Cumbum Valley, also called Kambam Valley, is a valley in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu state in India near the Kerala state border. This is the most fertile valley in south India; the valley includes lands between Thekkadi Hills, Varusanadu Hills, and Kodaikanal Hills.
It is one of the few places in Tamil Nadu producing grapes. Cumbum valley produces about 90,000 tones of Muscat grapes and 10,000 tones of Thomson seedless grapes every year.
Cumbum or Kambam, is a town and municipality in Theni district in the western part of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Cumbum town is located in the Theni District of Tamil Nadu, near Kerala State, geographically located between 9°30′N and 10°11′N, and between 77°E and 77°30′E. It is the third largest town in Theni district after Theni and Bodinayakanur. It is the hometown of great poet Girivasan rajarathinam who settled in Ireland and busy in politics even though he is a physiotherapist by profession. The soil in this region is mostly red soil in nature. Agriculture plays on vital role for its developmental activities. Crops like Paddy, Coconut, Groundnut and various kinds of fruits and vegetables are being cultivated in this area.
It has many worship places, out of them Sri. Kambaraya Perumal Kovil, Sri. Gowmariyamman Kovil, Sri. Nandha Gopal Samy Kovil, Mosques, three churches are situated for a prolong period. The town is well connected by the district roads with nearby urban and Rural Town and villages but not connected by Railways.
The Climate of Cumbum town is generally good, since it is situated at the foot of Western Ghats. Average maximum temperatures are 41.6 °C and 31.6 °C respectively. The average annual rainfall is around 836 mm with the town getting its share if rainfall during the Southwest Monsoon.
The major source of water for drinking and agriculture comes from the Periyar River which flows Diverted from the state of Kerala. Suruli Falls which is 10 km from Cumbum is surrounded by mountains The nearest airport is Madurai and Kochi International Airport (Kerala) which is 175 km by road. Thekkady (Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary Kerala) which is a tourist destination in Kerala state is 30 km from Cumbum, near Kumuli which is a border town between the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Cumbum is a valley, surrounded by hills. The eastern side of the hills constituting seven dams on the hills. In the South, the famous tourist attraction, "Thekkady" is situated Kerala. Cumbum is famous for its coconut & cardamom trading market.
The name Cumbum has derived from the famous temple of Lord Narayana (Kambaraya Perumal) around which the town has been built. It is believed that the temple was built during Pallava rule. This temple is considered a popular holy place in Theni District.
Vokkaliga gownders are Migrant settlers from the Mysore region of Karnataka who left due to political instability from the region during the 1760s to the 1790s started arriving in hordes and started clearing forests and tilling the land. During the British period, after the enactment of the Criminal Tribes Act, several settlements were created by the government and members belonging to the notified communities were uprooted from their original habitations and settled here.
The British officers posted in the area started regularizing land holdings based on good faith and track record. Cumbum is famous for the bullock cart (rekhla) racing heritage. Every year during the Muthalamman temple festival, bullock cart races takes place. This annual event is conducted by Vokkaligar gownder Ilaingarani and The Farmers Development Association. Racing bull & cart such as all originals heroes is all school pupil
Till 13th century, Cumbum was ruled by Cholas. However afterwards they were weak and subsequently Vijayanagar dynasty conquered this area. In 1374, "Sambanar" a king of Vijayanagara dynasty conquered the then Chola kings. In remembrance of that he built a fort which is now the Kambarayar temple.
Viswanatha Nayakar a representative of Vijaya Nagara dynasty when ruled Madurai, constructed temple for Kambaraya Perumal and Kasi Viswanathar inside the fort. This area was ruled by Kamba Nayakkar and Uthama Nayakkar (both belongs to kambalathar caste) - because of them the name of this Place - Kambam and Uthamapuram was arrived. It was one of the 72 Palayams formed by Viswanatha Nayakkar. There were high rise walls around the fort to monitor enemies which can be seen even now. Now it is called as Mottaiandi temple. The gates of the forts are historic symbols today.
In Silappathigaram, when Kovalan was executed, Kannagi walked along the river of Vaigai and came to Cumbum, Gudalur and from a rock from there, she went to the sky. So, this area was initially called "Vinnaethi Parai" - A rock from where sky was reached. Later the word got changed to "Vannathi Parai". In remembrance of Kannagi, a river is named after her which is now called "Koothanatch River".
Another historical temple is Nantha Gopalan temple. Mattu Pongal is very famous in this temple. All the nearby villagers come here with Bullock carts. We can get clay made bullocks during this festival.
Southern and Eastern sides Kerala is present. Keralites use to come here for buying groceries & vegetables.
There is another town with same name as "Cumbum" in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh. This town also built by Vijayanagar dynasty having constructed with a large irrigation tank.
Cumbum is located at 9.73°N 77.3°E. It has an average elevation of 391 metres (1282 feet). The water in Cumbum is very sweet to drink. One can see the backdrop of Kodaikanal Hills from Cumbum. Apart from that Cumbum has most vigorous activity in agriculture.
According to 2011 census, Kambam had a population of 68,090 with a sex-ratio of 1,012 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929. A total of 6,661 were under the age of six, constituting 3,417 males and 3,244 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 7.76% and .02% of the population respectively. The average literacy of the town was 76.55%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The town had a total of 18567 households.
There were a total of 26,623 workers, comprising 666 cultivators, 11,596 main agricultural labourers, 634 in house hold industries, 11,921 other workers, 1,806 marginal workers, 12 marginal cultivators, 1,110 marginal agricultural labourers, 62 marginal workers in household industries and 622 other marginal workers.
Cumbum assembly constituency is part of Theni (Lok Sabha constituency).