...word of mouth
A Ganesh Nadar
irunelveli is a bustling town which stretches for just five or seven kms in alldirections. Shops and houses crowd the sides of the roads. But if you have the time togo behind the houses you will be amidst lush green fields. The fields can be foundright in the centre of the town.There is a huge bus terminus which is awake around the clock. Here you can see menhurrying-scurrying around in
and pants. Women in colourful sariswalk at a more sedate pace. Majority of the young girls still wear a
or half-sari or perhaps the salwar-kameez. Jeans and skirts are a rarity.There are bus routes to every place in Tamil Nadu -- inter-state buses to Trivandrum,Tirupathi, Ernakulam and Bangalore too -- out of this busy little town. The railwaystation is just a three minute walk. Trains are available to the temple townTiruchendur, the touristy Kanyakumari, the state capital of Madras and one even toBombay.Around the bus station are innumerable shops selling cloth, das-paisa-type bags,stationery --tempting but useless knick knacks that you never need and of courseinnumerable STD booths. And even three computerised colour labs where you candevelop a film roll in one hour flat while you drum your heels waiting for your Kulesekarappattinam
fast connection. There are few good hotels andinnumerable smaller cheaper ones.The
Arasan ice cream parlour
outside the bus depot, stands out in its décor, serviceand taste in these parts. College students can be found at this 'modern' hang out.Tirunelveli has a number of colleges, a law college and even a medical collegeattached to the huge government hospital. The famous Arvind Eye Hospital of Madurai has a very big branch hospital here.The huge Thiru Nelliappar temple dwarfs everything around here. Legend says that afarmer put his paddy out to dry here, told his gods to keep an eye on it and went to bathe in the Tambiraparani. While he was bathing, it started raining heavily. Hehurried back wondering what had happened to his paddy. While it continued to pour,he saw that the paddy remained unaffected because on that spot it was not raining.The lord had protected it 'like a hedge'. In Tamil paddy is 'Nel', hedge is 'Veli' and'Tiri' is holy, therefore the name Tirunelveli.There is a road right around the temple. The road houses the wholesale grains, provision and electrical market. One stretch is filled with cloth shops.The River Tambiraparani meanders sluggishly right through the heart of the town.