India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
Tamil Nadu is one of the 29 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian subcontinent and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry and the South Indian states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, it is bounded by the Eastern Ghats on the north, by the Nilgiri Mountains, the Meghamalai Hills, Kerala on the west, by the Bay of Bengal in the east, by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait on the southeast, by the Indian Ocean on the south. The state shares a maritime border with the nation of Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu is the sixth largest by population, it has a high HDI ranking among Indian states as of 2017. The economy of Tamil Nadu is the second-largest state economy in India with ₹17.25 lakh crore in gross domestic product after Maharashtra and a per capita GDP of ₹167,000. It was ranked as one of the top seven developed states in India based on a "Multidimensional Development Index" in a 2013 report published by the Reserve Bank of India.
Its official language is Tamil, one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world. The region was ruled by several empires, including the three great empires – Chola and Pandyan empires, which shape the region's cuisine and architecture; the British Colonial rule during the modern period led to the emergence of Chennai known as Madras, as a world-class city. Modern-day Tamil Nadu was formed in 1956 after the reorganization of states on linguistic lines; the state is home to a number of historic buildings, multi-religious pilgrimage sites, hill stations and three World Heritage sites. Archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in the Indian peninsula. In Attirampakkam, archaeologists from the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education excavated ancient stone tools which suggests that a humanlike population existed in the Tamil Nadu region somewhere around 300,000 years before homo sapiens arrived from Africa. In Adichanallur, 24 km from Tirunelveli, archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India unearthed 169 clay urns containing human skulls, bones, grains of rice, charred rice and celts of the Neolithic period, 3,800 years ago.
The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script used at that site is "very rudimentary" Tamil Brahmi. Adichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies. About 60 per cent of the total epigraphical inscriptions found by the ASI in India are from Tamil Nadu, most of these are in the Tamil language. A Neolithic stone celt with the Indus script on it was discovered at Sembian-Kandiyur near Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu. According to epigraphist Iravatham Mahadevan, this was the first datable artefact bearing the Indus script to be found in Tamil Nadu. According to Mahadevan, the find was evidence of the use of the Harappan language, therefore that the "Neolithic people of the Tamil country spoke a Harappan language"; the date of the celt was estimated at between 1500 BCE and 2000 BCE. Though this finding remains contested,like the claim of historian Michel Danino who rubbishes the theory of the latter’s southward migration in a paper he presented at the International Symposium on Indus Civilisation and Tamil Language in 2007.
He wrote: ‘There is no archaeological evidence of a southward migration through the Deccan after the end of the urban phase of the Indus- Sarasvati civilization… The only actual evidence of movements at that period is of Late Harappans migrating towards the Ganges plains and towards Gujarat... Migration apart, there is a complete absence of Harappan artefacts and features south of the Vindhyas: no Harappan designs on pottery, no Harappan seals and ornaments, no trace of Harappan urbanism… Cultural continuity from Harappan to historical times has been documented in North India, but not in the South… This means, in effect, that the south-bound Late Harappans would have reverted from an advanced urban bronze-age culture to a Neolithic one! Their migration to South would thus constitute a double “archaeological miracle”: apart from being undetectable on the ground, it implies that the migrants experienced a total break with all their traditions; such a phenomenon is unheard of.’ The early history of the people and rulers of Tamil Nadu is a topic in Tamil literary sources known as Sangam literature.
Numismatic and literary sources corroborate that the Sangam period lasted for about eight centuries, from 500 BC to AD 300. The recent excavations in Alagankulam archaeological site suggests that Alagankulam is one of the important trade centre or port city in Sangam Era; the Bhakti movement originated in Tamil speaking region of South India and spread northwards through India. The Bhakti Movement was a rapid growth of bhakti beginning in this region with the Saiva Nayanars and the Vaisnava Alvars who spread bhakti poetry and devotion; the Alwars and Nayanmars were instrumental in propagating the Bhakti tradition. During the 4th to 8th centuries, Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallava dynasty under Mahendravarman I and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I; the Pallavas ruled parts of South India with Kanchipuram as their capital. Tamil architecture reached its peak during Pallava rule. Narasimhavarman II built the Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Much the Pallavas were replaced by the Chola dynasty as the dominant kingdom in the 9th century and they in turn were replaced by the Pandyan Dynasty in the 13th century.
The Pandyan capital Madurai was in the deep s