Strategically, Karaikudi city lies approximately at 10.07° N 78.78° E. It has an average height of 82 meters or 269 feet.
There are reasons for which, the importance of Karaikudi gets enhanced. Karaikudi is the most prominent city in the district. Besides, Karaikudi is the capital of Chettinad region, thus comprising of Karaikudi and seventy-four villages. Chettinad is the homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars (Nagarathar), are rich in banking and business activities and are the inhabitants of Chettinad. However many of them have migrated to foreign countries. The people of Karaikudi played a major role during the Indian freedom struggle. The word Karaikudi has got an etymological significance. It has been pointed out that Karaikudi is a derivation of the word Karai. Karai is the name of a popular plant that is grown widely in the Karaikudi city.
Without identifying the demographical scenario of any place the knowledge about the Karaikudi city becomes incomplete. Keeping pace with this trend, the demographers have carried on surveys and research works. As a result of their hard work they have succeeded to pinpoint certain data related to its demography. Especially the census report of India that has been published in the year 2001 is vital. From it if one wishes one can easily catch hold of data related to its population, literacy condition etc. As per the census report, the total population of Karaikudi showed a count of 86,422. A remarkable thing also has been emphasized by the demographers.
According to this report, both and female residents of Karaikudi are in equal proportion. In other words, male populace constitutes of 50 percent while the population of female in Karaikudi is also the same. In Karaikudi, children below six years of age constitutes of 11percent of the total population. Since literacy rate enables one to gauge development of a particular city, it becomes imperative for a person to know Karaikudi's literacy rate. In other words literacy rate is an indicator of Karaikudi city's progress. From the report, the average literacy rate has been deduced to be 79 percent, which is higher than that of India. 59.5 percent is the average literacy rate of India. Not only that, on individual basis also the literacy rates of male and female are quite high as well. Thus male literacy rate constitutes of 84 percent. Female literacy rate is less that of males. 74 percent is the rate of female literacy in Karaikudi.
The origin of Karaikudi is rich in heritage. In the beginning it lies under the jurisdiction of the district of Ramanathapuram. In the year 1928 it came under a municipality from panchayat.
Transport facilitates connectivity of this Karaikudi city with other places. In the year 1930 and onwards Karaikudi is connected with rails and roads.
In Karaikudi, people have developed orientation towards education and learning. Growth of education reached its zenith in the year with the formation of various educational institutes. Dr. Alagappa Chettiar is the popular academician of the region. He had established Alagappa University in Karaikudi. In the university the students get the facility to study varieties of subjects. Another institute of repute Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI) was formed in Karaikudi. It is one of the chains of 40 national laboratories that were sponsored by 'Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. (CSIR) New Delhi'. AVM studio also flourished here. Alagappa Chettiar College of Engineering and Technology (Accet) also has been established in Karaikudi. In fact it is one of the leading educational institutions in the state of Tamil Nadu. Other institutions like Kendriya Vidyalaya , CECRI, Alagappa Chettiar College of Engineering and Technology, Alagappa Polytechnic, Alagappa Government Arts college, Alagappa Model Hr sec schools, Subramanian Polytechnic College, Alagappa Matriculation Hr sec school, deserve to be mentioning.
There is no dearth of tourist locales in Karaikudi and its nearby region. One of the primary attractions include Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple, also called as the Sivan Temple. It was constructed in 1872. In Karaikudi one can find several other temples as well. Sekkalai , situated northeast of Karaikudi city, is also called "Jayam Konda Puram". MutthuPattinam, also referred as Muthu Mariamman Temple lies in the north-west of the city of Karaikudi.
Situated almost fifteen kilometers west of Karaikudi, there is a primitive rock-cut cave temple in Pillayarpatti. It is called Karpaka Vinayakar Temple. Kundrakkudi is the name of a village renowned for Lord Murugan temple. This village is situated ten kms west of Karaikudi city. Five kms from Karaikudi one finds the Perumal (Vishnu) temple at Ariyakudi.
Festivals and fairs are part and parcel of Karaikudi. Manjuveratu or bullfight is famous during Pongal festival.