Several explanations are offered for the name Karaikal. 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 canan made of lime mixture". According to Julien Vinson, the town is said to have been known as Karagiri in Sanskrit. The Imperial Gazetteer gives to the name of the town the meaning of a 'fish pass'. This Karaikal area formed an integral part of the Pallava kingdom in the eighth century(C 731-796). Poet Sekkizhar (992-1042) describes the town as "vanga malik kadar karaikal", the 'Karaikal of many vessels on the coast' in his Peria puranam. In that the poet relates the life story of one Punithavathiar who abandoned the pleasures of material life and devoted herself entirely to a life of prayer and penance to signify her devotion to Lord Siva. He called her 'Karaikal Ammayar', conveniently after the town which must have been famous already.
Population 1, 70 640 (2001census)
Climate Maximum 28°C, Minimum 23°C,
Rainfall 126 Cms
Heavy Rain Sptember to December
Languages Spoken Tamil, English
STD Code + 04368
ISD Code + 91