Mettupalayam (Tamil: மேட்டுப்பாளையம்) was inhabited by its settlers primarily because of River Bhavani. The name Mettupalayam came about due to its ups and downs. Medum, pallamum as its called contributed to the name Mettupalayam. Mettupalayam was a very small place in the earlier days and was surrounded by thick forests in the western ghats. This destination (Mettupalayam) then became a starting point for the East India company to enter into the Nilgiris. Initially a small path was organised and all materials and supply was transported on horse and animal back. Then came the historic Niligiri Mountain Railway (NMR) that was completed in 1899. This train was powered by a steam engine and had 2 passenger compartments and 1 good carriage. The track for this train was laid using the timber from the local forests and people from Mettupalayam were instrumental in the laying of this track. The vegetables that the British introduced in the Niligiris such as Potato, Cabbage,Carrot, Cauliflower, Beans, Beetroot and Raddish were harvested in Niligiris and brought to Mettupalayam for further grading, distribution and transportation. This is how Mettupalayam was known for its transport and commission mundies. The Commission mundies in Mettupalayam is historic for its strategic importance in the Potato market in South India.
This Mettupalayam region was and is to this day (somewhat) largely inhabited by the Vokkaligar community who escaped the conversion and prosecution of the Tipu regime who crossed the River Bhavani. Tipu on his visit to this region once is believed to have fallen for a bold lady called Veeramma and due to this relation, the community in this region was spared. The Vokkaliga community settled mostly at a place called Mothepalayam which is locared 4 Kms from Mettupalayam. The dasars who went to the Karamadai Aranganathar temple were called Chikka Dasars and hence the name Chikkadasampalayam in the village panchayath.
Education in Mettupalayam was initially done at the Anglo Indian Mission School which later became London Mission School (Today’s CSI School – opp. The Government Hospital) after the construction of the church. The School was primarily built for the education of the servants who would serve the British Raj such as cooks, guards, and messengers. The School prayer song was to the Queen Elizabeth. The school later gained more prominence and children of the elite (zamindars and pattaikarars) were sent to this school. An incident that spurred the start of Mahajana School was as follows: Palapatti Pattaikarar and Ponmudi Pattaikarar were the two tax collectors in this region. The Palapattai Pattaikarar’s son was to be sent to the school and all arrangements were made as per Hindu tradition at this school such as the dung mopping at school with all other pooja items. The Then headmaster sternly asked for the removal of the items, failing which admission would be refused. This angered the Pattaikarar he commenced a school near the Chinna Pallivasal on Ooty road with a strength of 5 students. After 8 years, he went to a gentleman by the name of Ethiraj Iyengar and requested that there be a school for other religions such as Hindus and Muslims. Hence, 7 Hindus and 4 Muslims were called to form a committee and the Mahajana School Trust was formed with a donation of 5 acres. The Mahajana School was then constructed and open to all the public without any religious enforcement.
The cultivation of banana, coconut and arecanut are the predominant crops. Mettupalayam Arecanut is well known in many countries and acts a protection for the forest nearby. Karamadai and Sirumugai are major agricultural centres where there are several mundies and sandys (sandai). This town is primarily full of agriculturists, and traders.
Maruthur – Tuesday
Avinashi nalroad – Wed
Karamadai – Friday
Annur, Mettupalayam -Sat
Andiyur – Mon
Kavunthapadi – Wed
Sirumugai has a textile market that produces sarees. The handwoven sarees are well known for its bright appeal and quality. This industry has been in operation since 1977 and employs around 5000 to 7000 peoples. The speciality of this textile market is the Kora Silk that is world famous for unique design.
River Bhavani starts its journey from Agali in Kerala and reaches Athikadavu entering Tamil Nadu, this then travels to Pillur where the water is dammed and it is then released to join water from the Niligiris which then flows through Mettupalayam, Sirumugai and then reaches Bhavanisagar where the water from River Moyar joins. At this point is where the old fort of Dhananaicken Kottai remains underwater. This fort is sometimes visible sometimes when the water level is low. The Bhavani water then reaches the town of Bhavani at Kooduthurai after it travels via the green patch of Gobichettipalayam (Erode Dist). Kooduthurai is the conjunction point where Bhavani meets the River Cauvery. From this point onwards, it is River Cauvery.
Floods in Mettupalayam
1924 – Historic moment (heavy flood in Bhavani)
July 15 – 18th – 1924
Oct 23 -26 – again flood in Bhavani
Tipu Sultan’s Period
The king or Sultan of Mysore conquered this region during this rule of the deccan region. He has left several memories here in this region that include sculptures, tools and other artefacts to support this claim. One place to note in this region is Ponmudi near Kumaran Kundru. This place used to be a tax collection area in his period as sources inform. The place got its name from the name “Pon” which is gold in the literal sense or wealth in other sense and ‘Mudi’ means to tie or collect and hence this name. This spot was a very popular place with a place called Anaipalliyur well known for its arrack in those days. The arrack from here was supplied to Coimbatore via Mongampalayam.