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Location : Tamil Nadu
Languages : Tamil, Telugu
Major Attractions : Nellaiappar Temple
Best Visiting Time : Through out the year
Tirunelveli is a district of Tamil Nadu that is rich in its cultural traditions. Ricer Thamirabarani flows through this city and has made it quiet fertile. The place was an important center for Pandya kings for carrying out trade related activities. As you will see, the land is surrounded by the fields of paddy; it is named "Nelveli". A temple present here is a dedication to Lord Shiva and hence the city got its name.
It was Pandya rulers who had stronghold over this fertile land. It is also believed that the place was inhabited by pre-historic man. During the colonial rule by British, a war was carried out with Poligars. With the end of 18th century, the rule of Tipu Sultan came to an end. British forces snatched all the sources of revenue from the powerless nabob of Karnataka. The city remained under their control until the gain of independence. After 1947, two parts of district came into being, namely Tuticorin and Tirunelveli.
If talking about attractions at Tirunelveli, we have to talk about the rich religious heritage that is inherent in its culture. The city is an amalgamation of several religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Islam and Christianity.
Nellaiappar Temple :
This Shiva temple is the among the most prominent attractions of Tirunelveli that pull a huge crowd of devotees. The temple's main attractions are its musical pillars. Inside the premises, you will see a shrine housing the deities Shiva and his consort Parvati. The structure is quiet old and was constructed in 700 AD. The architecture of the place will make you awe struck. Apart from musical pillars that produce vibratory notes on being struck, the temple has numerous other structures that speak high about it. Somavara Mandapam is a spacious hall with 1000 pillars. Inside Tamra Sabha, you would see intricate carvings in wood. The larger than life sculptures are present in the premises.
There is a special "sabha" or Thaamirai sabhai, a place linked with the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. This hall is a magnificent piece of art and architecture. In the months of December and January, the festival of Arudra darisanam is celebrated. In the interiors, you will see the images of Sivakami and Nataraja. Another festival that is important here is Navrathri. Bhramotsavam festival lasts for about a month. Thaipoosam festival involves special rituals; during its celebration, the images of Shiva and Paravati are taken in a procession to the river Thamirabarani.
Mela Thiruvenkatanathapuram :
Located at a distance of about 10 kilometers from Tirunelveli, this temple is situated on the banks of Thamirabarani. Lord Srinivasa is the presiding deity over here.
Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple :
Another temple that is located besides Thamirabarani is named Sri Varadharaja. This ancient Vishnu temple is quiet popular among the devotees.
Keezha Thiruvenkatanathapuram :
This temple resembles to Tirupati in architecture. In the vicinity, there is another shrine called "taen kalahasthi" which is a devotion to Lord Shiva.
Software Technology Park :
There is much more to Tirunelveli than its magnificent temples and shrines. A Software Technology park is established here. The park has good connectivity with other states of India by means of roads, rails and airways.
Nearby Attractions :
Upon arriving Tirunelveli, you can plan to move about in some nearby places. Let's have a peep into a handful of them:
Kalakadu Wildlife Sanctuary :
It is a popular sanctuary that is visited by a number of ornithologists. If you area wild life enthusiast, this place will be a haven for you. Close to this is another sanctuary which is known for its majestic tiger population. It is called Mundanthurai and abounds in dry deciduous trees.
Here, you can see a temple dedicated to Sankara Narayan. At the time of Car festival, the premises remain crowded with devotees.
Also referred to as twin city of Tirunelveli, Palayamkottai's main attractions are its academic institutes that excel in education.
Agasthiyar Temple :
As you go half way upto Panatheertham, you will come across this Shiva temple. A fall that goes by the same name is also located here.
Manappad Church :
At a distance of about 71 kilometers from the destination, Manappad Church is situated. It was at this place that Catholicism originated in Southern India. The place is also associated with the saint Francis Xavier who used to live here.
This tourist attraction lies at 48 kilometers from Tirunelveli and is one of the important ports of India.
Located at about 13 kilometers from the destination, Pathamadai is the place that is linked with the birth of Swami Sivananda. The city's cottage industry is well known and you can fully flourished mat industry here.
Kunthakulam Sanctury :
As you go 33 kilometers south from Tirunelveli, you will come across bird sanctuary named Kunthakulam. The sanctuary rests amidst the lovely ambiance of natural sceneries. This enticing place is inhabited by a large variety of birds; some of these are migratory and flock down here from the countries like Srilanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, and even Australia. The place is visited by thousands of people each day.
It is a small village that is situated at about 72 kilometers and is famous for its Shiva temple. At Bharathar Ovari, you can pay a visit to a church of antiquity.
The renowned Tamil poet Subramanya Bharti was born at this place; the house that he lived in is converted into a memorial.
There are a wide variety of cuisines that you can relish here. Halwa, one of the desserts, is quiet famous here. The other dishes include Kootan Choru, Sodhi, and Yellu Thovayal. Kootan Choru is prepared from a mixture of rice and vegetables along with coconut and chilies.
There are a number of hotels that come with all sorts of facilities. You can choose from budget or moderate class hotels.
Tirunelveli is known for its silk saris; you can also buy jewelry items as well as sweets. The famous shopping joints meant for selling saris include names like Pothys, RMKV, and Nalli Silks. If looking for sweets, Santhi Sweets, Raja Sweets, and Lakhsmi Vilas are good options. Many Khadi and Handicraft Emporiums are also present that allow you to buy at reasonable prices.
The famous festival that is particularly famous here is Kodaivizha. The festivities are celebrated after mid January. Another famous festival that attracts large numnder of devotees is the Car Festival.
In summers, the temperature ranges between 25 and 34 degree Celsius while in winters, it varies between 17 and 21 degree Celsius. Being situated in the tropical region, the climate remains hot throughput the year.
Cities Nearby :
There are many cities that lie in the surrounding areas:
Nagercoil (6 kilometers), Tuticorin (119 kilometers), Sivagiri (113 kilometers), Tenkasi (27 kilometers)
Tirunelveli is a land of rich culture and traditions; its antiquity and religious significance is an attraction to the tourists.