Thursday, May 6, 2010


My sweet friend of my school days is JEEVA.. He studied along with me from 1 to 5 in KONGUNADU MAT HR SCHOOL.. That time we dont know about each other.. After that we changed to GOVT HSS ... That time we were very much close.. After that i changed my school to KURINJI NAMKKAl... He changed back to Kongunadu... But that time we were in good touch only...After that he came to my school in 11... Most remembarable days of our friendship.... still we are in touch... and we will be forever...........
Then in kurinji lot of friends in 8th 9th and tenth.... they are sudhakar,balaji,vijay(panks),gopi,deepan,mahamani,vijayakumar,karthick, kirubakaran and all....
Then in 11th and 12th lots and lots... they are amaithi,gopal,dhans,anand,saravanan,varadharajan,sasikanth,dhinesh,balachandar,nambi,siva,and all.......
School BUS:
In school days but travelling also unforgettable one.. we had enjoyed alot in bus.. in bus me , sathish,gowtham,rajesh,jeeva,kalaiarasan were together...
IN college days there are so much friends in hostel in first year Sabari,haribabu,selva,karthick,sathish and all.. that time we lived as schooldays only...
After that i stayed in outside room. That time we enjoyed alot ... we formed as gang... In that gang me ,jp,mani, naresh, naren,prabhu, bala,manic,karthick,sabari,ragav,vel and al.... we went to mahabalipuram and many places... we enjoyed our friends birthday... But i missed some of the Birthday celebs.... but i really feel for that still now....but we enjoyed ........

IN COLLEGE lots ans lots of friends.... In my dept Ajay ,NK,Keshav, adhi,chols,fantastic 4,bal,arun,sk,john,palani,sudhan and all... And i have some of my friends from other de

and then

we all spoke only in 3rd year.... we went to abi(bee) and ananthi's(an) house .... After that our friendship grows gradually... one interesting thing is we dont know anything about ourselfs but we are friends... No one can break this.... it will grow forever.....

Mani(rowdy,bottle hitecha and 1000 names), Guhan(aadu,mr.po,ku,clueso), Achu(nattamai,ndtv,Ashish nehra),abi(bee,sister for all),ananthi(an),Anju(ju),Aishu(arivali)(today she got placed in patni),madhu(jerk,famous) and Peter(our junior) are my close friends.....

we went out many times all together,then birthday parties,gifts,and all.. then we to all ours house many times... (dont think for studies or to meet parents.. ONLY FOR EATING)

Another friend for me in college days is BALA(bulb).... he is one of our UPK Rockers now...


It is the smallest village in namakkal District near consists of around 30 families and intresting thing is all the families are relations in some geneations(pangalis).the village has the temple name OMKALIAMMAN and Vinayagar Temple. its village temple is near the place Manathi.Their family god is located near Manikampalayam named Annamrkovil. Kongunadu hr sec school is located near this village.


Velagoundampatti is one of the village of Namakkal. It is located on the state highway connecting the district headquarters, Namakkal with the other major town of this area, Thiruchengode.The buses from Namakkal to Trichengodu, Erode,Coimbatore, Ooty,Mysore,Gobi pass by this town only.. It is the biggest village (transport point ) between namakkal and Trichengodu. It has two schools named Kongunadu Higher secondary school ,Govt hr sec school.Famous lord SIVA temple is located near Velagoundampatti (puthur) .it is the connection point for 10 km circle area.



It is the first ISO 14001-2004 certified municipality in Asia for environmental management[1], specifically the provision and maintenance of water supply, solid waste and sewage management, town planning, lighting and other social services

It is named as Educational city, Poultry city, and Transport city.

Transport Hub

Namakkal is a major lorry and truck hub right from 1957 when A.Muthuswamy Chettiar established AMC Automobiles. Many conglomerates of trailers, tanker lorries are found in Namakkal.

Namakkal district has emerged as one of the transportation hubs of the TN State. About 40 per cent of the trucks operated in the State are from Namakkal and the district, noted for truck body building, has over 18,000 trucks, including 3,000 tankers and 2,500 trailers, with an annual addition of approximately 500 trucks.

Tiruchengode can be called "The Borewell Hub of India" as it manufactures the largest number of Borewell Vehicles operated in India

Poultry Hub

NAMAKKAL, the major poultry producer of southern India, has been witnessing a positive change in the recent years. The district alone accounts for about 75 per cent of the birds produced in the Namakkal zone of the National Egg Coordination Committee. The poultry sector in the zone has grown by 19.53 per cent in the past two years. The total number of birds has gone up from 307.34 lakh in 2005-06 to 367.35 lakh in 2007-08. The zone produces about 2.5 crore eggs a day, with Namakkal contributing 1.75 crore of the total production. The labour-intensive sector provides direct employment to over one lakh people.

Namakkal, the zero-garbage eco-city

* Namakkal is one of the few Indian Municipalities which have been successful in running a zero garbage, eco-friendly urban waste management project for which visitors are coming to study


* The economy of the district was primarily agricultural, but as on today it has changed its occupation to Lorries, Educational Institutions, Poultry Farms and real estate. So, Poultry, Lorry Transport and related businesses drive the economy of the town.

* Namakkal is famous for its Lorry body building industries and Poultry farms. It is India's 2nd biggest egg producing region (producing 3 crore eggs per day).

* A wide variety of crops are grown within the district. One of the main crop is Tapioca and due to that Namakkal is famous for Sago Factories (particularly Sellappampatty and Attur taluk around the place).

* Migration to other countries is very common in Namakkal and it started in the 1900s. The early migration was mainly to Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Now a days people are migrating to USA and UK also.

* It has been recorded several times to be the "number one" location in ATM tansactions in Tamil Nadu.[citation needed] Next to Coimbatore & Erode. Also it has the most number of crorepathis followed by Erode and Tirupur.


Namakkal district is well known in the state of Tamil Nadu for producing excellent results in the Class 12 final examinations, and its students secure admissions to several top professional colleges in the state. Namakkal and Rasipuram taluks have several of these intensive preparation schools which stress on academics more than extra-curricular activities to produce these results. Several boarding schools are available with spartan non-academic facilities and accommodations, and admissions to these can be very competitive, as it often leads to an admission in some of the top engineering and medical colleges in the state.

Due to its reputation and experienced teachers, students from all over the state seek admission to high schools in the Namakkal district. The government higher secondary school namakkal south has excellent history in the past.It is the oldest educational instituition in Namakkal with a golden period during early and mid-90's when there was high quality education and now has numerous roots all over the world mainly in UK and USA in the form of Doctors and Engineers who qualified from this school.It also has the biggest play ground in the state.

Tiruchengode has the pride of having the country's first Gandhi Ashram a tribute to our nation's great leader Mahatma Gandhi and opened by our country's then viceroy Rajaji (Rajagopalachari).


Namakkal (Tamil: நாமக்கல்) is a city and a municipality in Namakkal district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of Namakkal district. It is the first ISO 14001-2004 certified municipality in Asia for environmental management[1], specifically the provision and maintenance of water supply, solid waste and sewage management, town planning, lighting and other social services[2].

It is named as Educational city, Poultry city, and Transport city.

It is a part of Kongu Nadu region of Tamil Nadu which was hotly contested and coveted by both the ancient Pallavas and the Pandyas.

Since, the Namakkal District is a part of the Salem District, the historical background of Salem and Namakkal remains the same. After the struggle between the Cheras , Cholas and Pandiyas, the Hoysalas rose to power and had control till the 14th Century followed by Vijayanagar Kings till 1565 A.D. Then the Madurai Nayakas came to power in 1623 A.D. Two of the Polygons of Thirumalai Nayak namely, Ramachandra Nayaka and Gatti Mudaliars ruled the Salem area. The Namakkal Fort is reported to have been built by Ramachandra Nayakas. After about 1625 A.D., the area came successively under the rule of Muslim Sultans of Bijapur and Golkinda Mysore kings and then the Marathas, when about the year 1750 A.D. Hyder Ali came to power. During this period, it was a history of power struggle between Hyder Ali and later Tippu , with the British.

The Rock Fort in Namakkal is a special feature of the Town. The Fort covers an area of one and half acres of flat surface and is accessible from South-West by a flight of narrow steps. Namakkal was in the hands of Atikula King called Gunasila who has marriage with Pallava King. Later the taluk was over run by the Cholas in the Kongu Mangalam which has over run by the Cholas in the 9th Century and passed on to Vijayanagar under the Viuroyultry of madra. Namakkal was held by Killdhar (Caption) on Hyder Ali until it was captured by British in 1768.


Namakkal is located at 11°14′N 78°10′E / 11.23°N 78.17°E / 11.23; 78.17.[3] It has an average elevation of 218 metres (715 feet). It is close to Kolli Hills (கொல்லிமலை)- which is part of the Eastern Ghats (கிழக்கு தொடர்சிமலை). The closest river is Kaveri (காவேரி).

The Namakkal City is located with the surrounding Cities as mentioned below (distance in Kms approximately):

* 360 km southwest of Chennai
* 250 km south of Bangalore
* 55 km East of Erode (Textile Yellow City)
* 55 km South of Salem (Mango & Magnesite City)
* 150 km east of Coimbatore
* 84 km northwest of Tiruchirapalli

The landscape of Namakkal is such that it would not be affected by floods.


Namakkal is a historic town with reference back to at least the 9th century. The name Namakkal derives from Namagiri, which is the name of the single rock formation at the center of the town. The rock is enormous - 65 meters high and more than a kilometre in circumference. Over this massive rock, is a fort. The fort and the temples in the rock including Anchaneya Temple were built by Ramachandra Nayakar, a small king who ruled Namakkal 1200 years ago around 800 C.E. It is believed that Tippu Sultan hid himself in this fort for some time to escape the British. The fort was not built by Tippu Sultan even though some people believe like that. The front side of the hill is called Thiru. Vi. Ka. Paarai and used by taxis as their stand. Generally, Namakkal is considered to be a Vaishnava Setram, and there is no Shiva temple in the town until a few years ago. Recently, a Shiva temple has been built near Mariamman Temple. Even today, Pujaris in the Narasimha temple say that there is no Shiva temple in the town even though a small Shiva temple has been built in Namakkal in recent years.

Gandhiji held a public meeting in 1933 in Namakkal under the slope of the Namakkal rock. Namakkal falls in the region of Kongu Nadu and was ruled mainly by the Cheras. The Cholas and the Pandyas also ruled this region for some time. It has also been under the control of self or autonomous rulers for at least a century. It is one of the few places in Tamil Nadu, that has not been seriously affected by famine and war.

Lord Anjaneya temple

Namakkal Anjaneyar temple has more than 1500 Years history . The fort of Namakkal is guarded by a giant Anjaneya. The idol is so famous that it has been known as Namakkal Hanuman.Anjaneya is in Digambara temple (with sky as the roof) facing and worshiping Lord Lakshmi Nrusimha and the Saleegramam. The Anjaneya in this kshethra is eighteen feet tall and is having dharshan of the Lord Lakshmi Nrusimha about 250 feet away. The eye of Anjaneya is in straight line with the patha [lotus feet] of Lord Lakshmi Nrusimha. One can witness Anjaneya having the dharshan of Lord's Lotus feet from the Garudalwar sannathi even today. The imprint of the footsteps of Anjaneya Swami is seen in the Kamalalam tank steps.

Nearby Villages around Namakkal
# Pandamangalam
# Thindamangalam
# Velur
# Puduchatram
# Kavettipatti
# koodacheri
# Vazhavanthi and
# N.Kandampalayam
# Konur.
# Kalangani
# Villipalayam
# Velagoundampatty
# Vallipuram
# Vasanthapuram

Nearest Tourist Place
Main article: Kolli Hills

The Kolli Hills are featured in several works of classical Tamil literature such as Silappathigaram, Manimekalai, Purananuru and Ainkurnuru. The region was ruled by Valvil Ori around 200 A.D., who is praised as one of the seven great philanthropists of ancient Tamil Nadu. His valor and marksmanship are sung by several poets, and his exploits are a popular part of folklore. Ori is said to have killed a lion, bear, deer and a boar with a single arrow. The jackfruit grown on these mountains is known for its taste and fragrance and is often soaked in wild honey that is also harvested from these mountains. The mountains are covered by lush green vegetation in the spring and monsoon, and are streaked with streams which add to the natural beauty. There are three reserved forests that are controlled by the Government of Tamil Nadu, namely Ariyur Solai, Kundur Nadu, Pulianjolai It is not correct to regard the name kolli hills as being due to the incidence of deadly diseases such as malaria!It is because early literature records the existence of an image called kollippavai on top of these hills.This image was believed to represent the spirit of a maiden who lured wayfarers by her beauty and then killed them. The mountain is a site of pilgrimage, because of the Arapaleeswarar temple, which is believed to have a secret path to the Shiva temple in Rasipuram. This Shiva temple is said to have been built by Valvil Ori in the 1st or 2nd century when he ruled this area. "Arappaleeswara sathakam" is the poem which praises the Lord Arappaleeswarar. It is believed that this temple exists during the Sangam period itself.

Tourism: Kolli Hills has to be explored in a leisure space. Kolli Hills has been the top choice for nature lovers, hiking enthusiasts, trekking clubs and meditation practitioners among hill stations in Tamil Nadu. In comparison to other hill stations in Tamil Nadu, Kolli Hills is not commercialized, less polluted and offers unique mountain ranges.

Some of the famous spots are:

* Agaya Gangai Waterfalls
* Siddhar caves
* Mini Falls
* Arappaleeswar Temple
* Ettukai Amman Temple
* Masi Periyasamy Temple and falls
* Selur View Point
* Boat House
* Botanical Garden
* Seekuparai viewpoint
* Sandana Parai
* German swami's ashram
* Puranikadu Sat Dharma sangam ashram

What to do in Kolli Hills:

* Trekking
* Nature Walk
* Rock Climbing
* Rappelling
* Bird watching
* cave exploration
* star gazing
* Camp fire
* Watching local folklore/Folk dance with campfire.
* Lord Murugan is supposed to have visited Kolli Hills and evidence is found at Belukurichi, 24 kilometres from Namakkal, in the route of Namakkal to Rasipuram via Muthugapatty and Sendamangalam.
* Arthanareeswarar Temple, Tiruchengodu is a Lord Arthanareeswarar Temple situated in Tiruchengodu, Which is 35 km from Namakkal.

Economy and Industries around Namakkal

* The economy of the district was primarily agricultural, but as on today it has changed its occupation to Lorries, Educational Institutions, Poultry Farms and real estate. So, Poultry, Lorry Transport and related businesses drive the economy of the town.

* Namakkal is famous for its Lorry body building industries and Poultry farms. It is India's 2nd biggest egg producing region (producing 3 crore eggs per day).

* A wide variety of crops are grown within the district. One of the main crop is Tapioca and due to that Namakkal is famous for Sago Factories (particularly Sellappampatty and Attur taluk around the place).

* Migration to other countries is very common in Namakkal and it started in the 1900s. The early migration was mainly to Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Now a days people are migrating to USA and UK also.

* It has been recorded several times to be the "number one" location in ATM tansactions in Tamil Nadu.[citation needed] Next to Coimbatore & Erode. Also it has the most number of crorepathis followed by Erode and Tirupur.


V. Ramalingam Pillai, more popularly known as Namakkal Kavignar (நாமக்கல் கவிஞர்), is a Tamil poet who hailed from Namakkal (born in 1888 in Mohanur). His poems on the non-violent Indian independence movement are popular. His famous patriotic poem is

கத்தி யின்றி ரத்த மின்றி
யுத்த மொன்று வருகுது
சத்தி யத்தின் நித்தி யத்தை
நம்பும் யாரும் சேருவீர்!....

Pottery and sculpture are promoted by way of traditional festivals and temple celebrations. Most villages in the district, like many other south Indian villages, have a temple to a guardian deity at the perimeter of the village. Aiyanar is the guardian deity of the village. Much artistic expression goes into sculpting the Aiyanar statues.

Two famous Carnatic musicians Pallavi vidwan Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar and his student Namakkal Sesha Iyengar hailed from this village. Narasimha Iyengar studied under Manambuchavadi Venkatasubbayyar of the Thyagaraja sishya parampara. His grooming of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar is now the stuff of legend. Namakkal Sesha Iyengar also trained V V Sadagopan, an actor, musicologist and musician. Namagirippettai Sri.Krishnan a great musician (Nagaswaram) was at Namagirippettai.
[edit] Recent developments

* AIDS epidemic and control
o A "Permanent Legal Aid Clinic" for Namakkal has been proposed by the Madras High Court Chief Justice to protect the rights of HIV/AIDS patients, especially women.[5]
* Namakkal, the zero-garbage eco-city
o Namakkal is one of the few Indian Municipalities which have been successful in running a zero garbage, eco-friendly urban waste management project for which visitors are coming to study.[6][7][8]
* Train/Railway Station for Namakkal
o Work is in progress on a new broad gauge railway line between Salem and Karur via Namakkal and Mohanur, as part of the Southern Railways network.[9] A rail bridge across the Kaveri River (Cauvery) is to connect Vangal in Karur District and Mohanur in Namakkal District.[10][11][12]

* Nearest Airport for Namakkal is Salem Airport
o The Commercial Flights from Salem Airport had started from 15 November 2009, by the Kingfisher Airlines from Salem to Chennai

Transport Hub

Namakkal is a major lorry and truck hub right from 1957 when A.Muthuswamy Chettiar established AMC Automobiles. Many conglomerates of trailers, tanker lorries are found in Namakkal.

Namakkal district has emerged as one of the transportation hubs of the TN State. About 40 per cent of the trucks operated in the State are from Namakkal and the district, noted for truck body building, has over 18,000 trucks, including 3,000 tankers and 2,500 trailers, with an annual addition of approximately 500 trucks.

Namakkal Driver Training Institute was the first of its kind and has served as a beacon to lead the way in the training of drivers.

Easily accessible from Erode, Salem and Trichy, and spread over 25 acres, the campus includes a driving range with every conceivable road configuration. A spacious building accommodates large classrooms, a library, a model room, a laboratory and a cafeteria with an open-air theatre attached.

The driving range consists of single-lane, two-lane, four-lane and six-lane roads, ‘S’ bend, ‘8’ bend and hairpin bend, humps and dips with varying gradients, speed breakers, bye-pass road, ‘Y’ junction, a variety of parking bays, basic and variable yards.

The roads come with electronic signals, signs, markings and streetlights for night driving – everything, in fact, that drivers will encounter on the highways.
[edit] Poultry Hub

NAMAKKAL, the major poultry producer of southern India, has been witnessing a positive change in the recent years. The district alone accounts for about 75 per cent of the birds produced in the Namakkal zone of the National Egg Coordination Committee. The poultry sector in the zone has grown by 19.53 per cent in the past two years. The total number of birds has gone up from 307.34 lakh in 2005-06 to 367.35 lakh in 2007-08. The zone produces about 2.5 crore eggs a day, with Namakkal contributing 1.75 crore of the total production. The labour-intensive sector provides direct employment to over one lakh people.


தமிழ்நாடு "Country of the Tamils", pronounced is one of the 28 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 States of 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, by the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Gulf of Mannar, the Palk Strait in the south east, and by the Indian Ocean in the south.

Tamil Nadu 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 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.

The region has been the home of the Tamil civilization since at least 1500 BC, as attested by numerous archeological sites in and around Adichanallur. Its classical language Tamil has been in use in inscriptions and literature for 2500 years. Tamil Nadu is home to many natural resources, grand Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture, hill stations, beach resorts, multi-religious pilgrimage sites and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Topographic map of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130,058 square kilometres (50,216 sq mi), and is the eleventh largest state in India. 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 and the union territory of Puducherry. 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.

The western, southern and the north-western parts are hilly and rich in vegetation. Tamil Nadu is the only state in India which has both the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats and they both meet at the Nilgiri hills. The Western Ghats dominate 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 910 kilometres (600 mi) which is the country’s third 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.

Districts of Tamil Nadu

The 32 districts of Tamil Nadu are as listed below with the numbers corresponding to those in the image at right.

1. Ariyalur District
2. Chennai District
3. Coimbatore District
4. Cuddalore District
5. Dharmapuri District
6. Dindigul District
7. Erode District
8. Kanchipuram District
9. Kanyakumari District
10. Karur District
11. Krishnagiri District
12. Madurai District
13. Nagapattinam District
14. Namakkal District
15. Nilgiris District
16. Perambalur District

17. Pudukkottai District
18. Ramanathapuram District
19. Salem District
20. Sivagangai District
21. Thanjavur District
22. Theni District
23. Thoothukudi District
24. Tiruchirapalli District
25. Tirunelveli District
26. Tirupur district
27. Tiruvallur District
28. Tiruvannamalai District
29. Tiruvarur District
30. Vellore District
31. Viluppuram District
32. Virudhunagar District

Education and social development
The main entrance of IIT Madras, showing its logo and its motto.

Tamil Nadu is the most literate state of India according to the HRD ministry of India's 2003 statistics.[60] Tamil Nadu has performed reasonably well in terms of literacy growth during the decade 1991-2001. The state's literacy rate increased from 62.66% in 1991 to 73.47% in 2001.[52] which is above the national average. A survey conducted by the Industry body Assocham ranks Tamil Nadu top among Indian states with about 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in primary and upper primary education.[61] One of the basic limitations for improvement in education in the state is the rate of absence of teachers in public schools, which at 21.4% is significant.[62]

Tamil Nadu has 19 universities,[63] 349 engineering colleges[64] and 1150 arts college, 2550 schools and 5000 hospitals.[citation needed] Some of the most reputed educational institutes present in Tamil Nadu are University of Madras, IIT Madras, TANUVAS(Tamil Nadu veterinary and Animal sciences university), Anna University (includes MIT Chennai - Madras Institute of Technology), NIT Tiruchi, VIT University Vellore, Institute of Road & Transport Technology (IRTT) at Erode, Christian Medical College & Hospital Vellore, Bharathidasan Institute of Management Trichy, Madras Medical College, Loyola College, Chennai and Annamalai University. The Indian Institute of Management is scheduled to open in Trichy by 2009-2010.[65] Tamil Nadu produces the highest number of engineering graduates in India (around 1,30,000) every year which attracts many software companies to set up their shop in south India.
College of Engineering, Anna University, the oldest engineering school of south India

India has a human development index calculated as 0.619, while the corresponding figure for Tamil Nadu is 0.736, placing it among the top states in the country. The life expectancy at birth for males is 65.2 years and for females it is 67.6 years.[68] However, it has a number of challenges, significantly, the poverty is high, especially in the rural areas. As of 2004-2005, the poverty line was set at Rs. 351.86/month for rural areas and Rs. 547.42/month for urban areas.[69] Poverty in the state dropped from 51.7% in 1983 to 21.1% in 2001[70] For the period 2004-2005, the Trend in Incidence of Poverty in the state was 22.5% compared with the national figure of 27.5%. The World Bank is currently assisting the state in reducing poverty High drop-out and low completion of secondary schools continue to hinder the quality of training in the population. Other problems include class, gender, inter-district and urban-rural disparities. Based on URP - Consumption for the period 2004 - 2005, percentage of the state's population Below Poverty Line was 27.5%.

The Dravidian movement, which championed the causes of educating the people and eradicating superstitions, began in Tamil Nadu. In addition, it aims to uplift the socially repressed Dravidian people and drew considerable support from the middle classes for their efforts in this matter. The movement was committed to social justice which led to the expansion of reservations for the deprived communities. Tamil Nadu now has a 69% reservation in educational institutions, the highest among all Indian states.

The Mid-day Meal Scheme program in Tamil Nadu, initiated by Kamaraj, was expanded considerably during the rule of the AIADMK in 1983. It feeds over a fifth of the state's population.[citation needed] Despite this, the state is among the 12 states in India that have alarming level of hunger according to the 2008 Global Hunger Index.

Language and literature
எப்பொருள் யார்யார்வாய்க் கேட்பினும் அப்பொருள்

மெய்ப்பொருள் காண்ப தறிவு
'The mark of wisdom is to discern the truth

From whatever source it is heard.'
- (Tirukkural - 423)

Tamil is the only 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 very first language to be recognized as a classical language of India.

Most early Tamil literary works are in verse form, with prose not becoming more common until later periods. Throughout its history, Tamil literature has sought to inform and inspire, educate and entertain. Tamil poetry has universal appeal as evidenced by many examples. Tirukkural, which was written nearly two millennia ago portrays a universal outlook. This is evident as the author, Tiruvalluvar, does not mention his religion, land, or the audience for his work. He is often portrayed as a holy saint of Tamil Nadu today.

The first Tamil printing press was established at Tarangambadi by the Danish missionaries. During the Indian freedom struggle, many Tamil poets and writers sought to provoke national spirit, social equity and secularist thoughts among the common man, notably Subramanya Bharathy and Bharathidasan.

Meenakshi Amman Temple complex in Madurai, one of the grandest Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu

About 88% of the population identifies as Hindu and Tamil Nadu is the home of the core schools of medieval and modern Hinduism as well as several non-mainstream Hindu movements. These include Advaita Vedanta, Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita, Alvars' Sri Vaishnavism, and Nayanmars Shaivism. Several important Hindu Tamil figures became important figures for Hinduism as a whole (e.g.Ramanuja.) In modern times, well known figures for Hinduism in the state include Ramana Maharishi and the Sankaracharyas of Kanchi. Murugan, Thirumal (Vishnu), Sivan, Sakthi in various forms and a large number of village deities are also worshiped by Hindus in Tamil Nadu. The emblem of Government of Tamil Nadu contained the popular Hindu temple of Srivilliputhur.

Christians and Muslims together form over 11% of the population. Christians are mainly concentrated in the southern districts of Kanyakumari (44% of the population, 2001), Thoothukudi (17%, 2001) and Tirunelveli (11%,2001). St. Thomas Mount in Chennai, the place where St. Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, was believed to have been martyred,[76] is an important pilgrimage site for Indian Christians. The Santhome Basilica, supposedly built atop the tomb of St. Thomas, and the Vailankanni Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health — revered churches by India's Roman Catholics — are good examples of majestic church architectures in Tamil Nadu. The Church of South India and the Pentecostal Mission Church are headquartered in Chennai
Erwadi durgah in Ramanathapuram District, a major pilgrimage center of Muslims in Tamil Nadu

Muslims are mainly concentrated in areas such as Adirampattinam, Kayalpatnam, Kilakarai, Ambur, Vaniyambadi, Madurai, Nagore, and Melapalayam, with the state capital Chennai also home to a number of Muslims. Among Muslims, 97.5% are Sunni and the rest are Shias. All Muslims in tamil Nadu are Sunnis, who adhere to either Hanafi or Shafi schools of thought. Erwadi in Ramanathapuram district and Nagore in Nagapattinam district are important pilgrimage site for Muslims, while the Thousand Lights Mosque in Chennai is one of the largest mosques in the country. Kazimar Big Mosque in Kazimar Street, Madurai and Karpudaiyar masjid in Kayalpatnam are the oldest mosques in Tamil Nadu.
[edit] Festivals
Jallikattu, a raw bull taming contest, is held on the occasion of Maattu Pongal

Pongal, also called as Tamizhar Thirunaal (festival of Tamils) or Makara Sankranti elsewhere in India, a four-day harvest festival is one of the most widely celebrated festivals throughout Tamil Nadu. The Tamil language saying Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum — literally meaning, the birth of the month of Thai will pave way for new opportunities — is often quoted with reference to this festival. The first day, Bhogi Pongal, is celebrated by throwing away and destroying old clothes and materials by setting them on fire to mark the end of the old and emergence of the new. The second day, Surya Pongal, is the main day which falls on the first day of the tenth Tamil month Thai (14 January or 15 January in western calendar). The third day, Maattu Pongal, is meant to offer thanks to the cattle, as they provide milk and are used to plough the lands. Jallikattu, a bull taming contest, marks the main event of this day. During this final day, Kaanum Pongal — the word "kaanum", means 'to view' in Tamil.

The first month in the Tamil calendar is Chitterai and the first day of this month in mid-April is celebrated as Tamil New Year. Thiruvalluvar Calendar is 31 years ahead of Gregorian Calendar, that is 2000A.D. in Gregorian calendar is represented as 2031 in Thiruvalluvar Calendar. Aadi Perukku is celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month Aadi, which celebrates the rising of the water level in the river Cauvery. Apart from these major festivals, in every village and town of Tamil Nadu, the inhabitants celebrate festivals for the local gods once a year and the time varies from place to place. Most of these festivals are related to the goddess Maariyamman, the mother goddess of rain.

Additional major Hindu festivals including Deepavali ( Death of Narakasura), Ayudha Poojai, Saraswathi Poojai (Dasara), Krishna Jayanthi and Vinayaka Chathurthi are celebrated widely. Ayya Vaikunda Avataram, is celebrated predominantly in the southern districts.[77] In addition, Christmas, Eid ul-Fitr, Easter and Bakrid are celebrated by Christians and Muslims in the state.
[edit] Music
See also: Ancient Tamil music
Nadhaswaram and Thavil players

The Kings of ancient Thamizhagam created sangams for Iyal Isai Nadagam (Literature, Music and Drama). Music played a major role in sangams. Music in Tamil Nadu had different forms. In villages where farming was the primary occupation, ladies who work in the fields used to sing kulavai songs. Odhuvars, Sthanikars or Kattalaiyars offer short musical programmes in the temples by singing the devotional Thevaram songs. In sharp contrast with the restrained and intellectual nature of Carnatic music, Tamil folk music tends to be much more exuberant. Popular forms of Tamil folk music include the Villuppāṭṭu, a form of music performed with a bow, and the Nāṭṭuppur̲appāṭṭu, ballads that convey folklore and folk history. Some of the leading Tamil folk artists in the early 21st century are Pushpuvanam Kuppuswamy, Dr. Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan, Chinnaponnu, Paravai muniammal etc.

Carnatic music is the classical music form of Southern India. This is one of the world's oldest & richest musical traditions.[78] The Trinity of Carnatic music Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri were from Tamil Nadu. Thyagarajar Aaradhanai (worship) takes place every year in the month of Marghazhi in Thiruvaiyaru all carnatic musicians render their obesiance to Saint Thyagarajar by singing his compositions.[79] The composers belonging to the Tamil Trinity, namely Muthu Thandavar (?1560 - ?1640 CE), Arunachala Kavi (1712–1779) and Marimutthu Pillai (1717–1787) composed hundreds of devotional songs in Tamil and helped in the evolution of Carnatic music. Today, Tamil Nadu has hundreds of notable carnatic singers and instrumentalists who spread this music all over the world. Chennai hosts a large cultural event, the annual Madras Music Season during December-January, which includes performances by hundreds of artists all over the city.

In terms of modern cine-music, Ilaiyaraaja was the most prominent composer of film music in Tamil cinema during the late 1970s and 1980s. His work highlighted Tamil folk lyricism and introduced broader Western musical sensibilities to the South Indian musical mainstream. Tamil Nadu is also the home of the double Oscar Winner A.R. Rahman[80][81][82] who has composed film music in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi films, English and Chinese films, was once referred to by Time magazine as "The Mozart of Madras".
[edit] Arts and dance
A Bharatanatyam danseuse

Tamils have a large number of folk dances. These are performed for every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, weddings and festivals. Tamil dance is closely intertwined with the Tamil theatrical tradition. The most celebrated of these is karakattam. In its religious form, the dance is performed in front of an image of the goddess Mariamman. The dancer bears on his or her head a brass pot filled with uncooked rice, decorated with flowers and surrounded by a bamboo frame, and tumbles and leaps to the rhythm of a song without spilling a grain. Karakattam is usually performed to a special type of song known as temmanguppāṭṭu or thevar pāṭṭu, a folk song in the mode of a lover speaking to his beloved, to the accompaniment of a nadaswaram and melam. Other Tamil folk dances include mayilāṭṭam, where the dancers tie a string of peacock feathers around their waist; ōyilāttam, danced in a circle while waving small pieces of cloth of various colours; poikkal kuthiraiyaaṭṭam, where the dancers use dummy horses; manattam, where the dancers imitate the graceful leaping of deer; paraiyāṭṭam, a dance to the sound of rhythmical drumbeats, and thīppandāṭṭam, a dance involving playing with burning wooden torches.

Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form originating from Tamil Nadu. Bharatanatyam is thought to have been created by Bharata Muni, a Hindu sage, who wrote the Natya Shastra, the most important ancient treatise on classical Indian dance. In ancient times it was performed in Hindu temples by Devadasis. In this form, it as also been called sadir or chinna melam. Many of the ancient sculptures in Hindu temples are based on Bharata Natyam dance postures. Bharatanatyam is a traditional dance-form known for its grace, purity, tenderness, and sculpturesque poses. It continues to be a popular and widely performed dance style at present times and is practised by male and female dancers all over India. Terukkuttu or Kattaikkuttu is a traditional form of Tamil street theatre folk dance/drama.
[edit] Film industry
Main article: Cinema of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is also home to the Tamil film industry called Kollywood, the second largest film industry in India after Hindi .[citation needed] It is based in Chennai in Kodambakkam, the section of Chennai that houses cinema-related facilities.
[edit] Cuisine
Main article: Tamil cuisine
Chettinad cuisine, typically served on a banana leaf

Tamil cuisine is basically South Indian cuisine, where Rice and rice-derived dishes form the major portion of a diet. There are regional sub-varieties namely Chettinadu, Kongunadu, Madurai, Tirunelveli varieties etc. Traditionally, food is served on a banana leaf instead of a plate and eaten with the right hand. Rice is the staple food of Tamils and is typically eaten mixed with Sambhar (with or without Ghee), vegetarian or non - vegetarian Kulambu, Rasam, Curd and Buttermilk. This is accompanied with various vegetarian and / or non - vegetarian dishes like Kootu, Aviyal, Poriyal, Appalam, Varuval, Peratal, Kothsu, varieties of Pickles and Chicken / Mutton / Fish fry. Breakfast and snack items include Dosai, Adai, Idly, Vadai, Pongal, Appam(Aappam), Paniyaram, Puttu(Pittu), Uppumavu(Uppuma), Santhakai(Noodles), Idiyappam and Uthappam. These items are eaten along with Sambar, varieties of Chatni and Podi . Traditionally prepared Filter Coffee is unique in taste and popular all over the state. The Chettinad region is famous for its spicy non-vegetarian cuisine, while Ambur, Dindigal and Sankarankoil are known for their Biriyani. Sweet items that are native to Tamil Nadu and prepared at homes are Athirasam, Chakkarai Pongal (prepared during Pongal) and Kuli Paniyaram. Tirunelveli is known for its unique wheat Halwa and Palani is renowned for its Panchamirtham. In the recent past, North Indian, Western, Chinese and fast food culture are also witnessing a steady growth in Tamil Nadu.

Main articles: Economy of Tamil Nadu, List of conglomerates in Tamil Nadu, and List of rivers in Tamil Nadu
Gross State Domestic Product in Rs. Crores and Current Prices[83] Year GSDP Change Share of India
1994 - 95

Green Arrow Up.svg 19.32%

Green Arrow Up.svg 7.49%
1996 - 97

Green Arrow Up.svg 29.96%

Red Arrow Down.svg 7.18%
1998 - 99

Green Arrow Up.svg 32.47%

Green Arrow Up.svg 7.40%
2000 - 01

Green Arrow Up.svg 19.36%

Red Arrow Down.svg 7.33%
2002 - 03

Green Arrow Up.svg 09.92%

Red Arrow Down.svg 6.85%
2004 - 05

Green Arrow Up.svg 21.81%

Red Arrow Down.svg 6.61%

Tamil Nadu's gross state domestic product for 2007 is estimated at 275,000 crores (70 billion USD) in current prices.[84][85] The state experienced a GDP growth rate of 12.1% for this period.[61] It was the third largest economy (2007–2008) among all states in India,[86] and also the most industrialised state in India.[87] It ranks third in foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals (cumulative 1991-2002) of Rs.225,826 million ($5,000 million), next only to Maharashtra and Delhi constituting 9.12% of the total FDI in the country.[88] The per capita income in 2007 - 2008 for the state was Rs.43,000 ranking second among the South Indian states [89] and steadily been above the national average.[90]

According to the 2001 Census, Tamil Nadu has the highest level of urbanisation (43.86%) in India, accounting for 6% of India’s total population and 9.6% of the urban population.[91] and is the most urbanized state in India.[4] Services contributes to 45% of the economic activity in the state, followed by manufacturing at 34% and agriculture at 21%. Government is the major investor in the state with 51% of total investments, followed by private Indian investors at 29.9% and foreign private investors at 14.9%. Tamil Nadu has a network of about 110 industrial parks and estates offering developed plots with supporting infrastructure.[92]
[edit] Agriculture

Tamil Nadu has historically been an agricultural state and is a leading producer of agricultural products in India. In 2008, Tamil Nadu was India's fifth biggest producer of Rice.[93] The Cauvery delta region of the composite Thanjavur district is known as the Rice Bowl of South India. In terms of production, Tamil Nadu accounts for 10% in fruits and 6% in vegetables, in India.[94] Mango and Banana are the leading fruit crops in Tamil Nadu accounting for over 87% of the total fruit production. The main vegetables grown are tapioca, tomato, onion, brinjal and drumstick. Tamil Nadu is also a leading state in the production of flowers with the total production of horticultural crops standing at Rs. 99.47 Lakhs during 2003-04. The main flowers grown in Tamil Nadu are Jasmine, Mullai, Chrysanthemum, Marigold and Rose.
Paddy fields at Kanyakumari district

The state is the largest producer of bananas,[95] flowers,[96] tapioca,[96] the second largest producer of mango,[96] natural rubber,[97] coconut,[98] groundnut and the third largest producer of coffee,[99] sapota,[96] Tea[100] and Sugarcane.[101] Tamil Nadu's sugarcane yield per hectare is the highest in India.[101] The state has 17,000 hectares of land under oil palm cultivation, the second highest in India.[102] Tamil Nadu is the home to Dr M.S. Swaminathan, known as the "father of the Green Revolution" in India.[103] Tamil Nadu Agricultural University with its seven colleges and thirty two research stations spread over the entire state contributes to evolving new crop varieties and technologies and disseminating through various extension agencies. Among states in India, Tamil Nadu is one of the leaders in livestock, poultry and fisheries production. Tamil Nadu had the second largest number of poultry amongst all the states and accounted for 17.7% of the total poultry population in India.[104] In 2003 - 2004, Tamil Nadu had produced 37,836 lakhs of eggs, which was the second highest in India representing 9.37% of the total egg production in the country.[105] With the third longest coastline in India, Tamil Nadu represented 27.54% of the total value of fish and fishery products exported by India in 2006.[106]
[edit] Textile, Automobile and Heavy Industries

A large number of textile mills and engineering industries are present around the city of Coimbatore. It is home to numerous textile, automotive spare sparts and motor pump manufacturing units. Cities of Tirupur and Erode are the country's largest exporters of knit wears.[107] They are well known for textile manufacturing industries and exports to such extent that the districts of Coimbatore, Tirupur and Erode are referred to as 'Textile Valley of India'.[108]
Hyundai's manufacturing plant at Irungattukottai near Sriperumbudur.

Tamil Nadu is one of the highly industrialised states in India. Over 11.2% of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Tamil Nadu [109]. Many heavy engineering and manufacturing companies are located in and around the suburbs of Chennai (nicknamed, 'Detroit of Asia') and Coimbatore (nicknamed 'Manchester of South India'). Tamil Nadu has seen major investments in the automobile industry over many decades manufacturing cars, railway coaches, battle-tanks, tractors, motorcycles, automobile spare parts and accessories, tyres and heavy vehicles. Major global automobile companies including Ford, Renault-Nissan, Caterpillar, and Hyundai have complete manufacturing operations in Tamil Nadu. The region around Coimbatore, Tirupur and Erode is referred to as the "Textile Valley of India" with the export turnover from the Tirupur in 2004 at Rs. 50,000 million ($1,000 million). 56% of India's total knitwear exports come from Tirupur. Karur generates around (35,500 million) $750 million a year in foreign exchange. Arani and Kanchipuram are famous for their handloom and silk weaving industries.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, one of India's largest electrical equipment manufacturing company, has manufacturing plants at Tiruchirapalli and Ranipet. India's leading steel producer, SAIL has a steel plant in Salem.[110] Sterlite Industries has their copper smelter plant in Tuticorin and aluminium plant in Mettur. The state government owns the Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Ltd. (TNPL),[111] the world's biggest bagasse based Paper mills in Karur, as well as the world's sixth largest manufacturer of watches together with TATA at Hosur, under the brand name of "Titan".[112]
[edit] Electronics and Software Industry
Infosys' campus at Mahindra World City near Chennai

Electronics manufacturing is a growing industry in Tamil Nadu, with many major global telecommunications giants like Companies like Nokia, Flextronics, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, Foxconn, Samsung, Cisco, Moser Baer and Dell having chosen Chennai as their South Asian manufacturing hub. Products manufactured include circuit boards and cellular phone handsets.[113]

Tamil Nadu is the second largest software exporter by value in India, second only to Karnataka. Software exports from Tamil Nadu grew from Rs. 76 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2003-04 to Rs.207 billion {$5 billion} by 2006-07 according to NASSCOM[114] and to Rs. 366 billion in 2008-09 which shows 29% growth in software exports according to STPI.[115] Major national and global IT Companies such as Verizon, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Accenture, Ramco Systems, Computer Sciences Corporation, Cognizant Technology solutions, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Wipro, HCL, Tech Mahindra, Polaris, Aricent, MphasiS and many others have offices in Chennai.
[edit] Food and Beverage Industry

Expansion of Foods and Beverage based corporations within Tamil Nadu has been noteworthy. Principal amongst the established entities now in Tamil Nadu are Chez Leeloo, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken. New entrants seem to be appearing all around the state creating mass employment opportunities.
[edit] Infrastructure
Main article: List of State Highways in Tamil Nadu
Pamban road (left) and rail (right) bridges, connecting the Indian mainland with the Pamban Island. The rail bridge was opened to traffic in 1914, and was considered an engineering marvel in its time

Tamil Nadu has a well established transportation system that connects all parts of the state. This is partly responsible for the investment growth in the state. Tamil Nadu is served by an extensive road network, providing links between urban centers, agricultural market-places and rural areas. There are 24 national highways in the state, covering a total distance of 2,002 km (1,244 mi).[116] The state is also a terminus for the Golden Quadrilateral project. The state has a total road length of 167,000 km (103,769 mi), of which 60,628 km (37,672 mi) are maintained by Highways Department. This is nearly 2.5 times higher than the density of all-India road network.[117]
The Railway network and the major cities in Tamul Nadu

Tamil Nadu has a well developed rail network as part of Southern Railway. Headquartered at Chennai, the Southern Railway network extends over a large area of India's Southern Peninsula, covering the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry, a small portion of Karnataka and a small portion of Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu has a total railway track length of 5,952 km (3,698 mi) and there are 532 railway stations in the state.[118] The system connects it with most major cities in India. Main rail junctions in the state include Chennai, Erode, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli Madurai, Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) and Salem. Chennai has a well-established suburban railway network and is in the process of developing a metro.

Tamil Nadu has a major international airport, Chennai International Airport, that is connected with 19 countries with more than 169 direct flights every week. This is currently the third largest airport in India after Mumbai and Delhi and has a passenger growth of 18%. Other international airports present in the state are Coimbatore International Airport and Tiruchirapalli International Airport. Madurai Airport, Salem Airport and Tuticorin Airport are domestic airports which connect their respective cities to other parts of the country. Increased industrial activity has given rise to an increase in passenger traffic as well as freight movement which has been growing at over 18 per cent per year.[119]
MRTS Train station in Chennai

Tamil Nadu has three major seaports at Chennai, Ennore and Tuticorin, as well as one intermediate port, at Nagapattinam. Chennai Port is an artificial harbour situated on the Coromandel Coast in South-East India and it is the second principal port in the country for handling containers. Ennore Port handles all the coal and ore traffic in Tamil Nadu. The volume of cargo in the ports grew by 13 per cent during 2005.[120][121]

As of 2005, Tamil Nadu is one of the few Indian states with surplus Electricity generation capacity, enabling the electrical authority to sell it to neighbouring states of Andra Pradesh & Karnataka. The Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant, Ennore Thermal Plant, Neyveli Lignite Power Plant, many hydroelectric plants including Mettur and the Narimanam Natural Gas Plants are major sources of Tamil Nadu's electricity. It is presently adding the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant to its energy grid, which on completion would be the largest atomic power plant in the country, in terms of capacity.[122]

Tamil Nadu sources[123] a significant proportion of its power needs from renewable sources with wind power installed capacity at over 3600 MW[124] or over 40% of the maximum peak demand. Tamil Nadu ranks first nationwide in diesel-based thermal electricity generation with a national market share of over 34%.[citation needed] 55% of all wind-generated electricity in India is created by windmills in Tamil Nadu. Renowned Danish wind power company NEG Micon has established its manufacturing unit in Chennai

Kari Motor Speedway near Coimbatore

Tamil Nadu has made fair strides in the field of sports. The Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) is the government body that is vested with the responsibility of developing sports and related infrastructure in the state.[133][134] The SDAT owns and operates a number of world class stadiums and organizes various sporting events.[135] It also accommodates various sporting events, both at domestic and international level, organized by other sports associations at its venues.[136] The YMCA College of Physical Education at Nandanam in Chennai was established in 1920 and was the first college for physical education in Asia.[137]

Cricket is the most popular sport and Kabaddi, also known locally as Sadugudu, is the state game of Tamil Nadu. M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai is an international cricketing arena with a capacity of 50,000 and houses the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. Popular cricketers from Tamil Nadu who have represented the national team are S. Venkataraghavan, Kris Srikkanth, Robin Singh, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Murali Kartik, Murali Vijay, Subramaniam Badrinath and Dinesh Karthik. Cricket contests between local clubs, franchises and teams are also popular across the state. The MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai is a much sought after fast bowling academy by pace bowlers all over the world. The state game of Kabaddi is another popular sport played extensively in the rural areas. Silambam is another popular traditional sport played in the rural areas.

The ATP Chennai Open tournament held in Chennai every January is the biggest Tennis event in South Asia.[138] Tennis players from Tamil Nadu who had made it to the big stage include Ramanathan Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan, Vijay Amritraj, Mahesh Bhupathi and Prakash Amritraj. Tamil Nadu has a long standing motorsports culture. The sport was pioneered by Sundaram Karivardhan in its ear ly days. Notable sportspersons from Tamil Nadu in the field are Narain Karthikeyan, the first Indian to participate in F1 racing, and Karun Chandhok. Motor racing events are held at the Irungattukottai track (near Sriperumbudur), Sholavaram track and Kari Motorspeedway near Coimbatore.
Viswanathan Anand, the World Chess Champion

The Tamil Nadu Hockey Association is the governing body of Hockey in the state. Vasudevan Baskaran was the captain of the Indian team that won gold medal in 1980 Olympics at Moscow. The Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai hosts international hockey events and is regarded by the International Hockey Federation as one of the best in the world for its state-of-the-art infrastructure.[139] Chennai hosted the SAF Games in 1995. Anju Bobby George, a world renowned athlete, represents Tamil Nadu in the national arena.[140] Santhi Soundararajan, silver medalist (later stripped) from Doha Asian Games, also hails from the state.[141] The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai is a multipurpose stadium hosting Football and Track & Field events. The Indian Triathlon Federation and the Volleyball Federation of India are headquartered in Chennai.[142] Chennai hosted India’s first ever International Beach Volleyball Championship in 2008.[143]

Chess and Carrom are popular indoor sports. World Chess champion and Indian Grand Master Viswanathan Anand and Arjuna Awardee and two-time world carrom champion Maria Irudayam hail from Tamil Nadu. Snooker was invented by General Sir Frederick Roberts at the Ooty Club in Udhagamandalam.[144][145] The SDAT - TNSRA Squash Academy in Chennai, one of the very few modern squash facilities in South Asia,[146] hosts international squash events. Tamil Nadu has six 18-hole Golf courses,[147] the most popular of which are the Kodaikanal Golf Club, established in 1895, and Gymkhana Club, Chennai. The Madras Boat Club, set up in 1867, hosts regular rowing races on the Adyar River.[148] The 232 year old Guindy race course in Chennai is a popular horse racing venue. In the recent years, adventure sports have also gained popularity, especially amongst the tourists visiting the state.[149]
[edit] Tourism
Main article: Tourism in Tamil Nadu
Vanatheertham waterfall, Papanasam, Tirunelveli district

Tamil Nadu's tourism industry is the second largest in India, with an annual growth rate of 16%.[150] Tourism in Tamil Nadu is promoted by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), a Government of Tamil Nadu undertaking. 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.[151]

Tamil Nadu is a land of varied beauty. It boasts some of the grandest Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture. These temples are of a distinct style renowned for their towering Gopurams. The Brihadishwara Temple in Thanjavur, built by the Cholas, the Airavateswara temple in Darasuram and the Shore Temple, along with the collection of other monuments in Mahabalipuram also called as Mamallaburam have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[152][153] The Rajagopuram of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam — the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world — is the tallest temple gopuram in the world[154] The largest Shiva Temple in Tamil Nadu is Nellaiappar Temple situated in the heart of Tirunelveli city. 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, melakadambur Chidambaram, Thiruvannaamalai, Tiruttani, Swamithoppe, Tiruchendur and Tiruvallur.

Tamil Nadu is also home to many beautiful hill stations. Popular among them are Udhagamandalam (Ooty), Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Coonoor, Topslip, Valparai, Yelagiri and Manjolai. The Nilgiri hills, Palani hills, Shevaroy hills, Kolli 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 and National Park, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary and Arignar Anna Zoological Park. The mangrove forests at 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.[155] The stretch of beaches from Chennai to Mahabalipuram are home to many resorts, theme parks and eateries. The prominent waterfalls in the state are Courtallam, Hogenakal, Papanasam, Manimuthar, Thirparappu, Pykara and Silver Cascade. 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.


India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: भारत गणराज्य Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also in other Indian languages), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.18 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India has a coastline of 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi).[16] It is bordered by Pakistan to the west;[17] China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Burma to the east. India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka, and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

Home to the Indus Valley Civilisation and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history.[18] Four major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated here, while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium CE and shaped the region's diverse culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early eighteenth century and colonised by the United Kingdom from the mid-nineteenth century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread non-violent resistance.[19]

India is a republic consisting of 28 states and seven union territories with a parliamentary system of democracy. The Indian economy is the world's eleventh largest economy by nominal GDP and the fourth largest by purchasing power parity.[20] It has the second-largest standing army in the world.[21] Economic reforms since 1991 have transformed it into one of the fastest growing economies in the world;[22] however, it still suffers from poverty,[23] illiteracy,[24] corruption,[25] disease,[26] and malnutrition.[27] India is a nuclear weapon state and has the tenth-largest military spending in the world.[28][29] A pluralistic, multilingual and multiethnic society, India is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

Main article: Names of India

The name India (pronounced /ˈɪndiə/) is derived from Indus, which is derived from the Old Persian word Hindu, from Sanskrit सिन्धु Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the Indus River.[30] The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi (Ινδοί), the people of the Indus.[31] The Constitution of India and common usage in various Indian languages also recognise Bharat (pronounced [ˈbʱɑːrʌt̪] ( listen)) as an official name of equal status.[32] The name Bharat is derived from the name of the legendary king Bharata in Hindu Mythology. Hindustan ([hɪnd̪ʊˈstɑːn] ( listen)), originally a Persian word for “Land of the Hindus” referring to northern India, is also occasionally used as a synonym for all of India.[33]
Main articles: History of India and History of the Republic of India

Stone Age rock shelters with paintings at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh are the earliest known traces of human life in India. The first known permanent settlements appeared over 9,000 years ago and gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation,[34] dating back to 3400 BCE in western India. It was followed by the Vedic period, which laid the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural aspects of early Indian society, and ended in the 500s BCE. From around 550 BCE, many independent kingdoms and republics known as the Mahajanapadas were established across the country.[35]
Damaged brown painting of a reclining man and woman.
Paintings at the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, sixth century

In the third century BCE, most of South Asia was united into the Maurya Empire by Chandragupta Maurya and flourished under Ashoka the Great.[36] From the third century CE, the Gupta dynasty oversaw the period referred to as ancient "India's Golden Age."[37][38] Empires in Southern India included those of the Chalukyas, the Cholas and the Vijayanagara Empire. Science, technology, engineering, art, logic, language, literature, mathematics, astronomy, religion and philosophy flourished under the patronage of these kings.

Following invasions from Central Asia between the 10th and 12th centuries, much of North India came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire. Under the rule of Akbar the Great, India enjoyed much cultural and economic progress as well as religious harmony.[39][40] Mughal emperors gradually expanded their empires to cover large parts of the subcontinent. However, in North-Eastern India, the dominant power was the Ahom kingdom of Assam, among the few kingdoms to have resisted Mughal subjugation. The first major threat to Mughal imperial power came from a Hindu Rajput king Maha Rana Pratap of Mewar in the 16th century and later from a Hindu state known as the Maratha confederacy, that dominated much of India in the mid-18th century.[41]

From the 16th century, European powers such as Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom established trading posts and later took advantage of internal conflicts to establish colonies in the country. By 1856, most of India was under the control of the British East India Company.[42] A year later, a nationwide insurrection of rebelling military units and kingdoms, known as India's First War of Independence or the Sepoy Mutiny, seriously challenged the Company's control but eventually failed. As a result of the instability, India was brought under the direct rule of the British Crown.
Two smiling men in robes sitting on the ground, with bodies facing the viewer and with heads turned toward each other. The younger wears a white Nehru cap; the elder is bald and wears glasses. A half dozen other people are in the background.
Mahatma Gandhi (right) with Jawaharlal Nehru, 1937. Nehru would go on to become India's first prime minister in 1947.

In the 20th century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress and other political organisations.[43] Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi led millions of people in several national campaigns of non-violent civil disobedience.[19]

On 15 August 1947, India gained independence from British rule, but at the same time the Muslim-majority areas were partitioned to form a separate state of Pakistan.[44] On 26 January 1950, India became a republic and a new constitution came into effect.[45]

Since independence, India has faced challenges from religious violence, casteism, naxalism, terrorism and regional separatist insurgencies, especially in Jammu and Kashmir and Northeast India. Since the 1990s terrorist attacks have affected many Indian cities. India has unresolved territorial disputes with the People's Republic of China, which in 1962 escalated into the Sino-Indian War, and with Pakistan, which resulted in wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. India is a founding member of the United Nations (as British India) and the Non-Aligned Movement. In 1974, India conducted an underground nuclear test[46] and five more tests in 1998, making India a nuclear state.[46] Beginning in 1991, significant economic reforms[47] have transformed India into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, increasing its global clout.[22]
Main article: Government of India
India National Symbols of India[48][49]
Flag Tricolour
Emblem Sarnath Lion Capital
Anthem Jana Gana Mana
Song Vande Mataram
Animal Royal Bengal Tiger
Bird Indian Peacock
Aquatic animal Dolphin
Flower Lotus
Tree Banyan
Fruit Mango
Sport Field hockey
Calendar Saka
River Ganges

The Constitution of India, the longest and the most exhaustive constitution of any independent nation in the world, came into force on 26 January 1950.[50] The preamble of the constitution defines India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic.[51] India has a bicameral parliament operating under a Westminster-style parliamentary system. Its form of government was traditionally described as being 'quasi-federal' with a strong centre and weaker states,[52] but it has grown increasingly federal since the late 1990s as a result of political, economic and social changes.[53]

The President of India is the head of state[54] elected indirectly by an electoral college[55] for a five-year term.[56][57] The Prime Minister is the head of government and exercises most executive powers.[54] Appointed by the President,[58] the Prime Minister is by convention supported by the party or political alliance holding the majority of seats in the lower house of Parliament.[54] The executive branch consists of the President, Vice-President, and the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet being its executive committee) headed by the Prime Minister. Any minister holding a portfolio must be a member of either house of parliament. In the Indian parliamentary system, the executive is subordinate to the legislature, with the Prime Minister and his Council being directly responsible to the lower house of the Parliament.[59]

The Legislature of India is the bicameral Parliament, which consists of the upper house called the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the lower house called the Lok Sabha (House of People).[60] The Rajya Sabha, a permanent body, has 245 members serving staggered six year terms.[61] Most are elected indirectly by the state and territorial legislatures in proportion to the state's population.[61] 543 of the Lok Sabha's 545 members are directly elected by popular vote to represent individual constituencies for five year terms.[61] The other two members are nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian community if the President is of the opinion that the community is not adequately represented.[61]

India has a unitary three-tier judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India, 21 High Courts, and a large number of trial courts.[62] The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over cases involving fundamental rights and over disputes between states and the Centre, and appellate jurisdiction over the High Courts.[63] It is judicially independent,[62] and has the power to declare the law and to strike down Union or State laws which contravene the Constitution.[64] The role as the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution is one of the most important functions of the Supreme Court.[65]
Administrative divisions
Main article: Administrative divisions of India

India consists of 28 states and seven Union Territories.[66] All states, and the two union territories of Puducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have elected legislatures and governments patterned on the Westminster model. The other five union territories are directly ruled by the Centre through appointed administrators. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act, states were formed on a linguistic basis.[67] Since then, this structure has remained largely unchanged. Each state or union territory is further divided into administrative districts.[68] The districts in turn are further divided into tehsils and eventually into villages.
Map of India showing its subdivision into states and territories.
Administrative divisions of India, including 28 states and 7 union territories.


1. Andhra Pradesh
2. Arunachal Pradesh
3. Assam
4. Bihar
5. Chhattisgarh
6. Goa
7. Gujarat

8. Haryana
9. Himachal Pradesh
10. Jammu and Kashmir
11. Jharkhand
12. Karnataka
13. Kerala
14. Madhya Pradesh

15. Maharashtra
16. Manipur
17. Meghalaya
18. Mizoram
19. Nagaland
20. Orissa
21. Punjab

22. Rajasthan
23. Sikkim
24. Tamil Nadu
25. Tripura
26. Uttar Pradesh
27. Uttarakhand
28. West Bengal

Union Territories:

1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
2. Chandigarh
3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli
4. Daman and Diu
5. Lakshadweep
6. National Capital Territory of Delhi
7. Puducherry

Main article: Politics of India
Large building on grassy grounds. A walkway with pedestrians and central reflecting pools leads to the arched entrance. The ground floor is red; the rest of the building is beige. A main cupola is atop the center of the building.
The North Block, in New Delhi, houses key government offices.

India is the most populous democracy in the world.[69][70] For most of the years since independence, the federal government has been led by the Indian National Congress (INC).[66] Politics in the states have been dominated by several national parties including the INC, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) and various regional parties. From 1950 to 1990, barring two brief periods, the INC enjoyed a parliamentary majority. The INC was out of power between 1977 and 1980, when the Janata Party won the election owing to public discontent with the state of emergency declared by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1989, a Janata Dal-led National Front coalition in alliance with the Left Front coalition won the elections but managed to stay in power for only two years.[71] As the 1991 elections gave no political party a majority, the INC formed a minority government under Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and was able to complete its five-year term.[72]

The years 1996–1998 were a period of turmoil in the federal government with several short-lived alliances holding sway. The BJP formed a government briefly in 1996, followed by the United Front coalition that excluded both the BJP and the INC. In 1998, the BJP formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with several other parties and became the first non-Congress government to complete a full five-year term.[73] In the 2004 Indian elections, the INC won the largest number of Lok Sabha seats and formed a government with a coalition called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), supported by various Left-leaning parties and members opposed to the BJP. The UPA again came into power in the 2009 general election; however, the representation of the Left leaning parties within the coalition has significantly reduced.[74] Manmohan Singh became the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962 to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term.[75]
Foreign relations and military
Main articles: Foreign relations of India and Indian Armed Forces
Jointly developed by Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics, the Su-30 MKI "Flanker-H" is the Indian Air Force's prime air superiority fighter.[76]

Since its independence in 1947, India has maintained cordial relationships with most nations. It took a leading role in the 1950s by advocating the independence of European colonies in Africa and Asia.[77] India is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement.[78] India was involved in two brief military interventions in neighbouring countries – Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka and Operation Cactus in Maldives. After the Sino-Indian War and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, India's relationship with the Soviet Union warmed and continued to remain so until the end of the Cold War. India has fought two wars with Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute. A third war between India and Pakistan in 1971 resulted in the creation of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan).[79] Additional skirmishes have taken place between the two nations over the Siachen Glacier. In 1999, India and Pakistan fought an undeclared war over Kargil.
Two seated men conversing. The first is dressed in Indian clothing and turban and sits before an Indian flag; the second is in a Western business suit and sits before a Russian flag.
India and Russia share an extensive economic, defence and technological relationship.[80] Shown here is PM Manmohan Singh with President Dmitry Medvedev at the 34th G8 Summit.

In recent years, India has played an influential role in the SAARC and the WTO.[81] India has provided as many as 55,000 Indian military and police personnel to serve in thirty-five UN peacekeeping operations across four continents.[14] India is also an active participant in various mutlilateral forums, particularly the East Asia Summit[82] and the G8+5.[83] Recent overtures by the Indian government have strengthened relations with the United States and China. In the economic sphere, India has close relationships with other developing nations in South America, Asia and Africa.

India maintains the third-largest military force in the world, which consists of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force[45] and auxiliary forces such as the Paramilitary Forces, the Coast Guard, and the Strategic Forces Command. The President of India is the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces. India maintains close defence cooperation with Russia, Israel and France, who are the chief suppliers of arms. Defence contractors, such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), oversee indigenous development of sophisticated arms and military equipment, including ballistic missiles, fighter aircraft and main battle tanks, to reduce India's dependence on foreign imports.

India became a nuclear power in 1974 after conducting an initial nuclear test, known as the Operation Smiling Buddha, and carried out further underground testing in 1998. Despite criticism and military sanctions, India has consistently refused to sign the CTBT and the NPT. India maintains a "no first use" nuclear policy[84] and is developing nuclear triad capability as a part of its "minimum credible deterrence" doctrine.[84] On 10 October 2008, a civilian nuclear agreement between India and the United States was signed, prior to which India received waivers from the IAEA and the NSG which ended restrictions on nuclear technology commerce and recognized India as the world's de facto sixth nuclear weapons state.[85]
Main article: Geography of India
See also: Geological history of India and Climate of India
Map of India. Most of India is yellow (elevation 100–1000 m). Some areas in the south and mideast are brown (above 1000 m). Major river valleys are green (below 100 m).
Topographic map of India.

India, the major portion of the Indian subcontinent, sits atop the Indian tectonic plate, a minor plate within the Indo-Australian Plate.[86]

India's defining geological processes commenced seventy-five million years ago, when the Indian subcontinent, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a northeastwards drift—lasting fifty million years—across the then unformed Indian Ocean.[86] The subcontinent's subsequent collision with the Eurasian Plate and subduction under it, gave rise to the Himalayas, the planet's highest mountains, which now abut India in the north and the north-east.[86] In the former seabed immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough, which, having gradually been filled with river-borne sediment,[87] now forms the Indo-Gangetic Plain.[88] To the west of this plain, and cut off from it by the Aravalli Range, lies the Thar Desert.[89]

The original Indian plate now survives as peninsular India, the oldest and most geologically stable part of India, and extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel ranges run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east.[90] To their south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau, is flanked on the left and right by the coastal ranges, Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats respectively;[91] the plateau contains the oldest rock formations in India, some over one billion years old. Constituted in such fashion, India lies to the north of the equator between 6°44' and 35°30' north latitude[92] and 68°7' and 97°25' east longitude.[93]

India's coast is 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) long; of this distance, 5,423 kilometres (3,400 mi) belong to peninsular India, and 2,094 kilometres (1,300 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep Islands.[16] According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coast consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches, 11% rocky coast including cliffs, and 46% mudflats or marshy coast.[16]
The Himalayas form the mountainous landscape of Northern India. Seen here is Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir.

Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges (Ganga) and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal.[94] Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi, whose extremely low gradient causes disastrous floods every year. Major peninsular rivers whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal;[95] and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea.[96] Among notable coastal features of India are the marshy Rann of Kutch in western India, and the alluvial Sundarbans delta, which India shares with Bangladesh.[97] India has two archipelagos: the Lakshadweep, coral atolls off India's south-western coast; and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a volcanic chain in the Andaman Sea.[98]

India's climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, both of which drive the monsoons.[99] The Himalayas prevent cold Central Asian Katabatic wind from blowing in, keeping the bulk of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes.[100][101] The Thar Desert plays a crucial role in attracting the moisture-laden southwest summer monsoon winds that, between June and October, provide the majority of India's rainfall.[99] Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane.[102]
Flora and fauna
Main articles: Flora of India and Fauna of India
See also: List of ecoregions in India
The Indian peacock is India's national bird and is found primarily in semi-desert grasslands, scrubs and deciduous forests of India.[103]

India, which lies within the Indomalaya ecozone, displays significant biodiversity. One of eighteen megadiverse countries, it is home to 7.6% of all mammalian, 12.6% of all avian, 6.2% of all reptilian, 4.4% of all amphibian, 11.7% of all fish, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species.[104] Many ecoregions, such as the shola forests, exhibit extremely high rates of endemism; overall, 33% of Indian plant species are endemic.[105][106]

India's forest cover ranges from the tropical rainforest of the Andaman Islands, Western Ghats, and North-East India to the coniferous forest of the Himalaya. Between these extremes lie the sal-dominated moist deciduous forest of eastern India; the teak-dominated dry deciduous forest of central and southern India; and the babul-dominated thorn forest of the central Deccan and western Gangetic plain.[107] Important Indian trees include the medicinal neem, widely used in rural Indian herbal remedies. The pipal fig tree, shown on the seals of Mohenjo-daro, shaded Gautama Buddha as he sought enlightenment. According to latest report, less than 12% of India's landmass is covered by dense forests.[108]

Many Indian species are descendants of taxa originating in Gondwana, from which the Indian plate separated. Peninsular India's subsequent movement towards, and collision with, the Laurasian landmass set off a mass exchange of species. However, volcanism and climatic changes 20 million years ago caused the extinction of many endemic Indian forms.[109] Soon thereafter, mammals entered India from Asia through two zoogeographical passes on either side of the emerging Himalaya.[107] Consequently, among Indian species, only 12.6% of mammals and 4.5% of birds are endemic, contrasting with 45.8% of reptiles and 55.8% of amphibians.[104] Notable endemics are the Nilgiri leaf monkey and the brown and carmine Beddome's toad of the Western Ghats. India contains 172, or 2.9%, of IUCN-designated threatened species.[110] These include the Asiatic Lion, the Bengal Tiger, and the Indian white-rumped vulture, which suffered a near-extinction from ingesting the carrion of diclofenac-treated cattle.

In recent decades, human encroachment has posed a threat to India's wildlife; in response, the system of national parks and protected areas, first established in 1935, was substantially expanded. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act[111] and Project Tiger to safeguard crucial habitat; in addition, the Forest Conservation Act[112] was enacted in 1980. Along with more than five hundred wildlife sanctuaries, India hosts thirteen biosphere reserves,[113] four of which are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves; twenty-five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention.[114]
Main article: Economy of India
See also: Economic history of India, Economic development in India, and Transport in India
View from ground of a modern 30-story building.
The Bombay Stock Exchange, in Mumbai, is Asia's oldest and India's largest stock exchange by market capitalisation.

In 2009, India's nominal GDP stood at US$1.243 trillion, which makes it the eleventh-largest economy in the world.[20] If PPP is taken into account, India's economy is the fourth largest in the world at US$3.561 trillion,[115] corresponding to a per capita income of US$3,100.[116] The country ranks 139th in nomimal GDP per capita and 128th in GDP per capita at PPP.[20] With an average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% for the past two decades, the economy is among the fastest growing in the world.[117]

India has the world's second largest labour force, with 516.3 million people. In terms of output, the agricultural sector accounts for 28% of GDP; the service and industrial sectors make up 54% and 18% respectively. Major agricultural products include rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry; fish.[66] Major industries include textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transport equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software.[66] India's trade has reached a relatively moderate share of 24% of GDP in 2006, up from 6% in 1985.[118] In 2008, India's share of world trade was about 1.68%.[119] Major exports include petroleum products, textile goods, gems and jewelry, software, engineering goods, chemicals, and leather manufactures.[66] Major imports include crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals.[66]

From the 1950s to the 1980s, India followed socialist-inspired policies. The economy was shackled by extensive regulation, protectionism, and public ownership, leading to pervasive corruption and slow growth.[120] In 1991, the nation liberalised its economy and has since moved towards a market-based system.[118][121] The policy change in 1991 came after an acute balance of payments crisis, and the emphasis since then has been to use foreign trade and foreign investment as integral parts of India's economy.[122]
The Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car.[123] India's annual small-car exports have surged fivefold in the past five years.[124]

In the late 2000s, India's economic growth averaged 7.5% a year.[118] Over the past decade, hourly wage rates in India have more than doubled.[125] In 2009, the Global Competitiveness Report ranked India 16th in financial market sophistication, 24th in banking sector, 27th in business sophistication and 30th in innovation; ahead of several advanced economies.[126] Seven of the world's top 15 technology outsourcing companies are based in India and the country is viewed as the second most favourable outsourcing destination after the United States.[127]

Despite India's impressive economic growth over recent decades, it still contains the largest concentration of poor people in the world.[128] The percentage of people living below the World Bank's international poverty line of $1.25 a day (PPP, in nominal terms Rs. 21.6 a day in urban areas and Rs. 14.3 in rural areas in 2005) decreased from 60% in 1981 to 42% in 2005.[129] Since 1991, inter-state economic inequality in India has consistently grown; the per capita net state domestic product of India's richest states is about 3.2 times that of the poorest states.[130] Even though India has avoided famines in recent decades, half of children are underweight[131] and about 46% of Indian children under the age of three suffer from malnutrition.[128][132]

A 2007 Goldman Sachs report projected that "from 2007 to 2020, India’s GDP per capita will quadruple," and that the Indian GDP will surpass that of the United States before 2050, but India "will remain a low-income country for several decades, with per capita incomes well below its other BRIC peers."[133] Although the Indian economy has grown steadily over the last two decades; its growth has been uneven when comparing different social groups, economic groups, geographic regions, and rural and urban areas.[128] The World Bank suggests that India must continue to focus on public sector reform, infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, removal of labor regulations, improvement in transport, energy security, and health and nutrition.[134]
Main article: Demographics of India
See also: Religion in India, Languages of India, and Ethnic groups of South Asia
Map of India. High population density areas (above 1000 persons per square kilometer) are the Lakshadweep Islands, Kolkata and other parts of the Ganga (Ganges) river basin, Mumbai, Bangalore, and the southwest coast. Low density areas (below 100) include the western desert, east Kashmir, and the eastern frontier.
Population density map of India.

With an estimated population of 1.2 billion,[10] India is the world's second most populous country. The last 50 years have seen a rapid increase in population due to medical advances and massive increase in agricultural productivity due to the "green revolution".[135][136] India's urban population increased 11-fold during the twentieth century and is increasingly concentrated in large cities. By 2001 there were 35 million-plus population cities in India, with the largest cities, with a population of over 10 million each, being Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. However, as of 2001, more than 70% of India's population continues to reside in rural areas.[137][138]

India is the world's most culturally, linguistically and genetically diverse geographical entity after the African continent.[66] India is home to two major linguistic families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by about 24%). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman linguistic families. Neither the Constitution of India, nor any Indian law defines any national language.[8] Hindi, with the largest number of speakers,[139] is the official language of the union.[140] English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a 'subsidiary official language;'[141] it is also important in education, especially as a medium of higher education. However, except Hindi no language is spoken by more than 10% of the population of the country. In addition, every state and union territory has its own official languages, and the constitution also recognises in particular 21 "scheduled languages".

As per the 2001 census, over 800 million Indians (80.5%) were Hindu. Other religious groups include Muslims (13.4%), Christians (2.3%), Sikhs (1.9%), Buddhists (0.8%), Jains (0.4%), Jews, Zoroastrians and Bahá'ís.[142] Tribals constitute 8.1% of the population.[143] India has the third-highest Muslim population in the world and has the highest population of Muslims for a non-Muslim majority country.

India's literacy rate is 64.8% (53.7% for females and 75.3% for males).[45] The state of Kerala has the highest literacy rate at 91% while Bihar has the lowest at 47%.[144][145] The national human sex ratio is 944 females per 1,000 males. India's median age is 24.9, and the population growth rate of 1.38% per annum; there are 22.01 births per 1,000 people per year.[45] According to the World Health Organization 900,000 Indians die each year from drinking contaminated water and breathing in polluted air.[146] Malaria is endemic in India.[147] Half of children in India are underweight, one of the highest rates in the world and nearly same as Sub-Saharan Africa.[131] Many women are malnourished, too. There are about 60 physicians per 100,000 people in India.[148]
Main article: Culture of India
The Taj Mahal in Agra was built by Shah Jahan as memorial to wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be of "outstanding universal value".[149]

India's culture is marked by a high degree of syncretism[150] and cultural pluralism.[151] It has managed to preserve established traditions while absorbing new customs, traditions, and ideas from invaders and immigrants and spreading its cultural influence to other parts of Asia, mainly South East and East Asia. Traditional Indian society is defined by relatively strict social hierarchy. The Indian caste system describes the social stratification and social restrictions in the Indian subcontinent, in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as jātis or castes.[152]

Currently, there are an estimated 160 million Dalits or "untouchables" in India.[153] The majority of Dalits live in segregation and experience violence, murder, rape and other atrocities to the scale of 110,000 registered cases a year, according to 2005 statistics.[154]

Traditional Indian family values are highly respected, and multi-generational patriarchal joint families have been the norm, although nuclear family are becoming common in urban areas.[120] An overwhelming majority of Indians have their marriages arranged by their parents and other respected family members, with the consent of the bride and groom.[155] Marriage is thought to be for life,[155] and the divorce rate is extremely low.[156] Child marriage is still a common practice, with half of women in India marrying before the legal age of 18.[157][158]

Indian cuisine is characterised by a wide variety of regional styles and sophisticated use of herbs and spices. The staple foods in the region are rice (especially in the south and the east) and wheat (predominantly in the north).[159] Spices, such as black pepper which are now consumed world wide, are originally native to the Indian subcontinent. Chili pepper, which was introduced by the Portuguese, is also widely used in Indian cuisine.[160]
The Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at Bodhgaya in Bihar, is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Gautama Buddha.[161] It was constructed by Emperor Ashoka in 250 B.C. and the temple complex contains a polished red stone, known as the vajrasana, to mark the exact spot where Buddha attained Enlightenment.[162]

Traditional Indian dress varies across the regions in its colours and styles and depends on various factors, including climate. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as sari for women and dhoti or lungi for men; in addition, stitched clothes such as salwar kameez for women and kurta-pyjama and European-style trousers and shirts for men, are also popular.

Many Indian festivals are religious in origin, although several are celebrated irrespective of caste and creed. Some popular festivals are Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Ugadi, Thai Pongal, Holi, Onam, Vijayadashami, Durga Puja, Eid ul-Fitr, Bakr-Id, Christmas, Buddha Jayanti and Vaisakhi.[163] India has three national holidays which are observed in all states and union territories — Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanthi. Other sets of holidays, varying between nine and twelve, are officially observed in individual states. Religious practices are an integral part of everyday life and are a very public affair.

Indian architecture is one area that represents the diversity of Indian culture. Much of it, including notable monuments such as the Taj Mahal and other examples of Mughal architecture and South Indian architecture, comprises a blend of ancient and varied local traditions from several parts of the country and abroad. Vernacular architecture also displays notable regional variation.

Indian music covers a wide range of traditions and regional styles. Classical music largely encompasses the two genres – North Indian Hindustani, South Indian Carnatic traditions and their various offshoots in the form of regional folk music. Regionalised forms of popular music include filmi and folk music; the syncretic tradition of the bauls is a well-known form of the latter.

Indian dance too has diverse folk and classical forms. Among the well-known folk dances are the bhangra of the Punjab, the bihu of Assam, the chhau of West Bengal, Jharkhand and sambalpuri of Orissa and the ghoomar of Rajasthan. Eight dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. These are: bharatanatyam of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathak of Uttar Pradesh, kathakali and mohiniyattam of Kerala, kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, manipuri of Manipur, odissi of Orissa and the sattriya of Assam.[164]

Theatre in India often incorporates music, dance, and improvised or written dialogue.[165] Often based on Hindu mythology, but also borrowing from medieval romances, and news of social and political events, Indian theatre includes the bhavai of state of Gujarat, the jatra of West Bengal, the nautanki and ramlila of North India, the tamasha of Maharashtra, the burrakatha of Andhra Pradesh, the terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and the yakshagana of Karnataka.[166]

The Indian film industry is the largest in the world.[167] Bollywood, based in Mumbai, makes commercial Hindi films and is the most prolific film industry in the world.[168] Established traditions also exist in Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu language cinemas.[169]

The earliest works of Indian literature were transmitted orally and only later written down.[170] These included works of Sanskrit literature – such as the early Vedas, the epics Mahābhārata and Ramayana, the drama Abhijñānaśākuntalam (The Recognition of Śakuntalā), and poetry such as the Mahākāvya[171] – and the Tamil language Sangam literature.[172] Among Indian writers of the modern era active in Indian languages or English, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in 1913.
Main article: Sports of India
Cricketers in a game in front of nearly-full stands.
A 2008 Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket match being played between the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders

India's official national sport is field hockey, administered by the Indian Hockey Federation. The Indian field hockey team won the 1975 Men's Hockey World Cup and 8 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals at the Olympic games. However, cricket is the most popular sport; the India national cricket team won the 1983 Cricket World Cup and the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, and shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka. Cricket in India is administered by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and domestic competitions include the Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Irani Trophy and the Challenger Series. In addition Indian cricket league and Indian premier league organise Twenty20 competitions.

Tennis has become increasingly popular, owing to the victories of the India Davis Cup team. Association football is also a popular sport in northeast India, West Bengal, Goa and Kerala.[173] The Indian national football team has won the South Asian Football Federation Cup several times. Chess, commonly held to have originated in India, is also gaining popularity with the rise in the number of Indian Grandmasters.[174] Traditional sports include kabaddi, kho kho, and gilli-danda, which are played nationwide. India is also home to the ancient martial arts, Kalarippayattu and Varma Kalai.

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award are India's highest awards for achievements in sports, while the Dronacharya Award is awarded for excellence in coaching. India hosted or co-hosted the 1951 and the 1982 Asian Games, the 1987 and 1996 Cricket World Cup. It has also successfully hosted the Men's Field-hockey World Cup 2010 and is scheduled to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games and later the 2011 Cricket World Cup.