Karur is the administrative headquarters of Karur District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of River Amaravathi, it has been ruled, at different times, by the Chera, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Hyder Ali, Carnatic kingdom, and the British. It is located at a distance of southwest of the state capital Chennai. It is well known for hand loom, power loom textile products, paper and bus body works industries.
Karur has important government educational institutes, colleges and schools. Karur is a part of Karur constituency and elects its member of legislative assembly every five years, and a part of the Karur constituency that elects its member of parliament. The town is administered by a municipality established in 1874 as per the Municipal Corporation Act. The town covers an area of 5.96 km2 and had a population of 70,980 in 2011. Roadways is the major mode of transport to the town, while it has also got rail connectivity. The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli International Airport, located at a distance of 77 km from the town.
Karur is 1 of the oldest towns in Tamil Nadu and has played a very significant role in the history and culture of the Tamils. The history dates back to the Sangam period when it was a flourishing trade centre. Karur was built on the banks of river Amaravathi which was called Aanporunai during the Sangam days. According to Hinduism, 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, archaeological and literary evidence indicate that Karur was the capital of early Chera kings of Sangam age. It was called Karuvoor or Vanji during Sangam days. The archaeological excavations undertaken in Karur resulted in the excavation of mat-designed pottery, bricks, mud-toys, Roman coins, Chera coins, Pallava coins, Roman Amphorae, Rasset coated ware and rare rings. Karur might 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 CE, Greek scholar Ptolemy mentioned “Korevora” (Karur) as a very famous inland trading center in Tamil Nadu. It was ruled by the Cheras, Gangas, Cholas, the Vijayanagara Nayaks, Tipu Sultan and the British successively.
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.