History of district:
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.
The minor port of the Thoothukudi anchorage port with lighter age facilities has had flourished traffic for over a century. The first wooden Jetty of this port was commissioned in 1864. This port was being used for export of salt, cotton yarn, senna leaves, palmyrah stalks, palmyrah fibres, dry, dry fish, Country drugs etc. to neighboring countries and for import of coal, cotton, copra, pulses and grains. The minor port of the Thoothukudi hand the distinction of being intermediate port handling the highest traffic tonnage of over 1million per annuam.
The salient features of the district include its lengthy,curvy and scenic sea coast which was an international cynosure in the days of yore for its pearl fishery; beautiful coastel villages with their sacred temples, churches and mosques like Tiruchendur, Manappadu and Kayalpattinam respectively, Adhichanallur, one of the cradles of the ancient civilizations, Korkai, an ancient port of the Sangam Pandyas,Kayal, the confluence of the river Tamiraparani with the Bay of Bengal,one of the five illustrious rivers of Tamilnadu, Panchalamkurichi, the capital of Veerapandiya Kattabomman, an early martyr, for the cause of freedom, Ettayapuram, the birth place of the great poet Subramanya Bharathi, Ottapidaram the home town of V.O.Chidambaram Pillai,who dared to sail ships as a measure to combat British imperialism; Maniyachi, where Vanchinathan assassinated Ashe, the British Collector for this high - handedness against the leaders during Swadeshi Movement; Kulasekarapattinam and Kurumbur where patriots showed their anger against alien rule ,temple towns like Srivaikundam, Meignanapuram, one of the cradles of Christianity, Thoothukudi, besides being a major port, the earliest settlement of the Portuguese and the Dutch, the tall and dense palmyra groves and the bushy Odai trees, the Teris and the adjacent coral islands, Idayankudi and Manappadu and the adjacent places which became the headquarters of great missionaries like G.U.Pope, Veeramamunivar, Caldwell and others who, besides their missionary work,contributed a lot for the development of Tamil language and literature and above all the enterprising and hard working people who now constitute a major trading community in the State.
Main occupation of the district:
Tuticorin port contributes majorly to the economy of the district besides providing employment. Tuticorin hosts industries such as SPIC, Sterlite, Tuticorin alkaline chemicals, DCW zirconium plant and numerous salt packing companies. Many coal based power plants are at various stages of commissioning. Kovilpatti consists of many small sized industry especially match stick industries.
Agriculture: Paddy is cultivated in the Palayakayal Srivaikundam, Sattankulam and Tiruchendur taluks. Cumbu, Cholam, Kuthiraivali and other pulses are raised in the dry tracts of Kovilpatti, Vilathikulam,Nagalapuram Ottapidaram, and Thoothukudi taluks. Cotton is cultivated in Kovilpatti, Ottapidaram and Thoothukudi Taluks. Groundnut cultivation is undertaken in Kovilpatti, Tiruchendur, and Sattankulam taluks. Groundnut cake is being used as manure and cattle feed. Nagalapuram makes its economy to be solely dependent agriculture. Main business of this area is dry chilly, cholam, cumbu wood charcoal, etc. With 35% share, the district is the top producer of Cumbu in Tamil Nadu. Palmyrah trees are grown mostly in Tiruchendur, Srivaikundam, Sattankulam and Vilathikulam taluks. Jaggery is produced from palmyrah juice; the production of jaggery is the main occupation of the people of Tiruchendur and Sattankulam taluks. Banana and other vegetables are raised in Srivaikundam and Tiruchendur taluks.
Salt production: The district constitutes 70 per cent of the total salt production of Tamil Nadu and 30 per cent of that of India. Tamil Nadu is the second largest producer of Salt in India next to Gujarat.
Road: National Highway 45B, 7A and State Highways SH-32, 33, 40, 44, 75, 76, 77, 93, 176 connect to other parts of the State. Government buses connect the district with other parts of state.
Train: Vanchimaniachi and Tuticorin station are major stations of Indian railway.
Port: The Port of Tuticorin provides container services.
Airport: Tuticorin Airport is situated near Vaigaikulam and currently has flights from Chennai.
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.
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.
The Sanctuary is located in Vallanadu village of Srivaikundam Taluk on Tirunelveli - Thoothukudi road at a distance of 18Km from Tirunelveli. The Vallanadu Blackbuck sanctuary is an isolated hillock with scrub forest. Police shooting station (Arms Firing Training) here is one of the best in India.
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.
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.
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./p>
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.