History And Geography

Traditionally known as “Pearl City” on account of the prevailing Pearl fish in the past in the area, Thoothukudi has a fascinating History. Forming part of the Pandian kingdom between 7th and 9th Century A.D., Thoothukudi remained in the hands of the Cholas during the period between 9th and 12th century. Emergence of Thoothukudi as a maritime port attracted travelers, adventures, and eventually colonizers. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in Thoothukudi in 1932 A.D., followed by the Dutch in 1658 A.D. The English Captured Thoothukudi from the Dutch in 1782 and the East India Company established their control over Thoothukudi in the same year.

On the 20th, October 1986 a new district, carved out of the erstwhile Tirunelveli district was born in Tamil Nadu and named after V.O.Chidambaranar, a great national leader hailing from Ottapidaram who led the Swadeshi Movement in the south. Since 1997 as in the case of other districts of Tamilnadu, this district has also been named after its headquarters town, Thoothukudi.

Thoothukudi became the citadel of freedom struggle in the early of the 20th century. It was in Thoothukudi that the illustrious patriot , V.O.Chidambaram established the first swadesi Stream Navigation Company, sailing the first steamer S.S.Gaelia to Thoothukudi on 1st June 1907.


Agriculture is the main occupation on which 70% of the people depend on it.The main food cropin this district is paddy. Out of the total area of 470724 hectares,190780 hectares are brought under the cultivation of different crops which is nearly 41% of total area of the district.The important food crops in the district are paddy, Cholam, cumbu, ragi, varagu, samai and commercial crops like cotton, chilly, sugarcane and groundnut.


The boom in the industrial sector has put the district prominently in the country’s industrial map. Heavy industries like Sterlite, SPIC, TAC, HWP DCW and Termal Power Plant promise hope for a bright future. Hundreds of ancillary units have also sprung up. Textile units and match industries crowd the kovilpatti belt. The fast growing Tuticorin port in the changing economic scenario has added pep to the development of the district.

Thoothukudi Port is garnering an important position in the southern part of India . During this year 1414 vessels entered this port and cargo to the tune of 19.49 Million tones are handled. Exports of certain raw materials and finished products are shipped to for about twenty foreign countries. Tuticorin port has been issued the prestigious ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 certificate for the port operation and services and had joined the select group of World ports by becoming the first Indian major port to get such certificate.



Muthaaramman Kovil Festival
Kulasekaranpattinam is situated on the way to Kanniyakumari from Tiruchendur. It is 20 kms from Tiruchendur and 65 kms from Kanyakumari. This village is famous for Mutharaman Temple, which is located on the shore of Bay of Bengal. This temple is nearly 150 years old. The Dhasara Festival is celebrated in a grand scale every year during October. Folk dance artists from throughout Tamilnadu perform variety of programmes.

Panimayamatha Church Festival
The history of shine Basillica is closely connected with the history of the conversion of the PARAVARS the indigenous people of the pearly fishery coast. In fact, our lady of snows, is fondly called in portugeese Senhora, Das Navis Which means our lady of snows. Fr. Vilgiluus Mansi, Whole heartedly took great efforts. He obtained permission from the Dutch Government (at Ceylon) to construct a new church for Mother Mary of snows. On August 5th 1713, the new church was opened and blessed and the first feast in the new church was celebrated in a grand scale.

Skanda Sashti at Tiruchendur
The story of the birth of Lord Muruga, who is also known as Subramaniya, Karthikeya, Skanda, Shanmuga dates back to the legend of defeating the demon or anti God, Surapadma. To mark an end to the demon, the celestial beings with Indra Dev as the leader, sought the help of Lord Brahma. Brahma who proclaimed that only the spark of Shiva can produce the hero, who will defeat the powers of the evil, sought the help of Parvati and Kama (the God of Love). Parvati agreed to help, and engaged herself in a severe penance to attract Lord Shiva’s attention, while Kama engaged himself in the “suicidal mission” of arousing Shiva from His Samadhi.

The penance of Parvati and the sacrifice of Kama paid off finally- Lord Shiva was awakened from his deep state of meditation. He opened his forehead eye and created Six Great Fire Sparks that dropped into the holy Ganges. It was then that, Lord Shiva approved six beautiful maidens called ‘Karthigai Pengal’ (Women of Karthiga) to look after the babies. When the babies attained a certain age Lord Shiva blessed them and made them as one person-Lord Muruga; the divine warrior.

Skanda Sasti festival – 7 days (October – November) Devotees numbering about 5 lakhs will participate in the above festival. On this festival occasion devotees fast for all six days. On the sixth day Surasamharam is demonstrated. On the 7th day Thirukkalyanam to Deivanai is celebrated in a grand manner. Every year on behalf of this festival the district administration declared local holiday for whole district.

Vaikasi Vishakam
Vaikasi Visakam is said to be the day when Lord Muruga / Subramanya incarnated in this world with the mission of saving earth from demons like Soorapadman. The Vaikasi Visakam is celebrated in a grand manner in Murugan Temples (Swamymalai, Tiruchendur,…). Valli Kalyanam is celebrated in Murugan Temples on Vaikasi Visakam day. The divine creation of Lord Subrahmanya, also known as Skanda, Karthikeya or Murugan, to alleviate the sufferings of the Devas is believed to have occurred on Vaikasi Visakam. (Visakam is one of the 27 Nakshatras).

Significance of Vishaka Star The Star “Vishaka” is considered to be very auspicious, as most of the saint, geniuses and great peple like Buddha were born in this star, Lord muruga born in this star is referred to as “Gnana Panditha” which denotes the authority on wisdom. Karthikeya and Vishaka incidentally represent 3rd and 16th lunar mansions of the zodiac. In fact, visaka is a binary star as per Sanskrit literature, It denotes bothe the intellectual spirityal qualities with complete virtually. Also, it qualities to lead a life of truthful existence. Every year on behalf this festival, the district administration declared local holiday for whole district.



Tiruchendur Murugan Temple, Kalugumali Sculptures of Jain Temple,Kattabomman Memorial Fort at Panchalankurichi, Bharathi Manimandapam at Ettayapuram, Manadpadu Church,Paniya Matha Church(Lady Snow),Navathirupathi Temples and Vanathirupathi Temple near Nazerath are important tourist places in Thoothukudi district.

How to reach Thoothukudi

By Road: The major roads within the city are NH7A connecting Palayamkottai, Ettayapuram road (also called Madurai road). National Highway 45B (India) connecting Ramanathapuram road or East Coast Road, Thiruchendur road. Thoothukudi being a harbour city has lot of container truck transport is also available.
By Rail: Thoothukudi Railway station comes under Southern Railway Division, connected with Chennai, Mysore, Coimbatore, okha and Tirunelveli.
By Air: The Tuticorin Airport is at Vagaikulam, 14 km (9 mile) from the heart of the city.

Places of Interest


Panchalankurichi is a small historic village located 25km from Thoothukudi and 55 km from Tirunelveli. From here the Great warrior Kattabomman popularly known as “ Veerapandiya Kattabomman” raised his voice against the British regime in the 17th century AD. The existing Memorial Fort was constructed in 1974, by the government of Tamilnadu. The Memorial hall, has beautiful paintings depicts the heroic deeds of the saga which give a good idea about the history of the period. Sri Devi Jakkammal Temple, the hereditary Goddess of Kattabomman, is located in the fort complex. Cemetery of British soldiers can also be seen near the fort. The rest of the old fort is protected by the Department of Archaeology. City bus services available from Thoothukudi. Kattabomman Festival is celebrated on January 15 and May second week every year which attract thousands of people. Small bullock cart race is the special attraction during festival.

Tourist can visit the fort from 8.A.M to 1 P.M. and 2 P.M. to 6 P.M on all days. The entrance fee for adult Rs.2 and Child Rs.1. A Tourist Rest house is available here for the benefit of the Tourists.


Ettayapuram is the birth place of the revolutionary poet Subramaniya Bharathiyar and is located 76 kms from Tirunelveli and 22 kms from Kovilpatti and 35 kms from Thoothukkdi. His home now became a monument. Umarupulavar Dhansha is also located here.


It is 10km from Tiruchendur and 40 kms from Tirunelveli . A natural water gushes out from the spring at this place. A temple dedicated to Village deity It is a good picnic / excursion centre.


Thiruchendur is one of the major pilgrim centres of South India. This Temple is situated at a distance of 40 kms from Thoothukkudi. The sea-shore temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga, is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga. (Arupadi Veedu).The nine storied tier temple tower of height 157 feet belongs 17th century AD. Visiting Valli Cave, taking sea-bath, and bathing in Nazhikkinaru are treated as holy one. It is well connected by bus service to all over Tamilnadu and train services to Tirunelveli and Chennai.


The nine Vishnu Temples are located very close to one another. They are all in Thoothukudi District. The Vaishnava shrines are having an interesting legend. The shrines are notable for nine stone carvings and temple architecture.


It is 13km from Tiruchendur and said to be an ancient village. The Pari Pauvlin Church here was built in 1847. It is 110 feet long, 55 feet wide with steeple in the front soaring into the sky a height of 192 feet. This is one of the biggest churches with the tallest steeple in India.


Kazhugumalai Jain Temple is 60Km from Tirunelveli and 21Km from Kovilpatti. This is basically a Jain temple where we can see images of Adinatha, Neminatha Mahaveera Parvanatha, Bahubali . There is also a monolithic Temple called Vettuvan Kovil. This is the only one of the monolithic Pandya Temple that still survive.


Kulasekaranpattinam is situated on the way to Kanniyakumari from Tiruchendur. It is 20 kms from Tiruchendur and 65 kms from Kanyakumari. This village is famous for Mutharaman Temple, which is located on the shore of Bay of Bengal. This temple is nearly 150 years old. The Dhasara Festival is celebrated in a grand scale every year during October. Folk dance artists from throughout Tamilnadu perform variety of programmes.

Panimaya Matha Church

Thoothukudi is traditionally known for pearl fishing and shipping activities, production of salt and other related business. This is a port city in the southern region of Tamilnadu. This is a natural port, from this place freedom fighter V.O.Chidambaranar operated the Swadeshi shipping company during the British rule. Now Thoothukudi is a bustling town with business activities. Panimaya Matha Church (Shrine Basilia of Our Lady of Snow”) is a famous church built by the Portugese in 1711. Every year on 5th August the church festival is conducted in a grand manner which attracts a large number of devotees from all faiths.


Adichanallur is 20km from Tirunelveli on the way to Tiruchendur. From an Archaeological point of view, this place has a glorious past and it is located on the banks of river Tamirabarani. It is assumed that, in ancient times a civilized habitation flourished here. Urns (burnt-clay vessels which were used for burying dead bodies of the very old people) small mud vessel were found near the river Tamirabarani and they are supportive evidence, for the civilization. This place is now under the supervision of Tamilnadu State Archaeological Department.


Kayalpattinam was a famous port next to Korkai in the 12th and 13th Centuries, situated 30 kms from Thoothukudi and 18 kms fromTiruchendur between Thoothukudi and Tiruchendur highway. It has a fine beach on Bay of Bengal.


Kayathar, is situated about 25 kms from Tirunelveli on the way to Madurai. Kattabomman, one of the earliest Freedom fighters of who fought against the British rule in India, was hanged by the British in1799 at this place. A memorial has been built here by the Tamilnadu government to commemorate the memory of this great freedom fighter.


Korkai ancient port city of Pandian dynasty in the Sagam period is located on the main road from Tiruchendur to thoothukudi . It is 29km from Tiruchendur . The Tank of Korkai is said to be korkai kulam with a extent 250 acres. An ancient Vettrivelamman Temple is also situated here. Many a number of tourists visit this temple.


Manapadu is a Coastal village situated at 70 kms from Tirunelveli and 18 kms from south of Tiruchendur. This place was visited by St. Francis Xavier in 1542. The Holy Cross church built on a cliff attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year and during the month of festival (1st September to 14th September) thousand numbers of tourists assembles here.


It is 13km from Tiruchendur and said to be an ancient village. The Pari Pauvlin Church here was built in 1847. It is 110 feet long, 55 feet wide with steeple in the front soaring into the sky a height of 192 feet. This is one of the biggest churches with the tallest steeple in India.


Nine Lord Siva shrines highlight as Navagraghas which gives health and wealth to the pilgrims. Among the nine temples five are situated in Thoothukudi district and rest of them in Thirunelveli district. The following Temples referred as Navakailayam shrines (Nine Shiva Temples)

It is 45km from Tirunelveli. Presiding deity of the temple is Pabavinasar alias Kailasanatha and Mother goddess is Ulagammai A good picnic spot a large number of tourists. Agasthiar water falls is 2 kms from here.

It is 22km from Tirunelveli and is located on the bank of river Tamirabarani. presiding deity of the temple is Sri Ammainathar alias Kailasanathar and Goddess Avudinayaki. Frequest city buses available from Tiruenlveli Junction.

It is 15km from Tirunelveli on the way to Cheranmahadevi and the temple is located near Nadukallur village. Presiding deity is Kailasanathar and Goddess Sivakamiammai . City buses available from Tirunelveli Junction Bus stand.

It is 2km from Tirunelveli Town railway station. And also very near to Thiruvengadanathapuram Kunnathaur is located in small hillock. Presiding deity is Kothai Parameswaran. Goddess Sivakamasundari.

It is 17km from Tirunelveli and 40km from Thoothukudi on the National Highways. It is also situated on the banks of river Tamirabarni. Presiding deity is Kailasanathar Goddess Sivakamiammal.

It is 30km from Tirnelveli and 40km from Thoothukudi it is also located on the river Tamirabarni. Presiding deity is Kailasanathar Goddess Sivakamiammai. The first Navathirupathi temple is located here.

It is 38km from Tirunelveli on the way to Tiruchendur. Presiding deity is Kailasanathar .Goddess Allakiyaponamal One of the Navathrupathi temple also located here.

It is 38km from Tirunelveli on the way to Tiruchendur near Thenthirupperai. Presiding deity is Kailasanathar Goddess Alagiya ponnamal and Sivakamiammai.

It is 20km km from Thoothukudi on the way to Tiruchendur near Athoor and Ponnakayal. Presiding deity is Kailasanathar Goddess Sivakami Ammai. City bus available from Thoothukudi Old bus stand.