Theni District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in South India. The city of Theni is the district headquarters. The district is divided into two natural divisions: The hilly areas constituted by parts of the three taluks Periyakulam, Uthamapalayam and Andipatti with thick vegetation and perennial streams from the hills on the western side and Cumbum valley which lies in Uthamapalayam taluk.
Theni District was formed by the bifurcation from erstwhile Madurai District as per G.O. Ms. No. 679 Revenue Department Dated July 7, 1996. Consequent to the bifurcation, one new Revenue Division with headquarters at Uthamapalayam and two new Taluks at Theni and Bodinayakanur were also created with effect from January 1, 1997. Theni Municipal town was only a firka headquarters until December 31, 1996. Consequent to the formation of the new District, Theni Municipal Town was upgraded as the Taluk and District headquarters on January 1, 1997.
The region covered by present day Theni District was scarcely populated before 1900s. In 1886 Mullaperiyar dam project brings some part of water from Periyar River downhill to Cumbum Valley and merge into Mullayar River. This project helped more people to settle down in Cumbum Valley. Also to be noted that Theni is itself a small and less-known town by 1900s. After the Mullay-Periyaar merger project lots of people from nearby dry arid regions (Sivakasi, Kovilpatti, Virudhunagar, Sattur and several nearby towns) settled in Cumbum-Valley (present day Theni District). So there was influx of people by 1890s to 1920s. Bodi and Periyakulam are famous places at that age. Later Theni developed in rapid pace due to lots of business activities.
The 2,889 km2 (1,115 sq mi) district lies at the foot of the Western Ghats between 9' 39' and 10' 30' North latitude and between 77' 00' and 78' 30' of East Longitude. Central location: 10°04′N 77°45′E. The district is bounded by Dindigul District to the north, Madurai District to the east, Virudhunagar District to the southwest, and Idukki district of the Kerala State to the west. The district is home to Theni, Periyakulam, Bodinayakanur, Cumbum, Uthamapalayam, Kombai, Gudalur, Chinnamanur, Andipatti, Thevaram, Lakshmipuram and several other small villages likePathirakalipuram, SukkangalPatti, Meenatchipuram, Melasindalaichery, Kottur or Pallavarayan Patti a popular village in Tamilnadu Jallikattu Kamatchipuram. It is diversified by several ranges and hills. A range of hills which runs parallel to Western Ghats from north to south separate it from the neighboring state of Kerala.
Climate- In the plains, the temperatures range from a minimum of 13 °C to a maximum of 39.5 °C. In the hills the temperatures can range from as low as 4-5 °C to 25 °C. The district is known for its salubrious climate, hills and lakes.
Rivers and dams- The Vaigai River, Kottagudi River, Suruliyar River, Varaganathi River, Manjalar River and Varattaru River flow through the district. The important reservoirs in the district are Vaigai Dam, Manjalaru Dam, Sothuparai Dam, Sanmughanathi Dam, Manalaru Dam and Melmanalaru Dam.
Its economy is mostly agricultural. Utilisation of land area for cultivation in Theni district is 40.33%.The principal crop production (in tonnes) in 2005-2006 was: sugarcane 1,201,221, cotton 95,360 (561 bales of 170. kg lint each), rice (paddy) 66,093, millets and other cereals 57,081, pulses 6,677, groundnut 4,021 and gingelly 325. Silk, Banana, Coconut, Tea, Coffee, Cardamom, Grapes and Mangoes are other main produce of the district.
Cumbum Valley is a major centre for grape production with 4,000 small farmers producing over 90,000 tonnes of Muscat grapes, locally known as panneer dhrakshai, and about 10,000 tonnes of Thomson seedless grapes. The unique feature here is that the grapes are harvested throughout the year, while in most grape growing centres elsewhere the season ends with summer.
Cotton Spinning Mills and Sugar Mills are the major industries in this district. In Andipatti Taluk Handloom weaving and power looms are flourishing. In Uthamapalayam Taluk, the Highwavis Estate produces an important amount of Tea. Bodinayakanur is a major market place for cardamom, coffee, tea and black pepper. This city is also called "Cardamom City" because of the large quantity of cardamom trade in this area. It has an auction centre for cardamom.
The Periyar and Surliar Hydro Power Stations and the Vaigai Micro Hydro Power Station have 181 MW installed capacity and actual power generation of 494 MW in 1996 in this district. Theni is one of the active business hubs in the western side of Tamilnadu, inviting more industries to its locality. The district currently has 41.09 km of Metre gauge track serving 3 Railway Stations which connect to Madurai.
The forest area in Theni district is about 33.70%. There are 27 forest areas in Theni district constituting a total area of 795.81 km2 (307.26 sq mi). 19 areas fall under the Reserve Forest category with 255.44 km2 (98.63 sq mi), 8 areas under Reserve Land category with 540.37 km2 (208.64 sq mi). Total area of forest under green cover classification was 806.86 km2 (311.53 sq mi). Dense forest and Sparse forest are 292.81 km2 (113.05 sq mi) and 22.43 km2 (8.66 sq mi) respectively. There is no Unclassed Forest type in the district. About 44.65 km2 (17.24 sq mi) of Man Made Forest Area are cultivated in the district. Wattle, Softwood, Fuel wood, Cashew, Neem, Tamarind are the main forest plantation species in Theni district.
There has been no conservation of biological resources in the district. The information of wild life census in Theni district is yet to be made available.
Bodinayakanur, Periyakulam, Cumbum, Uthamapalayam and Theni are charming towns in the district. Resounding cascades, silver-lined clouds resting a top billiard green hill tops, sheer rock faces and temples of antiquity distinguish these places.
Places of interest-
Nearest Places in Kerala
Bullock cart race held in Theni district
The Ramzan Peru naal Thozhuhai at Uthamapalayam in Theni is a very famous for the district. The celebration of Gowmariyamman temple festival at Veerapandi and cumbum during the month of May, Pathirakaliyamman Chiththirai Thiruvizha Festival at Pathirakalipuram, Veerappa Ayyanar festival at Theni, Kamatchi Amman festival at Devadhanapatti and Saneeswaran Temple festival at Kuchanoor are the most important festivals of the district. Theni district is known for its brilliant celebration of Pongal, which is considered to be one of the most important festivals of Tamil Nadu. Pallavarayanpatti, Ayyampatti and pudupatti is very famous for its Jallikattu during the Pongal festival. Another important festival is Chitra Pournami festival, which is celebrated at Sri Mangala Devi Kannagi temple, on the Western Ghats near Gudalur during the month of May. Other important festivals of the region are the festivals of Masi Maham and Shivarathri which are celebrated in the Kamatchi Amman Temple during the months of February–March and kottur eagaadesi.
Christmas and New Year are very majestically celebrated in Anaimalayanpatty.
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