Posted 22 July 2022

These seven reasons are enough to entice you for a trip to Tuticorin, Pearl City

Thoothukudi is a port city in the state of Tamil Nadu and lies beside the Coromandel Coast in the Bay of Bengal. As one of the prime sea gateways of Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin also heavily indulges in the activity of pearl shipping. This consuming task has given it the name “pearl city” over the years. As the Bay of Bengal surrounds the coast, the main occupation of the city comes from mining and agriculture industries, fishing, sea-borne trading, tourism, and salt pan. Thirty percent of India’s salt is produced here.

‘Our Lady of Snows Basilica’ is an annual festival of notable importance, celebrated in the month of August. For the admirers of the sea, the city becomes an ideal destination for tourists. Thoothukudi is surrounded by the Tirunelveli district on its north-western borders and Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar enclose it from the east. Among its harbours, the major one is well known as a pearl diving and a shipping centre. 

In the past, the city has also been attributed the title of ‘Thiru Mandir Nagar’. Being ruled by various rulers at different periods in history, Tuticorin is a historical blend of different compositions of periods over time.

Below are the seven must visit reasons for your trip to Tuticorin:

1. Pay your respects at the Sankara Rameshwaram Temple in Tuticorin 

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this landmark is one of the ancient structures of the district dating back 700 yr. The temple is dedicated to Arulmigu Sankara Rameshvarar who people believe is the form of Lord Shiva. Legend believes the landmark was once a shelter stop for Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for their journey to Lord Murugan's marriage. From 05:30 to 20:00 the temple prayer is conducted five times a day. The temple is also the host of assorted festivals namely; Chithirai, the first month in the Hindu calendar is a car festival dedicated to Lord Shiva and Arultharum Sakthi, the month of Margazhi celebrates the divinity of Thirupalli.

2. Delve into the seascapes of Hare Island Tuticorin

Get into the mesmerising glistening white sands and the radiant water glimmering with sun rays, awaiting your presence. Popularly called ‘Raja Theevu’ by locals as well as visitors, the island forms a part of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. This landmark becomes the perfect attraction for tourists as well as visitors to cosy up to the warm sun, swim, and enjoy the hues of the setting Sun. Two lighthouses are situated on the landmark and visitors can also stockpile on seashells. The island encapsulates a healthy ecosystem of coral reef and marine life. The best time to visit the island is during the festival of Pongal to experience the charm of Tamilian heritage and cultures.

3. Kazhugumalai in Tuticorin

Locally known as Kalugumalai, the place is a captivating spectacle of Jain architecture with Cave temples dating back to the 8th century. The exterior of the temple wall is brimming with alluring enchantments of rock sculptures. The Kalugumalai Jain Beds display extended bedding of rock sculptures known to be made for the departed souls. The main deity of the hill was Maraimalai Alwar. Vettuvan Koil is another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva that is carved out from a single rock. It is constructed in Pandyan architecture and encapsulates a rock-cut composition. 

Another landmark, the Kalugasalamoorthy Temple, is an ancient temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Murugan, the son of Parvati and Shiva. A prominent piece in depicting the splendid Dravidian architecture of its time, the temple encapsulates a gateway leading to a pillared hall and the sanctum. Kazhugumalai is for every visitor who wishes to indulge in the divine ambience of temples. The place also specialises in trade and manufacturing on a large scale of safety matches. 

4. Get a taste of the Thoothukudi Macaroon 

According to the local legends, Portuguese sailors who used to travel in Tuticorin utilised the local labour for baking macarons. The macarons are improvised to the Indian version that are available to us today. Made with sugar, egg whites, and cashew, this sweetened delight is the perfect delicacy to experience. Introduced by Mr. Arunachalam Pillai in the district, the macaroons owe their origination to the Portuguese colonisation of Goa, ensuing their relocation to the south.

5. Indulge in the lush greenery of Roche Park, Tuticorin

Roche Park is a perfect getaway for those who desire to escape the rushing city life for some merriment in nature. Located 4 km away from the town, Roche Park is a delightful landmark for family and friends to spend some quality time amidst the exuberant flock of seagulls and an abundance of blooming flowers surrounding you. A marvellous picnic spot, the park also has a kid’s section with a wide ground available for children to mingle and play. A recreational statue of John Roche is also situated in the park, a prominent minister who was also the recipient of the knighthood conferred to him the Pope, thereby becoming a Chevalier. 

6. Pay your respects at Church of our Lady of Snows, Tuticorin 

One of the Catholic pilgrimage centres in India, this Basilica is dedicated to St. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. The name of the shrine refers to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The church dates back to more than 300 yr, the church features noteworthy Portuguese architecture and a breath-taking sculpture of Mother Mary. This pious landmark is a popular tourist attraction and is a must-add to your bucket list. 

7. Indulge your taste buds in the local cuisine of the port city Tuticorin

Of the various local gems of the district, one includes the famous "Parotta Salna Set '' apart from the wide variety of sweets and snacks. Some of the famous sweetmeat shops that sell sweets and savouries are Namachivaya, Alagu Vilas, and Lala Mittai Kadai. The famous Indianised macaroons of Tuticorin are available in Ganesh Bakery on VOC Road where one can also get delicious cakes and cookies. 

One can also taste the harmonious local delicacies of South Tuticorin near Beach Road that are made in-house. Some of them include; the banana halwa, dodol, a local version of the Indonesian sweet and molasses candy. 

Apart from sugary delights, Tuticorin also includes some notable savouries. The Alwar Night Club is renowned for its deep-fried parotta pieces coated with chicken/mutton gravies. The Brindavan hotel offers traditional chettinad delicacies like hot and sweet paniyarams for vegetarian enthusiasts.

How to reach Tuticorin?

  • By Air: IndiGo offers daily non-stop flights to Tuticorin to multiple cities. Air transportation is the seamless means of commute and the Tuticorin airport is situated at Vagaikulam, 15 km away from the city centre. 
  • By Rail: The most popular mode of commute is via railways and the most common is the Pearl City Express that departs from Chennai every evening and reaches the following morning. Daily evening trains bound for the port city run from Mysore and Bangalore and weekly trains also operate from Mumbai to Okha. 
  • By Road: Many tourists opt to commute via roadways as Tuticorin is well connected to the rest of the country via multiple highways:
    • Tuticorin - Madurai (NH 45B);
    • Tuticorin - Tiruchendur (State Highway);
    • Tuticorin - Palayamkottai (NH 7A);
    • Tuticorin - Palayamkottai (NH 7A)

With regards to local getaways in the city, buses, auto-rickshaws, and taxis are common ways to travel through the city. The district has two main bus stations namely; Old bus stand and New bus stand that make a local network of travelling through the city for your ease. 

  • By Sea: Also known as the port city due to its proximity to the Coromandel Coast, the district is the quotidian recipient of cargo ships and some of these do accept passengers onboard. It is also the only port in the country with a weekly direct cargo service from the USA that takes 22 days.

Tips for travelling to Tuticorin

  • As a coastal region, know the coastal weather chart and plan your trip accordingly
  • It is wise to book packages to experience a hassle-free trip
  • Do not litter the roads, public spaces, or historical monuments to avoid heavy fines
  • Make the most out of local tour guides 
  • Make your commute and accommodation bookings in advance 

Best time to visit Tuticorin

Located on the Gulf of Mannar, the coastal region is the recipient of a hot semi-arid climate with scathing hot days of summer and the periodical arrival of heavy rainfall during the northeast monsoon. The months from March to May are the hottest and the weather remains hot and dry, which might render discomfort to tourists. During the months of June till September, the city receives heavy rainfall. The ideal time to visit the district is during the winter season, ranging from December to February. The tourists can take advantage of the time as the temperature comfortably rests between 20°C and 32°C.

Conclusion

A vibrant port city rich with beautiful culture and lively people, Tuticorin is truly the perfect getaway from your hectic schedules. Adorned with ancient landmarks, local cuisines, beaches, and keeping in touch with their heritage, plan a trip to this port city with your loved ones.

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