Srivilliputhur in Virudhanagar District, Tamil Nadu is a town with great historical and religious importance. The Gopuram of the 1200 year old Vaishnavite Temple here dedicated to Andal forms part of the seal of the Tamil Nadu Government.
Queen Mali had ruled the present areas of Srivilliputhur and Villi and Kandan were here two sons. A day both the young men went to hunt in a forest were Kandan was killed by a tiger which was not known to Villi and he was looking for him and became tired and slept. When Villi was asleep, God appeared to his dream and informed him about the fate of Kandan and told him to build a city at a certain location. Villi followed the instructions of God and built a city. The city was known as Villiputhur and later due to mark of respect a prefix of Sri was added to the name of the city and it began to be called as Srivilliputhur and sometimes as Thiruvilliputhur.
The oldest and most prominent landmark in Srivilliputhur is occupied by the Andal temple here. This temple is dedicated to Andal who is the only female Alwar of the 12 Alwars. The regions presently Srivilliputhur were ruled by Pandyas, Cholas, Vijayanagar Rulers and several other kings during various periods in history. After the deciline of the Vijayangar Kingdom, these areas were ruled by the Madurai Nayaks. This town flourished greatly during the rule of the Nayak King, Thirumalai Nayakkar who made great improvements to this town and also built a palace here where he would come to stay so that he could worship at the Andal temple here. Thirumalai Nayak ruled there areas till 1659 AD and after his death Muttu Alakadri Nayak succeeded his father Thiruamalai Nayak and ruled over these areas for only three years. His rule saw a severe famine in Tamil Nadu and a Muslim Invasion to the north of the Kingdom. Muttualakadri Nayak was succeeded by his son Chokkanatha Nayak who was an able general who was plagued by problem within his family and outside his family due to which he could not contribute more to his kingdom. Chookkanatha Nayak ruled for 20 years and was succeeded by Rani Mangammal. These areas flourised under Rani Mangamal’s rule. She was an able ruler and built infrastructre for trade like roads and markets and is also credited with builing lots of tanks to improve agriculture. After the Decline of the Nayaks from 1751 AD, Srivilliputhur came under the control of Palayarkarars who struggled for control of these areas with Nayaks, Mohammed Yusuf Khan and the British and the British finally emerged victorius and held control of Srivilliputhur till India’s Independence.
Srivilliputhur Andal Temple
The Andal Temple at Srivilliputhur is devoted to Goddess Andal who is considered to be a Saint Poet or Alwar who had married Lord Vishnu. This temple is one of the biggest Hindu Temples in the world and boasts of a Gopuram or Temple Tower with eleven levels. The Andal temple's tower is part of the symbol of the Tamil Nadu Government.
Srivilliputhur is located at 9°30'48.6"N 77°38'00.0"E or 9.513512, 77.633336. The mean elevation of Srivilliputhur is 137 meters above sea level and Periyakulam Kanmai is the major waterbody at Srivilliputhur. The climate here is a tropical dry climate and it receives most of its rain from the North East Monsoons in the month of October, November and December. The Shenbagathopu wildlife sanctuary in the western ghats are about 8 km to the west of Srivilliputhur and are a home to several rare species of wildlife including Grizzled Giant Squirrel and Indian Gaur.
The main sources of income of the people living here are tourism, agriculture and handloom weaving. Several thousand people come to Srivilliputhur to worship at the Andal temple and Vaidyanathar Temple here daily and a host of hospitality industries have developed to cater to the needs of the pilgrims. Srivilliputhur accounts for a considerable volume of milk produced in Tamil Nadu and palgova, a milk sweet made in Srivilliputhur is famous all over Tamil Nadu. The Sacred heart church (Roman Catholic Church) located in Srivilliputhur also draws about 2500 people from Srivilliputhur and surrounding villages every week.
About 90,000 people live in Srivilliputhur at present and most of them speak Tamil and following Hinduism. The ratio between the number of men and number of women living here is 1000:1015. 79% of the population living in Srivilliputhur are literate.
The prominent schoolsin Srivilliputhur providing quality education to the students here are Srivi Lions Matriculation Higher Secondary School, CMS School, Mangapuram Hindu Higher Secondary School, Thiyagaraja Higher Secondary School, Mariammankoil Hindu Elementary School, Sacred Heart Girls Higher Secondary School, Mahatma Vidyalaya, Thiyagaraja Primary School, Gurugnanasampanthar Hindu Higher Secondary School, Maharajapuram Nagammal Rasaiah Girls Higher Secondary School, Municipal T.V.K.High School, Maharishi Vidhya Mandhir, Thangasamy Nadar Ninaivu palli, Srivilliputhur Government School and St. Antony's Matriculation Higher Secondary School.
The most prominent university near Srivilliputhur is the Kalasalingam University which is one of the best universities in Tamil Nadu.
Srivilliputhur is well connected by roads to the rest of Tamil Nadu by State and National Highways. Srivilliputhur has its own railway station where several trains from Chennai, Sengottai, Nagarcoil and Manamadurai stop regularly. The nearest airport is at Madurai which is about 75 km from here.