Tamil Nadu, formerly known as Madras State, is one of the 29 states of India. Prior to the British era, different empires ruled the land. Chera, Chola and the Pandias were the most famous empires, shaping each region’s cuisine, culture, and architecture. Here are a few fun facts about Tamil Nadu, which is on the southernmost tip of the country.
1) Ancient Language
Tamil is the official language of this state, as well as Sri Lanka and Singapore. Tamil (also written as Tamizh) is one of the oldest classical languages still being spoken today. This link provides the correct pronunciation of the language.
2) Industrial Powerhouse
Tamil Nadu has the largest bus terminal in Asia and the greatest number of international airports in India. Together, they make Tamil a major welcoming center for the country’s tourists.
With many factories and numerous ports, Tamil is also one of the most industrialized states in India. In fact, Tamil has three major ports (Chennai, Ennore, and Tuticorin) — more than any other Indian state.
3) Populous State
The people of Tamil Nadu are called Tamilians. They speak Tamil and makeup about 6% of the entire population of India. Many famous actors, politicians, and business-people are from Tamil. M.S. Swaminathan, the founder of India’s Green Revolution, also grew up there. Under his guidance, farmers in India planted high-yield varieties of wheat and rice to help end hunger in a sustainable way.
4) Interesting Cuisine
In India, people eat with their hands. They also believe that serving food to others is a service to humanity. Traditionally, meals were served on banana leaves. One part of the leaf held the rice-based foods. Another part of the leaf held the condiments. Afterward, the banana leaves became food for the cows. Being seated on the floor was also viewed as the best way to eat. In addition, there is a focus on eating a balanced diet. Food is considered the best medicine, and diets can be either vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
5) Traditional Dance
Bharathanatyam is the traditional dance of Tamil Nadu. Other folk dances include Kolattam, Karagattam, and Mayilattam. This video shows the beauty and elegance of this classical Indian dance form.
6) Fun Festival
Pongal, Tamil Nadu’s Harvest Festival, literally means “spilling over.” It’s a major celebration of abundance and bounty, and it happens every year in January. Pongal includes Jallikattu, the releasing of a bull. Those with enough courage grab onto the bull’s hump. Then, they try to hang on while the bull tries to escape.
7) Natural Beauty
Marina Beach is a favorite tourist destination. It’s located on the eastern side of Chennai and adjoins the Bay of Bengal. It’s also one of the world’s longest and largest urban beaches and the second largest beach in the world. On weekends and holidays, as many as 50,000 people per day visit the beach.
Hill stations provide another option for taking a break from the summer sun. Popular hill stations include Ooty, Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Conoor, Valparai, Yelagiri, Sirumalai, Kalrayan Hills and the Kolli Hills.
8) Wildlife and Waterfalls
If you love animals, the Mudumulai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is the place to visit! This thick forest reserve is home to Indian elephants, Bengal tigers, and Indian leopards. You can also see over 250 species of birds.
If waterfalls are of interest, you’ll want to visit the well-known Hogenakkal. But Coutralam, also referred to as the “Spa of Tamil Nadu,” is also quite popular.
9) Temples and More Temples
Tamil Nadu is home to over 30,000 Hindu temples, and many of them are centuries old. The colorful Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of the most famous. Temple towns like Madurai and Kanchipuram are thronged by visitors throughout the year.
10) Minerals and Produce Abound
Many minerals — including lignite, limestone, magnesite, mica, quartz, felspar, bauxite and gypsum — are found in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu is also an agricultural state. It’s the largest producer of bananas, turmeric, flowers, and tapioca in India. It’s also a major producer of mango, coconut, groundnut, coffee, and sugarcane.
Tamil Nadu clearly lives up to its famous motto: Vandhorai Vaazhavaikum Tamilarinam. It means Tamil Nadu is a welcoming land that allows everyone to make a living hospitably. Please consider visiting Tamil Nadu to learn more about the culture and people. You will almost certainly enjoy the company of Tamizhians!