Tirunelveli is a mystical city owing to numerous legends associated with it through the Indian history. And even the halwa is hallowed in the world outside, where the very mention of the city is almost always followed by its signature sweet (Tirunelveli Halwa).
Normally kids do not visit temples and it will be really hard to pull them into the temple when you have diverting attractions around it. But when I was a kid, I enjoyed each and every minute inside the Nellaiappar temple. The Amusements begins with the Welcoming little elephant. The Temple represents a marvelous architecture featuring musical pillars and lively wooden/Stone sculpting. The Musical Pillars in the Mani Mandapam produce sound in various pitches when struck.
There is a story behind the name of the town Tirunelveli.
Once there was a poor Brahmin in this town named Veda Sharma who was a great Lord Shiva devotee. Every day he used to go out begging and the alms gathered will be used for offering food to the Lord. One day, the Brahmin was drying the paddy which he had collected for offering to Lord Shiva. Suddenly, it rained and Veda Sharma feared that all the paddy might be washed away due to heavy rains. He became much worried and prayed for help to the Lord.
Lord Shiva took pity on him and protected the paddy from the rain by covering it and standing around it like a fence. So the name of the place is derived as Tiru Nel Veli (Tiru – means beautiful/Respectful, Nel – means paddy and Veli – means fence). The name of the Lord Shiva in this temple is Nellaiappar.
There is also an interesting legend that there exists a tunnel behind the Ravana sculpture in the temple corridor that connects Tirunelveli and Madurai. This tunnel was supposed to have been used by the Pandya kings and their spies on secret missions. After reading a pile of thrillers and adventure novels, I always wanted to check where the tunnel ends. But Mystery is still a Furtive.
Because Every Tag tells a story….