History of district:
Pudukkottai was organised as a separate district, on 14th January 1974, comprising the former Pudukkottai Division of Tiruchirappalli district with some additions from Thanjavur district. At present, this district is composed of two Revenue Divisions, namely, Pudukkottai and Aranthangi and nine Taluks, namely, Kulathur, Illuppur, Alangudi, Pudukkottai, Gandarvakottai, Thirumayam, Aranthangi, Avudaiyrakoil and Manamelkudi. There are 765 Revenue Villages. The area of the district is 4663 Sq.Kms. The population of the district is 14,52,269 (as per Census 2001 Provisional figures). The district depends a great deal on the monsoon for its water supply.
Many of the villages are of ancient foundation. The district was one of the homes of pre-historic man. A very large number of burial sites found in the northern and western parts of the district attest this fact.
A very brief sketch of political history is given here in order to appreciate and understand the mixed legacy of antiquities, monuments, epigraphs and the like. The history of Pudukkottai is an epitome of the history of South India. In and around Pudukkottai, there are many vestiges of the oldest habitations of man and some of the lithic records known in the south. The Pandyas, Cholas, Pallavas, Haysalas, Vijaynagar and Madurai Nayaks ruled over this part of the country and fostered it's communual organisations, trade and industries and embellished it with temples and monuments of outstanding merit.
Main occupation of the district:
The SIPCOT Industrial Complex is located on Trichy - Rameswaram National Highways (NH 210). This Industrial complex is well connected by Road, Rail and Air. It was established in 1980. The allotment of land commenced in 1982 to accommodate Engineering and General Industries. The total extent of complex area is 421.10 acres (1.7041Sq.Km).
Pudukkottai district is predominantly an agricultural oriented district. Generally a dry and hot climate prevails in this district and this district's agricultural production depends mainly on the rainfall. The normal annual rainfall of Pudukkottai district is 922.8 mm. Out of which 52.2 mm is received in winter, 124.6 mm is received in hot weather period, 351.9 mm is received during South West Monsoon and 394.1 mm is received in North East Monsoon. Recently Tamil Nadu Agricultural University started Diploma college in agriculture at Kudimiyanmalai with a strength of approximately 50 students including girls.
There are 5,385 irrigation tanks available in this district, of which 172 tanks are system tanks fed by Grand Anaikat Channel and the remaining are rain fed tanks. There are about 55,137 wells in the district catering an area of 7791 Ha. Paddy is the major crop of this district. 90000 Ha. of area is covered under paddy, out of which 135000 Ha. of area is fed with Cauvery Mettur Project through G.A. canal. The remaining area is well and tank fed. The present productivity level is 4.985 Mt. of Paddy /Ha.Other than Paddy, Groundnut is the major crop in this district which is mainly cultivated under rain fed condition. Groundnut is being cultivated in 36000 Ha. as rain fed crop and 8000 Ha. under irrigated condition Millet, Pulse, Cotton, Sugarcane, Gingelly are the other crops cultivated in this district.
Road: The Pudukkottai municipality maintains 122.84 km (76.33 mi) of roads. The city has 4.16 km (2.58 mi) concrete roads, 9.78 km (6.08 mi) WBM roads, 6 km (3.7 mi) gravel roads, 2.5 km (1.6 mi) foot paths and 100.4 km (62.4 mi) bituminous road. A total of 19.908 km (12.370 mi) of state highways is maintained by the State Highways Department and national highways by the National Highways Department.
There are two national highways namely the NH 336 Trichy - Ramanathapuram road and NH 226 Perambalur - Manamadurai road that pass via Pudukkottai. There are two state highways that pass via the town - SH 26 Trichy - Mimisal road and SH 71 Musiri - Sethubavachatram road. The other major district roads connect Pudukkottai to other parts of the district. The Pudukkottai bus stand is a B-grade bus stand located in the centre of the town. The State Express Transport Corporation operates long distance buses connecting the city to important cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Vellore, Pazhani, Erode, Velankanni, Tiruvannamalai, Nagercoil, Tiruchendur and Thoothukudi. There are frequent intercity buses operated by the TNSTC Kumbakonam division to cities like Tiruchchirapalli, Thanjavur, Madurai, Manapparai, Aranthangi, Karaikkudi, Devakottai, Pattukkottai, Ponnamaravathi, Rameswaram, Chennai and Kumbakonam.
Train: Pudukkottai railway station has daily express trains to and from Chennai, Rameswaram and weekly express trains to Coimbatore, Puducherry, Kanyakumari, Varanasi and Bhubaneshwar. The town has passenger train services to Trichy, Manamadurai, Mannargudi, Rameswaram and Karaikudi.
Chithannavasal :Sittannavasal is one the oldest habitation of man in the district and is rich in megalithic sites. This ancient abode of Jains dating back to the 2nd Century B.C. is about 16 Kms. from Pudukkottai . The Rock - cut cave temple here has beautiful fresco Paintings in natural colours as in Ajanta. The Natural cavern with stone beds in which the Jain monks were said to have sought refuge for meditation. This cave contains lithic record (Brahmi Script of 2nd Century B.C.)
Kudumiyanmalai :Kudumianmalai is 20 Kms from Pudukkottai. The presiding deity of the temple here is Sikhagiriswarar. There are beautiful sculptures in the temple. The temple is noted for numerous inscriptions. Remarkable among them is the one relating to a musical treatise. It is the only of it's kind , dating to 8-9th century AD., and the notations can be played in a Veena called ‘Pirivadini’ with 8 Strings. There is a rock-cut cave temple with massive bas-relief dwarapalakas and with the architectural features of Hoysala style and belongs to 8-9th century A.D. The Anna Agricultural Farm and Agriculture Research Institute are the other interesting features of this place.
Thirukokarnam : The Rock-cut cave temple of Sri Gokarneswara - Brahadambal at Thirugokarnam is a Pandya art and belongs to 9th century A.D. It is the tutelary deity of Thondaiman rulers of Pudukkottai.
The Pudukkottai Museum is situated at Thirugokarnam. It has rare collections in Geology, Zoology, Paintings, Anthropology, Archaeology, Numismatics, Economics, Botany and Philately. The Fine Sculptures and bronzes of various periods are the, attractive items of the Museum.
Kudumbalur :Kudumbalur is 36 Kms. from Pudukkottai and 42 Kms. from Thiruchirappalli. It was formerly the seat of Irukkuvelirs, who were related to the Cholas. Kodumbalur is one of the ancient places in the district and is mentioned in Silappadikaram, The epic hero and his wife are said to have passed through this place on their way to Madurai. The early Chola temple here is known as "Muvarkoil". Of the three shrines of Moovarkoil only two exist now. These temples were build by But Vikramakesari in the 10th Century A.D. The Architecture of the temple is unique among South Indian temples and is the forerunner of all the grand Chola monuments.
Viralimalai :The temple of Lord Subramanya at this place is on a hillock It is a peacock sanctuary, It is 30 Kms. from Trichy and 40 Kms. From Pudukkottai. The Principal idol Lord Subramanya with Valli and Devasena is seated on a peacock. It is one of important centre of Lord Muruga worship and various festivals relating to Lord Muruga are celebrated.
Pallivasal :One of the Islamic Pilgrim Centres, this is located on the Pudukkottai - Madurai highways. The saint entombed here is Bava Fakruddin, popularly called as Kattubava, is the grandson of the celebrated saint of Nagore Shahul Hameed. Both Hindus and Muslims visit this place and it is a symbol of religious harmony in the district.. Annual ‘Urs’ takes place in the month of Rabiyul Ahir.
Thirumayam: The Fort, the Siva and Vishnu temples are the tourist attractions here. The fort played an important role in the history of Tondaiman rulers of Pudukkottai and the British. The erection of this 40 acre-wide fort in 1687 A.D. is attributed to Sethupathi of Ramanathapuram. There are two cave temples one for Siva - Satyagiriswarar - and another for Vishnu - Satyamurti. Vishnu is in the form of Ananthasayi, called Adivangam. It is one of important Vishnavite centre.
Avur: The old chapel here was constructed in 1547 A.D. by Father John Venantius Bouchet and the new Roman Catholic Church was constructed in 1747 A.D. The Tamil Scholar Rev. Father Joseph Beschi (Veerama Munivar) also served in this church. The Easter Passion play followed by car Festivals, takes place in summer, which attracts people of all faiths.
Avudaiyarkoil: This is the most ornate temple in the district full of bursting barogue sculptures, the temple of Athmanatha. It is called Thirupperundurai in inscriptions and intimately associated with Siva saint Manickavasakar. The sacred book Saivism, Thiruvasakam of Manickavasakar originated from this shrine. The God is worshiped formless and no images in the sacnithanam. The utsavamurti of the temple is Manikkavasakar. The mandapams are full breath - taking sculptures, a varitable galary of sculptures. Avudaiyarkoil is 49 Kms from Pudukkottai.