Dindigul fort was a prime location in the past and it figured prominently in the military operations of the Marathas in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was captured by the British in 1767,1783 and 1790. According to the 2001 census report, Dindigul has a population of 196,619 inhabitants. Males and females constitute an equal proportion of the population. In Dindigul, 10% of the population is less than six years of age. Dindigul has an average literacy rate of 79%, which is higher than the national average of 64.8%. The male literacy rate is 84% and, the female literacy rate is 74%.
Dindigul is famous as a wholesale market for onion and groundnut. It is famous for its leather tanning industry and also because of its textile mills. Chinnalapatti, which is situated at a distance of 11 km. from Dindigul is known for its handloom industry and produces the art silk sarees and sungudi. Iron locks also produced in Dindigul is well known for its quality and durability. This city is also the key centre of tobacco trade in Tamil Nadu and has been manufacturing cigars since the days of colonial rule. Scented chewing tobacco , Roja Supari are also produced in this town.
This city is rapidly growing and especially in the education sector. It also has a number of engineering colleges and also some well known arts and science colleges.
Dindigul has a mixed population and hence the city has temples , mosques as well as churches. Dotted with a number of temples Dindigul is a famous pilgrim spot for the Hindus. Sri Kottai Mariamman Temple is a temple which is 200 years old. There is a temple for Vetri Vinayaka at the South & Lord Muruga at the North of this temple. Abirami Amman temple in Dindigul itself and Raja Kaliamman Temple at Thethupatti, 20 km away from Dindigul are the other important temples which attracts many pilgrims from all over the country. In Thadikombu, 8 km from Dindigul has the famous Sri Soundaraja Perumal temple well known for its sculptures.
Not only temples the city has three mosques which were constructed by Hyder Ali during his reign. In one of the mosques located in the southern part of Dindigul, Ameer-un- Nisha Begum the younger sister of Hyder Ali Bahadur was buried and hence this place is called Begampur. Dindigul is also the headquarters of Dindigul diocese of Roman Catholic Churches and the St. Joseph's Church was constructed in the 19th century.
A major attraction of the place is the Dindigul fort which was constructed on a huge rock about 280 ft height. When viewed from southeast it looks like Pillow which is called 'Dhindu' in the local language and hence comes the name of the city. Peranai and Sirumalai hills are suitable short excursion sites in the neighbourhood. 100 km from the city is the famous hill station Kodaikanal which is a popular tourist destination.