Tirunelveli - The City of Culture

Born around 2000 years back, Tirunelveli is an ancient city in Tamil Nadu, India. The city whispers tales of rich tradition, heritage and culture. It was known as Tinnevelly during the British rule and is now fondly called Nellai by the locals.
Take a Stroll Through Tirunelveli

Unravelling Tirunelveli

The Tale of Tirunelveli

Tirunelveli, known as the Tinnevelly city, is located at the Tamil Nadu state in the South Eastern tip of India. The Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation is the 6th largest municipal corporation in Tamil Nadu. Tirunelveli gets its name from 3 Tamil words- Thiru-Nel-Veli, meaning Sacred-Paddy-Hedge. The city lies along the Tambraparni River and is located slightly upstream from Palayankottai town. In the past, the city was ruled by the Early Pandyas, Cheras, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Later Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, and then by the British. Tirunelveli is a treasure trove of historical monuments, the most popular being the Swami Nellaiappar Temple.
Tirunelveli At a Glance

General :
District : Tirunelveli
Head Quarters : Tirunelveli
State : Tamil Nadu

Area :
Total : 3876.06 Sq.Kms
Rural : 2923.25 Sq.Kms
Urban : 115.23 Sq.Kms
Forest : 837.58 Sq.Kms

Population : As of Census-2011 (Tirunelveli & Tenkasi Districts combined)
Total : 33,22,644
Male : 16,42,403
Female : 16,80,241

Elected Members

Thiru. Nainar Nagenthran
Bharatiya Janata Party

Thiru. Esakki Subaya
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

Thiru. Abdul Wahab.M
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

Thiru. Ruby R Manoharan
Indian National Congress

Thiru. Appavu.M
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam


Divisions : 2
Taluks : 8
Revenue Villages : 370

Blocks : 9
Panchayat Villages : 204

Local Bodies
Municipal Corporation : 1
Municipalities : 2
Town Panchayats : 18

Assembly : 5
Parliament : 1

Tirunelveli Travel Guide

Nestled along the west banks of the Thamirabarani River, Tirunelveli is known as the tourist's paradise for more reasons than one. Given below is an insightful travel guide that offers you detailed information about the top attractions, food, temples, and tourist spots in Tirunelveli, along with the best time to visit each spot.

Tirunelveli Halwa

Carrot Halwa
A traditional Indian pudding made of grated fresh carrots, milk, ghee and sugar. This appetizing sweet delight is served at almost all feasts in Tirunelveli.
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Muscoth Halwa
This halwa captures the rich flavours of coconut milk and is hence called coconut milk halwa too. Not even a drop of oil or ghee is used to make this delicacy.
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Fruits Halwa
A wide variety of fresh fruits are used to make this sweet delight. The recipe can be altered with less sugar and ghee to make it more healthy for kids.
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Thadiyangai Halwa
Made of ash gourd and generous helpings of dry fruits and ghee, this white pumpkin halwa/ vellai poosanikai halwa/ash gourd halwa is a soft, melt in mouth delight.
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Dates Halwa
The juiciest dates, ghee and wheat flour/ refined flour/almond can be used to make this sweet, delicious and healthy treat in less than 10 minutes.
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A Melt-in-mouth Delicacy

The word Tirunelveli is synonymous with Halwa for many who have visited this place and relished the sweet, melt-mouth delicacy. The entire city is dotted all across the length and breadth with sweet shops that sell this famous Halwa. Among all these shops, the Iruttukadai Halwa shop stands tall, all thanks to its fame and origin that dates back to 1882. It all started when Mr Jegan Singh, fondly called the "father of Halwa", decided to open a Halwa shop in Tirunelveli. It was the first-ever Halwa shop in Tirunelveli and was named the "Tirunelveli Halwa."

Even today, this shop is believed to be the only shop where you can get premium, fresh, genuine quality "Tirunelveli Halwa" made using an age-old traditional recipe that Tirunelveli is always proud of. This shop makes only limited quantities of Halwa a day, and it will always be sold out on that day itself. They never resort to any publicity or advertisement. The taste speaks for itself and spreads through word of mouth through cities, states, and nations.

The name "Iruttukadai" comes from the shop's small, dimly lit interiors. In the past, the shop was only lit by a few burning lamps, and hence, the interiors were always dark. As time progressed, they got electric bulbs. Still, the lighting is intentionally kept dim to pay homage to its legendary name- "Iruttukadai." The shop is located just opposite the famous Nellaiappar Temple, and you can still see a long queue of tourists and regular visitors waiting to taste the delicacy before sunset.

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The Land of Temples and Heritage

Tirunelveli is also known as the land of temples. Thousands of devotees and ardent admirers of temple architecture often visit the place from all across the world. Stepping into Tirunelveli is almost like taking a trip through a time capsule. The place preserves memories, heritage, culture and traditions untouched, unblemished and pure just as it was thousands of years before. You can catch a sight of these cultural gems in the form of intricate and breathtaking carvings and sculptures seen all across the town.

Most of the Tirunelveli Temples have a Gopuram, and each Gopuram tells stories from the pages of Hindu Mythology. Among the countless Temples, you can see in Tirunelveli, the Nellaiappar Temple is the most popular one. It is one of the largest temples in Tamil Nadu and is often visited by both devotees and lovers of art and architecture. During the festival seasons, you can see pilgrims in almost every nook and corner of Tirunelveli. If you seek spirituality and peace, then these Temples might be just the soul-fulfilling escape you need.

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Tirunelveli Temples

Ninth Kailasam – Sernthapoomangalam
Uromasa Maharishi, on the advice of Sage Agasthiyar, built nine Shiva temples along the banks of River Thamirabarani to attain salvation. His wish was fulfilled when he worshipped the Lord at the ninth temple. Click here to read the history of his spiritual journey where he set nine flowers afloat on the waters of Thamirabarani. […]
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Kailasanathar Temple, Rajapathy - Eighth Kailasam
Eighth Kailasam - Rajapathy Rajapathy (Rajapathy) on the banks of Thamirabarani is the home of the eighth Kailasam. Rajapathy means the “Place where kings resided” or “the location of a palace”. Steadfast Efforts of Devotees for the Lord’s Home The temple built by Uromasa Maharishi, disciple of the holy sage Agasthya and the grandson of […]
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Seventh Kailasam – Thenthiruperai
According to Hindu beliefs it is said that only the influence of Mercury (புதன்) determines one’s intelligence. Success is determined only by the presence of mind and intellect. Lord Shiva takes the form of Budhan at the seventh Kailasam at Thenthiruperai (தென்திருப்பேரை) on the banks of Thamirabarani. One can attain command over speech, intellect and […]
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Tirunelveli Foods

Ulundhu Kali
Made with Black Urad Dhal, unadulterated palm jaggery, and raw rice, Ulundhu Kali is an age-old, simple dish packed with nutritious goodness. In short, it is manna from heaven for the people of Tirunelveli.
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The aromatic Aviyal is a wholesome vegetarian side dish loaded with half a dozen varieties of vegetables. The dish exudes the earthiness of cumin and coconut, making it a perfect accompaniment for rice, dosai, or chappati.
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Kootanchoru is Nellai's lunch dish that offers everything in perfect balance- rice, lentils, vegetables, spices, and seasonings. This dish sports a mild, tangy tamarind flavour and is garnished with a generous helping of freshly grated coconut.
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Tirunelveli Sodhi Kuzhambu
Tirunelveli's famous Sothi Kuzhambu is a delectable vegetarian gravy that holds prominence in many wedding menus. Sothi has a variety of vegetables cooked in a concoction of coconut milk, lentils, and pounded garlic and is seasoned to perfection.
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Tastes, Flavours and Aroma

Tirunelveli cuisine is the typical South Indian spread. Rice is a staple part of the day to day diet, and traditional recipes handed down through generations are what you get to relish any day, any time. There are many regional recipes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Tirunelveli cuisine is also considered one of the most aromatic cuisines of the entire Tamil Nadu. It has an easily distinguishable aroma and taste. Most of the recipes contain a delectable blend of spices and seasoning like peppercorns, curry leaves, coriander seeds, nutmeg, ginger, coconut, green chilli, garlic, mustard seeds, and coriander leaves to name a few.

Tirunelveli cuisine focuses on both health and taste in equal proportions. They use a variety of herbs in their rasams and opt for kambu koozhu, a dish made of millet as an alternative to rice-based dishes. On hot, sunny days, they go around and pluck fresh vegetables, chillies, and coriander leaves directly from the fields. These are then mixed with rice and made in the form of a tasty yet healthy curry koottu that keeps them healthy and happy the entire day.

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Sacred Temples, Scenic Destinations

Due to its geographical location, Tirunelveli remains hot and humid during both the monsoon and summer seasons. But, the temperature drops to around 25°C during the winter season and hence is an ideal time to visit this place. Tirunelveli tourism is not just limited to the sacred Temples brimming with architectural marvels. There are many scenic destinations that any nature enthusiast would instantly fall in love with.

Tirunelveli is surrounded by two majestic dams- Papanasam and Manimuthar. Besides that, there are the Koonthankulam and Ariakulam bird sanctuaries, Upper Kodaiyar, and Manjolai. All these are spellbinding scenic spots. The cascading waterfalls in Papanasam and Courtallam are believed to have medicinal healing properties. From high peaks to green plains, from mystique jungles to breathtaking sea coasts, Tirunelveli will never stop surprising you.

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Tirunelveli Tourism

Kutralam – The Land Of Majestic Waterfalls & Healing Waters
Nestled in the scenic Western Ghats, Kutralam (குற்றாலம்) is a popular tourist destination of South Tamil Nadu. Courtallam or Kutralam is a town situated at a height of 160 m (520 ft) above sea level in the foothills of the Western Ghats in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, India. The very name of the place […]
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The Mysterious Athiri Hills
Along the Western Ghats in Tirunelveli district, lie a mountain range that are shrouded in mystique and intrigue. Teeming with pristine trees and rare medicinal herbs, the Athiri Hills  ( அத்ரி மலை ) or the Herbal Hills are in the Pothigai mountain range near the village of Alwarkurichi, in Tirunelveli district. Ancient Tamil texts exalt, […]
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Chaiwala with a Green Hand – Living the Green Dream
Many of us talk extensively of a green planet but just go about lives, wanting to contribute, but never really pushing ourselves to do something out of the way. Here is a man, who is living the ‘Green Dream’ whose everyday routine is to convert dry wastelands into lushy green pastures! Tirunelveli Today brings you […]
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Explore and Experience Tirunelveli

Tirunelveli - The Top Tourist Destination

A visit to Tirunelveli will undoubtedly be a trip you will treasure forever. Being well-connected by both roads and rail, it is easy to reach here from any part of Tamil Nadu or India. Be it for pilgrimage or to soak in the beauty of nature, there is no better place than Nellai to experience the spirituality of sacred prayers or to stand in awe at the beauty of art, architecture and breathtaking waterfalls. The traditional recipes that are a treat for your taste buds and the ever-famous Tirunelveli Halwa are just the perfect gift you need to take back home as a sweet memory.
Helpline Numbers
  • Collectorate Board: 0462-2501035
  • Police Control Room: 100
  • Traffic Police: 103
  • Medical Help Line : 104
  • Fire and Rescue : 101
  • Ambulance Help Line : 108
  • Ambulance (National Highways) : 1073
  • Child Help line : 1098
  • Sexual Harashment : 1091
  • Railway Help Line : 1512
Tirunelveli - A Tranquil Treasure Trove
Tirunelveli is a city that speaks of traditions, rich heritage and culture. The marvellous Temples here are masterpieces of architectural awe. The golden rivers, the thick inland and mountain forests, the cascading waterfalls, the breathtaking mountains, flora and fauna, the protected wildlife- Tirunelveli never ceases to amaze. Come, visit this land of heritage and soak yourself in the tranquil beauty of nature and mouth-watering recipes of aromatic flavours.
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