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Location of Parangipettai
in Tamil Nadu and India
Coordinates 11°29′N 79°46′E / 11.49°N 79.76°E / 11.49; 79.76
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District(s) Cuddalore
Population 20,901 (2001)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

Parangipettai (Tamil: பரங்கிப்ேபட்ைட), historically called Porto Novo, is a panchayat town in Cuddalore district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Parangipettai is situated on the north bank of the mouth of the Vellar river at a distance of 30 km from Cuddalore. It has an interesting historical background.

Due to its geographical position on the Coromandel Coast, Parangipettai has long been a major trading centre. In particular, it was an important trading destination for the Arabs, especially the Yemenis. During the colonial era the Portuguese, Dutch and English successively colonized the area.

Today, Parangipettai has a thriving trade with nations in the Middle East and South East Asia. It also hosts a Marine Biology Station affiliated with the Annamalai University.

Parangipettai is an important pilgrimage centre for Muslims. Parangipettai also has a diversified Muslim population. It is ironic that Parangipettai still remains as a town in Tamil Nadu, as it has seen the arrival of wealth and different people even before the dawn of globalisation.



Throughout its history, Parangipettai has had other names. One was 'Portonovo' from when the Portuguese sailors observed the small port there from their ships. Other names were 'Muthukrishna puri' when nayakkar ruled, 'Mohammed banthar' and 'Varuna puri'. Pettai means market place and Parangipettai means the pettah or abode of the parangis or Europeans in Tamil. The town was called "Mahmood Banthar" during the Mughal Empire period, and later Porto Novo by the Portuguese, who controlled the region from the early 16th century to the early 18th century. The French named this place "Portonovo" when they temporarily occupied it before moving on to establish their colony in Pondicherry. Muslims living in Parangipettai have a unique Arab ancestry. It had other old names, such as Muthu Krishnapuri when Nayakkar ruled here. This place was also called Varunapuri (the place for Varuna, a god of rain) and is still known for receiving large amounts of rainfall during monsoon season.

The Second Anglo-Mysore War was fought here between Hyder Ali and the British under Sir Eyre Coote in July 1781. The town flourished as a sea port with connections to southeast Asia and as an industrial centre during British rule, when iron made here was exported to England. The powerful Nawab of Arcot had his mint at Porto Novo and the gold coins struck in this mint came to be called the Porto Novo Pagoda. Later the English followed the same design when they minted the 'Negapatam' (Nagapatnam) Pagoda and the Dutch minted their coin in the same design at Tuticorin and Colombo mints. In Ceylon (Srilanka), in the Sinhalese language, it was known as ParangiPatta.

There is a Gandhian connection also. A European disciple of Mahatma Gandhi established a school, the "Seva Sadan", based on Gandhian principles.

Muslims in Parangipettai

Muslims in Parangipettai have a unique origin. Muslims in Parangipettai can trace their origin to several locations, particularly in the Middle East and North India. There are also different Muslim groups in Parangipettai, particularly the Maraicars and Sahibs. Maraicar the name originally derived from the old Tamil term Marakkalangalin aayargal meaning Kings of Ships said to be given by the Southern Tamil King Vijaya Raghunadha Sedhupathy Thondamaan (shortly King Sethu) to the coastal Muslim sea traders who were then reigning the most of the coastal areas with their trade. Originally, Most of the Muslims living here (and along the coast) were depicted in 'Ilangovadigal's masterpiece - Silappadhigaaram' as the Tamil traders who use to have regular trade links with the 'Yavanas' - the Arabs. Then, with the constant trade touch and inspiration over the new faith may have changed themselves to Muslims.


As of 2001 India census[1], Parangipettai had a population of 20,901. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Parangipettai has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 81%, and female literacy is 69%. In Parangipettai, 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.


In Parangipettai, Muslims and Hindu people live peacefully like brothers. Parangipettai people are also called "Novians". Many of them have migrated to other countries for their livelihood. Originally it was to Indo-china, then to Malaya-Singapore, and presently to Arab countries. Most of the Muslim people depend on the incomes of their male relatives employed in Arab countries. A sizable section of the population from the fishing community is employed in the merchant navy.

More than ten mosques are found in Parangipettai: Meerapalli (Big Mosque and Jumma Palli), Gummath Palii (Jummah Moque), Vathiyapalli, Housepalli, Appapalli, Housepalli, Kadriya Mosque, Madina Palli, Kalima palli, Ukkashah (RA) mosque, Habeebiyah Palli. Our forefathers' history relates that the grave of Ukkashah Ibn Mihsan (Radiallahu anho), companion of the prophet Muhammad is in Porto Novo, Allah knows best. The famous Islamic poem Seerapuranam was initiated by poet Umaru Pulavar who was a famous poet and he had been financed by a rich one named seedhakhadthi.

Notable Hindu temples are Kumaran Kovil (Temple of Lord Muruga), the Periya Kovil (Big Temple) for Lord Shiva, the varadaraja temple, Karpaga Vinayagar temple, Sanjeevirayar temple of hanuman,Angala parameswari temple, Parasakthi temple and so many mariayamman temples(Goddess). The Big Temple has so many historical events (as said in saivam) this place is called known as Thiruvarunamanmiyam. In this temple Chitragupta, Sun and Varuna are worshiped to get the bliss. And it has a very special event: at the start of every Tamil year in Chitthirai month's first ten days the sun rays fall on the Shiva God and Goddess. Here, in the year 203 AD, Kriya Babaji Nagaraj was born on the night before the new moon during the Tamil month Karthigai (November 30). Here is a temple constructed for him.

Two rivers join the sea here are the Vellaru, a branch of the Kaveri River, and the Buckingham Canal.

External links

assalamu alaikkum varah


Cuddalore District

Chidambaram | Cuddalore | Kattumannarkoil | Panruti | Thittakudi | Vriddhachalam


Annagramam | Bhuvanagiri | Cuddalore | Kammapuram | Kattumannarkoil | Keerapalayam | Komaratchi | Kurinjipadi | Mangalur | Nallur | Panruti | Parangipettai | Vriddhachalam




Chidambaram | Cuddalore | Nellikuppam | Panruti | Vriddhachalam

Town Panchayat

Annamalai Nagar | Bhuvanagiri | Gangaikondan | Kattumannarkoil | Killai | Kurinjipadi | Lalpet | Mangalampet | Melpattampakkam | Parangipettai | Pennadam | Sethiathoppu | Srimushnam | Thorapadi | Thittakudi | Vadalur



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