Sunday, September 11, 2011

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Tirunelveli Tourist Places and Attractions

Tirunelveli is one of the most visited tourist destination in Tamilnadu. The place boasts off some of the well-preserved temples built by Pandayas rulers. The place also has some of the natural wonders in its surroundings that attract domestic as well as foreign tourists. Following are some of the most favored and most visited tourist attractions in Tirunelveli.


Tirunelveli first came into prominence under the Pandya kings, serving as their capital for some time. It was an important city of the Chola kingdom and of the Vijayanagar empire. Thereafter it fell under the rule of local nayaks and of the nawab of Arcot, 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.

On acquisition from the Nawab of Arcot in1801, 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. Two reasons may be attributed for naming it after Tirunelveli. One is because, it was and is the chief town of the district and the other is that it was already called as Tirunelveli Seemai under the Nayaks and Nawabs.

Both Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai grew as the twin towns of the district. Tirunelveli the penultimate southern most district of Tamil Nadu, is described as a microcosm of the State, owing to its mosaic and diverse geographical and physical features such as lofty mountains and low plains, dry Teri structures, rivers and cascades, seacoast and thick inland forest, sandy soils and fertile alluvium, a variety of flora, fauna, and protected wild life.

Thenpandiyanadu of the early Pandyas, Mudikonda Cholamandalam of the Imperial Cholas, Tirunelveli Seemai of the Nayaks, Tinnevelly district of the East India Company and the British administration and Tirunelveli district of Independent India was bifurcated on 20th October 1986. The divided districts are called as Nellai-Kattabomman district and Chidambaranar (Tuticorin) district. Subsequently the district name was christened as Tirunelveli-Kattabomman district. As per the decision of the Government of Tamil Nadu to call all the districts by the name of the headquarter town, Tirunelveli-Kattabomman district is now Tirunelveli district. Chidambaranar district is now called as Thoothukudi district.

Swamy Nellaiappar Temple & Kanthimathi Ambal Temple
The temple of Nellaiappar and Kanthimathi is situated in the centre of the town and at a distance of 2 km. from the Railway station. The very name of the town, Tirunelveli which was known in the past as Then Pandyanagaram is a part of the town which has developed around the temple of Nellaiyappar.

Kutrallam, which is popularly called the "Spa of the south", is situated at an elevation of about 170 m high, on the Western Ghats. This is not only a tourist spot but also a health resort. The waterfall has medicinal properties to cure physical ailments. Courtallam  60 kms away from Tirunelveli town, at the foot of the Pothigai Hills lies the curative Courtallam. It is the summer resort of 1000 of middle class people who could not afford an Ooty or Kodaikanal. For more tourist places in kutrallam.

42 kms away from Tirunelveli town, on the western slopes of the Pothigai Hills, there is a holy place called Papanasam. Legend has it that Siva and Parvathi appeared before Agasthiyar at a spot near the Papanasam falls. Papanasam is famous Shiva temple is located at the bottom of Western Ghats that is very near to the origin of the River Tambraparani. The place is also famous for the Chitrai Vishu festival that is celebrated in the month of April when lacks of people congregate here.

About 13 km away is Krishnapuram. The temple here is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Some breathtakingly beautiful life size sculptures carved with great intricacy adorn the temple.

Kalakkadu Wild Life Sanctuary
This Sanctuary located 47 kms away is a naturalist’s delight. Tigers, panthers, Jackals and wild dogs can be seen roaming in this hilly forest. Lion-tailed macaquse can be spotted here.

Srivaikuntam, 27 kms away from Tirunelveli, is one of the Nava Tirupathis visited and commemorated in song by the great saint Nammazhwar. It is famous for the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Its lofty tower and the Tiruvenkata Mudaliyar mandapam rich with sculptures of yazhis, elephants and warriors are worth seeing.

56 kms away is Sankarankovil. This unique temple is dedicated to Sankaranarayana who is the combined manifestation of Siva and Vishnu. There are two other shrines dedicated to Siva and Parvathi. Twice a year, the sun rays fall on the pedestal of the temple.

Kasi Viswanthar Temple
The Visvanathar Temple and the Tenkasi town were constructed by King Parakrama Pandya, who styled himself as Jatilavarman Tribhuvana Chakravarthi Arikesarideva Ponnin Permal, Parakrama Pandyan in his inscriptions.

Mundanthurai wild life sanctuary
Situated 55 kms away from Tirunelveli, these sanctuary fonts an area of 567 sqkms.This sanctuary is a Project Tiger area, so one might well be rewarded with a glimpse of this magnificent beast. Trekking is allowed with prior permission from the forest department.

Birds Sanctuary at Koonthankulam
A tiny village in the far south, Koonthankulam in Nanguneri Taluk of Tirunelveli District is emerging as a new favourite of the migratory birds. It is just 38 Kms. away from Tirunelveli and is in the nearby Nanguneri Taluk. It may soon be catapulted into the list of popular water bird sanctuaries in the country.

Manjolai - Hill Station
Manjolai is 57 km away from Tirunelveli and is at an elevation of 1162 sq. metre. There are many tea plantations in and around this place. Bombay Burma Tea estate is famous one in this area. About 4000 people are working in these tea plantations. Manjolai is noteworthy for the climate, scenery and calm atmosphere.

48 kms away from Tirunelveli is Tiruchendur, one of the 6 abodes of Lord Muruga. Situated on the shore of the Bay of Bengal Sea, the temple draws a perennial stream of devotees. For more info about tiruchendur kovil

85 kms away from Tirunelveli is Kanyakumari which lies at the southern most tip of India where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Sea of the Bay of Bengal meet. The temple of Kanyakumari, Gandhi Memorial, Rock memorial of Vivekananda and the gigantic statue of Tiruvalluvar are worth seeing, as well as the spectacular sun rise and sunset which attracts tourists from all over the country. For more information about kanyakumari

Sankaran Koil
Sankaran Koli is situated 56 kilometers North of Tirunelveli. The place is famous for the Chariot Festival in Adithabasu Vizha that is celebrated in the month of July. Lacs of people flock to this place on this occasion.

The shore temple here is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya and the only one of them to be built on an unalleviated stretch of land. Thiruchendur is believed to be the place where Subramanya offered prayers for his victory. The Skandasashti festival is celebrated in November every year that is attended my scores of devotees.

Manappad is famous for a 400-year old Holy Cross Church that contains some of the fragments of the True Cross from Jerusalem. It is one of the few churches in India that is associated with St. Francis Xavier.

Agasthiyar Temple and fall
This temple adjoining the falls named Agasthiyar falls is one of the most visited tourist spot in the city. The place can be reached through a 3-hour trek.

Kalakadu Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary is very popular with botanists and ornithologists as it has a great variety of fauna and bird life. Among the animals that roam here are tiger, panther, jackal and wild dogs while reptile population includes cobra, python and several other snakes.

Kunthakulam Bird Sanctury
It is situated 33 kilometers south of Thirunelveli. Kunthakulam is actually a small and natural scenic village. This village is covered with natural forest and ponds. During winter every year more than 10 thousand birds from various countries like Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Australia migrate here.

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