Tamil Nadu is an Indian state located at the southern tip of the country, with a long coastline on its eastern and southern boundaries that gives way to the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. Its territory, which is also surrounded by mountain ranges on the north with the Eastern Ghats and on the west by the Nilgiri and Anamalai Hills, is the eleventh largest state on the country and the seventh with the largest population with over 72 million inhabitants. Currently this state is a major tourism and business center in the country, while the region has historically been home to the Tamil people since 500 BC.
Tourism in Tamil Nadu is a vital activity, with about three million people visiting the state every year attracted by its natural resources, architectural treasures, hill stations and beautiful beaches. In addition, the state has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites as the Great Living Chola Temples, the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Ooty or the Western Ghats. Among the most prominent temples in the state are also the Madurai Meenakshi Amman, Sri Ranganathaswamy and Srirangam, among many others, while the hill stations include Udhagamandalam, Yercaud, Topslip or Valparai. Magnificent natural areas of the state as the Mudumalai National Park, the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, the Arignar Anna Zoological Park and the mangrove forests at Pichavaram are complemented by attractive coastal areas like Kanyakumari or Marina Beach in Chennai and breathtaking waterfalls such as Courtallam, Papanasam or Thirparappu.
Tamil Nadu is also known for its great cuisine, mostly leaning towards vegetarian dishes like Uthappam and Arisi Maavu Koozhu. In Tamil cuisine dominates the use of rice, legumes and lentils along with a variety of spices like curry leaves, coriander, mustard seeds, garlic and chilli. The main economic activities in the state are tourism with agriculture and textiles, automotive, electronics and leather industries.