Tamil Nadu

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Tamil Nadu

(tăm`əl nä`do͞o), formerly


(mədrăs`, mədräs`), state (2001 provisional pop. 62,110,839), 50,180 sq mi (129,966 sq km), SE India, on the Bay of Bengal. The capital is ChennaiChennai
, formerly Madras
, city (1991 pop. 5,421,985), capital of Tamil Nadu state, SE India, on the Bay of Bengal. A commercial, railway, and manufacturing center, Chennai has large textile mills, chemical plants, and tanneries and is the main center of India's
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 (formerly Madras). On a low-lying plain bounded by the Eastern Ghats in the north and Nilgiri and Anai Malai Hills on the west, the state has large fertile areas along the Coromandel Coast, the Palk Strait, and the Gulf of Mannar. Agriculture is the chief occupation. The main industries are food processing and the manufacture of cotton and silk cloth; madras, a uniquely dyed cloth, is the most famous product. There are irrigation canals and hydroelectric stations along the Kaveri River and a nuclear power plant. An extensive rail network linking Madras and the coastal cities with inland areas facilitates overseas trade. Most of the population is of Dravidian stock, speaks Tamil, and practices Hinduism. An ancient center of Dravidian culture, the region has the finest remaining examples of S Indian art and architecture. Coastal areas of the state, particularly along the Coromandel Coast, suffered destruction and lost of life from the Dec., 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami. Tamil Nadu is governed by a chief minister and cabinet responsible to a unicameral legislature and by a governor appointed by the president of India.

Tamil Nadu was the seat of the CholaChola
, S Indian dynasty, whose kingdom was in what is now Tamil Nadu. Its chief capitals were at Kanchi (Kanchipuram) and Thanjavur (Tanjore). The Chola kingdom was one of the three of ancient Tamil tradition, but the dynasty had been virtually submerged for centuries when at
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 empire (10th–13th cent.). Muslims swept away the Hindu VijayanagarVijayanagar
[Sanskrit,=city of victory], ruined city, SE India. It was the capital (14th–16th cent.) of the Hindu Vijayanagar empire, which embraced all India S of the Kistna River and shielded S India from the Muslim kingdoms of the north.
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 kingdom in the 16th cent. and controlled the area for about a century. The Portuguese established trading posts in the 16th cent., followed by the Dutch, French, and British in the early 17th cent. After a struggle (1741–63) with the French and with Haidar AliHaidar Ali
or Hyder Ali
, 1722–82, Indian ruler. A Muslim of peasant stock, he rose by military brilliance to command the army of the Hindu state of Mysore.
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 and Tippoo SahibTippoo Sahib
or Tipu Sahib
, 1749–99, Indian ruler, sultan of Mysore (1782–99); son and successor of Haidar Ali. He fought in his father's campaigns against the Marathas and the British but, after his succession, made peace with the British in 1784.
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, the British emerged victorious. Under Great Britain, the territory controlled from Madras city was considerably enlarged.

After independence its Telugu-speaking areas were transferred to Andhra Pradesh in 1953, and in 1956 the Kannada-speaking areas were transferred to Mysore (now Karnataka), and the Malayalam areas to Kerala. In 1969 the name of the state was changed from Madras to Tamil Nadu. The Tamils of Tamil Nadu have provided logistical support for the guerrillas trying to establish an independent Tamil state in an area covering the JaffnaJaffna
, peninsula, northernmost part of Sri Lanka, separated from India by Palk Strait. The peninsula is densely inhabited, largely by Tamil-speaking people. Jaffna suffered under the Portuguese and Dutch occupations of the 17th–18th cent.
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 peninsula and E Sri Lanka, and some Tamils support the idea of an independent homeland consisting of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil-speaking areas of Sri Lanka and the neighboring Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala.

Tamil Nadu


(until 1969, Madras State), a state in South India, on the Bay of Bengal of the Indian Ocean. Area, 130,000 sq km. Population, 41.1 million (1971), mainly Tamils. The capital is the city of Madras.

Tamil Nadu occupies an alluvial maritime plain in the extreme southeast of the Indian peninsula (the Coromandel Coast) and the southern edge of the Deccan Plateau. To the west, Tamil Nadu is bounded by the Nilgiri and Cardamom hills, which reach 2,500 m in elevation. Tamil Nadu has a rainy tropical climate. Annual precipitation totals 600–1,200 mm, reaching 2,500 mm in the mountains. In the maritime regions the maximum precipitation occurs from October to December, and in the interior, in July. The Cauvery is the largest river in the state. The flora consists mainly of deciduous tropical forests, which cover about 15 percent of the land area.

Tamil Nadu is one of the most densely populated states in India, with more than 300 people per sq km. The population is engaged mainly in agriculture, the largest branch of which is farming. There are approximately 7 million hectares under cultivation, 2 million of which are irrigated by means of canals and tanks. Most of the sown land is used for food crops, including rice, wheat, corn, jovar and bajara millet, legumes, and vegetables. The most important cash crops are peanuts, cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, rubber, coffee, tea, spices, and coconut palm. Peanuts occupy 10 percent of the sown area, and Tamil Nadu harvests more peanuts than any other state in India. Cotton occupies 6–7 percent of the sown area; the interior of Tamil Nadu is one of the leading cotton-growing regions of India. The most important sectors of stock raising are cattle raising (approximately 14 million head, mainly in the Deccan Plateau), sheep raising (about 7 million), and goats; some farms engage in pedigree stock breeding.

Other enterprises in Tamil Nadu are fishing, logging, and the manufacture of table salt from seawater. Lignite, bauxite, and magnesite are mined near Salem. The most important manufacturing industry is the textile industry, which produces cotton fabric and thread; the main centers are the cities of Coimbatore and Madurai. The food industry produces sugar, vegetable oils, and tobacco products. The leather industry processes hides and manufactures leather and leather goods. Products of the machine-building industry include textile machinery, motorcycles, tractors, electrical equipment, and radio-electronics equipment. There is a ferrous metallurgy industry.

Tamil Nadu is a major producer of construction materials, mainly cement. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Neiueli coal-mining, chemical, and petroleum-refining complex was built with Soviet aid, as was an aluminum plant in Mettur. Cottage industries produce goods made of leather, metal, and silk. The chief industrial center and port is the city of Madras; Tuttukkudi is another seaport. Tamil Nadu is named for the historical region in India where the Tamils settled.


Tamil Nadu

a state of SE India, on the Coromandel Coast: reorganized in 1956 and 1960 and made smaller; consists of a coastal plain backed by hills, including the Nilgiri Hills in the west. Capital: Madras. Pop.: 62 110 839 (2001). Area: 130 058 sq. km (50 216 sq. miles)
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