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Introduction to Chettinad cuisine

Chettinad cuisine hails from the deep southern region of Tamil Nadu. Chettinad cuisine is far from the bland cuisine of traditional Tamilian Brahmins²it is one of the spiciest, oiliest and most aromatic in India. Although the Chettiars are well known for their delicious vegetarian preparations, their repertoire of food items is famous and includes all manner of fish and fowl and meats, as well as delicate noodle-like dishes and carefully preserved sun-dried legumes and berries that the Chettiar ladies make into curries. Oil and spices are liberally used in cooking and most dishes have generous amounts of peppercorn, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, nutmeg, green and red chilies, etc. Some of the popular dishes in Chettinad menu are varuval -- a dry dish fried with onions and spices (chicken, fish or vegetables sautéed), pepper chicken, poriyal -- a curry, and kuzambu which has the ingredients stewed in a gravy of coconut milk and spices.

In the same range, one can include the numerous pickles, powders, specially roasted and ground spices, dry snacks, papads, appalam and vada. Numerous shops now sell pre-packed snacks like murukkus, small spirals of fried rice dough, chips and other edible µhand grenades¶ like thattai, masala vada and so on. The Tamil variation of Mughlai food can be savored in the biryani and paya. The latter is a kind of spiced trotter broth and is eaten with either parathas or appam. Tamil Nadu is famous for its filter coffee as most Tamils have a subtle contempt for instant coffee. The making of filter coffee is almost a ritual, for the coffee beans have to be roasted and ground. Then the powder is put into a filter set and boiling hot water is added to prepare the decoction and allowed to set for about 15 minutes. The mix is then added to milk with sugar to taste. The final drink is poured individually from one container to another in rapid succession to make the ideal frothy cup of filter coffee.

South Indian cuisine has the following culinary schools
Karnataka, Andhra, Hyderabadi, Tamil, Chettinad, Kerala.

Andhra Andhra cuisine is largely vegetarian but the coastal areas have a large repertoire of seafood. Fish and prawns are curried in sesame and coconut oils, and flavored with freshly ground pepper. Andhra food is served with rice. Rice, sambar and other lentil preparations, and steamed vegetables delicately flavored with coconut, spices and fresh herbs. Snack or tiffin time is made of many preparations like onion pakodas; vadas or savory lentil doughnuts dunked in steaming hot sambar; and steamed rice muffin like dumplings called idlis. Savories are murku, roundels of rice flour paste deep fried; and appadams. Desserts include payasam, a pudding made with rice and milk and the popular Sheer Khurma - a Hyderabadi delicacy with dry fruits and dates.

Dharwad Pedha. Mysore Pak. Among sweets. Gojju or raita is served next. Ragi mudde. Davanagere Benne Dosa. . What follows next is a series of soup-like dishes such as saaru. majjige huli or Kootu which is eaten with hot rice. Vangi Bath. Mysore Masala Dosa and Maddur Vade are popular in South Karnataka. Coorg district is famous for spicy varieties of pork curries while coastal Karnataka boasts of many tasty sea food specialities. Akki Rotti. Some typical dishes include Bisibele Bath. Gojju. Pickle. two or three desserts are served. Raita Dessert ( Yes.The famous Masala Dosa traces its origin to Udupi cuisine. Pheni. Chiroti are well known. Kesari Bath. Khara Bath. The meal ends with a serving of curd rice.Karnatak Cuisine A typical Kannad meal includes the following dishes in the order specified and is served on a banana leaf: Kosambari. and Uppittu. Plain and Rave Idli or pancake. it is a tradition to start your meal with a dessert( paaysa!) Thovve Chitranna Rice Ghee. fried dishes such as Aambode or Bonda is served next. Palya. Saaru.

Hyderabad This cuisine is a direct result from the kitchens of the Nizams or Muslim rulers. the biryani or rice with meats and brinjal (or eggplant) or baghare baiganis are the jewels of Hyderabadi cooking. One of India's finest foods. The Hyderabadi cuisine is the amalgamation of Muslim techniques and meats with the vibrant spices and ingredients of the predominantly local Hindu people. as well as delicate noodle-like dishes and carefully preserved sun-dried legumes and berries that the Chettiar ladies make into curries. their repertoire of food items is famous and includes all manner of fish and fowl and meats. Oil and spices are liberally used in cooking and most . oiliest and most aromatic in India. Hydrabadi cuisine is the ultimate in fine dining. Its tastes range from sour and the sweet. Chettinad cuisine Chettinad cuisine hails from the deep southern region of Tamil Nadu. Although the Chettiars are well known for their delicious vegetarian preparations. the hot and the salty and studded with dry fruits and nuts. Chettinad cuisine is far from the bland cuisine of traditional Tamilian Brahmins²it is one of the spiciest.

Numerous shops now sell pre-packed snacks like murukkus. Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu is famous for its filter coffee as most Tamils have a subtle contempt for instant coffee. for the coffee beans have to be roasted and ground. chips and other edible µhand grenades¶ like thattai. Some of the popular dishes in Chettinad menu are varuval -. nutmeg. green and red chilies. masala vada and so on. bay leaves. pepper chicken. specially roasted and ground spices. papads.a dry dish fried with onions and spices (chicken. cardamom. etc. The Tamil variation of Mughlai food can be savored in the biryani and paya. cinnamon. The latter is a kind of spiced trotter broth and is eaten with either parathas or appam. and kuzambu which has the ingredients stewed in a gravy of coconut milk and spices. small spirals of fried rice dough.a curry.dishes have generous amounts of peppercorn. Then the powder is put into a . dry snacks. powders. poriyal -. fish or vegetables sautéed). one can include the numerous pickles. In the same range. The making of filter coffee is almost a ritual. appalam and vada.

the lightly flavored Biryani-made of mutton. For the Christians. For the Muslims. chicken. . Arrack is extremely intoxicating and is usually consumed with spicy pickles and boiled eggs (patta and mutta). with appam is a must for every marriage reception. The mix is then added to milk with sugar to taste. The final drink is poured individually from one container to another in rapid succession to make the ideal frothy cup of filter coffee. egg or fish-takes pride of place. who can be seen in large concentration in areas like Kottayam and Pala. Kerala also has it's own fermented beverages -the famous kallu (toddy) and patta charayam (arrack). ishtew (a derivation of the European stew).filter set and boiling hot water is added to prepare the decoction and allowed to set for about 15 minutes. Kerala is noted for its variety of pancakes and steamed rice cakes made from pounded rice. mussels are a favorite. In seafood.

the Gulf of Mannar. by the Bay of Bengal in the east. Tamil Nadu is home to many natural resources. the Palk Strait in the south east. and Palakkad on the west. Kerala. It is bound by the Eastern Ghats in the north. and by the Indian Ocean in the south. Its official language Tamil has been in use in inscriptions and literature for over 2000 years. Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest state in India by area (about the size of Greece) and the seventh most populous state. The region has been the home of the Tamil people since at least 500 BCE. . Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the States of Puducherry.56%) of business enterprises and stands second in total employment (9.Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu (Tamil: ) is one of the 28 states of India. beach resorts. Tamil Nadu is also the most urbanised state in India. hill stations. Its capital and largest city is Chennai.97%) in India. the Nilgiri. grand Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture. compared to the population share of about 6%. It is the fifth largest contributor to India's GDP and ranks tenth in Human Development Index as of 2006. multi-religious pilgrimage sites and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The state has the highest number (10. the Anamalai Hills. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

plus husks and grains of rice. Archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in India. perhaps 65 million years old. Adichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies. The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script used at that site is "very rudimentary" Tamil Brahmi. Geologists in Tamil Nadu have stumbled upon a Jurassic treasure trove buried in the sands of a river bed. archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India unearthed 169 clay urns containing human skulls. skeletons and bones. About 60% of the total epigraphical inscriptions found by ASI in India are from Tamil Nadu and most of which are in Tamil language. giving evidence confirming them to be of the Neolithic period. There have been more discoveries of the evidence of prehistoric creatures inhabiting the landscape of what is now modern Tamil Nadu in the shape of eggs of dinosaurs and other animals of their kind. Researchers from the . Sheer luck led them to hundreds of fossilized dinosaur eggs.History Pre historic Tamil Nadu's history dates back to pre-historic times. 24 km (15 mi) from Tirunelveli. charred rice and Neolithic celts. 3800 years ago. underneath a stream in a tiny village in Ariyalur district. In Adichanallur.

Salem Districts in present day Tamil Nadu and present day Kerala from the capital of Vanchi Muthur in the west. Karur. which in turn caused the revival of the Cholas.Salem-based Periyar University found clusters of eggs of what they believe to be the most aggressive Carnosaur and the docile. Ceylon.Mesopotamia and Persia. leaf-eating Sauropod at Sendurai village. The Kalabhras. Their decline saw the brief resurgence of the Pandyas. The Cholas went on to becoming a great power. Greece. This is referred to as the Dark Age . timber. The Cheras ruled in southern India from before the Sangam era (300 BCE ± 250 CE) over theCoimbatore. herbivores which grew to enormous heights and sizes Medieval Period (600±1300) The Cholas who were very active during the Sangam age were entirely absent during the first few centuries. This period was also that of the re-invigorated Hinduism during which temple building and religious literature were at their best. Sauropods were longnecked. While Carnosaurs were large predatory dinosaurs. pearls and gems. Arabia. ivory. in spices.[17] The period started with the rivalry between the Pandyas and the Pallavas. invaded and displaced the three Tamil kingdoms and ruled between the third and the seventh centuries CE of the Sangam period. (thought to be modern Karur). Rome. Phoenicia. They traded extensively from nearby Muziris. with the ancient kingdoms of Egypt.

During the sixth to eighth centuries century CE. They were expelled by the Pallavas and the Pandyas in sixth century.in Tamil history. It consists of moral sayings in the venpa meter. Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallavas under Mahendravarman I and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I. The Pallavas After were the originally fall of executive the officers under the Satavahana CE under Empire. Following in the tradition of Jainism. There is considerable evidence in the to land show of that the under Tamils. some have concluded that they were anti-Hindu. Pallavas ruled a large portion of South India withKanchipuram as their capital. Narasimhavarman II built the Shore Temple which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Naaladiyar emphasizes virtues such as control of the senses. . Because the Kalabhras gave protection to Jains and perhaps Buddhists. Satavahanas. the The Kalabhras' didactic rule Jainism flourished work Naaladiyar was composed during their reign. asceticism. and other desirable social qualities. around 550 King Simhavishnuthey emerged into prominence. too. each by one Jain ascetic. They subjugated the Cholas and reigned as far south as the Kaveri River. 400 in number in 40 chapters. according to tradition. although this latter view is not undisputed. renunciation. Dravidian architecture reached its peak during the Pallava rule.

even formal diplomatic contacts. At its peak. as well as contacts. while under the great Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola. reaching as far as the Roman Empire. which produced some of the finest pearls in the known ancient world. They controlled the pearl fisheries along the South Indian coast. Parantaka Chola II itself the Chola empire had expanded into what is now interior Andhra Pradesh and coastal Karnataka.E. The Pandyan capital Madurai was in the deep south away from the coast.The Pallavas were replaced by the Cholas as the dominant kingdom in the 10th century C. The Pandyas excelled in both trade and literature.Marco Polo mentioned the Pandyas as the richest empire in existence. They had extensive trade links with the Southeast Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya and their successors. The Chola Empire stretched as far as Bengal. between Sri Lanka and India. the . Temples such as the Meenakshi Amman Temple at Madurai and Nellaiappar Temple at Tirunelveli are the best examples of Pandyan temple architecture.E and they in turn were replaced by Pandyas in the 13th century C. the Cholas rose as a notable power in south Asia.E. during the times of the second Chola monarch Aditya I. During the 13th century C. his son Parantaka I. Chola Empire By the 9th century.

" Another example is Annamalaiyar Temple located at the city of Tiruvannamalai and the Chidambaram Temple in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram. Brihadshwara temple is an UNESCO Heritage Site under "Great Living Chola Temples. occupying coasts from Burma (now Myanmar) to Vietnam. Raja Raja Chola and Rajendra Chola period is said to be the golden period of Tamil Nadu. and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital and named it Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Rajaraja Chola conquered all of peninsular South India and parts of the Sri Lanka. With the decline of the Cholas between 1230±1280 CE. the celebratedJatavarman Sundara Pandyan. the king of the Bengal. the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.968 sq mi). Brihadeshwara Temple in Thanjavur is a classical example of the magnificent architecture of the Chola kingdom. Java. The Cholas excelled in building magnificent temples.389.000 km (1. Sumatra. under Maravarman Sundara Pandya and his younger brother. Rajendra Chola's navies went even further.600.empire spanned almost 3. Lakshadweep. He defeated Mahipala. Malaya in South East Asia and Pegu islands. . the Pandyas rose to prominence once again. and under them the Chola empire rose to be the most powerful empire in all of South-India.

" As the Vijayanagara Empire went into decline after mid16th century. It eventually conquered the entire Tamil country (c. The Muslim invasion led to the establishment of the short lived Madurai Sultanate. who were appointed by the Vijayanagar kingdom to administer various territories of the empire. declared their independence. Vijayanagar and Nayak period (1336±1646) These Muslim invasions triggered the establishment of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire in the Deccan. despite initially maintaining loose links with the Vijayanagara kingdom. the Nayak governors. many incompetent kings succeeded to the throne of Vijayanagara with the result that its grip loosened over its feudatories among whom the Nayaks of Madurai and Tanjore were among the first to declare their independence.This revival was short-lived as the Pandya capital of Madurai itself was sacked by Alauddin Khilji's troops under General Malik Kafur in 1316. 1370 CE). This empire lasted for almost two centuries till the defeat of Vijayanagara in the Battle of Talikota in 1565. . They reconstructed some of the oldest temples in the country such as the Meenakshi Temple. The Nayaks of Madurai and Nayaks of Thanjavur were most prominent of them all in the 17th century. Subsequent to this defeat.

while the Danish had their establishment in Tranquebar (Tharangambadi). in present day Chennai. the western parts of Tamil Nadu. the eastern parts of Tamil Nadu came under the dominions of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of the Carnatic. came under the dominions of Hyder Ali and later Tipu Sultan. under the British East India Company. After winning the Polygar wars. encompassing Kongu Nadu. Tamil Nadu under European rule (1801±1947) Around 1609.Rule of Nawabs and Nizams (1692-1801) In the early 18th century. established a settlement further south of Pulicat. the East India Company consolidated most of southern India into the Madras . While Wallajah was supported by the English. the British fought and reduced the French dominions in India to Puducherry. In the late 18th century. Nizams of Hyderabad and the Nawabs of the Carnatic bestowed tax revenue collection rights on the East India Company for defeating the Kingdom of Mysore. particularly with their victory in the Second AngloMysore War. the British. the Dutch established a settlement in Pulicat. In the late 18th century. Chanda Sahib was supported by the French by the middle of the 18th century. In 1639.

058 square kilometres (50. At this point is the town of Kanyakumari which is the meeting point of the Arabian Sea. The state was subsequently split up along linguistic lines. Madras Presidency became Madras State. To the east is the Bay of Bengal and the union territory of Puducherry. coastal Andhra Pradesh up to Ganjam district in Orissa. meaning Country of Tamil. and parts of Kerala. and the Indian Ocean. and is the eleventh largest state in India. The southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula is located in Tamil Nadu. Madras State was renamed Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu in independent India When India became independent in 1947. Pudukkottai remained as a princely state.Presidency coterminous with the dominions of Nizam of Hyderabad.Karnataka to the northwest and Andhra Pradesh to the north. . Geography Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130. The bordering states are Kerala to the west. the Bay of Bengal. comprising present day Tamil Nadu.216 sq mi). In 1969. South Canara district Karnataka.

The central and the south central regions are arid plains and receive less rainfall than the other regions.The western.793 direct deaths in the state. The Western Ghats dominate the entire western border with Kerala. Tamil Nadu falls in Zones II & III.[31] 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. Historically. parts of this region have experienced seismic activity in the M5. 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. . effectively blocking much of the rain bearing clouds of the South West Monsoon from entering the state.0 range. Tamil Nadu's coastline bore the brunt of the 2004Indian Ocean Tsunami when it hit India. as per the 2002 Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) map. southern and the north-western parts are hilly and rich in vegetation. The eastern parts are fertile coastal plains and the northern parts are a mix of hills and plains. which caused 7. Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 910 kilometres (600 mi) which is the country¶s third longest coastline.

The state has three distinct periods of rainfall: advancing monsoon period. Since the state is entirely dependent on rains for recharging its water resources. and 32% through the South West monsoon.Climate Tamil Nadu is heavily dependent on monsoon rains. southern.  dry season from January to May. South West monsoon from June to September. The table below shows the maximum and minimum temperatures that the state experiences in the plains and hills. .2 in) of which 48% is through the North East monsoon. high altitude hilly. monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe drought.   North East monsoon from October to December. north-west. and Cauvery Delta (the most fertile agricultural zone). The normal annual rainfall of the state is about 945 mm (37. with strong southwest winds. high rainfall. The climate of the state ranges from dry subhumid to semi-arid. with dominant northeast winds. west. and thereby is prone to droughts when the monsoons fail. Tamil Nadu is classified into seven agro-climatic zones: north-east.

234 Assembly constituencies. like most other states in India. Karunanidhi and M. Iqbal respectively. Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is the state capital. It is the fourth largest city in India and is also one of the five A1 Metropolitan cities of India. as is elsewhere in India. Tamil Nadu had a bicameral legislature until 1986. The present Governor. 152 municipalities. The term length of the government is 5 years.Governance and administration The Governor is the Constitutional head of the state while the Chief Minister is the head of the government and the head of the council of ministers.618 village panchayats. Chief Minister and the Chief Justice are Surjit Singh Barnala.Karunanidhi. The state had come under the President's rule on four occasions ± first from 1976 to 1977. Tamil Nadu legislative assembly is chaired by the speaker Mr. chaired by the Chief Minister. R Avudaiappan and is housed at the Omandurar Government Estate in Chennai. when it was replaced with a unicameral legislature. then from 1988 to 1989 and the latest in 1991. . M. next for a short period in 1980. The Chief Justice of the Madras High Court is the head of the judiciary. Y. Dr. The present government run by the DMK led alliance came to power in 2006 and comprises a council of 29 ministers.M. 32 districts. 611 town panchayats and 12.The major administrative units of the state constitutes 39 Lok Sabha constituencies. 10 city corporations.

Tamil Nadu has 10 City Corporations: Chennai. established in 1688. Vellore and Thoothukudi. is the oldest Municipal Corporation not only in India but also in any commonwealth nations outside United Kingdom. the state had a total police population ratio of 1:668. The Tamil Nadu Police Force is over 140 years old. Tamil Nadu has been a pioneering state of E-Governance initiatives in India.Tirupur. Coimbatore. land registration offices. The current Director General of Police (law and order) of Tamil Nadu is Latika Charan. Salem. higher than the national average of 1:717. E rode. TheCorporation of Chennai. There is a plan to upgrade Nagercoil and Thanjavur as City Corporations. Tirunelveli. A large part of the government records like land ownership records are digitised and all major offices of the state government like Urban Local Bodies ² all the Corporations and Municipal Office activities ² revenue collection. Tamil Nadu is one of the states where law and order has been maintained largely successfully. It is the fifth largest state police force in India and has the largest strength of women police personnel in the country. and transport offices have been computerised. . As of 2003. Tiruchirapalli. Madurai.

Erode District 8. Namakkal District 15. Kanchipuram District 9.Districts The 32 districts of Tamil Nadu are listed below with the numbers corresponding to those in the image at right. Dharmapuri District 6. Theni District 23. Tiruvallur District 28. Thanjavur District 22. Nagapattinam District 14. Cuddalore District 5. 1. Tirupur district 27. Viluppuram District . Dindigul District 7. Ariyalur District 2. Tiruchirapalli District 25. Ramanathapuram District 19. Chennai District 3. Salem District 20. Coimbatore District 4. Tiruvannamalai District 29. Nilgiris District 17. Madurai District 13. Vellore District 31. Karur District 11. Tiruvarur District 30. Kanyakumari District 10. Thoothukudi District 24. Pudukkottai District 18. Tirunelveli District 26. Krishnagiri District 12. Sivagangai District 21.

Tanjore painting. music and dance which continue to flourish today.16. Unique cultural features like Bharatanatyam (dance). and Tamil literature Tamil Nadu has a long tradition of venerable culture. Temples of Tamil Nadu. and Tamil architecture were developed and continue to be practised in Tamil Nadu. Language and literature . Perambalur District 32. Virudhunagar District Culture Main articles: Tamil people. Tamil Nadu is known for its rich tradition of literature.

When India adopted national standards Tamil was the very first language to be recognized as a classical language of India. with prose not becoming more common until later periods. social equity and secularist thoughts among the common man. This is evident as the author. Jayakanthan. educate and entertain.Tamil is the only official language of Tamil Nadu. or the audience for his work. The Tamil people regard their language a very important part of their cultural identity. Ancient Tamil literature is predominantly secular and deals with everyday life in the Tamil Context. During the Indian freedom struggle. Tiruvalluvar. Tamil poetry has universal appeal as evidenced by many examples. Tamil literature has sought to inform and inspire. Most early Tamil literary works are in verse form. does not mention his religion. notably Subramanya Bharathy and Bharathidasan. . Throughout its history.and Indira Parthasarathy. land. Tamil Nadu is home to creative writers like Vairamuthu. The first Tamil printing press was established at Tarangambadi by the Danish missionaries. English is also in common usage as an official language of India. Even today. many Tamil poets and writers sought to provoke national spirit. Tirukkural. He is often portrayed as a holy saint of Tamil Nadu today. which was written nearly two millennia ago portrays a universal outlook.

Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita. Thoothukudi (17%. one of the disciples of Jesus. Vedanta. These include Advaita Vaishnavism. Thomas. Several important Hindu Tamil figures became important figures for Hinduism as a whole (e. 2001).g.Ramanuja. is an important pilgrimage site for Indian Christians. St. Christians are mainly concentrated in the southern districts of Kanyakumari (44% of the population. Thomas.Religions 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 nonmainstream Hindu movements. The Santhome Basilica. supposedly built atop the tomb of St.2001). Murugan. Christians and Muslims together form over 11% of the population. well known figures for Hinduism in the state include Ramana Maharishi and the Kanchi Paramacharya.Sivan. the place where St.) In modern times. Thomas Mount in Chennai. was believed to have been martyred. 2001) and Tirunelveli (11%. The emblem of Government of Tamil Nadu depicts the Gopuram (Entrance Arch) of the temple at Srivilliputhur. Sakthi in various forms and a large number of village deities are also worshiped by Hindus in Tamil Nadu. and the Vailankanni Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health ² revered . Alvars' Sri and Nayanmars Shaivism. Thirumal (Vishnu).

There was a popular atheist movement in the 1940s that has lost support since. and Melapalayam. The Sunnis adhere to either Hanafi or Shafi schools of thought. Nagore.5% are Sunni and the rest are Shias. Kazimar Big Mosque in Kazimar Street. Madurai and Karpudaiyar masjid in Kayalpatnam are the oldest mosques in Tamil Nadu. Madurai. 97. Vaniyambadi. Festivals Pongal.Erwadi in Ramanathapuram district and Nagore in Nagapattinam district are important pilgrimage site for Muslims. also called as Tamizhar Thirunaal (festival of Tamils) or Makara Sankranti elsewhere in India.churches by India's Roman Catholics ² are good examples of majestic church architectures in Tamil Nadu. Muslims are mainly concentrated in areas such as Adirampattinam. Among Muslims. The Church of South India and the Pentecostal Mission Church are headquartered in Chennai. a four-day harvest festival is one of the most widely celebrated . Ambur. Kayalpatnam. with the state capital Chennai also home to a number of Muslims. Kilakarai. Pernambut. while the Thousand Lights Mosque in Chennai is one of the largest mosques in the country.

During this final day. is the main day which falls on the first day of the tenth Tamil month Thai (14 January or 15 January in western calendar). means 'to view' in Tamil.festivals throughout Tamil Nadu. the inhabitants celebrate festivals for the local gods once a year and the time varies from place to place. Bhogi Pongal. which celebrates the rising of the water level in the river Cauvery. The third day. is meant to offer thanks to the cattle. marks the main event of this day. Apart from these major festivals. Aadi Perukku is celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month Aadi. Most of these festivals are related to the goddess Maariyamman. Surya Pongal. . Kaanum Pongal ² the word "kaanum". 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. a bull taming contest. The first day. Maattu Pongal. Thiruvalluvar Calendar is 31 years ahead of Gregorian Calendar. Jallikattu. as they provide milk and are used to plough the lands. The second day. The Tamil language saying Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum ² literally meaning. the birth of the month of Thai will pave way for new opportunities ² is often quoted with reference to this festival. 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. that is 2000 CE in Gregorian calendar is represented as 2031 in Thiruvalluvar Calendar. in every village and town of Tamil Nadu. the mother goddess of rain.

Krishna Jayanthi and Vinayaka Chathurthi are celebrated. ballads that convey folklore and folk history. is celebrated predominantly in the southern districts. Music and Drama). Odhuvars. Music The Kings of ancient Thamizhagam created sangams for Iyal Isai Nadagam (Literature. Saraswathi Poojai (Dasara). ladies who work in the fields used to sing kulavai songs. Eid ul-Fitr. Popular forms of Tamil folk music include the Villupp music performed with a bow. and the N uppur app u. Music in Tamil Nadu had different forms. Easter andBakrid are celebrated by Christians and Muslims in the state. In villages where farming was the primary occupation. Christmas. Ayudha Poojai. Music played a major role in sangams. a form of u. Ayya Vaikunda Avataram.Additional major Hindu festivals including Deepavali (Death of Narakasura). Sthanikars or Kattalaiyars offer short musical programmes in the temples by singing the devotional Thevaram songs. Tamil folk music tends to be much more exuberant. In sharp contrast with the restrained and intellectual nature of Carnatic music. Some of the leading Tamil folk artists in the early 21st . In addition.

century are Pushpuvanam Kuppuswamy. Arunachala Kavi (1712± 1779) and Marimutthu Pillai (1717±1787) composed hundreds of devotional songs in Tamil and helped in the evolution of Carnatic music. Tamil Nadu is also the home of the double Oscar Winner A. Carnatic music is the classical music form of Southern India. the annual Madras Music Season during December±January. 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. His work highlighted Tamil folk lyricism and introduced broader Western musical sensibilities to the South Indian musical mainstream. The composers belonging to the Tamil Trinity. Chennai hosts a large cultural event.R. Hindi . which includes performances by hundreds of artists all over the city. Tamil Nadu has hundreds of notable carnatic singers and instrumentalists who spread this music all over the world. Today. Dr.The Trinity of Carnatic musicTyagaraja. This is one of the world's oldest & richest musical traditions. In terms of modern cine-music. Ilaiyaraaja was the most prominent composer of film music in Tamil cinema during the late 1970s and 1980s. Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri were from Tamil Nadu. Paravai muniammal etc. Chinnaponnu.Telugu. namely Muthu Thandavar (?1560 ± ?1640 CE). Rahman who has composed film music in Tamil. Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan.

yil ttam. Other Tamil folk dances include mayil am. In its religious form. a dance to the sound of rhythmical drumbeats. a dance involving playing with burning wooden torches. Tamil dance is closely intertwined with the Tamil theatrical tradition. was once referred to by Time magazine as "The Mozart of Madras". to the accompaniment of a nadaswaram and melam. and tumbles and leaps to the rhythm of a song without spilling a grain. manattam. birth of a child.films. English and Chinese films. These are performed for every possible occasion. The most celebrated of these is karakattam. paraiy th ppand am. danced in a circle while waving small pieces of cloth of various colours. to celebrate the arrival of seasons. where the dancers use dummy horses. . weddings and festivals. the dance is performed in front of an image of the goddess Mariamman. and am. where the dancers imitate the graceful leaping of deer. where the dancers tie a string of peacock feathers around their waist. Arts and dance Tamils have a large number of folk dances. Karakattam is usually performed to a special type of song known as temmangupp u or thevar p u. decorated with flowers and surrounded by a bamboo frame. The dancer bears on his or her head a brass pot filled with uncooked rice. a folk song in the mode of a lover speaking to his beloved. poikkal kuthiraiyaa am.

who wrote the Natya Shastra. Terukkuttu or Kattaikkuttu is a traditional form of Tamilstreet theatre folk dance/drama. purity. it as also been called sadir or chinna melam. a Hindu sage. Many of the ancient sculptures in Hindu temples are based on Bharata Natyam dance postures. Film industry Tamil Nadu is also home to the Tamil film industry (sometimes called as Kollywood). Cuisine . tenderness. It is based at Kodambakkam in Chennai. in India. In ancient times it was performed in Hindu temples byDevadasis. and sculpturesque poses. In this form. It is known for being the second largest film industry in terms of revenue and worldwide distribution. Bharatanatyam is a traditional dance-form known for its grace. It continues to be a popular dance style at present times and is practised by male and female dancers all over India. Bharatanatyam is thought to have been created by Bharata Muni. the most important ancient treatise on classical Indian dance.Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form originating from Tamil Nadu.

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

in the 19th and early 20th centuries. a prosperous banking and business community. Chettinad is the homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars (Nagarathar). Karaikudi is known as the capital of ChettinaD. The people of Chettinad speak Tamil. Mansions. Chettinad is well known for its Chettinad cuisine.Chettinad Chettinad (Tamil: ) is a region of the Sivaganga district of southern Tamil Nadu state.Singapore. Today there is a diaspora of Chettinad people. among other places. who live in the USA. . Malaysia. many of whose members migrated to South and Southeast Asia. particularly Ceylon andBurma. India. which includes Karaikudi and 74 (traditionally its said as 96) other villages. and Temples.

and sweet meats like payasam and paal paniyaram. Mansions Chettinad is rich in cultural heritage. art and architecture. wide courtyards. Scattered over the whole . drumstick sambar. the temples of Chettinad stand testimony to the spiritual beliefs of its denizens. embellished with marble and Burma teak. spacious rooms. Chettinad delicacy:Aadi kummayam. Chettinad food is essentially spicy. and is well known for its houses. its a mouth watering delicacy for the sweet toothed ones. Local legend has it that their walls used to be polished with a paste made out of eggwhites to give a smooth texture. Temples Originally built by early Tamil dynasties like the Cholas. and for its 18th century mansions. ghee for flavouring rice. made from pulses. with a standard full meal consisting of cooked dhal. now is one of the many reasons why people get to know Chettinad. eggplant (brinjal) curry. "Kara kolambu" is a highly regarded south Indian sambar. Chettinad food.Chettinad Cuisine Chettinad is known for its Culinary delicacies.

and used for holy rituals. Its vibrance and its weight are its distinguishing factors. Karpaga Vinayakar temple. a CSIR laboratory specialising in electrochemical research.place. and paints among others. a few are Vairavan Kovil temple. The lab has been operational for more than forty years. Among the many famous temples. Kottaiyur Sivantemple. and has produced patents and inventions in the areas of battery research. Records and old photographs show the use of this sari by previous generations.  . 85 kilometers away. The thickness of this sari and changing demands have kept this sari out of production for nearly a hundred years. corrosion prevention. Kundrakudi Murugan temple. Even today much of Chettinad's daily tidings are centered around the festivities around the temple. each temple has its own tank called oorani where water lilies are grown. Kandanur Sivan Temple. kanadukaathan (chettinad station) and kallal Karaikudi is also known for CECRI. before the advent of blouses and underskirts. The Chettinad Sari: This cotton sari is unique in the dramatic and spontaneous use of colour and pattern with bold checks. stripes and contrasting hues. Trains that run from Chennai to Rameshwaram stop at Karaikudi. The nearest airport is Madurai airport. worn rather differently from the regular sari. The largest town in the area is Karaikudi.

with pillared corridors running on each side that lead into individual rooms. each with a triangular slot cut into the wall for the evening lamp.This area also usually leads off to the men's well. often spreading out to a second floor. The wealthier the merchants the larger the house. Then comes the second counrtyard with large dining spaces on either side. leading out to the backyard with its women's well and grinding stones. where the host would entertain male guests.Large raised platforms on either side of the central corridor. From here. The third courtyard was for the women folk to rest and gossip.Karaikudi . with image of Lakshmi carved over the head and navaratna or nine precious gems buried under the (Vasapadi) threshold. each meant for a married son. or nalankattai comprised the kitchens. . while the fourth. The platforms lead off on one side into store rooms and massive granaries and on the other. Looking in from the main threshold. First comes an outer thinai . leading out to the back door. your eye travels in a straight line across a series of inner courtyards.Chettinad House The Chettinad houses are built on a rectangular traversal plot that stretches across two streets. with the front door opening into the first street and the back into the second. into the (Kanakupillai ) or Accountant's room. the huge elaborately carved teak front door. The door leads into the first open air courtyard. each a diminishing rectangle of light.

colours. Victorian women. curves. the floors of Italian marble or locally . domes and arches often clash painfully but the message of splendour is not lost. The airy courtyards seem somehow to absorb and mute everything down inside. with superb divans. Victorian. The carvings and friezes are not just Hindu pantheon but include British soldiers. .is Strangely not Vulgar. Anglo-Indian . neo-classical. There are three smaller such buildings around. for lesser personages and family guests. but the pastiche of styles . The outside are not always so lucky . yolk and lime that leaves them silken smooth and washable. exactly opposite where the Raja of chettinad's first . recliners bidets and washbasins. The waiting room and attached toilets are still furnished.crafted Athangudi tiles. a paved path leads through an arched gate to his private waiting room. The display of wealth extended to other areas. plastered over by a secret recipe of roots. many houses have small turrets and elaborate guard houses on the terrace. all in various stages of disrepair. At the chettinad railway station. and scenes from the Raj.Kerala Woodwork.The walls are of baked bricks. where he went directly without having to mix with the rabble at the station. The chettiar's main intent was to make his house a statement of his social success and he put everything into it. the tiles are Spanish.class coach would halt. and the pillars of Burmese teak.

pewter. Already an immense portion of the chettiar families belongings . it's easy to imagine these houses asleep in some sort of time capsule.The practical detail inside the houses are rich: the courtyards supply ample light and air (pickles and papads were dried there ) but leaving the rest of the house in deep and cool shadow.. brass porcelain.is in the local antique shops and being shipped across the world. the Raja of Chettinad. The Meyyappans have converted the family clubhouse into The bangala. Muthiah family has opened up some rooms in its vast family mansion to tourists for a home-living experience. feet crunching on years of bat droppings that cover exquisite floor tiles. has opened his house in Kanadukathan for public viewing. Walking through ghostly corridors looming with huge portraits and Belgian mirrors. Some Chettiars have stepped in to start the process of conservation.R. with stone stoppers carved exactly for their mouths. with carved doors. pillars and friezes in high demand in India and abroad..A. But it's unlikely they will stay that way. preserving its past graciously while the S. The courtyards have tiles placed exactly under the stromwater drain run right through the house. . Houses are being dismantled and sold piece-meal.. Large stone vats for water and wooden bins for firewood line the inner courtyards. glass Burmese bamboo . Muthiah Chettiar.

we find many rooms tightly locked. We can only wait with trepidation to see the outcome of these plans.while his brother's house next door has a floor converted to a museum that displays everything associated with the Chettiars . but the occasions become fewer with time. converting the bungalows into bed-and breakfast outlets. revitalising the lost art of Chettinad plastering. . The Tamil Nadu government is making noises about converting this into a tourist zone. coconut scrapers and travelling spice boxes.masala dabbas and Rukmini ( choppers). The caretakers tell me the rooms are still full of vessels. waiting for their owners to claim them. with the individual owners' names carved on door sills. Walking though the mansions. for weddings and big days. Some families do return occasionally. Kitchen tools and furniture. artefacts.

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