Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple - Tirunelveli

Nellaiappar Temple is dedicated to the deity Shiva, located in Tirunelveli, a city in Tamil Nadu. The temple is located on the northern banks of Tamiraparani River in Tirunelveli district. The temple dates back to 700 AD and has been sung by the Saivite saint Tirugnana sambandar. They were built for Shiva and for Parvati, the consort to Lord Shiva, by the Pandyan kings Deity of Goddess in this temple is called as “Gandhimathi”. There are other names for Nellayappar deity like Venunathar, Neyvelinathar etc. Nellaiappar Car is the third largest car in Tamil Nadu and it is the first largest man-powered car. The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the nayanmars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. The temple complex consists of fourteen acres of land and all its shrines are enclosed with the rectangular walls. The gopuram of this temple is 850 feet long and 756 feet wide. It is one of the biggest temples of the region and is famous for the Copper Hall of Dance. The temple has a number of shrines, with those of Swamy Nelliappar and his consort Sri Kanthimathi Ambal being the most prominent. At Nellaiappar Temple, near the sanctum, you can see a shrine of Lord Vishnu. This is special as there is a belief that Nellai Govindan (Lord Vishnu), visited Tirunelveli to perform the divine marriage of Shiva and Kantimathi. One of the famous temples in Tamil Nadu steeped in tradition and history and also known for its Musical Pillars and other Brilliant Sculptural Splendours, this is one of the largest temples in South India. The former temple is also called as ‘Swamy Venunathar’, ‘Nelveli Nathar’, ‘Chaleevadeesar’ and later by the names ‘Vadivudaya Ammai’ and ‘Kamakottamudaya Naachiyaar’. These two temples are connected by a big terraced hall namely Sangili Mandapam that has life sized sculptures adoring the pillars. The main deity of the Gandhi Nellaiyar temple is ‘Suyambu lingam’ or Shiva lingam, which exploded from the ground below. The Nandi mandapam has a fairly big statue of Nandi (the bull God), similar to those at Tanjore and Rameswaram. The unique feature of the temple is the ‘Mani mandapam’ located near the nandi mandapam with two giant pillars carved out of a single stone and each one is having 48 sub pillars which produce musical notes when struck.


According to the puranas, both the Gopurams were built by Pandyas and the sanctums of the temple were constructed by Nindraseer Nedumaran who reigned in the 7th century. The mani mandapam with its famous musical pillar was built by Nindaraseer Nedumaran in the 7th century A.D. Originally the Nellaiappar and Kanthimathi temples were two independent structures with spaces in between. It was in 1647 that Thiru Vadamalaiappa Pillaiyan, a great devotee of Siva linked the two temples by building the “Chain mandapam” (In Tamil Sangili Mandapam). To the western portion of the chain mandapam is the flower garden that was set up in 1756 by Thiruvengadakrishna Mudaliar. In the centre of the Flower Garden is a square vasantha mandapm with 100 pillars. The Nandi mandapam is said to have been built by Sivanthiappa Nayak in 1654 A.D. The flag stand near the Nandi was set up in 1155 A.D. There are a number of stone inscriptions in the temple. The most important of them are those Veerapandiyan who regained about 950 A.D. and those of Rajendran I and Kulothunga chola I. The inscriptions of Maravarma Sundara Pandiyan refer to the Lord as “Woodayar” and “Wodeyanayanar” and the Goddess as “Nachiar”. From the inscriptions of Kulasekkara Pandiyan we learn that he defeated the Chera, Chola and Hoysala kings and built the outer walls of the temple with the war booty.

Nellaiappar Temple-Tirunelveli
Car Festival of Nellaiappar Temple-Tirunelveli

Shiva is said to have worshiped Agastya in a bamboo grove. Mareecha was killed about nine miles in Manoor.There is also a shrine to Vishnu near the sanctum, signifying the belief that Nellai Govinda (Vishnu) came to Tirunelveli Fulfilled the divine marriage of Shiva and Kandmathi. A little to the south of Swami Nellaiappar Gopuram stands the Gopuram of Arultharum Kanthimathi Ambal temple. It was here, Music composer Sri Muthuswamy Dikshithar composed the Carnatic song ‘Sri Kanthimatheem’ in the Hemavathi ragam. Kandamadai Nellaiyar temple is a double temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati (Kantimathi Ammaya) and Shiva (Nellaiyappar – the paddy’s guardian). In 14 acres of land, this is the largest temple in Tamil Nadu. The heart of the city on the banks of river Taamiraparni at a distance of 2kms from the railway station. This temple is believed to have been built by the Pandyas in the 13th century Redesigned and extended on 17C – 18C. There are some inscriptions in this temple 950A.D. The temple is known in one of the 5 Panch sabhas(dance halls)of Nataraja (Lord Shiva); Others are in Chidambaram, Madurai, Tiruvalangadu and Kutralam.

Opening time

Morning 05.30 AM to 12.30 P.M
Evening 04.00 PM to 08.30 PM


  • Thiruvananthal Pooja – 06.30 AM
  • Vilapooja Pooja – 07.30 AM
  • Sirukala Sandhi Pooja – 08.30 AM
  • kala Sandhi Pooja – 09.30 AM
  • Uchikalam Pooja – 12.00 PM
  • Sayaratchai Pooja – 06.00 PM
  • Ardhajama Pooja – 08.30 PM


  • Navaratri
  • Tirukkalyanam in Aippasi
  • Arudra Darisanam
  • Bhrammotsavam in Aani
  • Thaipoosam Festival in Thai
  • Prathosam Pooja
  • Masi Magam
  • Thiruvathira
  • Karthigai Vazhipadu
  • Chitra Pournami
By Bus

Nelayappar Temple about 7.6km from Tirunelveli New Bus Stand. This Bus stand will connect all the places to Tirunelveli.

By Train

You can easily get regular trains to Tirunelveli from other major cities of the country.

By Air         

The nearest airport to Nelayappar Temple is Tuticorin Airport. Distance between Tirunelveli to Tuticorin Airport is 40.6 km away.

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