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The remains of Ettappan's palace
The remains of Ettappan's palace
Ettayapuram is located in Tamil Nadu
Coordinates: 9°09′00″N 77°59′00″E / 9.1500°N 77.9833°E / 9.1500; 77.9833Coordinates: 9°09′00″N 77°59′00″E / 9.1500°N 77.9833°E / 9.1500; 77.9833
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District Thoothukudi
 • Chairperson of Town Panchayat K.GovindhaRajaPerumal( [1]
Elevation 60 m (200 ft)
Population (2001)
 • Total 12,800
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 628902[2]
Telephone code 04632
Vehicle registration TN 69 Z
Sex ratio 52:48 /

Ettayapuram is a panchayat town in Thoothukudi district (also known as Tuticorin district) of Tamil Nadu, India. It is notable for being the birthplace of the great Tamil Poet Mahakavi Bharathiar. Muthuswami Dikshitar, one of the triad of Carnatic music also was patronised in his final years by the ruler of Ettayapuram.[3] Umaru Pulavar a Tamil Islamic poet also lived here.


Ettayapuram was originally Ilasanadu, which was ruled by the Pandya Kings. When they could no longer rule directly due to their failure against Nayak kingdom, Ettappan was appointed as Zamindar by Madurai Nayak dynasty under the supervision of Vijayanagar kingdom. After 150 years of rule by the descendants of Ettappan, Ilasanadu became Ettayapuram in 1565.[4] Even today, some people call it Ilasai. Notable among them is Ilasai Sundaram, who is a Tamil Scholar.Veeran Alghumuthu Konar was born in this Ettayapuram, called as first freedom fighter against the English Ruler.

Legacy of Subramanya Bharathy[edit]

Subramanya Bharathy, better known as Mahakavi Bharathiar (Maha Kavi meaning Great Poet) in Tamil, deemed as one of the greatest poets of twentieth-century India was born here on 11 December 1882. A prolific writer, philosopher and a great visionary of immense genius and perspicacity, Bharathiar was also one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement in South India. He studied in a local high school named "Raajah's High School", where he showed exemplary poetic talent even at an early age of 11. At various points in time, he was patronised by Ettappan, the local ruler, even though differences used to crop up between them often.


Ettappan carries a mixed image. The negative impression is because he gave away the information regarding Veerapandiya Kattabomman's whereabouts to the British, which eventually led to the arrest and hanging of Kattabomman. In fact, Ettappan came to be used as a metaphor for a whistleblower or traitor. On the other hand, his namesake descendant was admired by some of the natives for his welfare activities including arrangements for water supply through huge tanks. His spouse name is Ettamaal. He was also a patron of poets and musicians. Notable examples are Bharathy and Muthuswami Dikshitar.[3] It was Vijaya Raghunatha Tondaiman of Pudukottai who helped British to capture Kattabomman. It was because of the Tamil movie Veerapandiaya Kattabomman people of Tamil Nadu think that Ettappan was a traitor.

Civic administration[edit]

Ettayapuram is a town panchayat that is part of the Thoothukudi district, which was carved out of the erstwhile Tirunelveli district. It was in Kovilpatti constituency till 2006 general Elections and Now it comes under the Vilathikulam constituency of Tamil Nadu legislative assembly from 2011 Elections.S.Alagarsamy was the longest serving -5 Terms from 1967 to 1990 Member of Legislative Assembly to The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly representing the Kovilpatti constituency. He was born near a small village Ramanoothu a mile away from here and lived in Ettayapuram since 1971 and died in Ettayapuram on 6 March 2009.


As of 2001 India census,[5] Ettayapuram had a population of 12,800. Males constitute 48% of the population and females 52%. Ettayapuram has an average literacy rate of 69%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 78%, and female literacy is 61%. In Ettayapuram, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.

People of Ettayapuram are primarily engaged in weaving, making matches and agriculture. Currently all these trades have become less remunerative and the people here migrate to cities like Chennai to work as labourers in grocery shops.


Weaving with a handloom

Most of the people living here are traditional weavers who weave cotton yarn using handlooms. These handlooms are not suited for weaving complex patterns as designs on the cloth. There are some recent moves by National Institute of Fashion Technology to train people on Jacquard looms, which is suited for weaving complex patterns in a semi-automated way using punched cards. Some people who are relatively wealthy, use power looms. People are also employed in other allied trades of preparing the thread for weaving, dyeing etc.

Making match boxes[edit]

The next major occupation here is making match boxes, which includes manufacturing small boxes that contain matchsticks, preparing match sticks and loading them on to the match boxes. Nowadays, as many people have started using mechanical lighters for starting fire and also due to automated match stick makers, this trade is on the decline.


A view of the dry lands in Ettayapuram

The area of land under cultivation has fallen due to failing rains and relatively poor soil fertility. The soil type is black soil, which supports crops like kezhvaragu, cumbu, cholam, cotton, sunflower etc.

A man with a pair of kanni breed goats purchased in the weekly market at Ettayapuram

Kanni breed of goats, a drought-resistant variety reared for its meat, is most common in this region.

Tourist attractions[edit]

Ettayapuram is well connected to Madurai, Thoothukkudi, and Tirunelveli by road. Train services are available from Chennai, Bangalore, Madurai, Thoothukkudi, Tirunelveli and else where in India, up to Kovilpatti, which is 15 km from here.

Places of interest in Ettayapuram[edit]

The house in Ettayapuram where Bharathiar was born
  1. Bharathiar's House
  2. Bharathy's Memorial
  3. Muthuswamy Dikshitar's Memorial
  4. Umarup Pulavar Dargah
  5. Ettappan's Palace
  6. Veeran Alghumuthu Konar was born in this Ettayapuram, called as first freedom fighter against the English Ruler.
  7. Raja's Higher Secondary School, where Mahakavi Bharathiyar studied.
  8. Kali Temple (Bharathiyar)
  9. Vandimalaya Sametha Vandimalaichiamman Temple (local Traditional Temple)
  10. Sri Suppusamy Samathi (sidthar Temple-Melatheru)

Places of interest near Ettayapuram[edit]

  1. Panchalankurichi Fort of Veerapandiya Kattabomman
  2. Nellaiappar Temple in Tirunelveli
  3. Courtallam waterfalls near Tirunelveli
  4. Ottapidaram, the birthplace of V. O. Chidambaram Pillai
  5. Ayyanar temple, Vangarpatti, 5 km from Ettayapuram
  6. Sinthalakkarai Shri Vetkaliamman temple - 5 km from Ettayapuram.

See also[edit]

Educational Institutions in Ettayapuram:

  • Raja's Higher Secondary School
  • Government Girl's Higher Secondary School
  • C.K.T Matriculation Higher secondary School, 5 km from Ettayapuram
  • Bharathiyar memorial Government polytechnic for women
  • sengunthar middle school. naduvirpatti


External links[edit]