Tinnevelly: Wikis


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Paddy Fields around Tirunelveli-Palayamkottai area
Location of Tirunelveli
in Tamil Nadu and India
Coordinates 8°44′N 77°42′E / 8.73°N 77.7°E / 8.73; 77.7
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District(s) Tirunelveli
Mayor Mr. A.L.Subramanian B.Sc, B.L
498 054 (2010)
3,781 /km2 (9,793 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
108.65 km2 (42 sq mi)
47 m (154 ft)
Website tirunelvelicorp.tn.gov.in

Tirunelveli (Tamil: திருநெல்வேலி), also known as Nellai (Tamil: நெல்லை), is the sixth-largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu in India, and the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District.

Tirunelveli is an ancient city with rich cultural heritage, and is home to many temples and shrines, including the largest Shiva Temple in Tamil Nadu, the Nellaiappar Temple. The city is considered to be one of the oldest in the Indian subcontinent, with a history that dates back to 1000 BC. It is located on the western side of the perennial Thamirabarani river, whereas its twin city Palayamkottai, is located on the eastern side.

The city is also famous for its reputed institutions and hence Palayamkottai is known as the "Oxford of South India".



Ancient temples in the river banks

Tirunelveli is an ancient city, as evidenced by the findings of archaeological excavations which have been going on since 1840s, in the outskirts of the city in Adichanallur (now under Tuticorin district). At this site, the archaeologists have unearthed an urn which could date back to 500 B.C,[1] containing a complete human skeleton and clay vessels with some rudimentary Tamil Brahmi script inscribed on them. Other ancient urns in which the elderly were buried have also been found in the same district.[2] Along with skeletal finds, husks, grains of rice, charred rice and celts have also been found[[2]].

More recent excavations at this site has led to the discovery of a habitation site of the Iron Age people. Archaeologists opine that it is about 3000–3800 years old, from the Neolithic period.[3][4] This has assured us that Tirunelveli has been an abode for human habitation for 3000 years or more. Now, Adhichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies.[5][6].

The Pothigai Malai (hill), also known as the Agasthiyar Malai, is in the Ashambu hills, part of the Annamalai Hills in the southern part of the Western Ghats of southern India is in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. Legend says that Sage Agastya (also written as Agasthiyar or Agathiyar) created the Tamil language here.. At 1,866 meters, it is the highest peak in the rugged Ashambu hills, which have one of the richest concentrations of biodiversity in the Western Ghats. The area is known for its spectacular views, beautiful forests and waterfalls, ancient temples and the river Tamirabarani, the lifeline of the region. According to the Mahābhārata[[7]], Lord Shiva sent the two saints (or sages) Vyasa and Agastya to create the divine languages Sanskrit and Tamil. Lord Murugan imparted spiritual knowledge to Agathiyar. Sage Agathiyar on the instruction of Lord Murugan originated the Tamil language. Agathiyar came to Pothigai and established the Tamil culture. The Tamil spoken in the Tirunelveli district is considered to be very pure. After establishing the Sidhar Gnana Koodam center for scientific research, and later traveling throughout the world spreading the knowledge gained, Agathiyar returned to a spot called Dashina Meru in the Pothagai hills, where he merged into the cosmos. A temple has been built for him at this spot, close to the Papanasam Falls on the banks of the Thamirabarani River. It is said that Sage Agathiyar occasionally gives appearances to sincere aspirants and devotees.

The history of Tirunelveli was extensively researched by Bishop Robert Caldwell.[8] (Christian missions in the 19th century in Tinnevelly played a significant part in the development of education as well as religious conversion.[9][10])

The known history says that Tirunelveli had been under the prominence of the Pandya kings,[11] serving as their secondary capital while Madurai remained its primary capital. It was an important city of the Chola kingdom (c.900–1200)[12] and of the Vijayanagar empire. The city was the chief commercial town in the period of Arcot Nawabs and Nayaks. They were among the various ruling dynasties of Tamil Nadu. In fact, they called the city "Nellai Cheemai", with cheemai meaning a developed foreign town.[13] It was the Nayaks who, in 1781, granted its revenues and local administration to the British. In 1801, it was annexed by the British, who governed it until India achieved independence in 1947.

On acquisition from the Nawab of Arcot in 1801, the British anglicized its name as Tinnevelly and made it the headquarters of Tirunelveli district. This happened despite the fact that their administrative and military headquarters was located in Palayamkottai (which was also anglicized as Palankottah),during their operations against the Palayakars. Post-independence, both towns reverted from their anglicized names to their original names and grew together as twin cities.

The city's historic heritage includes the Swamy Nellaiappar temple and the Sri Kandimathi Ambal temple, both of which are ancient Saivite temples. It is also the site of Asia's second largest two-tiered bridge, the Tiruvalluvur Bridge, which connects Tirunelveli Town and Junction. Nellaiappar temple Car festival is conducted every year in the month of tamil month Audi. Nellaiappar car is third largest temple car in tamil nadu next to Tiruvaroor and Srivilliputtur. Also, a Golden Temple car (First Inaugural run of Nellaiappar Temple Golden Car is November 2, 2009) will run during important festivals like Thirukalyanam, Kaarthigai, Aaruthra Festival etc.


Panoramic view of Tirunelveli as viewed from the Palayamkottai bank of river Thamirabarani. Sulochana Mudaliar bridge, the 12-arch link between both cities, is on the far right of this Diwali 2009 image.


Tirunelveli is also called Nellai. The translation in Tamil for paddy (rice fields) is "Nell". Both the names, Tirunelveli and Nellai, directly associate it to rice fields. Even on satellite imagery, it can be seen that the city is surrounded by fertile paddy fields, enriched by the perennial river "Tamirabarani".[14] The river has a wide network of canals and waterways which irrigate numerous rice fields and support the villages around the district which primarily thrive on cultivating rice. The region is also heavily dependent on the monsoon rains.

The etymology of Tirunelveli has a Puranic association also. It is said that a devotee was invited by God in his dream to settle with his family near the Tamirabarani river. There was a famine in the region for a long time, and the man had to beg and collect paddy from other people. He spread out the paddy to dry under the sunlight and went for his ritual ablution in the river. He then continued to pray to the Lord for rain. Suddenly a thunderstorm broke out and it rained heavily. Although his prayer was answered, he was worried about the paddy he had spread out to dry in the sun. So he ran to collect it but what he saw was nothing short of a miracle. Not a drop of rain had fallen on the paddy he had laid out to dry. Since then, the city has been called Tirunelveli -- 'Tiru' meaning respectable, 'Nel' meaning paddy, and 'Veli' meaning a protective fence. In other words, the etymology relates to the city having paddy fields as a protective fence.

The name Halwa City is the a more contemporary nickname of Tirunelveli. A wheat-based sweet called halwa has brought it fame across the southern Indian states.


Tirunelveli is located at 8°44′N 77°42′E / 8.73°N 77.7°E / 8.73; 77.7.[15] It has an average elevation of 47 metres msl(154 ft). It is located in the southern-most tip of the Deccan plateau. Tirunelveli is an important junction in the National Highway No 7 connecting India from the North to South (Kashmir to Kanyakumari). The nearest pivotal towns are: Gangaikondan in the north, Tuticorin in the east, Alangulam in the west, Kalakkad in the southwest and Nanguneri in the south. It is also flanked by the state of Kerala to the west, Gulf of Mannar and the districts of Virudhunagar, Thoothukudi and Kanniyakumari.[16] Thamiraparani river roughly divides the city into the Tirunelveli quarter and the Palayamkottai area. The major lakes in the city are Nainar lake and Udayarpetti lake. Three rivers (Chitraru, Thamirabarani and Kothandarama river) converge at a place called Sivalai, making the area very fertile. The closest town to this location is Alangaraperi.


The Agasthiyamalai hills, cut off Tirunelveli from the southwest monsoon, creating a rainshadow region.

The climate of Tirunelveli is usually tropical- generally hot and humid.[17]. The average temperature during summer (March to June) ranges from 23 to 36° Celsius and 18 to 30°C during the rest of the year. The average annual rainfall is 680 mm, most of which occurs during the northeast monsoon (October-December). Since the economy of the district is primarily based on agriculture, fluctuations in the monsoon rains or flooding of the Thamarabarani river has an immediate impact of livelihood in the area.

There have been no earthquakes in the recorded history of the region. However, there have been a few instances of floods and cyclones caused by the monsoons.


As of 2001 India census,[18] Tirunelveli had a population of 411,298. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. The city has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 83%, and female literacy is 73%. In Tirunelveli, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.Among the Municipal Corporations, Tirunelveli has been identified with a gender ratio skewed towards males, with 1024 females for every 1000 males.[19] The growth rate of Urban Agglomeration is 20.22%.[20]

The city spreads over an area of 128.65 km². The population density of the city had increased to 3781 persons per km² in 2001 from 2218 Persons per km² in 1971. The disabilities in the city as per the 2001 census are 1308246, out of which 645142 are males and 663104, female. Hindus are the most in urban population. They are followed by Muslims and then Christians. The language mainly spoken in the city is Tamil. The usage of English is relatively common. The vast majority of official dealings and the medium of instruction in most educational institutions is in English. The Tamil dialect spoken in this region is very lucid and is popular throughout Tamil Nadu.

Projected Population

Year Population Type Source
1991 345,772 census official
2001 431,603 census official
2009 431,603 597,979 [21]
no. Domain Population Rank Rank in UA Source
1 World n/a n/a n/a
2 Asia 440 400 [22][23]
3 India 89 87 [24][25]
4 Tamil Nadu 6 7 [26][27]


The economy of Tirunelveli district is chiefly agrarian in nature and people are engaged in the cultivation of spices and condiments (like cumbu, ragi) groundnut, pulses, gingelly, coconut, chillies, indigo and cotton. It is rich in mineral resources like limestone, sulphides and ilmenite-garnet sand.[28] The city of Tirunelveli has quite a number of industries in its area[3] like cement factories, cotton textile mills, spinning and weaving mills, beedi (tobacco) companies, steel products and so on. A large number of small scale industries supported by NELSIA (Nellai Small Scale Industries Association) are active. Tannery industries in small scale are also found here. In addition to these industries, a few small scale units of brick kilns and oil mills exist in the industrial area.

A vast majority of the middle class population in Tirunelveli city are either government employees, teachers, professors or others working in educational institutions. The living cost of the city is considerably low when comparing with other large cities in Tamil Nadu. Food items are easily available at affordable prices. Recently the Tata Group has signed for the opening of a titanium dioxide plant estimated at Rs.2500 crore in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts. The project is expected to create job opportunities for over 1000 people directly and an estimated 3000 indirectly.


CITY OFFICIALS (as of September 2009)
A.L.Subramanian (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK))
Deputy Mayor
K.Muthuramalingam (DMK)
Jayaraman I.A.S
Commissioner of Police
Manjunatha I.P.S
MLA (Tirunelveli)
N.Malai Raja (DMK)
MLA (Palayamkottai)
T.P.M.Mohaideen Khan (DMK)

District Minister - Dr.Poongothai Aladi Aruna (DMK)

Member of Parliament
Rama Subbu (Indian National Congress (INC))
Number of Wards
Total population
Male population
Female population

Tirunelveli assembly constituency is part of Tirunelveli (Lok Sabha constituency).[29] The city is a Municipal Corporation as well as the district Headquarters. The city has a Mayor, Deputy Mayor and several councillors elected by people representing administrative wards, as well as a corporation Commissioner to administer the city headed by the District Collector. The total population in Tirunelveli City Corporation as per 2001 census is 411,832 of which the male to female ratio is in favour of women. In correlation, Tirunelveli has a relatively large number of womenfolk in the working community, right from teachers to civic administrators.


Tirunelveli being a major city in the southern part of Tamilnadu, has an extensive transport network. It is well-connected to other major cities cities by road, rail and air.



The city is located on NH 7, 150 km to the south of Madurai and 80 km to the north of Kanyakumari. NH 7A, an extension of NH 7, connects Palayamkottai with Tuticorin Port. Now 4 lane track has been under progress and NH 7A stretch is almost in finishing stage. Tirunelveli is accessible by road from Madurai (3 hours) or Nagercoil (1 1/2 hours). Tirunelveli is also connected by major highways to Kollam, Tiruchendur, Rajapalayam, Sankarankovil, Ambasamudram and Nazareth.

Bus Stands

The main mofussil bus stand is located in Veinthaankulam. This bus stand was opened for public usage in 2003. There are regular bus services from and to the city. The other bus stands for local services within the city are the Junction (Nellai Santhippu Perunthu Nilayam) Bus Stand and the Palay Bus stand (Palay Perunthu Nilayam). Both Government and private buses are being operated for city travel round the clock.

A large network of interstate and intrastate buses ply to various destinations from Tirunelveli. There is a good co-existence of both private and public transport networks in the city round the clock. The Tirunelveli sub-division of the TNSTC (Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation), Madurai Division services the district's road transport needs with a string of local and mofussil (out-of-town) services.

The Tirunelveli sub-division of the TNSTC (Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation), Madurai Division services the district's road transport needs with a string of local and mofussil (out-of-town) services. The State Express Bus Corporation (SETC) operates express services to Chennai, Bangalore, Salem, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Nagapattinam, Erode, Villupuram, and Tirupati.


A majestic looking structure with a high elevated façade, Tirunelveli Junction (TEN) is one of the oldest and popular railway stations in India. It is one of the busiest and important stations in Tamil Nadu. [30] [31]

The Wikipede edits Tirunelveli Jn.

It is connected to major cities in all four directions, Madurai/Sankarankovil to the north, Nagercoil to the south, Tenkasi/Kollam to the west and Tiruchendur to the east. The railway station is facilated with computerized ticket booking and touch screen to know the train schedule and train running status. A computerized ticket booking center at Palayamkottai has been proposed to clear the extra rush at Junction station.


The nearest airport is the Tuticorin airport (TCR), located at Vaagaikulam in Thoothukkudi District, about 22 km east of Tirunelveli city. There are daily flights to Chennai via Air Deccan and Kingfisher Red. The Madurai Airport and Thiruvananthapuram International Airport are about 150 km away by road. An unused runway at Gangaikondan, which is 22 km north of the city, will become operational once the IT park at Gangaikondan is set up.[32]

Media and Communication

Tirunelveli being the district headquarters hosts many events pertaining to entertainment. The Government Exhibition, a popular attraction visited by thousands of people from in and around Tirunelveli takes place annually. Other major events of entertainment include an annual circus which draws huge crowds and many state and even national level sporting events in VOC ground and Anna Stadium.

Cinema Theatres

Central Theatre in Tirunelveli Town

Tirunelveli has numerous cinema theatres which are mostly constructed in the Art Deco style, and are popular landmarks in Tirunelveli. Popular theatres include the Bombay Theatre, Parvathi, Perinbavilas, Ram and Muthuram. The most recently constructed, and perhaps the best in Tirunelveli is the Bombay Theatre. Some of the old theatres that lie between Tirunelveli Town and Junction are the Central, Rathna and Parvathi.


VANAKKAM INDIA,"[4]Dina Thanthi, Dina Malar, Dinakaran, Dina Mani, Dina Vel, Tamil Sudar, Kathiravan, Tamil Murasu, Maalai Malar, Malai Murasu are the prominent Tamil news dailies currently printed in the city. The Hindu is the most widely read English daily.

Local Cable Television

Air Media Network, Karan TV, Sathya and Krishna TV are the local cable television networks.

Radio stations

Tirunelveli is served on the FM dial by Suryan FM, run by Sun Network (frequency 93.5 MHz), Hello FM, run by the Malai Malar Group (frequency 106.5 MHz) and Tirunelveli Vanoli Nilayam (All India Radio), by the Government of India. Tirunelveli is among the 40 cities in India to have an FM station. IGNOU has planned to air its distant education lecture (named Gyan Vani) via FM Tirunelveli.


Many sport events such as Hockey, Kabbadi, Volleyball, Kho-Kho tournaments are conducted at Anna stadium and VOC grounds. Both are situated in Palayamkottai and primarily used by school students for playing cricket during their leisure hours and holidays. An excellent public swimming pool and a well-maintained hockey field are among the facilities of the Anna Stadium in Palayamkottai.


Tirunelveli has a rich religious heritage. Though the roots of the city is associated with Hindu mythology, Tirunelveli has a harmoniously pluralistic society with followers of all the major Indian religions - Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Jainism. Consequently, the city has places of worship for people of all these religions, several of which are of historical importance like the Nellaiappar Temple and the Cathedral. Some areas of Tirunelveli have a disproportionately large religious demographic, like Melapalayam and Palayamkottai. While the former is a predominantly Muslim quarter the latter has a large proportion of Christians and Christian educational institutions. Palayamkottai was a Christian missionary hub in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Nellaiappar Temple

Nellaiappar Gopuram

Nellaiappar Temple is famous as one of the largest Shiva Temples of Tamilnadu, steeped in tradition and also known for its sculptural splendours. The temple is situated in Tirunelveli Town, in the centre of the city at a distance of 2 km from the railway station. It is a twin temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathi and Lord Shiva. Even from a considerable distance, one can have a good view of the gopurams (towers). Both the gopurams were built according to the rules laid down in the agama sastras by Rama Pandyan. Rare jewels, the Golden Lily Tank, Musical Pillars, and the hall of Thousand Pillars are worth seeing. The temple dates back to 700 AD and contains inscriptions made around 950 AD. It is believed there were two distinct temples, built separately for Shiva and Parvathi, the consort to Lord Shiva, by the Pandyan kings. The Sangili Mandapam, a big terraced hall, linking both these temples, was built in the 17th century. The towers also date back to the early 17th century. Vishnu and Agastya are believed to have worshipped Shiva here.

Golden Chariot of the Nellaiappar Temple

The Nellaiappar temple car weighs approximately 400 tons and is the-third largest temple car in Tamil Nadu. It is also said to be the largest human-powered car in South India. The car's axle was fabricated in steel during the British colonial period. Recently, steel rims were also used to reinforce the gigantic yet ageing wooden wheels. The Aani Car festival is the most popular festival associated with the temple, and the five cars (for Vinayakar, Murugan, Nellaiappar, Kanthimathi and Sandikaeswarar) by themselves are minor landmarks in the city.

Nindrasir Nedumaran (நின்றசீர் நெடுமாறன்), who reigned in the seventh century AD, contributed by constructing and renovating important parts in the temple. A beautiful garden next to the Mandapam, designed by Thiruvengadakrishna Mudaliar in 1756, welcomes visitors with many colourful and fragrant flowers. A square Vasantha Mandapam with 100 pillars is situated in the midst of this garden.

Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Sri Varadharaja Perumal Kovil is situated in Tirunelveli Junction, on the banks of the perennial river Thamirabarani (தாமிரபரணி). It is an ancient and reputed Vishnu temple.

Mela Thiruvenkatanathapuram Temple

The Mela Thiruvenkatanathapuram temple is located 7 to 10 km south west of Tirunelveli, on the banks of perennial river Thamirabarani). Also known as Thirunankovil, it has Lord Srinivasa as the deity.

Holy Trinity Cathedral

Oosi Gopuram

The Holy Trinity Cathedral, Palayamkottai, a big, elegant and beautiful church, was built in 1826 by Rev. CTE Rhenius - the Apostle of Tirunelveli (Charles Theophilus Ewald Rhenius), and opened to public for worship on 26 June 1826. Bishop Corrie named it as Holy Trinity Church on 30 January 1836. Bishop Stephen Neill raised the status of the Church into a Cathedral. Many renovations and additions were made to this structure. This church still serves as a nucleus for this massive Cathedral which developed in later years.


Tirunelveli district, or more specifically, Palayamkottai, is called the Oxford of South India as the city has excellent educational institutions. The Manonmaniam Sundaranar University is named after the famous poet who penned the Tamil Thai Vazhthu, the official song of the state. This University has more than 24 departments, and offers some unique courses in Tamil Nadu, like Criminology and Criminal justice. Prof.R.T.Sabapathy Mohan is the current vice Chancellor.

Tirunelveli Medical College - Auditorium

In view of improving the quality of technical education in the southern parts of Tamil Nadu, Anna University Tirunelveli was established in 2007. The University offers a variety of engineering and technology courses in both undergraduate and postgraduate streams. Research facilities are being established in a start-of-the-art campus near Palayamkottai. Einstein College of Engineering at Sir.C.V.Raman Nagar, in Tirunelveli.

The city has many prestigious old government and private colleges in the medical, legal, engineering, arts, pharmaceutical and physiotherapic fields. Tirunelveli Medical College[33] and the Government College of Engineering, Tirunelveli[34] are professional colleges run by the government of Tamil Nadu. St.Xavier's College run by Jesuits, St. John's College and Sarah Tucker College run by CSI Diocese, MDT Hindu College and Sadakathulla Appa College are well-known arts colleges. St.Xavier's College Palayamkotai is one of the few colleges which became autonomous very early. The college takes pride in having amongst its large alumni, eminent people like the politician Vaiko, Peter Alphonse and Arunachalam (former cabinet minister).

Popular higher secondary schools in Tirunelveli are Pushpalatha School, Rose Mary Schools, Bell School, MDT Hindu College School (where the eminent Tamil poet Barathiyaar studied and worked as teacher), Schafter School, St.Xavier's School, St.John's School, Jeyandra Vidyalaya, Little Flower School, Chinmaya Vidhyalaya, Sarah Tucker School and St.Ignatius Convent. Some schools like Bell School, Jeyandra School and Sarah Tucker have managed to make international connections with foreign schools and run active student exchange projects. Educational activities of this kind, make learning in Tirunelveli a unique experience for the local students.The best computer software and hardware training institute in Palayamkottai NITI, Nellai Information Technology Institute. [35][36]

No Educational Institutions Total number of Institutions
1 Universities 2 (Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Anna University Tirunelveli)
2 Arts and Science Colleges 21
3 Medical Colleges 2 (Tirunelveli Medical College, Siddha Medical College)
5 Engineering Colleges 12
6 Law Colleges 1
7 Pre Kindergarten Schools 201
8 Primary Schools 1521
9 Middle Schools 394
10 High Schools 114
11 Higher Secondary Schools 148
12 Teacher Training Institutes 6

Science centre

The city has a District Science Centre, a satellite unit of Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bangalore.[37] The centre is committed to the cause of science education through fun and entertainment. The centre has an evergreen science park in sylvan surroundings and is located adjacent to the perennial river Thamirabharani, along the highway to Kanyakumari. Permanent exhibitions, science shows, interactive guide tours, a mini-planetarium, sky observation through a telescope are some of the activities of the centre. Many scientific experiments prototypes planted in the campus. The building has two floors. Exhibitions and Competitions are also conducted here up to school levels. The visiting charges are nominal.`Fun science gallery' inaugurated in Tirunelveli — The Hindu.


Traditionally, it has been noted that the Tamil language originated from the Pothigai Malai, a hill situated in the Western Ghats near Papanasam, a small village in the Tirunelveli district. As per Brahminical legend, Lord Shiva sent two saints, Vyasa and Agatyar (in Sanskrit Agastya) to create the divine languages of Sanskrit and Tamil. Agatyar came to Papanasam first and established the Tamil culture from the Pothigai Malai. Today, the Tamil language as spoken in the Tirunelveli district is called as Nellai Tamil. Nellai Tamil uses words like Annachi (a venerational salute to the elders), unique to the region. Nellai Tamil is also spoken relatively fast, in comparison with other dialects of the language. The Tirunelveli accent appeals to all Tamil speaking people[citation needed] and it is considerably different from the Madras Bashai, which is a more anglicized Tamil dialect. Since Tamil is believed to have originated from the Pothigai Malai, Nellai Tamil is considered to be the first and purest form of Tamil. It is also said to be the sweetest form of Tamil[citation needed]. However, Tirunelveli accent is often satirically mocked in Tamil films.



Tirunelveli is popular state-wide for its famous halwa (pronounced locally as alwa). The sweet dish is made primarily from wheat and sugar. Tirunelveli halwa is golden brown, has a jelly-like texture and contains a ghee (clarified butter), which gives it its distinctively greasy appearance. Best served hot, this popular sweet is generally enjoyed as a dessert. Tirunelveli halwa is said to owe its uniquely rich taste to a special recipe of this region, blended with the renowned sweetness of the Thamarabarani river. The halwa was made famous by a Marwari family settled here more than 300 years ago. The original shop started by them is the Lakshmi Vilas. Over time, other small businesses borrowed the recipe and now the halwa has become synonymous with the city.

The best places to buy Tirunelveli halwa is around the Nellaiyappar temple and avenue leading to the central railway station.[38] Two of the most famous halwa stores are Irutu Kadai Halwa (Transliterated as the Dark Halwa store), situated near the Nellaiyappar temple and the other being Shanthi Sweets. The name Irutu Kadai of the former store derives itself from the fact that the looks of the store have been kept unchanged from the date it was started. Till date, there are no bright electrical lights or even a board to display the shop's brand. Besides this, there are also many other excellent sweet stalls in Tirunelveli town that sell this delectable local delicacy.

Local dishes

Some of the unique and popular dishes in Tirunelveli are Sodhi, Kootan Choru and Ulunthamparupu choru with yellu thovayal. Sothi is a delicious gravy made of coconut milk and vegetables. This is served at marriage feasts, especially during the Maruveedu (reception) ceremony which takes place the day after a marriage. Kootan Choru is a hot spicy vegetable rice made with dhal, rice, vegetables and a mixture of coconut and red chillies. Ulunthamparupu choru is rice and ulunthamparupu (Urad Dhal) cooked together. Ulunthamparupu choru is taken with yellu (sesame seeds) and thovayal(spicy chutney). Amongst vegetarians, avial is a local variant of spicy stir-friend local vegetables. Tirunelveli avial tastes a bit sour and sometimes called as Nellai avial.

Engineering marvel

The Thiruvalluvar Bridge at Tirunelveli Junction was constructed in 1973 to ease the heavy traffic at the railway junction. The two tier bridge has a length of 800m. The first of its kind ever constructed in India, it consists of 25 spans, of which 13 are bowstring arch (each with a width of 30.3m) and 12 are single tier RCC girders, each with a width of 11.72m.


Tirunelveli's twin city

Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai being located on either banks of the river Thamirabarani, they are often referred to as twin cities. Palayamkottai is widely known for its educational infrastructure and is called the Oxford of South India[39][40][41]. The city has a rich heritage in pedagogy with its wide array of highly competitive and dynamic schools, colleges and institutions of higher education. Some of these institutions have been in existence for more than 150 years, and have had their eminence during the British Raj. Amongst the most eminent are the Tirunelveli Medical College, Government Siddha College, Government Engineering College, St.Xavier's College, St.John's College and Sarah Tucker College (the first women's college in Tamil Nadu)[42][43].


  1. ^ The Hindu: National: `Rudimentary Tamil-Brahmi script' unearthed at Adichanallur
  2. ^ The Telegraph - Calcutta: Nation
  3. ^ Stone Pages Archaeo News: 3,800-year-old Indian skeletons throw light on evolution
  4. ^ Stone Pages Archaeo News: Iron Age settlement found in India
  5. ^ The Hindu: National: Iron Age habitational site found at Adichanallur
  6. ^ More earthenware unearthed
  7. ^ http://indianheartbeat.fws1.com/agathiyar.htm Biography of Sage Agathiyar
  8. ^ History of Tinnevelly by Bishop R. Caldwell
  9. ^ Christian mission in Tinnevelly
  10. ^ A brief history of Tinnevelly By Rev. Dyron B. Daughrity
  11. ^ Tirunelveli
  12. ^ Chola's Imperial town
  13. ^ 400 years sugar cane press
  14. ^ Thamirabarani
  15. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Tirunelveli
  16. ^ http://www.nellai.tn.nic.in/general.html#ori_dist
  17. ^ Climatic condition of Tirunelveli
  18. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20040616075334/http://www.censusindia.net/results/town.php?stad=A&state5=999. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  19. ^ Census of Govt of India
  20. ^ Urban Agglomeration growth rate
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ World-gazetter population estimation of Asian cities- Proper Place
  23. ^ World-gazetter population estimation of Asian cities-Agglomeration
  24. ^ World-gazetter population estimation of Indian cities - Proper Place
  25. ^ World-gazetter population estimation of Indian cities- Agglomeration
  26. ^ World-gazetter population estimation of Tamil Nadu cities - Proper Place
  27. ^ World-gazetter population estimation of Tamil Nadu cities - Agglomeration
  28. ^ Economy of Tirunelveli
  29. ^ "List of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies" (PDF). Tamil Nadu. Election Commission of India. http://archive.eci.gov.in/se2001/background/S22/TN_ACPC.pdf. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  30. ^ Railway Map of India - 1893
  31. ^ List of Popular Railway stations in India
  32. ^ Kayatar Air Strip
  33. ^ Tirunelveli Medical College -TvMC
  34. ^ Government College of Engineering, Tirunelveli
  35. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/2009/01/21/stories/2009012155090600.htm
  36. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/2007/11/15/stories/2007111564081100.htm
  37. ^ "Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum Bangalore India: Satellite Units". http://www.vismuseum.org.in/units.html. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  38. ^ "Tourists amused" — The Hindu
  39. ^ http://tirunelveli.nic.in/education.html A Brief History of Missions in Tirunelveli
  40. ^ http://southindianstates.com/tamilnadu_districts/tirunelveli/
  41. ^ http://www.southindiaonline.com/tamilnadu/thirunelveli.htm
  42. ^ http://www.sarahtuckercollege.org/college%20web/index.htm
  43. ^ http://mycollege.in/college.php?id=564&name=Sarah-Tucker-College-Palayamkottai---627-007

External links

See also

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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