Tuticorin also known as Thoothukudi, is a city and a Municipal corporation in Tuticorin or Thoothukudi district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tuticorin is the headquarters of Tuticorin or Thoothukudi district which is located at southeastern part of Tamil Nadu. It is almost 580 km away from Chennai, about 261 km away from Trichichirappalli and about 133 km away from Madurai.


Theories about the Tamil and English names of the city

Tuticorin (in English) or Thoothukudi (in Tamil) was previously called Thirumandhira Nagar. There are three theories as to the origin of the name Thoothukudi. First, thoorthu is Tamil for "dig", and kudi means "drink": The town had no rivers and the only source of drinking water was from wells. Second, thoortha means "land reclaimed from the sea" while kudi also stands for "settlement" or "colony". Finally, the Tuticorin name was used by Dutch people who got there before the English, so some people have suggested they named the city.


Tuticorin was traditionally known for its pearl diving (thus the nickname Pearl City (Muthu Nagaram in Tamil) as well as for shipbuilding. Thoothukudi became the centre of the Indian independence movement in the early 20th century, with such leaders as the poet Subramanya Bharathy, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Venni Kalady, Vellaya Thevan, and V.O. Chidambaram Pillai. In 1906, the freedom fighter V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, with the help of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, launched the first Swadeshi ship S.S. Gaelia from this port town in British India.

The major harbour of Tuticorin is one of the oldest sea ports in the world, was the seaport of the Pandyan Kingdom after Korkai and later was taken over by the Portuguese in 1548, captured by the Dutch in 1658, and ceded to the British in 1825. The lighthouse built in 1842 marked the beginning of the history of Thoothukudi harbour development. Tuticorin was established as a Municipality in 1866 with Roche Victoria as its first chairman.

During World War II, when India was still under British dominance, the economic and strategic importance of Tuticorin Port made the town vulnerable to enemy bombings. Sirens and bomb shelters were installed in the town.

After Independence, the Port of Tuticorin witnessed a flourishing trade and handled a variety of cargo meant for the neighbouring countries of Sri Lanka, Maldives etc. and the coastal regions of India.

To cope with the increasing trade through Tuticorin, the Government of India sanctioned the construction of an all-weather Port at Tuticorin. On July 11,1974, the newly constructed Tuticorin Port was declared as the 10th major port in India.


The economy of Thoothukudi is based on shipping, fishing, salt pan, mineral and agricultural industries (rice and palmyrah trees, from which jaggery is made, are cultivated nearby). 30% of India's salt is produced in this district. Tuticorin Port is one of the major ports in India, the second-largest port in Tamil Nadu after Chennai Port and third-largest container terminal in India after Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai. Due to its proximity with Colombo, Tuticorin is a major hub for India's trade with Sri Lanka.

Get in

By plane

Tuticorin Airport is at Vagaikulam, 15 km from the heart of the city. Presently Spicejet is operating flights to Chennai and Bangaluru (Bangalore). There are enough Taxi options to get there. The State Government has planned to extend the runway(Over 700 acres of land is under approval) and modernize the airport to handle more traffic and bigger aircraft. The Airport runway is being extended to facilitate landing of large airplanes and the night landing facility will be established soon.

By train

A popular way of getting here is by train, most useful is the daily Pearl City Express service from Chennai which departs 7:35PM every evening, arriving the next morning at 7:30AM. Both Bangalore and Mysore have night trains bound for Tuticorin, with a departure time from Mysore at 6PM and from Bangalore 9:20PM, arriving 10:45AM the next day. Regional destinations with direct trains includes Coimbatore and Tirunelveli.

By road

Tuticorin City is well connected by road with rest of the country. The Major Highways are,

Tuticorin - Madurai (NH 45B);

Tuticorin - Palayamkottai(NH 7A);

Tuticorin - Tiruchendur (State Highway);

Tuticorin - Ramanathapuram (State Highway);

Currently the Tuticorin - Madurai (NH 45B) and Tuticorin - Tirunelveli (NH 7A) are being converted into 4-lane Expressway.

By sea

Tuticorin port is the gateway to India when it comes to shipping with cargo ships arriving daily, some of these accepts paying passengers. It's also the only port in the country with a weekly direct cargo service from USA, taking 22 days. Both Europe, China and several ports along the Red Sea have direct routes too.

Also, after many years of being cut off there is now a direct passenger ferry from Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka with Flemingo Liners . Sailing dates changes every week but departure time from Colombo is 6PM, arriving in Tuticorin next morning at 8AM.

Get around

Tuticorin (Thoothukudi) has two main bus stations namely New bus Stand and Old Bus stand. Town buses connect both of them with other parts of the town. A network of mini-buses makes getting around Tuticorin easier.

Auto-Rickshaws are also preferable. If you want to travel by the auto, consult local friends or relatives beforehand to find out reasonable prices for the distance you intend to go and negotiate a rate with the driver before the journey.

Palayamkottai road (stretching westward from the old Bus stand), Areas surrounding the Lord Bhagam Priyal temple, Lord Shiva and Lord Perumal temples, WGC (West Great Cotton) road, its parallel V.E (Victoria Extension) road and the streets adjacent to WGC road forms the main area of Tuticorin. One should be careful and aware of the one-way traffic along the WGC road.


And Many More Mosques in Kayalpattinam to see (Tuticorin District)


Tuticorin is famous for Our Lady of Snows Shrine Basilica festival which takes place during August every year. To show their love and gratitude, devotees presented a golden car which is used to carry the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Snows around the town during her feast day. The Golden Car first appeared in procession on 2nd February 1806 and since then on 5th August of every year. A big star rests over the royal crown on the top of the car, signifying the name of Our Lady as the Star of the Sea (Stella Maris). The statue is one of three works of religious art originally brought by explorer Ferdinand Magellan to the Philippines, the others being the Santo Niño de Cebu and the Manapad altar crucifix.

The Lady of snows is fondly called by the local people as Maathaa(Literally Mother).This church is known for religious harmony among hindus and christians in Tuticorin.Peoples of all religions from Hindhu and Muslim also come to the festivals. Some Hindus light the candle and pray(by standing in front of Lady of snows). You can see portrait of Maathaa along with other Hindu deities in some hindu houses.


There are many restaurants in Tuticorin. Most of them are of South-Indian cuisine. Some are vegetarian and some are non-vegetarian. Enquire with your hotel receptionist or Auto-Rickshaw driver or Taxi Driver or any local friends or relatives for restaurants.

Besides hotels and restaurants, there are a lot of Tea and Coffee bars, Snacks Stalls, Fruit Juice corners, Bakeries, Sweet stalls, etc. which could be found at any main area.

Tuticorin is famous for a wide variety of sweets, snacks, and the famous "Parotta Salna Set". Tuticorin even has its own version of the "macaroon", this version differs from the French version since its made with egg whites, cashew, sugar, and yeast. Alagu Vilas, Lala Mithai Kadai, Namachivaya are all famous sweet meat shops that sell delicious traditional sweets and savories.

Ganesh Bakery on VOC Road sells the famous macaroon and while you are stocking up on their macaroons, you could also pick up their delicious cakes and cookies. Another sweet worthy of mention is thenkuzhal made of molasses, a sinful combination of flour and molasses in a unique floral-ring shape. You can find this in Alagu Vilas. You need to specifically ask for "karupatti thenkuzhal". Palayamkottai Rd as well as WGC Road have a slew of bakeries along their stretch.

If you are in South Tuticorin near Beach Road, you must try the local delicacies - vazhapazha innipu (banana halwa), dodol (yes, a local version of the Indonesian sweet), paaghu (made with brinjal and palm jaggery), puttu karupatti (cute molasses candies). These are all made in the houses that line the Beach Road and Lady of Snows Church. It would be a good idea to ask the locals to find these houses. If you are near the old bus stand, do pick up "Nut Bars" from Gnanam Bakery - a delicious nut candy made with oodles of ghee.

Thoothukudi is not famous just for the sweets, this is a town famous for its hot, spicy meat fare made right on the streets. Alwar Night Club is where the locals go berserk over deep fried parotta pieces coated with chicken/mutton gravies. For vegetarians, Brindavan Hotel offers traditional Chettinad delicacies like hot and sweet paniyarams. There is something in Tuticorin for every palate - two things you shouldn't leave without sampling are the macaroons and the salna set from Alwar.


Lodges exist in areas around the Old Bus Stand and along V.E road.

Stay safe

For Police, Dial 100;

For Ambulance/Fire Service, Dial 101.

Medical stores and pharmacies can be found along the main roads and main streets, but if you regularly take a medicine, it is best to bring that along with you.


Go next

Kanyakumari is popular in India for its spectacular and unique sunrise and sunset. The confluence of three ocean bodies - the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea - makes the sunrise and sunset even more special. On balmy, full-moon evenings, (locally called Chitra Pournami) one can also see the moon-rise and sunset at the same time - on either side of the horizon.
On two rocky islets just off the shore are the Vivekanda Rock Memorial, built in 1970, and the gigantic 133 feet statue of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar. Swami Vivekananda is said to have seated on a rock in deep meditation. That rock is now called Vivekanda Rock Memorial. Also on this rock, there is a Dhyana mandapam, an area for meditation. Boat services are available to reach the Vivekanda Rock Memorial and the Thiruvalluvar Statue. The famous temple Thanumalayan Temple Suchindram is located in Kanyakumari.
Tirunelveli is also famous for the Halwa sweet. Lala snacks are also popular here.
The sister town of this village is known as Keezha Uvari which is famous for an ancient Shiva temple, Sri Suyambulingaswamy Thirukovil. Today little is left except the remnants of gate arches carved out of rock and an abandoned temple, a little away from the newly constructed main temple.
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