Karur, the headquarters of Karur district, lies in the state of Tamil Nadu, centrally located and is the hub of textile industries in south. It has been a trade centre right from the ancient times. Karur has had a glorious and a golden past with many well known dynasties ruling over Karur. Karur’s history is about 2000 year old and a famous legend also says that the Hindu Lord Brahma began his work of creation from this very city, which has made it also a very religiously important place right from the age old eras. It is said that a lot of battles were fought in this land because of its strategic location. Among the various empires that had Karur under their hold were the Cheras, Pandyas, Cholas, Tipu Sultan and finally the British Empire.
Sangam period in Karur
The Sangam period is the period to which Tamil history dates back to. The Sangam period is the ancient history of the Tamil speaking lands which spans between 300 BC and 300 AD. The ancient Tamil lands are also known as the ‘Tamilakam’, referring to mostly all of the southern states of India today. There are a lot of Sangam literature which backs the history of the Tamil lands. It is through the various epigrams and archaeological data found that we understand about the rulers of those times, the way of living of the people then and the civilization that existed at that time. But what was before this particular time is not known yet. The existence of a Tamil civilization before that is still not known. During this period the main Tamil kings who ruled over Karur were the Cheras, Gangas, Pandyas, Pallavas, Cholas, Nayakars, Tipu sultan and finally the British Empire came over.
The Cheras in Karur
During the ancient and medieval times, Cheras were the earliest kings who ruled over the land. A lot of sangam scriptures talk about the early dynasties who ruled over Tamilakam. A lot of findings and excavations confirmed the fact that Karur was in fact the capital city of the Chera Empire. It was also an important and flourishing trade centre of the Cheras. Karur, during the Sangam days was known by various other names like Karavoor, Vanchi, Vanji etc. Later on a lot of rare finding like Chera coins, roman coins, mud toys, pots, bricks, iron works etc were found out on the banks of the Amravati River that dated back to the Chera Dynasty. Names of the Chera kings were also found in rock inscriptions at Aru Nattar Malai, which is close to Karur. The Cheras indeed had a long and strong connection to Karur since they were the earliest rulers who ruled over Tamilakam and created a history for the ancient Tamil land.
The Cholas and other kings in Karur
Karur was then captured and ruled by the Pandyas. Later on the Pallvas took over. After Which the Cholas conquered the land. The Cholas ruled over Karur for a considerably long period of time. The famous Karavoor Thevar, who is one of the nine devotees who sung the divine hymn Thiruvichaippa, lived during the reign of Rajaraja Chola 1. The Vishnu temple at Thiruvithuvakoddu was sung by Kulasekara Alwar who had also ruled over the kongu nadu. This temple was also mentioned in the greatest epic ‘Silappadikaram’. Cholas played an important part in shaping the culture and traditions of the tamil people. Cholas also built a lot of temples across the land. It was after the Cholas that the Naickars took over Karur and finally it fell in the hands of the great Tipu Sultan. When the British wave started being felt in India, soon enough they had Karur too added to their procession after they defeated Tipu Sultan in the Anglo Mysore war in 1783.
History of Kongu Nadu
The history of Kongu nadu also dates back to the 8th century when a group of region in the western part of Tamil Nadu, over a period of time with the growth of civilization, started being called as the kongu nadu. ‘Kongu’ originally means ‘honey’ or ‘nectar’. Kongu nadu was blessed with a lot of wealth, prosperity, natural beauty etc. Kongu Nadu comprises of various districts and taluks like Karur, Coimbatore, Pollachi, Erode, Dindigul, Nilgiris etc in Tamil nadu.
Presently, Karur being a part of the Karur district is the administrative head of the district and also is an important urban city of the kongu nadu. It is even today a flourishing trade center like in the past. It has now become one of the largest suppliers of textiles amongst the other south Indian cities. Its economy too is boosting with a large number of textile factories and gem making industries being set in Karur.