Vaniyambadi derives from 'Vani', the name of the Hindu goddess Saraswati, and 'Padi', "to sing"; folklore suggests that Vani sang on the banks of the river Palar at the request of the Hindu Gods Vishnu and Shiva. Temples for Sundara Varadaraja Perumal (Vishnu) and Athitheeswarar (Shiva) with Prahannaayagee lie on the either side of the river.
Vaniyambadi is located at 12.68°N 78.62°E / 12.68; 78.62. It has an average elevation of 119 feet (36 m) and lies on the banks of the Palar river. Yelagiri and Javadi Hills are located to the south of the town.
According to 2011 census, Vaniyambadi had a population of 195,061 with a sex-ratio of 1,023 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929. A total of 12,013 were under the age of six, constituting 6,121 males and 5,892 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 15.15% and .09% of the population respectively. The average literacy of the town was 74.37%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The town had a total of 20559 households. There were a total of 31,013 workers, comprising 94 cultivators, 218 main agricultural labourers, 800 in house hold industries, 26,529 other workers, 3,372 marginal workers, 11 marginal cultivators, 100 marginal agricultural labourers, 202 marginal workers in household industries and 3,059 other marginal workers. As per the religious census of 2011, Vaniyambadi had 21.75% Hindus, 75.74% Muslims, 1.99% Christians, 0.02% Sikhs, 0.01% Buddhists, 0.2% Jains, 0.29% following other religions and 0.01% following no religion or did not indicate any religious preference.
The major population comprises people following Hinduism and Islam. Tamil is the widely spoken language.
Leather tanning is a major industry of the town. Agriculture, especially coconut plantations, is the other major source of livelihood.
Vaniyambadi is well connected by road and the town is located on the Bangalore-Chennai highway which is part of the Golden Quadrilateral. A state highway connects the town to Tirupattur (SH-18), Gudiyattam (SH-130) and Polur (SH-215). The town has a railway station and the nearest airport is Bangalore International Airport.
Yelagiri is about 25 km from the town. Javadi Hills is another small hill station nearby. Asia's second largest telescope, Vainu Bappu Observatory of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics is situated at Kavalur near Vaniyambadi. Several centuries-old temples like Sundara Varadaraja (Azhagu) Perumal and Athitheeswarar are prominent places of worship in the town.