||This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
|— Municipality —|
|• Total||49.37 km2 (19.06 sq mi)|
|Elevation||40 m (130 ft)|
|• Density||9,813/km2 (25,420/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||TN-74 & TN-75|
Nagercoil is the 11th largest city in the southernmost Indian state of Tamil Nadu and a municipality and administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District. The town is situated close to the tip of the Indian peninsula, locked with the Western Ghats on all sides and is the southernmost town on the Indian mainland. The town was a part of the erstwhile Travancore state, or later Travancore-Cochin state, till almost a decade after the Indian independence in 1947. In 1956, the city and the District were merged with Tamil Nadu. In its earlier days, the town and its surroundings were known as Nanjilnadu. It is also serves as the Headquarters for Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, an Space research arm of The Government of India.
Nagercoil derives its name from the famous old Nagaraja Temple (temple of the serpent king) which is in the central part of town. It has been an important temple for Hindus for centuries as well as a tourist attraction. According to certain accounts, it may once have been a Jain temple, as icons of the Jain Tirthankaras — Mahavira and Parsvanatha — are found on the pillars of the temple. Nagercoil came under the rule of various kingdoms, notably the Chera, Chola and Pandya kingdoms, Historical records reveal that these kingdoms fought over the control of the fertile area of Nanjilnadu and Kottar, a town mentioned in old Tamil writings and maps of ancient India. Archaeological records also show Jain influences in ancient times. The modern history of the town is interwoven with the history of Travancore state. The modern town of Nagercoil grew around Kottar, now a locality in the municipal limits. The town came to prominence during and after the reign of Maharaja Marthanda Varma, the king of Travancore, the capital of which was Padmanabhapuram, about 20 km to the north of Nagercoil. The capital was later shifted to Trivandrum, now Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state, about 65 km to the north of Nagercoil. In the erstwhile princely state of Travancore, Nagercoil was the second most important town after the capital Trivandrum. Maharaja Marthanda Varma's successors continued the land, revenue and social reforms he instituted. Although Travancore was considered by many to be a "Hindu" administration, the rulers generally showed religious tolerance and were not hostile to European educators, missionaries and traders. Until the 19th century, the coffers of Travancore were greatly helped by revenues from the trade of pepper and other spices, with the European powers. Irrigation systems (an excellent system is still found around Nagercoil), dams, roads, schools etc. developed under the administration of the Travancore royals and their Dewans. The British in India considered Travancore a "model native state". At the time, Travancore was the most socially developed, and one of the most economically developed states under the British Raj. During the British Raj, Travancore was essentially a vassal-state to the British, but the British never interfered in the general administration of the state.
At the time of India's independence from Britain, the Dewan of Travancore, Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyer, preferred Travancore to be a sovereign country, but he eventually gave up after a tough stand by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India's federal minister in charge of home affairs, who wanted the princely state annexed to India. After a political fight in the 1950s led by A. Nesamony, sometimes known as Marshal Nesamony, the Government of Travancore-Cochin gave part of South Travancore (present day Kanyakumari District) to Tamil Nadu, because a majority of the population spoke Tamil in the district. This was enacted in the Indian States Reorganisation Act of 1956.
Nagercoil has a pleasant, though humid, climate for a major part of the year. The maximum temperature during the summer hovers around 86 °F or 30 °C with moderate humidity at times. Nagercoil is the only Indian Town to receive both the north-east monsoon and the south-west monsoon. It rains more often in Kanyakumari district than in any other part of Tamil Nadu, with the exception of the Nilgiris. Due to geographical conditions, the southern tip of Kanyakumari is generally 2 °C to 3 °C hotter than Nagercoil during the daytime, though Kanyakumari is only 20 km away.
|Climate data for Kanyakumari|
|Average high °C (°F)||29.6
|Average low °C (°F)||22.4
|Rainfall mm (inches)||17
As of 2011[update] India census, Nagercoil had a population of 224,329 of which 110,132 are Males and 114,197 are females. Nagercoil has an average literacy rate of 100%. In Nagercoil, 8.5% of the population is between the age group of 0 – 6 years. Though the official population count (for the municipal area) is close to 2.25 lakhs, a significant population lives outside the municipal limits, in the suburbs.Tamil is the most spoken language. English is also widely understood and spoken in the city.
The greatest concentration of the population of the town and the District is along the coastal belt, on the eastern side, while the largely forested areas on the western side of the district (along the Western Ghats) are sparsely populated.
Culture and religion 
Tamil is official language in Kanyakumari. Tamil and Malayalam are spoken by the people. Tamil language along with English is used as a medium of teaching in all major schools. The Tamil spoken here is a mix of Malayalam and Tamil, sometimes unintelligible to the people of North Tamil Nadu.
The culture is a mixture of Tamil and Malayalam culture and traditions. Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are the major religions in the town and district. Food prepared here is also a mix of Kerala/Tamil Nadu traditions. Puttu, Appam, Idiappam are popular food items and so are rice murukku, and achu-murukku. Curries here are made with coconut and coconut oil which is now considered Kerala style cooking.
Some of the festivals celebrated here are Pongal, Onam, Suchindrum "Ther Festival", Ayya Vaikunda Avataram, Deepavali, Easter, Christmas, New Year, St. Francis Xavier's feast, Bhagavathy Amman Temple festival, Ramzan (Eid ul fitr) and Bakrid (Eid ul alha).
Influence of European missionaries 
The foundation of several educational institutions by English, German and other Western Christian missionaries in the 19th century and the development of social infrastructure by the Travancore administration raised the social status and literacy of the people, ahead of many other urban centres in Southern India. Today, streets, schools and colleges in the town are named after these European missionaries ; many of these missionaries were also noted educationists and scholars.
One of Jesus disciples- Thomas the Apostle is believed to have come during 52Anno Domini and built India's first church. The European missionaries converted a section of the people to Protestant Christianity. Roman Catholicism had been introduced earlier by St. Francis Xavier in the 16th century and later by other Jesuits. [File:St. Xavier's Church, Kottar.JPG|thumb|St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral at Kottar, Nagercoil, built in 1600CE. St. Francis Xavier, the missionary-saint resided for sometime at Kottar, while doing missionary work in the neighbouring areas.]]
St. Francis Xavier, the Roman Catholic missionary, made Kottar locality in the town his principal residence for two years in the 16th century, while preaching around the town and in neighbouring Tirunelveli district.
Of the Protestant missionaries, the services of two European missionaries are particularly notable. One is C. Mead, who after arriving in 1817 in Nagercoil, as a missionary of the London Missionary Society (LMS), made immense contributions to the cause of education in the town and in Travancore. In 1818, he founded the Nagercoil Seminary, which became one of the first regular institutes to impart English education in Travancore state and also in Southern India. In 1855, in recognition of his contributions to the cause of education, the Travancore Government appointed him Superintendent of Schools, and while in this office he encouraged women's education in Nagercoil and in the state of Travancore. He started the Nagercoil Mission Press, the first printing press in the state of Travancore. Mead fought to abolish forms of indentured labour rampant at that time.
The other great missionary was William Tobias Ringeltaube, a native of the then Prussia (present Germany), who established schools and worked among the poor and downtrodden around the town. He started one of the first regular schools in Travancore at Mylaudy, near Nagercoil which is still active.
Like the London Missionary Society (LMS), another organisation that rendered valuable services to the cause of education and upliftment of the socially downtrodden has been the Church Missionary Society (CMS). Both these societies still have a presence in Nagercoil (nearly two centuries after inception).
Home church is one of the important places for worship. This was built by Thurivankur King.
The Salvation Army is known in the town for their medical services in and around the town. Their Catherine Booth Hospital in the Vadasery locality of the town was established in the 19th century and is still active.
Nagercoil is the headquarters of the state owned Arasu Rubber Corporation and the regional office of the Central Rubber Board. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has a testing facility for Cryogenic and Liquid Propulsion rocket engines on the Mahendragiri hills (on the Western Ghats) off Nagercoil. Rocket scientists and engineers from all over India work at this facility, called the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Mahendragiri.
The town is a centre for the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant reactors, being built with Russian assistance, which is situated in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, but is the closest major town to the facility. The public sector Indian Rare Earths Limited (IRE) has a facility at Manavaalakurichy, near the town.
Aralvaimozhi, a once-impoverished village, benefited from the building of the nearby Muppandal wind farm a renewable energy source, supplying the villagers with electricity for work. The surrounding area is a major centre for windmill renewable-energy production, and one of the biggest centres in South Asia, both in terms of electricity generated and size of windmills, with thousands of wind-mill electricity generators on tall towers dotting the area. The total power generated from these wind mills is 540 MW with each windmill generating a power output of 1.65 MW. The wind mills are erected and technically supported by multinational majors in the field of renewable energy like Vestas, Suzlon, and Micon. The Muppandal Wind Farm is situated on a mountain gap (pass) in the Western Ghats, through which the wind gushes for a major part of the year.
Fish-net manufacturing is a growing business in and around the town; nets for commercial fishing are supplied to the domestic and export markets.
Information technology 
There are many software, research and development companies in Nagercoil. RedEgg InfoExpert Technologies is now part of Thomson Reuters set up an office with a strength of around 325 employees. The Nagercoil office has been outsourcing their product's to North America. In 2010 Hinduja Global Solution setup their third largest development center in India after, Bangalore and Chennai.
Cottage industry 
Being the major Tamil Nadu town closest to the Kerala capital, Thiruvananthapuram (65 km away and the closest international airport to Nagercoil), trading and sending supplies to Kerala and Thiruvananthapuram is a major activity for the bustling markets at Vadasery and Kottar - availability and many items being cheaper in Tamil Nadu than in Kerala adds to the thriving business.
Supply of marine and agricultural produce to the overseas export-markets are also important economic activities, though primarily done through exporters or agents in Kerala. Remittances to Nagercoil from overseas, from Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) hailing from the town, is a major contributor to the local economy.
Nagercoil is having the distinction of housing one of the two Sports Authority of India Centers in the state, the other being in Chennai. There are plans to make the city hub for sports in South india by merging the Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi Center with Headquarters in Nagercoil.
Marshal Nesamony, one of the leading lawyers of the Nagercoil Bar, was elected as the Chairman of the Nagercoil Municipal Council in 1943. He enlarged the town boundary, improved water supply system for the town, established a home for the destitutes and increased the income of the Nagercoil Municipality. In the same year, he was elected to the Travancore State Assembly and was also nominated to the Senate of the then Travancore University (today's Kerala University). Later on K. Kamaraj, the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, won from Kanyakumari constituency without even canvassing. This happens to be the strongest support base for the Indian National Congress in South India and is Nicknamed "The Fort of Congress". The Nagercoil (Lok Sabha constituency) is perhaps the only Constituency in Tamil nadu to not have elected an Dravidian parties in the states History.
The district is having the highest literacy rate in India (100%). Some schools and colleges in Nagercoil are more than 150 years old, like the Scott Christian College, Carmel High School (Nagercoil), built by British missionaries. European missionaries, in the 19th century and early 20th century played a major role in imparting education to the people of the town and district.
One of the oldest regular schools in South India, Sethu Lakshmi Bai Higher Secondary School, is situated in the heart of town. It was established under the supervision of the Travancore administrators and named after a Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, the Queen of Travancore between 1924 to 1931. Another school which was named after a Travancore ruler is Sri Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma Higher Secondary School.
Educational institutions include privately funded engineering colleges, the state-run Kanyakumari Government Medical College (at Asaripallam near Nagercoil), and many polytechnic colleges and arts and science colleges. As in neighbouring Kerala, women's education and career-development are given importance.
In the Christian theological side, the Concordia Theological Seminary established in 1924 caters to the training of Pastors of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church. A CBSE schools in Nagercoil is the Adarsh Vidya Kendra which is situated at Vetturnimadam, 3 km from Nagercoil.
The food is generally spicy with coconut an important ingredient in almost all side dishes and curry, very much like that of neighbouring Kerala. Seafood is popular among the people, though there are also many vegetarians in and around the town.
Banana & Jack fruit plays a main role in the town's Sweet/sour recipes. Its been told that the word Jack actually derived from Tamil name of the fruit சக்கை.
Banana Chips (ேநந்தரம் பழம்/ஏத்தன் பழம்-a special variety specially produced for making chips) a snack. Upperi (உப்பேரி) is made by dipping the banana in palm sugar locally known as சர்க்கைர/பைன ெவல்லம். Nenthrambazha Bajji, a snack made out of banana is famous here.
Places of interest 
- The Nagaraja Temple, (which gives Nagercoil its name) and the Thanumalayan Temple, at Suchindrum, about 6 km from the heart of the town, are Hindu shrines for pilgrims from all over South India. The Nagaraja Temple has Nagaraja, the King of Snakes, as its principal deity, to whom milk is offered by the devout. The Suchindram Temple is unique amongst Hindu temples in that it unites the worship of the Trinity of Hinduism - Shiva (Sthanu), Vishnu (Perumal or Mal) and Brahma (Aiyan) - in the presiding deity, Thanumalayan. The tradition of the temple is that the King of the Devas, Indra, worships at the temple each night.
- Krishnancoil, situated on the way to Trivandrum at NH-47 is named after the temple where the presiding deity is Lord Kishna in his childhood avatar. This temple is 1.5 km from the heart of Nagercoil town.
- St. Francis Xavier's Church, in the Kottar locality of the town, which was built in 1600, is important due to the visit and stay of St. Francis Xavier. The church was built on land allotted to St. Xavier by the Venad king.
- Fresh water supply to the town is from the Mukkadal Reservoir, about 8 km from the town - itself a scenic place, with an island in the middle of the reservoir. The reservoir is surrounded by hills of the Western Ghats.
The hilly, undulating terrain in Kanyakumari District is Mostley forest land and the remaining is covered by rubber and other plantation plants. Elephants are common in this area.
- Mathur Aqueduct (Thotti palam)
- Udayagiri Fort
- Vattakottai Fort.
- Padmanabhapuram Palace
- Muttom Beach.
- Ullakaarvi Waterfalls
Notable people 
- Ranjan Roy Daniel- Former Director of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and recipent of Padma Bhushan.
- J. C. Daniel- The Father of Malayalam Film Industry.
- N. S. Krishnan- Tamil film comedian and drama artist of yester-years.
- Sathyan- Malayalam Film Actor.
- Ganesh Janardhanan(VTV Ganesh)- Tamil Comedian and Actor.
- Menaka (actress)- Malayalam Film Actress.
- Sukumari- Malayalam Film Actress.
- Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair - Malayalam actor.
- M. Rajesh- Film Director (Siva Manasula Sakthi, Boss engra Baskaran, Ok Ok...).
- Kunjan Nadar, Former Lok Sabha Member.
- Marshal Nesamony, Former Lok Sabha Member.
- Kumari Anandan, Former Lok Sabha Member.
- G.M. Shah, High strategic committee Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Member.
- N. Dennis, Former Lok Sabha Member.
Government Officials 
Indian Police Service 
- F. V. Arul (IPS)- Former Director of Central Bureau of Investigation, Commissioner of Police (Greater Chennai) & First Indian Vice-President of "Interpol"
- Christopher Nelson(IPS)- Former Inspector-General of Police & Life-Time Member of Planning Commission (India).
- Admiral Oscar Stanley Dawson -12th Chief of Naval Staff.
- Admiral Sushil Kumar - 18th Chief of Naval Staff.
- Thiruvalluvar-poet who scripted Thirukkural.
- David Davidar-Former CEO of Penguin Group and Harvard University Faculty.
- Kavimani Desika Vinayagam Pillai (Tamil poet, writer and scholar)
- Sathavathani Sheikh Thambi Pavalar (Tamil poet, scholar and Freedom fighter)
- P. Jeevanandham, socialist.
- M. J. Rabi Singh- Indian Lingustic Scholar.
- Aravindan Neelakandan- Indian Fiction Writer.
- T V Ramasubbaiyer (founder of "Dina Malar" - a Tamil daily)
- Jeyamohan, literary writer.
- Ponneelan, 1994 Sahitya Akademi Award.
- Neela Padmanabhan, 2007 Sahitya Akademi Award.
- "Successful ignition of indigenous cryogenic engine"
- "Nagaraja Kovil Tamilnadu". Tamilnadu.com. 31 October 2012.
- Nagercoil history
- . Climate-data.org http://en.climate-data.org/location/23976/. Missing or empty
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- "Time to ensure scientific disposal of garbage"
- " Kanyakumari District achieves cent per cent literacy"
- "Churches tell historical tales"
- "The church that St. Thomas built"
- "Indian Rare Earth Ltd., a pioneer in titanium products"
- "Tapping the Wind - India". February 2005. Retrieved 2006-10-28.
- Watts, Himangshu (November 11 2003). "Clean Energy Brings Windfall to Indian Village". Reuters News Service. Retrieved 2006-10-28.
- "Fishermen thirst for scientific solutions"
- Thomson Reuters Comes to Nagercoil
- "Hinduja Global Solution Launches Center in Nagercoil"
- "Sports Authority of India sub-centre coming up near Nagercoil"
- "Regional Centres"
- "City may lose SAI sub-centre to Nagercoil"
- Joy Gnanadason,`A Forgotten History`,1994, Gurukul L.T. College and Research Institute, Chennai. Page:151.
- "Kamaraj birth anniversary"
- "Sangh power BJP's southern comfort"
- "Chidambaram distributes welfare aid in Nagercoil"
- "Will BJP make history by winning Nagercoil?"
- "Dravidians don't wind up in Nagercoil"
- "Kanyakumari to be cent per cent literate"
- "Sea food festival begins"
- "J.C. Daniel: Naturalist extraordinaire". Sanctuary Asia. April 2000. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
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