Temple rich simple city is Kumbakonam on the River Cauveri. She has been and is, for centuries, down the annals of history, "the cultural cradle of South India". Sanctity, devotion, heritage, reverence and awareness to acquire and cherish the best mark her spirit till date. Caught in her native charm and greatness as though, the Britishers founded a provincial school in the year 1854 on her banks of Cauveri and aptly nick-named the pro-college-school as 'the Cambridge of South India'. As on Cambridge, so on Kumbakonam Cauveri grew the school to fullness and matured into a mini-varsity of learning and research as is witnessed today. Though easy as it might seem, to draw a time-line of the college-history would be very exacting and voluminous a task if undertaken seriously. As one among the first four Indian Educational Institutions started by the British, since 19th century, the pro-form of that college school was a true precursor to University Education in South India. Government Arts College (Autonomous) Kumbakonam of today with an ancestry dating back to 1854 is far senior and her sesquicentennial is at hand! She is the proud Alma Mater of her Alumni with merit and genius deserving world-renown: Not a few are the names that are on the lips of the learned as and when the college is recalled. Mathematical wizard Srinivasa Ramanujan, Silver-Tongue Srinivasa Sastri, Tamil Savant Thyagaraja Chettiar, Thamizh-thaathaa, Grand Sire Dr. U. Ve. Saminatha Iyer, eminent Principals like BilderBeck, Gopal Rao, Dr. A. V. Gopalachariyar, R.V. Krishnamachariyar, and a long line of them are fast in the College's memory-album.
It was in the year 1918, Mahakavi Rabindranath Tagore visited this college and blessed her services. At the dawn of Freedom to India, in the Central Hall of this ancient college-building, the then Principal Dr. Karamchand Wade, FRCS celebrated the freedom function. Dr. Wade was a close associate of the new Prime Minister of India, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. From 1947 to 1957 great luminaries gave lectures in the college-precincts. Of them, Dr. A. Ramasamy Mudaliyar, Sri R. K. Shanmugam Chettiyar, Sri R. M. Alagappa Chettiyar, Sir P. T. Rajan, Dr. Karan singh of Botany-fame, Dr. C. Chandrasekar (who later became Central Minister in Nehru's Cabinet), Dr. Sequrra of St. Joseph, Dr. Chidambaranathan Chettiyar do deserve mention, gratefully acknowledged. Unforgettable scholars like Dr. V. Gopalan Nair of English, Sri R. Govindarajan of Tamil, Dr. M.S.Udayamurthy of Chemistry, Sri Ramakrishnan of Physics, Dr. P.Sankaranarayanan of Philosophy adorned their chairs in the 1950s.
Unique to this college is canoe facility. Even as late as 1970s, the canoe-club was active with six boats and two dhoes and the canoe-men did ply to Grand Anaicut in the then Cauveri when often she was in spate. Not mere recollection or anamnesis, the College at present sincerely believes in the restoration of the exquisite settings she had had in the recent past alongside the modern addition and innovation. The name of the institution from time to time, the setting and profile of the campus, and the building at the hoary start are integral to this college; for the spirit-of-the-place as such, outlives the nascent moment and continues to guide the implicit growth from within endogenously, the fortune of this college is always destined for.