Origin of Name
There are three theories as to the origin of the name:
- Thoorthu (Dig) and Kudi (Drink)- The town had no rivers and the only source of drinking water was from wells.
- "Thoortha" means land "reclaimed" from sea while "Kudi" also stands for "settlement" or "colony". Hence "Thoortha Kudi" or Thoothukudi could mean a settlement built on land reclaimed from sea.
- Finally, the Tuticorin name was used by Dutch people who were here.
Today the city is called "Tuticorin" in English and "Thoothukudi" in Tamil.
Tuticorin is traditionally known for its pearl fishery and shipbuilding. Thoothukudi became the centre of the Indian independence movement in the early 20th century, with such leaders as the poet Subramanya Bharathy, Veerapandia Kattabomman,Vellaya Thevan, and V.O. Chidambaram Pillai. In 1906, the freedom fighter V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, with the help of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, launched the first Swadeshi ship "S.S. Gaelia" from this port town in British India.
The major harbour of Tuticorin is well known as a pearl diving and fishing centre. Tuticorin, one of the oldest sea ports in the world, was the seaport of the Pandyan kingdom after Korkai and later was taken over by the Portuguese in 1548, captured by the Dutch in 1658, and ceded to the British in 1825. (Courtesy - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001). The lighthouse built in 1842 marked the beginning of the history of Thoothukudi harbour development.
Thoothukudi is in South India about 540 km south west of Madras (Chennai) and is geographically located in the Gulf of Mannar.
The district of Mannar (Bay of Bengal) lies south and southwest of the district of Tirunelveli, west and northwest of the district of Virudhunagar and north of the district of Ramanathapuram. The total area of this district is 4621 km². The administrative headquarters is an urban agglomeration and also one of the taluk headquarters within the district.
The district of Thoothukudi was carved out as a separate district in the year 1986 as a result of bifurcation of the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu State.
There are no big reservoirs in this district so the Papanasam and Manimuthar dams located in the Tirunelveli district under Tamirabarani system are the main sources of irrigation. Other than the Tamirabarani river, the river Vaipar in Vilathikulam taluk, the river Karumeni which traverses through Sathankulam, and Tiruchendur taluks are all sources. In Ottapidaram taluk there is one small reservoir at Eppodumvendran village.
The economy of Thoothukudi is based on industries, port, salt pans, and agriculture.
Thoothukudi has a host of industries including power, chemicals, fisheries and IT
Sterlite Copper Smelter, SPIC - Fertilizer Plant, Tuticorin Thermal Power Plant, Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals, Heavy Water Plant, Dharangadhara Chemical Works(DCW), Kilburn Chemicals, Madura Coats, Tuticorin Spinning Mills, Ramesh Flowers, Nila Sea Foods, Diamond Sea Foods, Salt Industries,CTPL(Coco Tufters pvt ltd), Venus Home Appliances , Hitech Flyash India (p) Ltd, and Threekay Solutions Pvt Ltd.,
Tata Steel to set up titanium dioxide project in Tuticorin. The project outlay is about Rs.2,500 crore The availability of skilled labour, an electricity generating plant, a container facility and it being a major port has made Tuticorin a major centre for industry and business. The Sethusamudram project, the airport at Vagaikulam, Koodankulam Nuclear Power plant, improved road and rail infrastructure and Nanguneri SEZ is expected to make Tuticorin an attractive choice for business investment.
On 11th July 1974, the newly-constructed Thoothukudi port was declared to be the tenth major port in India, second-largest port in Tamil Nadu and third-largest container terminal in India after JN Port (Mumbai) and Chennai. Thoothukudi is an artificial port. This is the third international port in Tamil Nadu and its second all-weather port. Due to its strategic location in the southern peninsula and assured round-the-clock operations, the port has been the nerve centre of economic activity in south Tamil Nadu. The Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, a project to create a shipping channel through the shallow Palk Strait to allow pasage of larger ships, is headquartered at the Port of Thoothukudi. The port currently handles seven per cent of the total container traffic in India and is an important reason for investment in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu.
The port is badly in need of expansion to handle the increase in traffic. The two container berths in the port are of dimension 370m length and 10.9m depth. This limits the port in competing against Colombo port, which has 15m depth. The Tuticorin Port Trust is investing $1 billion for expansion. This will be done in two phases; the first will deepen the harbour to a depth of 12.8m and the second will increase it to 14.5m. In addition to expansion of the outer harbour, proposed upgrades include construction of breakwaters and lengthening the approach channel. The port has been upgraded to handle vessels longer than 245m. The advantages of deploying bigger vessels are that the existing restriction on booking can be eliminated and the transshipment at Colombo port can be reduced. The Tuticorin port has the potential to be an international container transhipment hub given its unique geographical location. Activity at the port has grown at a rate of 17 per cent per year over the last five years. A large portion of the operations in the port has been privatized, including handling at the first container terminal by PSA Sical A second container terminal has been approved for this port. Tuticorin port is becoming a gateway for South India to the US, Europe and the Mediterranean following direct sailings to these regions. Of the total exports from the port, 25 per cent were to Europe, 20 per cent to the US, 20 per cent to East Asia including China, 15 per cent to Colombo, 10 per cent to West Asia and the remainder to the Mediterranean.
This port has been chosen to be an undersea cable landing station. The optical fibre cable will run between Mt Lavinia (Sri Lanka) and Tuticorin (325 km) with an initial bandwidth of 20 gigabits per second, later to be upgraded to 160 gigabits per second. This will promote the IT investment in South India by improved telecom infrastructure.
The port is also helping increase the tourism in the region. A new ferry has been commenced between Tuticorin and Colombo.
The district constitutes 70 per cent of the total salt production of Tamil Nadu and 30 per cent of that of India.
Paddy is cultivated in the Srivaikundam, Sattankulam and Tiruchendur taluks. Cumbu, Cholam, Kuthiraivali and other pulses are raised in the dry tracts of Kovilpatti, Vilathikulam, Ottapidaram, and Thoothukudi taluks. Cotton is cultivated in Kovilpatti, Ottapidaram and Thoothukudi taluks. Groundnut cultivation is undertaken in Kovilpatti, Tiruchendur, and Sattankulam taluks. Groundnut cake is being used as manure and cattle feed.
With 35% share, the district is the top producer of Cumbu in Tamil Nadu
Palmyrah trees are grown mostly in Tiruchendur, Srivaikundam, Sattankulam and Vilathikulam taluks. Jaggery is produced from palmyrah juice; the production of jaggery is the main occupation of the people of Tiruchendur and Sattankulam taluks. Banana and other vegetables are raised in Srivaikundam and Tiruchendur taluks. The road going towards kulayankarisal from Thiruchendur has banana farms on one side and a salt farm on the other; each farm needs a different type of water. Thoothukudi is the largest exporter of Banana in Tamilnadu.
- Airport - is at Vagaikulam [From April 1, 2006, Airdeccan started daily flights to and from Chennai]. The Airport runway is being extended to facilitate landing of large airplanes and the night landing facility will be established soon.
- Port - One among twelve major ports of India. It has one of the best container terminals in India and is operated by the Port of Singapore.
- Rail - Connected by Broad Gauge Rail [Tirunelveli, Chennai, Mysore, Bangalore, Madurai and Trivandrum]. Tuticorin City Railway Station is declared as a Model Station[ and several infrastructure developments are in process.
- Road - Connected by National Highways with Madurai and Tirunelveli. At present the three roads connecting Thoothukudi with Madurai, Tirunelveli, and Ramnad are being converted into four-lane highways.
the installation of Runway lighting system at airport has been completed on 22th feb 2008.
Schools in Thoothukudi
- APC Veerabahu Matric Higher Secondary School
- BMC Matriculation Higher Secondary School
- Caldwell Higher Secondary School
- Charles Matriculation School
- C.M. Middle School
- C.M. Higher Secondary School
- C.V. High School
- Das Navis Matha Girls Higher Secondary School
- Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Memorial Harbour Matriculation School
- Geetha Matriculation Higher Secondary School
- Harbour Higher Secondary School
- Holy Cross Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School
- Holy Cross Girls Higher Secondary School
- Eben Marticulation School
- Kamak Matriculation Higher Secondary School
- Karapettai Nadar Girls Higher Secondary School
- Karapettai Nadar Boys Higher Secondary School
- K.V.S Matriculation School
- Leo Matriculation School
- M.M. Matriculation School
- St.Lasalle Higher Secondary School
- Rosammal Memorial Higher Secondary School
- S.A.V Higher Secondary School
- Sakthi Vinayakar Hindu Vidyalaya
- S.D.A Matriculation High School
- Spic Nagar Higher Secondary School
- Star Matriculation Higher Secondary School
- St.Aloysious Girls Higher Secondary School
- St.Francis Xavier Higher Secondary School
- St.Joseph Girls Higher Secondary School
- St.Mary's Boys Higher Secondary School
- St.Marys Industrial School
- St.Thomas Matriculation Higher Secondary School
- Subbiah Vidyalayam Boys Higher Secondary School
- Subbiah Vidyalayam Girls Higher Secondary School
- Victoria Girls Higher Secondary School
- Vikasa Hr. Sec. School
- Virudhunagar Nadar Kamarajar Matriculation High School
- V.V. Higher Secondary School
- X'n matriculation School
Colleges in Thoothukudi
Arts & Science
- A.P.C. Mahalakshmi College
- Bishop Caldwell Arts and Science College
- Kamaraj College
- St.Mary's College for Women
- V.O.C. Arts & Science College
- Annammal College of Education for Women
- V.O.C. College of Education
- Holy Cross Home Science College
- Government Medical College
- Government Polytechnic College
- Samuel Polytechnic College
- Chandy Polytechnic college
- Government Industrial Training Institute
- Government Fisheries Institute
- Government Music College
- Tamilnadu Maritime Academy
The city of Tuticorin has seven local TV Channels.
All India Radio is located in Tuticorin. It provides an international broadcasting service. Some new FM radio stations are in the process of coming on-air–Suriyan FM,Hello FM by DinaThanthi group (is functioning since Oct 2007), Kal FM, Big FM .
The city has several Local TV Channels, such as Jesus, Salvation TV, AMN, Sathya, Pavalam, Kings, Karan, Abi TV.etc
Moses Jeevanandam, former student of Caldwell Higher Secondary School, represented India in basketball.
Shalini, former student of St. Mary's College, represented India in beach volleyball.
Kamaraj, former student of St. Xaviers Higher Secondary School, represented India in volleyball.
Others represented India in games including weightlifting, fencing and field hockey.
Tuticorin and its surroundings is called the nursery of volleyball.
In the 1980s, Tuticorin basketball coach Renga Chari, or "Chari", trained many basketball players in this region. Moses Jeevanandam is among them. Tuticorin
Piramanayagam, former student of St.Marys Boys hr sec school, reprensented India in kabbadi
- Veerapandiya Kattabomman was a chieftain who refused to bow down to the demands of the British for agricultural tax on native land and laid down his life for the cause of independence. The fight he launched in Panchalankurichi has been hailed as the inspiration behind the first battle of independence of 1857, which the British called the Sepoy Mutiny.
- Subramanya Bharathi poet was from Ettayapuram in the erstwhile Tirunelveli district before the Thoothukudi district was carved out. He composed poems foreseeing India's freedom, many articles on many subjects, and the unity of India in spite of its variety of languages, religion and cultures.
- V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, one of the freedom fighters of India, who in 1906 launched the first swadeshi ship S.S. Gaelia in British India.
- Chandrababu, actor.