Dry Bed of Amaravathi river
|Nickname(s): Home Textile city|
|• Member of Parliament||M. Thambidurai|
|• Member of Legislative Assembly||V. Senthil Balaji|
|• Municipal Chairman||M. Selvaraj|
|Elevation||122 m (400 ft)|
|• Density||372/km2 (960/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||TN 47|
Karur is the administrative headquarters of Karur District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of River Amaravathi, it has been ruled, at different times, by the Chera, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Hyder Ali, Carnatic kingdom, and the British. It is located at a distance of 370 kilometres (230 mi) southwest of the state capital Chennai. It is well known for hand loom, power loom textile products, paper and bus body works industries.
Karur has important government educational institutes, colleges and schools. Karur is a part of Karur constituency and elects its member of legislative assembly every five years, and a part of the Karur constituency that elects its member of parliament. The town is administered by a municipality established in 1874 as per the Municipal Corporation Act. The town covers an area of 5.96 km2 and had a population of 70,980 (as of 2011). Roadways are the major mode of transportation to the town, but Karur also has rail connectivity. The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli International Airport, located 77 km southeast from Karur.
It is mentioned in inscriptions and literature by two names, Karuvoor and Vanji. It had other names too: Adipuram, Tiruaanilai, Paupatheechuram, Karuvaippatinam, Vanjularanyam, Garbhapuram, Thiru vithuvakkottam, Bhaskarapuram, Mudivazhangu Viracholapuram, Karapuram, Aadaga maadam, Cherama nagar and Shanmangala Kshetram. Among them, the name Adipuram, meaning the first city seems to indicate that it was held as the foremost city by the medieval writers. It was also called Vanci moothur, the ancient city of Vanji. In the foreign notices of Ptolemy, it was called Karoura - an inland capital of the Cheras.
Karur is one of the oldest towns in Tamil Nadu and has played a very significant role in the history and culture of the Tamils. The history dates back to the Sangam period when it was a flourishing trade centre. Karur was built on the banks of river Amaravathi which was called Aanporunai during the Sangam days. According to Hinduism, Brahma began the work of creation here, which is referred to as the "place of the sacred cow." The names of the early Chera kings who ruled from Karur, have been found in the rock inscriptions in Aaru Nattar Malai close to Karur. The Tamil epic Silapathikaram mentions that the famous Chera King Senguttuvan ruled from Karur. Karur is the capital city of Cheras.
Epigraphical, archaeological and literary evidence indicate that Karur was the capital of early Chera kings of Sangam age. It was called Karuvoor or Vanji during Sangam days. The archaeological excavations undertaken in Karur resulted in the excavation of mat-designed pottery, bricks, mud-toys, Roman coins, Chera coins, Pallava coins, Roman Amphorae, Rasset coated ware and rare rings. Karur might have been the center for old jewellery-making and gem setting (with the gold imported mainly from Rome), as seen from various excavations. In 150 CE, Greek scholar Ptolemy mentioned “Korevora” (Karur) as a very famous inland trading center in Tamil Nadu. It was ruled by the Cheras, Gangas, Cholas, the Vijayanagara Nayaks, Tipu Sultan and the British successively.
Karur municipality was constituted in 1874. It was upgraded to I grade municipality from 24.10.69 and upgraded to selection grade municipality from 24.05.1988 and as special grade municipality from 07.04.1988.
Geography and climate
Karur is located at  and has an average elevation of 101 metres (331 feet). The town is located in Karur district of the South Indian state, Tamil Nadu, at a distance of 370 km (230 mi) from Chennai. Karur is located on the banks of Amaravathi river. The topography is almost plain, with no major geological formation. There are no notable mineral resources available in and around the town. The soil types are black and red that are conducive for common crops in the Cauvery delta. The temperature ranges from a maximum of 39 °C (102 °F) to a minimum of 23 °C (73 °F). Like the rest of the state, April to June are the hottest months and December to January are the coldest. Karur receives an average of 812 mm (32.0 in) annually, which is lesser than the state average of 1,008 mm (39.7 in). The South west monsoon, with an onset in June and lasting up to August, brings scanty rainfall. Bulk of the rainfall is received during the North East monsoon in the months of October, November and December.
According to 2011 census, Karur had a population of 70,980 with a sex-ratio of 1,032 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929. A total of 6,147 were under the age of six, constituting 3,162 males and 2,985 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 12.11% and .08% of the population respectively. The average literacy of the city was 81.71%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The city had a total of 19344 households. There were a total of 30,216 workers, comprising 125 cultivators, 181 main agricultural labourers, 469 in house hold industries, 26,660 other workers, 2,781 marginal workers, 24 marginal cultivators, 82 marginal agricultural labourers, 140 marginal workers in household industries and 2,535 other marginal workers. As of 2001, 13 slums were identified in the town and approximately 30,691 people resided in the slums. As per the religious census of 2011, Karur (M) had 91.41% Hindus, 5.62% Muslims, 2.88% Christians, 0.01% Sikhs, 0.01% Buddhists, 0.07% following other religions and 0.01% following no religion or did not indicate any religious preference.
The city covers an area of 5.96 square kilometres (2.30 sq mi). More than 8% of the total population of the Karur district and 25% of the total urban population in the district resides in the town. The town has a large floating population comprising business visitors. Out of the total area, 86.85% of the land is marked developed and 37.63% of the city remains undeveloped. Residential areas make up 39.41% of the town's total area while commercial enterprises and industrial units make up 4.72% and 1.99% respectively.
The population density of the city in the 2001 census was 128 persons per hectare and the average household size was 3.95 as of 2001. Hindus form the majority of the urban population, followed by Muslims and Christians. Tamil is the main language spoken in the city, but the use of English is relatively common; English is the medium of instruction in most educational institutions and offices in the service sector.
Municipal administration and politics
|Member of Legislative Assembly||V. Senthil Balaji|
|Member of Parliament||M. Thambi Durai|
Karur is the headquarters of the Karur District. The town was constituted as a municipality in 1874, promoted to first-grade during 1969, selected-grade during 1983 and special-grade as of 1988. The Karur municipality has 48 wards and there is an elected councillor for each of those wards. The functions of the municipality are devolved into six departments: general administration/personnel, Engineering, Revenue, Public Health, city planning and Information Technology (IT). All these departments are under the control of a Municipal Commissioner who is the executive head. The legislative powers are vested in a body of 48 members, one each from the 60 wards. The legislative body is headed by an elected Chairperson assisted by a Deputy Chairperson.
Karur is a part of the Karur assembly constituency and it elects a member to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly once every five years. From the 1977 elections, All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) won the assembly seat five times (in 1977, 1980, 1984, 1991, 2006 and 2011 elections) and two times by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK, 1989 and 1996) and Indian National Congress (INC) won once during 2001 elections. The current MLA of Karur constituency is V. Senthil Balaji from the ADMK party.
Karur is a part of the Karur (Lok Sabha constituency) – it has the following six assembly constituencies – Vedasandur, Aravakurichi, Karur, Krishnarayapuram (SC), Manapparai and Viralimalai state assembly constituencies. The current Member of Parliament from the constituency is A. Thambidurai from the ADMK. From 1957, the Karur parliament seat was held by the Indian National Congress for seven times (during 1957, 1962, 1967, 1971, 1977, 1980 and 1984 elections), ADMK for six times (during 1989, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2009 and 2014 elections), Tamil Maanila Congress once (during 1996 elections) and Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam once (during the 2004 elections).  The current Member of Parliament from the constituency is M. Thambi Durai from the ADMK party.
Law and order in the city in maintained by the Karur sub division of the Tamil Nadu Police headed by a Deputy Superintendent. There are two police stations in the town. 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.
Arts, society and culture
The town formed a part of the traditional Chera and Chola empires and has a number of exquisitely sculpted temples. Verappur, a place of pilgrimage connected with the history of Ponner-Sankar and temples dedicated to them is situated in Karur district. The people are very happy and unity among themselves. Karurar the most famous Siddha and one among 18 siddhas lived in this town and he finally got his jeeva samadhi in Kalyana pasupathynathar temple at south west side of the temple, karurar sidddar is blessing all the devotees in form less form.
Karuvurar born in medieval Karur, is one among the nine devotees who sung the divine Music Thiruvichaippa, which is the ninth Thirumurai. He is the single largest composer among the nine authors of Thiruvichaippa. He lived during the reign of the Chola king Raja Raja Chola I. In addition to the Pasupatheeswarar Siva temple, there is a Vishnu temple at Thiruvithuvakkodu suburb of Karur, sung by famous Kulasekaraazhvaar (7th-8th century). The same temple is presumably mentioned in epic Silappadikaram as Adaha maadam Ranganathar whose blessings Cheran Senguttuvan sought before his north Indian expedition.
Pongal, Tamil New Year, Aadi Perukku, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Annual festival at Veerapur, Annual festival for Karur Mariamman are some of the important festivals celebrated in Karur. Some of the most prominent mosques in the town are Thowheeth mosque, Big Palli, Ahle hadees Pallivasal, TNTJ Mosque, Jamia Pallivasal and Bajar Mosque.
There are no notable mineral resources available in and around Karur. The town has about 19% of its total area under agricultural land use. The major crops are rice, cotton, sugar cane and oil seeds, while the major horticultural crops are coconut, banana, betel and mango. The town is the commercial centre for trading of agricultural commodities from the nearby towns and villages. Karur, being the headquarters of the district, has registered growth in tertiary sectors, with a corresponding decrease in the primary Sector. Approximately 80 per cent of the workforce is employed in tertiary sector, 17 per cent in primary sector and 4% in secondary sector activities.
Karur is a major textile centre and has five major product groups — bed linens, kitchen linens, toilet linens, table linens and wall hangings. The town generates around ₹6000 crores in foreign exchange through direct and indirect exports. Allied industries like ginning and spinning mills, dyeing factories and weaving employ around 300,000 people in and around Karur. Hand-loom Exports from Karur began on a modest scale with just 15 exporters in 1975.
Set up under the scheme for Integrated Textile Parks, the ₹130 crore Karur Textile Park Limited (KTPL) is rated the premier facility of its kind in the country for its technical and ancillary facilities. Bharat Petroleum Corporation in a joint venture with Petronet CCK has installed a pipeline facility from Cochin BPCL to Karur BPCL to transport petroleum products. The petroleum products received at the BPCL-Karur terminal is supplied to more than 20 districts of Tamil Nadu through container trucks. TNPL is promoted by the Government of Tamil Nadu with loan assistance from the World Bank. TNPL is the largest producer of bagasse (sugarcane waste from Sugar mills) based paper in the world and the second largest paper producer in Asia. The firm produces 230,000 tonnes of printing and writing paper and consumes 1 million tonnes of bagasse every year.
Karur is a hub for bus body building industries. Most of the South Indian private bus bodies are built in Karur. The total business turnover from building bus coaches is estimated to be around ₹1000 crore per annum. There are more than 50 companies that build coaches in Karur. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) mono filament yarn and associated products are manufactured in Karur. More than 2,000 units in around the town manufacture mosquito fabrics and fishing nets. More than 60% mosquito nets in India are manufactured in Karur and the places around it. Around 50,000 people are employed in these units. Karur is also home to Chettinad Cements that has an installed production capacity of 600,000 tonnes per annum.
Karur is the home city of India's Oldest Private Scheduled Commercial Banks, Karur Vysya Bank and Lakshmi Vilas Bank. Apart from these two banks, Karur also has Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Union Bank, IndusInd Bank, Corporation Bank and above 40 other bank branches. It is also the home city of India's one of the largest private preschool chains Aerokids. The gem factories in Karur produce gems like cat's eye, feldspar, moonstone, aquamarine, quartz, elastical quartz, sapphire, jasper and beryl.
The Karur municipality maintains 59.02 km (36.67 mi) of roads. The city has 17.77 km (11.04 mi) concrete roads, 0.53 km (0.33 mi) WBM roads, 0.57 km (0.35 mi) gravel roads and 40.15 km (24.95 mi) bituminous road. A total of 9.51 km (5.91 mi) of state highways is maintained by the State Highways Department and 7 km (4.3 mi) of national highways by the national highways department.
There are 2 national highways namely the National Highway 7 (India)(old numbering) (Varanasi - Kanyakumari road (now called NSC North-South corridor road) and NH 67 Nagapattinam - Gudalur road that pass via Karur. The other major state highways connect Karur to Erode, Dharapuram and Vangal. The Karur bus stand is a B-grade bus stand located in the center of the town. The State Express Transport Corporation operates long distance buses connecting the city to important cities like Chennai, Bangalore and Thoothukudi.
Karur Junction railway station (station code - KRR) is one of the railway junctions under the Salem division of the Indian Railways network. It has 5 Platforms and forms the intersection between Erode-Tiruchirapalli, Erode-Madurai and Salem-Karur rail routes.
The nearest local and international airport is the Tiruchirapalli International Airport, located 78 km away from the town. The nearest sea port is at Cochin, located 280 km away from the town.
Education and utility services
As of 2011, there were 24 government schools: 22 elementary schools, one middle school and one higher secondary school. There were 17 other private schools: ten elementary schools, three middle schools, one higher school and three higher secondary school. There were six engineering colleges, three arts and science colleges, three polytechnic colleges and one industrial training institute (ITI in the town.
Electricity supply to Karur is regulated and distributed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB). The town along with its suburbs forms the Karur Electricity Distribution Circle. A Chief Distribution engineer is stationed at the regional headquarters. Water supply is provided by the Karur Municipality from the Cauvery river through Chinnandan Kovil head water work and Thirumanilaiyur water pumping station. In the period 2000–2001, a total of 7 million litres of water was supplied everyday for households in the town.
As per the municipal data for 2011, about 45 metric tonnes of solid waste were collected from Karur every day by door-to-door collection and subsequently the source segregation and dumping was carried out by the sanitary department of the Karur municipality. The coverage of solid waste management in the town by the municipality had an efficiency of 100% as of 2001. There is no underground drainage system in the town and the sewerage system for disposal of sullage is through septic tanks, open drains and public conveniences.
The municipality maintained a total of 115 km (71 mi) of storm water drains in 2011. As of 2011, there is one government hospital, one municipal dispensary, 19 private dispensaries, one ESI dispensary, one municipal Siddha centre, two Ayurvedic clinics, three private general clinics, one private skin care clinic, nine private ENT clinics and one private tuberclosis clinics that take care of the health care needs of the citizens. As of 2011, the municipality maintained a total of 2,584 street lamps: 706 sodium lamps, 151 mercury vapour lamps, 2,274 tube lights and three high mast beam lamp. The municipality operates three markets, namely the Gandhi Market, Kamaraj Market and Uzhavar Santhai that cater to the needs of the town and the rural areas around it.
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