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A cradle of Culture

Kallidaikurichi - Contemporary History

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Kallidaikurichi, where I live, is a small town (Latitude: 8.7 N, Longitude: 77.47 E, Altitude: MSL+75Mtrs/249Ft) on the right bank of river Thamiraparani. Aadivaraha perumal temple is the main temple of Kallidaikurichi. I will take you through a tour of South India, its present and distant past - historical and cultural aspects, taking this place, Kallidaikurichi as pivotal.

Like any Indian rural town, this town too is steeped in tradition and has a rich heritage. It is located on the right bank of river Thamiraparni, in Tirunelveli District of Tamilnadu, a southern state of  India, struggling to hold on to its past glories. Local tongue is Tamil. Here the modern co-exist peacefully with the bullock-carts and rickshaws of yester years.

This rural town  in the south Tamilnadu is located about 70 kms north of  Kanyakumari (Cape Comerin). Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai are two towns (twin towns) nearby, about 35 kms away. Indian Railways touch Kallidaikurichi. 

This place is easily reachable by road from Tirunelveli and Nagarcoil. Nearby Airports are Madurai in Tamilnadu - about 250 kms away and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) in Kerala - about 145 kms away.

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Paddy is the main crop here. Other crops are groundnut (peanuts), chilies (red pepper) and cotton, though these are seen less frequently now-a-days. Kallidaikurichi and Appalam are almost synonymous. Appalam making is a major cottage industry here and this Appalam is very famous for its quality and taste and are sent almost all over India.

Like most parts of Tamilnadu, the climate here too is rather hot, except during the rainy season of  November/December months. During summer strong gusty winds are a frequent occurrence. Utilizing this energy is the large wind energy farm at Arulwaimozhui, about 40 Kms from here,  with over 2500 of windmills generating electricity.

Kallidaikurichi, endowed with a rich heritage, is dotted with many ancient Hindu Shrines. These are of ancient temple architecture style having high-rise Gopurams (ornamental gateways of temples) with intricate sculptures, heralding the past glory of this region. Dikshitar, the Great carnatic composer, whose songs abound with geographic and iconographic references, sings of the curative properties of the river Thamiraparani. To him, The Goddess at Tirunelveli, is Hima-saila-sutaa (daughter of the mountain Hima), and also suddha Tamraparni tata sthitaa while Vishnu in Kallidaikurichi, is bhangahara Tamraparni tirastha. His beautiful composition on the Lakshmi varaha swami of Kallidaikurichi tells all these..

This place, a Brahmin stronghold of the past, was a place of learning and Music. Many scholars and musicians were born here. However, vast changes in the social structure has taken its toll.  One of the educational institutions here is established over 160 years back as George English School, renamed Thilakar Vidyalaya after independence of India. 

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The perennial river Thamiraparni flows through Kallidaikurichi. Originating from Periya Pothigai hill ranges, Papanasam hills nearby, it flows down to Bay of Bengal, after traveling for about 125 kilometers. In the hills there are many beautiful water falls - Courtallam Falls, Banatheertham Falls, Agasthiar Falls, Manimuthar Falls and a few more. All these are very enjoyable tourist spots. Bathing under these falls is very exhilarating and is considered very good for health.

Agasthiarkootam, a peak nearby, is famous for its medicinal herbs. This fag end of Western Ghats, is full of flora and fauna. Kalakkad Mundanthurai Range is a wild life park under the Project Tiger, protecting all forms of wild life in its fullness.

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