Have you seen an artist’s color plate? With colors from different tones, hues and compositions, they all look indeed look beautiful when they are separate. But when an artist handpicks colors and blends them over a plain white canvas, what you get after a few hours is pure beauty. A painting that tells a lot of stories, a painting that has so much to convey for those who look closely and a painting that stands truly magical for the centuries to come. Tamil Nadu is one such painting that has stood the test of time for centuries and still looks vibrant, lively and colorful. It’s a painting in the form of diverse topographies, terrains and people. With an undying spirit, the colors that make up the paining are its soul.
Unending stretch of grasslands, blissful sights of agriculture farms, mountains that stand tall yet humble, pristine beaches that cuddle you into eternity, mix of cultures and traditions, temples that have witnessed the divine presence of god, classical music, the land of filter coffee and idly and cities that are full of life and magic, Tamil Nadu is truly one of the most enchanting places you can ever visit. Be it its capital Chennai or the state’s southernmost tip – Kanyakumari – the place is full of surprises, where you get to see a new culture, ethnicity and tradition every 100 miles. This is the place that will give you humbling experiences and awe inspiring stories of the emperors and their conversations with gods and make you go back with a sense of fulfillment and gratitude.
Vanakkam and welcome to Tamil Nadu – where memories are created every moment!
Tamil and English
Currency: Indian Rupee
Time Zone: IST UTC +5:30
Area: 130,060 square kilometers
Official Language: Tamil and English
Capital’s Calling Code: +91 044
Located in the southeastern region of the Indian peninsular, Tamil Nadu ranks 11th in the list of the largest Indian states and was formed as a state in the year 1950. The magnificent state is bordered by Kerala in the west, Andhra and Telengana in the north, Karnataka in the northwest. Pondicherry, which is a union territory, lies amidst the state of Tamil Nadu. With the Bay of Bengal to its east, Tamil Nadu is home to India’s 3rd longest coastline.
Tamil Nadu also houses Kanyakumari, where you can see both sunrise and sunset and the place where the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet. Apart from the very long coastline, Tamil Nadu also has a lengthy stretch of mountains called the Western Ghats, where you can find several indigenous species of flora and fauna. The Western Ghats meet the Eastern Ghats arising from Karnataka at the point, which is known as the Nilgiri Hills. Doddabetta, in the Nilgiris is at an altitude of 2,637 meters and is Tamil Nadu’s highest point.
Some of the popular cities in Tamil Nadu include Chennai, which is the capital of the state, Coimbatore – an industrial and textile hub – Madurai, a city that is awake perpetually, Ooty, the queen of the mountains, Tuticorin, also known as the pearl city of India, Tiruchirapalli or the temple city and more. Each city is unique and beautiful in its own ways and offers distinct vibes to tourists, making them instantly connect with the cities’ aura.
Tamil Nadu is significant for being considered as one of the most long-standing habitation in India. Ruins and artifacts that go earlier than 3,800 years have been unearthed in the regions of Thirunelveli. Tamil Nadu’s rich history and heritage was immensely influenced during the Sagam period, which lasted for over six centuries from 300 BCE to 300 CE. It was during this time that literature, arts, music and culture flourished and gave rise to one of the most revered literary sources in India called the Sangam Literature.
The Chera, Cholas and Pandyas were the three dynasties who have played a crucial role in the evolution of Tamil Nadu to what its legacy stands for today. With extensive trading between countries like Ceylon, Egypt, Arabia, Persia and more, it was a time that witnessed the erection of gigantic monolithic temples dedicated to gods like Shiva and Vishnu, with inscriptions of sacred texts throughout the temple walls. The temples are still considered architectural marvels, making researches wonder the innovation, breakthroughs and calculated placement of stones and boulders to naturally ventilate and illuminate the entire premise.
Tamil Nadu in the 18th century also fell under the vision of the British and immediately became a seat of governance. Thanks to the rich architecture, vast coastlines and prime location, Chennai became one of the seat of powers during the British rule. Several reforms and administrative actions were deployed under the Madras Legislative Council under the governorship of George Harris and others. After India’s independence, the presidency of Madras became the state of Madras and consisted of the Tamil Nadu of today and regions from the coastlines of Andhra, parts of Kerala, Karnataka and even Odisha. Due to diverse linguistics, the sate split up into several fragments, leaving the remaining major portion to be named as Tamil Nadu.
With a population of over 7.9 crores, Tamil Nadu is one of the most populated states in India and 7th to be precise. Chennai alone has a population of over 1 crore. Statistically speaking, the population of Tamil Nadu has increased by over 15% in the last decade and has an approximate population density of 608 per square kilometer. According to the census report of 2011, Tamil Nadu has an average literacy rate of 80.33% and has a gender ration of 995 (female):1000 (male) respectively.
Being a secular state, Tamil Nadu embraces all religions with equality. You can find people from diverse religions living harmoniously with each other. Hinduism is the major religion in Tamil Nadu followed by Christianity, Islam and Jainism. According to the 2011 census report, approximately 87.6% of the people living in Tamil Nadu follow Hinduism. While 6.1% of the people follow Christianity, 5.9% and 0.1% of the people residing in Tamil Nadu follow Islam and Jainism respectively.
While you can see concentrated populations of Hindus in cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai and more, you can find a majority of Christians living down south in cities like Kanyakumari, Nagercoil, Tuticorin, Thirunelveli, Velankanni and more. Muslims are found majorly in cities like Ramanathapuram, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Madurai, Thirunelveli, Vellore and other cities.
Tamil is the predominant language spoken in Tamil Nadu and is considered one of the oldest languages in the world. Thanks to the commendable literacy rate, people also speak English for communication in most parts of the state. After the advent of IT in Tamil Nadu, especially in Chennai, the influx of floating population has increased significantly, with people now become more familiar and comfortable speaking languages like Hindi, Kannada and Telugu.
Indian Rupee is the currency used for everyday transactions in Tamil Nadu. Like in every other Indian state, the currency is of two types – coins and notes. The denominations available for coins include Rs. 1, 2, 5 and 10. For currency notes, the denominations include Rs. 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 2000.
Cost and Money
Tamil Nadu is comparatively less expensive in terms of livelihood and lifestyle. Despite being a tourist hub, the prices are moderate and are accommodative to the needs of people from diverse backgrounds. A traveler on a shoestring budget can cherish his times here and so can the one intending to spend lavishly during his holiday. Approximately, you can find accommodation at prices ranging from a minimum of Rs. 499 approx. at backpackers hostels to as much as Rs. 25,000 approx. per night. Besides, the places are very tourist friendly and have signboards and instructions written in English, Tamil and Hindi. There are plenty of ATMs all through the state and most restaurants, resorts and hotels accept cards except for flea markets.