Tirunelveli District was formed in 1790 by the East India company, later came under the direct control of the British Crown Queen Victoria. The name Tirunelveli has been composed from the three Tamil words i.e. ‘Thiru – Nel – Veli’ meaning Sacred Paddy Hedge.
Tirunelveli District having geographical area of 6759 sq.kms, in the South eastern portion of Tamil Nadu is triangular in shape. It lies between 8°.05’ and 9°.30’ of the Northern latitude and 77°.05’ and 78°.25’ of Eastern longitude.
The district is located in the southern part of Tamil Nadu and surrounded by Virudhunagar District in the north, Western Ghats in the West, Kannyakumari District in the south and Tuticorin District in the East. The lifeline of the district river Tamiraparani feeds the district and quenches the thirst of residents of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin district too and also supplying drinking water to Virudunagar district.
The District has 3 Revenue Divisions consisting of 16 Taluks, 60 Firkas, 19 Development Blocks, 616 Revenue Villages and 425 Village Panchayats.
Climate and Rainfall
The district has a peculiar climate throughout the year and receiving rainfall in all the seasons which representing 1332.6mm in 2015-2016. Excess of rainfall was received for the past 7 years except 2012-2013 in the district. However in the current year in summer season, very hot weather was observed and received less rainfall when compared with the previous year. The maximum precipitation is contributed by the North East Monsoon (1050.6 mm) followed by South west monsoon (158.3 mm), Summer (111.1 mm) and Winter (12.1mm). However the current year shortage of rainfall was received during Winter and hot summer seasons.
Agriculture plays a Vital role in the District’s economy. The total cropped area was 206858 hectares, which worked out 30.61% to the total area of 675850 hectares. When compared with previous year ie. 2014-2015, the total cropped area was increased by 6.7%. Paddy, Maize, Cholam, Blackgram, Green gram and other minor millets are the important food crops. Cotton, Chillies, Sugarcane and Groundnut are the important commercial crops. Out of total cultivated area of 206858 hectares 31771 hectares were sown more than once. The net area sown in the current year is increased by 12.7% due to excess of rainfall.
The District is blessed with the Western Ghats, from which all the perennial rivers are flows and drain towards the east. The surface water of the District is drained into major river basin viz., Thamiraparani, Vaippar, Nambiar and Hanuman Nathi. Thamiraparani is the major river basin in the District. The other Streams which are seasonal in nature ie. Servallar, Manimuthar, Ramanathi, Pachaiyar, Chithar and Uppodai which are drain into the Thamiraparani river. The sources of irrigation are Canal, Tank and Well, which cover the area of 154246 hectares. Among the total area irrigated,Well irrigation covers 71307 hectares, Tanks 55545 hectares and Canal 27394 hectares during to the Fasli year of 1425 as gross cropped irrigated.
There are 25 medium and major industries such as Cement, Cotton yarn, Sugar, Rice bran oil, Printing papers and flour Mill etc. Among the other industries in the District Pin, Clip, Matches, Beedi, Vessels making and Engineering industries are important. The important Village industries which are functioning in the district are Power loom, Brick kiln, and Jaggary production. The products of Handloom and Power loom, like lungi, sarees etc., are marketed in northern India. The fine Korai mats from Pathamadi have one of the world fame. Kallidaikurichi Pappads, Karukurichi mud pots and Tirunelveli “Halva” are specialities which earned many laurels to the District.
Courtallam is situated in the Western Ghats in Tenkasi Taluk. The famous waterfalls on rocks and tiny droplets are sprinkled in the air. The water falls of Courtallam have medicinal value as they run through forest and herbs before their decent. The Courtallam is called as ‘Spa’ of South India.Pappanasam Agasthiar falls also attracts the tourist and pilgrims. There is a Wild life sanctuary at Mundanthurai and Kalakadu. Spotted deers, Lion tailed monkeys, Elephants and Tigers are plenty. Koonthankulam Birds sanctuary in Nanguneri Taluk is also attract the tourists.