History And Geography

Tirunelveli District, the penultimate southern most district of Tamil Nadu, is described as a microcosm of the State. The district has diverse geographical and physical features such as lofty mountains and low plains, rivers and cascades, seacoast and thick inland forest, sandy soils and fertile alluvium, a variety of flora, fauna, and protected wild life. The glory of Tirunelveli District is the pride of Tamils. The crawling clouds on the Western Ghats, the picturesque Pothigai hills and the Courtallam water falls are the special features which make Tirunelveli unique. The district consists of all the five geographical divisions referred to in Tamil literature. The Western Ghats form the Kurinji (Mountainous) region; the Kalakkadu and Mundanthurai forests form the Mullai (Forest) region; the lands watered by the Tamiraparani and other rivers fall under Marudham (Paddy fields); the Radhapuram sea coast is its Neithal land (coastal) and the teri land forms the Palai (desert) region. The district is dotted with centres of natural beauty, pilgrimage, architectural eminence and memorials to great warriors of Indian independence.


There are 25 medium and major industries such as Cement, Cotton yarn, Calcium carbide, Sugar, Cotton seed oil, Printing papers and flour Mill etc. Among the other industries in the District Pin, Clip, Matches, Beedi,Vessels making and Engineering industries are important. The important Village industries functioning in the district are Handloom, Poultry farming, Brick making, Jaggary production. The Handloom products Lungi, Sarees etc are marketed in north India. So also the fine Korai mats from Pathamadi have one world fame. Kallidaikurichi Pappads, Karukurichi mud pots, also Tirunelveli “Halva” are specialities which earned many laurels to the District.



Courtallam is situated at the Western Ghats in Tenkasi Taluk. The famous waterfalls on rocks and tiny droplets are sprinkled in the air. The water falls of Courtalam have medicinal value as they run through forest and herbs before their decent. Pappanasam Agasthiar falls also attracts tourist and pilgrims.There is a Wild life sanctuary at Mundanthurai and Kalakadu. Spotted deers, Liontailed monkeys, Elephants and Tigers are plenty.

How to reach Tirunelveli

By Road: Veinthankulam New Bus Stand, Tirunelveli
By Rail: Tirunelveli Junction Railway Station
By Air: 20 KMS from Vagaikulam Airport of Thoothukudi District or 170 KMS from Madurai International Air Port

Places of Interest


Courtallam is situated at the Western Ghats in Tenkasi Taluk. The famous waterfalls on rocks and tiny droplets are sprinkled in the air. The water falls of Courtallam have medicinal value as they run through forest and herbs before their decent. The Courtallam is called as ‘Spa’ of South India.

There are Seven different falls of Courtallam Details given below:
Main Falls
Small Falls (Citharuvi)
Five Falls (Iyentharuvi)
Tiger Falls (Puliyaruvi)
Old Courtallam Falls (Palaiya Courtallam)
SenbahaDevi Falls (Senbakadavi)
Honey Falls (Theanaruvi)

Peraruvi (main falls) the biggest falls in Courtallam, is about 60m high. The flow of water is interrupted by the Pongumakadal, a 19m deep crater and comes down with greatly reduced impact, making a bath safe. In Chitraruvi (small falls), the flow is thin. Here naturally separate places for men and women are there to bathe. At Shenbagadevi falls, the water flows through shenbaga (Michaelia champak) trees. There is also a temple there, dedicated to Shenbagadevi Amman. Shenbagadevi leads to Chitraruvi. About 3 km from this is Thenaruvi (honey falls), 40m high and cascading between two large stones. In places where there is no water, one sees big honeycombs. Thenaruvi is very dangerous and it is restricted for public. But it is very common to see people visiting and bathing in Thenaruvi. Aintharuvi (five falls) has five separate cascades of water form this waterfalls. From the orchard above flows Pazhathotta Aruvi, the ‘VIP falls’. Only VIP’s are allowed in Pazhathotta Aruvi.

Manimuthar Dam(Falls)

The Manimuthar Dam is situated at the foothills of the scenic Podhigai Hills. It is built on Thamirabarani River. The area features marvellous natural beauty. The spot where the waters, the mountains, and the sky meet offers a spectacular view. The dam is 20 km from Papanasam town. Ambasamudram and Kallidaikurichi are the nearest towns from the dam area. The dam falls enroute the drive from Ambasamudram to Pechiparai.

Manimuthar Waterfall is located a few kilometres from the dam. It offers an equally breath taking view. Tourists can enjoy a bath here and soak in the rich beauty of nature. The Manimuthar River begins from the Eastern slopes of the Western Ghats located in Tirunelveli district. The river is the chief tributary of the Thambaraparani River.

Agasthiyar Falls - Papanasam

As per Hindu legend, during the divine wedding of Shiva and Parvathi, there was heavy crowd at Kailash, the abode of Shiva. Sage Agasthya could not view event and prayed to Shiva at this place to get him a view of the event. Pleased by his devotion, Shiva appeared to the sage and his wife Lopamundra along with Parvathi in his marriage attire. Shiva made the place his abode and came to be called Papansanathar and the falls nearby the temple got the name of Agasthiyar as Agasthiyar Falls. Tamiraparani River reaches is descent in flat land at this place. As per another legend, sage Urosamar floated a set of flowers in the river and the first flower reached the shore at this place. The sage established a temple for Papanasanathar and worshipped the deity here.

Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve Wild Life Sanctuary

The Mundanthurai-Kalakad wildlife sanctuary in Tirunelveli district is developed as a National Tiger Reserve from the year 1988 with a total area of 817 sq. km in the south most western ghat ranges. The nearest stations are Cheranmahadevi, and Ambasamudaram which are 20kms and 15 kms respectively from Tirunelveli. The nearest airports are Madurai and Trivandrum. One can reach this place by road also from Ambasamudaram and Kalakad. Frequent buses are plying from Ambasamudaram and Kalakad to this place. Out of 817 sq. kms.459 sq.kms is in core zone and 358 sq.kms. is in buffer zone.There are 24 identified nature trails which is spread over the reserve. It gives a thrilling experience to trekkers. This Tiger Reserve is open on all days between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the year. However the best season is September to January. Forest Rest Houses and dormitories are available at Mundanthurai and Thalayanai.

Bird Sanctuary at Koonthankulam

Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary or Koonthankulam is a 1.2933 sq.km (0.4993 sq mi) protected area declared as a sanctuary in 1994. It adjoins the tiny village of Koonthankulam in Nanguneri Taluk of Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu, India. It is just 38 km away from Tirunelveli (a bustling town on the banks of the Tamirabaraparani River). 8.58102°N 77.76123°E It is composed of Koonthankulam and Kadankulam irrigation tanks, conveniently linked by tar road.This is the largest reserve for breeding water birds in South India. International name: Koonthangulam Bird Sanctuary.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 38Kms away from Tirunelveli and is in the nearby Nanguneri Taluk. It may soon be catapulted into the list of popular water bird sanctuaries in the country. This village is sparsely populated. Migratory birds start coming by December end and fly away to their northern homes by June or July after they lay eggs,hatch them and the young ones grow old enough to fly with the older ones. About 35 species of birds visit this calm but congenial village for breeding.The birds called Painted strokes are coming from North India and East European Countries to this place.

The birds coming to their backyards for five generations are protected vehemently by villagers and regarded as harbingers of luck. The excreta of birds ‘guano’ is collected by villagers in summer along with silt to use as fertilizer in their fields. From children to grannies in the village all protect them, their nests and fledgelings. Chicks fallen are taken care of in the rescue centre till they are able to fly on their own.Anybody troubling the nests are punished inn their own methods of shaving the head,or making the procession on donkey.


Manjolai is 57 km away from Tirunelveli and is at an elevation of 1162 sq. metre. There are many tea plantations in and around this place. Bombay Burma Tea estate is famous one in this area. About 4000 people are working in these tea plantations.Manjolai is noteworthy for the climate,scenery and calm atmosphere.This place can easily be compared with Udhagamandalam, the queen of Hill stations as far as the pleasing climate and peaceful natural atmosphere are concerned.On the way to Manjolai from Manimuthar there is a very beautiful place called Dasan Pool with plenty of fresh water, greens and fine climate.Just above manjolai,there are places like kakkachi and nalumukka which are real gifts of the nature.Other important tourist spots near Manjolai are the kakkachi and Nalumukku.

Adavinainar Dam & Park

The adavinainar reservoir is located at the foot of the western Ghats in Mekkarai Village of Shenkottai Taluk in Tirunelveli District.It is located near courtallam and Achankoil in Kerala State.Courtallam visit tourist are also pay visit this dam.Here,a small falls is available. How to Reach Road:State Transport Corporation buses connects Tirunelveli city.

Gadananthi Dam & Park

GadanaNathi Reservoir is located at the foot of the western Ghats in sivasailam village near Alwarkurichi which is one of the important tourist places of Tirunelveli district.Now a days many tourists visit the dam and park.During the courtallam season and sabarimalai season more number of tourists are visit this place. How to Reach Road:State Transport Corporation buses connects Tirunelveli city.

Ramanathi Dam & Park

Ramanathi reservoir is located at the foot of the Western ghats in Kadayam village of Ambasamudram Taluk in Tirunelveli District.It is one of tourist place in this district.Now a lot of tourists are visiting the dam and park. How to Reach Road:State Transport Corporation buses connects Tirunelveli city.

Gundar Reservoir and Falls

It is 70kms from Tirunelveli.The Gundar Reservoir is located at the foot of Western Ghats near the towns of Courtrallam and Senkottai. It is an important tourist place in Thirunelveli District.A large number of domestic tourists on the way to Courtrallam visit this dam and park.This dam site is noted for its salubrious climate and atmosphere.Just 1 km from Gundar Dam to Western Ghats, a beautiful falls is there. To reach this particular falls,only four wheel drive vehicle is suitable. How to Reach Road:State Transport Corporation buses connects Tirunelveli city.

Arulmigu Nellaiappar Arultharum Kanthimathi Amman Temple, Tirunelveli

According to the puranas, both the Gopurams were built by Muluthukanda Rama Pandiyan and the other important parts of the temple were constructed by Nindraseer Nedumaran who reigned in the 7th century A.D. The mani mandapam with its famous musical pillar was built by Nindaraseer Nedumaran in the 7th century A.D. Originally the Nellaiappar and Kanthimathi temples were two independent structures with spaces in between. It was in 1647 A.D. that Thiru Vadamalaiappa Pillaiyan, a great devotee of Siva linked the two temples by building the “Chain mandapam”. To the western portion of the chain mandapam is the flower garden that was set up in 1756 A.D. by Thiruvengadakrishna Mudaliar. In the centre of the Flower Garden is a square vasantha mandapm with 100 pillars. The Nandi mandapam is said to have been built by Sivanthiappa Nayak in 1654 A.D. The flag stand near the Nandi was set up in 1155 A.D.There are a number of stone inscriptions in the temple. The most important of them are those Veerapandiyan who regained about 950 A.D. and those of Rajendran I and Kulothunga chola I. The inscriptions of Maravarma Sundara Pandiyan refer to the Lord as “Woodayar” and “Wodeyanayanar” and the Goddess as “Nachiar”. From the inscriptions of Kulasekkara Pandiyan we learn that he defeated the Chera, Chola and Hoysala kings and built the outer walls of the temple with the war booty. Siva is said to have been worshipped by Agastya in a bamboo grove and by Rama after having killed Mareecha some nine miles away at Manoor. There is also a shrine to Vishnu near the sanctum, signifying the belief that Nellai Govindan (Vishnu) visited Tirunelveli to officiate the divine marriage of Shiva and Kantimathi. A little to the south of Swami Nellaiappar Gopuram stands the Gopuram of Arultharum Kanthimathi Ambal temple. It was here, where composer Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar composed the carnatic song ‘Sri Kanthimatheem’ in Hemavathi ragam. Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple is the well known twin temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathi (Kanthimathi Ammai) and Lord Shiva ( Nellaiyappar – the Protector of Paddy). Covering an area of 14 acres, it is the biggest temple in Tamil Nadu situated in the heart of the city on the banks of river Taamiraparni at a distance of 2kms from the railway station. The temple, believed to be built by the Pandyas in the 13C was entirely remodeled and extended in 17C – 18C. Some of the inscriptions in the temple dates back to 950A.D. The temple is also known as one of the 5 Pancha Sabhas (dance halls) of Nataraja (lord Shiva); the others being at Chidambaram, Madurai, Tiruvalankadu and Kutralam.

The Temple at Thirukkurungudi in Tirunelveli District

Four Azwars as Nammazwar, Tirumashisai Azwar, Kulasekara Azwar, Periazwar and Tirumangaiazwars sung the praise of Supreme Lord of this Temple at Thirukkurungudi in Tamil Nadu in the 8th century which refer to Sri. Swami Azhagiya Nambi. Lord Azagia Nambi of the Temple disquised himself as Nammalvar at Alwarthirunagari in Tuticorin District, Tamil Nadu. He sung four Prabhadam such as thiruvaimozhi etc. which represented to four vedas Sri.Nammalwar translated in Tamil Vedas as four as Divya Prabhandam. One saint Tirunangai Alwar travelled from Badrigasramum to Thirukkurungudi.He attained Mukthi at Thirukkurungudi by the grace of Lord Azhagia Nambi. The founder of the Vaishanava Sri Ramanuja came to Thirukkurundi and worshipped Sri Lord Azhagianambi and chainted three mantras to Sri Nambi and gave the rich name “Sri Vaishanava Nambi”. He founded the Thirukkurungudi Madam. Though it is sacred to Vaishanavas. The temple is administerd by the Madathipathi of the Mutt at Thirukkurungudi. The village is surrounded by Western Ghats Mountain. There is a river named Nambi Aru which fertile the Village very detailed.In the Raja Gopuram done in hard granite with carveings. So many festivals are being performed in every month. There are so many sculptors in stone as well as wood in the Rajagopuram of this temple. The Rajagopuram is praised by pilgrims as treasure of Art Temple. The temple is being visited as pilgrim centre by the Tamil Nadu Government. Hundreds of pilgrims and worshippers come every day visit the temple as well as worship.

Arulmigu Kasiviswanather Temple – Tenkasi

The holy temple was constructed by the great King jadilavarman Arikesari parakarama Pandiaal by 1445 A . D. The Kilng had a dream the and in the dream Lord Shiva. Wishe the King to built a temple for him on the Dhakshin Kashi on the holy river bank of Chitra Ganga (Chittaru). Surrouonded by ponds. Hills . mountains and pothigai saral – Tenkasi Nagar. The Temple build in 1463 had 9 stories with cultural art and architecture.. Due to the fire accident the temple Rajagopuram was damaged wholly. And the New Rajagopuram with 9 stories was finished by 1990.

Arulmigu Thirucourtrala Nathasamy Temple

The Present Thirukkutralanathar Temple was designed by the Great King Raja Rajan. The first Prakara wall (Precincts) was built by him. Historians State that the shrine of Lord Perumal was situated left to that of the presiding deity. During the period of the Pandiya kings, the sanctum sactorum, Arthamandapam, Mahamandapa, Separate shrine for Goddess Kuzhalvoimozhi Amman and Pillayan Kattalai Mandapam were built.Parasakthi temple was built during the rule of the Nayakka kings. The Compound wall for the Kutralanathar temple, Sanguveethi were also constructed then. New shrines in the inner prakaras were built. Sage Agasthiar, the devotee of Lord shiva should have removed the statue of Lord Perumal which was kept to the left of the shrine of Kutralanathar during the Nayakkar period. Lord Perumal’s shrine is now used as the store house.Chokkampatti kings built Thirikooda Mandapa, Pasupirai, Thatodi, Vaithiyappavilasam and the Corridor for Kuzhalvoimozhi Amman. Stone laying work in the Sanguveethi and Vasantha veethi were also completed.The people of the town did renovation work for Kuzhalvoimozhi Amman temple in 1925