Karur has become synonymous with handloom "made-ups" like Tirupur is known for hosiery products. Handloom exports from Karur began on a modest scale with just 15 exporters in 1975, and today Karur has thousands of exporters and products are supplied to world's leading chain stores. Additionally, the Karur Textile Park is a unique facility, says V Ananthapadmanaban, CEO, Karur Textiles Manufacturers Exporter Association.


Karur, one of the oldest towns in Tamil Nadu, has played a significant role in the history and culture of Tamils. Its history dates back over 2000 years, and was a flourishing trading centre in the early Sangam days. It was ruled by the Cheras, Gangas, Cholas, Vijayanagara Nayaks, Mysore and British successively.


The town of Karur, situated on the banks of Amravati, is a municipality and headquarters of Karur district. The district itself has a very rich and varied cultural heritage, and is famous worldwide for its hand-woven home textile products. According to the 2011 census, Karur municipality had a population of 10 lakh, and a literacy rate of 78 per cent against the national average of 59.5 per cent


The home textiles of Karur can broadly be classified into five groups: bed linen, kitchen linen, toilet linen, table linen and wall hangings. Overall, Karur generates around Rs 6,000 crore ($300 million) a year in foreign exchange through direct and indirect exports. With allied industries like ginning and spinning mills, dyeing factories, weaving, around 3 lakh people are employed in and around Karur.


On the international textiles map, Karur has become synonymous with handloom "made-ups" like Tirupur is known for hosiery products. Handloom exports from Karur began on a modest scale with just 15 exporters in 1975, and today Karur has thousands of exporters and products are supplied to world's leading chain stores like Wal-Mart, Target, IKEA, JC Penny, Ahlens, Metro, Carrefour, etc. Today, the Karur Textiles Manufacturers Exporter Association has a membership base of 143.


Approximately 600-700 small-medium and micro enterprises are engaged in the textile export business. Most of these units are family-oriented enterprises and have presence in the entire value chain of the production processes. By and large, these are spread in a 40 km radius of Karur.


The Karur Textile Park Limited (KTPL) project has been implemented under the Scheme for Integrated Textiles Park (SITP) of the Ministry of Textiles. This is one of the ten textile parks that have been approved for Tamil Nadu. The main activity in KTPL is weaving of fabrics for home textiles made-ups. KTPL is located near Manalmedu (Thalapatti and Puthampur villages) which is about 12 kilometres from Karur town, and is spread over an area of 110 acres.


The textile park was inaugurated on February 26, 2011, with a grant of Rs 40 crore from the Union government and Rs 9 crore from the state government. The approved project cost is Rs 116.10 crore, but the actual amount spent for this project so far has been Rs 135 crore. Apart from this, an investment of Rs 100 crore has been made by members towards machinery in their units. Therefore, the total investment made in the park comes to around Rs 235 crore.