Location: Nagappattinam District, Tamil Nadu
Formerly Known As: Negapattam
It Was: The Headquarters Of The Region During Chola Period
Famous Festivals: The Festivals At Nagore And The Flag- Hoisting Festival At Velankanni
Nagappattinam, formerly known as "Negapattam", is the administrative headquarters of Nagappattinam district.
It's Boundaries: The district of Nagappattinam is bounded in the east by the Bay of Bengal, in the west by Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts, in the north by Cuddalore district, and in the south by Palk Strait. It is a coastal region and the coastline has a number of harbours of which mention must be made of Nagore, Point Calimere, and Nagappattinam.
Nagappattinam is an ancient port known to have traded with Europe in Greek and Roman times, it became a Portuguese and later a Dutch colony. Nagappattinam is a unique district with all its historical and cultural significance. It one of the constituents of Cholamandalam, acclaimed as the most prominent among the ancient Tamil Kingdom.
The History Of Nagappattinam: Nagappattinam town was the headquarters of the region during Chola period. It was also known as 'Cholkula Vallippattinam' and is mentioned as 'Padarithitha' in ancient Buddhist literature. Padarithitha is the name of a fruit tree, very common in this region.
Pallava King Rajasimha (690 - 720 BC) permitted a Chinese king to build Buddha Vihar in Nagappattinam. Hence, a Chinese built Buddha Vihar exists in Nagappattinam.
Portuguese had a commercial contact with Nagappattinam during the Tanjore Nayak rule (Sevvappa Nayakkar and Acchuthappa Nayakkar). Portuguese commercial center was established in 1554. With the advent of Portuguese, Velankanni Church came in to existence.
In 1658 the Dutch tried to evict the Portuguese from Nagappttinam to establish their commercial center under the agreement reached between King Vijaya Nayakkar of Thanjavur and the Dutch on 5.1.1662. The Dutch built Christian Churches and a Hospital. They also released coins with the name 'Nagappattinam' engraved in Tamil letters.
Later Nagappattinam fell into the hands of the British in 1781 after the prolonged struggles. Thus, Nagappattinam has the history of over 2,000 years for its credit.
Sri Mayuranathaswami Temple: Sri Mayuranathaswami Temple is situated at Mayuram (also called as Mayiladuthurai), in Nagappattinam district. The presiding deity is a Swayambu Lingam with consort known as "Abhayapradhambikai", "Adhayambikai", "Anjalanayaki", "Anjalai" etc. meaning one who gave refuge to the peahen. The inspiring temple has a nine storeyed imposing Gopuram, 164 ft high on the eastern entrance.
The ancient temple was built during the period of the famous Chola kings. There are many small shrines here of which three are dedicated to Sri Vinayagar (also called as Ganesha or Vinayaka), one for Lord Nataraja, and the rest to other deities.
Sri Rajagopalaswami Temple: Sri Rajagopalaswami temple, located near Nagappattinam, was constructed in the 12th century but the sanctum is believed to have been in existence earlier. The place is known as "South Dwaraka" and it was here that Lord Krishna gave Darshan to two devotees, Gopralayar and Gopilar. It is one of the important Thengalai Vaishnavite shrines in South India, adopting Pancharatragama. There are two sub-temples attached to the main temple, viz. Sri Gopralaya and Sri Lakshminarayana Perumal temple.
Nagore: The Nagore Dargah of Meeran Sahib Abdul Qadir Shahul Hamid Badshah is a spiritual shrine in South India. It is one of the popular pilgrimage centers for Muslims in Tamil Nadu. About 5km from Nagapattinam, Nagore makes for a busy pilgrimage, with busloads of tourists arriving from all over the state. The Dargah features beautiful domed arches and lovely minarets.
Velankanni: Velankanni (also spelt Velangani) also known as the "Mecca of South Asian Christianity" is located 12-km south of Nagapattinam, on the Coromandel Coast, in Tamil Nadu. The shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of Health, the Madonna of Velankanni and is popularly called as 'Sacred Arockia Madha Church' and people of all faiths and religions visit it.
Sikkal: Sri Navaneetheswar temple is in Sikkal, a railway station on the Thanjavur-Nagore line and on the bus route from Thiruvarur to Nagappattinam. As Sambandar has sung in praise of Sri Navaneetheswar, the temple can be presumed to be in existence since the 7th century AD. The temple was in a state of ruin towards the close of the last century and Sri Alagappa Chettiar of Thekkur of Ramnad district renovated it.
There are eight stone inscriptions in the temple. Though, the presiding deity is Navaneetheswarar, the temple is more widely known as one of the seats of Lord Subrahmanya who is known as "Singaravelavar". He is the processional deity. There are numerous other deities including a Perumal who is installed in a separate sanctum.
Point Calimere Sanctuary: Sprawling on 17.26-sq-km surrounded by sea and shore, comprising forests of tidal swamps, dry evergreen forests of mangroves, this coastal sanctuary also known as "Kodikkarai", is 68-km from Nagappattinam, in a wetland, which juts out into the Palk Strait separating India and Sri Lanka. It is noted for the vast flocks of migratory waterfowl, especially flamingos, which congregate here every winter.
Vedaranyam (Thirumaraikkadu): Vedaranyam is situated about 58-km from Nagappattinam near Tiruvarur. It is one of the 64 Sakthi Peethams (Sundara Peetham) of India and it is also one of the 7 Saptavitanka Shrines special to Tyagaraja - associated with the Mucukunda Chola legend.
Ettukkudi: The distance between Nagappattinam and Ettukkudi is 28-km. Murugan temple at Ettukkudi is very famous and finds a place in hymns of saint Arunagirinathar.
Saraswati Ambal Temple At Koothanur: Koothanur is a small village located near Poonthottam in the heart of the temple belt of Tamil Nadu. The village is 45-km from Nagappattinam and is especially famous for the Saraswathi (also spelt as Saraswati) temple and its association with Ottakoothar, the Tamil poet.
Mannarkudi: Mannargudi is a place of religious antiquity and legendary importance. It is located at a distance of 56-km from Nagappattinam. The famous Vishnu temple at Mannargudi is dedicated to Sri Rajagopalaswami and was built by the Chola King Kulottunga I (1070-1120 AD).
Sri Subramanyaswami Temple in Swamimalai: Tiruverakam, popularly known as "Swamimalai" is located at a distance eight kilometers from Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district on the northern banks of the river Cauvery. It is about 60-km from Nagappattinam. Swamimalai is one of the six famous abodes (Arupadaiveedu) dedicated to Lord Muruga (also spelt Murugan). Lord Muruga preached Pranava mantra "OM" to Lord Shiva and that why he is called "Swaminathan".
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: The nearest airport is at Tiruchirappalli (Trichy), at a distance of about 141-km.
Rail: Nagappattinam has a railway station and trains are available to Thanjavur, Tiruchi, Nagore and Chennai.
Road: Regular bus services are available from Thanjavur, Tiruchi, Chennai, Nagore and other places of the state. For local transportation, taxis, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are available.
The Flag- Hoisting Festival At Velankanni: Large concourses of devotees witness the flag hoisting on the 29th of August every year. The flag of our lady is hoisted every day for nine days. During this ceremony an intense feeling is aroused leaving behind rapturous eyes and murming lips, proclaiming Her praises. Another important and crowd pulling event of the festive days is the car procession that takes place at 8.00 p.m. every day.
The Festivals At Nagore: Every year, during the lunar month of Jumada al-Thani, the Nagore Dargah Shrines celebrate a festive season known as 'Kandhuri Urs'. Pilgrims, including non-Muslims, from far and wide come for 'ziyarat'. It is obnoxiously painful to note that the votaries worship Him, instead of respecting and revering Him. Kandhuri Urs marks the death anniversary of Meeran Sahib.
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Aduturai - 47-km
Ariyalur - 93-km
Chidambaram - 69-km
Cuddalore - 108-km
Pudukottai - 119-km