According to Thinai concept, Tamilagam was divided into five landscapes or eco-regions, namely Kurinji, Marutham, Mullai, Neytal and Palai. Each region had distinct characteristics – a presiding deity, people and cultural life according to the environmental conditions, as follows:
Tolkappiyam refers to the five-fold division of lands – Kurinji (hilly tracks), Mullai (pastoral), Marudam (agricultural), Neydal (coastal) and Palai (desert).
The people living in these five divisions had their respective chief occupations, as well as gods for worship.
- Kurinji: Chief deity was Murugan – chief occupation, hunting and honey collection.
- Mullai: Chief deity Mayon (Vishnu) – chief occupation, cattle-rearing and dealing with dairy products.
- Marudam: Chief deity Indira – chief occupation, agriculture.
- Neydal: Chief deity Varuna – chief occupation fishing and salt manufacturing.
- Palai: Chief deity Korravai – chief occupation robbery.