Tamil Nadu – A potpourri of culture and festivity

Tamil Nadu is a pleasant anachronism. With a wealthy culture reaching again to the early daybreak of historical past, the land of Temples can also be a contemporary growing state. Tamil Nadu, Jewel of the South, is nicely often called a vacationer vacation spot in India. With a previous brimming with superior cultural and inventive achievements, vacationers flock to Tamil Nadu primarily for its historic heritage. But there’s extra…

Traveling to Chennai, dashing capital of Tamil Nadu, vacationers see a contemporary metropolis, spectacular in addition to eminently livable. Besides, Tamil Nadu additionally has its fair proportion of nice seashores, nature, wildlife, good meals, festivals and enjoyable.

History of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s historical past reaches again to the earliest annals of pre-Aryan India. The earliest Tamilians have been descendents of the Dravidian race and the remnants of their early civilization excavated at Mohanjo Daro and Harappa, in North- Western India testify to a extremely developed society and culture. Invading Aryans precipitated them to retreat additional South into Peninsular India in at this time’s Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and of course Tamil Nadu. Here they settled and prospered, practiced statesmanship, constructed temples, pursued teachers, wrote literature, composed music and poetry and gave rise to at least one of the oldest and most refined cultures of India.

Tamil Nadu – Land of Temples

Over 30, 000 temples have earned Tamil Nadu the sobriquet of “The Land of the Temples”. Built over generations, by successive rulers of the Chola, Pallava, Pandya and Chera dynasties, Tamil Nadu’s temples nonetheless bear an in depth resemble to one another in phrases of their bodily options. The spectacular tower over the doorway, or gopuram, the tower over the sanctum or vimanam and the central corridor are frequent options throughout numerous architectural kinds – a mirrored image of the extremely outlined and exact guidelines governing the constructing of temples.

Grander and extra imposing than their North Indian counterparts, the temples of South India served as greater than mere buildings for the worship of the deities housed there. Tamil Nadu’s temples have been integral to the social material of the cities the place they stood. Serving as public halls, colleges and facilities of studying, they performed a task within the commemoration of vital non secular, social and political occasions. Besides they doubled as granaries, storage rooms and hospitals… From the angle of tourism, Tamil Nadu’s temples served as fountainheads of the religious and inventive endeavor of the Tamil folks.

Dedicated to vital deities of the Hindu Pantheon resembling Siva, Vishnu, their consorts Parvati and Lakshmi, as additionally Vinayak, Subramanya or Muruga, the Gods are worshipped with completely different names in response to legends related with the origin of the temples: Siva is Ramanathaswamy – ‘He who’s worshipped by Rama’ at Rameswaram, and Nataraja – ‘Cosmic Dancer’ at Chidambaram.

In Tamil Nadu Siva is worshipped because the 5 components: Space in Chidambaram, Water in Tiruvanaikkaval, Fire in Tiruvannamalai, Earth in Kanchipuram and Air in Sri Kalahasti (Andhra Pradesh). Vishnu, usually referred to in Tamil Nadu as Varadaraja Perumal and Ranganarthaswamy is worshipped as himself, as additionally by temples devoted to his incarnations, Rama and Krishna.

Temples dedicated to the consorts of the above Gods embody the dual temples of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar at Madurai and the Kamakshi temple at Kanchi. Besides, temples devoted to the elephant headed Ganpati or Ganesh, also called Vigneswara or Pillayar, his youthful brother Subramanya ‘Lord of the Mountains’ and different lesser deities are additionally present in Tamil Nadu.

Saivism and Vaishnavism, the 2 most elemental sects of Hinduism happen in Tamil Nadu, although, as elsewhere in India, this division is changing into extra and extra fuzzy.

Natural Wonders of Tamil Nadu

Ancient settlers in Tamil Nadu categorized the area into 5 completely different physiogeographic options: Kurinji or the mountainous area, Mullai or forests, Palai or the arid zone, Marudham or fertile lands and Neidhal or coastal belt.

The Eastern and Western Ghats, historic hill ranges, meet in Tamil Nadu, bestowing the state with some of probably the most ravishing hill stations of the South together with Ooty, Kodaikanal, Kothagiri and Yercaud.

Denser and having fun with extra rain, the Western Ghats are thickly forested apart from having tea, espresso and spice plantations. On the opposite hand, Yercaud, within the comparatively rocky, barren Eastern Ghats additionally provides fruit orchards and espresso plantations.

Travelers to the Western Ghats also can go to Tamil Nadu’s main wildlife sanctuaries together with the Mudumalai and Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuaries, residence to elephants, gaur, deer monkeys and tigers. On a distinct be aware are Tamil Nadu’s intensive mangrove forests comprising glorious chook sanctuaries resembling Lake Pulicat and Vedanthangal.

Besides boosting Tamil Nadu’s tourism, the forests are additionally residence to ample reserves of medicinal herbs together with Cinchona, which provides quinine for treating malaria and eucalyptus whose oil has therapeutic properties. Also, Palmyrah timber develop thickly in Tamil Nadu whereas rubber is a significant crop in elements of Tamil Nadu together with Kannyakumari. The Javadhu hills close to Vellore yield one other extremely wanted botanical surprise – the sandalwood tree.

Tamil Nadu’s fertile plains are fed by rivers resembling Cauvery, Palar, Pennar, Vaigai and Tamiraparani. The ever flowing Cauvery particularly irrigates the Coromandel plains, Tamil Nadu’s most fertile plains; its delta within the Thanjavur-Nagapattinam area is the veritable granary of Tamil Nadu! Palai, or the arid desert area of Tamil Nadu is seen primarily in Tirunelveli district.

Tamil Nadu’s most pleasurable temptations, undeniably, are the seashores. With an in depth shoreline Tamil Nadu was well-known amongst vacationers even in historic instances for its ports resembling Mylapore, Poompuhar and Mamallapuram from the place India performed commerce with Rome, Greece and the Far East. Today vacationers can take pleasure in broad uninterrupted seashores resembling Rameswaram, Kanyakumari and probably the most well-known – Marina seashore in Chennai. 12 km of unhindered sea and sand, make it the second longest seashore the world.

Festivals of Tamil Nadu

With their inventive and aesthetic sensibilities and a strong sense of enjoyable, it’s no surprise Tamilians love festivals. Most of these commemorate occasions from non secular mythology or have fun the seasons.

Pongal: This hottest of pageant of Tamil Nadu’s festivals celebrates the harvest season. The festivities stretching to 3 days, the primary day is devoted to the household, the second day to the solar and the third to the moon. Rice cooked in milk and jaggery is ready and shared, with even the cattle and animals getting their share. Much rejoicing attends this pageant, which can also be historically noticed in rural areas with neighborhood meals ready by freshly harvested produce.

Thai Pusam: Held in temples devoted to Kartikeya or Mariamman, devotees reveal their religion by strolling over burning coal. This over, a lot singing and feasting follows.

Kavadi Festival: Inspired by the legend of Idumban who carried two hillocks strung on a pole over his shoulders, devotees of Lord Muruga carry a ‘Kavadi’ – flower ornament, as they journey up the Palani hills in Tamil Nadu to a temple on the summit.

Float Festival: Commemorating Tamil Nadu’s model of Vishnu, Lord Alagar’s giving of his sister, the Goddess Meenakshi in marriage to Lord Sundaresa, ornamented statues of the divine couple are taken out on a golden bull from the Meenakshi temple on a full moon night time and floated in a tank on a raft with flowers and lamps. Devotees journey together with the procession, dancing and spraying colors

Karthigai Deepam: Beautiful rows of glittering earthen lamps outdoors each residence, and the joyous burst of firecrackers mark Tamil Nadu’s Festival of Lights.

Velankanni Festival: Commemorating the shrine of the Virgin Mary, constructed by grateful Portuguese sailors who miraculously escaped loss of life when their ship was wrecked, this pageant is attended by hundreds. The church is named the ‘Lourdes of the East’ on account of miraculous healings skilled by devotees right here.

Kanthuri Festival: Dedicated to Quadirwali, a saint who was well-known for doing good to folks of all faiths, a descendent of the saint is chosen as a peer. On the tenth day Quadirwali’s tomb is anointed with sandalwood paste, which is then distributed to share its therapeutic powers.

Taste of Tamil Nadu

No vacationer can declare to know Tamil Nadu until he has additionally tried its delicacies. For the Tamilian carries his gutsy, if refined ingenuity, to meals as a lot as each different aspect of his life. Tamil Nadu is predominantly vegetarian – a mirrored image of its staunch Hindu religion. While rice, lentils and greens are the staple, spices are used to present that distinctive flavour. Breakfast (tiffin) contains idli (steamed rice cake), dosa (steamed rice pancake), vada (patties made out of gram flour) pongal (rice and lentils boiled collectively and seasoned with cashew, pepper and cumin) and uppma (semolina seasoned with spices). Lunch is often rice together with greens, rasam (a spicy broth) and curd. Non-vegetarians have the choice of curries and dishes cooked utilizing hen, mutton, or fish.

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