There is more to Tamil culture than its trove of temple richness. This is a land of poetry, song and dance. The classical dance form of Bharatnatyam (natya=dance, Bharat=India) is like a coming to life of the temple sculptures. Decked out in shimmering silk, the dancer relies on hand movements, dramatic poses and a range of facial expressions to communicate age old tales of love, longing and rage.
The Sangam period around 2AD was the high point in Tamilian literature. The poet Thiruvalluvar wrote thousands of poetic pieces in his work ‘Thirukkal’, and inspired the ‘Sangam Academy’ for poets and other writers. They tested the worth of any work in a unique way: manuscripts would be thrown into the tank in Madurai and only the ones that floated were rescued!
The south has its own classical music system. Quite different from the north Indian Hindustani style is south Indian Carnatic music.