Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu

 
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh bound Tamil Nadu in the north and Kerala in the west. The waters of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean lap the coastal eastern and southern boundaries respectively. The Point Calimere and Mudumalai wildlife sanctuaries define the eastern and western tips of the state while on the northern extreme is Pulicat Lake and the southernmost tip is Cape Camorin or Kanniyakumari - the Land's End of India.









 
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Major Tourist Destnations in Tamil Nadu:
Chennai Chidambaram Coimbatore
Kanchipuram Kanniyakumari Kodiakkanal
Madurai Mamallapuram Tiruchirappalli
Thanjavur Ooty - Coonoor - Kotagiri  

Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh bound Tamil Nadu in the north and Kerala in the west. The waters of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean lap the coastal eastern and southern boundaries respectively. The Point Calimere and Mudumalai wildlife sanctuaries define the eastern and western tips of the state while on the northern extreme is Pulicat Lake and the southernmost tip is Cape Camorin or Kanniyakumari - the Land's End of India.

With an area of 130,058 sq km and population over 55 million, Tamil Nadu is the 11th largest state in India. The Union Territory of Pondicherry is a small enclave in the district of South Arcot.

Traditionally, the land of Tamils has been divided into 5 major physiographic divisions - the Kurinji or mountainous region, the Mullai or forest region, the Palai or arid region, the Marudham or the fertile plains and the Neidhal or coastal region.

History

The history of the Tamils present an exciting pageant of a powerful civilization whose origin dates back to ancient times. It is clear that the Tamils, who belong to the Dravidian race, were the first major occupants of the country and settled in the northwestern part of India long before the coming of the Indo-Aryans. Excavations have revealed that the features of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization bore a strong resemblance to this race.

However, with the advent of the Aryans, the Dravidians were pushed back into the deep south where they ultimately settled.

The Tamil Sangam, which marks the Golden Age of Tamil literature, is the one major source of knowledge about the administration, art, architecture and economic conditions that existed then.It is not very clear to pinpoint the exact period when the great Tamil Sangam (Academy) flourished, though it can be said with some certainty that two Sangams were held well before the Christian era and the third between 100 and 250 AD. Among some of the greatest compositions of the four centuries of Sangam age are Tiruvalluvar's Thirukkural which consists of 1330 couplets about morality in private and public life combined with some of life's greatest truths, compositions of the saint-poetess Avviayar, Pathupatu or ten Idylls which is a compilation of the work of several authors on philosophy, intermingled with descriptions of the natural world and Ettuthogai or the eight anthologies. Of these, the last is historically the most important as it contains a description of the daily life of the people. This collection of poems is the earliest record of its kind as far as the history of the Tamils is concerned.

Even after the end of the Sangam age, Tamil writers, under the patronage of Royal Dynasties, continued to produce excellent literature like the two Tamil epics Silapathikaram written between 200 - 300 AD by Ilango Adigal, the son of a Chera King, and Manimekalai by Sattanar also written between the 2nd and 3rd century AD. Both contain vivid descriptions of life during their times. Over the ages, the south was to see other great poets like the Nayanars and the Alwars and, later, the poet Kamban who composed the Tamil version of Ramayana.

The Pallavas ruled between the 6th and 8th century AD over a large portion of Tamil Nadu with Kanchipuram as their base. Their reign was marked by battles with the Chalukyas of the north and the Pandyas of the south. Among the greatest Pallava rulers were Mahendravarman-l and his son Narasimhavarman. Among the famous temples built by the Pallavas are the temples of Kanchipuram, the Kapaliswarar and Parthasarathy temples at Chennai, and last but not the least, the magnificent poetry in rock and stone at Mamallapuram. The Chinese traveller Huan Tsu Ang has described Kanchi extensively.

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