TIRUNELVELI pronunciation (help ·info )), also known as NELLAI and
historically (during British rule ) as TINNEVELLY, is a city in the
South Indian state of
Tamil Nadu . It is the administrative
headquarters of the
Tirunelveli District .
Tirunelveli is located 700
km (430 mi) southwest of the state capital,
Chennai and 58 km (36 mi)
Tirunelveli central street
The city is located on the west bank of the
Thamirabarani River ; its
Palayamkottai is on the east bank.
Tirunelveli is believed
to be an ancient settlement; it has been ruled at different times by
the Early Pandyas , the Medieval and
Later Cholas , the later Pandyas,
the Ma\'bar and
Tirunelveli sultanates, the
Vijayanagar Empire , the
Madurai Nayaks ,
Chanda Sahib , the Carnatic kingdom and the British .
Polygar War , involving Palaiyakkarars led by Veerapandiya
Kattabomman and forces of the British East India Company, was waged on
the city's outskirts from 1797 to 1801.
Tirunelveli has a number of
historical monuments, the
Nellaiappar Temple being the most prominent.
Tirunelveli include administrative services,
agricultural trading, tourism, banking, agricultural machinery and
educational services. The city is an educational hub of southern Tamil
Nadu, with institutions such as
Tirunelveli Medical College , the
Veterinary College and Research Institution,
Tirunelveli Law College
and the Government College of Engineering .
administered by a municipal corporation with palayamkottai and
Melapayalam municipalities, established in 1994 by the Municipal
Corporation Act. The city covers an area of 189.9 km2 (73.3 sq mi),
and had a population of 473,637 in 2011.
Tirunelveli is well-connected
by road and rail with the rest of Tamil Nadu.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 3 Geography and climate
* 4 Demographics
* 5 Economy
* 6 Administration and politics
* 7 Transport
* 8 Culture
* 9 Education
* 10 Utilities
* 11 Notes
* 12 References
* 13 External links
Tirunelveli was known in
Sambandar 's seventh-century Saiva canonical
Tevaram _ as Thirunelveli. Nellaiappar temple inscriptions
Shiva (as Vrihivritesvara) descended in the form of a
hedge and roof to save the paddy crop of a devotee. In Hindu legend,
the place was known as Venuvana ("forest of bamboo") due to the
presence of bamboo in the temple under which the deity is believed to
have appeared. The early Pandyas named the city Thenpandiyanadu, the
Cholas Mudikonda Cholamandalam and the Nayaks
Tirunelveli Seemai; it
was known as Tinnelvelly by the British, and Thirunelveli after
independence. The word _Tirunelveli_ is derived from three Tamil
words: _thiru_, _nel_ and _veli_, meaning "sacred paddy hedge".
Sculpted pillar in
Nellaiappar Temple (the largest temple in
The history of
Tirunelveli was researched by Robert Caldwell
(1814–91), a Christian missionary who visited the area.
Tirunelveli was under the rule of Pandya kings as their secondary
Madurai was the empire's primary capital. The Pandya dynasty
in the region dates to several centuries before the
Christian era from
inscriptions by Ashoka (304–232 BCE) and mention in the _Mahavamsa
_, the _
Brihat-Samhita _ and the writings of
CE). The province came under the rule of
Cholas under Rajendra Chola I
in 1064 CE; however, it is unclear whether he conquered the region or
obtained it voluntarily.
Tirunelveli remained under control of the
Cholas until the early 13th century, when the second Pandyan empire
was established with
Madurai as its capital.
The Nellaiappar temple was the royal shrine of the later Pandyas
during the 13th and 14th centuries, and the city benefited from dams
constructed with royal patronage during the period. After the death of
Kulasekara Pandian (1268–1308), the region was occupied by
Vijayangara rulers and Marava chieftains (palayakarars, or _poligars_)
during the 16th century. The Maravars occupied the western foothills
and the Telugas, and the Kannadigas settled in the black-soil-rich
Tirunelveli was the subsidiary capital of the Madurai
Nayaks ; under
Viswanatha Nayak (1529–64), the city was rebuilt
about 1560. Inscriptions from the Nellaiappar temple indicate generous
contributions to the temple. Nayak rule ended in 1736, and the region
was captured by
Chanda Sahib (1740–1754), Arcot Nawab and Muhammed
Yusuf Khan (1725–1764) during the mid-18th century.
In 1743 Nizam-ul-mulk, lieutenant of the
Deccan Plateau , displaced
most of the Marathas from the region and
Tirunelveli came under the
rule of the
Nawabs of Arcot . The original power lay in the hands of
the _polygars_, who were originally military chiefs of the Nayaks. The
city was the chief commercial town during the Nawab and Nayak era. The
city was known as Nellai Cheemai, with _Cheemai_ meaning "a developed
foreign town". The _polygars_ built forts in the hills, had 30,000
troops and waged war among themselves. In 1755, the British government
sent a mission under Major Heron and Mahfuz Khan which restored some
order and bestowed the city to Mahfuz Khan. The _poligars_ waged war
against Mahfuz Khan seven miles from Tirunelveli, but were defeated.
The failure of Mahfuz Khan led the East India Company to send Muhammed
Yusuf for help. Khan became ruler, rebelled in 1763 and was hanged in
1764. In 1758, British troops under Colonel Fullarton reduced the
_polygar_ stronghold under
Veerapandiya Kattabomman . In 1797, the
first Polygar war broke out between the British (under Major
Bannerman) and the _polygars_ (headed by Kattabomman). Some _polygars_
(such as the head of Ettaiyapuram) aided the British; Kattabomman was
defeated and hanged in his home province of Panchalaguruchi. Two years
later, another rebellion became known as the Second Polygar War.
Panchalankuruchi fell to the British, after stiff resistance. The
Carnatic region came under British rule following a treaty with the
Nawab of Carnatic.
Tirunelveli from the Nawab of Arcot in 1801, the
British anglicised its name to "Tinnevelly" and made it the
headquarters of Tinnelvelli District. The administrative and military
headquarters was located in
Palayamkottai (anglicised as
"Palankottah"), from which attacks against the _polygars_ were
launched. After independence both cities reverted to their original
Tirunelveli remained the capital of
Tirunelveli district. A
Thoothukudi district was split off in 1986. And now 30 April
2015 by BJP government it's known to be said as the one of the 100
smart cities of India
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
Agasthiyamalai hills cut off
Tirunelveli from the southwest
monsoon , creating a rainshadow region.
Tirunelveli is located at 8°44′N 77°42′E / 8.73°N
77.7°E / 8.73; 77.7 , and its average elevation is 47 metres (154
ft). It is located at the southernmost tip of the Deccan plateau. The
Tamirabarani River divides the city into the
Tirunelveli quarter and
Palayamkottai area. The river (with its tributaries, such as the
Chittar) is the major source of irrigation, and is fed by the
northeast and southwest monsoons. The major lakes in the city are
Nainar Lake and Udayarpetti Lake. The area around the Tamirabarani
River and the Chittar has five streams: Kodagan, Palayan, Tirunelveli,
Marudur East and Marudur West, and the Chittar feeds fifteen other
channels. The soil is friable, red and sandy.
The climate of
Tirunelveli is generally hot and humid. The average
temperature during summer (March to June) ranges from 25 °C (77 °F)
to 41 °C (106 °F), and 18 °C (64 °F) to 29 °C (84 °F) during the
rest of the year. The average annual rainfall is 680 millimetres (27
in). Maximum precipitation occurs during the northeast monsoon
(October–December). Since the economy of the district is primarily
based on agriculture, flooding of the Tamarabarani River or a
fluctuation in monsoon rain has an immediate impact on the local
economy. The primary crops grown in the region are paddy and cotton.
Pineapples were introduced during the 16th century, chilly and tobacco
during the late 16th and potatoes during the early 17th centuries.
The most common tree is the palmyra palm , a raw material in cottage
industries. Other trees grown in the region are teak , wild jack,
_manjakadambu_, _venteak_, _vengai_, _pillaimaruthu_, _karimaruthu_
and bamboo. Livestock of the city and district comprises cattle,
buffalo, goats, sheep and other animals in smaller numbers.
CLIMATE DATA FOR TIRUNELVELI, TAMIL NADU
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
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 Deepavali 2009
According to 2011 census ,
Tirunelveli had a population of 473,637
with a sex-ratio of 1,027 females for every 1,000 males, much above
the national average of 929. A total of 46,624 were under the age of
six, constituting 23,894 males and 22,730 females. Scheduled Castes
and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 13.17% and .32% of the population
Tirunelveli had a literacy rate of 91 percent, with male
literacy 95 percent and female literacy 87 percent. The city had a
total of 120,466 households. There were a total of 182,471 workers,
comprising 2,088 cultivators, 5,515 main agricultural labourers,
18,914 in house hold industries, 142,435 other workers, 13,519
marginal workers, 166 marginal cultivators, 913 marginal agricultural
labourers, 1,828 marginal workers in household industries and 10,612
other marginal workers.
The city covers an area of 108.65 square kilometres (41.95 sq mi).
The population density of the city in the 2001 census was 3,781
persons per square kilometre, compared with 2,218 persons per square
kilometre in 1971. Hindus form the majority of the urban population,
followed by Muslims and Christians. Tamil is the main language spoken
in the city, but the use of English is relatively common; English is
the medium of instruction in most educational institutions and offices
in the service sector. The Tamil dialect spoken in this region is
distinct, and is widely spoken throughout Tamil Nadu.
Inscriptions from the eighth to the 14th centuries (during the rule
of the Pandyas,
Cholas and later
Tenkasi Pandyas) indicate the growth
Tirunelveli as a centre of economic growth which developed around
the Nellaiappar temple. The drier parts of the province also
flourished during the rule of the Vijayanagara kings. From 1550 until
the early modern era, migration to the city from other parts of the
state was common and the urban regions became hubs of manufacturing
Tirunelveli was a strategic point, connecting the
eastern and western parts of the peninsula, as well as a trading
centre. Records of sea and overland trade between 1700 and 1850
indicate close trading connections with
Sri Lanka and
Kerala . During
the 1840s, cotton produced in the region was in demand for British
mills. The chief exports during British rule were cotton, jaggery ,
chillies, tobacco, palmyra fibre, salt, dried saltwater fish and
Tirunelveli include service-sector activities such as
administration, agricultural trading, tourism, banking, agro-machinery
and educational services. In 1991, the
Tirunelveli region ranked
second in the number of women workers. Service sectors such as
tourism have developed, due to a growth in religious tourism.
Tirunelveli has beedi and cement factories, tobacco companies,
workshops for steel-based products and mills for cotton textiles,
spinning and weaving; there are also small-scale industries, such as
tanneries and brick kilns. The agricultural areas, hand-woven clothes
and household industries contribute to the economic growth of the
city. Food-processing industries have developed since the late 1990s;
at the district level, it is the foremost industrial segment.
Industries involving rice-making, blue-jelly metal manufacturing and
jem power generating are located on the outskirts of the city. The
major agricultural produce in the region is paddy and cotton. Beedi
production during the 1990s earned an annual revenue of ₹190 billion
and a foreign exchange of ₹8 billion across the three districts of
Tiruchirapalli and Vellore.
Tirunelveli is a major area for wind-power generation. Most
wind-power-generation units in
Tamil Nadu are located in Tirunelveli
Kanyakumari Districts. In 2005 they contributed 2036.9 MW to the
state power-generation capacity. Many private, multinational wind
companies are located on the outskirts of the city. In June 2007 the
Tata Group signed a memorandum of understanding with the state
government to open a titanium dioxide plant, with an estimated value
of ₹25 billion, in
Thoothukudi Districts . However,
the state government put the project on hold after increasing protests
ADMINISTRATION AND POLITICS
Member of Legislative Assembly
Member of Parliament
K. R. P. Prabakaran
Tirunelveli Corporation was established in 1866 during British
rule. It became a municipal corporation in 1994, bringing the
Palayamkottai and Melapalayam municipalities, the Thatchanallur town
panchayat and eleven other village panchayats within the city limits.
The municipal corporation has four zones: Tirunelveli, Thatchanallur,
Palayamkottai and Melapalayam. The corporation has 55 wards, with an
elected councillor for each ward. The corporation has six
departments: general administration and personnel, engineering,
revenue, public health, city planning and information technology (IT).
All departments are under the control of a municipal commissioner.
Legislative power is vested in a body of 55 members, one from each
ward. The legislative body is headed by an elected chairperson,
assisted by a deputy.
Tirunelveli city is district headquarters for
The city is part of the
Tirunelveli assembly constituency, electing a
member to the
Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly every five years. Since
the 1977 elections, the assembly seat was held by the Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam (DMK) for four terms (following the 1989, 1996,2006 and 2016
elections and the All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) for
six terms following the 1977, 1980, 1984, 1991, 2001 and 2011
elections. The current MLA is A.L.S.Lakshmanan (DMK).
Tirunelveli is a part of the
Tirunelveli Lok Sabha constituency ,
with ten assembly constituencies: Tirunelveli, Vasudevanallur (SC) ,
Sankarankoil (SC) , Kalayanallur, Nanguneri ,
Alangulam , Radhapuram and
Palayamkottai . The current Member of
Parliament from the constituency is K.R.P. Prabakaran of the AI
Since 1957, the
Tirunelveli parliament seat was held by the Indian
National Congress for four terms: 1957–1961, 1962–67, 2004–09
and 2009-14. The Swantantra Party and the CPI won once each, from
1967–71 and 1971–77 respectively. The DMK won the seat twice:
1980–84 and 1996–98. The
ADMK won the seat seven times:
1977–80, 1984–89, 1989–91, 1991–96, 1998, 1999–2004
and 2014 elections.
Order in the city is maintained by the
Tirunelveli division of the
Tamil Nadu Police , headed by a commissioner of Police. There are
units for prohibition enforcement, district crime, social justice and
human rights, district crime records and a special branch operating at
the district level, each headed by a deputy superintendent of police.
Transport in Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli junction name board
Tirunelveli has an extensive transport network and is well-connected
to other major cities by road, rail and air. The corporation maintains
a total of 763.3 km (474.3 mi) of roads. The city has 134.88 km (83.81
mi) of concrete roads, 375.51 km (233.33 mi) of BT roads, 94.291 km
(58.590 mi) of water-bound macadam roads, 76.31 km (47.42 mi) of
unpaved roads and 82.3 km (51.1 mi) of highways. Twenty-two kilometres
(fourteen miles) of highway are maintained by the State Highways
Department and thirty kilometres (nineteen miles) by the National
Highways Department. In 1844 a bridge was built by Colonel Horsley
across the Tamirabarani River, connecting
Palayamkottai. The city is located on NH 7 , 150 km (93 mi) south of
Madurai and 91 km (57 mi) north of
Kanyakumari . NH 7A, an extension
of NH 7, connects
also connected by major highways to
Tiruchendur , Rajapalayam
The main bus stand (popularly known as the New Bus Stand), opened in
2003, is located in Veinthaankulam and there is regular bus service to
and from the city. Other bus stands (for intracity service) are the
Junction and Palay bus stands and recently vannarpettai byepass.. The
Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation has daily service to a number
of cities, and the corporation operates a computerised reservation
centre in the main bus stand. It also operates local buses serving
the city and neighbouring villages. The State Express Transport
Corporation has intercity service to
Chennai , Kanyakumari
and other cities.
Tirunelveli Junction railway station is one of the oldest railway
stations in India. The line from
Sengottai was opened
in 1903; the connection to Quilon , which was completed later, was the
most important trade route to Travancore province in British India.
The city is connected to major cities in all four directions: Madurai
Sankarankovil to the north,
Nagercoil to the south,
Kollam to the west and
Tiruchendur to the east.
Tirunelveli is also
connected to major Indian cities with daily service to
Madurai , Salem ,
Kanyakumari , Mumbai
Trivandrum . There is passenger
The nearest airport to
Tuticorin Airport (TCR) at
Thoothukkudi District, 22 km (14 mi) east of the city,
which offers daily flights to Chennai. The nearest international
Madurai International Airport , 150 km (93 mi) away and
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (TRV), about 130 km (81 mi)
Nellaiappar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to
Shiva in the form
of Nellaiappar. The deity is revered in the verses of _
Tevaram _, a
seventh-century Saiva work by
Sambandar . The temple was greatly
expanded during the 16th-century Nayak period and has a number of
architectural attractions, including musical pillars. The temple has
several festivals, the foremost an annual festival when the temple
chariot is brought around the streets near the temple. It is one of
Pancha Sabhai _ temples, the five royal courts of
dancing form of Shiva), where he performed a cosmic dance. The
Nataraja shrine in the temple represents copper, and features many
Tirunelveli has its fair share of temples, dating
back to ancient times. It also prides itself as being the site where
Nellaiappar Temple is located, the state’s largest
Tirunelveli is also known for halwa , a sweet made of wheat, sugar
and ghee. It originated during the mid-1800s at Lakshmi Vilas Stores,
which still exist. The art of sweet-making spread to other parts of
Tamil Nadu, such as
Tirunelveli halwa was popularised by Irutukadai Halwa, a shop opened
in 1900 which sells the sweets only during twilight. Tirunelveli
Melting Halwas is the first branded halwa manufactured by Melting
Foods India which is now spread across the world. Central
Tirunelveli has a number of cinemas which predominantly play Tamil
movies. It is among the 40 cities in India with FM radio stations.
Tirunelveli's stations are
Tirunelveli Vanoli Nilayam (All India Radio
, from the Government of India), Suryan FM (operated by Sun Network on
93.5 MHz) and Hello FM (operated by the Malai Malar Group on 106.4
A number of state- and national-level sports events are sponsored in
Tirunelveli annually. The VOC grounds (in central Palayamkottai) and
the Anna Stadium (on St. Thomas Road) are popular venues in the city,
and some events are held at scholastic sports facilities. As in India
generally, the most popular sport is cricket . Also popular are
football, volleyball, swimming and hockey, played on facilities
provided by the
Tirunelveli Division of the Sports Development
Authority of Tamil Nadu.
The Government Exhibition, an annual event at Exhibition Grounds,
attracts thousands of visitors from in and around Tirunelveli. Near
the city are regional tourist attractions such as the Manimuthar and
Papanasam Dams, the Ariakulam and Koonthakulam Bird
Sanctuaries,mundanthurai tiger reserve, Manjolai and Upper
Kodaiyar,very famous cuttralam water falls.
Tirunelveli Medical College auditorium
During the 1790s, Tamil Christians established a number of schools in
Tirunelveli. The missionary educational system included primary and
boarding schools, seminaries, industrial schools, orphanages and
colleges. The first boarding school for girls was opened in 1821,
but its efforts were hampered by the emphasis on Christian education.
Thomas Munro (1761 – 1827 CE) of the British East India Company
established a two-tier school system: district schools, teaching law,
and sub-district schools teaching vernacular languages in the Madras
Tirunelveli had four sub-district schools: two teaching
Tamil and one each for Telugu and Persian.
Tirunelveli has 80 schools: 29 higher secondary schools, 12 high
schools, 22 middle schools and 17 primary schools; the city
corporation operates 33 of these schools. The city has eight arts and
science colleges and six professional colleges. The Manonmaniam
Sundaranar University is named for poet Manonmaniam Sundaranar, who
wrote _"Tamil Thai Vazhthu"_ the state anthem. Most Christian schools
and colleges in the city are located in the
Palayamkottai area. famous
schools like cathidral hr.sec.school,marry sargent
hr.sec.school,st.johns hr.sec.school,sara tucker
Anna University of Technology Tirunelveli was established in 2007,
offering a variety of engineering and technology courses for
undergraduate and graduate students.
Tirunelveli Medical College ,
Veterinary College and Research Institution and the Government
College of Engineering,
Tirunelveli are professional colleges
operated by the government of Tamil Nadu. The Jesuit St. Xavier's
College, and St. John's College (operated by the Church of South India
diocese), MDT Hindu College, Sadakathulla Appa College and Sarah
Tucker College are notable arts colleges.
The Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) operates a regional unit,
the Equatorial Geophysical Research Laboratory, conducting research in
geomagnetism and atmospheric and space sciences. The city has a
District Science Centre (a satellite unit of Visvesvaraya Industrial
and Technological Museum ,
Bangalore ) with permanent exhibitions,
science shows, interactive self-guided tours, a mini-planetarium and
Tirunelveli and the district have a high rate of child labour. The
drop in female school attendance between ages 15 and 19 is almost four
times greater than that in the rest of Tamil Nadu.
Electric service to
Tirunelveli is regulated and distributed by the
Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB). The city is headquarters for the
Tirunelveli region of the four-division TNEB and, with its suburbs,
Tirunelveli Electricity Distribution Circle. A chief
distribution engineer is stationed at regional headquarters. Water
supply is provided by the
City Corporation from the
Tamirabarani River, throughout the city.
About 100 metric tonnes of solid waste are collected from the city
daily in door-to-door collection; source segregation and disposal is
performed by the sanitary department of the
Corporation. The underground drainage system was constituted in 1998,
covering 22 percent of the corporation area. The remaining system for
disposal of sewage is through septic tanks and public conveniences.
The corporation maintains a total of 184.8 kilometres (114.8 mi) of
stormwater drains, 27 percent of the total road length. The clinics
operated by the corporation provide primary health care to the urban
poor through family-welfare and immunisation programs. In addition,
there are private hospitals and clinics providing health care to
Tirunelveli is part of the
Tirunelveli Telecom District of Bharat
Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), India's state-owned telecom and
internet-services provider. Both Global System for Mobile
GSM ) and
Code division multiple access (CDMA) mobile
services are available. In addition to telecommunications, BSNL also
provides broadband internet service.
Tirunelveli is one of a few
cities in India where BSNL's Caller Line Identification (CLI)-based
internet service, Netone, is available. The city has a Passport Seva
Kendra, a public-private-sector collaboration, which accepts passport
applications from the
Tirunelveli region for the passport office in
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* ^ Key highlights of the general elections 1977 to the Sixth Lok
* ^ Key highlights of the general elections 1984 to the Eighth Lok
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