Nellaiappar Temple - Tirunelveli

Nellaiappar temple which stands high at Tirunelveli is one among the 5 most sacred Shiva temples where Lord Shiva performed his Nataraja Nritham, the cosmic dance of life. As per the Puranas or the ancient Indian texts, this temple is believed to be built around 7th century AD. Spanning around 14 acres, this massive temple is the biggest in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is situated on the banks of the Thamirabarani River. Agastya, an ancient Saptarishi was a great devotee of Shiva, and it is said that he worshipped Lord Shiva by doing Tapas [deep meditation] inside a bamboo grove here. Another significant event is when Lord Rama after killing Mareecha who was a Rakshasa [demon], worshipped Lord Shiva to free him from the burden of Karma.

The current Nellaiappar temple actually is a twin temple comprising Kanthimathi Temple and Nellaiappar temple. It was Thiru Vadamalaiappa Pillaiyan who linked the two temples into a single big temple by constructing the Chain Mandapam. There is a flower garden on the western side of the Chain Mandapam that was set up some 250 years ago. Also at the center of the flower garden, there is a 100 pillared Vasantha Mandapam [a temple platform]. The temple is famous for its musical pillars inside the Mani Mandapam, which sounds musical notes when it is struck.

Numerous inscriptions can be found in the temple which dates back to 950 AD. There is a shrine of Nellai Govindan [Vishnu] near to the Sanctum Sanctorum which signifies that Lord Vishnu visited here to attend the divine marriage of Lord Nellaiappar and Goddess Kanthimathi. Another highlight of the Nellaiappar Temple is its copper dance hall, Tamra Sabha. The brilliant artistic wood work inside the Tamra Sabha will for sure hold you still, in awe. Lord Nataraja [Shiva] and Goddess Sivakami are worshipped here inside the Tamra Sabha during the festive day of Arudra Darisanam.

Major Festivals

The major festivals at Nellaiappar festival include Arudra Darisanam, Brahmotsavam, Thiru Kalyanam, Navaratri and Thaipoosam festival during the month of Thai. The traditional Brahmotsavam is celebrated during the Tamil month of Aani [June15 - July15]. The Tirukalyanam festival is conducted during Aippasi month [October15 - November15] which is celebrated as the divine marriage day of Lord Nellaiappar and Goddess Sivakami. During this festival the Nellaiappar Idol and the Sivakami Idol is adorned and mounted on a Golden Temple Car which will be taken around the temple premises and Mandapams.

Temple Timings

The temple is open

Morning 6:00 am to 1:00 pm
Evening 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Pooja Details of Arulmigu Nellaiappar Sanathi
Thiruvananthal Pooja 6.30 AM Vilapooja Pooja 7.30 AM Sirukala Sandhi Pooja 8.30 AM
Kala Sandhi Pooja 9.30 AM Uchikalam Pooja 12.00 PM Sayaratchai Pooja 6.00 PM
Ardhajama Pooja 8.30 PM
Pooja Details of Ambal Sanathi
Thiruvananthal Pooja 6.00 AM Vilapooja Pooja 7.30 AM Sirukala Sandhi Pooja 8.00 AM
Kala Sandhi Pooja 9.00 AM Uchikalam Pooja 12.30 PM Sayaratchai Pooja 5.30 PM
Ardhajama Pooja 8.15 PM Palliyarai Pooja 9.00 PM

How to Reach?

By Air:

The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. It is 158 kms from Tirunelveli, about three and a half hour drive. After getting down at Thiruvananthapuram Airport, grab a taxi and head towards Nellaiappar temple.

By Rail:

The nearest railways station is Tirunelveli Railway Station, just 2kms away from the temple. You can easily connect the Tirunelveli station as there are regular trains from all parts of country passing through this station. After getting down, you can either grab a taxi to the Nellaiappar Temple or a board in a government bus to the temple.

By Bus:

There are frequent bus service from all cities in both Tamil Nadu state and Kerala to Tirunelveli. After reaching Tirunelveli, board in a local bus to the temple, or grab a taxi.