Pudukkottai district is a district of Tamil Naidu state with its administrative headquarters located at Pudukkottai town. The district got its name from its headquarters town, Pudukkottai. It is also colloquially known as Pudhugai. Pudukottai was the creation of Raghunatha Thondaiman. Once upon a time there was a ruler named Raghunatha Kilavan Setupati (1673-1708 A.D.) of Ramnad married Kathali Nachiar, the sister of Raghunatha Thondaiman. He appointed Raghunatha Thondaiman, as a chief of the region, Pudukottai. At very beginning Raghunatha Thondaiman was the ruler of Thirumayam only. But later Raghunatha Kilavan Setupati became happy with the services of Raghunatha Thondaiman so in appreciation Raghunatha Kilavan Setupati gave Pudukkottai to Raghunatha Thondaiman, as an honour for his services. After the death of Raghunatha Thondaiman, Raja Vijaya Reghunatha Raya Thondaiman became the ruler of Pudukkottai. In this way numerous rulers came and ruled the place, Pudukkottai. Raja Rajagopala Thondaiman (1928-1948), the last and ninth in the line of Thondaiman rulers, was selected by the British Government and was crowned when he was six years old. After Indian independence in 1947, the last Thondaiman raja of Pudukkottai surrendered to newly- independent India in the year 1948 and thus it became a division of Tiruchirappalli district of the state of Madras. Finally, with some parts of Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur districts the present Pudukkottai district was emerged on 14th January, 1974. In this way the long history of the Thondaimans' rule came to an end.
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy, a distinguished medical practitioner and social reformer was born on 30th July, 1886 at Pudukottai city. The Government of India honoured her with the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award in 1956. She was the first woman legislator in India.
Geographically, the district lies at 10°38'N latitude and 78°82'E longitude and 100 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 8.12% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 4,644 sq. km. and it is bounded by Thanjavur district on the North East and East, Ramanathapuram district and Sivagangai district on the South West and Tiruchirapalli district on the West and North West. The climate of the district remains hot and dry throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1076.3 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 11 taluks namely Kulathur, Illuppur, Alangudi, Pudukkottai, Gandarvakottai, Tirumayam, Aranthangi, Ponnamaravathi, Karambakkudi, Avadaiyarkoil and Manamelkudi. Moreover, it comprises 16 towns and 750 villages. The administrative language in the district is Tamil.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 16,18,345 out of which 8,03,188 are males and 8,15,157 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 1015 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 10.88% including 10.89% were males and 10.86% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 88.29% of the total population. The population density in the district is 348 persons per sq. km. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Tamil with 99.23%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 18,162 out of which 9,418 were males and 8,744 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 14,520 out of which 8,982 were males and 5,538 were females.
The economy of the district is mainly dependent on agriculture. The climatic condition and the soil quality of the district are favourable for the agricultural production. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural products in the district are coconut shell products, groundnuts, rice, tobacco, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from the agricultural products in the district helps its economy to a great extent. Industrially, also the district is quite well developed. The SIPCOT Industrial Complex, located on Trichy - Rameswaram National Highways is very significant in terms of the economy of the district. In the year 2011-12 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 10,83,197 lakhs at current price and Rs. 6,81,573 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2018-19 was Rs. 20,53,066 lakh at current price and Rs. 14,07,857 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2016-17 was Rs. 95,453 at current price and Rs. 71,148 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district is well known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. As per 2011 census the district has a literacy rate of 77.19% including 85.56% are males and 69% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 11,10,545 including 6,08,776 are males and 5,01,769 are females.
N. Sundarraj, a veteran Indian politician and a member of the 8th, 9th and 10th Lok Sabha from the Pudukkottai Lok Sabha constituency was born on 31st January, 1944 at Kattuppatty in the district. He was a member of the Indian National Congress.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Kudumiyanmalai, a pious place situated at a distance of 20 km. from the Pudukkottai city has a Sikharagireeswarar temple which contains exquisite sculptures and a 1000-pillared hall. Viralimalai temple, a sacred temple of Lord Muruga was built in the 15th century on a hillock. This temple is situated 40 km. away from the Pudukkottai. Avur, a place renowned for its number of Churches is located almost 28 km. far from the Pudukkottai town. The new Roman Catholic Church in this place was constructed in 1747 A.D. on the other hand the old chapel here was constructed by Fr John Venatius Bachet in 1547 A.D. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Kattubava Pallivasal, Vendanpatti, Aranthangi, Avudayar Koil, Thirumayam, Narthamalai, Kodumbalur, etc.