Virudhunagar district is a district of Tamil Nadu state with its administrative headquarters located at Virudhunagar town. The district got its name from its headquarters town, Virudhunagar. There are many theories associated with the name of the district. In Tamil language the term virudhu means banners. A local legend believed that once upon a time there was a warrior, who won a number of banners from the kingdoms which he invaded, later came to the town and challenged the residents. Then a resident accepted the challenge and as a result he killed the warrior. At that same moment he proceeded to snatch all the flags held by the warrior. From that particular period of time, the region was popularly known as Virudhukkalvetti. During the 16th century CE Virudhunagar was a significant part of the Madurai region. Later it was under the Vijayanagar Empire but emerged as an independent region in 1559 when the Nayaks got victory over the earlier Vijayanagar Empire. After sometime it came under the rule of Nayaks until the year 1736. In the mid of the 18th century the region was captured by different rulers for several times likewise Chanda Sahib (1740-1754), Arcot Nawab and Muhammed Yusuf Khan (1725-1764). Finally, in 1801 the British came to this place and started to rule over it. In 1875 the name of the town was changed to Virudhupatti. The place got its present name, Virudhunagar on 6th April, 1923 and on the same date Virudhunagar was emerged as a separate district on the map of the state of Tamil Nadu.
Geographically, the district lies at 9°58'N latitude, 77°96'E longitude and 102 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 8.06% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 4,241 sq. km. and it is bounded by Sivagangai district and Madurai district on the north, Tirunelveli district and Tuticorin district on the south, Ramanathapuram district on the east, Kerala state on the west and Theni district on the northwest. Most of the rainfall in the district occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 868.6 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 9 taluks namely Aruppukkottai, Kariapatti, Rajapalayam, Sattur, Sivakasi, Srivilliputhur, Tiruchuli, Vembakottai and Virudhunagar. Moreover, it comprises 44 towns and 570 villages. The administrative language in the district is Tamil.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 19,42,288 out of which 9,67,709 are males and 9,74,579 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 1007 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 10.91% including 11.18% were males and 10.63% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 93.84% of the total population. The population density in the district is 458 persons per sq. km. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Tamil with 89.51%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 26,752 out of which 13,701 were males and 13,051 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 19,666 out of which 11,582 were males and 8,084 were females.
The economy of the district is mainly dependent on both the agricultural and industrial sectors. Though the productions of the agricultural crops in the district are limited due to its geographical and unfavourable climate but Virudhunagar is famous for the markets of oil, chicory, coffee seeds, dry chillies and pulses. Industrially, the district is quite well developed. The leading industries in the district are match industry, fireworks and printing which are commonly found in and around the region of Sivakasi. Some other small scale industries in the district are ginning factories, spinning mills, power loom, hand loom industries, etc. Most of the population in the district are directly or indirectly engaged in these industries in order to earn their livelihood. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from these industries in the district helps in its economy to a great extent. In the year 2011-12 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 24,47,217 lakhs at current price and Rs. 16,58,769 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2018-19 was Rs. 42,01,629 lakh at current price and Rs. 31,13,199 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. 1,66,675 at current price and Rs. 1,30,026 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. The district is fortunate enough to have some recognised colleges which are operated by the three prominent universities of the state of Tamil Nadu namely Tamil Nadu Open University, Annamalai University and Alagappa University. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 80.15% including 87.71% are males and 72.69% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 13,98,788 including 7,60,375 are males and 6,38,413 are females.
Poosapati Sanjeevi Kumarswamy Raja, a veteran Indian politician who served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (Madras Presidency) from 6th April, 1949 to 10th April, 1952 was born in the year 1898 at Rajapalayam in the district. He was also served as the Governor of Orissa from 1954 to 1956. 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. Srivilliputhur, in the district is the most significant tourist destination of the district. The ancient Andal temple is the identity of this place. Andal, one of the twelve Vaishnavaite saints was born in this place and these twelve Vaishnavaite saints together called as Alwars meaning one who is immersed since the saints are immersed in the Vishnu Bhakti. Sivakasi, a town located at a distance of 25 km. from the Virudhunagar town is renowned for its cottage industries which manufactures safety matches, fireworks, litho-printing and calendar manufacture. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Aruppukkottai, Thiruchuzhi, Rajapalayam and many more.