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town, northern Tamil Nadu state, southeastern India, on the Palar River and the Madras-Bangalore road and rail systems. One of the most ancient towns of southern India, it traces its history to the 2nd century BC as an early Cola capital. From the 3rd to the 9th century AD it was the Pallava capital, and from the 10th to the 13th century it served as the late Cola government headquarters. An important Vijayanagar town from the 15th to the 17th century, it was conquered by Muslim and Maratha armies in the 17th century and by the British in the 18th century, after which it was twice sacked by the French