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Alangulam (Tirunelveli district) • Anna University Tirunelveli • Arumugam (Tirunelveli MLA) • Government College of Engineering, Tirunelveli • Papanasam (Tirunelveli) • Sivagiri, Tirunelveli • Sri Varadharaja Perumal Kovil at Tirunelveli • Temples of Tirunelveli • Tirunelveli (Lok Sabha constituency) • Tirunelveli (State Assembly Constituency) • Tirunelveli Junction • Tirunelveli Medical College • Tirunelveli Saiva Pillai • Tirunelveli district • Tirunelveli municipality • Tirunelveli taluk • Transport in Tirunelveli
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|— City —|
|• Mayor||Vijila Sathyanand|
|• Total||108.65 km2 (41.95 sq mi)|
|Elevation||47 m (154 ft)|
|• Density||3,781/km2 (9,790/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Telephone code||91 (0)462|
Tirunelveli ( pronunciation (help·info)), also known as Nellai, and historically (during British rule) as Tinnevelly, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District in Tamil Nadu. It is situated 700 kilometres (435 mi) southwest of the state capital Chennai.
Tirunelveli is an ancient city and is home to many temples and shrines, including the largest Shiva temple in Tamil Nadu, the Nellaiappar Temple. It is located on the western side of the perennial Thamirabarani river, whereas its twin municipal city Palayamkottai, is located on the eastern side.
The history of Tirunelveli was researched by Robert Caldwell, one of the Christian missionaries who visited the area in the nineteenth century for the purpose of both promoting their religious beliefs and educating the people.
Tirunelveli had been under the prominence of the Pandya kings, serving as their secondary capital while Madurai remained its primary capital. It was an important city of the Chola kingdom (c.900–1200) and of the Vijayanagar empire. The city was the chief commercial town in the period of Arcot Nawabs and Nayaks. They were among the various ruling dynasties of Tamil Nadu. In fact, they called the city "Nellai Cheemai", with cheemai meaning a developed foreign town. It was the Nayaks who, in 1781, granted its revenues and local administration to the British. In 1801, it was annexed by the British, who governed it until India achieved independence in 1947.
On acquisition from the Nawab of Arcot in 1801, the British anglicized its name as Tinnevelly and made it the headquarters of Tirunelveli district. This happened despite the fact that their administrative and military headquarters was located in Palayamkottai (which was also anglicized as Palankottah), during their operations against the Palayakars. Post-independence, both towns reverted to their original names.
Tirunelveli is also called Nellai. The translation in Tamil for paddy (rice fields) is "Nell". Both the names, Tirunelveli and Nellai, directly associate it to rice fields. Even on satellite imagery, it can be seen that the city is surrounded by fertile paddy fields, enriched by the perennial river Tamirabarani. The river has a wide network of canals and waterways which irrigate numerous rice fields and support the villages around the district which primarily thrive on cultivating rice. The region is also heavily dependent on the monsoon rains.
The etymology of Tirunelveli has a Puranic association also. It is said that a devotee was invited by God in his dream to settle with his family near the Tamirabarani river. There was a famine in the region for a long time, and the man had to beg and collect paddy from other people. He spread out the paddy to dry under the sunlight and went for his ritual ablution in the river. He then continued to pray to the Lord for rain. Suddenly a thunderstorm broke out and it rained heavily. Although his prayer was answered, he was worried about the paddy he had spread out to dry in the sun. So he ran to collect it but what he saw was nothing short of a miracle. Not a drop of rain had fallen on the paddy he had laid out to dry. Since then, the city has been called Tirunelveli -- 'Tiru' meaning respectable, 'Nel' meaning paddy, and 'Veli' meaning a protective fence. In other words, the etymology relates to the city having paddy fields as a protective fence.
Tirunelveli is located at  It has an average elevation of 47 metres msl(154 ft). It is located in the southern-most tip of the Deccan plateau. Tirunelveli is an important junction in the National Highway No 7 connecting India from the North to South (Kashmir to Kanyakumari). The nearest pivotal towns are: Gangaikondan in the north, Tuticorin in the east, Sengottai and Alangulam in the west, Kalakkad in the southwest and Nanguneri in the south. It is also flanked by the state of Kerala to the west, Gulf of Mannar and the districts of Virudhunagar, Thoothukudi and Kanniyakumari. Thamiraparani river roughly divides the city into the Tirunelveli quarter and the Palayamkottai area. The major lakes in the city are Nainar lake and Udayarpetti lake. Three rivers (Chitraru, Thamirabarani and Kothandarama river) converge at a place called Sivalai, making the area very fertile. The closest town to this location is Alangaraperi..
The climate of Tirunelveli is generally hot and humid. The average temperature during summer (March to June) ranges from 25 to 41° Celsius and 18 to 29°C during the rest of the year. The average annual rainfall is 680 mm, most of which occurs during the northeast monsoon (October–December). Since the economy of the district is primarily based on agriculture, fluctuations in the monsoon rains or flooding of the Thamarabarani river has an immediate impact of livelihood in the area.
As of 2011 census of India, Tirunelveli had a total population of 474,838. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%.
As of 2001[update] the India census, Tirunelveli had a population of 411,298. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. The city has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 83%, and female literacy is 73%. In Tirunelveli, 10% of the population is under six years of age. Among the Municipal Corporations, Tirunelveli has been identified with a gender ratio skewed towards males, with 1,024 females for every 1,000 males. The growth rate of Urban Agglomeration is 20.22%.
The city covers an area of 108.65  km2. The population density of the city had increased to 3781 persons per km² in 2001 from 2,218 persons per km² in 1971. The disabilities in the city as per the 2001 census are 1,308,246, out of which 645,142 are males and 663,104 female. Hindus are the most in urban population. They are followed by Muslims and then Christians. The main language spoken in the city is Tamil although the usage of English is relatively common. The vast majority of official dealings and the medium of instruction in most educational institutions is in English.
Tirunelveli has a range of large industries, including cement factories, beedi (tobacco) companies, steel products, and mills for cotton textiles, spinning and weaving. There are also many small scale industries, such as tanneries and brick kilns, many of which are supported by NELSIA (Nellai Small Scale Industries Association).
In June 2007, the Tata Group signed an MOU with the State Government for the opening of a titanium dioxide plant estimated at 2500 crore in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts. The original MOU for the techno-economic feasibility study for setting up the project was signed by Tata Group and the State Government in 2002. The project was expected to create job opportunities for over 1000 people directly and an estimated 3000 indirectly. However, the State Government put the project on hold after growing protests against the project.
Tirunelveli is the one of best area for wind energy companies to install & produce electrical power through wind. Lot of MNC wind companies like Suzlon, VESTAS, RRB, ENERCON, GAMESA installed their plants and produce electrical power about 3500MW in aralvaimozhi, radhapuram, & panakudi area at south tirunelveli district. Manur, rastha, devarkulam, ukirankottai, azhgiyapandipuram, othumalai, narikudi, kayathar & amudhapuram,areas at north tirunelveli district. Seetharpanallur, Surandai, Alangulam, poovoorchathiram, aaikudi & Tenkasi areas at west tirunelveli district.
Tirunelveli assembly constituency is part of Tirunelveli (Lok Sabha constituency). The city is a Municipal Corporation as well as the district Headquarters. The city has a Mayor, Deputy Mayor and several councillors elected by people representing administrative wards, as well as a corporation Commissioner to administer the city headed by the District Collector.
Tirunelveli has an extensive transport network. It is well-connected to other major cities cities by road, rail and air.
The city is located on NH 7, 150 km to the south of Madurai and 91 km to the north of Kanyakumari. NH 7A, an extension of NH 7, connects Palayamkottai with Tuticorin Port. Now 4 lane road has been under progress and NH 7A stretch is almost in finishing stage. Tirunelveli is accessible by road from Madurai (3 hours) or Nagercoil (1½ hours). Tirunelveli is also connected by major highways to Kollam, Tiruchendur, Rajapalayam, Sankarankovil, Ambasamudram and Nazareth.
The main Mofussil bus stand, popularly known as New Bus Stand (Puthiya Perunthu Nilayam) is located in Veinthaankulam. This bus stand was opened for public usage in 2003. There are regular bus services from and to the city. The other bus stands for local services within the city are the Junction Bus Stand (Nellai Santhippu Perunthu Nilayam) and the Palay Bus stand (Palay Perunthu Nilayam).
A network of interstate and intrastate buses travel to various destinations from Tirunelveli.
Tirunelveli Junction (TEN) is one of the oldest and popular railway stations in India
It is connected to major cities in all four directions, Madurai/Sankarankovil to the north, Nagercoil to the south, Sengottai/Kollam to the west and Tiruchendur to the east.
The nearest airport is the Tuticorin Airport (TCR), located at Vaagaikulam in Thoothukkudi District, about 22 km east of Tirunelveli city. There are daily flights to Chennai provided by Kingfisher Red and Spicejet. The Madurai Airport(IXM) is about 150 km and Thiruvananthapuram International Airport(TRV) is about 130 km away by road.
The Government Exhibition, a popular attraction visited by thousands of people from in and around Tirunelveli takes place annually. Other major entertainment events include an annual circus which draws huge crowds and many state and even national level sporting events in VOC ground and Anna Stadium.
Tirunelveli has numerous cinema theatres which are mostly constructed in the Art Deco style, and are popular landmarks.
Tirunelveli is served on the FM dial by Suryan FM, run by Sun Network (frequency 93.5 MHz), Hello FM, run by the Malai Malar Group (frequency 106.4 MHz) and Tirunelveli Vanoli Nilayam (All India Radio), by the Government of India. Tirunelveli is among the 40 cities in India to have an FM station. IGNOU has planned to air its distant education lecture (named Gyan Vani) via FM Tirunelveli.
Tirunelveli has a rich religious heritage and has places of worship for all the major Indian religions - Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Jainism. Some of these are of historical importance, such as the Nellaiappar Temple.
Nellaiappar Temple is in the centre of Tirunvelli city. It is a twin temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathi and Lord Shiva and has two towers (gopurams) built according to the rules laid down in the agama sastras by Rama Pandyan.
Nindrasir Nedumaran (நின்றசீர் நெடுமாறன்), who reigned in the seventh century AD, contributed by constructing and renovating important parts in the temple. A garden next to the Mandapam, designed by Thiruvengadakrishna Mudaliar in 1756, has many colourful and fragrant flowers. A square Vasantha Mandapam with 100 pillars is situated in this garden.
Near Tirunelveli, are the nine Vaishnavite temples dedicated to Vishnu (the Alwar Nava Tiruppatis), the Krishnapuram Venkatachalapati temple with its sculptural work, Tiruchendur with its grand and imposing temple dedicated to Subramanya, and Kutralam a popular tourist resort with its waterfalls and natural beauty.
Sri Alzhiya Mannar Rajagopala Swamy Temple is situated in Palayamkottai area at south bazzar. It is an ancient temple and reputed Perumal temple of about 1000 years old.
Sri Varadharaja Perumal Kovil is situated in Tirunelveli Junction, on the banks of the perennial river Thamirabarani (தாமிரபரணி). It is an ancient and reputed Vishnu temple. tenkasi is a great city of nellai. it contains a kasiviswanathar temple.
The Mela Thiruvenkatanathapuram temple is located 7 to 10 km south west of Tirunelveli, on the banks of perennial river Thamirabarani. Also known as Thirunankovil, it has Lord Srinivasa as the deity.
It resembles the thirupathi. Near this temple about ¼ Km., to the east lies the “taen kalahasthi” temple which crowns Lord Shiva. First Lord Shiva is prayed followed by varadharaja perumal and then the "taen thirupathi perumal".
The Manonmaniam Sundaranar University is named after the poet who penned the Tamil Thai Vazhthu, the official song of the state.
To improve the quality of technical education in the southern parts of Tamil Nadu, Anna University of Technology Tirunelveli was established in 2007. The University offers a variety of engineering and technology courses in both undergraduate and postgraduate streams. Research facilities are being established in a start-of-the-art campus near Palayamkottai. Einstein College of Engineering at Sir C.V. Raman Nagar, in Tirunelveli.
The city has many old government and private colleges in the medical, legal, engineering, arts, pharmaceutical and physiotherapic fields. Tirunelveli Medical College and the Government College of Engineering, Tirunelveli are professional colleges run by the government of Tamil Nadu. St.Xavier's College run by Jesuits, and St. John's College run by CSI Diocese, MDT Hindu College,Sadakathulla Appa College and Sarah Tucker College are well-known arts colleges.
There are many higher secondary schools in Tirunelveli, including St. Ignatius' Convent Higher Secondary School. Some schools like Bell School, Jeyandra golden jubilee school have managed to make international connections with foreign schools and run active student exchange projects. Jayendra golden jubilee school have regular interactions with Mill Hill school in London,UK.
The Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) operates a regional unit called the Equatorial Geophysical Research Laboratory on the outskirts of Tirunelveli, near Krishnapuram. This conducts research in the fields of geomagnetism and atmospheric and space sciences.
The city has a District Science Centre, a satellite unit of Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bangalore. The centre is committed to the cause of science education through fun and entertainment. Permanent exhibitions, science shows, interactive guide tours, a mini-planetarium, sky observation through a telescope are some of the activities of the centre. Many scientific experiments prototypes planted in the campus. Exhibitions and Competitions are also conducted here up to school levels.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2011)|
Traditionally, it has been noted that the Tamil language originated from the Pothigai Malai, a hill situated in the Western Ghats near Papanasam, a small village in the Tirunelveli district. As per Brahminical legend, Lord Shiva sent two saints, Vyasa and Agatyar (in Sanskrit Agastya) to create the divine languages of Sanskrit and Tamil. Agatyar came to Papanasam first and established the Tamil culture from the Pothigai Malai. Today, the Tamil language as spoken in the Tirunelveli district is called as Nellai Tamil. Nellai Tamil uses words like Annachi (a venerational salute to the elders), unique to the region. Nellai Tamil is also spoken relatively fast, in comparison with other dialects of the language.
English is also an official language. and other languages such as Malayalam, Sauraastra, Telugu and Hindi are widely spoken by people all over the city.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2011)|
The Thiruvalluvar Bridge at Tirunelveli Junction was constructed in 1973 to ease the heavy traffic at the railway junction. The two tier bridge has a length of 800m. The first of its kind ever constructed in India, it consists of 25 spans, of which 13 are bowstring arch (each with a width of 30.3m) and 12 are single tier RCC girders, each with a width of 11.72m.
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