(Last Updated on : 31/12/2008)
Tamil culture has a rich heritage brought by the legacy of the rulers like Cholas, Pandhyas. The mushrooming of Hindu temples highlights the piousness of the people, which simultaneously led to the enrichment of music, dance and literature. Tamils have a large number of folk music and dances to fete joyful occasions like seasonal changes, childbirth, a wedding and festivals. Bharatnatyam
, exquisite paintings of Tanjore
are recognized globally. Plain living and high becomes a daily mantra for a Tamil folk. Agriculture is their main occupation and they celebrate all the festivals of harvesting in great fiesta. Fertility of the region encourages the Tamils to inculcate the habit of consuming vegetarian meals.
Festivals form an inseparable part of Tamil culture. The folk life of the region is nicely depicted in the melodious manifestation of its music and dance styles. Pongal
is the most important festival, celebrating full harvesting and rearing for the four consecutive days. Special rites are separately observed in all these days of festivity. April fourteenth is observed as the New Year day of the Tamils. On the eighteenth of the Tamil month 'aadi' is celebrated as the high water rise of Cauvery River. It is known as Aadi Perukku. Besides every Tamil villagere celebrate varied festivals, mostly relate to deity Maaryyamman, at different time and place.
Music and Dance
Tamil culture is incoherent if the music and dancing styles remain apart. Musical numbers belong to the Carnatic gharana, expressing the devotion and spiritual fervor of the region.
The temple singers hum Thevaran songs of devotion. The element of entertainment too is kept intact. Folk music too is varied and exquisite. In the village fields the women sing kuavai songs; popular Tamil folk music Villuppa, executed with a bow. Exponents like Illiya raja, A, R Rahman have gained international recognition.
Bharatnatyam is an integral part of Indian classical dance
, propounded by Bharata Muni. Among the popular dance styles, Karakattam is the most famous, executed in the front of idol of Goddess Mariamman. Other forms of Tamil dance are oyilattam, manaam, paraiyaam ,thippandaam . Mayilaa is a special dance where the artists bind a thread of peacock features round the waist.
Tamil culture is highly embellished by the Tamil cuisine, which is considered to be the most ancient vegetarian one. Rice, lentils,legumes are the staples .Its distinct aroma and flavor, achieved by blending a combination of spices including curry leaves, tamarind, coriander, ginger, garlic, chili, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, coconut and rosewater. The word Curry is actually derived from a Tamil word 'kari' (dish). Tamil cuisine is acclaimed throughout the world for its culinary specialties like Idly, Pongal, Dosai, Vada.
Life style constitutes a key element of Tamil culture. Dense forest, coastal beaches are boasted; to add to it are the scenic wonders of hills station of Nilgiris
, Kodaikanal. Famous towns like Trichy, Tanjore are enumerated for its temple treasures, depicting both spiritual fervor as well as beautiful works of art and architecture. Tamil sculpture ranges from elegant stone sculptures in temples, to bronze icons with exquisite details The cave sculptures at Mamallapuram are perfect examples of the superb artistry and creative acumen. Tourism industry is thus developed due to the myriads of tourist influx to excavate these beautifies of the region. Also the minerals and mines make this state ideal for the commercial activities. Hundreds of hotels, lodges, guesthouses are sufficiently built to meet the demands of the people, alongside providing amenities and comfort to the best of their abilities.
Enrichment of Tamil culture is revealed in its treasure of classical literature ranging from ancient Indian poetry, plays as well as modern literary works of contemporary period. There are also a large number of painters who have gained mastery in their artworks depicting elegance, rich colors, and attention to small details.
The practice of religious rites of the region is not in dearth of its entertaining qualities. Musical exuberance, dancing styles, festivals, and culinary delights, though part and parcel of religion, have made Tamil culture quite enriched and embellished.