It is located 60 km to the South-East of Erode and 70 km to the West of Trichy, 100 km to the South of Salem, 140 km to the East of Coimbatore and 150 km to the North of Madurai.
Karur has a very long history and has been sung by various sangam poets. It has been the battleground of various Tamil Kings like Chera, Chola and Pandya because of its strategic location in Kongu nadu(Coimbatore). The district has a very rich and varied cultural heritage. The district is made fertile by the perennial flows of the Kaveri River on the northern side(Thavittupalayam, Vangal, Mayanur, Kulithalai) and also the Amaravati, Nanganjiyar and Noyyal rivers. Its economy is mainly agrarian. Presently, the district is famous worldwide for its handloom products. KARUR is one of the oldest towns in Tamil Nadu and has played a very significant role in the history and culture of the Tamils. Its history dates back over 2000 years, and has been a flourishing trading centre in the early Sangam days. It was ruled by the Cheras, Gangas, Cholas, the Vijayanagara Nayaks, Mysore and the British successively.
Karur was built on the banks of river Amaravathi which was called Aanporunai during the Sangam days. According to the Hindu mythology, Brahma began the work of creation here, which is referred to as the "place of the sacred cow." The names of the early Chera kings who ruled from Karur, have been found in the rock inscriptions in Aaru Nattar Malai close to Karur. The Tamil epic Silapathikaram mentions that the famous Chera King Senguttuvan ruled from Karur.
Epigraphical, numismatic, archaeological and literary evidence have proved beyond doubt that Karur was the capital of early Chera kings of Sangam age. It was called Karuvoor or Vanji during Sangam days. There has been a plethora of rare findings during the archaeological excavations undertaken in Karur. These include mat-designed pottery, bricks, mud-toys, Roman coins, Chera Coins, Pallava Coins, Roman Amphorae, Rasset coated ware, rare rings, etc. Karur may have been the center for old jewellery-making and gem setting (with the gold imported mainly from Rome), as seen from various excavations. In 150 Greek scholar Ptolemy mentioned “Korevora” (Karur) as a very famous inland trading center in Tamil Nadu. 
After the Sangam Cheras, Kongus (Gangas), a Chera related native clan ruled Karur. The history of Kongu nadu dates back to the 8th century. The name Kongu nadu originated from the term "Kongu", meaning nectar or honey. Kongu came to be called as Kongu nadu with the growth of civilization. Kulasekhara known as Kongar Kon (the king of the Kongu people) ruled Kongu Nadu from Karur during this period.
Karur has an average elevation of 122 m (400 ft). It is about 371 km south west of Chennai (Madras), the capital of Tamil Nadu.