The Pearl City of India
|State||: Tamil Nadu|
|Type of Tourism||: Beaches|
|Area||: 353.07 square kilometers|
|Population||: 436,094 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Altitude||: 4 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: October to March|
|Languages spoken||: Tamil, English|
|Telephone Code||: India (0461), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 628001|
|What to buy||: Clothes, Fashion Accessories, Books, Electronics, Jewelleries, Handicrafts, Souvenirs, etc|
|Clothing recommended||: Light Cotton in Summer, Light Woolen in Winter|
|Food Specialties||: Parotta Salna Set, Tuticorin Macaroon, Sweets, Snacks, Cookies, Cakes, Thenkuzhal, Karupatti Thenkuzhal, Vazhapazha Innipu (Banana Halwa), Dodol, Paaghu, Puttu Karupatti, Nut Bars, Deep Fried Parottas Coated With Chicken/Mutton Gravies, Paniyarams, etc|
|Local transportation||: Town Buses, Mini Buses, Auto Rickshaws, Cabs|
Tuticorin, also reckoned by the pseudonym ‘Thoothukudi’ is a municipal corporation and a port city of Thoothukudi District in the state of Tamil Nadu. Commissioning as the district headquarters, Tuticorin is also a commercial harborage and the sea toran of the state. Positioned on the south – east coast of Indian peninsula alongside the Gulf of Mannar, Tuticorin is one of the oldest and most important dockyards of India. Serving the inland southern cities of the country, this portal is also nicknamed ‘Pearl City’ (Muthu Nagaram in Tamil) owing to its prospering natural pearl fishing industry. Asserted as one of the fastest expanding sea ports of the country and proclaimed as the 10th major port of India, Tuticorin is honored to be the first Indian harbor to receive the ISO 9002 Certification. Tuticorin is an all weather port and it records about 1, 03,000 TEU of throughput per annum.
Originally denominated as ‘Thirumandhira Nagar’, the name of this city was transformed to Tuticorin by the Portuguese who could not pronounce the actual name. Tuticorin is called ‘Thoothukudi’ in Tamil. This term finds its origin from two Tamil words, Thoothu and Kudi. Thoothu means to dig and Kudi means to drink. As this interurban doesn’t have rivers, the people living there have to dig wells and fetch their drinking water. As the other interpretation goes, Thoortha means ‘the land recovered from the sea’ and Kudi stands for a colony or a human settlement. So, the combination of these two terms means a colony that is established on the land which is recovered from the sea. If you talk with the natives, they will provide you with an interesting mythological perception of the name. Lord Hanuman on his way to Lanka in the search of Devi Sita has halted at this place for a while. Hanuman was the messenger of Lord Ram. The Tamil word for messenger is ‘Thoothan’. So this location came to be known by the name ‘Thoothuvankudi’ which was later shortened to Thoothukudi.
History Of Tuticorin
On account of its agreeable geographical position, Tuticorin or Thoothukudi has been serving the country on East -West International sea route as a thriving commercial sea port since 6th century AD. Distinguished for its ship building and pearl diving enterprises today, Tuticorin was a part of the Pandyan Kingdom in 16th century AD. Extolled as a flourishing seaport even back then, Tuticorin is appraised to be one of the oldest sea trading harbors in the world. Pandyan Empire was overthrown by Portuguese who took over Tuticorin in the year 1548. Dutch vanquished Portuguese and governed this region as well as the port from the year 1658. British came next who conquered Tuticorin in 1825 AD. The new epoch of the rapid growth of this portal ushered in the years 1842 with the construction of the light house by British. In 1866 Tuticorin was raised to the status of a municipality with Roche Victoria being appointed as the first chairman of the city. Tuticorin was made a minor anchorage port in the year 1868.
20th century was the period of fighting for the Independence of the country. Tuticorin made a remarkable contribution in the struggle of Independence with Subramanya Bharathy, V.O. Chidambaram Pillai and Kattabomman being the eminent freedom fighters based from Tuticorin center. Mr. V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, a great hero of the Independence Movement launched the first Swadeshi ship ‘S.S. Gaelia’ from Tuticorin Port in the year 1906. Bal Gangadhar Tilak stood by him in this project. On 5th August 2008 Tuticorin was made a Corporation. Till 2009 Thoothukudi belonged to the Tirunelveli Lok Sabha constituency but later it was separated and made independent. Presently, the entire Thoothukudi district which includes Thoothukkudi, Tiruchendur, Sri Vaikuntam, Ottapidaram, Kovilpatti and Vilathikulam come under this Lok Sabha constituency.
Contemporary Tuticorin is a burgeoning international sea port which is popular for its outstanding industries such as STERLITE Industries India ltd, SPIC, Dharangadhara Chemical Works, Loyal Textiles Ltd., TAC, Transworld Granite Industries, Kilburn Chemicals, Madura Coats, Nila Sea Food, etc. Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) is a place that has made Tuticorin known far and wide.