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Title: Nagarcoil  
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Subject: Kallidaikurichi, Himsagar Express, Nemom, Devi Kanya Kumari, National Highway 47 (India), Suchindram, Nagar Kovil
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Western Ghats

Coordinates: 8°10′N 77°26′E / 8.17°N 77.43°E / 8.17; 77.43Coordinates: 8°10′N 77°26′E / 8.17°N 77.43°E / 8.17; 77.43

Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District Kanyakumari
 • Total 49.371 km2 (19.062 sq mi)
Elevation 40 m (130 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 224,329
 • Density 9,813/km2 (25,420/sq mi)
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 629 xxx
Telephone code 91-4652
Vehicle registration TN-74 & TN-75
Literacy 100%

Nagercoil is a town in the southernmost Indian state of Tamil Nadu and a municipality and administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District. Its name , meaning “Snake Temple,” comes from two words. (Nager=Snake, coil=Temple)[1] The town is situated close to the tip of the Indian peninsula, locked with the Western Ghats on all sides. 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 also serves as the Headquarters for Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre,[2] an Space research arm of The Government of India. The public sector Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) also has its largest facility at Manavaalakurichy, near the town, which pioneers in the mining, processing and production of Thorium.[3]


As of 2011 India census,[4] Nagercoil had a population of 224,329 of which 110,132 are Males and 114,197 are females.[5] Nagercoil has an average literacy rate of 100%.[6] In Nagercoil, 8.5% of the population is between the age group of 0 – 6 years. As of the census of India 2001, Nagercoil had a population of 208,179 comprising 102,907 males and 105,272 females, making the sex ratio (number of females per thousand males) of the town to 1,023. A total of 20,475 people were under six years of age and the child sex ratio (number of females per thousand males under six years of age) stood at 951. The town had an average literacy of 93.36%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. A total of 7,084 comprising 3.77% of the population belonged to Scheduled Castes (SC) and 370 comprising 0.2% of the population belonged to Scheduled tribes (ST). There were are total of 47,684 households in the town. As of 2001, Nagercoil had a total of 61,768 main workers: 200 cultivators, 660 agricultural labourers, 1,904 in house hold industries and 59,004 other workers. There was a total of 3,126 marginal workers: 15 marginal cultivators, 208 marginal agricultural labourers, 432 marginal workers in household industries and 2,471 other marginal workers.[7]

Tamil is the most spoken language. English is also widely understood and spoken in the city.

The largest 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.


The Indian Space Research Organisation- ISRO has its Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre facility in the Mahendragiri hills (on the Western Ghats) off Nagercoil.[8][9]

Fish-net manufacturing is a growing business in and around the town; nets for commercial fishing are supplied to the domestic and export markets.[10] Cottage industries include coir-making, floral trade, handloom-weaving, rubber products, food-processing units, and lace-making (export-oriented).[11]

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.

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.[12] 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.[13]


The maximum temperature during the summer hovers around 100 °F or 34 °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 3 °C to 4 °C hotter than Nagercoil during the daytime, though Kanyakumari is only 20 km away.

Climate data for Kanyakumari
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 25
Average low °C (°F) 18
Rainfall mm (inches) 103.70


Nagercoil is having the distinction of housing one of the two Sports Authority of India Centers in the state, the other being in Chennai.[15][16] There are plans to make the city hub for sports in South india by merging the Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi Center with Headquarters in Nagercoil.[17]


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).[18] Later on K. Kamaraj, the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, won from Kanyakumari constituency without even canvassing.[19] This happens to be the strongest support base for the Indian National Congress in South India and is Nicknamed "The Fort of Congress".[20][21][22] The Nagercoil (Lok Sabha constituency) is perhaps the only Constituency in Tamil nadu to not have elected an Dravidian parties in the states History.[23]


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.[24]


Tamil is the official language in Nagercoil and is spoken by the majority of the population here. Tamil along with English is used as a medium of teaching in all major schools. The Tamil spoken here is distinct from rest of the state, sometimes unintelligible to the people of North Tamil Nadu. Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are the major religions in the town.

Some of the widely celebrated festivals here are Pongal,which is celebrated for three days,[25][26] Onam is another Festival widely celebrated among the Malayalam speaking population by drawing the `atha poo' (flower decoration) in the floor,[27][28] 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).

Nagercoil is home to the famous Nanjilnadu cuisine, which is one of the two famous Tamil cuisines, the other being the Chettinad Cuisine.[29] This cuisine is known for its unique appetizing, savory and delicious Spiced Local Touch.[30] The Nanjinadu seafood cuisine is also having its unique flavour followed widely in the states of Tamil nadu and Kerala.[31] 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 Nanjil or Nagercoil style cooking. The modernisation and sophistication that has crept into the present lifestyle has not erased out most of the traditional food culture of the city.[32] But a unique feature is that some traditional rare dishes are becoming endangered or are going extinct, due to the negligence of learning by the future generation.[33]

The food is generally spicy, with coconut in almost all side dishes and curry, very much like that of neighbouring Kerala. Seafood is popular among the people, though there are many vegetarians in and around the town.[34]

Places of interest

Clock tower located at the center of the Nagercoil, Udaygiri fort, Padmanabhapuram Palace, C.S.I Home Church, Muttam Beach, Thengapattinam Beach, Kanyakumari Beach, Chottavilai Beach, etc. 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.


External links

  • Official website of Kanyakumari district
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