Tamil Nadu is one of the largest states in India. It is located in the southern most part of the Indian mainland. It has a long coastline and the Eastern Ghats (mountain range) run parallel to the same. The coastal plains run north to South. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh surround Tamil Nadu on the North while Kerala lies to the West. The waters of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean surround the coastal eastern and southern boundaries of the state. The northern extreme of Tamil Nadu is Pulicat Lake while the southernmost tip is Cape Comorin or Kanyakumari.
The Eastern and Western Ghats meet in Tamil Nadu and run along the
state's eastern and western borders. Hill stations like Udhagamandalam
(Ooty), Kodaikanal, Kothagiri and Yercaud are situated in this hilly
region. It is interesting to note that there are only two major gaps
(Palakkad gap and Shencottah gap) into the long chain of hills that
border western Tamil Nadu. In a marked contrast to the low rocky hills
of the Eastern Ghats, the hills of the Western Ghats have dense forests.
This region receives plentiful rainfall and the scenic valleys here are
dotted with tea, spice and coffee plantations. The upper reaches of
Eastern Ghats are famous for their fruit orchards, banana and coffee
Being a tropical land, Tamil Nadu is rich in various types of flora and
fauna. Wildlife sanctuaries like Mudumalai and Anaimalai are habitats of
elephants, tigers, bison and a variety of monkey and deer. There are
more than 3000 plant species that are found in Tamil Nadu and a majority
of them are in the mixed deciduous forests of the region. A variety of
medicinal herbs are found in the Palani hills and Courtallam. Rubber is
the main plantation crop in Kanyakumari region and the more exotic
sandalwood grows in the Jawadhu hills of Vellore district.
Cauvery is the most important river of Tamil Nadu. It is a perennial
river and originates in the Coorg district of the neighboring Karnataka
state. Other important rivers in the state are the Palar, Vaigai, Pennar
and Tamiraparani. The coastal Tamil Nadu comprises of the Coromandel
Coast. There are mangrove forests at Pichavaram and important bird
sanctuaries at Pulicat Lake and Vedanthangal.