I'm not a linguist. The following is based on my "experience".


Those who speak Sanskrit-based languages use "t" for those words for 
which we (Tamils) use "th". Ex. Thiruppur is written by the Hindian govt 
as Tirupur. Hence, this is the official spelling, I guess. Many, incl. 
The Hindu, use this spelling.

Malayalees seem to be less shackled than we are. They spell 
Thiruvananthapuram, not Tiruvanantapurm (or Trivandrum, the Anglicized 
way). We should be following them, I feel.

As for the Tamil long vowels, I follow the convention of using capital 
letters. (I don't know who originated this convention; not me, of 
course!)   Ex. தகடூர் would be thagadUr.

It may make some sense for Hindians to use tagadoor (or tagadUr) since 
they have four sounds: t, d, th, dh (similarly k, g, kh, gh). But, in 
Tamil we don't have the nasal sounds and only have t, d. So, I think it 
is better to use thagadUr or thagadoor.

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