Tamil Nadu is a southern state of India which is supremely rich in culture and heritage. Known to be one of the oldest civilisations in the world, the people of Tamil Nadu belong to the prestigious Dravidian Family. Tamilians also, like other South Indians, take much pride in their rooted culture and make great efforts to protect their 2000 years old history. The state has been ruled by the Cholas, Pandyas and the Pallavas and has been flourishing since. The art and architecture have been their creations which are used and maintained even today.
People of Tamil Nadu
Out of 74 million Tamil people in the world, around 62 million live in Tamil Nadu. Rest of the Tamilians are scattered in different parts of India and the world, mostly in the northeast of Sri Lanka. People who live in the state understand the ethnicity of their culture and how it marks their identity in the world. They are very adherent towards their rituals and traditions like following the caste system, religion and community traits, etc.
Tamil is the official language of the state. It is a derivative of Brahmi script, and the letters represent sounds, much like the Mandarin language. Not only most of the people in Tamil Nadu speak Tamil, but it is also spoken by many in Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Singapore, and Malaysia.
A great amount of relevance is given to a person's religion when it comes to personal identity. Although four-fifths of the population of the state are Hindus, rest of them are divided in Islam, Christianity, and Jainism. Their rituals include deity worship and animisms like tree worship, animal worship and stars and planets worship. Many Hindus are followers of different religious institutions called 'Matha' which are the centres of Monastic studies.
Men can be seen wearing a Lungi with a shirt and Angavastra. Lungi is a rectangular cotton cloth tied across the waist, and Angavastra is a cloth draped around the shoulders. It can be worn over or without a shirt. Some people may also wear dhoti which is a long form of Lungi, the bottom of which is mostly stuck at the waist. Men also wear Vibhuti on their forehead.
Tamil Nadu women mainly wear Saree which is a five to six yards rectangular cloth made of cotton, silk or any other fabric. The prints, design and style depend on the fabric and community rituals. Kanchipuram Saree is often worn at the time of festivals. Young girls wear half-saree which includes a blouse, long skirt and a dupatta from the waist to the shoulders. Nowadays, salwar kameez and even western wear are preferred.
If you imagine 'South Indian Food', first things which pop in mind Idli, Dosa, Sambhar, Vada, Upma and what not. It's a typical Madrasi Food for North Indians. Tamil Food is popular in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian contexts. Otherwise, rice, lentils, grains and vegetables from the main ingredients in Tamil Cuisine. Rice is a staple food here. Sambhar and Coconut Chutney are served with almost everything and guess what, it makes a fine blend with most of them. For non-vegetarians, fish, turtle, mutton and venison are preferred. Some Tamilians follow the tradition of eating on Banana Leaf even today.
Tamilian Music & Dance
Tamil Music has evolved over the years. The most important form of music was the Carnatic music which considered only for the elite who could understand the intricacy of music. For others, Telugu songs and a mix of traditional numbers from a source of entertainment.
Bharatnatyam is the official dance form of Tamil Nadu, recognized all over India and the world. It's a complicated dance form with subtle moves of body parts and expressions. Some other folk dances like Parai, Villuputtu Karakaatam, and Kuthu are also performed by local people including tribal people.
Art & Architecture
Kolam (also known as Rangoli) is drawn at the doors of every house in Tamil Nadu. It is drawn before the sunrise and is said to welcome Goddess Laxmi. This has become hugely popular among North Indians too.
Tamilians have perfected the art of spinning, weaving and chiseling over the years and their brilliance is reflected in different art subjects like bronzes, sculptor works, carvings, etc. Magnificent temples represent Tamil architecture with lofty 'gopurams' and statues of goddesses engraved all over the edifice. Many well-known temples such as Meenakshi Amman Temple and Breehadeeshwara Temple are located here which displays a grand vista of ancient Hindu mythological diversity and Tamil heritage.
With a golden history of some great rulers and dynasties having ruled the state, it's not surprising to find such splendor in architecture, literature, and traditions. People of Tamil Nadu have a great legacy to live up to. The culture and traditions have been safeguarded by them over the years and are manifested till today in full vibrancy.