Tourism in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the Sothern states of India. It lies on the eastern coast of the southern Indian Peninsula bordered by Puducherry (Pondicherry), Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It is bound by the Eastern Ghats in the north, the Nilgiri, the Anamalai Hills, and Palakkad on the west, Bay of Bengal in the east, Gulf of Mannar, Palk Strait in the south east and Indian Ocean in the south. It is the eleventh largest state in India by area (about the size of Greece) and the seventh most populous state.
It is the fifth largest contributor to India's GDP and the most urbanised state in India.The state has the highest number (10.56%) of business enterprises in India, compared to the population share of about 6%. It is one of the foremost states in the country in terms of overall development. It is home to many natural resources, rare flora and fauna, grand Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture, beach resorts, multi-religious pilgrimage sites and three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.Tamil Nadu's tourism industry is the second largest in India, with an annual growth rate of 16%.
Tourism in Tamil Nadu is promoted by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), a Government of Tamil Nadu undertaking. TTDC was incorporated in July, 1971, with the objective of promoting tourism in Tamil Nadu by providing infrastructure facilities in transport and accommodation. To fulfil this objective, TTDC has expanded its activities into 3 main operations, namely, hotels, transport and fairs. At present, TTDC operates 54 hotels, 11 boat houses, 3 restaurants, 3 snack bars, 4 telescope houses, 2 landscaping & gardening and 1 tourist service center. TTDC offers wide range of package tours and operates a fleet of 22 coaches.The tagline adopted for promoting tourism in Tamil Nadu is Enchanting Tamil Nadu. Approximately 1,753,000 foreign and 50,647,000 domestic tourists visited the state in 2007.
Tamil Nadu is a land of varied beauty. It boasts some of the grandest Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture in the World. The temples are of a distinct style which are famous for their towering Gopurams. The Brihadishwara Temple in Thanjavur, built by the Cholas, and the Shore Temple, along with the collection of other monuments in Mahabalipuram have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Rajagopuram of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam - the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world - is the tallest temple gopuram in the world Madurai is home to one of the grandest Hindu temples in the World - Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. Rameshwaram, Kanchipuram and Palani are important pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Other popular temples in Tamil Nadu include those in Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Chidambaram, Thiruvannaamalai, Aragalur, Tiruttani, Swamithoppe, Tiruchendur and Tiruvallur.
Tamil Nadu is also home to many beautiful hill stations. Popular among them are Udhagamandalam (Ooty), Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Coonoor, Top Slip and Yelagiri. The Nilgiri hills, Palani hills, Shevaroy hills and Cardamom hills are all abodes of thick forests and wildlife. Mukurthi National Park & Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve are the two tiger reserves in the state. Tamil Nadu has many National Parks, Biosphere Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Elephant and Bird Sanctuaries, Reserved Forests, Zoos and Crocodile farms. Prominent among them are Mudumalai National Park, The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary and Arignar Anna Zoological Park. The mangrove forests in Pichavaram are also eco-tourism spots of importance.
Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of peninsular India, is famous for its distinct and beautiful sunrise, Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar's statue built off the coastline. Marina Beach in Chennai is one of the longest beaches in the world. The stretch of beaches from Chennai to Mahabalipuram are home to many resorts, theme parks and eateries. The Waterfalls in the state include Courtallam, Hogenakal, Papanasam and Manimuthar. The Chettinad region of the state is renowned for its Palatial houses and cuisine. In recent years, Tamil Nadu is also witnessing a growth in Medical tourism, as are many other states in India.
History of Tamilnadu
Tamil Nadu's history dates back to pre-historic times and archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in India. In Adichanallur, 24 km from Tirunelveli, archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India unearthed 169 clay urns containing human skulls, skeletons and bones, plus husks and grains of rice, charred rice and Neolithic celts, giving evidence confirming them to be of the Neolithic period, 3800 years ago. The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script is "very rudimentary" Tamil Brahmi. Adichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies.
From early pre-historic times, Tamil Nadu was the home of the four Tamil kingdoms of the Chera, Chola, Pandya and Pallavas. The oldest extant literature, dated between 300 BC and 600 BC mentions the exploits of the kings and the princes, and of the poets who extolled them. Cheras ruled from the capital of Karur in the west and traded extensively with West Asian kingdoms.
An unknown dynasty called Kalabhras invaded and displaced the three Tamil kingdoms between the fourth and the seventh centuries CE. This is referred to as the Dark Age in Tamil history. They were eventually expelled by the Pallavas and the Pandyas.
Around 580 CE, the Pallavas, great temple builders, emerged into prominence and dominated the south for another 150 years. They ruled a vast portion of Tamil Nadu with Kanchipuram as their capital. They subjugated the Cholas and reigned as far south as the Kaveri River. Among the greatest Pallava rulers were Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I. Dravidian architecture reached its peak during the Pallava rule.
Pallavas were replaced by the Pandyas in the 8th century. Their capital Madurai was in the deep south away from the coast.
By the 9th century, under Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose as a notable power in south Asia. The Chola Empire stretched as far as Bengal. At its peak, the empire spanned almost 250 million acres. Rajaraja Chola conquered all of peninsular South India and parts of Sri Lanka. Rajendra Chola's navies went even further, occupying coastal Burma (now Myanmar), the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Sumatra, Java, Malaya in South East Asia and Pegu islands. He defeated Mahipala, the king of the Bengal, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital and named it Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
The Cholas excelled in building magnificent temples. Brihadeshwara Temple in Thanjavur is a classical example of the magnificent architecture of the Chola kingdom. Brihadshwara temple is an UNESCO Heritage Site under "Great Living Chola Temples." Another example is the Chidambaram Temple in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram.
With the decline of the Cholas towards the end of the 11th century, the Pandyas rose to prominence once again, under Maravarman Sundara Pandya.
This restoration was short-lived as the Pandya capital of Madurai itself was sacked by Alauddin Khilji troops from the north in 1316. The invasion led to the establishment of the Madurai Sultanate.
These northern invasions triggered the establishment of Vijayanagara Empire in the Deccan. It eventually conquered the entire Tamil country (c. 1370 CE). This empire lasted almost three centuries.
Rule of Nayaks
As the Vijayanagara Empire went into decline after mid-16th century, the Nayak governors, who were appointed by the Vijayanagar kingdom to administer various territories of the empire, declared their independence. The Nayaks of Madurai and Nayaks of Thanjavur were most prominent of them all in the 17th century. They reconstructed some of the oldest temples in the country.
Rule of Nizams and Nawabs
Around 1609, the Dutch established a settlement in Pulicat. In 1639, the British, under the British East India Company, established a settlement further south, in present day Chennai.
The British used petty quarrels among the provincial rulers (divide and rule) to expand their sphere of influence throughout the Nizam's dominions. The British fought and reduced the French dominions in India to Pondicherry. Nizams bestowed tax revenue collection rights on the East India Company by the end of 18th century. Some notable chieftains or Poligars who fought the British East India Company as it was expanding were Maveeran Sundaralinga Kudumbanar , Veerapandya Kattabomman, Pulithevan and Dheeran Chinnamalai.
In early 19th century, East India Company consolidated most of southern India into the Madras Presidency coterminous with the dominions of Nizam of Hyderabad. Pudukkottai remained as a princely state under British suzerainty.
When India became independent in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras State, comprising present day Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh up to Ganjam district in Orissa, northern Karnataka, and parts of Kerala. The state was subsequently split up along linguistic lines. In 1968, Madras State was renamed Tamil Nadu, meaning Land of Tamil.
Geography and Climate
Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130,058 square kilometres (50,216 sq mi),and is the eleventh largest state in India. West and North of the state has lofty hills while the East and South are coastal plains. The bordering states are Kerala to the west, Karnataka to the northwest and Andhra Pradesh to the north. To the east is the Bay of Bengal. The southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula is located in Tamil Nadu. At this point is the town of Kanyakumari which is the meeting point of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean.
Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) which forms about 18% of the country's coastline (third longest). Tamil Nadu's coastline bore the brunt of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami when it hit India, which left behind 7,793 dead in the state. Tamil Nadu falls mostly in a region of low seismic hazard with the exception of 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 dependent heavily on monsoon rains, and thereby is prone to droughts when the monsoons fail. The climate of the state ranges from dry sub-humid to semi-arid. The state has three distinct periods of rainfall: (1) Advancing monsoon period, South West monsoon (from June to September), with strong southwest winds; (2) North East monsoon (from October to December), with dominant northeast winds; and (3) Dry season (from January to May). The normal annual rainfall of the state is about 945 mm (37.2 in) of which 48% is through the North East monsoon, and 32% through the South West monsoon. Since the state is entirely dependent on rains for recharging its water resources, monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe drought. Tamil Nadu is classified into seven agro-climatic zones: north-east, north-west, west, southern, high rainfall, high altitude hilly, and Cauvery Delta (the most fertile agricultural zone). The table below shows the maximum and minimum temperatures that the state experiences in the plains and hills.
Tamil Nadu has a wide variety of minerals with the most reserves in India lignite (almost 90% of India's reserves), magnesite (45%) and garnet (over 40%) among others. Tamil Nadu contributes 15% of the total Salt production in the country. Forests cover over 17% of the state's geographical area with several Protected areas of Tamil Nadu including wild life and bird sanctuaries.
Governance and administration
Tamil Nadu had a bicameral legislature until 1986, when it was replaced with a unicameral legislature, like most other states in India. The 'Governor' is the Constitutional head of the state while the 'Chief minister' is the head of the government and the head of the council of ministers. The Chief Justice of the Madras High Court is the head of the judiciary. The present Governor, Chief minister and the Chief Justice are S. S. Barnala, M. Karunanidhi and A. k. Ganguly respectively.The major administrative units of the state constitutes 39 Lok Sabha constituencies, 234 Assembly constituencies, 31 districts, 10 municipal corporations, 145 municipalities, 561 town panchayats and 12,618 village panchayats. Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is the state capital. It is the fourth largest city in India and is also one of the five A1 Metropolitan cities of India.
Tamil Nadu has been a pioneering state in E-Governance initiatives in India. A large part of the government records like land ownership records are already digitised and all major offices of the state government like Urban Local Bodies - all the Corporations and Municipal Office activities - revenue collection, land registration offices, and transport offices have been computerised, thereby improving the quality of service and transparency in operations.
The 31 districts of Tamil Nadu are listed below, with the numbers corresponding to those in the image at the right. Ariyalur district, which was created in 2001 from the Perambalur district, was restored as the 31st district of Tamil Nadu on the 23rd November, 2007.
- Chennai District
- Coimbatore District
- Cuddalore District
- Dharmapuri District
- Dindigul District
- Erode District
- Kanchipuram District
- Kanyakumari District
- Karur District
- Krishnagiri District
- Madurai District
- Nagapattinam District
- Namakkal District
- Perambalur District
- Pudukkottai District
- Ramanathapuram District
- Salem District
- Sivagangai District
- Thanjavur District
- The Nilgiris District
- Theni District
- Thoothukudi District
- Tiruchirapalli District
- Tirunelveli District
- Tiruvallur District
- Tiruvannamalai District
- Tiruvarur District
- Vellore District
- Viluppuram District
- Virudhunagar District
- Ariyalur district
TN government has also announced that Tirupur will be the new headquarters of the Tirupur district which will be formed by splitting the Coimbatore and Erode district.
The Tamil Nadu Police Force is over 140 years old. It is the fifth largest state police force in India. The administrative control of Tamil Nadu Police vests with the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu who holds the portfolio of Home Minister. The supervision and coordination of Police is done by the Home Department, Govt. of Tamil Nadu. The Force is headed by the Director General of Police. The State is divided into 4 police zones - North, Central, West and South. Each zone is headed by one Inspector General of Police. In each of the six metropolitan cities of Tamil Nadu, the City Police force is headed by a Commissioner of Police. These cities are Greater Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Salem and Tirunelveli. There are thirty police districts in Tamil Nadu, each headed by a Superintendent of Police. In each City and District, the Commissioner of Police / Superintendent of Police has, besides the civil police force, an armed reserve of police personnel. One Deputy Inspector General of police supervises the work of 2-3 districts, which constitute a Police Range. There are eleven ranges in Tamil Nadu. The special units of Tamil Nadu Police perform specific functions related to security, intelligence, criminal investigations and support services. Tamil Nadu has a police population ratio of 1 : 632. The Tamil Nadu Police force is regarded as one amongst the best in the country. Tamil Nadu is one of the states where law and order has been maintained largely successfully. Over the years, there has been a gradual decrease in the number of crimes registered.