Tamil Nadu is one of the 29 states of India. Its capital is Chennai (formerly known as Madras), the largest city. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. It is bounded by the Eastern Ghats on the north, by the Nilgiri, the Anamalai Hills, and Kerala on the west, by the Bay of Bengal in the east, by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait on the southeast, and by the Indian Ocean on the south.
Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest state in India by area and the sixth most populous state in India. The state was ranked sixth among states in India according to the Human Development Index in 2011. It was the second largest state economy in India in 2012.
The state has the highest number (10.56 per cent) of business enterprises and stands second in total employment (9.97 per cent) in India, compared to the population share of about 6 per cent. In the 2013 Raghuram Rajan panel report, Tamil Nadu was ranked as the third most developed state in India based on a “Multidimensional Development Index”.
The region has been the home of theTamil people since at least 1500 BC. Its official language is Tamil, which holds a status of being a classical language. Tamil has been in use in inscriptions and literature for over 2500 years.
Tamil Nadu is home to many natural resources, classical arts, classical music, classical literature, Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture, hill stations, beach resorts, multi-religious pilgrimage sites, and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The tourism industry of Tamil Nadu is the second largest in India, with an annual growth rate of 16 per cent. Tourism in Tamil Nadu is promoted by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), a Government of Tamil Nadu undertaking. According to Ministry of Tourism statistics, 2,804,687 foreign and 111,637,104 domestic tourists visited the state in 2010. The state boasts some of the grand Hindu temples built in Dravidian architecture.
The Brihadishwara Temple in Thanjavur and Gangaikonda Cholapuram built by the Cholas, the Airavateswara temple in Darasuram and the Shore Temple, along with the collection of other monuments in Mahabalipuram (also called Mamallapuram) have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Madurai is home to the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam. Tiruchirappalli is the largest functioning temple in the Tamil Nadu, Tiruchirappalli where the famous Rockfort Temple is located, Rameshwaram whose temple walk-ways corridor (Praagarams) are the longest 1.2 km (0.75 mi) of all Indian temples in the world, Kanchipuram and Palani are important pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Other popular temples in Tamil Nadu include those in Chidambaram, Thiruvannaamalai, Tiruvarur, Kumbakonam, Sankarankovil, Srivilliputhur, Tiruttani, Namakkal, Vellore, Karur, Bhavani, Coimbatore, Kanniyakumari.
Tamil Nadu is also home to hill stations like 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.
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, Anaimalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary and Arignar Anna Zoological Park.
The mangrove forests atPichavaram are also eco-tourism spots of importance.The prominent waterfalls in the state are Courtallam, Hogenakkal, Papanasam, Manimuthar, Thirparappu, Pykara and Silver Cascade. The Chettinad region of the state is renowned for its Palatial houses and cuisine. With medical care in Chennai, Vellore, Coimbatore and Madurai, Tamil Nadu has the largest numbers in Medical tourism in India.
Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of peninsular India, is famous for its beautiful sunrise, Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar’s statue built off the coastline. Marina Beach in Chennai is one of the longest beaches in the world. The stretch of beaches from Chennai to Mahabalipuram are home to many resorts, theme parks and eateries.