Namakkal – History
Namakkal is a historic town with reference back to at least 7th century. After the struggle between the Cheras, Cholas, and Pandyas, the Hoysalas rose to power and had the control until the 14th century, followed by Vijayanagara Empire until 1565 AD. Then, the Madurai Nayakas came to power in 1623 AD. Two of the Poligars of Thirumalai Nayak namely, Ramachandra Nayaka and Gatti Mudaliars, ruled the Salem area.
The Namakkal fort is reported to have been built by Ramachandra Nayaka. After about 1635 AD, the area successively came under the rule of Muslim Sultans of Bijapur and Golkonda, Mysore kings and then the Marattas, when Hyder Ali came to power about the year 1750 AD. During this period, it was a history of power struggle between Hyder Ali, and later Tippu Sultan, with the British.
The name Namakkal derives from Namagiri, which is the name of the single rock formation at the center of the town. Two cave temples at Namakkal were called as Adiyendra Vishnugriha (Ranganatha swamy Temple) and Adiyanavaya Vishnugriha (Narasimha Swamy Temple). These shrines were built by King Gunaseelan of Adhiyaman clan descendant. Because of his marriage relations with Pallavas the temples were built of Pallava Architectural style during 7th century.
Generally, Namakkal is considered to be a Vaishnava Kshetram, and there is no Shiva temple in the town until a few years ago. The rock is enormous - 65 meters high and more than a kilometer in circumference. Over this massive rock, Namakkal Fort is located. The fort over the rock was built by Ramachandra Nayakar, a small king who ruled Namakkal during 16th century.
It is believed that Tippu Sultan hides himself in this fort for some time to escape the British. The fort was not built by Tippu Sultan but he occupied it for a brief period of time. Later the fort was captured by British. The front side of the hill is called Thiru. Vi. Ka. Paarai and used by taxis as their stand. Mahatma Gandhi held a public meeting in 1933 in Namakkal under the slope of the Namakkal rock. It is one of the few places in Tamilnadu that has not been seriously affected by famine and war.