Tamil Nadu, a South Indian state, is famed for its Dravidian-style Hindu temples. In Madurai, Meenakshi Amman Temple has high ‘gopuram’ towers ornamented with colourful figures. On Pamban Island, Ramanathaswamy Temple is a pilgrimage site. The town of Kanyakumari, at India’s southernmost tip, is the site of ritual sunrises. Capital Chennai is known for beaches and landmarks including 1644 colonial Fort St. George.
Chennai is a gateway to the towns of Kanchipuram, noted for hand-woven silk saris and sacred sites like Kamakshi Amman Temple. It's also a gateway to Mahabalipuram, featuring Pancha Rathas, 7th-century shrines. Coastal Puducherry, a former French territory, retains an atmospheric French Quarter. Tiruchirappalli’s Rock Fort is an old citadel with sweeping views. Thanjavur is home to 11th-century Brihadeeswarar Temple. On Srirangam Island, vast Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple complex has an ornate, 72m-tall tower. The forested Western Ghats mountains have hill stations including Ooty, once a summer resort of the British Raj.
Tamil is spoken by most of the people while around ten percent of the people residing in Tamil Nadu speak Telugu. Other languages that are popular in the state are Kannada, Urdu and Malayalam.
Summer (Mar–Jun) can be extremely hot and humid, while winter (Nov–Mar) brings warm days and chilly nights. Dry season is Jan–May and the monsoon season is Jun–Dec. Key events and holidays include the Chithirai Festival (Madurai, Apr/May), with colourful religious processions; the Karthikai Deepam Festival of Lights (Nov/Dec), celebrated statewide with oil lamps and fireworks; and the Festival of Carnatic Music & Dance (Dec–Jan), honouring Tamil cultural traditions.
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