Tirunelveli is famous for
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The hidden temple town
There are 18 famous temples in and around Tirunelveli city... All within a 50 km radius. They are grouped as Nava Tirupati and Nava Kailasam.
The nine Nava Tirupathi temples are ancient structures dedicated to lord Vishnu and represents the Vaishnavite culture. Many at of them are large and elaborately designed shrines which merit a visit just for aesthetic reasons.
1 Srivaikuntam Sri Vaikuntanathan Primal Temple – Surya (Sun)
2. TiruVannaMalai Vijayasena Primal Temple – Chandra (Moon)
3. Thiru Puliyangudi Bhumi Palghar Primal Temple – Budha (Mercury)
4. Rettai Tirupathi – North Temple (Sri Aravindalochanan Temple, Tholaivil Mangalam) – Rahu
5. Rettai Tirupathi – South Temple (Sri Devapiran Temple, Tholaivil Mangala) – Ketu
6. Perungulam Swamy Mayakoothar Temple, Thirukkudanthai – Shani (Saturn)
7. ThenThiruperai Thiru Makara Nedunchalai Kaather Primal Temple – Shukra (Venus)
8. Thirukolur Sri Vaithamanidhi Perumal Temple – Mangala (Mars)
9. Alwarthirunagari Primal Temple, Thirukarugavur – Guru (Jupiter)
The Nava Kailasam temples are nine temples dedicated to Shiva and the shaivite traditions. These shrines are a little more esoteric with some of them in state of poor maintenance. The highlight is the first temple at Papanasam which is a large temple with proximity to Agasthya falls which falls in a forest area. A treat for nature lovers as this is a real hosting tigers.
1. Papanasam - Suryan (Sun) - Mela Kailasam
2. Cheran Mahadevi - Thin gal (Moon) - Mela Kailasam
3. Kodaganallur - Chevvai(Mars) - Mela Kailasam
4. Kunnathur - Rahu - Keezh kailasam
5. Murappanadu - Guru (Jupitor) - Keezh kailasam
6. Thiruvaikundam - Sani (Saturn) - Keezh kailasam
7. Thenthiruperai - Budhan (Mercury) - Keezh kailasam
8. Rajapathy - Ketu - Keezh kailasam
9. Saendha Poomangalam - Sukran (Venus) - Keezh kailasam
The only way to visit all these temples is to hire a cab and have a knowledgeable driver who knows the temple timings.
Tiruchendur... The beach temple dedicated to Lord Murugan is also close by and is a lovely experience.
Finally the local Nellaiappar temple in the city needs at least 3 hours of your undivided attention to be appreciated and enjoyed. The huge temple needs to be visited and explored from Both spiritual and aesthetic perspective.
Three full days are needed to cover all these temples. Don't hurry and savour the ancient devotional sites with live and awe. Be prepared to walk quite a bit as some of the temples are huge.
Lodging and boarding are of decent quality in Tirunelveli. I suggest spending extra on transportation while saving on lodging. Food is inexpensive, but primarily vegetarian. Connectivity to Tirunelveli is excellent with efficient bus and train connectivity from major TN cities.
Best time to visit is between October to February.
So for a comfortable and tiring awesome spiritual and aesthetic experience, the temples of Tirunelveli are par excellence.
On day 2 visited Courtallam and Agadthiyar falls in Papanasam which was having more water when compared to Courtallam. The water was ice cooled. Courtallam is with less water and the place is dirtiest ever. Absolutely no cleaning is taking place, then visited the grand Thenkasi temple. Before completing the day visited Nellaiyappar and Gandhimadhi temple and purchased the iruttukadai halwa finally when the shop was about to close.
I am heading to Tirunelveli
History of Tirunelveli
Formally known as Nellai, Tirunelveli is a city in Tamil Nadu. It is the sixth largest city of Tamil Nadu and is the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District. Bordered by Kerala in the west and the Indian Ocean in the south-east, this district lies 612 km south-west of Chennai and 140 km east of Thiruvananthapuram. Being close to the southernmost tip of India, Tirunelveli is also known for its varied geographical features. It consists of five types of geographical terrain - Kurinji (mountains), Mullai (forests), Marudham (paddy fields), Neithal (coastal) and Palai (deserts) and is situated in the west bank of River Tamiraparani. Tirunelveli is an ancient city which was formed on 1st September 1790 by the East India Company. But much before that, the history of this place dates back to the 900 BC when the Pandyas ruled this region. The past of Tirunelveli was also researched by one of the Christian missionaries, Robert Caldwell (1814-1891), who was known to have contributed a lot to the Tamil language. The city was formally named by the Arcot Nawabs and the Nayaks as 'Nellai Cheemai'. The Nayaks, in 1781, granted the local administration and revenue of Tirunelveli to the British and they governed it until India achieved independence in 1947.
People and Culture of TirunelveliTirunelveli has a rich cultural and architectural heritage which is evident from the various temples, mosques and cathedrals located here. Some of the prominent religious structures are Nellaiappar Temple, Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Mela Thiruvenkatanathapuram Temple. The Swamy Nellaiappar Temple and Kanthimathi Ambal Temple, Sankaranainar Kovil Temple and Sivasailam Temple are also prominent religious attractions in this region. Another important pilgrimage site is the beautiful sea facing Kappal Matha Church that is devoted to St. Mary and is in the form of a ship. A major attraction of this district is the Mundanthurai-Kalakad Wildlife Sanctuary that is home to jungle cat, striped hyena, common langur, tiger and lion-tailed macaque.
Tirunelveli holiday packages can be bought to explore the destination better. The nearest airport to Tirunelveli is located in Tuticorin which is 32 km away from the centre of the town. Being a railway junction, Tirunelveli is well connected to all the major cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata by rail. To reach Tirunelveli, tourists can also travel by road as National Highway 7 goes right through Tirunelveli.
Accommodation options in Tirunelveli Guesthouses, lodges, hostels and budget hotels are the hotel options in Tirunelveli.