Tamil Nadu is spread over an area of 1,30,058 sq. km. It shares its borders with Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. It has a coastline with the Bay of Bengal as well as the Indian Ocean which meets at Kanyakumari.
Key features associated with the state include the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Straits, the Eastern Ghats and the Anamalai Hills.
- Capital- Chennai
- Districts – 32
- Population – 72,147,030
- Assembly seats – 235
- Lok Sabha seats – 39
- Rajya Sabha seats – 18
- Literacy rate – 80.1%
- Sex ratio – 996
- Life Expectancy – 70.6 years
- Infant Mortality Rate – 21
P.S. Kumaraswamy Raja was the first chief minister of the state which was created on 26 January 1950, when India became a Republic. The current incumbent is Edappadi K. Palaniswami, who belongs to the AIADMK. He was sworn in as the state’s 8th Chief Minister on 16 February 2017. The current Governor of the state is Banwarilal Purohit.
The state was ruled by the Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas for centuries. Literature, architecture, art and crafts flourished under these three dynasties. This period is also known as ‘Sangam Period’. Later, other dynasties like the Vijayanagar Empire, Pallavas and the Chalukyas came into power. The state also witnessed Muslim invasions and plunderers from time to time.
Madras Presidency became a major centre for the East India Company during British rule. After Independence, it was converted into Madras state.
Tamil, A Unique Language
- Tamil, the official language of the state, is among the ‘world’s oldest living languages’.
- The language has been declared as a classical language by UNESCO.
- The deity of the ‘Tamil Thai’ Temple is the personification of the Tamil language. She is considered to be the mother of the language.
- The language is also the official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore.
- Tamil Thai Valthu is the state song of Tamil Nadu.
- Tamil is the official language but English is also widely spoken.
- The state’s dance forms include Bharat Natyam (classical) and Paraiyattam (folk).
- Pongal, Mahamangam and Jallikattu are the popular festivals.
- Kaveri is the biggest river of this state.
Tamil Nadu has a wide range of pilgrimage centres which attract devotees from across the world. These include:
- Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva and Parvati.
- Rameshwaram, one of the 12 Jyotilingas of Shiva in India. This is also one the country’s four ‘Char Dhams’.
Swami Vivekananda attained enlightenment at Vivekananda Rock, located at Vavathurai in Kanyakumari. The place, which is now a memorial, is a major tourist destination. Tamil Nadu also has 4 bird sanctuaries and 4 national parks.
Trade And Industry
The state is the largest producer of bananas in the country and second largest producer of turmeric. It is also among the largest producers of tapioca, coconut, match-sticks, mango, rubber and groundnuts.