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Tamil Nadu photos


Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram Shiva jyotir-lingam

Dhanushkodi in Rameshwaram


Tiruvannamalai


Bhagavan Shri Ramana Maharshi ashram

Shri Sheshadri Swamigal ashram

Yogi Ramsuratkumar ashram

Arunachala mountain, Skanda ashram & Virupaksha cave

The walking to the top of Arunachala

Arunachaleshwara temple


Madurai


Meenakshi temple in Madurai

Thirupparankundram temple of Subramanya (Murugan) in Madurai


Kanchipuram

Kodaikanal


Sathya Sai Baba 'Sai Shruti' ashram in Kodaikanal


Ooty (Udhagamandalam) & Todas

Palani


Shakti-giri hill with Murugan (Subramanya) temple on the top

Shiva-giri hill with Idumban temple

Tiru Avinankudi temple


Suchindrum

Kanyakumari

Chennai (Madras)


Little Mount of St. Thomas in Chennai


Vellore

Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram)

Chidambaram


Natyanjali 2006 dance festival


Thanjavur

Trichy (Tiruchchirappalli)

Vadalur & Ramalinga Swami

Auroville

   Tamil Nadu, the land of Temples, is one of the ancient regions in the country. The state’s history, art, architecture and religion are reflected by its temple towns. Tamil Nadu was ruled by Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas. Finally Britishers gained control and established their supremacy. After Independence Madras State came into being and the name was changed to Tamil Nadu in 1969. Magnificient temples, hill stations, beaches are some of the attractions of this land and also it is one of the major industrial and agricultural states.

   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 recognized as a classical language of India, in 2004. As of 2001 census, Tamil is spoken as the first language by 89.43 percent of the state population.

   Tamil society (southern India) was often in an uneasy relationship with a predominantly Hindi-speaking northern society in one country with its Hindi-speaking capital. It was two different cultures and nations with different histories, and for the Tamil people it was unacceptable to speak only Hindi, as sometimes was demanded from Delhi. Tamil nationalism asserts that Tamils are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of Tamil people. Tamil nationalism is more a secular nationalism, that focus on language and homeland. It expresses itself in the form of linguistic purism ("Pure Tamil"), nationalism and irredentism ("Tamil Eelam"), Social equality ("Self-Respect Movement") and Tamil Renaissance.

   Tamils are one of the oldest civilisations in the world with a rich culture and language. Originally, Tamil people ruled in Tamilakam and parts of Sri Lanka. During the colonial period, the Tamil areas came under the rule of British India and Ceylon. This situation completely eradicated the sovereignty of Tamils and reduced them to a minority status under political model implemented by British on their process of granting independence to their colonies. Since independence, Tamil separatist movements have been suppressed in Sri Lanka and India.

   The first anti-Hindi imposition agitation was launched in 1937, in opposition to the introduction of compulsory teaching of Hindi in the schools of Madras Presidency by the first Indian National Congress government led by C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji). This move was immediately opposed by E. V. Ramasamy (Periyar) and the opposition Justice Party (later Dravidar Kazhagam). The agitation, which lasted three years, was multifaceted and involved fasts, conferences, marches, picketing and protests. The government responded with a crackdown resulting in the death of two protesters and the arrest of 1,198 persons including women and children. Mandatory Hindi education was later withdrawn by the British Governor of Madras Lord Erskine in February 1940 after the resignation of the Congress Government in 1939.

   The adoption of an official language for the Indian Republic was a hotly debated issue during the framing of the Indian Constitution after India's independence from the United Kingdom. After an exhaustive and divisive debate, Hindi was adopted as the official language of India with English continuing as an associate official language for a period of fifteen years, after which Hindi would become the sole official language. The new Constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950. Efforts by the Indian Government to make Hindi the sole official language after 1965 were not acceptable to many non-Hindi Indian states, who wanted the continued use of English (as a compromise). The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a descendant of Dravidar Kazhagam, led the opposition to Hindi. To allay their fears, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru enacted the Official Languages Act in 1963 to ensure the continuing use of English beyond 1965. The text of the Act did not satisfy the DMK and increased their skepticism that his assurances might not be honoured by future administrations.

   As the day (26 January 1965) of switching over to Hindi as sole official language approached, the anti-Hindi movement gained momentum in Madras State with increased support from college students. On 25 January, a full-scale riot broke out in the southern city of Madurai, sparked off by a minor altercation between agitating students and Congress party members. The riots spread all over Madras State, continued unabated for the next two months, and were marked by acts of violence, arson, looting, police firing and lathi charges. The Congress Government of the Madras State, called in paramilitary forces to quell the agitation; their involvement resulted in the deaths of about seventy persons (by official estimates) including two policemen. To calm the situation, Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri gave assurances that English would continue to be used as the official language as long as the non-Hindi speaking states wanted. The riots subsided after Shastri's assurance, as did the student agitation.

   The agitations of 1965 led to major political changes in the state. The DMK won the 1967 assembly election and the Congress Party never managed to recapture power in the state since then. The Official Languages Act was eventually amended in 1967 by the Congress Government headed by Indira Gandhi to guarantee the indefinite use of Hindi and English as official languages. This effectively ensured the current "virtual indefinite policy of bilingualism" of the Indian Republic. There were also two similar (but smaller) agitations in 1968 and 1986 which had varying degrees of success.

   Chennai — the gateway to south India is the capital of Tamil Nadu. The ‘Marina’ — Chennai’s pride and world’s longest beach, second only to Miami, and the Indo-Saracenic monuments — Fort St. George, Victory War Memorial, the Pantheon complex of Museum, Theatre, Connemara Library; and Birla Planetarium, Valluvar Kottam.

   Religious sites of Kapaliswarar Temple, Sri Parthasarathy Temple, Vadapalani Andavar Temple, Triplicane Big Mosque, Thousand Lights Mosque, and St. George Cathedral, San Thome Church are the places of interest.

   Historical sites of state are Pallava rock-cuts, Shore temple of Mamallapuram; forts and monuments of Vellore and Gingee; Poompuhar — a re-creation of the premier port of the Chola Kingdom; Tarangambadi, a Danish port since1620 till 1845 of the Danish East India Company; the rock-cut cave temple of Sittannavasal; Udayagiri fort; Vattakottai fort.

   Tamil Nadu is the land of temles. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam with its largest Gopuram (tower) in India, is situated on the island of Kaveri river, Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur, Meenakshi temple at Madurai, Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram — an Island in the Gulf of Mannar are best known temples. Lord Shiva’s five Elements of Universe, four are situated in Tamil Nadu Arunachaleshwarar Temple at Tiruvannamalai (Fire), Jambukeshwarar Temple at Tiruvanaikoil (Water), Ekambareswarar Temple at Kanchipuram (Earth), Nataraja Temple at Chidambaram (Sky), and the fifth is Vayudeva Temple at Sri Kalahasti (Wind) near Tirupati (A.P.). The six legendary abodes of Lord Subramanya are Palani, Thiruttani, Swamimalai, Tiruchchendur, Thiruparangundram and Pazhamudircholai. Kanchipuram — city of thousand temples and the seat of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, Kumbakonam — a temple town. Famous temples are at Darasuram, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Vaitheeswaran Koil. Srivilliputtur Temple, with the tall Gopuram (tower), is the Emblem of State Government. Nagore’s Dargah is famous pilgrim centre for Muslims and Velankanni is a major pilgrim centre for Christians with the Roman Catholic Latin Rite Basilica, devoted to Our Lady of Good Health.

   The nature of Tamil Nadu is diverse. The beaches are inferior to the western coast in Kerala, Karnataka and Goa due to the almost complete absence of palm trees near the water's edge, strong surface and underwater currents and frequent strong waves. Coonoor, Kotagiri, Udagamandalam (Ooty) in Nilgiris, Yercaud, Anaimalai and Kodaikkanal are pleasant hill stations. Courtallam (Kuttalam) — waterfalls. Bhavani Sagar, Mettur Dam, Sathanur and Kallanai (Grand Anicut) — damsites. Pichavaram — boating in mangrove-forested back waters. Kurusadai — island beach resort. Kovalam (Covelong, 40 kms south of Chennai, it is not Kovalam of Kerala) — beach resort. Mukurti Peak in Nilgiri is 2554 meters high.

   Wildlife sanctuaries and national parks are Anaimalai, Mudumalai, Kalakkad Mundanthurai, Vedanthangal, Kodikkarai, Kalakkadu.

   Kanniyakumari (Cape Comorin) — Land's End at the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean with picturesque sunrise and sunset. Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue are situated on the rock in the sea, adjacent to Cape Comorin. Karaikudi’s Chettiar mansion (palace), Dhanushkodi at the tip of Rameswaram island are other places of interest.