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Tirunelveli district is the penultimate southernmost district of Tamil Nadu in southern India. It is described as a microcosm of the state. The district has diverse geographical and physical features like lofty mountains, low plains, rivers and cascades, sea coast and thick inland and mountain forest, sandy soil and fertile alluvium, a variety of flora, fauna and protected wild life.
It is a well known city. In each metropolis like Chennai, Mumbai etc., You can find large number of persons from Tirunelveli
The climate in Tirunelveli can be said as very warm and dry most of the year. The peak summer temperatures touch upto 40 degree celcius, especially during the month of May. The South western monsoon brings rain between September and November, though the temperature stay between high 20s to mid 30 degrees. The winter months of December and January has the weather between 24 and 33 degree celcius. Higher humidity makes the conditions sultry throughout the year.
If you are not used to such conditions, always prefer to take air-conditioned rooms and cars. Wear light clothing and avoid denims. Consume lot of water and fresh juices to avoid dehydration.
Though the city, Tirunelveli is modern in many aspects, people adhere to traditional clothing, especially women. Most women wear sarees or chudidhars/salwars. Younger girls might wear half-sarees or long frocks and blouse. Hence for women travelers, it's suggested to choose similar clothing in order to cope with local culture and to avoid being stared at. The point is to limit the exposure of skin and avoid wearing too tight clothing. This helps dealing with the weather as well.
Most men wear trousers with shirts or t-shirts, though White Dhothi with shirt is also widely worn.
Tirunelveli is well-connected by road. The city is located on NH 7, 150 km to the south of Madurai and 80 km to the north of Kanyakumari. NH 7A, an extension of NH 7, connects Palayamkottai with Tuticorin Port. Now 4 lane track has been under progress and NH 7A stretch is almost in finishing stage. Tirunelveli is accessible by road from Madurai (3 hours) or Nagercoil (1 1/2 hours). Tirunelveli is also connected by major highways to Kollam, Tiruchendur, Rajapalayam, Sankarankovil, Ambasamudram and Nazareth. Bus Stand The main mofussil busstand is located in Veinthaankulam. This bus stand was opened for public usage from 2003 onwards. Here buses from and to outside the city and state operates services. The other bus stand for local services ( within the city) Junction (Nellai Santhippu Perunthu Nilayam) Palai Bus stand (PalaiPerunthu Nilayam).
The Tirunelveli Division of the TNSTC (Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation),services the city and district's road transport needs with a string of local and mofussil (out-of-town) services. The State Express Bus Corporation (SETC) operates express services to Chennai, Bangalore, Salem, Coimbatore, Nagapattinam, Erode, Villupuram, and Tirupati.
This city is well connected to the cities like Chennai,Bangalore,Thiruvananthapuram(Trivandrum)
A majestic looking structure with a high elevated façade, Tirunelveli Junction Railway Station is one of the busiest and most important ones in Tamil Nadu. It is connected to major cities in all four directions, Madurai/Sankarankovil to the north, Nagercoil to the south, Tenkasi/Kerala (kollam) to the west and Tiruchendur to the east.
This railway station produces profit for the Madurai Railway division. The Nellai Express — a super-fast train connecting Tirunelveli and Chennai Egmore — runs packed almost throughout the year. The station has six platforms, three for metre gauge and three for broad gauge. Tirunelveli Junction is coded as TEN. Any train passing through the station halts in Tirunelveli Junction station.
For the past three years Tirunelveli gets at least three express trains (per year) in the Railway budget.
The nearest airport is Tuticorin airport, located at Vaagaikulam, Tuticorin district, about 24 km east of Tirunelveli city. Connections to Chennai are via Air Deccan, once a day. The Madurai Airport and Thiruvananthapuram International Airport are about 150 km away by road. An unused runway at Kayatar, which is 30 km from the heart of the city, will become operational once the IT park at Gangaikondan is set up.
Tirunelveli city, as such, is not known as place for tourism. But travelers can choose to stay here and visit many places (especially temples) which are about couple of hours from the city.
Most of the places mentioned above are around 60 to 90 kms from Tirunelveli and can be reached in 2 hours by road. Since they are all small towns, they don't have good accommodation and restaurants. So, it is a good idea to stay in a comfortable hotel in Tirunelveli and cover these places on daily trips. It is wise to start early (say by 7am to 8am), pack your lunch, visit these places and return back to the hotel by evening. Most temples are open between 8am to Noon and from 5pm to 8pm. Some temples (like Tiruchendur) are open most of time, during the day, which some other temples have a longer opening time on specific occasion. It is suggested to check with local guides while you are there. In most cases, the hotel front desk will have this info.
Places to see in Tirunelveli
The Nellaiappar Temple with Kanthimathi is situated in the centre of town at a distance of two km from the railway station. This is a twin temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathi and Lord Shiva. Rare jewels, the Golden Lily Tank, Musical Pillars, the hall of a thousand pillars are worth seeing. From a distance one can have a view of the great gopurams (towers). Both the gopurams were built according to the rules laid down in the agamasastras by Rama Pandyan.
Nindraseer Nedumaaran (நின்றசீர் நெடுமாறன்), who reigned in the seventh century CE, contributed by constructing and renovating important parts of this temple. A beautiful garden founded in 1756 CE, next to this chain mandapam, welcomes visitors with many colourful and fragrant flowers. This garden was designed by Thiruvengadakrishna Mudaliar. A square vasantha mandapam with 100 pillars is found in the midst of this garden.
The Nellaiappar Temple is bigger than the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, though the latter is more famous owing to its historical importance.
The Manonmaniam Sundaranar University is located in Nellai, on the Tenkasi road, about 11 km from junction. The university is named after a famed poet who was the author of Tamil Thai Vazhthu (Praise to Mother Tamil), which is the official state song.
In the view to improve the quality of Education in the southern parts of Tamil Nadu, the Finance ministry has stated in the budgetory note that one more Anna University is to be created in the city of Tirunelveli.
The city has government and private colleges in the medical, legal, engineering, arts, pharmacy, and physiotherapy fields. Tirunelveli Medical College and the Government College of Engineering Tirunelveli are professional colleges run by the government of Tamil Nadu. St. Xaviers College run by Jesuits, St. Johns College and Sarah Tucker College run by CSI Diocese, M.D.T. Hindu College and Sadakathulla Appa College are well-known arts colleges.
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