(திருநெல்வேலி மாவட்டம் in Tamil) is a district
of Tamil Nadu state
in southern India
. The city of Tirunelveli
is the district headquarters. A unique feature of this district is that it consists of all five geographical traditions of Tamil Literature
(paddy fields), Neithal
(coastal) and Palai
On its acquisition from the Nawab of Arcot
in 1801, the British named it as Tinnevelly district though their headquarters was first located in Palayamkottai the adjacent town, where they had their military headquarters during their operations against the Palayakars. There are three reasons attributed for naming the district after Tirunelveli. The prime one is that it has been serving as the chief town of the district and the second one is that it has been called called as Tirunelveli Seemai under the Nayaks and Nawabs. Finally it served as the south capital in the period of Pandyan Kingdom. Both Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai grew as the twin towns of the district.
In 1986, Tirunelveli district was split into two districts for administrative purpose such as Chidambaranar (present-day Thoothukudi) and Nellai-Kattabomman (later Tirunelveli-Kattabomman, present-day Tirunelveli) districts. This is one of the Ayyavazhi populated districts of Tamil Nadu. The Ayya Vaikunda Avataram was announced as a holiday for the district.
Geography and climate
The district is located in the southern part of Tamil Nadu and surrounded by Virudhunagar District in the North, Western Ghats in the West, Kanyakumari District in the south and Thoothukudi District in the East. The district covers an area of 6,823 km2. It lies between 8°.05’ and 9°.30’ of the Northern latitude and 77°.05’ and 78°.25’ of Eastern longitude. The district has diverse geographical and physical features. It has a lofty mountains a stretch of Western Ghats and low plains. It has a perennial river Tamirabarani and various other small seasonal rivers. This district is blessed with beautiful water falls and cascades. Its diverse features include sandy soil and fertile alluvium, a variety of flora, fauna and protected wild life. To add its beauty it has inland and mountainous forests.
The district has peculiar climate and receives rainfall in all the seasons which represent 953.1 mm in 2005-2006. Tirunelveli District benefits from both the North East Monsoon and the South West Monsoon. The maximum precipitation is contributed by the North East Monsoon at 548.7 mm followed by the South West Monsoon at 147.8 mm and the Summer 184.2 mm. The district is irrigated by several rivers originating in Western Ghats, like the Pachaiyar River which soon mergers with the Tambaraparani River. The Tambaraparani River and the Manimuthar River both have many anicuts and dams with reservoirs that provide water for both agriculture irrigation and power generation. The Tamiraparani River provides consistent irrigation to a large agricultural area. The Chittar River also originates in this district. Courtallam and Manimuthar Waterfalls are the two major waterfalls in the district.
It had a population of 2,723,988 in 2001. It is 48.03% urbanised. Tamil
is the main language spoken here. As per the 2001 Census, Hindus
form the majority of the population (79.76%), followed by Christians
(9.26%) and others (0.09%)..
The district is criss-crossed by a network of Roadways and Railways. Tirunelveli city is the main transit hub of the district. At present the district is not served by Air transport, for which people have to utilize the nearby airports of Thiruvananthapuram, Madurai and Tuticorin. The district ha a total of 27 Railway stations. Given below are tables listing the length of roads and railways in the district.
|| National Highways
|| State Highways
|| Corporation and Municipalities Road
|| Panchayat Union and Panchayat Road
|| Town Panchayat and Townships Road
|| Others (Forest Roads) |
| Length (km.)
|| 1,254.10 & 1,658.35
|| 114.450 |
|| Route Length (km.)
|| Track Length (km.) |
| Broad Gauge
|| 95.448 |
| Meter Gauge
|| 134.430 |
Canals, Wells, Tanks and Reservoirs are the sources of irrigation for the farmers in the state. As of 2005 - 2006, the district has total of 151 Canals with a length of 499 km, 85,701 Wells used for irrigation, 640 Tube Wells, 8 Reservoirs and 2,212 Tanks. Moreover the district has 21,776 Wells used for domestic purposes. Electricity supply is provided by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB). The district has Hydro-Electric power plants and Wind Mills with an installed capacity of 1,089.675 MW. The district is one of the major producers of Wind energy in the state. The Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant project is being undertaken in Koodankulam, which on completion will not only boost the district's electricity production, but also the state's and country's.
Education and social development
Tirunelveli is known for its education system and prowess. Palayamkottai is also known as 'Oxford of South India', because of the number of educational institutions it has. The district has a literacy rate of 76.97%, higher than the state average. As of 2005 - 2006, the district had a total of 2,494 schools. Tirunelveli has one University in Manonmaniam Sundaranar University. The district has 1 Government College, 11 Aided colleges and 7 Self - Financed Colleges.
Tirunelveli had a poverty ratio of 31.8%, higher than the State's and National figure. The district has a good record in terms of religious harmony. The three main religious groups of Hindus, Christians and Muslims have lived in harmony till now. It has a poor record when it comes to caste discrimination and caste based violence. The 1999 killing of 17 striking dalit tea plantation workers in the river Thamiraparani is one such incident which was condemned by the Human rights watch observers.
Tirunelveli has been an agricultural state right through the ages. The district is a major producer of Paddy (Rice), Coconut, Banana, Spices and forestry based products. The district's Livestock and Poultry data is given in the table below.
|| Horses & Ponies
|| Total Livestock
|| Total Poultry |
|| 1,218,583 |
Tirunelveli, being a coastal district, is also involved in Fisheries development and production. For the period 2005 - 2006, the total inland fish catchment stood at 1,874 tonnes while the total marine fish catchment was 7,014 tonnes. The district is also rich in mineral wealth. It has a total 407 Mining and Quarrying units. Limestone, Granite and Garnet Sand are some of the minerals mined/produced here. The major industries in the district include Textile, Food products and Forestry products. A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was started at Nanguneri in 2001. A pharma park, Windmill spare parts units and a television manufacturing unit has been planned in this SEZ. TIDCO planned to set up a Rs 700-crore Hi-Tech Industrial Park in Nanguneri in association with INFAC Group and Axes Technologies Inc, US. The State Government is planning to have light manufacturing, design and assembly facilities, modern infrastructure facilities and amenities in this SEZ to attract workforce from across the globe.
Places of interest
Courtallam is the most famous tourist spot in the district. The natural water falls, pleasant weather and intermittent drizzling really gives an unusual charm to the visitors. The rapturous scene of the falls gets heightened by cool breeze. Usually, the season is in between May to September. The water falls down in eight places with varying force depends on the height of the cliff.
- Main Falls
- Small Falls (Sitraruvi)
- Five Falls
- VIP Falls or (Palathotta Falls)
- Tiger Falls
- old Courtallam Falls
- SenbahaDevi Falls
- Honey Falls (thean aruvi)
The Tamil Nadu Tourism Department has arranged facilities for the visitors to take bath at any time. All the falls, except Honey falls, have been properly illuminated. One can bath at anytime in a day and one would not get sneezing or cold as the water is said to possess medicinal qualities of the herbal plants grown in this mountain. Those suffering from rheumatic joints, chronic headache, nerve disorder get cured by a long stay at Courtallam.
Manimuthar Falls is a natural water falls flowing through out the year situated above the Manimuthar dam. Really it is an adventurous feeling, if people drive there by bike. The falls near by has a pond which has a depth of 90 feet. It is really a picturesque place. It is just in 35 km from Tirunelveli city. There is no public transport service to go this place. The private cabs are offering the service from Tirunelveli.
Koothankulam Bird Sanctuary
The 1.29 km² Koothankulam Bird Sanctuary
, at a tiny village situated 35 km away from the Tirunelveli
city in the far south of Tirunelveli district is emerging as a new favorite spot for migratory birds. The village is sparsely populated. Migratory birds arrive here in the month of December end and lay eggs. After hatching and growing the new borns, it flies back in the month of July to its destination with the younger ones. The bird observers found around 35 species of birds in this sanctuary. Some Painted Storks
come from East Eurpeon countries. To create a friendly environment to migratory birds, the state government makes plenty of activities.
A small town (a.k.a Ambai) in the foothills of Western Ghats is one of the five taluk headquarters of the district. Ambasamudram serves as the main transit point for Papanasam, Manimuthar, Courtallam and for Sabarimala devotees going through Shengottai. Situated in the banks of the perennial river Tamirabarani, it is one of the most pristine and fertile towns of the district. The town is famous for its Wooden Handicrafts (Kadasal). There is not much industrial presence in the town except for an ailing Madura Coats. There is a famous temple named Agasthiyar Kovil and it was named because of some true incidents.
panchayat in thefoothills of Western Ghats. Famous by the Shiva TeSivasailam
Sivasailam a small mple Named Sivasailappar and Paramakalyani amman (Parvathi
). This temple placed at the bank of the river karunai. This is on the way of Ambai to Thenkasi.
Deivacheyalpuram is a small village situated at 21 km from Tirunelveli enroute to Thoothukudi. The Rajarajeswari temple and the Ramar temple are situated here. Also a 75 foot statue of Lord Anjaneya
constructed in the temple premises, to attain world peace, is here. Poojas
are performed in these temples everyday with special poojas performed every Fridays and on festivals. On every full moon day, the temple conducts Annadanam
(free food to the poor).
The name itself implies that this town is 'Kasi
) of the South'. The flag staff of the temple is noteworthy for its sculptural beauty and is 400 years old. Tenkasi is also the nearest place to Courtrallam (just 6 km away), which is well known for its waterfalls. The water of these falls is considered to cure several diseases owing to the different herbs on its path.
The costal border village in tirunelveli dist.Have a very first St.Joseph's church in south india. The church was built by St.Xavier.
The Holy Cross Church at Manapad was built in 1581
. Thousands of worshippers congregate during the festival season from 1st to 14th September every year. The church is associated with St. Francis Xavier
The temple in Krishnapuram is dedicated to Lord Vishnu
. The presiding deity is Thiruvenkatanathar
. There are a number of life-size sculptures in this temple with intricate workmanship.
The 900 km² Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
was established in 1962. Central location: is about 45 km west from Tirunelveli Town.
The Mutharamman temple 20 km from Tiruchendur (Thoothukudi Dist) is known for the popular Dasara
festival where folk dance artists from all over the state participate in the festival. More than 1500000 devotees gather together and celebrate Navarathiri in this village. This coastal village used to be a port in its earlier days. This place has other two famous temples including Katchiappar temple and Chidarambeswar temple
This temple depicts the concept of Hari
being one God. There is a deity by the name Sankara Narayanan
, which is half Lord Shiva and the other half Lord Vishnu. Also, there is another deity, named Avodai ambal
or Gomathi Ambal
. There is a sacred sand available in Gomathi Ambal temple, which is believed to cure the diseases. There is a famous festival Adi Thabasu
in the month of June which is observed in this temple. Another one history is in that temple, this temple was built by Ukerama Pandiyan in 900 AD.
One of the famous temples in Tamilnadu is located at Tirunelveli
. The Nellaiappar Temple
is deeply connected with tradition and history and also known for its musical pillars and other splendid sculptured figures. The nearest airport is Tuticorin Airport (TCR) at Vagaikulam in 30 minutes drive, which is 28 km from Tirunelveli. Train route is available from chennai, madurai
The temple town of Nanguneri is situated 31 km south of Thirunelvei famous for the large Vishnu temple. The prime deity in the temple is Thotathri Nathan
. The temple is run by the Vanamamalai mutt
and houses the famous Ennai Kenaru
This temple village situated 20 km west of Tirunelveli famous for the large Muthumalai Amman Temple. This Village is famous for its Beedi Industries and Tamirabarani river.
This temple village situated 15 km east of Nanguneri famous for the large Mutharammam Amman Temple.
The district is home to almost 50% of the buffalo population of Tamil Nadu.