Arulmigu Nellaiappar Temple,TirunelveliThe temple of Arulmigu Swami Nellaiappar and Arultharum Kanthimathi Ambal is situated in the heart of the city. The river Tamirabharani referred to by poets as "Porunai" flows round the town. In the distant past the town was a bamboo forest; hence it was known in those days as "venuvanam". One of the famous temples in Tamil Nadu steeped in tradition and history and also known for its Musical Pillars and other Brilliant Sculptural Splendours, this is one of the largest temples in South India.
The temple complex consist of two huge temples, one for Lord Shiva (Nellaiappar temple) and the other for his consort Parvathi (Kanthimathi Ammai temple). The former temple is also called as 'Swamy Venunathar', 'Nelveli Nathar', 'Chaleevadeesar' and later by the names 'Vadivudaya Ammai' and 'Kamakottamudaya Naachiyaar'. These two temples are linked by a big terraced hall namely Sangili Mandapam that has life sized sculptures adoring the pillars. The main deity of Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple is a 'Suyambu Lingam' or a Shiva Lingam which erupted from underneath the earth.
The Nandi mandapam has a fairly big statue of Nandi (the bull God), similar to those at Tanjore and Rameswaram . The unique feature of the temple is the 'Mani manadapam' located near the nandi mandapam with two giant pillars carved out of a single stone and each one is having 48 sub pillars which produce musical notes when struck. Tamil poet says that the pillars here are a combination of the Shruti Gana Laya types. Other mandapams in the temple include Oonjal Mandapam and the 1000 pillared hall. The 1000 pillared hall is famous for the celestial wedding of Kanthimathi Ammai with Nellaiyappar which is celebrated every year in the Tamil month of Aippasi corresponding to October-November.
Car festival is the most auspicious festival of this temple that is celebrated during Aani (June- July). Temple has 5 cars for Vinayakar, Murugan, Nellaiappar, Kanthimathi, Sandikaeswarar. Weighing 400 ton and having steel wheels, Nellaiyappar car is the 3rd largest car in Tamil Nadu and is the first car to be driven fully automatically.