Coordinates: 10°04′25″N 78°46′24″E / 10.073500°N 78.773200°E / 10.073500; 78.773200
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Interior of Athangudi Palace in Karaikudi
Interior of Athangudi Palace in Karaikudi
Karaikudi is located in Tamil Nadu
Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu
Coordinates: 10°04′25″N 78°46′24″E / 10.073500°N 78.773200°E / 10.073500; 78.773200
StateTamil Nadu
 • TypeCity Municipal Corporation
 • BodyKaraikudi City Municipal Corporation
 • Total33.75 km2 (13.03 sq mi)
 • Rank20
118 m (387 ft)
 • Total181,851
 • Density5,400/km2 (14,000/sq mi)
 • OfficialTamil
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
630001 630002 630003 630004 630005 630006
STD code04565
Vehicle registrationTN-63Z

Karaikudi is the largest city in Sivaganga district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Karaikudi Municipal Corporation is the 21st largest urban agglomeration of Tamil Nadu based on 2011 census data. It is part of the area commonly referred to as "Chettinad" and has been declared a City Municipal Corporation by the Government of Tamil Nadu,[1] on account of the palatial houses built with limestone called Kaarai veedu. For this reason, the place is sometimes called Kaarai Nagar locally. The main municipality is spread across 33.75 km2 (13.03 sq mi) [2] and the extended urban limit spreads about 115 km2 (44 sq mi) which undergoes major developments as part of Government Schemes.[3]

Karaikudi comes under the Karaikudi Assembly constituency, which elects a member to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly once every five years, and it is a part of the Sivaganga Lok Sabha constituency, which elects its member of parliament (MP) once in five years. The town is administered by the greater Karaikudi special grade municipality. This metropolitan Urban Agglomeration(UA) had a population of 181,851 of which 90,799 were males and 91,052 were females in 2011. This metropolitan area consists of Karaikudi greater municipality and its surrounding towns like Kottaiyur, Koviloor, Kandanur, Puduvayal, and Sankarapuram (census town) and villages like Amaravathiputhur, Ariyakudi, Iluppakkudi, Managiri, Mathur, Peyampatti, Thiruvelangudi and Soorakudi.

This city is famous for Karaikudi Kandangi sarees a special type of sarees which come from and are woven in this area. The geographical indication presents the government of India of this Kandangi sarees.[4] 

The Chettinad cuisine originated in the areas around Karaikudi.

It is one of the few towns and cities in List of AMRUT Smart cities in Tamil Nadu selected for AMRUT Schemes [5] from central government and the developmental activities are taken care by the government of Tamil Nadu.[3]


Kanadukathan Palace Chettinad Architecture near Karaikudi

The city derives its name from the thorny plant Karai, referred to in ancient literature as Karaikudi, which in modern times has become Karaikudi. The town was established in the 19th century, and the oldest known structure is the Koppudaiya Nayagi Amman Temple.[6] Mahatma Gandhi delivered two speeches in Karaikudi in 1927[7][8] and Bharathiyar visited Karaikudi in 1919 to participate in an event.[9] After independence, the city saw significant growth in the industrial sector.[6] Karaikudi and surrounding areas are generally referred as "Chettinad".[10][11] Chettinad comprises a network of 73 villages and 2 towns forming clusters spread over a territory of 1,550 km2 in the districts of Sivagangai and Pudukottai in the state of Tamil Nadu. Karaikudi is the largest town in Sivaganga district. Karaikudi and surrounding areas are very popular for their unique palaces, Chettinad Architecture based buildings and palatial mansions. Kannadasan Manimandapam, Kamban Manimandapam and Thousand windows house are other visitor attractions in Karaikudi.[12]

The first Temple for Mother Tamil, Tamil Thai Kovil is located in Karaikudi and was established in 1993.[13]


According to 2011 census, Karaikkudi had a population of 181,125 with a sex-ratio of 1,000 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929.[14] A total of 19,619 children were under the age of six, constituting 10,405 males and 10,214 females. The average literacy rate of the town was 81.48%, compared to the national average of 72.99%.[14] The town had a total of 47504 households. There were a total of 60,069 workers, comprising 244 cultivators, 314 main agricultural labourers, 1,303 in household industries, 30,836 other workers, 17,372 marginal workers, 162 marginal cultivators, 2496 marginal agricultural labourers, 1345 marginal workers in household industries and 9,469 other marginal workers.[15] In Karaikudi, Hinduism is the majority religion with 83.9% of the total population, followed by Islam, 11.39%, Christianity, 4.3%, Jainism, 0.05%, Sikism, 0.01% and Others, the rest.


Karaikudi is located in Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu State. The TrichyRameswaram Highway passes through Karaikudi. The Thennar River flows through South Karaikudi. Karaikudi is located at 10°04′N 78°47′E / 10.07°N 78.78°E / 10.07; 78.78. It has an average elevation of 82 metres (269 ft). The terrain of Karaikudi is predominantly flat. Rocky areas are found in the surrounding areas of Karaikudi town with more rocks towards the western side of the town. The soil is of the hard red lateritic type and is not suitable for cultivation.[16] The water table in the area is generally at depths of 3 to 6 ft (0.91 to 1.83 m) and rises to nearly 1 m (3 ft 3 in) below the ground level during rainy seasons. Since the 1970s, the water supply of the Karaikudi residents has depended on the deeper aquifers.[16] The average maximum temperature is about 34 °C (93 °F), and average minimum temperature is about 24 °C (75 °F). The annual average rainfall in Karaikudi is about 920 millimetres (36 inches).

Administration and politics[edit]

Elected members
Member of Legislative Assembly S. Mangudi Indian National Congress[17]
Member of Parliament Karthi Chidambaram[18]Indian National Congress

Karaikudi was constituted as a municipality in 1928 and was upgraded to a Grade II Municipality in 1973, to Selection Grade in 1988, to special grade in 2013 and City Corporation in 2024[19].The area of the city is about 13.75 km2, comprising the revenue towns of Kottaiyur and Kandanur and nearby villages of Kalanivasal, Sekkalai Kottai, Ilupakkudi Area, Ariyakudi Area, Koviloor, Managiri and Senjai.[20] The Karaikudi municipality has 36 wards and there is an elected councillor for each of those wards.[21] The functions of the municipality are devolved into six departments: general administration/personnel, Engineering, Revenue, Public Health, city planning and Information Technology (IT).[22] The legislative powers are vested in a body of 36 members, one each from the 36 wards.[23] The legislative body is headed by an elected chairperson assisted by a deputy chairperson.[24]

Karaikudi is a part of the Karaikudi assembly constituency and it elects a member to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly once every five years.[25] The current member of the legislative assembly is S. Mangudi from INC party.[17][26] Karaikudi is a part of the Sivaganga Lok Sabha constituency. The current Member of Parliament from the constituency is Karti Chidambaram from the INC.

Law and order in the city is maintained by the Sivaganga sub division of the Tamil Nadu Police headed by a Deputy Superintendent. There are three police stations in the city as North police station, south police station, Azhagappapuram police station are mainly being an all-women police station and town police station. There are special units like prohibition enforcement, district crime, social justice and human rights, district crime records and special branch that operate at the district level police division headed by a Superintendent of Police.[27]



Chettinad Cuisine originated in the areas around Karaikudi

Some prominent temples around the city are:

  • Karaikudi Nagara Sivan Kovil, located at the center of Karaikudi, built by Nagarathars/Chettiars in according to Dravidian Temple architecture[28]
  • Koppudaiya Amman Kovil, Kallukatti, Temple in Karaikudi[29]
  • Ariyakudi Thiruvenkatamudayan Temple,[30] one of the biggest Vishnu temples of the Chettinad region; located 2 km (1.2 mi) away
  • Pillayarpatti Karpagavinayagar temple located at 12 km (7.5 mi) away.
  • Kundrakudi Shanmughanathar Temple located at 9 km (5.6 mi) away.
  • Mathur Ainootreeswarar Temple [31] located at 6 km (3.7 mi) away from Karaikudi.
  • Kandanur Kandaneswarar Sivan Temple located at 8.5 km (5.3 mi) away.
  • Koviloor Kotravaaleeswarar Sivan Temple located at 6 km (3.7 mi) away.
  • Thirumayam fort 20 km away from the city
  • Thousand window house, Kanadukathan palace, Athangudi palace, Kannadasan manimandapam, Kamban manimandapam, Azhagappar museum, Sankarapathi Fort in Amaravathiputhur are other tourist attractions in and around the city.
  • Siraavayal Manjuvirattu (A type of jallikattu like sports playing with bulls brought from various parts of the Tamil Nadu state) will be performed here annually during the time of Pongal festival in the month of January each year.[32]


  • Karaikudi is a developing urban center in Sivaganga district in Tamil Nadu.[33][34] UNESCO has offered to set up a Chettinad Heritage Museum in Sivaganga district recognizing the unique style of architecture in the region.[35]
  • Tourism is the main focus in recent years as the places are getting tourists from both domestically and internationally throughout the year since the government identified Karaikudi[36] as heritage town and world heritage identified it in one among List of World Heritage Sites in India.
  • Chettinad Kottan are palm leaf baskets woven by the women of the region. Chettinad Kottan has been noted for its unique style and colors and was granted a Geographical Indication tag in 2013.[37][38] Chettinadu Kandangi sarees are a popular type of sarees produced in the region.[39]* In these area around 250 rice mills and paper mills located in puduvayal and pallathur are the sub urban region of karaikudi is one of the trade and commercial economical growth area. It is also called as second rice bowl of Tamil Nadu. Athangudi tiles are basically cement tiles like mosaic used for building the palatial houses in the town and in modern times, is a source for handicraft industry.[40] Indian Overseas Bank was founded on 10 February 1937 in Karaikudi by M. Ct. M. Chidambaram Chettyar.[41]

Major Companies and Govt Organisations[edit]

  • C.E.C.R.I Central Electrochemical Research Institute under CSIR is located here in Alagappapuram is working on the development of new and improved products and processes as well as novel innovations in electrochemical technologies. It is operating from 25 July 1948.
  • TNSTC Karaikudi Regional Office in TNSTC-Kumbakonam-Div-III is serving people transportation services for Sivaganga and Ramnathapuram Districts. It is operating from 1 April 1983.
  • BSNL Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited Regional Headquarters in Karaikudi is serving Telecommunication services for Karaikudi Telecom District areas comprising Sivaganga District and Ramanathapuram District.
  • AAVIN Karaikudi Dairy in Sivaganga Union is supplying milk and milk products to most of the southern districts commercial and residential needs by collecting sources from Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram Districts. It is operating since 1983.[42]
  • Karaikudi has the Postal Sorting Office and serves as the Headquarters of the Postal Sorting District of the Madurai Sub-Zonal postal region since 1972, so the entire postage received for the Sivaganga district (both Sivaganga and Karaikudi Head Post Office) will be received & handled here from Madurai and then dispatched to the rest of areas in the postal circle.


By Air[edit]

Nearby airports include Tiruchirapalli International Airport (95 kilometres (59 mi)) and Madurai International Airport (100 kilometres (62 mi)).

Though this city is well connected by roadways and railways. This town also has an unused airstrip called Chettinad airport also known as Karaikudi airport. This old British era airfield had been used during the world war 2. The government of India is planning to reopen this airfield under the UDAN scheme[43]

By Rail[edit]

Karaikudi Junction railway station is a major rail head serves the city and Devakottai road Railway station, kottaiyur Railway station, Chettinad Railway station, Kandanur puduvayal Railway station are the sub-urban stations around the city.[44]

By Road[edit]

The town has two bus terminals namely "Rajaji Bus-stand" aka Old Bus terminal and new bus terminal. Buses that connect the Karaikudi city, nearby villages and smaller towns terminate at the Old bus-stand. The State Transport Corporation Buses To:Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy and near by cities run moffusil buses terminate at the New bus-stand Karaikudi Bus Terminal.[citation needed]


It serves as one of the two headquarters of the Educational District in Sivaganga district. As of 2011, there were government schools and many private schools in Karaikudi and Alagappa university colleges, many private colleges in the city.[45] Alagappa University is located in this town and Alagappa Chettiar College of Engineering and Technology is the oldest college here and was established in 1953.[46] Alagappa Government Arts College, Alagappa Polytechnic College, Annamalai Polytechnic College are located in Karaikudi area.

Many educational institutions in the town benefited from donations made by the businessman and philanthropist Alagappa Chettiar, who attended Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Vidyalaya.[47] The school, on Sivan Koil Street, dates back to 1913 and is now SMSV Higher Secondary School for Boys. Some of the known institutions in this area can be referred in List of educational institutions in Karaikudi.

Utility services[edit]

Electricity supply to Karaikudi is regulated and distributed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB). The town along with its suburbs forms the Sivaganga Electricity Distribution Circle.[48] Water supply is provided by the Karaikudi Municipality from seven borewells is located at Sambai Oothu (Artesian aquifer).[49] As per the municipal data for 2011, about 45 metric tonnes of solid waste were collected. The underground drainage system in the city is on board at process and the sewerage system for disposal of sullage is through septic tanks, open drains and public conveniences.[50] The municipality maintained a total of 46.55 km (28.92 mi) of storm water drains in 2011.[51] As of 2011, there was one government hospital and 13 private hospitals in the town.[52][53] The municipality operates one daily market namely the Anna Daily Market and there are three weekly markets (Uzhavar Santhai) that cater to the needs of the town and the rural areas around it.[54]



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