Cuddalore town is divided into the Old Town and the New Town (Thirupadirippuliyur). The Gedilam River separates the Old town from the New town. The Old Town was an ancient port city and traded with the Romans 2000 years back. It was the first town in Southern India, which came in contact with the Europeans. It was the Dutch who first conquered it and then the Portuguese, French and lastly the British.
Coming in early contact with the Europeans, Cuddalore has good schools and the most popular among them being St.Joseph's and St.Mary's .The Europeans in the 17th century founded the St.David School which is one of the oldest schools in India.
Demographically it has a population of about 158,569.Males constitute 51% of the population while females comprise of 49% of the population. The literacy rate of Cuddalore is 76%, which is higher than the average national standard of 59.5%. The literacy rate of male is higher than that of the female with 81%and 70% respectively.10% of the population is under six years of age in Culladore.
The town is famous for its temples. The Shiva temple in Cuddalore is well known. The incarnation of Shiva at Cuddalore is called Padaleeshwarar.The Shiva temple is located in Thiruppaadirippuliyur.Cuddalore is also very famous for Vishnavate temples in and around the city. Devanathaswami Temple and Panruti Siana Narasimha swamy Temple are the oldest temples of the city.Every year the city attracts a lot of tourists for its magnificent beaches.
This city is an emerging industrial centre and provides employment to a large number of people.One of the prominent industries of the region is the Neyveli Lignite Corporation ,a public sector company at Neyveli near Cuddalore. A large percentage of the thermal electricity comes from the power plants in Neyveli,which generates more than 2500 megawatts of electricity.
Cuddalore is the birth place of many popular writers of Tamil literature such as Jayakanthan and Pudumaipathan.Vethathiri Maharishi ,a spiritual leader and social worker is also from Cuddalore.
Cuddalore was heavily affected by the tsunami of 2004. Silver Beach and the historically important Cuddalore Port were all devastated. However,Fort St. David survived without damage.