Set within the rugged landscapes of the Western Ghats, Nagercoil is steeped in history as part of the former Travancore Kingdom. It’s both an industrial and commercial hub in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari District and is home to various sights with religious significance.
Things to do in Nāgercoil
A highlight of any visit to Nagercoil is the Nagaraja Temple, an ancient Jain religious site that was built for the five-headed serpent deity. Today, it’s also a sacred temple for the Hindu population of Nagercoil, with a steady stream of devotees coming to pray within its fusion of Chinese and Jain architectural elements.
In the heart of Nagercoil is its iconic Clock Tower, which was presented to the Maharajah of Travancore by Reverend Duthie and stands as a vivid legacy of British colonial rule. It was built in 1893 by Hogeorf and Horesly of England, with its 60-foot-long chain and weight operated by gravity-drawn pulleys.
Want to see one of the world’s oldest churches? Visit Thiruvithamcode Arappally, also known as St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, which was built by St. Thomas the Apostle of India in 63 AD. It was designed using locally quarried stone, with exquisite Keralan woodwork decorations added in the 17th century.
Don’t miss a visit to Padmanabhapuram Palace, which was built in the mid-18th century by King Marthanda Varma. It’s set within an ancient granite fortress at the foot of the Veli Hills, with visitors welcome to wander through its courtyard and the main hall that is adorned with paintings of Travancore kings.
Getting around Nāgercoil
Nagercoil Junction is the main transport hub in the city, connecting Nagercoil to destinations across India by train. Public buses access all corners of the city, although rickshaws are an affordable and convenient means of getting around.