Karaikudi in business
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COMMENTS:
•  Hosted in August 2010
•  Excerpts from Wikipedia.org, and other sources
•  Revised in April 2014

Karaikudi

KARAIKUDI – a land of one of the finest culture and traditional lineage in the world.

About Karaikudi

Karaikudi is the largest town in Chettinad region of Sivagangai district in the Indian state of Tamilnadu. The name Karaikudi originated from the plant's name karai that abounds in the area, and kudi meaning settlement. It belongs to the collection of 80 towns and villages in the Chettinad belt that stretched from Ramnad district to Pudukottai state of then British India. The Chettinad or Chettinadu literally means Chettiars' state. The Nagarathars, a Chettiar community, are the predominant people of the region flourishing in trade and commerce from many centuries. They are institutional in establishing innumerous educational institutions, financial services, temples, festivals, traditional ceremonies, and social welfares.

Somewhere around 1700, Karaikudi, which was not known by this name, was an area scattered with settlements. Having the present-day Karaikudi as reference, there were four prominent settlements; in northeast was "Jayamkondan puram" [the present-day Sekkalai], in northwest "Muthupattianam", in southwest "Kallukatti", and in southeast a hamlet known as "Naganatha Pudur" (N.Pudur). These settlements were in-between a woody area; and there were no proper interlinking road facilities. People were hesitant to travel through these woody areas in the fear of robbers and thieves hiding in these woods.

Around 1900, the woody areas along with the settlements were developing and in due course merged to form a notable village, which was soon brought under Panchayat board management. Later on, major infrastructure developments were undertaken, starting with its administration that was changed to Municipality in 1928, the Railway Junction was created in 1930, a Government hospital [the present-day Gandhi Maligai] was established in 1940, and other facilities like road, drinking-water, electricity, communication were laid out. All these improvements transformed this village into a well-known town. And when, Vallal Alagappa Chettiar established educational institutions in 1947, and in 1948 brought C.E.C.R.I. to Karaikudi; consequently changed Karaikudi into a major township.

The people of Chettinad region took a praiseworthy active part in Indian freedom movement.

Demography

Karaikudi has a population of 1.5 lakhs (estimated as of year 2010). The Male and Female ratio is apparently equivalent, but favouring females over male. Karaikudi has an average literacy rate higher than the National average. Karaikudi is considered as the best place to live among other towns in the district, owing to its sound educational infrastructure, good ground water, better heath care facilities, and lucrative business possibilities.

Geography

Karaikudi is located in Sivagangai district, in the Indian state of Tamilnadu. It has an average elevation of 82 metres (269 feet) above sea level. Once this was a small village in the Ramanathapuram district. In 1930, Karaikudi Railway Junction was created linking Tiruchirappalli – Rameswaram and Mayiladuthurai – Rameswaram (mater-gauge) railway network by the Southern Indian Railway Company Limited. A river called as "Thean-aaru" (the river with water like honey,) flows through west-southeast direction in the south end of Karaikudi. Karaikudi area has a good water table owing to numerous tanks and ponds, and the "Sambai oottru" (sambai spring) situated nearby Theanaaru, in south end of Karaikudi and adjacent to Karaikudi – Devakottai rastha (road), that provides for the Municipality drinking water.

Karaikudi is located on the Tiruchirappalli – Rameswaram National highway number 210, and is situated between Tiruchirappalli and Madurai at a distance about 100 kms. on either side; and about 440 km. to southwest from the state's capital - Chennai. The Postal code is 630001 [to 630006]; STD code is 04565 (91 4565), ISD code is 004565 (+91 4565), and Karaikudi is abbreviated as KKD or KKDI. Karaikudi is located at latitude 10.07° N and longitude 78.78° E.

Nagarathar

The Nagarathar (also known as Nagarattar, meaning people who live by towns) are a Chettiar community that originated in Kaveri-poom-pattinam (also known as Poompuhar or Puhar, in present-day Nagapattinam district) under the Chola Empire of India. They are a prominent mercantile "Vaishya" caste in Tamilnadu, India. Initially the Vaishyas lived in Sandhyapuri of the Sambu Islands in Naganadu. This borders with the present state of Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu.

The strategic location of the Kaveripoompattinam along the banks of the river Kaveri, at the southeast coastline of India made it as one of the major seafaring township under the Chola Empire. It was thriving in trade and commerce reaching far-flung nations across seas. The Chettiars became involved in trade and commerce throughout the Chola Empire, and with their unity, discipline and acumen, they prospered. But the majority of Chettiars migrated to higher grounds away from seashore, after the devastating Aazhli-per-alai (the great sea flood - the Tsunami) that practically destroyed the seafaring pattinam (town). They then settled in the demarcated land provided by the Pandiya king Soundarapandian, the present-day Chettinadu, under his rule. Thereafter, Chettiars gradually spread over 80 towns and villages.

They originally were involved in salt trading, sometime in the 18th century they became more widely known as financiers and facilitators for the trade in a range of commodities. By the early 19th century finance had become the primary specialisation of the Chettiars, and they became famed lenders to great land-owning families and in underwriting their trade in grain through the provision of hundis (undiyal) (like money exchange).

They are a very rich community known for their philanthropy, building temples and schools, and maintaining them throughout Asia.

more about nagarathar »

Temples

True to the teachings of the saint poetess 'Avvaiyar' that, it is unwise to dwell in the place where there is no temple; Karaikudi and its neighboring places have innumerous temples and shrines among which some of them are world-renowned. A Temple is an epitome of heritage and culture. Temples not only served as a place for worship, but also a place for meditation, preaching, education, public meeting, ceremonies, and they patronised literature, poetry, music, dance, plays, fine-arts. Even today one can realise these in a temple in varying degrees. Many Temples have [sacred] water reservoir and lands known as 'devasthanam' (god's land) for its financial sustenance.

Important and famous Temples in Karaikudi

•  Koppudaiya Nayagi Amman temple
•  Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple
•  Naganathar Swamy temple
•  Muthumari Amman temple
•  [Iyanar] temple
•  Karpagavinayagar temple
•  108-Pillaiyar temple
•  Tamil-goddess shrine
•  Kollan Kali Kovil
•  Nattar Karuppar Kovil
•  Marthu Pappan Kaliamman and Muneeswarar Kovil
•  Athalai Kanmai Kali Kovil
•  Sahayamatha church
•  Senjai mosque

Important and famous Temples around Karaikudi

•  Karpagavinayagar rock-cut temple, Pillaiyarpatti
•  Thiruvengadamudayan temple, Ariyakudi
•  Shanmuganathar temple, Kundrakudi
•  Kalaiyarkovil temple, Kalaiyarkovil
•  Ashtamasithi Dakshinamurthy temple, Pattamangalam
•  Sivan and Vishnu rock-cut temples, Thirumayam
•  Thiruthalinathar Swamy temple, Tiruppathur
•  Ninra Narayanaperumal temple, Tiruppathur
•  Veerakali Amman temple, Tiruppathur
•  Somiyanarayanan temple, Thirukoshtiyur
•  Nagara Sivan temple, Devakottai
•  Ranganatha Perumal temple, Devakottai
•  Kottai Amman temple, Devakottai
•  Sowarna Murtheeswarar temple, Kandadevi
•  Alagiya Ponnal temple, Sirugai
•  Vettudaiyar Kalli Amman temple, Sivagangai
•  Kannudaya Nayaki Amman (Kannathal) temple, Nattarasankottai
•  [Cholapuram] temple, Cholapuram
•  Somasundaram Soundara Nayagi temple, Kallal
•  [Siva] temple, Vettriyur
•  Annapoorani Amman temple, Vettriyur
•  Nerinjikudiyan Siva Temple, Thiruvalangai
•  [Kodungulam] shrine, Kodungulam
•  [Natarajapuram] temple, Natarajapuram
•  Kalli Amman temple, Kollangudi
•  [Chokkanathapuram] temple, Chokkanathapuram
•  Kottainachi Amman temple, Kottaiyur
•  [Amaravathiputhur] temple, Amaravathiputhur
•  [Nachiyapuram] temple, Nachiyapuram
•  Kottravaleeswarar temple, Koviloor
•  [Illaiyathangudi] temple, Illaiyathangudi
•  [Mathur] temple, Mathur
•  Valarolinathar temple, Vairavankoil
•  [Nemamkoil] temple, Nemamkoil
•  [Illupaikudi] temple, Illupaikudi
•  [Surakuddi] temple, Surakuddi
•  [Velangudi] temple, Velangudi
•  [Iraniyur] temple, Iraniyur
•  Bhairavar temple, Thirumayam
•  Navagraha temple, Managiri
•  Kuberan temple, Pillaiyarpatti
•  Sanieswaran temple, Sivagangai
•  Kailaasa Vinayagar temple, Puduvayal
•  Sevugaperumal Ayyanar, Sembanur (Kallal)
•  Maha Panchamukha Prathyangira Devi, Panchabhuteswaram (Vedhiyanendal vilakku)
•  Navagraha temple, Idaikattur
•  Idaikattur Siddhar shrine, Idaikattur
•  Sacred Heart church, Idaikattur

Education

"Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man." – Swami Vivekananda.

Karaikudi is eternally indebted to one man – Padmabhushan Dr. R.M.Alagappa Chettiar. He is called 'Vallal' (philanthropist), more suitably as Vallal Alagappa Chettiar, who gave all his wealth to create an outstanding educational empire in pure nobility to provide affordable quality education to the rural masses; and without whom Karaikudi would have been a trivial town.

Vallal Alagappa Chettiar, founded the "Alagappa Chettiar Educational Trust" with the aim of developing the backward area of Karaikudi into a centre for higher education and provided necessary funds for the establishment of educational institutions.

The education development went to its peak around 1947 when, Vallal Alagappar established the Alagappa Arts College, Alagappa Chettiar College of Engineering and Technology (A.C.C.E.T.), and Alagappa technical institution and school. He was the key person in establishing the Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (C.E.C.R.I.) in 1948 at Karaikudi by providing land and funding.

Karaikudi and its adjoining places have a growing array of educational services and facilities right from pre-kg to doctorate.

more about alagappa chettiar »
more about educational facilities »

Places

Karaikudi and its neighboring places have quite a number of historical significant buildings, and distinguished institutions and places.

Chettinadu Mansions

The Chettinadu mansions are sumptuous, spacious, and flamboyant with intricate carved structures.

Chettinadu mansions are built using bricks (known as 'sengkal'), country made roof tiles (known as 'naattu odu') [preferably from 'Manamadurai', owing to the soil's rich iron content], decorative floor tiles (preferably, the famed 'Athangudi' handmade terracotta tiles), limestone-mixture (known as 'saanthu-kalavai') for mortar, and stone blocks, wooden support-structures, decorative doorframes and intricate carved panels. The teakwood from Burma is the choice wood for woodworks and support structures. The household items range from artistically made wooden-furnitures, glasswares, ceramic wares, traditional wares, and to other exotic articles made around the world. These buildings and mansions popularly came to be known as "karai-veedu" (the house built with limestone-mixture).

These Mansions are built-in with arrangements for rainwater harvesting, to provide for clean drinking water. The rainwater is [fine cloth] filtered and funneled into large brassware; which then can be stored for weeks. The rainwater being free from [ground] impurities, and by storing it in brassware gets electrically charged, which neutralises [many of the] harmful microorganisms. This provides a clean, healthy, and sweet drinking water that rivals the modern-day processed drinking water.

Particularly, the Saanthu-kalavai, which is made from the mixture of finely ground Saanthu (limestone) powder – the raw material, Kadukkai (gallnut) – as accelerant, Egg's white-yolk – for smooth finish, and Karuppatti (palm-jaggery) – as binder, that are mixed in prerequisite proportions with right amount of water. Sometimes Padaneer (unfermented palm tree sap) – as bonding agent, is also added. This provides a strong crack-resistant bond and gives a smooth finish. Many [significant] historical constructions still stand testimony to its strength and longevity spanning many centuries.

Nowadays these Chettnadu mansions are sought after place for film shootings; and are a well-known tourist attraction.

Some of Chettinadu mansions:

•  Athangudi Palace at Athangudi
•  Chettinadu Museum at Chettinadu
•  1000-Window Mansion at Karaikudi
•  M.A.M.Ramasamy Chettiar's mansion at Karaikudi
•  Adayar Palace at Chennai

Institutions

•  Alagappa educational establishments at Karaikudi
•  Central Electro Chemical Research Institute – C.E.C.R.I. at Karaikudi
•  Hindu Madhabhimana Sangam at Karaikudi
•  Koviloor mutt at Koviloor
•  Vedantha mutt at Kalaiyarkovil
•  School of Vedas at Pillaiyarpatti

Landmarks

•  Temple for Goddess Tamil, Karaikudi
•  Gandhi square in Maharnonbu grounds at Karaikudi
•  Kamban Manimandapam at Karaikudi
•  Kaviarasar Kannadasan Manimandapam at Karaikudi
•  Kavichakravarthy Kamban's mausoleum at Nattarasankottai
•  Vettankudi Bird Sanctuary at Vettankudipatti (near Tiruppathur)

Personalities

Chettinadu has given birth to many great persons who significantly contributed for the good of humanity.

Notable personalities from Chettinad region

•  Vallal Alagappa Chettiar, Kottaiyur
- Philanthropist, Academician, Business tycoon, Founder of Alagappa educational institutions
•  Kaviarasar Kannadasan, Sirukudalpatti
- Poet, Novelist, Lyricist, Politician, Film producer, Editor
•  Raja Annamalai Chettiar, Kanadukathan
- Industrialist, Philanthropist, Founder of Annamalai University
•  Ariyakudi Ramanuja Aiyangar, Ariyakudi
- Carnatic Maestro
•  Kundrakudi Vaithiyanathan, Kundrakudi
- Violin Maestro
•  Karaikudi Mani, Karaikudi
- Mridangam Maestro
•  Kamban Adipodi Saw.Ganesan, Karaikudi
- Founder of "Tamil Thai Kudil" (temple for Goddess Tamil), Kamban Hall and organiser of Kamban Festival
•  Dheeran Nelliyan, (Nelliyan Ambalam), Karaikudi
- Freedom fighter
•  A.V.Meyyappan, Karaikudi
- Film Producer/Director and founder of AVM studio
•  SP.Muthuraman, Karaikudi
- Film Director
•  Panju Arunachalam, Karaikudi
- Tamil Lyricist, Screenplay writer, Film Director/Producer
•  Ramanarayan, Karaikudi
- Film Director
•  P.Chidambaram, Kanadukathan
- Politician, Lawyer, Finance Minister, Honorable Union Minister for Home affairs
•  Revered Kundrakudi Ponnambala Adikalar, Kundrakudi
- Religious leader, Tamil scholar
•  M.A.Chithamabaram (MA.CT.), Kanadukathan
- Industrialist, Philanthropist
•  M.A.M.Ramasamy (MAM), Kanadukathan
- Industrialist, Philanthropist
•  Karumuthu Thyagarajan Chettiar, A.Thekkur
- Founder of Thyagarajar College of Engineering, Meenakshi Mills, Bank of Madura, Madurai Insurance Company
•  S.A.P.Annamalai, Karaikudi
- Journalist, Founder/Editor of 'Kumudam' tamil weekly
•  Tamilvanan, Karaikudi
- Writer/Publisher, Established Manimekalai press
•  AMM.Murugappa Chettiar (AMM), Pallathur
- Industrialist, Philanthropist, Founder of Murugappa Group of companies
•  Periyakaruppan Chettiar, Karaikudi
- Founder of Ramasamy Tamil College
•  Suba.Annamalai, Devakottai
- Renowned Tamil Scholar
•  Balakavi Vynagaram Ramanathan Chettiar, Devakottai
- Popular writer and eminent scholar in Saiva Sidhdhantham
•  Porkizhi Kavignar AR.Somasundaram, Devakottai
- a contemporary poet
•  Vanathi Thirunavukkarasu Chettiar, Devakottai
- Founder of Vanathi Pathipakam
•  SP.VR.Subbiah Chettiar, Devakottai
- Storywriter
•  Kandadevi Alagiriswami, Kandadevi
- Violinist and Musician
•  Narayana Aiyengar, Devakottai
- Veena Maestro
•  Malayappa Iyer, Karaikudi
- Veena musician
•  Venkatesa Iyer, Karaikudi
- Veena musician
•  Subbaraya Iyer, Karai,udi
- Veena musician
•  Karaikudi Veena brothers - Subbarama Iyer and Sambasiva Iyer, Karaikudi
- Veena players
•  Valliappa Chettiar, Devakottai
- Flute musician
•  O.M.A.L.Lakshmanan Chettiar, Devakottai
- Founder of Kandar Sashti Vizha Kazhagam
•  KR.Valliappa Chettiar, Devakottai
- Founder of Elango Isai Nattiya Palli in Erode
•  A.Vaidhyanathan, Devakottai
- Founder of Thiaga Brahma Mahotsava Sabha
•  Chinna Annamalai Chettiar, Devakottai
- Freedom fighter, Pioneer in Publishing Industry
•  Dhinamani Chettiar, Devakottai
- Freedom Fighter and staunch Gandhian
•  D.R.Arunachalam Chettiar, Devakottai
- Freedom Fighter
•  RM.Annamalai Chettiar, Devakottai
- Freedom fighter, Philanthropist, Congress leader
•  Gandhi Narayanan Chettiar, Devakottai
- a staunch Gandhian
•  Architect Annamalai Chettiar, Devakottai
- Freedom fighter
•  Chatram Somasundaram Chettiar, Devakottai
- Philanthropist
•  O.RM.M.SP.SV.Meyyappa Chettiar, Devakottai
- Philanthropist
•  O.RM.M.SP.SV.Sevugan Annamalai Chettiar, Devakottai
- Founder of Sree Sevugan Annamalai College
•  P.S.S.Somasundaram Chettiar, Devakottai
- Founder of Somasundara Mills at Coimbatore and Manamadurai
•  N.RM.Lakshmanan, Devakottai
- Leading Textile Industrialist
•  AL.Chidambaram, Devakottai
- Industrialist
•  OM.SP.L.M.Meyyappa Chettiar, Devakottai
- Textile Industrialist
•  Lotus Venkatachalam Chettiar, Devakottai
- Philanthropist and Textile Industrialist
•  E.M.V.Muthappa Chettiar, Puduvayal
- Philanthropist
•  RM.KP.Venkatachalam Chettiar (venga), Amaravathipudur
- Humanitarian and eminent Lawyer in Malaya
•  C.Swaminathan, Vilvampatti
- Surveyor, Freedom Fighter and Gandhian

Business

The Chettiars are well known for their business acumen; it no wonder that Karaikudi is next to Mumbai in stock-brokerage. Chettiars traditionally involve in occupations like money lending and (wholesale) trading.

Karaikudi area, by its prominent location between two major cities - Tiruchirappalli and Madurai, has become a lucrative business hub for education, healthcare, financial services, small-scale industries, construction companies, automobile dealers, textile dealers, jewelry, software, and many more.

more on business »

Politics

Karaikudi has very much involved in politics from pre-independence. Karaikudi assembly constituency is part of Sivagangai Lok Sabha constituency.

more on politics »

Arts and Crafts

The arts and crafts in the Chettinadu region are a unique blend of tradition and modern, which are distinctive to this area. The Chettinadu's cookware, furniture, household articles, woodwork, handloom, culinary, and the exceptional Karaikudi Veenai tradition are a mark of this region.

There are various traditions in playing Veenai (a stringed musical instrument). One of the styles that still standout in the generations of musicians is the Karaikudi style of Veenai playing. Some of the well-known veenai-players are – Malayappa Iyer, Venkatesa Iyer, Subbaraya Iyer, and Karaikudi Veenai brothers Subbarama Iyer and Sambasiva Iyer.

The woodwork, especially on doorframes, wooden panels is crafted decoratively with intricate patterns. The wood panel [placed above doorframe] is usually carved with Gajalakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, and a Kalasam (small pot) with coconut and sprouting mango leaves on top. Themes from Hindu mythology like Ramayana, Mahabharath, Thiruvilaiyadal are also carved elegantly on to these panels.

Athangudi Tiles – the terracotta tiles with flamboyant patterns, which are handmade and sun-dried. These tiles have a distinctive gloss finish. Athangudi is famous for its handmade (, now modernised) tile works.

Food

India is well known for its spicy culinary delicacies around the world. Particularly in Tamilnadu, the 'Chettinadu Samayal' is world-renowned. A unique blend of spices and ingredients and traditional cooking methods handed down from generations that standout from other styles of cooking. The Chettianadu Samayal (chettinadu culinary), also known as 'Achi Samayal', by tradition uses particular firewood for a particular food to be cooked; as the fumes from the firewood enhances the food's taste [, if it is the right firewood].

There is wide array of delicacies for both the Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians. Starting from Paalpaniyaram, Puttu, Idiyappam, Ilandhosai to Karakuzhlambu (hot spicy curry), Kurumakulambu (spicy curry mixed with coconut-paste), Vendakaimandi (ladyfinger sour curry), Melagurasam (Indian [pepper] soup) in Vegetarian food, and for Non-Vegetarian food, Karikulambu (mutton curry), Kozhlikulambu (chicken curry), Karuvattukulambu (dried-fish curry), Muttaikulambu (egg curry), Biryani, to name a few. Apart from these, there are snack items like Murukku, Adhirasam, Maaurundai, Seepucheedai, Theankuzhal, Karuppatti Paniyaram, Paalkozhlukattai, Cheeyam, Manakolam, and much more.

Apparel

Chettinadu supports quite a number of handlooms that follow years old tradition of weaving. The hand woven "kandangi" (solid cotton), "gopura-karai" (temple-tower motif) sarees are among the popular.

Festivals

It is said that, after creating this world for six days, God took a day off. Festivals and holidays are an important aspect of life. It rejuvenates oneself to perform his duties better. They give us opportunity to get-together and extend our compassion to fellow beings. Being followers of tradition, the Chettinadu people celebrate many festivals with splendor and vigor.

Some of the important festivals celebrated in Karaikudi:

Koppudaiya Nayagi Amman kovil Therthiruvizha

Koppudaiya Nayagi Amman (Koppudai Amman) – the goddess with golden heart, is the main deity of Karaikudi. This is a midsize temple with moolavar being a beautiful ayinponn (alloy of five metals) statue of Amman in standing pose, installed in its sanctum-sanctorum. A magnificent statue of Hanuman god is a recent addition to this temple. A temple tank adjoins left side of the temple. It is located at Kallukatti area of Karaikudi.

On the first Tuesday in Tamil month of Vaikasi (April-May), Koppudaiya Nayagi Amman kovil Therthiruvizha is celebrated. It begins 10 days before with 'kodi-yetram' (flag hoisting), symbolising the start of the ten days long festival. There is 'theppa-thiruvizha' (temple-float festival), Poocheridal (flower offering festival), and this festival concludes with the grand 'ther-thiruvizha' (temple-car festival). The temple-car is drawn circling the temple up to the Kattamman Kovil situated in southwest of Karaikudi, to be returned the next day.

One of the unique characteristics of this temple is that, the moolavar (presiding deity) itself is brought out of the sanctum-sanctorum for special oblations and celebrations; instead of urchava-murthi (procession deity).

Chithirai 1, the Tamil New year that falls on April-14 usually, (rarely falls on 13 or 15 of April), is celebrated with grandeur, drawing large numbers of people from village area. This temple is few centuries old, which was recently renovated to its glory.

Muthumari Amman kovil Paalkudam

Muthumari Amman – the goddess who blesses people with pearl-drop rain. There are two temples by this name, the former is known as Periya-Muthumari Amman situated at Vairavapuram, in northeast of Karaikudi and the later one, the famous Cinna-Muthumari Amman situated at Muthupattinam, in northwest of Karaikudi, near the Meenakshi Amman temple. This small temple draws an ever-growing number of devotees for paalkudam the grand finale of the 10 days long festival that begins with 'kappu-kattu' (tying of sacred thread) in the month of March. This festival is also known as Maasi-Panguni Vizha, held between the Tamil months of [last of] Maasi and [early of] Panguni.

Right from day one people start taking processions like – Paalkudam (pot of milk offered for ritual libations), Theechatti (firepot), Kaavadi (decorated balance-like carried on shoulder), Alagu (body piercing), Pookuzli (fire-bed walking), Molaippari (pot of tender grain shoots), and other feats as 'nethi-kadan' (fulfilling vow), 'nandri-kadan' (thanksgiving), 'venduthal' (prayer of requisition) are also performed by devotees symbolising their devotion.

In recent years this, thiru-vizha, religious festival has grown to large proportions and became a stellar event.

Meenakshi Sundareswarar kovil Mahasivarathiri

Mahasivarathiri – an auspicious night for offering our devotion to the supreme lord Siva, the destroyer of evil. Sivarathiri (the auspicious night for supreme lord Siva) is observed every month on the day before moonless day. The Sivarathiri that comes in the Tamil month of Maasi (February) is celebrated as Maha-Sivarathiri.

On the day of Maha Sivarathiri, special ritual oblations, libations and procession are conducted. In the night, people stay awake observing, praying, reading, and singing the praise of lord Siva. Special rituals continue to be observed throughout the night in Siva temples. Pious people observe the ritual fasting for this whole day, as one of the ways to prove their devotion to lord. Maha-Sivarathiri concludes in the next morning with ritual oblation, and subsequently people break their fast.

This religious festival is celebrated in grandeur at the Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple situated in southwest of Karaikudi. This midsize temple was built during 1872 and has a beautiful temple tank to its right side. This temple is also known as 'Nagara Sivan Kovil', and there is another Siva temple located at Sekkalai, which is known as 'Sekkalai Sivan Kovil' that was built later.

On the right side of this temple there is a shrine having 108 statues of the lord Ganesh, which was built by a devotee to show his gratitude towards the lord.

Kamban Thirunaazl

Kamban Thirunaazl – a festival on the world classical language "Tamil" held in honour of the emperor among poets – Kamban. This festival is held for four days in Kamban Manimandapam at Karaikudi every March. Many learned scholars and admirers of Tamizhl (Tamil) language exchange their views on Kavichakravarthy Kamban. The literary works of Kavichakravarthy (emperor among poets) and other great poets are taken for debate.

One of stanch admirers of Kamban, who called himself and whom is known as 'kamban-adipodi' – Saw.Ganesan founded the "Kamban Aranilayam" (Kamban Trust) and created Kamban Kazhagam (Kamban Club) of Karaikudi. He was the key person in establishing the Kamban Manimandapam (Kamban monumental hall), and built the only temple in the world for the Goddess of Tamil – the "Tamizhlthai Kovil". This temple also has idols of poetess Avvaiyar and poet Kamban. Saw.Ganesan was the first person to organise the Kamban Thirunaazl (Kamban day celebrations).

A statue in tribute to Saw.Ganesan was installed on 4 May 2009 at Kamban Manimandapam premises.

Pazhani Padayathirai Vizha

Thaipoosam – is the main festival for lord Murugan that is celebrated on the day of Poosam star in the Tamil month of Thai (January-February). This religious festival draws large number of devotees from Tamilnadu and from other parts of India to the famous pilgrimage town of Palani in Dindigul district, Tamilnadu. The main aspect of this festival is the ritual event where people walk all the way upto "Dandayuthapani Swami" temple atop Sivagiri (palani hill) at Palani, starting from their homes symbolising their devotion.

The people of Chettinadu are stanch devotees of lord Palani-andavar (lord Palani). They start their "Pazhani Padayathirai", the pilgrimage walk to Palani, couple of weeks before thaipoosam from Devakottai, Karaikudi, and from other towns.

Book Exhibition

Karaikudi being an education capital, an impressive weeklong Book Exhibition (Puthaga Kankatchi) is conducted at Kamban Manimandapam in every February. Wide arrays of books on many topics are showcased. And in every evening Cultural performances are performed by school students, from one of the schools in Karaikudi.

Other than this annual exhibition, individual booksellers and publishers conduct Book fairs time and again.

Science and Technology Show

The Central Electro Chemical Research Institute at Karaikudi observes Science and Technology Day on February 28. This day is celebrated as the 'Open Day', and people are allowed freely to visit the stalls demonstrating the achievements, technology, and future of Science, as well as the C.E.C.R.I.'s contribution to Science are showcased. This open-day is on some occasions celebrated in the month of September.

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Historical events

•  In 1906, Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyar visited Karaikudi and has sung a poem praising the good work done by Chettiar youths of Karaikudi. A photograph of Bharathiyar that was taken when he visited the Hindu Madhabhimana Sangam at Karaikudi, is an invaluable remainder.

•  In 1927, Mahatma Gandhi visited Karaikudi and delivered two speeches in September 24 and 25, at Karaikudi.

•  In 1934, Mahatma Gandhi visited Devakottai to condole with the death of Poochi, a dalit, in the movement against untouchability, and held discussions with Dalits and Nattars, who were opposed to Dalits wearing shirts.

•  In 1940, Sri Chakravarti Rajagopalachari inaugurated the "Gandhi Maligai" in May 26, at Karaikudi.

•  In 1948, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, laid the foundation stone of C.E.C.R.I. in July 25, at Karaikudi.

•  In 1953, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Vice-President of India, dedicated C.E.C.R.I. to the Nation in January 14, at Karaikudi.

•  In 1953, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of India, laid the foundation stone of A.C.C.E.T.'s main building in February 19, at Karaikudi.

•  Thanthai Periyar, Erode Venkata Ramasamy, (E.V.R.), has given a still famous speech at Karaikudi. [undated]

•  In 1973, Shrimathi Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, presided over the Silver jubilee celebrations of Alagappa institutions and C.E.C.R.I. in September 24, at Karaikudi. Later, delivered a speech at Kamban Manimandapam.


Conclusion
Thanks to Chettiars' acumen as well as their adherence to time-honored practices and with efforts by people of other communities, Karaikudi has become a thriving hub for education, finance, and other influential services.