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3.4 /5 44 votes


Best Time: Oct-Feb Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Tuticorin Check Flights

"The Traditional Urban City of Tamil Nadu"

Tirunelveli Tourism

Tirunelveli, also called Tinnevelly, is a big city in the midst of numerous small towns, each with its own bounty of beautiful sights, temples, waterfalls and much more. Unlike many temple towns, this 2000-year-old ancient city also does offer many other sites to its tourists. The city is located on the west bank of the Tambraparni River which provides irrigation water for crops of rice and cotton. 

Though it is one of the largest cities in Tamil Nadu and has a booming agrarian economy, Tirunelveli is far from being a regular commercial hub. It has its roots very much intact, with multiple religious splendours waiting to be discovered. And to complete your trip, it also has some delicacies you can gorge on!

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Tirunelveli, historically, was an integral part of the Pandyan empire. Researched adequately by Richard Caldwell, it has been traced that many dynasties have asserted their supremacy over this region. The oldest mention of Tirunelveli is seen in Ashokan inscriptions. Before the Pandyan rule, the power was in the hands of the Cholas. It then shifted over to Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan I. Eventually, the power shifted to the Maravaras and Vijayanagara rulers.


Tirunelveli is also known as Nellai. Under the British rule, it was known as Tinnevelly. Tirunelveli actually in Tamil means “sacred paddy hedge”. The name came about as a result of some inscriptions, which tell the story of Lord Shiva, who descended in the form of a roof and a hedge, in order to save the paddy of his devotee. Hence, Tirunelveli is derived from three Tamil words “Thiru” (sacred), “nel” (paddy), and “veli” (hedge).

History of Tirunelveli

The city was ruled over by many empires, including those of the Cholas, Pandyas and the Nawabs of Arcot. It is also the site of the revolt led by Veerapandiya Kattabomman against the British. The massive and marvellous Nellaiappar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was the royal shrine of the ruling Pandya and Chola dynasties. The famous and delicious Iruttukadai halwa was first made here and is available even today.

Restaurants and Local Food in Tirunelveli

Tirunelveli has no problems when it comes to food. The most widely available food is South Indian, obviously, but if you want, other cuisines aren't that difficult to find either. The place is especially famous for its Halwas and other Indian desserts.
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One Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Have a hearty breakfast in one of the local hotels. Visit the Nellaiappar Temple. Then, visit the Kattabomman Memorial Fort, located about 70 km from the city.
Day 2 - Visit the Papanasam Falls and the Manimutharu dam. In the evening, check out the local market and street food.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Food and accommodation are relatively cheap. Relatively less crowded throughout the year.

What's Not So Great?

The weather is extremely hot for a major part of the year.

For Whom?

Ideal for family visits, people interested in British - era architecture, and people going on a pilgrimage.

How To Reach Tirunelveli

Tirunelveli is well connected to all cities in Tamil Nadu. It is also accessible by road and rail from many other cities.

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Tirunelveli Reviews

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Rohit Shroff 1 year ago
- The place has very hot summers and unpredictable whether, even in winters. So when travelling in winters too, make sure you carry some loose cotton clothes, in addition to your woolens. You will, most likely, need them
Siva Sathiyavalli 1 year ago
Wonderful place to visit. We can get more historical information there. Sculpture garden is amazing. Very rare collection of paintings are available here.
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