Karur is a town and a municipality in Karur district in Tamil Nadu situated on the banks of Amaravati. It is the administrative headquarters of Karur District.
Karur is one of the oldest towns in Tamil Nadu and has played a very significant role in the history and culture of the Tamils. Its history dates back over 2000 years, and has been a flourishing trading center in the early Sangam days. It was ruled by the Cheras, Gangas, Cholas, the Vijayanagara Nayaks, Mysore and the British successively.
It is repeatedly mentioned in inscriptions and literature by two names, Karuvoor and Vanji. It had other names too: Adipuram, Tiruaanilai, Paupatheechuram, Karuvaippatinam, Vanjularanyam, Garbhapuram, Thiru vithuvakkottam, Bhaskarapuram, Mudivazhangu Viracholapuram, Karapuram, Aadaga maadam, Cherama nagar and Shanmangala Kshetram. Among them, the name Adipuram i.e. the first city seems to indicate that it was held as the foremost city by the mediaeval writers. It was also called Vanci moothur, the ancient city of Vanji. In the foreign notices of Ptolemy, it was called Karoura - an inland capital of the Cheras.
Karur was built on the banks of river Amaravathi which was called Aanporunai during the Sangam days. According to the Hindu mythology, Brahma began the work of creation here, which is referred to as the "place of the sacred cow." The names of the early Chera kings who ruled from Karur, have been found in the rock inscriptions in Aaru Nattar Malai close to Karur. The Tamil epic Silapathikaram mentions that the famous Chera King Senguttuvan ruled from Karur.
Epigraphical, numismatic, archaeological and literary evidence have proved beyond doubt that Karur was the capital of early Chera kings of Sangam age. It was called Karuvoor or Vanji during Sangam days. There has been a plethora of rare findings during the archaeological excavations undertaken in Karur. These include mat-designed pottery, bricks, mud-toys, Roman coins, Chera Coins, Pallava Coins, Roman Amphorae, Rasset coated ware, rare rings, etc. Karur may have been the center for old jewellery-making and gem setting (with the gold imported mainly from Rome), as seen from various excavations. In 150 Greek scholar Ptolemy mentioned "Korevora" (Karur) as a very famous inland trading center in Tamil Nadu.
Karuvurar born in medieval Karur, is one among the nine devotees who sung the divine Music Thiruvichaippa, which is the ninth Thirumurai. He is the single largest composer among the nine authors of Thiruvichaippa. He lived during the reign of the great Raja Raja Chola I. In addition to the famous Siva temple, there is a Vishnu temple at Thiruvithuvakkodu suburb of Karur, sung by famous Kulasekaraazhvaar (7th-8th century). The same temple is presumably mentioned in epic Silappadikaram as Adaha maadam Ranganathar whose blessings Cheran Senguttuvan sought before his north Indian expedition.
Karur municipality was constituted in 1874. It was upgraded to I grade municipality from 24.10.69 and upgraded to selection grade municipality from 24.05.1988 and as special grade municipality from 07.04.1988.