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Map of Tamilnadu        Map of India


Vital Statistics


1,30,058 sq. kms





Growth rate % (1991-2001)


Population density

478 persons / sq. kms

Urban Population

43.86 %

Literacy - Males

82.33 %

Literacy - Females

64.55 %



Tamilnadu is located on the southeastern side of the Indian peninsula, bounded in the east by the Bay of Bengal, South by the Indian Ocean, the west by the States Kerala and Karnataka and the north by the Andhra Pradesh.


The land can be divided into two natural divisions, the costal plains and the hilly north and west. Along the west runs the Western Ghats, average height of 1220 meters the highest peak is 2440 meters.


The rivers of Tamilnadu flow to the east, draining into the Bay of Bengal and are mainly rain fed ones. Thamiraparani river on whose banks Kallidaikurichi is located is one of the few perennial rivers of the state.



Tamilnadu has a unicameral Legislature - the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Council was abolished in 1986.               



Cultural History:

The Dravidian culture of Tamilnadu goes back to over 6000 years. It is older to the Aryan culture by over 1000 years. It is generally accepted that the the civilisation of Indus valley of the 4th millennium B.C. was a Dravidian one and was spread over the entire Indian peninsula. With the arrival of Aryans, the Dravidians were pushed to the south where they were confined to the Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala States.


Political History:

Distant past:

The Dravidians of the present Tamilnadu was ruled by three dynasties,

The Pallavas came to power from 4th century A.D. at Kanchipuram and ruled for nearly 400 years, overran Cholas in 6th century and carried their rule even to Sri Lanka. It was during this period of Pallavas the famous Alwars and Nayanars and saint poets flourished. The Pallavas' rise to power began in the reign of Simhavishnu, who ruled in the mid- to late 500's. The first great Pallava king was Mahendravarman, who ruled from about 600 to about 630. He began his reign as a Jain, but later converted to worship Shiva, a Hindu god. He patronized the arts and the building of temples, and also wrote a Sanskrit play, Mattavilasa-prahasana. During Mahendravarman's reign, the Pallavas lost some of their northern provinces, including Vengi, to the Chalukyas led by Pulakeshin II,  a dynasty that ruled much of the Deccan plateau.


The next great Pallava king was Narasimhavarman I, who ruled from about 630 to about 668. Under him, the Pallavas again fought the Chalukyas, recapturing Vengi and killing Pulakeshin II. Their campaign reached the Chalukya capital at Vatapi (now Badami, Karnataka). During Narasimhavarman's reign the Pallavas also conducted campaigns in Sri Lanka to aid a Sinhalese prince.

The Pallavas were mainly Shivaites (followers of the Hindu God Shiva) and during the 700's they built the Mamallapuram (now Mahabalipuram) Shore Temple, which is a complex of three shrines. King Narasinhavarman II, also built the great Kailasanatha Temple at Kanchipuram, about 70 kilometres from modern Chennai. Much of what scholars know about Narasimhavarman and the Pallava civilization comes from the writings of Hsuan Tsang, a Chinese Buddhist pilgrim who visited the region during the reign of Narasimhavarman I.

The 9th century saw the Cholas once again coming to prominence and they defeated the Pallavas.

During 13th century the Pandyas, with great flair for international trade came to power, centering at Madurai. Vijayanagar Kings in the 14th century finally defeated the Pandyas and the territory annexed to the Vijayanagar Empire. The Battle of Talikota waged with a confederation of Muslim rulers in 1565, saw the end of Vijayanagar Empire.

Subsequent to this the Tamilnadu broke off into several petty fiefdoms.

Near past:

The Muslim invasion of North India, though had its impact on Tamilnadu, it remained unaffected by the political turmoil of the North and Central India. In 1639,  The East India Company was established at Madras and slowly the whole of Tamilnadu came under British power.

With the Independence, Madras Province under the British regime comprising Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Kerala continued as Madras State. A popular agitation for separate Andhra saw the bifurcation of Madras State - to Andhra with  Nellore as capital and Madras State retaining its capital at Madras. Under the state reorganisation act of 1956, Malabar District and South Canara Districts were transferred to the newly formed Kerala State while Tamilnadu gained four taluks of Trivandrum District - Thowala, Agasthishwaram, Kalkkulam, Vilavancode and the Shencotta taluk of Quilon District from Kerala. In 1960, 405 sq. Kms. of Chittor District of Andhra Pradesh was transferred to Madras State in exchange of 326 sq. Kms. from Chaengalpattu and Salem Districts.

On January 14, 1969 Madras State changed its name to Tamilnadu. The Capital city was renamed Chennai in 1996.