Sivakasi is a city and a municipality in Virudhunagar district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The town is famous all over India for its fireworks factories. There are at least 300 manufacturers based in the city but that number blooms during Diwali. Many of these factories (mostly small-scale and unorganized sector) only exist during the festival season and then vanish for the rest of the year.
The town is also known for its powerful printing industry and match-making industries. It was given the nickname "Kutty Japan" ('Little Japan' in Tamil) by Jawaharlal Nehru.
Sivakasi has a history of more than 600 years.
Between 1428 and 1460 AD, King Harikesari Parakkirama Pandian, then king of Tenkasi, ruled the southern region of Madurai, with his capital at Tenkasi. According to legend, he wanted to construct a temple for Lord Shiva at his palace. Therefore he went to Kasi Varanasi and worshiped Lord Shiva there and brought a Shivalingam from there. While returning to his palace with the prized lingam, he took rest under a grove of Vilva trees, which are favored by Shiva. The cow which carried the Shivalingam refused to move from that point which prevented the carrying of the lingam to Tenkasi. The king realized that the wishes of Lord Shiva were different from his own and placed the lingam in the place where the cow had halted. The place which was sanctified by the "Shivalingam brought from Kasi" henceforth came to be called Sivakasi.
Later on, King Pandia and King Thirumalai Naicker contributed to the expansion of this temple and named it "Kasi Viswanatha Swamy" Temple. The period of construction was between the 15th and 16th centuries. Aanaiappa Gnani reconstructed this temple. Under the rule of the Naickers, the temple was developed even more. In 1659, the Ratham (the temple chariot for processions during festival times) was constructed by Muthu Veerappa Naicker.