Nagapattinam is a town located in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. The town serves as the district headquarters. Located on the eastern coast of the Indian peninsula by the Bay of Bengal, the district emerged after being diverged from the Thanjavur district. The town is located at a distance of 270 km from Chennai.
The place gets its name from the two words ‘Nagar’ which is used to refer to people belonging to Sri Lanka and ‘Pattinam’ which means town. The town has been known by various other names in history. During the rule of the Cholas, the town was called Cholakula Vallipattinam. The place was referred to as Nikam by Ptolemy. The Portuguese referred to it as “The City of Coromandel”.
Nagapattinam is famous for its rich history and culture. It is also famous for its harbours which are some of the best in the country. The town also attracts several pilgrims who come to offer their prayers in the temples located here.
The Soundararaja Perumal Temple, Nellukadai Mariamman Temple, Kayarohanaswamy Temple, Arumugaswamy Temple are some of the famous temples located in the area. Vedaranyam, a neighbouring town of the district, houses the famous Vedaranyeswarar Temple. Besides the temples, the town also houses the ancient Nagore Dargha which was built in the 16th century.
Nagapattinam is also located very close to Velankanni which is famous for the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health Church. The town epitomises the unity of several religions with four major religions Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism playing a strong role in the lives of the people.
There is also a salt swamp located near Nagapattinam town which is well known for its bio diversity. Kodikkarai is a famous wildlife sanctuary close to Nagapattinam town which offers tourists with a wide variety of interesting sites. Travelling to the Town
Brief History of the Place
The history of Nagapattinam can be clearly traced back to the rule of the Chola kings. During that time, the place was a famous port and trading centre. During the 3rd century King Ashoka had ordered the construction of a Buddha Vihar in the place, and it became a famous Buddhist centre during the 5th and the 6th century.
The colonial history of the place started in the 16th century with the Portuguese establishing a trade and commercial centre in the area. They also worked with the idea of establishing missionary enterprise here. In the mid-17th century however the power was transferred to the Dutch through an agreement between them and the King of Thanjavur.
The Dutch had built several churches and a hospital in the area. It was also the capital of the Dutch Coromandel in the 1690s. The relics of Dutch invasion are prominent even today, and the Dutch Fort stands as a testimony to it. In 1781, the British took over Nagapattinam from the Dutch. During the rule of the British it was a part of the Madras Presidency and one of the major ports in the area.
Nagapattinam town can be reached via Tamil Nadu as well as Kerala. The closest airport to the town is Tiruchirappalli which is located about 141km away. Taxis are available from Tiruchirappalli to Nagapattinam.
Chennai airport is the closest International airport which connects Nagapattinam to towns and cities within and outside India. The Nagapattinam railway station, which is within the town, is connected to several towns of Tamil Nadu.
Regular buses are available to Nagapattinam from major towns and cities of Tamil Nadu as well as Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The best time of the year to visit Nagapattinam is during October to March when the climatic conditions are at its best. However, the place receives tourists almost all year round as the months of April and May are good for pilgrimage and during the monsoons in June to September the place looks remarkably fresh and beautiful.