Welcome to Uthiramerur, a quaint panchayat town located in the Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, India. Situated just 90 km southwest of the bustling metropolis of Chennai, Uthiramerur is well-known for its temple inscriptions that provide a fascinating glimpse into a self-governance system that existed during the 7th to 9th centuries CE. Let’s explore the rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty of this hidden gem of southern India.
Uthiramerur originally started as a Brahmin settlement, but it was formally established as a brahamdeya village by the Pallava king Nandivarman II in the 8th century CE. It is believed that the king donated the village to Vedic Brahmins from the Srivaishanva community. Uthiramerur has seen its share of rulers and conquerors over the centuries, including the Cholas, Pandya, Vijayanagara emperors, and the British and the French during the Carnatic Wars. Despite this tumultuous history, the village has persevered and retained its unique heritage and identity.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Uthiramerur is its village administration system, which is described in detail in the temple inscriptions. The village had two assemblies: Sabha, which was exclusively for the Brahmin (priestly) class, and Ur, which was for people of all classes. The Sabha managed land sales, an endowment fund for dredging a tank, and other duties, while the Ur was responsible for managing the land deserted by tenants who could not afford to pay taxes. The Sabha assembled in the hall of the local temple, and the meetings were summoned through beating of the drums. The Ur was comprised of people from all classes. Over time, the administration system evolved, and executive powers were given to committees called variyams consisting of 6 to 12 members.
The village had 30 kudumbus or wards, and each year, members of the committees were selected from these wards via the Kudavoloi system. The candidates were selected based on several qualifications, including ownership of tax-paying land, age between 35 and 70 years, knowledge of mantras and the Brahmanas, and no prior history of certain offenses. The tenure of a committee member was 360 days, and anyone found guilty of an offense was immediately removed from office.
In addition to its rich history, Uthiramerur boasts several important Hindu temples. The Sundaravarada Perumal temple, which is about 1200 years old, was built under the reign of the Pallava king Nandivarman II. Other major temples include Vaikunda Perumal Temple and Subramanya temple. The town is also known for its mouth-watering local cuisine, which includes traditional dishes such as idli, dosa, and sambar.
According to the 2011 census of India, the area administered by the Uthiramerur town panchayat has a population of 25,194, with a literacy rate of 81.74%. The town is administered by a town panchayat and is represented in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly by an MLA. The Uthiramerur assembly constituency is a part of the Kanchipuram parliamentary constituency.
Come and discover the hidden treasures of Uthiramerur, from its fascinating history and unique administration system to its stunning temples and mouth-watering cuisine. This charming town is an ideal destination for curious travelers looking to uncover the hidden gems of India.