Tirunelveli As Magical As It Gets
Welcome to the ever so charming city of Tirunelveli in the wonderful
state of Tamil Nadu. Tirunelveli, the next to last city of the state,
is also the 6th largest of Tamil Nadu. The district has a diverse
topography and varied physical features like high mountains and low
plains, rivers and cascades, seacoast and thick inland forest.
Thriving on the banks of river Tambraparni, and situated around 400 km
away from Chennai, this 2000 year old city served as a capital to the
great Pandayas. The city is surrounded by scores of paddy fields that
serve as a boundary to the city and it is due to this that the name
Tirunelveli came up. The city is dotted with a number of temples that
have just been raised and few that were built by the founder of the
Tirunelveli is quite famous for the locally made handicrafts and you would not like to leave the town without shopping for them. Poompuhar Handicrafts Sales Emporium is the best place to go for a shopping spree as it has all the varieties and the price is also quite reasonable. Apart from shopping, you can also experience the lively Indian temple festivals which are generally celebrated in the months from August to November.
Attractions - You Just Can't Miss Them
The places that are worth visiting in Tirunelveli have every thing that a tourist wishes to see on a tour to any city or country. Nestling on the foots of Western ghats, the city is naturally gifted and the Kalakkaddu Sanctuary only adds to the beauty. Architectural wonders, pilgrim places important to all religions are the other places that add that little extra that beckons tourist from all parts of the world.
Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple
Located just two km away from the railway station, these magnificent twin temples are located right in the heart of the city. The temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvaty are one of the oldest temples in the south and Tirunelveli, earlier called as Pandyanagaram, is said to have evolved around these temples. You can witness the might, grandeur and the architectural brilliance of the temples from a far distance as well and when you enter the premises, you are greeted by a soothing flower garden, which if you go through carefully, contains beautiful and very rare species of flowers. As you get lost in the splendid sculptures that you will find almost at every corner, don't forget to take a look at the 100 pillared hall called the Vasantha Mandapam.
This is an Important temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Thiruvengada Mudaliyar Mandapam is probably the most craftily architectured portion of the temple with beautiful carvings of elephant and warriors showing off the architectural skills that people of that era possessed. Try to visit the temple on Vaikuntha Ekadashi days when the Ekadasi Mandapam is open. You will see few of the most exceptional sculpture works that one ever witnesses. This also played an important part in the Indian freedom struggle. The temple served as a fort to the people and the local troops.
Built in the year 1674, this is one of the oldest Dargahs around. The most unique feature of this dargah is that it is built according to a Hindu temple pattern. The dargah witnesses foot fall of pilgrims and visitors from all regions and religions through out the year and it doubles during the Kanthuri Festival. Even the customs are very similar to those in a Hindu temple. Here holy ashes obtained from tamarind bark, ghee, and flowers called nerchai are distributed to the devotees as 'PRASAD' meaning God' s blessings. Do visit this dargah and pray for all mighty's blessings, and it is sure, that you will experience the calmness that you crave for and you will be all at ease within yourself as you will also see communal harmony and brotherhood at its purest.
You will have to move a little out of the city center as the sanctuary is situated some 47 km away from Tirunelveli. Covering a whopping area of around 223 sq km, the sanctuary is located amidst the western ghats. The sanctuary serves as home to animals like Macaque, common Langur, Nilgiri Tahrs, Sambars, Bears, Elephants, Tigers, Flying Squirrel, Panther, the list goes on. The flora here is also very rich and one can see spreads of tropical wet evergreen forest, tropical dry deciduous and thorn forest. Nature lovers who are also adventure lovers can expect a wonderful outing as trekking is allowed in the sanctuary, but for that prior permission from the forest department is required. Forest Rest House at Sengaltheri proves to be a perfect staying option for tourist who wish to stay a little longer for enjoying the cool and pleasant atmosphere of this serene area.
Where to Stay
Tirunelveli is a big and a busy city and it sees a lot of tourist and business travelers through out the year. So to accommodate them, there all ample number of hotels and lodges, both world class and budget ones, most of which are situated in and around the city center which means you will not have to run around for a hotel of your choice. The hotels that could be preferred are Hotel Barani, Hotel Aryaas and Hotel Shankuntala.
Madurai is the nearest airport which is around 151 km away form Tirunelveli. Flights from all parts of the country frequent Madurai. It takes around 4 hrs by road to reach here.
Tirunelveli has its own rail head which is just few kilometers away from the city heart. It is considered to be an important junction of Tamil Nadu and trains from all over the country that pass through Tirunelveli have a halt here.
Tirunelveli has a good network of roads into the city and inside it as well. State transport buses ply in and out of the city to all the major adjoining cities. Regular luxury coaches are also available but for few operators, you have to book the ticket in advance.
Getting around will not be problem as there are ample of options available. Apart from buses, auto rickshaws, taxis and cycle rickshaws play the major role in ferrying peopl to all the attractions of the city.