Karaikal is a major port city of east coast of India and a municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

 in Karaikal district
Karaikal district
Karaikal district is one of the four regions of the Union Territory of Pondicherry in India.Karaikal town about 16 km. north of Nagappattinam and 9 km.south of Tarangambadi is the regional headquarters...

 in the Union Territory
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 of Pondicherry, India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. 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.


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

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.


Karaikal is a small coastal enclave of territory which was formerly part of French India
French India
French India is a general name for the former French possessions in India These included Pondichéry , Karikal and Yanaon on the Coromandel Coast, Mahé on the Malabar Coast, and Chandannagar in Bengal...

. Together with the other former French enclaves of Pondicherry (formally known as Puducherry), Yanam
Yanam district
Yanam district is one of the four districts of the Union Territory of Pondicherry in India.-Revenue Villages:Apart from the town of Yanam itself, the following villages fall under the district's jurisdiction:* Agraharam* Darialatippa* Farampeta...

, and Mahé, Karaikal forms the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Karaikal is bounded on the North and South by Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 state, on the west by Tiruvarur district
Tiruvarur District
Tiruvarur district is one of the 30 districts in the Tamil Nadu state of India. The district occupies an area of 2161 km². It is lies between Nagapattinam district on the east and Thanjavur district on the west, and is bounded by the Palk Strait on the south...

 (also belonging to Tamil Nadu), and on the East by the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

. 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
  • Nedungadu
    Nedungadu, formerly Nedoungadou, is a town and commune in the Karaikal District of Pondicherry, India.- Demography :According to the 2001 census, Nedungadu had a population of 15,406 with 7,573 men and 7,833 women. The sex ratio was 1,034....

  • Kottucherry
    Kottucheri is a town and commune in the Karaikal District of Pondicherry, India.- Demography :According to the 2001 census, Kottucheri had a population of 17,433 with 8,682 men and 8,751 women. The sex ratio was 1,008....

  • Neravy
    Neravy,or Neravi, is a town and commune in the Karaikal District of Pondicherry, India.- Demography :According to the 2001 census, Kottucheri had a population of 10,886 with 5,392 men and 5,494 women. The sex ratio was 1,019....

  • Thirunallar
  • Tirumalairayanpattinam
    Tirumalarajanpattinam is a town and commune in the Karaikal District of Pondicherry, India. Tirumalarajanpattinam is situated at a distance of 6 kilometres toi the south of Karaikal municipality.- Etymology:...

     (know as T.R Pattinam.)

2004 Tsunami
On the 26th of December 2004 , Karaikal faced its worst tragedy in recent memory. Tsunami
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake...

 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 River
The river Arasalar is a branch of Cauvery which split into 5 different rivers when it enters into Tanjore District from Trichy. Exactly in the place near to Pullambadi where the River Cauvery been stopped by Lower Anaicut and from Tiruvaiyaru this Arasalar separates from River Cauvery....

  and its branches spread through Karaikal, the waters of Kodamurutti and Virasolanar also meet the irrigation needs of the

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.


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 Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s, Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s, Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s and people of other religious persuasions. Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 is the predominant native language of the people. As the area was formerly a French possession
French colonial empire
The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

, the French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 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.


Karaikal port
Karaikal port
Karaikal Port Private Limited , a private port developed by the Chennai based MARG Limited, became operational in April, 2009. The port is located on the Eastern coast of India in keezhavanjore village in Karaikal District of Pondicherry state around 300 Km along the coast south of Chennai 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.

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.


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.

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
NIT (National Institute of Technology) is recently opened in Karaikal. RVS is another private instituation who opened their Education trust in Karaikal.


India census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

, 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.

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

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
    Nagore is a town in the Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu, India. It is located approximately 16 km south of Karaikal and 4 km north of Nagapattinam. Tiruvarur , Mayiladuthurai , Muthupet are nearby towns. It has a population of approximately 90,000. The prime attraction is the renowned...

     Thouheed Mosque (TN): Muslim Pilgrim Centre, located 15 km south of Karaikal.
  5. Danish Fort (TN), Tranquebar
    Tharangambadi is a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 15 km north of Karaikal, near the mouth of a distributary of the Kaveri River. Its name means "place of the singing waves"...

    . Around 12 km north to Karaikal.
  6. Tranquebar. The place where World's first printing press was started by Bartholomew Ziegenbalg, in 1706.


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.

External links

See also

  • French India
    French India
    French India is a general name for the former French possessions in India These included Pondichéry , Karikal and Yanaon on the Coromandel Coast, Mahé on the Malabar Coast, and Chandannagar in Bengal...

  • French colonial empire
    French colonial empire
    The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

  • French East India Company
    French East India Company
    The French East India Company was a commercial enterprise, founded in 1664 to compete with the British and Dutch East India companies in colonial India....

  • Municipal Administration in French India
    Municipal Administration in French India
    Though the French established colonies in India in the 17th century itself, it was not until the end of the 19th century they started civil administration in French India.-French Metropolitan Decree:...

  • Causes for Liberation of French colonies in India
    Causes for Liberation of French colonies in India
    Many interrelated political, cultural, socio-economic and geographical factors contributed to the liberation of French Establishments in India.-Geographical and cultural divergence:...

  • Marakkar
    Marakkar or Maraikayar or Maraicayar or Maricar or Marican is a distinctive Tamil- and Malayalam-speaking Muslim people of the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India.Traditionally, the Maricars engaged in mercantile commerce...

  • Karaikal Carnival
    Karaikal Carnival
    Karaikal Carnival is a cultural festival organised by the Tourism Department, during the Pongal Festival in Karaikal, one of the four parts of Union Territory of Pondicherry , to promote tourism in the district.- Events :...

  • Serumavilangai
    Serumavilangai is a small village comes in the Thirunallar Commune of the Karaikal District in the Union Territory of Pondicherry ....

    Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru College of Agriculture is an agricultural college established on 2 October 1987 at the village Serumavilangai in Karaikal district of the Union Territory of Pondicherry , India...

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