Karaikal is one of the four regions of the Union Territory of Pondicherry. It is about 300 Kms south of Chennai and about 135 Kms from Pondicherry on the East coast. It is surrounded by the Nagappattinam and Thiruvarur Districts of Tamil Nadu State. From Times immemorial, Karaikal has been known for its rich religious heritage. It is an ideal place for those who like to seek solitude, leisure and serenity on the shore. With rivers and beaches it is, untouched by tourists.The French flavour still persists the peaceful land of Karaikal. The pilgrim tourist visiting Tamil Nadu never fail to include this temple town in their itinerary.
The Name of Karaikal is Originated from a Combination of the 2 Words Karai and Kal, It is said to be a Corruption of Karaikadu meaning a forest (Kadu). Before the advent of the French,Karaikal was a part of Chola rule. Naturally Karaikal is unique in the Combination of different religious people who are inhabited in peaceful way and is an example for Religious harmony.Karaikal is a place of embodiment of Tamil Culture together with western Culture and traditional ancient Thanjavur Culture. When a tourist come over to Karaikal he can observe at a time the Pre historical culture like Danish Culture (Tranquebar) French Culture (Karaikal) British Culture (Nagapattinam)
Several explanations are offered for the name Karaikal. The imperial Gazetteer gives it the meaning 'fish pass'. According to Julien vinson the town is said to have known as Karaigiri in Sanskrit. There is no doubt that it is a combination of two words,'karai' and 'kal'. Both 'karai' and 'kal' have several meanings, of which the more plausible one being "a canal made of lime mixture". Hence it has been suggested that the name may mean a canal built of lime mix. However, no trace of such a canal evident now.