Tirunelveli District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The city of Tirunelveli is the district headquarters. Tirunelveli District was formed on 1 September 1790 by the East India Company (on behalf of the British government), and comprised the present Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts and parts of Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram districts. It is the second-largest district (as of October 2008), after Villupuram district. As of 2011, the district had a population of 3,077,233.
The history of Tirunelveli was researched by Robert Caldwell (1814–91), a Christian missionary who visited the area. Tirunelveli was under the rule of Pandya kings as their secondary capital; Madurai was the empire’s primary capital. The Pandya dynasty in the region dates to several centuries before the Christian era from inscriptions by Ashoka (304–232 BCE) and mention in the Mahavamsa, the Brihat-Samhita and the writings of Megasthenes (350–290 CE). The province came under the rule of Cholas under Rajendra Chola I in 1064 CE; however, it is unclear whether he conquered the region or obtained it voluntarily. Tirunelveli remained under control of the Cholas until the early 13th century, when the second Pandyan empire was established with Madurai as its capital.
The Nellaiappar temple was the royal shrine of the later Pandyas during the 13th and 14th centuries, and the city benefited from dams constructed with royal patronage during the period. After the death of Kulasekara Pandian (1268–1308), the region was occupied by Vijayangara rulers and Marava chieftains (palayakarars, or poligars) during the 16th century. The Maravars occupied the western foothills and the Telugas, and the Kannadigas settled in the black-soil-rich eastern portion. Tirunelveli was the subsidiary capital of the Madurai Nayaks;under Viswanatha Nayak (1529–64), the city was rebuilt about 1560. Inscriptions from the Nellaiappar temple indicate generous contributions to the temple.Nayak rule ended in 1736, and the region was captured by Chanda Sahib (1740–1754), Arcot Nawab and Muhammed Yusuf Khan (1725–1764) during the mid-18th century.
In 1743 Nizam-ul-mulk, lieutenant of the Deccan Plateau, displaced most of the Marathas from the region and Tirunelveli came under the rule of the Nawabs of Arcot. The original power lay in the hands of the polygars, who were originally military chiefs of the Nayaks. The city was the chief commercial town during the Nawab and Nayak era. The city was known as Nellai Cheemai, with Cheemai meaning “a developed foreign town”.The polygars built forts in the hills, had 30,000 troops and waged war among themselves. In 1755, the British government sent a mission under Major Heron and Mahfuz Khan which restored some order and bestowed the city to Mahfuz Khan. The poligars waged war against Mahfuz Khan seven miles from Tirunelveli, but were defeated. The failure of Mahfuz Khan led the East India Company to send Muhammed Yusuf for help. Khan became ruler, rebelled in 1763 and was hanged in 1764. In 1758, British troops under Colonel Fullarton reduced the polygar stronghold under Veerapandiya Kattabomman. In 1797, the first Polygar war broke out between the British (under Major Bannerman) and the polygars (headed by Kattabomman). Some polygars (such as the head of Ettaiyapuram) aided the British; Kattabomman was defeated and hanged in his home province of Panchalaguruchi. Two years later, another rebellion became known as the Second Polygar War. Panchalankuruchi fell to the British, after stiff resistance. The Carnatic region came under British rule following a treaty with the Nawab of Carnatic.
After acquiring Tirunelveli from the Nawab of Arcot in 1801, the British anglicised its name to “Tinnevelly” and made it the headquarters of Tinnelvelli District. The administrative and military headquarters was located in Palayamkottai (anglicised as “Palankottah”), from which attacks against the polygars were launched. After independence both cities reverted to their original names, and Tirunelveli remained the capital of Tirunelveli district. A separate Thoothukudi district was split off in 1986.And now 30 April 2015 by BJP government it’s known to be said as the one of the 100 smart cities of India.
Places of Importance in Tirunelveli District
Located between 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) and 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) of elevation, the Manjolai area is set deep within the Western Ghats within the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in the Tirunelveli District. Located on top of the Manimuthar Dam and the Manimuthar Water Falls, the Manjolai area comprises tea plantations, small settlements, the Upper Kodaiyar Dam and a windy view point called Kuthiravetti.
The whole of the Manjolai Estates and the tea plantations are operated by The Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation Ltd on forest land leased by the Government of Tamil Nadu. There are three tea estates within the Manjolai area: Manjolai Estate, Manimutharu Estate and Oothu Estate. The Estates are located at elevations ranging from 700 metres (2,300 ft) to 1,300 metres (4,300 ft).
Courtallam is situated at a mean elevation of 160 metres (520 ft) on the Western Ghats in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu, India. The numerous waterfalls and cascades along with the ubiquitous health resorts in the area have earned it the title of “Spa of South India”. The falls are fullest with rain on the hills. They are Main Falls, Five Falls, the Shenbhaga Falls, the Tiger Falls, old Courtallam Falls, Honey Falls, Orchard falls and Sitraruvi.
The 900 square kilometres (350 sq mi) Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve was established in 1962. The reserve, at 8°39′N 77°23′E, is about 45 km west of Tirunelveli and is known as KMTS to forest and tiger researchers. Kalakkad is the nearest town. Kalakkad has a temple called Malainambi tample with a falls.
Papanasam is a famous picnic spot in Tirunelveli district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It falls under the Ambasamudram Taluk. It is situated 50 km from Tirunelveli. The site is popular with tourists attractions like Thamirabarani River, Agasthiyar Falls, Siva Temple, Papanasam dam and Hydro Electric Power Plant.
A tiny village in the far south, Koonthankulam in Nanguneri Taluk of Tirunelveli District is emerging as a new favourite of the migratory birds. It is just 38 kilometres (24 mi) away. About 35 species of birds visit this calm but congenial village for breeding. The painted storks are coming from North India and East European Countries to this place. Similarly the flamingoes which flew in mainly from the Rann of Kutch have hatched and reared their young in the village.
Sankaran kovil temple was built in the early part of the 11th century C.E. The temple at Sankarankoil depicts Hari and Hara as one God. There is a deity named Sankara Narayanan, which is half Lord Shiva and half Lord Vishnu. There is another deity, named Avodai ambal or Gomathi Ambal, after whom the temple is named; it was built by Ukrama Pandiyan in 900 C.E. Sacred sand is available, which is believed curative by some. June is marked by the Adi Thabasu festival.
Swamy Nellaiappar and Kanthimathi Ambal Temple
The Nellaiappar Temple is located at Tirunelveli. It is rooted in tradition and history, and is known for its musical pillars and other sculpted figures.The nearest airport is Tuticorin Airport (TCR) at Vagaikulam, a 30-minute drive (32 km) from Tirunelveli.