History of Karaikkudi

Karaikudi is also known as the 'Pride of Chettinad'. The traditional city is home to heritage and culture. The place acquired its name, due to the presence of Karai. "Karai" is a plant that is found in abundance in the city. Though Karaikudi does not have a historical background like its neighbors, it does flaunt an amazing appeal. The actual origin of the site is not known. However, many believe that Karaikudi acquired its settlements during early 18th century. The oldest structure in Karaikudi is the Koppudaiya Nayagi Amman Temple. The historical temple was built during the 18th century.

History of Karaikudi

Late 1800s in Karaikudi

History states that Karaikudi's Chidambara Villas were built during 1884. The Villas were designed and built by the members of the popular Chettiar family. The construction began in one acre of land. The land was gifted to the Chettiars by the Maharaja of Pudukottai. Ancient recordings state that the mansion was completed in seven long years. During this opulent time, many other Chettinad houses were constructed. The people of Karaikudi consider this as a golden time period.  

Soon, the town became the home of Nagarathars. There were regarded as Tamil Nadu's business community. The town was formed by 76 villages, that were ruled by the Chettiars. Chettiars were known as trade facilitators and financiers. They were famous for their land owning and grain trade. Chettiars migrated to many countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Burma and Vietnam during the 19th century.

Early 1900s in Karaikudi

In 1919, Bharathiyar, a poet and famous freedom fighter visited Karaikudi. He was a part of the Hindu Madhabhimana Sangam, an interesting function that was organized by Bharathiyar. In 1927, Mahatma Gandhi delivered two speeches in Karaikudi. Karaikudi acquired its municipality in 1928. Previously, the city was under the control of Ramanathapuram district.

Late 1940s in Karaikudi

After Independence, Karaikudi showed a significant amount of growth. Its industrial sector visualized a prominent growth. This made Karaikudi self sufficient in many ways. For instance, Vallal Alagappar of Karaikudi established the Alagappa University. The University is of nationwide ranking. It has students from many parts of the country enrolled in courses like Arts, Fine Arts, Humanities and Sciences.

Post Independence Karaikudi

Present Day Karaikudi

Today, Karaikudi is known for its heritage and cultural values. In May 2007, the place was connected with the "Network of Indian Cities of Living Heritage". This is a UNESCO corporation which is supported by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Later, the Chettinad Heritage Museum was set in 2009. The location and climate of Karaikudi has contributed immensely to its growth. It is a tourist attraction with multiple reasons for people to visit and invest. The place became well connected during the early 20th century. The city's present day government has done many things to enhance its fame and name.

Important Historical Events in Karaikkudi


In 1906, world famous poet and writer Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyar visited the Chettinad Town. He stepped into Karaikkudi and wrote an amazing poem. The poem speaks about the amazing work and architecture done by Chettiars.


This was a time when famous personalities visited Karaikkudi. History records that Mahatma Gandhi visited Karaikudi in 1927. He delivered two important speeches in the Gandhi Square. The speeches were delivered on September 24th 1947 and 25th 1947. These speeches play a major role in the economical development of Karaikudi.


In 1928 Karaikudi became a second grade municipality. Before this, the Chettinad town was considered as a panchayat with many villages. The municipality was controlled and managed by a Chairman.


Karaikudi was connected with major roadways and railways in 1930. This was an year when important changes were done in the Karaikudi transportation department. The well connected town allowed tourists to enter and leave the town effortlessly.


In 1934, Mahatma Gandhi visited Karaikudi for the second time. He visited the Devakkotai. He
hosted special speeches about peace, and untouchability. During this time, Gandhi had meetings with the Dalits and Nattars. He also visited Devakkotai to pay tribute to the death of Poochi, a very famous Dalit. Poochi died during the movement against untouchability.


In 1948, the foundation stone of CECRI was laid in Karaikudi. The function was attended by Pandit. Jawaharlal Nehru. The foundation stone was laid on July 25th 1948. CECRI focuses on various Electrochemical science issues. It researches around power sorces, corrosion science, materials, electrocatalysis and metals.


Karaikkudi moved into a selected grade municipality in 1988. The upgradation was done on December 14th 1988. The selected grade municipality takes care of the town's water supply, street lights, waster management, drains, roads and public conveniences.


The Karaikudi municipality was upgraded from Selection Grade to Special Grade on May 28th 2013. Currently the municipality is broken in 36 wards with a Chairman and Vice-Chairman, who are selected by councillors.

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