With various world religions including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism and Buddhism contributing to the growth of Tamil language in India, modern Tamil poets and scholars like Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, Thiru.Vi. Ka, Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai, Vallalar, Aringnar Annadurai and Kannadasan inspired an entire generation of Tamil readers and writers. Tamil language also fascinated Christian missionaries like Rev. Beschi, Dr. M. Winslow and Rev. Dr. G. U. Pope, who translated the Kural into English, to come to India to learn Tamil grammar and literature. There are, in fact, as many as eighty-two translations of the ‘Thirukkural’ in foreign languages. Thanks to the reforms of Thanthai Periyar EVR that brought about wide-scale social transformation and social equality in TamilNadu.
Tamil architecture exemplify ‘poetry in stone’ found in the temple buildings of Madurai Meenakshi, Mahabalipuram and Brihadeshvara built by the Pandyas, Pallavas and Chola Tamil rulers respectively. The size of these temples is such that the U.S. Senate, Versailles, the Houses of Parliament, and St. Paul’s Basilica in Rome could all fit within a single one of them. The Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia built by the great Tamil King Suryavarman – II would technically rival any engineering marvel in the world even today! You need to pin these timeless architectural structures in your heart boards and keep following new artistic pins, so that you don’t miss out appreciating the priceless art of Tamil architecture.
Tamil Medicine, also known as the ‘Siddha Medicine’ or popularly the granny’s therapy or Paati Vaithiyam can cure any form of disease or infection. Ayurveda, the oldest Tamil healing science has many more principles than just prescribing medicines, with specialties like surgery, diseases above the shoulder, internal medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, toxicology and rejuvenation.
Any culture is incomplete without festivals. Pongal, a unique Tamil festival for farmers falls on January 14 of every year and is a four-day long festival of harvest celebrated as thanksgiving to nature. ‘Pongal’, meaning “to boil”, is marked by the celebration of ‘Bhogi’ festival with waste household articles thrown into a fire made of wood & cow-dung cakes on day one.
On day two, Thai Pongal dedicated to honour the Sun God is observed for harvesting new rice and making Pongal. The fields go green and gold during this season as rice and other cereals, sugar-cane, and turmeric are harvested. On day three, Maatu Pongal is dedicated to bovines & cows. Jallikattu, the history of which can be traced right back to the Sangam period, is an exciting, hardcore and daring bull taming sport performed on Maatu Pongal by trained and audacious youth in the villages. And finally, Kaanum Pongal or Thiruvalluvar Day on day four is the perfect occasion for family re-unions and get-togethers. Old enmities, personal animosities and rivalries are forgotten on this day.