The city was known as Nellai during the British rule and is an ancient city in the state of Tamil Nadu. The city came under the rule of the Pandya Kings who ruled the region around 600 BC and later came under the rule of the Chola dynasty. Tirunelveli also came under the colonial British Empire in India and was under the rule of the Nawab of the Carnatic and a part of the princely Carnatic state. The city is located at the southernmost tip of the Deccan plateau and due to its natural and costal surroundings is also a home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Here’s the list of the best places to visit in Tirunelveli.
1. Nellaiappar Temple
The origins of the temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva are found in the ancient texts of the Puranas. The gopuram of Nellaiappar Temple is said to be built by Muluthukanda Rama Pandiyan and the rest of the Nindraseer Nedumaran. The two temples were linked in 1647 AD by Thiru Vadamalaiappa Pillaiyan by building the chain Mandapam. The Dravidian architecture is well exemplified in this temple and the musical pillars are one of the amazing aspects of the design aesthetics of the temple.
2. Sankaranarayanan Koil (Sankarankovil)
The Sankaranarayanan koil is a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Shiva and is said to be 900 years old. The main deity here is the Sankaranarayanan which is a combined form of Shiva and Vishnu. The gopuram is a massive dome which is 135 feet high and has 9 tiers. The temple is best visited during the festival of Adi Tapas which is celebrated between the months of July and August.
The small town of Papanasam is one of the most popular picnic spots in Tirunelveli. Large acres of lush green paddy fields surround the town and the town is a home to 108 types of medicinal herbs that are not found anywhere in the world. The various dams, rivers and waterfalls here are considered to be major tourist attractions and are a home to several species of migratory birds. The Manjolai Hills are a must visit to experience amazing views of the surrounding landscapes.
Known as the Spa of Southern India, Kuttralam is located at the Western Ghats. A number of perennial rivers originate from this area and thus provide the town with a vast array of flora and fauna. The various waterfalls that are located in the area attract a huge number of tourists each year and visiting during the months between January till April is considered the best. The Shenbagadevi Amman Temple is a must visit and are located near the Shenbagadevi falls.
5. Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
The second largest protected reserve forest in Tamil Nadu, Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve spreads across an area of 895 square kilometers at an elevation of 1,800 meters above sea levels at the Western Ghats. The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna including several species of endemic plants, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Also the Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve as the name suggests is a major habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger.
6. Ulagamman Temple
Located in Tenkasi or South Kasi, the Ulagamman Temple is one of the major temples built by the Pandya Kings. The massive gopuram of the temple is the second largest in Tamil nadu and is build in the distinctive Pandya Dravidian style of architecture. The temple like the various other Dravidian temples has the musical pillars which are intricately carved. The main deity in the temple is Kasi Visvanathar a form of the Hindu deity Shiva.
7. Venkatachalapathy Temple
Located in the temple village of Krishnapuram, the Venkatachalapathy Temple is one of the major temples in the city. The temple site although is considered to be 9000 years old the current structure dates back to being 700 years old. The temple is adorned with a brightly colored gopuram and is one of the few temples dedicated to Venkatachalapathy a form of the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu.
Being an ancient city famous for its various temples, Tirunelveli is one of the must visit places in Tamil nadu. The city is home to various perennial rivers and due to its location at the foothills of the Western Ghats Tirunelveli is also famous for its various waterfalls and is also nicknamed the Spa of South India.
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