Kancheepuram

Kanchipuram district is a district in the northeast of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. In Early Days Chengalpattu is called as the District. In Later Kanchipuram is considered as a District. It is bounded in the west by Vellore District and Thiruvannamalai District, in the north by Tiruvallur District and Chennai District, in the south by Viluppuram District and in the east by the Bay of Bengal. It lies between 11° 00′ to 12° 00′ latitudes and 77° 28′ to 78° 50′ longitudes. The district has a total geographical area of 4,432 km2 (1,711 sq mi) and coastline of 57 km (35 mi). The town of Kanchipuram is the district headquarters. The Chennai International Airport is located in Tirusulam in Kanchipuram district. In 2011, Kancheepuram district had a population of 3,998,252, with a sex-ratio of 986 females for every 1,000 males.

The history of Kanchi can be traced back to several centuries BCE. The place finds its name in Patanjali’s Mahabhashya, written in the 2nd century BC. Manimekalai, the famous Tamil classic, and Perumpanattu Padai, a great Tamil poetical work, vividly describe Kanchipuram city, as it was at the beginning of the Christian era.

Kancheepuram District had been administered by the Pallavas, Cholas, Vijayanagar rulers and the British before Independence. It was a part of Tondaimandalam roughly comprising the present day districts of Kancheepuram, Chennai, Tiruvallur, Vellore and Thiruvannamalai. The capital of Thondaimandalam was Kancheepuram city. From the 3rd to the 9th century AD. Kanchi was the capital of the Pallavas who ruled over the territory extending from the river Krishna in the north to the river Kaveri in the south. The Pallavas fortified the city with ramparts, moats, etc., with wide and well laid out roads and fine temples. They were a great maritime power with contacts with far-off China, Siam, Fiji, etc., through their chief Port Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram). The Cholas ruled this region from the 10th century to the 13th century. Kings of Vijayanagar dynasty ruled from the 14th century to the 17th century.

Kanchi was a major seat of learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. Daṇḍin has described it to be the best among the cities (Nagareshu Kanchi), just as Jati (jasmine) is the sweetest amongst the flowers, Rambha the most beautiful amongst women and Grihasthasrama the most ideal amongst the four asramas of human life. One of the kings of Kanchi, Mahendravarman-I, was a great scholar and musician, a man of great intelligence and also a great playwright. Yuan Chwang, the great Chinese traveler, visited Kanchipuram city in the 7th century and said that this city was 6 miles in circumference and that its people were famous for bravery and piety as well as for their love of justice and veneration for learning. He further recorded that Buddha had visited the place. As regards learning, Kanchi stood second in glory only to Banaras. Once the seat of learning and religious fervour, it started its climb down with the Mughal invasions followed by three centuries of colonial rule under the British.

The British coined the name Conjeevaram, the anglicised version of Kancheepuram. Under the British regime, a Collector to the district was appointed for the first time in 1788 AD. The district was further split up into two divisions, Northern and Southern, and was placed under the administration of two Collectors. The Collectors during the 1790s were Clerk and Balfour. Lionel Place, the Collector in 1794-1799, created the posts of Sharistadars, who came under the control of the Collector. Clerks were also appointed to assist the Sharistadars. The famous Madurantakam and Uthiramerur tanks were created by Place. Hodgson, who was Head Assistant to Place, succeeded him as the Collector. The place he resided at Kancheepuram is still known in the name of Hodgsonpet. In 1800, Hodgson was succeeded by his Senior Assistant, Greenway.

In the 19th century, Karunguzhi became the headquarters of the district and it remained so up to 1859 when it was shifted to ‘Home Garden’ Saidapettai, except for a short spell from 1825-1835 during which Kancheepuram served as the district headquarters. From 1859 to 1968, the Collector’s office was located in Saidapettai.

Post Indian Independence, Kancheepuram city became the headquarters of Chengalpattu district with effect from 1 July 1968. Then the Chengalpattu-MGR district was split into two as Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur Districts from 1 July 1997. Thus the new Kancheepuram District was formed from 1 July 1997, consisting of 8 Taluks, viz, Kancheepuram, Sriperumbudur, Uthiramerur, Chengalpattu, Tambaram, Tirukalukundram, Madrandakam and Cheyyur.

Kancheepuram district is situated on the North East coast of Tamil Nadu. It is bound by Bay of Bengal in the East, Vellore and Thiruvannamalai districts in the west, Thiruvallur and Chennai districts in the north, and Villuppuram district in the south. It lies between 11° 00′ to 12° 00′ latitudes and 77° 28′ to 78° 50′ longitudes. The district has a total geographical area of 4,43,210 hectares and a coastline of 57 km. The table below shows the maximum and minimum temperatures experienced in the district during different seasons.

According to 2011 census, Kancheepuram district had a population of 3,998,252 with a sex-ratio of 986 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929.A total of 431,574 were under the age of six, constituting 220,341 males and 211,233 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 23.71% and 1.03% of the population respectively. The average literacy of the district was 75.37%, compared to the national average of 72.99%.The district had a total of 6,245 households. There were a total of 1,673,814 workers, comprising 74,761 cultivators, 162,494 main agricultural labourers, 41,149 in house hold industries, 1,088,974 other workers, 306,436 marginal workers, 14,582 marginal cultivators, 110,020 marginal agricultural labourers, 13,583 marginal workers in household industries and 168,251 other marginal workers.