Art, Culture & Architecture

Advantage Tamil Nadu

  • Culture: Tamil Nadu has an incredibly rich cultural heritage. It is part of the famed Dravidian Family, which is recognised as one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Tamils, like other South Indians, take great pride in their deeply established culture and fight tirelessly to maintain their ancient legacy. Its rulers of yore created the famed architecture and art that are preserved today.
  • Language: Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu since it is spoken by the majority of the population. Tamil is a Dravidian language that is spoken by people all over the world. Because of its autonomous history, great ancient literature and historical origins, the language is recognised as one of the 22 scheduled languages in the Indian Constitution and regarded as a classical language of India. The language is the heir to an enthralling body of ancient literature and is the oldest and longest-surviving classical language still in use.
  • Pongal Festival: Pongal is the most prominent and well-known cultural event in the State. The thanksgiving festival, which is held in January, is also the State’s harvest festival. The event lasts four days, with each day having a different significance. Bhogi is the first day, followed by Surya Pongal on the second day. The famous jallikattu takes place on Mattu Pongal, the third day of the festival, and the celebrations conclude on Kaanum Pongal.
  • Music and Dance: Carnatic music is the most significant component of Tamil Nadu’s music culture. One of the oldest musical traditions practised today, it is known as Southern Indian Classical Music. Tamil Nadu gave to the world its own musical instrument – the nagaswaram. This is the most popular classical music instrument in South India. The State also gave rise to some of the most beautiful and alluring dance forms. Bharatanatyam is arguably the most appreciated dance form in Tamil Nadu and has gained fans from all over the world. One of India’s earliest dance styles, Bharatanatyam, is recognised as the mother of all other classical dance forms.
  • Arts and Crafts: Tamil Nadu, hailed as the cultural capital of India, stands as an epitome of artistic excellence. It takes immense pride in its rich cultural heritage, emphasising its magnificent temples and architectural wonders that serve as timeless testimonies to the artistry and craftsmanship of its people. The art and handicraft culture of Tamil Nadu has been meticulously preserved and passed down through generations, embodying the essence of tradition, skill and spirituality.

Among the myriad art forms that Tamil Nadu is celebrated for, Tanjore painting takes centre stage. It is a masterpiece that symbolises the State’s cultural richness, blending artistic skill, age-old tradition and spiritual depth. The Tanjore painting is not merely a canvas; it is a cultural legacy that resonates with the soul and captivates the senses.

In the realm of textiles, Tamil Nadu is renowned for its Kancheepuram silk sarees, which have gained international acclaim for their exquisite craftsmanship and intricate handwoven designs. The delicate patterns and masterful weaving make these sarees highly sought after, and they are treasured as heirlooms that epitomise the artistry of the region’s weavers. Mastery and artistry in weaving extends to sarees produced in places like Thirubuvanam, Salem, Chinnalapatti and Arni. The Sungidi sarees of Madurai, which preserve an ancient tie-and-dye tradition, are popular all over the world.

Tamil Nadu’s artistic heritage also includes a rich tradition of stone carvings and granite figurines, unearthed from archaeological sites. These artefacts serve as an irreplaceable treasure, showcasing the exceptional craftsmanship of Tamil artisans through the ages. The legacy of bronze casting, pioneered during the reign of the Chola dynasty, continues to thrive, producing unique bronze icons that are revered and cherished as souvenirs, reflecting the cultural roots of the land. Artisans involved in making icons are concentrated around Swamimalai.

Papier-mache handicrafts and Tanjore’s Appliqué work are prominent expressions of artistry in Tamil Nadu, adding to the diverse tapestry of artistic endeavours within the State. These crafts are showcases of the creativity and ingenuity of the artisans.

Crafting musical instruments is a significant craft practised by the people, with instruments like veena, tambura and flute being crafted from materials like bamboo, bronze and sandalwood. These instruments, beyond their musical quality, showcase the exceptional craftsmanship and dedication of the artisans.

Historical records, including writings by eminent scholars like Kautilya and Pliny, bear testament to the praise bestowed upon Tamil Nadu’s craftsmanship. The soft muslin, fine silk, exquisite ivory work and precious gemstones crafted in the State have garnered admiration from scholars and connoisseurs alike. These accolades further highlight the State’s immense artistic prowess and its substantial contribution to India’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

  • Architecture: Tamil Nadu is renowned for its Dravidian architecture, which is found in its ancient temples. This architecture was created by indigenous people and evolved through time. The oldest instances of Tamil Dravidian architecture date to the seventh century. Academics contend that the absence of monuments in South India prior to the 7th century was due to timber temples that finally fell victim to natural disasters. The Pallava Epoch, the Early Chola Epoch, the Later Chola Epoch, the Vijayanagara/Nayak Epoch and the Modern Epoch are the five major epochs in Tamil Nadu during which the temple design evolved. There are 38,615 temples in Tamil Nadu, where most of the largest Hindu temples are located.

Sector Incharge

Saranya Jeyasankar


Art and Architecture map


Tamil Nadu boasts a rich cultural heritage and a history steeped in exquisite arts and crafts. Historians and scholars have celebrated the State’s fine silk, soft muslin, ornate ivory work and precious jewellery from diamonds, rubies, pearls and tortoise shell. The region, once the realm of great dynasties like the Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas, Pallavas and Vijayanagar rulers, stands tall in architectural grandeur.

Ancient rulers have left behind relics that showcase their architectural brilliance and cultural opulence. The State is particularly renowned for its splendid temples and other architectural marvels. Tamil Nadu’s artistic and cultural tapestry extends to musical instruments that resonate with melodious tunes. These instruments are integral to the cultural celebrations and rituals, enriching the auditory experience of the community.

There is immense scope for Startups to thrive in the Art, Culture and Architecture domain. With an increased consciousness on combining aesthetics with traditional conservation practices, the diversified field of architecture throws up opportunities for Startups in residential architecture, commercial architecture, landscape architecture, interior design architecture, urban design architecture, green design architecture and industrial architecture, besides conservation and preservation of monuments. There is a growing public interest in archaeology, thanks to the Keeladi excavation, and this provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to come out with innovative products and services. The other areas that hold promise for entrepreneurs in this sector are fairs and festivals, handicrafts, heritage, painting and theatre.

The emerging fields in this sector that can provide value addition are VR and AR, 3D scanning, IoT-enabled smart materials, structural health monitoring and geo polymers. Some of the business ideas in this sector that hold promise of scaling up include online store for art work, restoration of antique furniture, design calligraphy, art consultancy and transformation of photographs into paintings.


Scheme for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage: The objective of the scheme is to support and strengthen the efforts of various stakeholders in preservation and promotion of the country’s cultural heritage. Assistance is provided as grant for documentation, preservation and education..

Kala Sanskriti Vikas Yojana: This scheme is aimed at promoting and disseminating the art and culture of the country by providing financial support to drama, theatre and dance groups, music ensembles, folk theatre and music and other genres of performing arts.

Scheme of Financial Assistance for Promotion of Art and Culture: This scheme covers all not-for-profit organisations, NGOs, societies, trusts and universities for supporting seminars, conferences, research, workshops, festivals, exhibitions, symposia, production of dance, drama, music etc. and small research projects on different aspects of Indian Culture.


  • Six Regional Cultural Centres, four Government Music Colleges, 17 District Government Music Schools, two Government Colleges of Fine Arts, one Government College of Architecture and Sculpture, 36 Jawahar Bal Bhavans and district art societies are functioning in the State to foster art and culture.
  • The Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram encourages artistes involved in fostering traditional Tamil arts.
  • The Tamil Nadu Folk Artistes’ Welfare Board functions exclusively for the economic upliftment of folk artistes.
  • Common Facility Centres: The Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation runs 11 common facility centres with modern machinery and tools, including 3D printers and electric furnaces, for the benefit of artisans. Two common facility centres are in operation for revival of languishing craft, like Pathamadai Korai mat weaving. An exclusive common facility centre is operational in Kayalpattinam of Thoothukudi district for palm jaggery.
  • Urban Haat: This permanent infrastructure facility is available in tourist centres and metros to facilitate direct marketing of their products by artisans and weavers.
  • The World Crafts Council has recognised Mamallapuram as a World Stone Carving City.
  • One District One Product: This scheme is intended to focus sales initiatives on a particular product made by women self-help groups, farmer producer organisations or MSMEs for a district.