudhiraiattam is performed using dummy horses, oyilattam is perfomed by dancing while weaving cloth of different colours by a group of ladies in circles, maanattam depicts the grace of a deer and mayilattam is danced by tying a string of peacock feathers around the waist. These dance forms are performed mostly in villages during the festivals of Hindu deity Maariamman. Bharatanatyam is the classical form of Tamil Nadu, which finds its origin in the temples of Tamil Nadu, performed by the Devadasis (servants of God). The temple sculptures depict the Bharatanatyam dance postures.

Film Industry

The Tamil Film industry or Kollywood is the second largest film industry in India after Bollywood. The industry is based in Chennai at Kodambakkam and flourishes with high revenue.

Cuisine

Rice is the staple food of Tamil Nadu and hence rice and rice derived forms of dishes constitute the major component of Tamil Nadu cuisine. There are different varieties such as Chettinaadu, Madurai, Kongunaadu, and Tirunelveli and the food is served on a banana leaf and eaten with right hand. Sambar, rasam, coconut chutney, aviyal, kootu, curd, buttermilk, payasam (sweet milk), appalam, kotsu, peratal, varuval along with vegetarian and non vegetarian curry is served. Idly, vadai, pongal, dosai, idiyappam, adai, aappam served with chutney, sambar, and podi are the breakfast dishes. Each region is famous for each dish. Pazhani is famous for Pazhani Panchamrutham, Tirunelveli for Tirunelveli Halwa, Ambur and Dindigul are famous for Briyani, and Chettinaad is famous for spicy non vegetarian dishes. The sweets of Tamil Nadu include Chakkarai Pongal, Athirasam, and Kuli Paniyaram.

Economy

Tamil Nadu with a gross domestic product of 4.28 trillion was ranked as the second largest contributor to the country’s GDP in the year 2011-2012. The state is also ranked third in terms of foreign direct investments and it is the most urbanised state of India. Tamil Nadu has over 113 industrial parks and the government of Tamil Nadu is the major investor holding 51% of the share, followed by private sector with 29.5% of the share and the rest by the foreign investors. The per capita income of the state was 72,993 INR in the year 2007-2008.

Agriculture

Tamil Nadu is primarily an agriculture-oriented state. Rice is the staple food of Tamil Nadu and rice is cultivated in the Cauvery delta region, thus called as the “Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu”. The state is the largest producer of banana and second largest producer of mango, rubber, coconut, and ground nut. It is also ranked third in the largest producers of tea, sapota, and sugarcane. The other vegetations include brinjal, potato, tomato, and drumsticks. The state is also a major producer of flowers such as jasmine, rose, marigold, and mullai. The father of Green Revolution in India, Dr. M. S. Swaminathan is from Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu having the longest coastline leads in fisheries and it also leads in poultry and livestock.

Leather Industry

Vellore district in Tamil Nadu is the leader of leather exports in India. About 37% of the leather exports from India are from this district including places such as Vellore, Erode, Ranipet and Dindigul. The leather tanning industries are available in hundreds in these places. Chennai is the centre for leather industry in the world and the capital also houses Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI). 0.5% of people of Tamil Nadu are involved in leather industry based occupation.

Textiles and Engineering

Coimbatore is famous for textile and it is called the “Manchester of South India” and the region around Coimbatore constituting Tirupur, Erode, and Salem is called the “Textile Valley of India”. The revenue generated by these places is around 50000 million INR making it the leading producer of textiles in India. Tirupur and Erode are the leading producers of knitwear. Kanchipuram is famous for silk sarees, while Madurai is famous for Chungudi cotton sarees and Bhavani is famous for cotton carpets. Salem, Aruppukottai and Satyamangalam are famous for art-silk sarees.

Automobile Industry

Tamil Nadu has major investments from international automobile giants such as BMW, General Motors, Ford, Robert Bosch, Renault Nissan and Indian companies such as TVS, Royal Enfield, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, and Tata Motors.

Heavy Industries

Salem is the industrial hub in Tamil Nadu. Steel Authority of India has a plant in Salem and Salem is also the largest producer of iron and steel, mangoes, cotton, silk and power. The manufacturing plants of BHEL are in Ranipet and Tiruchirapalli. Dalmia Cements, ACC cements, Ramco cements, and Chettinaad cements have cement manufacturing plants in Ariyalur, and hence the district is called as “the land of cement industry”. Chennai Petroleum Corporation has oil refineries in Manali and Panangudi.

Electronics and Software Industry:

The major electronic product manufacturers such as Dell, Nokia, Samsung, Flextronics, Moser Baer, Cisco, and Motorola have their manufacturing units near the state capital Chennai. The products produced in these industries include mobile phones and circuit boards. The state is home to a number of branches of IT companies such as Infosys, TCS, CTS, HP, Accenture, Wipro, MPhasis, Aricent, Polaris, Syntel, HCL, Amazon.com, eBay Paypal, IBM, CSC,Ramco Systems, etc.

Others

Sivakasi is famous for firework and matchstick producing factories while Kanyakumari is famous for rubber industries. Namakkal is the leading producer of egg and Karur produces Nylon net filaments.

Infrastructure

Road:

Tamil Nadu is well connected by road and forms a part of the Golden Quadrilateral project. The state has 28 National Highways covering 5,064km and the State Highways department maintains about 60,628km out of 167,000km of total length of road, which is 2.5 times higher than the National road network. The state offers bus facilities round the clock throughout the year to all the places covering cities, towns, and villages in all parts of the state.

Rail:

The Southern Railways of India is headquartered at Chennai and the total length of rail track that runs through the state is 5,952km covering 535 railway stations. Chennai divides the rail network into two. The north bound trains start from Chennai Central Station and the south bound trains start from Chennai Egmore Station. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway connecting Ooty and Mettupalayam is declared as one of the World’s Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The magnificent Pamban Bridge over sea, built before a century is still in use. The state is connected to all the major cities and states across India through the railway network.

Air:

Chennai’s Anna International Airport connects 19 countries across the world and has a growing population of passengers of 18%. The airport is third largest in India. The state also has international airports at Tiruchirapalli and Coimbatore. Apart from these airports, domestic airports are also available at Madurai, Tuticorin, and Salem. The state also holds four airbases at Thanjavur, Sulur, Tambaram, and Madurai for Air Force and two stations namely INS Rajali and INS Parundu for naval services.

Seaport:

Chennai, Tuticorin, and Ennore are the three major seaports of Tamil Nadu that handle major cargo containers. It also has seven minor ports in coastal areas such as Nagapattinam and Cuddalore. Ennore port handles ore and coal traffic while the artificial harbour of Chennai is the second largest handler of cargo in India, situated on the Coromandel Coast.

Energy

Kalpakkam Nuclear power plant, Neyveli Lignite power plant, Ennore diesel power plant, Wind power plants situated near Kanyakumari, and many other hydroelectric power plants situated near Mettur Dam make Tamil Nadu the third largest power generation state of India. The power generated from the wind mills of Tamil Nadu constitute 37 percent wind power generation of the country. The planned Kudankulam Atomic power plant would be the largest atomic power plant in India generating 2000MW of power. Tamil Nadu Electricity Board is responsible for the supply and distribution of power.

Sports

Kabbadi is the state game of Tamil Nadu. The other traditional sports include the Silambam, a martial art form, Rekkala race (ox-riding), Jallikattu (bull taming), cockfight, kite flying, and goli. These are played in the rural areas especially during the festival season.

Cricket is the favourite sport of the state and the M. A. Chidambaram Cricket Stadium in Chennai can hold 50,000 fans of the game. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association has produced many prominent cricketers of the country such as Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan, Laxmipathy Balaji to name a few. MRF Pace Foundation is a popular fast bowling academy for bowlers from all over the world.

Motor racing is another growing sport in Tamil Nadu. Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok are the only two racers representing India in Formula 1 and both are from Tamil Nadu. The racing contests are held at national level in Madras Motor Sports Club in Sriperumbudhur, near Chennai.

Chennai is also a home to tennis enthusiasts. The state has produced prominent tennis sportspersons such as Ramanathan Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan, Vijay Amritraj, and Mahesh Bhupathi. The first woman to represent India in a Grandslam, Nirupama Vaidyanathan, also hails from Tamil Nadu. The state has a tennis stadium at Nungambakkam, Chennai that hosts Davis Cup and Chennai Open.

Chess is another loved game of the state and eight chess Grandmasters hail from this state, including the five time world champion Viswanathan Anand. Krishnan Sasikiran, Master G. Akash, Manuel Aaron are the other Grandmasters. S. Vijayalakshmi, the first Indian woman Grandmaster is also from this state.

Maria Irudayam and Ilavazhagi, are the former and defending world carom champions in the world respectively, products of Tamil Nadu. Snooker was invented in Ooty, a place in Tamil Nadu.

Hockey, the national sport of the country is well celebrated by the state of Tamil Nadu. Under the captaincy of Vasudevan Baskaran (from Tamil Nadu) in 1980, the Indian hockey team won the gold medal in Olympics at Moscow. Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium for hockey is regarded as one of the best hockey stadiums around the world by the World Hockey Federation.

Tamil Nadu also houses 18 golf courses, the famous ones being Gymkhana Club in Madras (Chennai), Ooty Golf Course, and Kodaikanal Golf Club. Guindy race course is the oldest race course in India, established in 1777.

Tourism

Tourism is well promoted in the state by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation and it is the second largest tourism industry in the country with over 3 million foreign tourists and over 100 million domestic tourists visiting the state every year. The state has eight World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO and many more national monuments. It has hill stations such as Kodaikanal, Ooty, Valparai, Yercaud, etc. The state also has a rich tradition of arts and music forms inviting tourists from all over the world. The state also houses many national parks and sanctuaries and is a place loved by wildlife activists. Kanyakumari is the southernmost tip of TamilNadu and is also worshipped as a Triveni (meeting point of three seas – Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean).