24. TAMIL NADU is surrounded on north by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, on the west by Kerala, on the east by the Bay of Bengal, and on the south by the Indian Ocean.The total area of the state is 1,30,058 sq km with a total population of 62,405,679 . Chennai is the capital city and Tamil is the principal languages.

Tamil Nadu

History and Geography

The State of Tamil Nadu has had a long historical antiquity. Though early sangam classics do give some historical references, recorded history comes only from the Pallavas. It was 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. Later the 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 following two centuries the imperial Cholas gained paramountcy 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. After the battle of Talikota in 1564 the confederate forces of the Deccan Sultans. took over from them.During the period of 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 reorganised, and the present Tamil Nadu was formed.


Agriculture is the major occupation in Tamil Nadu and the principal food crops include paddy, millets and pulses. Commercial crops include sugarcane, cotton, sunflower, coconut, cashew, chillies, gingelly and groundnut. Plantation crops are tea, coffee, cardamom and rubber. Major forest produces are timber, sandalwood, pulp wood and fuel wood. Tamil Nadu occupies a premier position in the production and extensive application of bio-fertilizers.

Industry and Minerals

Major Industries in Tamil Nadu are cotton, heavy commercial vehicles, auto components, railway coaches, power pumps, leather tanning industries, cement, sugar, paper, automobiles and 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, Chennai. Chennai has currently about 50,000 software professionals employed in 900 IT companies. Global auto majors Hyundai Motors, Ford, Hindustan Motors and Mitsubishi have commenced production plants. Ashok Leyland and TAFE have set up expansion plants in Chennai. Main mineral wealth of the state is granite, lignite 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. Tamil Nadu contributes 60 per cent of the tannery industry in India. Chennai Refinery Limited has given rise to several petro-based units. Major chemical and fertilizer plants have been established at Cuddalore and Tuticorin.


Important irrigation schemes and modernisation of existing Periyar Vaigai System, Palar Basin System and Parambikulam-Aliyar System besides the minor system in Vellar, Pennayar, Araniyar Amaravathi, Chithar basins totaling, an extent of six lakh acres of existing ayacut in Tamil Nadu have been benefited by implementing the 'System Improvement and Farmers Turnover Projects' executed with assistance from World Bank. The major irrigation system covering one-third of irrigated extent in Tamil Nadu, namely tank irrigation system has been given due regard for development under WRCP, and 620 tanks maintained by Public Works Department falling under Palar, Vaigai, and Tamaraparani Basins have been taken up for rehabilitation and improvement. The State has become the pioneer State to implement the system of 'River basin management' by an individual body consisting of officials and farmers besides various representatives of the basin. To start with, Basin Management Boards have been formed for Palar and Tamaraparani basins.


The total installed capacity for electricity in the State is 8,249 MW. The installed capacity of State Sector is 5,288 MW, and that of Private Sector is 1,058 MW. Apart from this, 1,903 MW is available as share from Central Sector.


Tourist Centres

Chennai, Mamallapuram, Poompuhar, Kancheepuram, Kumbakonam, Dharasuram, Chidambaram, Tiruvannamalai, Srirangam, Madurai, Rameswaram, Tirunelveli, Kanniyakumari, Thanjavur, Velankanni, Nagoor, Chithannavasal, Kazhugumalai (monument centres), Courtallam, Hogenakkal, Papanasam, Suruli (water-falls), Ooty (Udhagamandalam), Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Elagiri Kolli Hills (hill stations), Guindy (Chennai), Mudumalai, Annamalai, Mundanthurai, Kalakad (wild life sanctuaries), Vedanthangal and Point Calimere (bird sanctuaries), Arignar Anna Zoological Park, near Chennai, are some of the places of tourist interest. The Dance Festival, Mamallapuram, set before an open air stage, created 13 centuries ago by the Pallavas, next to the sea in this ancient city of Mamallapuram showcases dances forms like Bharatha Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, and Odissi besides folk dances and the Natyanjali Dance Festival,in the temple city of Chidambaram paying special tribute to Lord Nataraja the 'Cosmic Dancer' attaract a lot of tourist every year.