|• Type||Special Grade Metro Municipality|
|• MLA||Thangappandian.S (2019-Current)|
|• Total||68.008 km2 (26.258 sq mi)|
|Elevation||175 m (574 ft)|
|• Density||1,900/km2 (5,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
Rajapalayam is a city and a special grade municipality in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the largest municipality in the Virudhunagar district. It is located 570 km south of the state capital, Chennai, near the Western Ghats and the Kerala Border, and between Madurai and Tenkasi. The economy is based on textile manufacture: the town has several mills for spinning and weaving cotton, as well as a large cotton market.
Rajapalayam is well known for its winter climate. The Rajapalayam breed of dogs is famous.
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The name Rajapalayam derives from Raja and Palayam, which in the Tamil language means a cantonment or fort. The town was previously called Raju Palayam, and finally Rajapalayam.
Rajapalayam's inhabitants originally came from the Vijayanagara Empire. Krishnadevaraya, the Maharaja of the Empire, sent five military commandos to the kingdom of Madurai Nayak to maintain law and order in the southern part of the kingdom, in the region of modern-day Sivagiri. The Kshatriya Raju team was led by Chinna Raja, a descendant of the king of Vijayanagara, and his four sons. He and his followers established the Nayaka kingdom of Madurai. Afterwards, they migrated to the south and settled at Keelarajakularaman (a village near Rajapalayam), then moved their settlements to Palayapalayam in 1483 AD. More Rajus migrated south from the Vijayanagar empire around the time of the battle of Talikota (1565), settling in Pudupalayam, in the western part of Rajapalayam municipality.
When Vijayanagaram rule was established in Madurai, the descendants of the original emigrants were considered to have served the Chokkanatha Nayak, king of Madurai (1662 -1682). The king recorded his appreciation of the service rendered by Chinna Raja and his four sons by granting a 'Sasanam' (King's Free Grant/Charter) to establish a fort at Palayapalayam.
The town of Rajapalayam was later expanded by purchasing lands from Vijayarenga Chokkanatha Nayak (1706 -1732). Rajapalayam was constituted as a united board in the year 1885. It became a panchayat board in the year 1930. The railway reached Rajapalayam in the year 1927 and the town was electrified in 1937.
The mountains of the Western ghats are to the west of the city (12 km from the city), and the Sanjeevi hills are to the east. These moderate the climate, and several water catchment areas in the hills provide water for the city. Water is stored in the 6th mile water reservoir. There are several major lakes around the city, including Kondaneri, Karungulam, Pirandaikulam, and Sengulam. The soil in the area is classified by the government as red loam.
The principal industry was initially agriculture. In 1936, Shri P. A. C. Ramasamy Raja started the first cotton spinning mill, called Rajapalayam Mills Ltd. Later, more textile mills were started including Sree Karpagambal Mills Ltd. Today, Rajapalayam is a major hub of the textile industry, famous for bandages, woven fabric, nightwear, and other products. The neighboring town of Chatrapatti (Virudhunagar Dist) is a large player in producing surgical cotton gauze, and nearby Dhalavaipuram and Muhavoor produce women's nightwear.
According to the 2011 census, Rajapalayam had a population of 130,442 with 1,014 females for every 1,000 males, far above the national average of 929. A total of 11,604 individuals (5,927 males and 5,677 females) were under the age of six. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 13.51% and .09% of the population respectively. The average literacy of the city was 77.87%; the national average was 72.99%. The city had a total of 37,797 households. There were 53,913 workers, comprising 380 cultivators, 3,676 main agricultural labourers, 1,375 in household industries, 45,223 other workers, 3,259 marginal workers, 34 marginal cultivators, 326 marginal agricultural labourers, 286 marginal workers in household industries and 2,613 other marginal workers. According to the religious census of 2011, the population was 94.53% Hindu, 3.48% Muslim, 1.75% Christian, 0.02% Sikh and 0.21% other.
As of 2016, Rajapalayam had a population of around 275,000.
The National Highway NH-208 from Tirumangalam to Kollam passes through the city. State highway SH-41 (Rajapalayam-Sankarankovil-Tirunelveli) links the major parts of the extreme south of Tamil Nadu, including Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari. The road also offers good freight connectivity to Tamil Nadu's second largest seaport, Tuticorin. State highway SH-186 (Rajapalayam-Vembakottai) connects the town to the east part of Virudhunagar district and passes through the fast-growing industrial towns of Chatrapatti and Alangulam.
Rajapalayam's long-distance bus station, located on Sankarankovil Road, is served by buses from the government of Tamil Nadu's TNSTC (Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation) and private transport companies. Buses run to Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Trichy, Tiruppur, Erode, Salem, Mettupalayam, Sathyamangalam, Gobichettipalayam, Pondicherry, and Sengottai. Several Private bus services runs to Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore from Rajapalayam. Rajapalayam old bus station is currently serving buses to nearby villages Muhavoor, Dhalavaipuram and often called as Old bus stand or Town bus stand.
The Pothigai Express connects Rajapalayam to Chennai and runs daily. A bi-weekly express train, the "Silambu Express" runs to Chennai via Aruppukottai, Manamadurai, Karaikudi and on to Sengottai. Kollam Express runs between Chennai Egmore and Kollam Jn daily via Trichy, Madurai, Rajapalayam, Tenkasi. Passenger trains also run to Madurai. There are two temporary services runs between Velakkani & Ernakulam Jn and between Chennai Egmore and Tirunelveli (via Tenkasi).
The nearest International airport is Madurai Airport (~80 km).
Ayyanar Kovil Forest Area (Ayyanar Falls)
Ayyanar Kovil forest area is 10 km west of Rajapalayam on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. The forest area has many streams, waterfalls, springs and a temple. Hiking in this forest area is one of the main recreations for Rajapalayam residents. Rajapalayam Water Reservoir, which provides water to the entire city, is situated en route to Ayyanar Falls. Rajapalayam Dam and Rajapalayam Water Treatment Plant are also situated adjacent to the Rajapalayam Water Reservoir.
Sri Vallakattu Karuppasamy kovil
Vallakattu Karuppasamy temple is situated en route to Ayyanar Kovil, in the middle of the forest next to the 6th Mile Dam that supplies water to Rajapalayam. Karuppu Sami is one of the 21 associate folk-deities of Ayyanar. This temple is one of the most famous in the area.
Sanjeevi Hills lies to the east of Rajapalayam. The Murugan Temple is at the top of the hill. Tradition recounts that Hanuman, the monkey god, carried the entire mountain of Sanjeevi, complete with its herbal plants, to Sri Lanka to save the unconscious Lakshmana. A small portion of the mountain fell off en route, and this portion is said to be the Sanjeevi Hills.
- "Soil in Rajapalayam" (PDF). Virudhunagar district.
- "Census Info 2011 Final population totals". Office of The Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "Census Info 2011 Final population totals - Rajapalayam". Office of The Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "Population By Religious Community - Tamil Nadu" (XLS). Office of The Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- P, Arpit. "Rajapalayam Station - 16 Train Departures SR/Southern Zone - Railway Enquiry". indiarailinfo.com. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
- "16101/Chennai Egmore - Kollam Jn Express (PT) - Chennai Egmore to Quilon SR/Southern Zone - Railway Enquiry".
- "06016/Velankanni - Ernakulam Jn (Via Kollam Jn) Summer Special (PT) - Rajapalayam to South SR/Southern Zone - Railway Enquiry".
- "06035/Tambaram - Tirunelveli Special (via Tenkasi) (PT) - Rajapalayam to Tirunelveli SR/Southern Zone - Railway Enquiry".