by Dr. Venugopal Menon


Tamil Nadu is a state in southern India, with the Bay of Bengal on the east, mountain ranges on the west and north, with the gulf of Mannar, and the Arabian Sea on the south, separating it from Sri Lanka. They were ruled by the Chera, Chola, and Pandya regimes, and then under the British Colonial rule until Independence. Modern-day Tamil Nadu was formed in 1956 after reorganization as a linguistic state. Its economy is the second-largest in India, and the state is one of the most industrialized. Tamil is its language, which is considered the longest surviving classical language of the world, and archeologically, it is one of the longest continuous habitations in the Indian peninsula. They were engaged in trades and commerce of spices, pearls, and silk with the Romans, China, and other nations. The Tamils are also noted for epics like Chilappatikaram and Thirukkural, covering all aspects of life.

Known for its rich traditions of literature, art, music, and dance, the state continues to flourish. Bharata Natyam, the South Indian classical music and Tanjavur paintings are globally famous.




Coinciding with Makara Sankranti elsewhere, this is a four-day harvest festival, in mid-January. The event starts with cleaning up, destroying old clothes, followed by the main day of Surya Pongal on the second day, and Mattu Pongal on the third, offering gratitude to the cattle. The following day is Jallikattu, a bull-taming contest, and the final day, Kaanum Pongal, meaning ‘to view’.

Tamils celebrate several other festivals (described earlier) like Deepavali, Ayudha Pooja, Saraswathi Pooja (Dasara), Sri Krishna Jayanthi, Vinayaka Chathurthi, along with the other religious festivals like Christmas and Muharram.


Thyagaraja Aradhana:

This is an annual music festival observed in the states of Tamil Nadu, primarily in Tiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district of Tamilnadu, and Andhra Pradesh, the place where Thyagaraja attained Samadhi (day of demise). The Aradhana (praising, revering) is observed on Pushya Bahula Panchami day, where the musicians render the saint's Pancharatna Kritis (five-star compositions).

The event is celebrated in several places all over the world organizing classical music events where hundreds of professionals to students in music performance, reciting the saint’s compositions.