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°1′48.925″N 77°2′21.544″E / 11.03025694°N 77.03931778°E / 11.03025694; 77.03931778
Country  India
Region South India
Government
 • Body Government of Tamil Nadu
Area
 • Total 45,493 km2 (17,565 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 2,07,43,812
 • Density 607/km2 (1,570/sq mi)
Languages
 • Official Tamil, English
 • Others Kongu Tamil
Time zone UTC+5:30 (IST)
PIN 635-642xxx
Vehicle registration TN 27 to 42, TN 47, TN 52, TN 54, TN 56, TN 66, TN 77-78, TN 88, TN 86,TN 94, TN 99
Largest city Coimbatore
Literacy 75.55%
Civic agency Government of Tamil Nadu

MazhavatNadu' is a region of aspirant state of India comprising the western part of the Tamil Nadu. 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]

The region was ruled by the Cheras during Sangam period between c. 1st and the 4th centuries CE and it served as the eastern entrance to the Palakkad Gap, the principal trade route between the west coast and Tamil Nadu. The Kosar people mentioned in the second century CE Tamil epic Silappathikaram and other poems in Sangam literature is associated with the Coimbatore region. The region was located along an ancient Roman trade route that extended from Muziris to Arikamedu.The medieval Cholas conquered the region in the 10th century CE. It came under the rule of the Vijayanagara Empire by the 15th century. After the Vijayanagara Empire fell in the 17th century, the Madurai Nayaks, who were the military governors of the Vijayanagara Empire established their state as an independent kingdom. In the latter part of the 18th century, the region came under the Kingdom of Mysore, following a series of wars with the Madurai Nayak dynasty. After the defeat of Tipu Sultan in the Anglo-Mysore Wars, the British East India Company annexed Kongunadu to the Madras Presidency in 1799. The region was hard hit during the Great Famine of 1876–78 resulting in nearly 200,000 famine related fatalities. The first three decades of the 20th century saw nearly 20,000 plague-related deaths and acute water shortage.[3] The region played a significant role in the Indian independence movement.

Etymology[edit]

Kongu Nadu is believed to have come from "Kongadesam", "Konga" a variant of the term "Ganga", meaning "land of the Gangas".[4] Kongu may also mean nectar of flowers.[5]

History[edit]

Kongu Nadu was one of the earliest territorial divisions and home of the ancient Tamilians. The river Kaveri flows in southeastern direction through the region.[6] Archaeological data from Kodumanal, a village on the banks of the Noyyal River, suggests the beginning of civilization around 4th century BCE.[7] Kodumanal was situated on the ancient trade route between across the Palghat gap in the Western Ghats and yielded remains belonging to the Sangam age.[8][9] Tamil-Brahmi writings were found on coins, seals and rings obtained from Amaravathi river bed near Karur, the erstwhile capital of the Cheras.[10][11] A musical inscription in Tamil Brahimi was found in a cave in Arachalur, dating from the 4th Century CE and Iravatham Mahadevan writes that these are syllables used in dance.[12][13]

Kongu Mandalam in Ancient India

The region was ruled by the Cheras during Sangam period between c. 1st and the 4th centuries CE. The western part of the region was under the Cheras and the eastern regions were ruled by Pandyas. The medieval Cholas conquered most of the region in 10th century CE. After brief period under the Hoysalas and the delhi sultanate, the region was captured by the Vijayanagara Empire in the 15th century. In the 1550s, Madurai Nayaks, who were the military governors of the Vijayanagara Empire, took control of the region. After the Vijayanagara Empire fell in the 17th century, the Nayaks established their state as an independent kingdom and they introduced the Palayakkarar system.[14] In the latter part of the 18th century, the region came under the Kingdom of Mysore, following a series of wars with the Madurai Nayak dynasty. After the defeat of Tipu Sultan in the Anglo-Mysore Wars, the British East India Company annexed the region to the Madras Presidency in 1799. The region played a prominent role in the Second Poligar War (1801), when it was the area of operations of Dheeran Chinnamalai.[15]

Geography[edit]

Kongunadu comprises the modern day districts of Coimbatore district, Nilgiris district, Tirupur district, Erode district, Namakkal district, Karur district, Salem district, Dharmapuri district, Krishnagiri district and some parts of Dindigul district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and also parts of South-western India including parts of Palakkad District in the Kerala state and parts of Chamarajanagar District in Karnataka state.[16] The Western Ghats mountain range passes through the region with major rives Kaveri, Bhavani, Amravati and Noyyal flowing through the region.[17] Palghat Gap, a mountain pass connects the neighbouring state of Kerala to the region.[18]

The table below lists geographic and demographic parameters for districts that constitute the 'Kongu region' of Tamil Nadu.[19]

S.No. Districts Headquarters Established Area (km²) Population (2011 Census) Population density (/km²) Taluks Map
1 Coimbatore Coimbatore 1 November 1956 4,723[20] 3,458,045[21] 732 India Tamil Nadu districts Coimbatore.svg
2 Dharmapuri Dharmapuri 2 October 1965 4,497.77 1,506,843[23] 335 India Tamil Nadu districts Dharmapuri.svg
3 Erode Erode 31 August 1979 5760 2,251,744[24] 394 India Tamil Nadu districts Erode.svg
5 Karur Karur 30 September 1995 2,895.57 1,064,493[25] 368 India Tamil Nadu districts Karur.svg
6 Krishnagiri Krishnagiri 9 February 2004 5,143 1,879,809[26] 366 India Tamil Nadu districts Krishnagiri.svg
7 Namakkal Namakkal 1 January 1997 3363 1,726,601[27] 513 India Tamil Nadu districts Namakkal.svg
8 The Nilgiris Ooty 1 November 1956 2,452.5 735,394[28] 300 India Tamil Nadu districts Nilgiris.svg
9 Salem Salem 1 November 1956 5,205 3,482,056[29] 669 India Tamil Nadu districts Salem.svg
10 Tiruppur Tiruppur 22 February 2009 5,186.34 2,479,052[30] 478 India Tamil Nadu districts Tiruppur.svg
Total 45,493 2,07,43,812

Language[edit]

Kongu Tamil is the dialect of Tamil language that is spoken in Kongu Nadu, which is the western region of Tamil Nadu. It is originally known as "Kangee"`[31] or "Kongalam"[32] or "Kongappechu".

Economy[edit]

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 archaeologists.[33][34] The region was located along an ancient Roman trade route that extended from Muziris to Arikamedu.[35][36] A Chola highway called Rajakesari Peruvazhi ran through the region.[37][38]

Kongu Nadu is amongst the most industrialised regions in the country. Agriculture and textile industries contribute majorly to the economy of the region.[39] It is one of the major producers of textiles including cotton,[40] apparels and knit wear,[41] and hosieries, agricultural and allied products including milk, poultry,[42] turmeric, sugar-cane, rice, white silk, coconut and plantain, industrial products including paper, auto parts,[43] water pumps,[44] wet grinders, [45] jewellery,[46] aluminium and steel and IT services[47][48] in Tamil Nadu.[49] Kovai Cora cotton sarees, Coimbatore Wet Grinders, Salem silk sarees, Bhavani Jamakkalam, Toda Embroidery and Nilgiri tea are recognized Geographical Indications from the region.[50][51]

Cuisine[edit]

Kongu Nadu cuisine is predominantly south Indian with rice as its base and a collection of exotic recipes being created by the people residing in the Kongu region. Food is served over a banana leaf.[52] Eating on a banana leaf is an old custom and imparts a unique flavor to the food and is considered healthy.[53] Idly, dosa, paniyaram and appam are popular dishes.[54][55][56][57] Kongu Nadu cuisine does not involve marination of any raw material and as a result the food has a different taste and unique texture.[citation needed] Turmeric is added into curries which gives the product a deep yellow colour and an aromatic substance. Arisi Paruppu Sadam, made from a mixture of dal and rice is a recipe that existed from fourth century CE and unique to the area.[58] Kaalaan is a popular dish prepared by simmering deep fried mushrooms (usually chopped mushroom) in a spicy broth, until it reaches a porridge like consistency and served sprinkled with chopped onions and coriander leaves.[59][60] The traditional Kongu people were mostly vegetarians for religious reason.[61] Oppitu is a type of sweet made with the basic ingredients rice, sundal paruppu, palm jaggery, cardamom and ghee.[62]

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. The entire region comprising 10 districts accounts for more than 40 percent of the revenue. There are demands for the creation of separate state of Kongu Nadu, comprising the regions of western districts of Tamil Nadu. A number of political outfits namely Kongunadu Makkal Desia Katchi, Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam, Kongu Vellala Goundergal Peravai, Tamil Nadu Kongu Ilaignar Peravai, Kongu Desa Makkal Katchi are active in the region claiming to fight for the rights of the region.[63][64][65][66]

References[edit]

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