Knowledge Corner

Tamil Nadu is one of the 29 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai (formerly known as Madras). Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry and the South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. It is bounded by the Eastern Ghats on the north, by the Nilgiri, theAnamalai Hills, and Kerala on the west, by the Bay of Bengal in the east, by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait on the southeast, and by the Indian Ocean on the south. The state shares a maritime border with the nation of Sri Lanka.

Tamil Nadu is the eleventh-largest state in India by area and the sixth-most populous. The state was ranked sixth among states in India according to the Human Development Index in 2011, with the second-largest state economy. Tamil Nadu is the second largest state economy in India with ₹4,789 billion (US$71 billion) in gross domestic product. The state has the highest number (10.56 per cent) of business enterprises and stands second in total employment (9.97 per cent) in India,compared with the population share of about 6 per cent. Tamil Nadu was ranked as one of the top seven developed states in India based on a “Multidimensional Development Index” in a 2013 report published by a panel headed by current RBI governor Raghuram Rajan. Its official language is Tamil, which is one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world.

Tamil Nadu is home to many natural resources. In addition, its people have developed and continue classical arts, classical music, and classical literature. Historic buildings and religious sites include Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture, hill stations, beach resorts, multi-religious pilgrimage sites, and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.



Archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in the Indian peninsula. In Adichanallur, 24 km (15 mi) from Tirunelveli, archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) unearthed 169 clay urns containing human skulls, skeletons, bones, husks, grains of rice, charred rice andcelts of the Neolithic period, 3,800 years ago. The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script used at that site is “very rudimentary” Tamil Brahmi. Adichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies. About 60 per cent of the total epigraphical inscriptions found by the ASI in India are from Tamil Nadu, and most of these are in the Tamil language. Mythical traditions dictate that Lord Shiva himself taught sage Agastya this language. Sage Agastya is considered to be the father of Tamil literature and compiled the first Tamil grammar called Agathiyam, but the scripts of Agathiyam no longer exist.

Indus valley script between 2000 and 1500 BC

A Neolithic stone celt (a hand-held axe) with the Indus script on it was discovered at Sembian-Kandiyur near Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu. According to epigraphistIravatham Mahadevan, this was the first datable artefact bearing the Indus script to be found in Tamil Nadu. Mahadevan claimed that the find was evidence of the use of the Harappan language, and therefore that the “Neolithic people of the Tamil country spoke a Dravidian language”. The date of the celt was estimated at between 1500 BC and 2000 BC.

Sangam period (300 BC – AD 300)

The early history of the people and rulers of Tamil Nadu is a topic in Tamil literary sources known as Sangam literature. Numismatic, archaeological and literary sources corroborate that the Sangam period lasted for about six centuries, from 300 BC to AD 300.

Three dynasties, namely the Chera, Chola and Pandya, ruled the area of present-day Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Chera ruled the whole of present-day Kerala and parts of western Tamil Nadu comprising Coimbatore, Dharmapuri, Karur, Salem and Erode districts from the capital of Vanchi Muthur (thought to be modern day Karur). TheChola dynasty ruled the northern and central parts of Tamil Nadu from their capital, Uraiyur; and the Pandya dynasty ruled southern Tamil Nadu, from capitals at Korkaiand Madurai.

Bhakti Movement

The Bhakti movement originated in Tamil speaking region of south India and spread northwards through India. The Bhakti Movement was a rapid growth of bhakti beginning in this region with the Saiva Nayanars (4th–10th centuries) and the Vaisnava Alvars who spread bhakti poetry and devotion. The Alwars and Nayanmars were instrumental in propagating the Bhakti tradition.

Medieval period (600–1300)

During the 4th to 8th centuries, Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallava dynasty under Mahendravarman I and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I. The Pallavas ruled parts ofSouth India with Kanchipuram as their capital. Dravidian architecture reached its peak during Pallava rule. Narasimhavarman II built the Shore Temple which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Much later, the Pallavas were replaced by the Chola dynasty as the dominant kingdom in the 9th century and they in turn were replaced by the Pandyan Dynasty in the 13th century. The Pandyan capital Madurai was in the deep south away from the coast. They had extensive trade links with the south east Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya and their successors, as well as contacts, even formal diplomatic contacts, reaching as far as the Roman Empire. During the 13th century, Marco Polo mentioned the Pandyas as therichest empire in existence. Temples such as the Meenakshi Amman Temple at Madurai and Nellaiappar Temple at Tirunelveli are the best examples of Pandyan temple architecture. The Pandyas excelled in both trade and literature. They controlled the pearl fisheries along the south coast of India, between Sri Lanka and India, which produced some of the finest pearls in the known ancient world.

Chola Empire

During the 9th century, the Chola dynasty was once again revived by Vijayalaya Chola, who established Thanjavur as Chola’s new capital by conquering central Tamil Nadu fromMutharaiyar and the Pandya king Varagunavarman II. Aditya I and his son Parantaka I expanded the kingdom to the northern parts of Tamil Nadu by defeating the last Pallava king, Aparajitavarman. Parantaka Chola II expanded the Chola empire into what is now interior Andhra Pradesh and coastal Karnataka, while under the great Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose to a notable power in south east Asia. Now the Chola Empire stretched as far as Bengal and Sri Lanka. At its peak, the empire spanned almost 3,600,000 km2 (1,400,000 sq mi). Rajaraja Chola conquered all of peninsular south India and parts of Sri Lanka. Rajendra Chola’s navy went even further, occupying coasts from Burma (now ) to Vietnam, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Sumatra, Java, Malaya, Philippines in South East Asia and Pegu islands. He defeatedMahipala, the king of Bengal, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital and named it Gangaikonda Cholapuram.


Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130,058 km2 (50,216 sq mi), and is the eleventh largest state in India. The bordering states are Kerala to the west, Karnataka to the north west andAndhra Pradesh to the north. To the east is the Bay of Bengal and the state encircles the union territory of Puducherry. The southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula isKanyakumari which is the meeting point of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean.

The western, southern and the north western parts are hilly and rich in vegetation. The Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats meet at the Nilgiri hills. The Western Ghats traverse the entire western border with Kerala, effectively blocking much of the rain bearing clouds of the south west monsoon from entering the state. The eastern parts are fertile coastal plains and the northern parts are a mix of hills and plains. The central and the south central regions are arid plains and receive less rainfall than the other regions.

Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 1,076 km (669 mi) which is the country’s second longest coastline. Tamil Nadu’s coastline bore the brunt of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami when it hit India, which caused 7,793 direct deaths in the state. Tamil Nadu falls mostly in a region of low seismic hazard with the exception of the western border areas that lie in a low to moderate hazard zone; as per the 2002 Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) map, Tamil Nadu falls in Zones II & III. Historically, parts of this region have experienced seismic activity in the M5.0 range.


Tamil Nadu is the seventh most populous state in India. 48.4 per cent of the state’s population live in urban areas, the highest among large states in India. The state has registered the lowest fertility rate in India in year 2005–06 with 1.7 children born for each woman, lower than required for population sustainability.

At the 2011 India census, Tamil Nadu had a population of 72,147,030. The sex ratio of the state is 995 with 36,137,975 males and 36,009,055 females. There are a total of 23,166,721 households. The total children under the age of 6 is 7,423,832. A total of 14,438,445 people constituting 20.01 per cent of the total population belonged to Scheduled Castes (SC) and 794,697 people constituting 1.10 per cent of the population belonged to Scheduled tribes (ST).

The state has 51,837,507 literates, making the literacy rate 80.33 per cent. There are a total of 27,878,282 workers, comprising 4,738,819 cultivators, 6,062,786 agricultural laborers, 1,261,059 in house hold industries, 11,695,119 other workers, 4,120,499 marginal workers, 377,220 marginal cultivators, 2,574,844 marginal agricultural laborers, 238,702 marginal workers in household industries and 929,733 other marginal workers.


As per the religious census of 2011, Tamil Nadu had 87.6% Hindus, 5.9% Muslims, 6.1% Christians, 0.1% Jains and 0.3% following other religions or no religion.

The state is home to the core schools of medieval and modern Hinduism as well as several non-mainstream Hindu movements. These include Nayanmars Saivism, Saiva Siddhanta, Alvar Vaishnavism, Sri Vaishnavism and Ayya-Vazhi. In modern times, well known figures for Hinduism in the state include Ramana Maharishi and the KanchiSankaracharya. All Hindu deities in various forms and a large number of village deities are worshiped by Hindus in Tamil Nadu. Murugan is considered to be the God of Tamil people. Tamil Nadu dominates the list of largest Hindu Temples in the world which include the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple, Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple,Ekambareswarar Temple at Kanchipuram, Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleswar Temple, Brihadeeswarar Temple at Tanjore among others. The emblem of Government of Tamil Nadu depicts the Gopuram (gateway tower) of the Andal Temple at Srivilliputhur.


Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu. English is also in common usage as an official language of India. When India adopted national standards, Tamil was the first language to be recognised as a classical language of India. As of 2001 census, Tamil is spoken as the first language by 89.43 per cent of the population followed by Teluguby 5.65 per cent, Kannada by 2.68 per cent, Urdu by 1.51 per cent, Malayalam by 0.89 per cent and Marathi by 0.1 per cent.

Skill Test

1. In which year was the name of Chennai was officially changed from Madras?
2. Name the company that has been selected by the Tamil Nadu Government to distribute fre laptops to the government aided institutes?
3. During the siege of Madras who led the French forces?
4. Name the state tree of Tamil Nadu?
5. During the provisions of Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle that ended the Battle of Madras, the city was returned to the British after the return of which territory?
6. The Matscience was established in which year in Tamil Nadu
7. What is the total area of Tamil Nadu?
8. What is the number of districts in the state of Tamil Nadu?
9. State the number of zones in which the greater Chennai police Commissionerate has been divided into?
10. Chennai is also known as Detroit of Asia. Among the following states Detriot is located in United States?
11. Madurai in Tamil Nadu is known for
12. Which is the state bird of Tamil Nadu?
13. The Battle of Wandiwash was a part of which war?
14. The DANIDA-TNAHCP initiative of Tamil Nadu is related to which sector?
15. The OOR Panchayats of Tamil Nadu can be placed in which category?
16. Where have been the Gandhi Community Colleges in Tamil Nadu have been opened?
17. The famous Parthasarathy Temple was built by whom?
18. What is the state animal of Tamil Nadu?
19. The Armoured Vehicles and Ammunition Depot of India is located in which district of Tamil Nadu?
20. State the year in which the Madras state was renamed to Tamil Nadu
21. Name the first Indian who was selected as the judge of Madras High Court?
22. Name the river that originates in the Chembarambakkamlake in Tamil Nadu.