Geography of Tamil Nadu

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Geography of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Country India India
Region Indian Peninsula
Area Ranked 11th
130,058 km2 (50,216 sq mi)
Borders West - Kerala
Northwest - Karnataka
North - Andhra Pradesh
East - Bay of Bengal
Mountains Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats

Tamil Nadu is the eleventh largest state in India and covers an area of 130,058 square kilometres (50,216 sq mi). The bordering states are Kerala to the west, Karnataka to the northwest, Andhra Pradesh to the north, and the Bay of Bengal to the east. The southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula is located in Tamil Nadu. At this point is the town of Kanyakumari which is the meeting point of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean.


The western, southern and the north-western parts are hilly and rich in vegetation. Tamil Nadu is the only state in India which has both the Western Ghat and the Eastern Ghat mountain ranges which both meet at the Nilgiri hills.[1] The Western Ghats dominate the entire western border with Kerala, effectively blocking much of the rain bearing clouds of the South West Monsoon from entering the state. The eastern parts are fertile coastal plains. The northern parts are a mix of hills and plains. The central and the south-central regions are arid plains.

Natural hazards[edit]

Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 1,076 kilometres (700 mi) which is the country’s second longest coastline. Tamil Nadu's coastline bore the brunt of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami when it hit India, which caused 7,793 direct deaths in the state.[2] Tamil Nadu falls mostly in a region of low seismic hazard with the exception of the western border areas that lie in a low to moderate hazard zone. Parts of this region have experienced seismic activity in the M5.0 range.[3]


A semi-arid wasteland near Tirunelveli. Monsoon clouds pour torrents of rain on windward-facing Kerala, but are prevented from reaching Tirunelveli by the Agasthyamalai Range of the Western Ghats (background).

Tamil Nadu is heavily dependent on monsoon rains, and thereby is prone to droughts when the monsoons fail. The climate of the state ranges from dry sub-humid to semi-arid. The state has distinct periods of rainfall, which are the advancing monsoon period, South West monsoon (from June to September) with strong southwest winds, the North East monsoon (from October to December), with dominant northeast winds, and the Dry season (from January to May). The normal annual rainfall of the state is about 945 mm (37.2 in),[4] of which 48% is through the North East monsoon, and 32% through the South West monsoon. Since the state is entirely dependent on rains for recharging its water resources, monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe drought.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Joel Anderson. "Geography of India". Center for South Asia Outreach, University of Wisconsin-Manhattan. 
  2. ^ "Tsunami: Magnitude of Terror – Effects - Damage to Countries - India". Oracle ThinkQuest. 
  3. ^ "GSHAP seismic hazard map for Tamil Nadu & Puducherry (Pondicherry), India". Amateur Seismic Centre. March 30, 2007. 
  4. ^ Assessment Report from the National Drought Mitigation Center, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  5. ^ "Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu". United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition.