TAMIL NADU

Tamil Nadu, a South Indian state, is famed for its Dravidian-style Hindu temples

AREA: 1, 30,058 SQ KM
POPULATION: 62,405,679
CAPITAL: CHENNAI
PRINCIPAL LANGUAGES: TAMIL

HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY


The State of Tamil Nadu has a hoary antiquity. Though early Sangam classics throw historical references, we pass to recorded history only from the Pallavas.

The southern states of India were under the hegemony of the Cholas, the Cheras and the Pandyas for centuries. The Pallavas held supremacy from about the second quarter of the fourth century AD. They were the originators of the famous Dravidian style of temple architecture. The last Pallava ruler was Aparajita, in whose reign the later Cholas under Vijayalaya and Aditya asserted themselves by about the 10th century. At the end of the 11th century, Tamil Nadu was ruled by several dynasties like the Chalukyas, Cholas and Pandyas. In the two centuries that followed, the imperial Cholas gained control over South India.

Muslims gradually strengthened their position, which led to the establishment of the Bahamani Sultanate, by the middle of the 14th century. At the same time, the Vijayanagar Kingdom quickly consolidated itself and extended its sway over the whole of South India, and at the close of the century, Vijayanagar became the supreme power in South. However, it crumbled at the battle of Talikota in 1564 to the confederate forces of the Deccan Sultans.

Even during the period of the tumultuous confusion that followed the battle of Talikota, European commercial interest had appeared as rivals in the area of South India. The Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the English came in quick succession and established trading centres known as ‘Factories’. East India Company, which had established its factory at Masulipatnam (now in Andhra Pradesh) in 1611, gradually annexed territories by encouraging enmity among the native rulers. Tamil Nadu was one of the first of British settlements in India. The State is the successor to the old Madras Presidency, which covered the bulk of the southern peninsula in 1901. The composite Madras State was later reorganized, and the present Tamil Nadu was formed.

PLACES TO SEE


CHENNAI: Chennai, (formerly Madras) the first city of Tamil Nadu, is a comparatively new city. Chennai, the present gateway to the South of India, is itself, however, only about 350 years old. Particularly charming features of Chennai are its allegiance to ancient traditions, no matter how modernized it has become, and its willingness to spread out further rather than develop into a multi-storey concrete jungle.

MAHABALIPURAM: Mahabalipuram is an elegant place to watch which a well established sea port was during the 7th and 10th centuries of the Pallava dynasty. This was the second capital of the Pallavas who ruled Kancheepuram. Mahabalipuram is also known as Mamallapuram. Rock cut caves, temples made from a single rock, temples and strives of different structures, and bas-reliefs which are so artistic and sheer creativity – Mamallapuram is referred as an ‘open-air museum’.

KANCHIPURAM: Kancheepuram was the historical capital of the Pallavas during the 7th – 9th centuries. Kancheepuram is one of the seven sacred cities of India. Kancheepuram is famous for hand-woven silk fabrics and saris. The weavers use the highest quality silk and pure gold thread. Kancheepuram is also known as Silk City. Sankaracharya ‘Math’ is situated at Kancheepuram.

CHIDAMBARAM: is an ancient and renowned shrine in India. It is spiritual as well as historic. It noted for cultural significance. Chidambaram is associated with Nataraja or Lord Shiva in his Ananda Tandava fake (the Cosmic Dance of bliss) in the cosmic golden hall. Devotees symbolize Lord Shiva’s Ananda Tandava as the five divine acts of creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment, and gift of grace.

TANJORE: Also known as Tanjavur it is famous for the Brahadeeshwara Temple. The temple was constructed more than thousand years ago by the King Rajarajan, is an architect’s marvel. It is a flourishing centre for bronze sculpture and painting.Thanjavur was the royal city of the Cholas, Nayaks and the Mahrattas. Tanjavur was at height of its glory during Rajaraja Cholan.

TIRUCHIRAPPALLI: Situated on the banks of the river Cauvery is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. The most famous land mark of this bustling town is the Rockfort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive rocky out crop which rises abruptly from the plain to tower over the old city. It was one of the main centers around which the wars of the Carnatic were fought in the 18th century during the British-French struggle for supremacy in India. The city is a thriving commercial centre in Tamil Nadu and is famous for artificial diamonds, cigars, handloom cloth, glass bangles and wooden and clay toys.

MADURAI: One of South India’s great temple towns, Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2500 years old. Madurai was an important cultural and commercial centre even as early as 550 AD. It was the capital city for the great Pandya kings. On the day the city was to be named, as Lord Shiva blessed the land and its people, divine nectar (Madhu) was showered on the city from his matted locks. This city was henceforth known as Madhurapuri.

RAMESHWARAM: Rameshwaram is an island situated in the gulf of manner at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. A very important pilgrim centre of the Indians. Rameshwaram is the place from where Lord Rama, built a bridge across the sea to rescue his consort Sita, from her abductor, Ravana. This is also the place where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to cleanse away the sin of killing Ravana. Rameshwaram is significant for the Hindus as a pilgrimage to Bananas is incomplete without a Pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. The presiding deity is the Linga of Sri Ranganatha, which happens to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India. Rameshwaram is also popularly referred to as the ‘Benaras of the south’.

KANYAKUMARI: The name of this place has been christened after the virgin goddess – Kanyakumari Amman. Mythological stories depict that Goddess Parvati under the disguise of Devi Kanniya did a penance in one of the rocks in this area to reach the hand of Lord Shiva. This place is also a popular pilgrimage. The tourists who visit this southern most tip of India would certainly enjoy the exuberant scenes of the sunsets, the sunrises especially on full moon days. The nature of the sand in the beaches of Kanyakumari is unique as it is multicolored. Amidst the sea there are two rocks known as ‘twin rocks’ both contributing to the rich Indian heritage with the monuments of Swamy Vivekananda and Saint Thiruvalluvar.

OOTY: Ooty also known as Udhagamandalam is the “Queen of hill stations” and the capital of Nilgiris district. It is one of the most popular tourist resorts in India. Nilgiris means “Blue Mountains”. It is a land of picturesque picnic spots. Used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britishers during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level. An added attraction for the tourists to Udhagamandalam is the mountain toy train journey.

KODAIKANAL is one of the most popular hill resorts in India. It is a charming hill station, stands amidst sylvan beauty on the southern crest of the upper Palani Hills near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. With its rocks, woods, lovely lake and bracing air, Kodaikanal is an ideal hill resort for the tourists.

YERCAUD: Yercaud is a hill station near Salem. It is at an altitude of 1,500 metres (4,920 feet) from mean sea level. The town gets its name from the lake located at its center – in Tamil “Yeri” means “lake” and “Kaadu” means “forest”. The Yercaud hills have many faunal and floral similarities to the Western Ghats .Wild life includes bison, deer, rabbits, hares, foxes, mongoose, squirrels, partridges, snakes, bulbuls, kites, sparrows, swallows and the bird of paradise. Yercaud is known for coffee plantations and orange groves. It also has an orchidarium run by the Botanical Survey of India.

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