Karur was ruled at different times by the Murkala Cheras (before the Sangam period) before the Kodungalur Cheras, the later Cholas, the Vijayanagar Empire, the Madurai Nayaks, the Mysore Kingdom and the British.
Karur is one of the oldest cities in Tamil Nadu and has played a very important role in Tamil history and culture. Its history dates back to the Sangam period, when it was a prosperous commercial centre. Karur was built on the banks of river Amaravathi, which was called Aanporunai during the days of Sangam. According to Hinduism, Brahma began the work of creation here, also called the "place of the sacred cow." Karuvur, identified with Karur, was also the capital of the ancient king Musuguntha Solan.
Epigraphic, archaeological and literary evidence indicates that Karur was the capital of the early Chera kings of the Sangam era. The names of the early Chera kings who ruled from Karur have been found in rock inscriptions at Aaru Nattar Malai, near Karur. The Tamil epic Silapathikaram mentions that the famous Chera king Senguttuvan ruled from Karur. Archaeological excavations at Karur resulted in the discovery of mat-patterned pottery, bricks, clay toys, Roman coins, Chera coins, Pallava coins, Roman amphorae, Rasset covered pottery and rare rings. Karur could have been the center of ancient jewelery making and gem setting (with gold imported mainly from Rome), as evidenced by various excavations. In 150 CE, Greek scholar Ptolemy mentioned “Korevora” (Karur) as a very famous inland trade center in South India. It was ruled successively by the Cheras, the Western Gangas, the Cholas, the Vijayanagara Nayaks, Tipu Sultan and the British.

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