Kongu Nadu

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Kongu Nadu
Geographical area
Coimbatore, largest metropolitan city in the region.
Coimbatore, largest metropolitan city in the region.
Kongu Nadu region within Tamil Nadu
Kongu Nadu region within Tamil Nadu
Coordinates: 11°0′45″N 78°9′36″E / 11.01250°N 78.16000°E / 11.01250; 78.16000Coordinates: 11°0′45″N 78°9′36″E / 11.01250°N 78.16000°E / 11.01250; 78.16000
Country  India
Region South India
 • Body Government of Tamil Nadu
 • Total 25,864 km2 (9,986 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 17.6 million
 • Density 607/km2 (1,570/sq mi)
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 635-642xxx
Vehicle registration TN 27-42, TN 47, TN 52, TN 54, TN 56, TN 66, TN 77, TN 78, TN 88, TN 99
Largest city Coimbatore
Literacy 62.61%
Civic agency Government of Tamil Nadu

Kongu Nadu is a region and aspirant state of India comprising the western part of the Tamil Nadu and parts of the states of Karnataka and Kerala. In the ancient Tamilakam, it was the seat of the Chera kings, bounded on the east by Tondai Nadu, on the south-east by Chola Nadu and on the south by Pandya Nadu regions.[2][3] Kongu Nadu has the highest Urban area in the state of Tamil Nadu and contributes to two-thirds of the state's revenues.[4]


There is no definite origin for the word Kongu. Kongu Nadu is believed to have come from "Kongadesam", "Konga" a derivant of the term "Ganga", meaning "land of the Gangas".[5] Kongu may also mean nectar of flowers.[6]


The advent of the early historical period in south India is generally dated to the 3rd century BCE. As mentioned earlier, recent archaeological data from the site of Kodumanal suggests the possibility of earlier beginnings, at least the 4th century BCE.[7] Kodumanal and Perur, villages on the banks of the Noyyal River in the Coimbatore district, were situated on the ancient trade route between across the Palghat gap on the Western Ghats. Both sites have yielded remains belonging to the Sangam age. Roman coins were also found on these sites indicating that trade flourished between Romans and the kings of these regions. A sword bit and a dagger piece found at the site were put to metallographic test. The study revealed that the sword bit contained a spheroidal graphite phase and forge welding of high carbon cutting edge on low carbon dagger bit. A thin layer was found coating the cutting edge and probably used to protect it from rust.[8] Kodumanal was popular for the gem-cutting industry and manufacture of jewels. Sites bearing natural reserves of semi-precious stones such as beryls, sapphire and quartz are located in the vicinity of Kodumanal. Beads of sapphire, beryl, agate, carnelian, amethyst, lapis lazulli, jasper, garnet, soapstone and quartz were unearthed from here. The samples were in different manufacturing stages – finished, semi-finished, drilled and undrilled, polished and unpolished and in the form of raw material. Chips and stone slabs, one with a few grooved beads, clearly demonstrate that these were manufactured locally at Kodumanal[9] Tamil-Brahmi writings are also found in coins, seals and rings of the Sangam age. Many of them have been picked up from the Amaravathi river bed near Karur. A smaller number of inscribed objects have been picked up from the beds of other rivers like South Pennar and Vaigai.[10]

A musical inscription in Tamil Brahimi was found in a cave in the Arachalur region, dating from the Fourth Century A.D. Iravatham Mahadevan writes that these are syllables used in dance.[11][12]


Kongunadu comprises the modern day districts of Coimbatore District, Nilgiri District, Tirupur District, Erode District, Namakkal District, Salem District, Karur District, Dharmapuri District, Krishnagiri District, parts of Dindigul District, parts of Tiruchirappalli District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and also parts of South-western India including Wayanad District, Malappuram District, Palakkad District, Idukki District in the Kerala state and Kodagu District, Kolar District, Tumkur District, Chamarajanagar District in Karnataka state.


Kongu nadu had a flourishing economy from ancient times and had trade contacts with foreign nations. Kodumanal was a 2,500-year-old industrial colony discovered by archeologists.[13] Kongu Nadu is amongst the most industrialized regions in the country. The economy of the Kongu region can be attributed mainly to agriculture and textiles. It is one of the major producers of apparels and knit wear, hosieries, milk, poultry, paper, auto parts, sugarcane, rice, turmeric, white silk, coconut, plantain, water pumps, wet grinders, aluminum and steel in Tamil Nadu. Kongu Nadu has the highest proportion of Urban area in Tamil Nadu and contributes to two-third of the state's treasury but still largely ignored by the government.[4]


Kongu Nadu cuisine is basically a collection of exotic recipes being created by the people residing in the Kongu region. The cuisine is quite extensive for a simple reason that the region is vast. Unlike other cuisines, Kongu Nadu cuisine does not involve marination of any raw material. As a result the food has a different taste and unique texture.Turmeric is always added into curries which gives the product a deep yellow color and an aromatic substance including Arisemparupu, famously known only in Kongu region. Large use of copra is prevalent due to the abundance of coconut trees in the region. The traditional Kongu people were mostly vegetarians for religious reason.[14] "Oppitu" or "Vazhai" is a type of sweet made with the basic ingredients rice, karupatti (Palm Jaggery) Cardamom, Ghee.[15][16][17]

Separate statehood[edit]

There have been numerous claims that Kongu Nadu region has often been ignored by successive governments in spite of being the largest contributor to the state's economy. There have been demands for the creation of separate state of Kongu Nadu, comprising the regions of western Tamil Nadu, parts of southern Karanataka and northern Kerala. A number of political outfits namely, Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam, Kongu Vellala Goundergal Peravai, Tamil Nadu Kongu Ilaignar Peravai are active in the region claiming to fight for the rights of the region.[18][19][20][21]


  • Kongudesarajakkal, Government manuscript Library, Chennai
  • Dheeran Chinnamalai by Pulavar Dr. Rasu
  • Roman Karur by Dr. Nagaswamy[22]


  1. ^ Census of India, 2001. Census Data Online, Population.
  2. ^ Edgar Thurston; K. Rangachari (1987). Castes and Tribes of Southern India. Asian Educational Services. pp. 156–. ISBN 978-81-206-0288-5. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Edgar Thurston; K. Rangachari (1987). Castes and Tribes of Southern India. Asian Educational Services. pp. 230–. ISBN 978-81-206-0288-5. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Kongu Nadu Desham Website Info : Significance of Kongu Nadu". Kongudhesam.org. Retrieved on 2012-05-03.
  5. ^ P. Shungoonny Menon (1 January 1998). History of Travancore from the Earliest Times. Asian Educational Services. pp. 33–. ISBN 978-81-206-0169-7. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  6. ^ V. Ramamurthu, History of Kongu: Volume 1, (1986), pp.19
  7. ^ Upinder Singh (2009). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Addison Wesley Pub Co Inc. ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0. 
  8. ^ Sasisekaran, B.; Raghunatha Rao, B. (1999). "I 999" (PDF). Indian Journal of History of Science 34 (4). 
  9. ^ Rajan, K.; Athiyaman, N. (2004). "Traditional Gemstone Cutting Technology of Kongu Region in Tamil Nadu" (PDF). Indian Journal of History of Science 39 (4): 385–414. 
  10. ^ Rami Reddy, V.; Chandrasekhar Reddy, B.K. (2004). "Morphometric Status of Human Skeletal Remains From Kodumanal, Periyar District, Tamil Nadu" (PDF). Anthropologist 6 (4): 104–112. 
  11. ^ Rao, Subha J. (1 October 2005). "Writing on the rock". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
  12. ^ Parthasarathy, Indira (2 August 2003). "Records and revelations". The Hindu. 
  13. ^ "A 2,500-year-old industrial estate". rediff.com. 
  14. ^ Francis Hamilton; East India Company (1807). A journey from Madras through the countries of Mysore, Canara, and Malabar. T. Cadell and W. Davies. pp. 330–. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "Kongu Food Info : Kongunadu Cuisine". 
  16. ^ "Kongu Food Info by Times : Kongunadu Cuisine by TOI". The Times Of India. 26 March 2011. 
  17. ^ kongu : 17 Recipes. En.petitchef.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-03.
  18. ^ "India may have 50 states if new demands met". The Hindu. 4 August 2013. 
  19. ^ "Region's 'neglect' by governments prompted party formation". chennaionline.com. 
  20. ^ "Beginning with message of conservation". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 10 April 2009. 
  21. ^ "KMP to work for progressive Western Tamil Nadu". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 29 April 2009. 
  22. ^ "Roman Karur". Tamilartsacademy.com. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 

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