city, east-central Tamil Nadu state, southeastern India, in the Cauvery River delta. It was a Cola (Chola) capital in the 7th century AD and has numerous Vaishnava (see ) and Saiva temples and a rare Brahma temple. Also an ancient commercial centre, it is renowned for its trade in foods, particularly rice and betel leaves, and for its hand-spun silks and bell-metal pots. The city is situated on road and rail routes from Tranquebar (east) to Tiruchchirappalli (west). Long a Brahman seat of learning, it has several colleges affiliated with Bharathidasan University. Pop. (1991 prelim.) city, 139,449; metropolitan area, 150,502.
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