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Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is located along the southeastern coast of India, all the way down to the Indian peninsula's southernmost point where the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean meet (in Kanyakumari town). Tamil Nadu shares borders with Kerala in the west, Karnataka in the northwest and Andhra Pradesh in the north. Its coastal region along the Bay of Bengal is called the Coromandel Coast.

To the north lie the Eastern Ghats hill range and to the west the Nilgiri and Annamalai hill ranges. The picturesque Nilgiris have a number of hill spots like Udhagamandalam (Ooty), Conoor, as also the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. A large region of the state is a fertile plain fed by rivers, mainly Kaveri and Vaigai. Big cities like Chennai or Coimbatore are centres of manufacturing and services sector industries.

Chennai (known as Madras till 1996) is the capital of Tamil Nadu. It is one of India's four metro cities, and one of its biggest, with a population of over four million. Founded in 1640 by the British, its attractions include historic examples of colonial architecture. It is one of the main harbours in India and has a few beaches, the most popular being the Marina Beach.

Tamil people are proud of their traditions: their language Tamil, which is a classical language going back two millennia, their culture of classical Carnatic music concerts, and also their huge Tamil cinema industry. For the visitor, Tamil Nadu is a land most known for its monumental ancient Hindu temples. The temples have a distinct Dravidian style of architecture and are recognisable by their towering carved gateways called Gopurams. The towns of Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Kanchipuram, Chidambaram and Thanjavur are among the important temple towns. The 11th-century Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur and the Meenakshi temple in Madurai, built over many centuries starting in the 7th, are the most famous. The coastal town of Mamallapuram is known for its rock-cut temples and sculptures.

Pongal (in January) is Tamil Nadu's most important festival, a celebration of harvest season. Chitirai, the Tamil New Year, is celebrated in mid-April.

The city of Kanyakumari forms the last and southern-most city of india. Vellore forms a major medical hub for India with its state of the art and famous hospital. Salem acts as a major port for shipping services to and from India.

The History of the Tamils presents an exciting pageant of a powerful civilization whose origin dates back to ancient times. It is clear that the Tamils, who belong to the Dravidian race, were the first major occupants of the country and settled in the north-western part of India long before the coming of the Indo-Aryans.

Tamil Nadu provides the visitor with a wide variety of delicious food both for the vegetarians as well as the non-vegetarians, though most food in Tamil Nadu consists of grains, lentils, rice and vegetables. Spices are added to give a distinctive taste. Dosa, Idli and sambhar form the most famous food diet.

Folk Music & Dances
The music and dance of Tamil Nadu had their beginnings in the temples. From early times, different groups of people were appointed to sing divine songs in the temple. Officers called Thevara Nayakams or leaders of the world of music, arranged the private worship of kings and group singing.