The southern states of India were under the hegemony of the Cholas, the Cheras and the Pandyas for centuries. The Pallavas held supremacy from about the second quarter of the fourth century A.D. They were the originators of the famous Dravidian style of temple architecture. The last Pallava ruler was Aparajita, in whose reign the later Cholas under Vijayalaya and Aditya asserted themselves by about the 10th century. At the end of the 11th century, Tamil Nadu was ruled by several dynasties like the Chalukyas, Cholas and Pandyas. In the two centuries that followed, the imperial Cholas gained paramountcy over South India.
Muslims gradually strengthened their position, which led to the establishment of the Bahamani Sultanate, by the middle of the 14th century. At the same time, the Vijayanagar Kingdom quickly consolidated itself and extended its sway over the whole of South India, and at the close of the century, Vijayanagar became the supreme power in South. However, it crumbled at the battle of Talikota in 1564 to the confederate forces of the Deccan Sultans.
The length of roads network in Tamil Nadu is 1, 93,918 km.
The total length of railways is 4,181 km, the main junctions being Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore and Tirunelveli.
Chennai being the international airport in the southern region is the main centre of airline routes. Besides, there are airports at Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Coimbatore and Salem.
Major ports in the State are Chennai and Tuticorin. There are seven other minor ports including Cuddalore and Nagapattinam.
Pongal is the harvest festival celebrated by the farmers in January to worship the sun, the earth and the cattle as thanks giving for a bounteous harvest. Pongal festival is followed by the Jallikattu-Bull fight, in some parts of southern Tamil Nadu. Alanganallur in Tamil Nadu is internationally famous for Jallikattu â€“ Bull fight. Chithirai festival, Madurai brings a spectacular re-enactment of the marriage of the Pandiyan princess Meenakshi to Lord Sundareswarar. Adipperukku is a festival celebrated on the 18th day of Tamil month, Adi, on the banks of rivers. It marks the commencement of new farming operations. Dance Festival, Mamallapuram, which is set before an open air stage, created 13 centuries ago the incredible monolithic rock sculptures of the Pallavas, next to the sea in this ancient city of Mamallapuram. Bharatha Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, and Odissi are some dance forms presented by the very best exponents of the art besides folk dances. At the Natyanjali Dance Festival, the temple city of Chidambaram pays special tribute to Lord Nataraja the 'Cosmic Dancer'.
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
Chennai, Mamallapuram, Poompuhar, Kancheepuram, Kumbakonam, Dharasuram, Chidambaram, Tiruvannamalai, Srirangam, Madurai, Rameswaram, Tirunelveli, Kanniyakumari, Thanjavur, Velankanni, Nagoor, Chithannavasal, Kazhugumalai (monument centres), Courtallam, Hogenakkal, Papanasam, Suruli (water-falls), Ooty (Udhagamandalam), Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Elagiri Kolli Hills (hill stations), Guindy (Chennai), Mudumalai, Annamalai, Mundanthurai, Kalakad (wild life sanctuaries), Vedanthangal and Point Calimere (bird sanctuaries), Arignar Anna Zoological Park, near Chennai, are some of the places of tourist interest.