Tirunelveli (district)

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District திருநெல்வேலி மாவட்டம்
District map
State Tamil Nadu
Administrative headquarters : Tirunelveli
Area : 6,693 km²
Residents : 3,077,233 (2011)
Population density : 460 people / km²
Website : nellai.tn.nic.in

The Tirunelveli District ( Tamil : திருநெல்வேலி மாவட்டம் ; formerly Tinnevelly ) is a district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu . The administrative center is the eponymous city of Tirunelveli . The Tirunelveli district has an area of ​​6,693 square kilometers and a population of 3.1 million (2011 census).


Landscape near Kallidaikurichi , in the background the Western Ghats

The Tirunelveli district is located in southern Tamil Nadu near the southern tip of India. Neighboring districts are Virudhunagar in the north, Thoothukudi in the east, Kanyakumari in the southwest (all Tamil Nadu), Thiruvananthapuram , Kollam and Pathanamthitta in the west and Idukki in the northwest (all Kerala).

The area of ​​the Tirunelveli district is 6,693 square kilometers. This makes Tirunelveli the second largest district of Tamil Nadu in terms of area. The district area stretches from the coast of the Gulf of Mannar to the mountains of the Western Ghats , which form the natural border with Kerala. The highest point is the 1,868 meter high Agastya Malai on the border with Kerala. The district area is traversed by Thamirabarani , the only year-round water-bearing river in southern Tamil Nadu. Along the Thamirabarani there is fertile alluvial land that is used intensively for agriculture. Away from the river valley, barren, sandy soils dominate the plains. The mountain slopes of the Western Ghats are densely forested.

In the Tirunelveli district there is an alternately humid tropical climate . The annual mean temperature in Tirunelveli is 29.0 ° C, the annual mean precipitation is 752 mm. Due to the location in the rain shadow of the Western Ghats, the climate is drier than in other parts of Tamil Nadu. Most of the rainfall occurs during the northeast monsoon between October and December.


In ancient times and the Middle Ages, the area of ​​Tirunelveli was dominated by Madurai for most of the time : first until the 4th century and then again from the 12th century by the Pandyas , in the 14th century by the short-lived Sultanate of Madurai and then again from the 16th century . Century by the nayaks of Madurai . In the turmoil that followed the fall of the Nayak rule, the area nominally came under the control of the Nawabs of Arcot in 1743 , but local feudal rulers actually wielded power. From 1755 the British tried to bring Tirunelveli under their control. The area finally became part of British India in 1801 when the Nawab of Arcot ceded its territory to the British.

When the British incorporated the area as the Tinnevelly (Tirunelveli) district in the Madras province . Initially, the Tirunelveli district covered a larger area than it is today. 1910 came the northern parts of the Tirunelveli district together with areas from the Madurai district to the newly established district Ramanathapuram (Ramnad); since 1985 they belong to the newly founded Virudhunagar District . After Indian independence, the Tirunelveli district came under the States Reorganization Act 1956 to the newly formed state of Madras, which now included the Tamil-speaking areas and was later renamed Tamil Nadu . The Taluk Shenkottai , which had previously belonged to Travancore , was added to the state of Madras because of its predominantly Tamil population and incorporated into the Tirunelveli district. In 1986 the new Thoothukudi district was formed from the eastern part of the Tirunelveli district .


Hindu priests in Tirukkurungudi in the Tirunelveli district

According to the 2011 Indian census, the Tirunelveli district has 3,077,233 inhabitants. The population density of 460 inhabitants per square kilometer is slightly below the Tamil Nadu average (555 inhabitants per square kilometer). 49 percent of the district's residents live in cities. The degree of urbanization thus corresponds to the mean value for the state (48 percent). 19 percent of the district's residents are scheduled castes . At 83 percent, the literacy rate is slightly above the Tamil Nadu average (80 percent).

According to the 2011 census , the Hindus make up the majority of the residents of the Tirunelveli district with 79 percent. There are also larger minorities of Christians (11 percent) and Muslims (9 percent). The Christian population is particularly high in the coastal areas, which is explained by the conversion of the Paravar fishing caste by Saint Francis Xavier in the 16th century.

The main language in the Tirunelveli district as in the whole of Tamil Nadu is Tamil . According to the 2001 census, 98 percent of the district's residents speak it as their first language. There is also a small minority of Telugu speakers .

Administrative division

The Tirunelveli district is divided into eleven taluks (sub-districts):

Taluk main place Population
Alangulam Alangulam 176.138
Ambasamudram Ambasamudram 428.031
Nanguneri Nanguneri 225.602
Palayamkottai Palayamkottai 91.176
Radhapuram Radhapuram 304,652
Sankarankoil Sankarankoil 350.144
Shenkottai Shenkottai 141,416
Sivagiri Sivagiri 194.156
Tenkasi Tenkasi 399,946
Tirunelveli Tirunelveli 642.835
Veerakeralamputhur Veerakeralamputhur 123.137


In the Tirunelveli district there is one major city ( Municipal Corporation ), seven cities with their own municipalities ( Municipalities ), 36 small towns administered according to the Panchayat system ( Town Panchayats ) and nine Census Towns . The number of inhabitants is given according to the 2011 census.

Municipal Corporation
Town panchayats
Censorship cities


  • The Imperial Gazetteer of India. Volume 23: Singhbhūm to Trashi-Chöd-Zong. New edition. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1908, pp. 361-378 , keyword: Tinnevelly District .

Web links

Commons : Tirunelveli District  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Census of India 2011: Primary Census Abstract - Tamil Nadu. (PDF; 873 kB)
  2. Climate data from climate-data.org .
  3. ^ Census of India 2011: Primary Census Data Highlights - Tamil Nadu. Chapter - I Population, Size and Decadal Change.
  4. ^ Census of India 2011: Primary Census Data Highlights - Tamil Nadu. Chapter - II Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Population.
  5. ^ Census of India 2011: Primary Census Data Highlights - Tamil Nadu. Chapter - III Literates and Literacy Rate.
  6. ^ Census of India 2011: C-1 Population By Religious Community. Tamil Nadu.
  7. Census of India 2001: C-15: Population by Mother Tongue (Tamil Nadu), accessed under Tabulations Plan of Census Year - 2001 .
  8. a b Census of India 2011: Primary Census Abstract Data Tables: Tirunelveli.