History of district:
Theni District was formed by the bifurcation from erstwhile Madurai District as per G.O. Ms. No. 679 Revenue Department Dated July 7, 1996. Consequent to the bifurcation, one new Revenue Division with headquarters at Uthamapalayam and two new Taluks at Theni and Bodinayakanur were also created with effect from January 1, 1997. Theni Municipal town was only a firka headquarters until December 31, 1996. Consequent to the formation of the new District, Theni Municipal Town was upgraded as the Taluk and District headquarters on January 1, 1997.
The region covered by present-day Theni District was scarcely populated before the 1900s. In 1886 Mullaperiyar dam project brings some part of water from Periyar River downhill to Cumbum Valley and merge into Mullayar River. This project helped more people to settle down in Cumbum Valley. Also to be noted that Theni is itself a small and less-known town by the 1900s. After the Mullay-Periyaar merger project lots of people from nearby dry arid regions (Sivakasi, Kovilpatti, Virudhunagar, Sattur and several nearby towns) settled in Cumbum-Valley (present day Theni District). So there was influx of people by the 1890s to 1920s. Bodi and Periyakulam are famous places at that age. Later Theni developed in rapid pace due to lots of business activities.
Main occupation of the district:
Its economy is mostly agricultural. Utilisation of land area for cultivation in Theni district is 40.33%. The principal crop production (in tonnes) in 2005-2006 was: sugarcane 1,201,221, cotton 95,360 (561 bales of 170. kg lint each), rice (paddy) 66,093, millets and other cereals 57,081, pulses 6,677, groundnut 4,021 and gingelly 325. Silk, Banana, Coconut, Tea, Coffee, Cardamom, Grapes and Mangoes are other main produce of the district.
Cumbum Valley is a major centre for grape production with 4,000 small farmers producing over 90,000 tonnes of Muscat grapes, locally known as panneer dhrakshai, and about 10,000 tonnes of Thomson seedless grapes. The unique feature here is that the grapes are harvested throughout the year, while in most grape growing centres elsewhere the season ends with summer.
Cotton Spinning Mills and Sugar Mills are the major industries in this district. In Andipatti Taluk Handloom weaving and power looms are flourishing. In Uthamapalayam Taluk, the Highwavis Estate produces an important amount of Tea. Bodinayakanur is a major market place for cardamom, coffee, tea and black pepper. This city is also called "Cardamom City" because of the large quantity of cardamom trade in this area. It has an auction centre for cardamom.
The Periyar and Surliar Hydro Power Stations and the Vaigai Micro Hydro Power Station have 181 MW installed capacity and actual power generation of 494 MW in 1996 in this district. Theni is one of the active business hubs in the western side of Tamil Nadu, inviting more industries to its locality. The district currently has 41.09 km of Metre gauge track serving 3 Railway Stations which connect to Madurai.
The district currently has 41.09 km of Metre gauge track serving 3 Railway Stations which connect to Madurai.
Bodinayakanur, Periyakulam, Cumbum, Uthamapalayam and Theni are charming towns in the district. Resounding cascades, silver-lined clouds resting a top billiard green hill tops, sheer rock faces and temples of antiquity distinguish these places.
- Vaigai Dam (~10 km from Theni)
- Suruli falls (~50 km from Theni)
- Manjalar Dam(~35 km from Theni)
- Meghamalai Hill (~57 km from Theni)
- Peyathevar Canal,Gudalur Hill (~50 km from Theni)
- Bodi Mettu Hill (~40 km from Theni)
- Kumbakarai Falls (~15 km from Theni)
- Sothuparai Dam (~20 km from Theni)
- Shanmuganathi Dam (~50 km from Theni)
- Chinna Suruli falls (~15 km from Theni)
- Ramakkal Mettu(~30 km from Theni)
- Kurankani (~20 km from Theni)
- HighWeaves (~70 km from Theni)
- Thekkadi (~ 55 km from Theni)
- Munnar (~ 80 km from Theni)
- Kumily (~55 km from Theni)