Location: Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu
Was A Part Of: Kerala State Until 1956
The Meaning Of Its Name: Snake Temple
Main Attraction: Nagaraja Temple
Nagercoil is an important town located in the district of Kanyakumari (also spelt as Kanniyakumari). It is situated at the southern part of Tamil Nadu. Until 1956, it was a part of Kerala state, but now it is in Tamil Nadu.
The City Of Nagercoil: Nagercoil controls the major routes between Chennai (formerly Madras) and Thiruvananthapuram (formerly Trivandrum) and is a commercial center with a rich agricultural area. Among the city's expanding industries are cotton and rice milling, motor repairing, and the manufacture of rubber goods.
Nagercoil is famous for the Nagaraja Temple and the town derived its name from this temple. Its name, meaning "Snake Temple", indicates the early significance of the town's Shiva temple. Although, historically Nagercoil was a part of the Hindu kingdom of Travancore, over the years it has developed as an important Christian center.
The Nagaraja Temple: The Nagaraja temple situated here is unique in many respects. Though Nagaraja (Serpent God) is the presiding deity, the images of Lord Shiva and Anathakrishna (Lord Vishnu) are also enshrined. The Nagaraja is installed on the ground where it was originally found.
The sanctum is a simple thatched shed, with mud walls. It enshrines the King of Serpents. Tradition states that a King of Kalakkad was cured of leprosy when he performed penance in the temple. He then rebuilt it in the Kerala style. He might have been Bhuthalavira Sri Vira Udaya Marthandavarma, who ruled Venad, with Kalakkad as his capital, from 1516 to 1535. It is believed that snakebite is not fatal within a kilometre of the temple.
The Prasadam (also spelt as Prasada) distributed to the devotees is wet sand scooped out from the ground where the image of the Nagaraja deity is enshrined. The images of the Jain Theerthakaras, Mahavira and Parswanathar are found in the pillars of the temple. The entrance to the temple is reminiscent of the Chinese architecture of Buddha Vihara. The Nagalinga flower found here is also symbolic of Nagaraja.
Tirunelveli: Located 6-km from Nagercoil is Tirunelveli, a district with many famous temples. The headquarters of the district is Tirunelveli, a city surrounded on all sides by paddy fields. The famous Kanthimathi - Nellaiyapper Temple, situated in the city of Tirunelveli, is a Shivastalam with sprawling Mandapams decked with life-sized images. It is one of the most beautiful temples in India and is hailed as one of the 5 Pancha Sabhas of Nataraja housing Tamra Sabha (the copper hall).
Padmanabhampuram Palace: About 14-km west Nagercoil is the tourist center of Padmanabhapuram. Though now officially in Tamil Nadu, it was the capital of erstwhile Travancore between 1550 and 1750. By virtue of this it has a far more intimate connection with the history of Kerala than with the state of Tamil Nadu.
The ancient and majestic Padmanabhampuram Palace, an epitome of Kerala architecture, which dates back to the 17th century is located in the town of Padmanabhampuram and is its main claim to fame. The Archaeological Survey Of India now maintains the palace. The rulers of Travancore, a princely state for over 400 years, which included a good part of present-day Kerala and part of western Tamil Nadu, ruled from this palace, replete with outstanding wood carvings, stone sculptures and fantastic murals.
Kanyakumari: Nagercoil is situated at a distance of 19-km from Kanyakumari. At the southern most land tip of India, where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, lays Kanniyakumari, an important pilgrim center. Kanniyakumari is famous for its beach and the spectacular sunrises and sunsets, especially on full moon days. Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Gandhi Mandapam and the temples of Goddess Bhagavathi and Kumari Amman are the main tourist attractions of Kanyakumari.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: The nearest airport is at Trivandrum located at a distance of about 100-km from Nagercoil. It is directly connected with Bangalore, Mumbai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, and Chennai by regular flights.
Rail: Kanyakumari is the nearest railway station, which is well connected by train services with all the places in India. Superfast trains connect the southern most railhead of India with northern cities like Jammu and Delhi. Intercity trains are running from almost all the southern cities.
Road: Nagercoil is well connected by road with the neighbouring towns and cities. For local transportation, taxis and auto rickshaws are available.
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||Tamil and English
Tenkasi - 34-km
Tiruchchendur - 121-km
Tirumangalam - 164-km
Tirunelveli - 6-km
Tuticorin - 122-km