Culture of Tamilnadu

Tamil Nadu has a long tradition of venerable culture. Tamil Nadu is known for its rich tradition of literature, music and dance which continue to flourish today. Unique cultural features like Bharatanatyam (dance), Tanjore painting, and Tamil architecture were developed and continue to be practised in Tamil Nadu.

Language and Literature

Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu and is one of the four classical languages of India, the other being Sanskrit.Tamil is also one of the official languages of India.[60] Most of the older works are in verse form, and prose gained popularity later. All through history, Tamil literature has sought to inform and inspire, educate and entertain. Tamil poetry has universal appeal as evinced by many examples.

'The mark of wisdom is to discern the truth
From whatever source it is heard.'
- (Tirukkural - 423)

Tirukkural which was written nearly two millennia ago portrays a universal outlook. This is evident as the author, Thiruvalluvar, does not mention his religion, land, or the audience for his work. He is portrayed as a holy saint of Tamil Nadu today. There is an evidential history that the kings of olden days rolled out Tamil Sangam (Tamil organisation) to develop literature works in Tamil. The Sangam headquartered in Madurai generated a large amount of notable literary works. The first Tamil printing press was established at Tarangambadi by the Danish missionaries.

During the Indian freedom struggle, many Tamil poets and writers provoked national spirit, social equity and secularist thoughts among the common man, notably Subramanya Bharathy. Even today, Tamil Nadu is home to creative writers like Bharathidasan, Jayakanthan, Jayamohan, Sujatha, Indira Parthasarathy.


Tamil Nadu was the home of several Hindu movements not in the usual mainstream. These include Shankara's Advaita, Ramanuja's Vishistadvaita, Alwar Sri Vaishnavism, Nayanar Shaivism, Several important Hindu Tamil figures became important figures for Hinduism as a whole (e.g.Ramanuja.) In modern times, worldwide important figures for Hinduism were Ramana Maharishi and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Other saints known more locally to Hindus within India are Raghavendra Swami the Dvaita Vaishnava, Paramahamsa Sri Nithyananda or the Nithyananda Foundation, Sivananda the expert of yoga and Vedanta.

With Hindus forming over 88% of the population, Hindu temples are ubiquitous in Tamil Nadu earning it the sobriquet 'The Land of Temples'. Shown here is the Meenakshi Amman Temple complex in Madurai, which is one of the grandest temples in the country.

Popular forms of God include Vishnu, Shiva and Murugan, although many other forms are also worshiped. These other forms of God include Rama, Krishna, Ganesh, Paravati, Surya, and others. There is even a temple dedicated to the form of Hanuman and Ganesh in one form - Adianta Prabhu.[61] The government emblem of Tamil Nadu contained the popular Hindu temple of Srivilliputhur.

Christians and Muslims form roughly over 11% of the population. Christians are mainly concentrated in the southern districts of Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli. St. Thomas Mount in Chennai, the place where St. Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, was believed to have been martyred, 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 is headquartered in Chennai.

Muslims are mainly concentrated in areas such as Kayalpatnam, Keelakarai, Ambur, Vaniyambadi, Madurai, Nagore and Melapalayam, with the state capital Chennai also home to a good number of Muslims. Among Muslims, 97.5% are Tamil speaking Sunni and the rest are Urdu speaking Shia. Most of the Tamil Muslims, 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. Karpudaiyar masjid in Kayalpatnam is the oldest mosque in Tamil Nadu.


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 celebrated festival of 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 (January 14 or January 15 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 "kanum", means 'to view' in Tamil - youths used to gather at river banks to view and select their future life partners, but that practice has declined.

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. The Ayyavazhi Festival Ayya Vaikunda Avataram is celebrated by the Ayyavazhi followers throughout the state,[63][64][65] grandly in the southern districts.[66][67][68][69] In addition, Christmas, Eid ul-Fitr, Easter and Bakrid are celebrated by Christians and Muslims in the state.


The Kings of the olden days created sangams for Iyal Isai Nadagam (Literature, Music and Drama). Music plays a major role in sangams. Music in Tamil Nadu had different forms. In villages where farming was the primary work, the 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 Villuppattu, a form of music performed with a bow, and the Nattupura Pattu, ballads that convey folklore and folk history. Some of the leading Tamil folk artists in the early 21st century are Pushpuvanam Kuppuswamy, Dr Navaneethakrishnan, Chinnaponnu, Paravai muniammal etc.

Carnatic music is the classical music of Southern India. The basic form is a monophonic song with improvised variations. There are 72 basic scales on the octave, and a rich variety of melodic motion. Both melodic and rhythmic structures are varied and compelling. This is one of the world's oldest & richest musical traditions. Carnatic music abounds in structured compositions in the different ragas. These are songs composed by great artists and handed down through generations of disciples. Three saint composers of the nineteenth century, Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Shastri, have composed thousands of songs that remain favourites among musicians and audiences. The composers belonging to the Tamil Trinity of 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 who spread this music all over the world. M. S. Subbulakshmi, a renowned carnatic singer, had the honour of singing a song in the UN Security Council.

In terms of modern music (light, film, pop, etc.), the music of Tamil Nadu is praised very highly. 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 Oscar Winner A.R. Rahman who is recognised worldwide and has composed film music in Tamil, Hindi films, English and Chinese films .

Allah Rakha Rahman.

Film industry

Tamil cinema (also referred to as the Tamil film industry, or Chennai film industry) is the Chennai-based Tamil language filmmaking industry of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is based in the Kodambakkam district of Chennai, where several Tamil language feature films are produced, which has led to a colloquial reference to it as Kollywood , a portmanteau of the words Kodambakkam and Hollywood.

Silent movies were produced in Chennai since 1916 and the era of talkies dawned in 1931 with the film Kalidas. By the end of the 1930s, the State of Madras legislature passed the Entertainment Tax Act 1939. Tamil Nadu cinema has had a profound effect on the film making industries of India, with Chennai becoming a hub for the filmmaking industries of other languages and also Sri Lankan cinema in the 1900s. Tamil films are distributed to various theatres around the world.;

Film studios

1916 marked the birth of Tamil cinema with the the first Madras production and South Indian film release Keechaka Vaadham (The Destruction of Keechaka).[1] During the 1920s, silent Tamil-language movies were shot at makeshift locations in and around Chennai, and for technical processing, they were sent to Pune or Calcutta. Later some movies featuring MKT were shot in Pune and Calcutta. In the 1930s AVM set up its makeshift studio in the town of Karaikudi, and during the same decade, full-fledged Movie studios were built in Salem (Modern Theatres Studio) and Coimbatore (Central Studios, Neptune, and Pakshiraja).

By the mid 1940s, Chennai became the hub of Studio activity with two more movie Studios built in Chennai, Vijaya Vauhini Studios and Gemini Studios. Later, AVM Studios shifted its operations to Chennai. Thus, with the undivided Madras Presidency being the Capital to most of South India, Chennai became the center for Tamil- and notable Telugu-language movies. Also, most of the pre-independence era drama and stage actors joined the movie industry from the 1940s, and Chennai became the hub for South Indian-language film production and Sri Lankan cinema before independence.

Shivaji Rao Gaekwad alies Super Star Rajini Kanth.


At the beginning of the talkie era, Kollywood was dominated by P. U. Chinnappa and later M. K. Thyagaraja Bagavadhar during the 1940s. During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the two highly anticipated Tamil film stars were M. G. Ramachandran and later Sivaji Ganesan. The 1980s, 1990s and 2000s saw the rise and consolidation of the markets of Kamal Hassan and later Rajinikanth. The films of both of these stars typically mop up regularly 20 per cent market share each of the total annual box office receipts. They received salaries of $2 million and $3 million respectively for their latest projects, Dasavatharam and Sivaji. Industry observers, at the turn of 20th century, have come to the belief that the age of superstardom has come to an end due to persistent piracy, rise of multiplex cinemas and corporatisation.

List of Tamil Actors and Actress

This is a list of Tamil actors and actresses:

  • Abbas
  • Adithya
  • Ajith Kumar
  • Arjun
  • Arvind Swamy
  • Arya
  • Ashish Vidyarthi
  • Atul Kulkarni
  • S. P. Balasubramaniam
  • M. S. Baskar
  • K. Bhagyaraj
  • Bharath
  • Biju Menon
  • Chandrababu
  • Charlie
  • Chaaru Haasan
  • Cheran
  • Cho Ramaswamy
  • Dhamu
  • Dhanush
  • Dileep
  • Dino Morea
  • Gemini Ganesan
  • Girish Karnad
  • T. Gopichand
  • Govinda
  • Goundamani
  • Chitti Babu (actor)
  • Cochin Haneefa
  • Innocent Vincent
  • Jagapati Babu
  • Jaishankar
  • Jayam Ravi
  • Jayaram
  • Jayasurya
  • Jeeva
  • Jeevan
  • Joseph Vijay
  • Kajin Jeyam
  • Kalabhavan Mani
  • Kamal Haasan
  • Karthik Muthuraman
  • Karthik Sivakumar
  • Karunas
  • Lawrence Raghavendra
  • M. G. Ramachandran
  • M. K. Thyagaraja Bagavadhar
  • M. N. Nambiar
  • M. R. Radha
  • Madhan Bob
  • R. Madhavan
  • Malaysia Vasudevan
  • Mammooty
  • Manivannan
  • Manoj K Jayan
  • Milind Soman
  • Mohan
  • Mohanlal
  • Murali
  • Akkineni Nagarjuna
  • Nagesh
  • Narain
  • Nassar
  • Navdeep
  • Nedumudi Venu
  • Parthiban
  • Pasupathy
  • Perarasu
  • Ponnambalam
  • Prabhu
  • Prabhu Deva Sundaram
  • Pradeep Rawat
  • Prakash Raj
  • Prasanna (actor)
  • Prashanth Thyagarajan
  • Prithviraj Sukumaran
  • Raghuvaran
  • Rahman
  • Rahul Dev
  • T. Rajendar
  • Rajinikanth
  • Raju Sundaram
  • Ramarajan
  • Ravi Krishna
  • K. S. Ravikumar
  • R. Muthuraman
  • Ramesh Khanna