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Karaikal (காரைக்கால்)
—  town  —
Karaikal (காரைக்கால்)
Location of Karaikal (காரைக்கால்)
in Pondicherry
Coordinates 10°55′58″N 79°49′55″E / 10.932701°N 79.831853°E / 10.932701; 79.831853Coordinates: 10°55′58″N 79°49′55″E / 10.932701°N 79.831853°E / 10.932701; 79.831853
Country India
State Pondicherry
District(s) Karaikal


227,569 (2009)

1,422 /km2 (3,683 /sq mi)

Official languages Tamil, French
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area 160 square kilometres (62 sq mi)
Website www.karaikal.gov.in/

Karaikal (Tamil: காரைக்கால் kāraikkāl also Karikal or Karaikkal) is a major port city of east coast of India and a municipality in Karaikal district in the Union Territory of Pondicherry, India. Several explanations are offered for the word 'Karaikal'. The imperial Gazetteer gives it the meaning 'fish pass'. According to Julien vinson the town is said to have known as Karaigiri in Sanskrit. However, the name Karaikal is no doubt a combination of two words 'Karai' and 'Kal'. Both the words ‘Karai and 'Kal' have several meanings, of which the more acceptable ones are 'lime mix' and 'canal' respectively. Hence it has been suggested that the name may mean a canal built of lime mix. However, no trace of such a canal is evident now.


[edit] History

Karaikal in 1955
Kingdom of Thanjavur

Before 1739 Karaikal was under the regime and control of Raja Pratap Singh of Tanjore. In 1738, Dumas, a shrewd calculative prudent man and a lover of peace and above all one who was anxious to extend the French territory in India by smooth means, negotiated with Sahuji of Thanjavur for possession of Karaikal, the fortress of Karakalcheri and five village for 40,000 chakras. On 14 February 1739 the French took possession of Karaikal town, the fort of Karakalcheri and eiht dependent villages. The King of Thanjavur raised the price for the town of Karaikal and the fort of Karakalcheri to 50000 chakras.

He also demanded a loan of 150000 chakras without interest repayable in three years against the hypothecation of Mayavaram lands and an annual rent of 4,000 pagodas for five villages. The French agreed to all the terms except for the payment of 150,000 chakras which was reduced to 10,000 chakras while the annual rental was reduce to two or three thousand chakras. The villages so received were Kilaiyur, Melaiyur, Puduthurai, Kovilpathu and Tirumalairayanpattinam. Subsequently two villages were ceded to the French. Pratap Singh who succeeded the throne renewed demand for a loan of 100,000 chakra and on receipt of the first instalment of 4,000 chakras he assigned eight more villages to the French viz., Codague (Kondagai), Vanjiyur, Arimullimangalam, Niravi, Dharmapuram, Uzhiapathu, Mattakudi (probably Mathalangudi) and Polagam. Then on 12 February 1740 he sold these villages for 6,0000 chakras, which he had assigned only the previous year for 40,000 chakras.

French Colony
Colonial Karikal

The same year he pledged Thirunallar Mahanam for 55,350 chakras and also pledged 33 villages for 60,000 chakras. By a treaty signed on 12 January 1750 Pratap Singh ceded to the French 81 villages around Karaikal and cancelled the annual rent of 2,000 pagodas payable for the villages. This was all the territory the French possessed around Thanjavur when they surrendered to the British in 1761. The territory then passed twice to the British control before it was finally handed over to the French in 1816/1817 under the Treaty of Paris, 1814.

Independence Struggle

The formation of Karaikal national congress on 13 June 1947 and Students Congress on 31 January 1947 symbolised the first concrete expression of popular desire in Karaikal for freedom from French rule. The French ruled this district until 31 October 1954 on which date the French flag flying atop the government house at Karaikal was lowered with due military honors before a large gathering of officials and non-officials. Thus the de facto transfer of power took place on 1 November 1954 followed by de jure transfer on 16 August 1962. Until 1 November 1954, it was under French rule.

Part of India

Even Though the Territory was handed over to the Republic of India on 1 November 1954 Karikal's municipal administration was continued pursuant to the Arrêté dated 8 March 1880. This was replaced by the promulgation of the Pondicherry Municipality Act, 1973, with effect from 26 January 1974. Mr. Gaudart was the first Mayor of Karaikal in 1884.

[edit] Geography

Location of Karaikal

Karaikal is a small coastal enclave of territory which was formerly part of French India. Together with the other former French enclaves of Pondicherry, Yanam, and Mahé, Karaikal forms the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Karaikal is bounded on the North and South by Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu state, on the west by Tiruvarur district (also belonging to Tamil Nadu), and on the East by the Bay of Bengal. The enclave is located 132 km south of the city of Pondicherry, 158 km east of Trichy and is known for its rich cultural heritage.


Karaikal town about 20 km. north of Nagappattinam and 12 km.south of Tarangambadi is the regional headquarters.

Karaikal region is made up of Karaikal municipality and the Communes of

2004 Tsunami

On the 26th of December 2004 , Karaikal faced its worst tragedy in recent memory. Tsunami waves hit this coastal town and more than 500 people, mostly fishermen and their families, were washed away by the killer waves.


The main branches of Kaveri below Grand Anicut are the Kodamurutti, Arasalar, Virasolanar and the Vikramanar. Although Arasalar and its branches spread through Karaikal, the waters of Kodamurutti and Virasolanar also meet the irrigation needs of the region


Forming part of the fertile Cauveri delta the region is completely covered by the distributaries of Cauveri. Covered completely by a thick mantle of alluvium of variable thickness, the lie of the region is flat having a gentle slope towards the Bay of Bengal in the east. It is limited on the north by the Nandalar and on the south-east by the Vettar. The group of rocks known as Cuddalore formations is met with in the area contiguous to Karaikal region in Nagappattinam District.

[edit] Culture

Located 132 km south of the city of Pondicherry, 300 km south of the city of Madras and 150 km east of Thiruchi. Karaikal is known for its rich religious heritage, and is a destination for those seeking leisure and serenity. The town enjoys a harmonious society made up of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and people of other religious persuasions. Tamil is the predominant native language of the people. As the area was formerly a French possession, the French language is also found, especially among the elder generation.

Karaikal is known all over the country for its unique and the only temple devoted to the Lord Saneeswara (Lord Saturn) at Thirunallar. Karaikal is the Gateway to various places of worship in the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu. Two famous shrines, Velankanni for Christians and Nagore for Muslims are nearby Karaikal. The French flavor still persists in the peaceful land of Karaikal.

In Tirumalairayanpattinam, there is a famous temple called Ayirankaliamman temple, ayiram means 1000. We can see this god once in 5 years, because whatever offerings are given to this god, it should be 1008. So they will open for 3 days once in 5 years, and many devotees from all over Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry will come and worship.

[edit] Economy

Karaikal port is a new deep sea water port being constructed in Vanjore, Karaikal. More than 600 acres (2.4 km2) of land was leased out to MARG corporation in year 2005 for 30 years and can be renewed for every 10 years thereafter. The port will have a total of nine berths and is constructed for primary transport of coal, textile and cement. The Karaikal port is intended to primarily handle cement and coal to serve the hinterland in Ariyalur, Perambalur and Tiruchi. The port is also expected to provide an alternative to the Chennai and Tuticorin ports, which are the major ports in the coastline but are separated by long distance. Further, Karaikal is in the middle of the Tamil Nadu coast, midway between the two deepwater ports of Chennai and Tuticorin.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC)'s Asset and Kauveri Basin is at karaikal.[1]
Most of the people in town are office bearers and other sources of town people's income is of petty business. The prominent source of income to the district is of agriculture. The other main source is of liquor as the tax is less and the cost is almost half when compared to neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the towns in South India with high cost of living due to French NRI's presence.

[edit] Statehood

Karaikal Union Territory Struggle Group started in 2005 to draw the attention of the Government of India towards demanding separate Union Territory status for Karaikal once main enclave Pondicherry becomes statehood. The economic backwardness of region since independence namely Karaikal, an enclave of the Union Territory of Pondicherry separated by 140 kilometers and surrounded by neighboring State of Tamil Nadu. All development were grabbed by the main enclave of Pondicherry.[2]

[edit] Educational institutions

According to the 2001 Census, Karaikal has literacy rate of 83 %. There is a wide network of Educational Institutions right from the Elementary level to Collegiate level in Karaikal region.

Karaikal has many schools,From primary to higher secondary.Arignar Anna Govt. Arts College,Avvaiyar Govt. Women college,Bharathiyar college of Engineering & Technology,Vinayaga Mission Medical College are wellknow institutions of Karaikal[3] NIT (National Institute of Technology) is recently opened in Karaikal. RVS is another private instituation who opened their Education trust in Karaikal.

[edit] Demographics

As of 2001 India census,[4] Karaikal town had a population of 105,333. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Karaikal has an average literacy rate of 73%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 79%, and female literacy is 68%. In Karaikal, 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.

[edit] Special places

  1. Karaikal Ammayar Temple.
  2. Karaikal Grand Masjid
  3. Karaikal Beach
  4. The Temple of Lord Saturn (Sanishwaran) Thirunallar.
  5. Aayiram Kaliamman Temple, T.R. Pattinam.
  6. Karaikal Port.
  7. The church of Our Lady of Angels.
  8. Masthan Sahib Darga

[edit] Special Places Near Karaikal

  1. The famous Abhirami amman temple at Thirukadaiyur, 16 km north of Karaikal.
  2. Lord Singaravelavar temple at Sikkal, 24 km from karaikal.
  3. The church of Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, Velankanni, 28 km from Karaikal.
  4. Nagore Thouheed Mosque (TN): Muslim Pilgrim Centre, located 15 km south of Karaikal.
  5. Danish Fort (TN), Tranquebar. Around 12 km north to Karaikal.
  6. Tranquebar. The place where World's first printing press was started by Bartholomew Ziegenbalg, in 1706.

[edit] Famous Personalities

  1. Dr Anandou (1917–1972), a general physician during the French colonial era of Pondicherry, India

[edit] Turndowns

Unmaintained open drainage system around the town causing foul stink and source for mosquitoes breeding. Solid wastes scattered around roads which makes municipality's existence a big question.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

[edit] See also

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