Tamil Nadu

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Map of Tamil Nadu (Source: India-WRIS)



Tamil Nadu has deep roots in history and antiquity. But historical references are available only from the Pallavas. The Pallavas held supremacy from about the second quarter of the fourth century AD. They were famous for Dravidian Style of temple architecture. Pallavas ruled over the state upto the reign of last ruler Aparajita. At the end of 11th century AD, Tamil Nadu was ruled over by several dynasties like the Chalukyas, Cholas, Pandyas and others. The next two centuries was ruled by the imperial Cholas. In the middle of the 14th century Muslim sultanate Bahamani dynasty established their rule over this state. Gradually Vijaynagar kingdom based in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh become the supreme power of the south. This kingdom was overthrown at the battle of Talikota in 1565 by a combined effort of Muslim rulers who had also settled down in different parts of the south. 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 their trading centre in this area. British penetrates Tamil region quite easily compare to other parts of the country and East India Company established their factory at Masulipatnam. Tamil Nadu was one of the first of British settlements in India. By the beginning of the 19th century the British had consolidated their position in the south and Madras Presidency was formed, which was the predecessor of the Tamil Nadu. The composite Madras State was reorganised in 1956, the Malayalam speaking region of Malabar, north Kerala,was merged with the states of Travancore and Cochin and the Kannada speaking region was merged with the new state of Mysore later renamed Karnataka. The remaining state was renamed in 1969 as Tamil Nadu. The Madras city, which had been created by the Europeans and had developed into one of the four metro cities in India, was renamed as Chennai in 1996.


The state is bounded on north by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, on west by Kerala, on east by the Bay of Bengal and south by the Indian Ocean. There are mainly two natural divisions in the state - the Coastal plain and the Hilly region. The region towards the western sector in the state is hilly and some parts of the land is somewhat barren and less fertile than in the other parts of the state. The mountains are to be found in the northern and western parts, where the Nilgiris dominate the scene. Otherwise the state is full of plain land, with a few hills here and there.
The state has a number of rivers, all flowing from west to east, the Western Ghats to Bay of Bengal. The rivers are entirely rain fed and short in length. The main river of the state is Cauvery, flows into Tamil Nadu from adjoining Karnataka where it flows for about one-third of the total length. The other rivers are Adyar, Courtaliar, South Pennar, Periyar, Vaigai and Tampreparni.
The climate of this state is tropical type, summers are not too hot nor winters so cold. Rainfalls are fairly widespread throughout the year. The north-east monsoon, which brings rainfall in October and November and sometimes in December also. The south-west monsoon also serves the state from June to September. There is some rain-shadow area in the state, which remains sometimes dry.


Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India. It is bounded by Andhra Pradesh on the north, Karnataka on the northwest, and Kerala on the west. The eastern coast has the Bay of Bengal whereas the southern coast has the Indian Ocean as boundaries. The higher percentage of rural population indicates agriculture as mainstay of livelihood.


Tamil Nadu has an equatorial, tropical climate in the inlands and an equatorial, maritime climate in its coastal regions. By and large, the average temperature for most parts of the state ranges between 28°C to 40°C during summer and 18°C to 26°C during short-lived winter season. The temperature may go to extremes in some places in the inlands while it tends to be moderate in the coastal areas. In the hilly terrain, the maximum and minimum temperatures vary between 23°C and 12°C. Temperature variation in plain areas is between 33°C and 21°C.

Water Resources

Many areas fall in rain shadow regions receiving less than or around 400 mm rainfall making them drought prone. Ground water potential is assessed about 790 TMC. Surface water resources have been fully harnessed by impounding the available water in large dams, small dams, drinking water reservoir and tanks. Rivers, tanks and tubewells are major source of surface irrigation.


  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Mines & Minerals


Agriculture is the major source of income of the state. Major food crops are rice, jowar, ragi, bajra, maize and pulses. Commercial crops include cotton, sugarcane, coconuts, tea, coffee, rubber, sunflower, cardamom, cashew, groundnut, chillies, sea same and ginger etc. The state has a number of forest products like timber, sandalwood, pulp and fuel wood. Minor forest products are honey and herbal items. The farmers of the state are hardworking and specialised in the application of fertilisers (especially bio-fertilisers). Efforts are on to improve farming technologies so as to increase yields in the low rainfall areas of the state.


Major industries of this state are cotton, heavy commercial vehicles, auto parts, railway coaches, cement, paper, safety matches.Knowledge based industries like I.T. and Biotechnology have become the thrust area in the industrial scene in Tamil Nadu. TIDEL, a software technology park, has been established in Tharamani, Channai.

Mines & Minerals

The mineral base of this state is very rich. The minerals played a part in making the state industrially developed. Important minerals of the state are lignite, limestone and limestone. The state is an important exporter of tanned skin and leather goods, yarn, tea, coffee, spices, engineering goods, tobacco, handicrafts and black granite. Chennai Refinery Limited has given rise to several petro-based units. Major chemical and fertiliser plants have been established at Cuddalore and Tuticorin.


  • Irrigation
  • Power
  • Transport
  • Health
  • Education
  • Telecommunication


Cauvery river plays the most important role in the state's irrigation. Important irrigation projects implemented are: Mettur, the Lower Bhavani, the Amaravathi, the Vaigai, The Parambikulam-Aliyar, the Krishnagiri, the Sathanur, the Kullambadi-Kattalai high level canal, the Gomukhi Nadhi, Chithar Pattinamkal and the Pennaiyar. Priority has been given to canal system of irrigation to modernise the existing large and medium size irrigation projects.



major railway junctions are Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore and Tirunelveli.


Direct flight facilities to major cities of India and world are available from International airport Chennai. Apart from Chennai there are other airports like Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbator and Salem.


Major ports of this state are Chennai and Tutocorin. Besides these two ports there are seven other minor and medium size ports like Cuddalore and Nagapattinam.


Tamil Nadu has so many things to offer to the tourists and pilgrims from within the state as well as those coming from the other southern states, rest of India and outside India. Some of the famous tourist centres are Chennai (beaches like Marina), Madurai (Meenakshi temple & historic city), Mallapuram (ancient rock cut temple) , Poompuhar, Kacheepuram (centre of rich tradition and learning from Shankaracharyas), Rameswaram (temple), Kanyakumari (extreme south end and water of three seas the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean merge into one another, rock memorial of Vivekananda), Kazhugumalai (monument centres), Ooty (Udhagamandalam, the queen of hill stations), Kodaikanal (hill station), Suruli (water-falls), Yercaud (hill stations), Kalakad (wildlife sanctuaries), Vedanthangal and Point Calimere (bird sanctuaries), Vandalur (zoological park), Wellington, Kumbakonam, Dharasuram, Chidambaram, Tiruvanamalai, Srirangam, Tirunelveli, Thanjavur, Velankanni, Nagoor, Chithannavasal, Courtallam, Hogenakkal, Pappanasam, Guindy, Mudumalai, Annamalai, Mudanthurai etc.

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