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prevails, bearing witness to the northern origin of the inhabitants. The
chief towns are— Coimbatore (population 38,967), Erode (9864), and
Karur (9205), the three municipalities of the District; Bhavani

(5930)5 COLLEGAL (8462), DaRAPURAM (73 Io), PoLLACHT (5082),

Pallapatti (6351), Satyamangalam (3210), and Udamalpet (5061).
The agriculturists of the Vallalar caste and^ day-labourers are all poor,
living in mud-walled huts, and subsisting on cholam, ragi, and kambu,
the staple food-grains of the District Rice is eaten only by the well-
to-do. The expenses of an ordinary shopkeeper, with a household of
five persons, have been estimated at about ^3 per month, and of a
cultivator's family at about one-half that sum.

Agriailture. — Of the total area of the District, 7842 square miles
(5,018,880 acres), 3,469,331 acres were returned in 1881-82 as
assessed to Government revenue. The total area under cultivation



amounted to 2,100,393 acres, of which 115,072 acres were irrigated.
The cultivable area not under the plough was 1,100,869 acres;
pasture and forest lands, 481,265 acres; and uncultivable waste,
617,363 acres; total uncultivated, 2,099,497 acres. Of the total
area, 324,511 acres are held in indm, or under a free grant. In
the course of 1881-82, a regular survey and settlement of great
part of Coimbatore took place. The staple crops of the Dis-
trict are — cholam (Sorghum vulgare) and kavibu (Panicum spicatum),
which occupied 519,775 and 657,555 acres respectively of the
cultivated area; ragi (Eleusine coracana), 212,265 acres; gram
(Dohchos biflorus), 63,409 acres; rice, 85,717 acres; and other
cereals, 35,968 acres. Rice requires heavy irrigation, and its cul-
tivation is not increasing. Other crops, as ddl (Cajanus indicus),
ulandu (Phaseolus mungo), peas, lentils, and other pulses occupied
199,357 acres; orchard and garden produce, as plantains, cocoa-
nuts, etc., 8184 acres; tobacco, 17,396 acres; coffee, 258 acres; con-
diments and spices, 16,581 acres; potatoes, 2128 acres; sugar-cane
and sugar palm, 5777 acres; oil-seeds, 46,090 acres; cotton, 229,631
acres; and flax, 302 acres. The agricultural stock of the District in
1881-82 comprised 531,725 horned cattle, 14,583 donkeys, 2363
ponies, 350 horses, 245,653 goats, 354,154 sheep, 10,908 pigs, 16,866
carts, and 166,770 ploughs. The prices of produce ruling in the
District at the end of the year 1881-82, per maundoi2>o lbs., were for
rice, 5s. ijd. ; for wheat, 6s. 9|d. ; other grains, from 2s. 3d. to 2s. lod. ;
gram, from 2s. 7jd. to 5s. 5^d. ; chiUies, 7s. ; salt, 6s. 7jd. ; sugar,
IIS. 5jd. ; gingelly, 7s. 3|d. ; ground nuts, 3s. 2jd. ; tobacco, iis. 9fd. ;
flax, los. ; cotton, 7s. 7jd. ; sheep, 4s. 6d. each. There are two
seasons for sowing. May and October, and two harvests, in September
and February. Rice land pays from 15s. to £^2, 12s. in land revenue
per acre, and produces a crop ranging in value, according to the quality
of the soil, from ^2, 8s. to ^5, 6s. Most land also yields a second
crop, valued at about half the first. The majority of the holdings
are very small ; and the average of the revenue assessment is about
1 6s. A holding paying ;^5o a year to Government is considered an
exceptionally large one, and one paying £^\o a comfortable estate.
The holder of an estate paying less than £,2 would be considered poor.
With a single pair of oxen, 5 acres can be cultivated ; the necessary
implements and oxen would cost about jQ^ ; and if the plot were garden
land, the cultivator would be about as well off as a retail shopkeeper
making i6s. a month. Most of the cultivators have occupancy rights ;
but many villages are held zaminddri, as one estate, the proprietor pay-
ing a fixed yearly revenue {peshkash) to Government, and recouping
himself from his tenants. Other villages and plots, again, are held as
Jdgirs, shrotriem, or indm^ rent free> and on specially advantageous


terms, in reward for services rendered, or for the support of religious
and charitable endowments. Under the Mysore rule, the District was
farmed by a it^^ wealthy individuals, who made themselves responsible
for the revenue; but in 1800, after the last Mysore war, when
the Company assumed the administration, the present system of
direct settlement with the cultivators was introduced. Waste
lands, overgrown with cactus, the scourge of part of the District,
are leased rent free, for terms not exceeding ten years, to any
who will rid them of the pest, and bring them under cultivation.
The principle of rotation of crops appears to be thoroughly understood,
and the advantages of manure are appreciated. The ' Imperial ' and
'Minor' irrigation works of the District comprise 59 channels and
119 tanks, irrigating an area of 55,276 acres, and yielding a revenue
of ;:^29,365. Agricultural day-labourers or coolies earn ^\<\. per diem ;
women, 3d. ; and children, i^d. Blacksmiths, bricklayers, and car-
penters receive from is. to is. 9d. per diem. Since 1850, the rates of
wages for skilled labour have risen from 25 to 80 per cent., and prices
of food have doubled. Rice, which in 1850 was selling at 3s. per
inaund (80 lbs.), now sells at 5s. 6d.; cholam, formerly is. 4d. ^ex ??iau?id,
now costs 3s. ; wheat, once 3s. per matind, now sells at 7s. ; salt has
risen from 4s. 4d. to 6s. 7|d. per mamid, and country liquor from i Jd.
to 3d. and 8d. per gallon. Accumulations of money from the profits
of agriculture are to a large extent employed in well-building and the
improvement of land. The rate of interest varies from 6 to 1 2 per cent,
per annum, though 24 to 30 per cent, is sometimes charged ; 9 per cent,
is considered a good return for money invested in land.

Natural Calamities. — Periods of drought and consequently high
prices have recurred at regular intervals, in 1837-38, 1847-48, 1857-58,
1868-69; but in none of these years did the scarcity ever amount
to famine. In 1876, owing to the failure of crops in Mysore and
the Ceded Districts, an immense exportation of grain from Coim-
batore took place ; the result being such a rapid rise in the rates, that
in two months the price of cholam had doubled, and ragi, selling in
October at 25 lbs. for is., cost in December three times that amount.
Actual famine afterwards set in ; and relief works had to be opened,
which in a month gave employment to 28,000 persons. A steady
importation of sea-borne grain soon brought prices to their normal
rates. Against famine Coimbatore has now the best safeguard — a
railway traversing it, and good roads communicating with the Districts
adjoining on all sides.

Commerce and Trade. — Weaving is the chief industry of the District,
and, though of late years affected by the low price of British textures,
constitutes a lucrative employment. The general export trade is small,
consisting chiefly in the exchange of cotton of inferior quality, tobacco.


and grain, for salt. Palladam is the centre of the cotton trade, the fibre
being there pressed, and despatched to the railway station of Tirupiir
for transmission to the ports of Madras and Beypur. Weekly markets
held at the towns and larger villages — about 250 in all — provide amply
for local interchange of produce. The total length of railway lines
running through the District is 147 miles, viz. the Madras Railway,
south-west line, with a branch to the Nilgiri Hills from Podaniir junction
station to Mettapolliem, and the South Indian Railway passing through
Kariir, and joining the Madras line at Erode station. There are also
1 5 14 miles of made Imperial and Local roads. The principal roads
are the Madras Trunk Road and those leading to Trichinopoli, Madura,
and the Burghiir and Hassaniir Passes, aggregating a total length of
385 miles. Khedas^ or stockades, for the capture of wild elephants have
been established in the north of the District. In 1873, an Act was
passed forbidding the destruction of these animals ; and since that year
several scores of elephants have been captured alive.

Administ7'ation. — For administrative purposes, the District is divided
into 10 taluks — Coimbatore, Pollachi, Palladam, Karur, Erode,
Udamalpet, Darapuram, Satyamangalam, Collegal, and Bhavani
— each of which is supervised by a native staff, revenue and judicial. The
Sub-Collector, Head Assistant (Europeans), and Deputy Collector have
superior jurisdiction ; the first over 4, the second over 3, and the third
over 2 taluks^ the Collector-Magistrate having himself special charge of
the head-quarters tdUik. The Nilgiri Hills formed, until 1868, a Sub-
division of Coimbatore. The total revenue for 1881-82 was ;^328,3io.
The principal items of income were — land revenue, ^280,969 ; excise,
^25,973; stamps, ;£"2o,io7; forests, ^4623; and assessed taxes,
^1258. The judicial machinery of the District consists of 6 civil courts
and 32 magisterial courts, exclusive of village magistrates-. The police
force aggregates a strength of 1 2 1 1 of all ranks, being in the proportion
of I constable to every 6 square miles and to every 1369 of the popula-
tion, maintained at an annual cost of ^19,563. The District contains
I central, i District, and 16 subsidiary jails. The central jail accom-
modates upwards of 1000 prisoners. The daily average number of
prisoners in it and in the District jail was, in 188 1, 1 185 ; in all the others
together, 91. The total expenditure on this account for 1881 amounted
to ^7165, or ^6, i8s. per head, for the prisoners in the central jail ;
and ;£88i, or ^5, 15s. per head, for those in the District jail.

Medical Aspects. — Coimbatore is remarkable for the comparatively
cool winds which blow across it from the west between May and
October. The monsoon brings its rain to Malabar, and up to the range
of hills separating that District from Coimbatore; but there it stops, a cold
damp wind without any rain blowing during the monsoon months over
the plains of Coimbatore. Thus, after the hot months of March and


April, the temperature suddenly falls, and remains low till October.
The District is healthy, except at the foot of the hill ranges, where the
atmosphere at night is so malarious that the cultivators dare not remain
after dusk. The number of births registered in the District in 1881
was 35,038, or a ratio of 2ri births per 1000 of population. The
number of registered deaths for the same year was 20,805, or 12-5 per
1000, the mean for the previous five years being 15-2. The extension
of cultivation having greatly curtailed the pasturage, murrain and ' foot-
and-mouth ' disease have become prevalent among the cattle. The
latter disease has been communicated to the wild herds of bison, and
sportsmen find the numbers of these animals rapidly decreasing from
this cause. [For further information regarding Coimbatore, see the
Madras Census Report iox 1881, and i\iQ Annual Ad77iinistration Report s
of the Presidency from 1880 to 1883.]

Coimbatore.— 7Iz7//^ of Coimbatore District, Madras Presidency.
Area, 804 square miles, of which about 56 per cent, is under cultivation.
The taluk contains i town and 261 villages, and 51,761 occupied
houses. Population (1881) 267,804, namely, 131,334 males and 136,470
females; land revenue demand, ^33,870. There are in the tdluJz
2 civil and 4 criminal courts; police stations {thdnds), 10; strength of
police, 349 men.

Coimbatore {Koyambdtur, formerly Koyampadi and Koibinutur).—
Chief town and administrative head-quarters of Coimbatore District,
Madras Presidency. A station of the Madras Railway situated on the
left bank of the Noyil river, in lat. 10° 59' 41" n., and long. 76° 59'
46" E. ; 304 miles by rail from Madras, and 50 miles from Utakamand
(Ootacamund). Houses, 6684, of which 1007 were unoccupied in 1881 ;
two-thirds of the houses are tiled. Population (1881) 38,967, namely,
33,997 Hindus, 2763 Muhammadans, 2162 Christians, and 45 'others;'
municipal revenue in 1881-82, ^2651; incidence of taxation per
head, about is. 4jd. As the head-quarters of the District administra-
tion, Coimbatore contains all the chief courts— magisterial, revenue,
and judicial— the central jail. District police, post and telegraph offices,
dispensary, and school. The town lies 1437 feet above sea-level; and,
being built with particularly wide streets, and possessing good natural
drainage, an abundant water-supply, and a cool temperature, it is better
suited for the residence of Europeans than most of the towns of the
Presidency. The Nilgiri branch of the Madras south-western line con-
nects it with the railway system— the junction station for Coimbatore
being Podaniir. From its position, commanding the approach to
Palghat on the west, and to the Gazalhatti Pass on the north, Coim-
batore was formerly of great strategical importance. Originally
belonging to the Chera dominions, it fell to the Madura Nayaks, by
whom it was considered one of their chief strongholds, and afterwards


to Mysore. During the wars with Haidar AH and Tipii Sultan, it
changed masters many times. In 1768, the British took it, and again
lost it; and in 1783, it was again taken and retaken. In 1790, the
Company's forces a third time occupied it, but Tipii, after a siege of
five months, compelled the garrison to surrender. In 1792 provision-
ally, and in 1799 finally, the town was ceded to the British, and from
that time it ceased to be a military station. Three miles distant, at
Periir, stands the temple of Mel-Chidambaram (to be distinguished
from the Kil-Chidambaram of South Arcot), celebrated for its sanctity,
and further remarkable as one of the three Hindu temples spared from
destruction by Tipii Sultan.

Colaba. — District, Bombay Presidency. — See Kolaba.

Colepett. — Town in Coorg. — See Amatti.

Coleroon {Kolladam). — The northern mouth of the Kaveri (Cauvery)
river in the Madras Presidency, which leaves the main channel at the
upper end of the island of Srirangam, about 10 miles west of Tri-
chinopoh, in lat. 10° 53' n., and long. 78° 51' e. After a north-easterly
course of about 94 miles, it falls into the Bay of Bengal at Atchavaram,
3J miles from Porto Novo, in lat. 11° 26' n., and long. 79° 52' e. For
the greater part of its length the Coleroon forms the boundary between
the Districts of Trichinopoli and South Arcot on the left, and Tanjore
on the right bank. As compared with the Kaveri (Cauvery) proper,
its course is more direct and its fall more rapid ; and consequently it
naturally tends to carry off the larger volume of water. To counteract
this tendency and maintain the proper water-supply of the Tanjore
delta, 'the great anient or dam was constructed in 1856 across the
channel of the Coleroon by Sir A. Cotton. A description of this work
is given in the article on the Kaveri (Cauvery). In the same year a
second dam, known as the lower anient, was thrown across the
Coleroon, 70 miles below Srirangam, in order to regulate the irrigation
of South Arcot. This dam consists of a hollow bar of masonry, 8 feet
high and as many broad, the interior being filled with sand rammed
down. The total length is 1901 feet, and in the rear is an apron of
masonry. The lower anient also feeds the great Viranam tank by the
Vadavar channel, and by several canals irrigates Tanjore District. In
South Arcot, the main channels from the Coleroon are the ' Khan
Sahib,' the ' Iron Company's,' the ' Raja Vaikal,' the Budenkugi, and
the Karangiili canals. The total outlay on the lower anient and its
dependent works was about ^£"30,000, and the increase of revenue since
its construction has averaged over ^10,000 per annum in South Arcot
alone. The Coleroon is affected by the tide for 5 or 6 miles from its
mouth. The boat traffic is considerable.

Colgong {Kahlgdon). — Town and head-quarters of a police circle
(thdnd) in Bhagalpur District, Bengal ; situated on the right or south


bank of the Ganges. Lat. 25° 15' 55" n., long. 87° 16' 51" e. The
second largest town in the District. Population (1881), Hindus, 4419 ;
Muhammadans, 1240 ; ' others,' 13 : total 5672, namely, 2707 males and
2965 females. Municipal committee of 10 members, of whom 9 are
non-officials. Municipal income (1881-82), ;^3i9 ; expenditure, ^321 ;
rate of taxation, is. iM. per head of population within municipal limits.
Colgong has for long been a place of commercial importance, owing
to its being easily accessible both by railway and river, and is still a
centre of trade for the country on all sides for about a dozen
miles round. Since 1875, however, a large number of traders have left
the town in consequence of the diversion of the main stream of the
Ganges, which formerly flowed just under the town, but has receded,
although there is now (1883) a channel close under the town, which is
open for trafiic in the dry season. The former channel of the river is
at present occupied by a broad bank of loose sand, across which it is
very difficult to convey heav^y merchandise. The railway station is on
the loop line of the East Indian Railway, 245 miles from Calcutta.
The only fact of historical interest connected with Colgong is that
Mahmiid Shah, the last independent King of Bengal, died here in
1539 A.D. After his defeat at Behar, he fled to Gaur; and when that
place was invested by the Afghan Sher Shah, he took refuge with the
Emperor Humayun at Chanar. In his absence, Gaur was stormed and
sacked, and his two sons were slain by the x\fghans. He had advanced
with the Emperor as far as Colgong, to attack Sher Shah, when the
tidings of his sons' death was brought to him, which so affected him
that he died of grief in a few days.

Collegal {Kdlligdl). — Tdhik in Coimbatore District, Madras Presi-
dency. Area, 1062 square miles, containing i town and 121 villages.
Houses, 12,617. Population (1881) 77,522, namely, 37,890 males
and 39,632 females. Land revenue demand (1882-83), £.'^Z9Z- The
taluk contains i civil and 2 criminal courts, with 6 police stations

Collegal {Kdlligdl). — Chief town in the taluk of the same name,
Coimbatore District, Madras Presidency. Lat. 12° 10' n., long. 77° 9' e.
Population (1881) 8462, namely, 7951 Hindus, 493 Muhammadans, and
18 Christians ; number of houses, 1347.

Colonelganj. — Town in Gonda District, Oudh ; 2 miles north of the
Sarju river, 20 miles from Gonda town, and 10 from Bahramghat.
Lat. 27° 8' N., and long. 81° 44' e. The original village, named
Sakrora, was a place of no importance till, in 1780, a force under a
British officer was sent by the Nawab of Oudh to bring to terms the
refractory rulers of his trans-Gogra Provinces, and Sakrora became the
head-quarters of this force for some years. In 1802, a larger force was
stationed here ; and a bdzdr named Colonelganj, in honour of the com-


manding officer, came into existence. On the annexation of Oudh,
Colonelganj was selected as the miUtary head-quarters for the Com-
missionership of Gonda and Bahraich. The native troops here, as
elsewhere, revolted on the outbreak of the Mutiny; and it was with
difficulty that the English officers escaped to the protection of the loyal
Raja of Balrampur. On the suppression of the rebellion, Colonelganj
was abandoned as a military station. Its central position between
Bahraich, Gonda, and Balrampur, however, marked it out as a natural
depot for the rice and oil-seeds of the western portions of the trans-
Gogra tardi, and it soon became the seat of a flourishing export trade,
which has increased of late years, but which is probably doomed to
extinction on the completion of the Patna-Bahraich railway. Import
trade insignificant, consisting of a Httle salt, raw and manufactured
cotton, and copper vessels. Population (1881), Hindus, 4106, the pre-
vailing castes being Banias, Pasis, and Ahirs ; Muhammadans, 1789:
total, 5904, residing in 1243 houses. A few ordinary Hindu temples,
two mosques, and a sardi, are the principal buildings. Bi-weekly
market, police station. Government school, dispensary.

Colonelganj. — River-side mart in Patna District, Bengal, situated
west of Gulzarbagh, forming one of the large business quarters of
Patna City, and the centre of a large trade in oil-seeds and food-grains.

Combaconum {Kumbhakonam). — Taluk or Sub-division in Tan j ore
District, Madras Presidency. Area, 314 square miles, containing 2
towns and 505 villages. Houses, 61,667. Population (1881)370,723,
namely, 179,538 males and 191,185 females. Land revenue (1882-83),
^79,718. The tdhik is administered by a Head Assistant Collector,
with tahsilddrs, who preside over 2 civil and 4 criminal courts ; number
of police stations {thdnds), 12 ; strength of police force, 182 men.

Combaconum {Kuinbhakonam^ ' The water-jar mouth' — Sanskrit). —
Town and head-quarters of Combaconum /tz7z^X',Tanjore District, Madras
Presidency ; situated in the richest tract of the Kaveri (Cauvery) delta,
in lat. 10° 58' 20" N., and long. 79° 24' 30" e. Population (1881) 50,098,
namely, 47,908 Hindus, of whom nearly 20 per cent, are Brahmans,
1228 Muhammadans, 908 Christians, and 54 -others;' number of
houses, 7243. Formerly the capital of the Chola kingdom, it is one
of the most ancient and sacred towns in the Presidency, and so cele-
brated for its learning as to have been called the Oxford of Southern
India. In addition to a number of Hindu temples, for the most part
in good repair and well endowed, it contains a Government college,
courts, etc. Being much frequented by visitors and pilgrims, a brisk
trade is carried on. Municipal revenue, about J[^a,\oo\ incidence of
direct taxation, about iid. per head.

ComercoUy. — Town in Nadiya District, Bengal. — See Kumarkhali.

Comiilah {Kumilld). — Chief town and administrative head-quarters


of Tipperah District, Bengal ; situated on the Gumti river, on the main
road from Dacca to Chittagong, in lat. 23° 27' 55" n., and long. 91°
13' iS" E. Population (1881), Hindus, 5850; Muhammadans, 7351 ;
Christians, 121; 'others,' 50: total, 13,372, namely, males 8029, and
females 5343. Constituted a municipality in 1864, the municipal
limits covering an area of 2969 acres; income in 1881-82, ^1692
— expenditure, ^1649; ^^^e of taxation, is. i\di. per head of
population within municipal limits. During the rains, the water
in the river often rises several feet above the level of the town,
which is only saved from periodical inundation by an embankment
maintained by the Raja of Hill Tipperah ; but as this is narrow
and Aveak in many parts, the town has sometimes been in great
danger. The principal roads are metalled within municipal limits, and
lined on both sides with handsome trees. The largest of the many
fine tanks in Comillah is the Dharm Sagar, constructed by a Raja
of Tipperah in the first half of the 15th century, which is a mile
in circumference. The houses of the European officials, and the
District school, are built on its banks. An English church was
consecrated by the Bishop of Calcutta in September 1875. Besides
the ordinary Government courts and buildings, the houses of
the European residents, and the post-office, there are very few brick
houses in the place. The Raja of Tipperah, who owns the land
on which the town is built, will not allow his tenants to build
any but mat or mud houses, unless they pay him so large a 7iazar (con-
cihatory present) as to practically amount to a prohibition. Bridged
unmetalled roads, passable for carts all the year round, connect
Comillah with Daiid Kandi, Chittagong, Company-ganj, the Titas river,
Hajiganj, Laksham Bibi Bazar, and the Ralmai hills. Comilla has
been fixed upon as the starting-point for the projected railway north-
wards to Assam and Cachar.

Comorin {Kumdri ; Kaimia-Kumdi'i). — Headland in the State of
Travancore, Madras Presidency, the extreme southern point of India.
Lat. 8° 4' 20" N., long. 77° 35' 35" e. From Cape Comorin the chain
of the Western Ghats runs northwards. In the Periplus^ reference is
made to a harbour here ; but this has now disappeared, owing to en-
croachments of the sea, although a well of. fresh water in a rock a little
way out to sea seems to support the theory of its former existence.

Comorin {Kumdri^ 'a virgin'). — Village near the cape of the same
name. Lat, 8° 4 n., long. 77° 36' e. Houses, 430. Population (1881)
2247. The bathing festival referred to by the Greek geographers is
still continued in honour of Durga, the virgin goddess after whom the

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 4) → online text (page 3 of 58)