Devakottai is noted for its literature, shaivite temple buildings, publishing, judiciary and politics. The town was important during the Indian independence movement. The municipal court in Devakottai was burned to ground during the Quit India Movement and the town suffered punitive fines and some citizens served prison terms.
Today Devakottai is a favoured site for movie shootings, mainly because of its palatial bungalows.
Mahatma Gandhi visited Devakottai in 1934 to condole with the death of Poochi, a Dalit, in the movement against untouchability, and held discussions with Dalits and Nattars, who were opposed to Dalits wearing shirts. The 75th aaniversaryof the Mahatma's visit was celebrated at the site where he stayed- Saraswathi vasaka salai- in January 2009.