Nagapattinam is located 320 kilometers from Chennai, the capital of Tamilnadu. Its long stretch of coastline runs along the Bay of Bengal for nearly 200 kilometers. Due to its prominence on the fisheries map Nagapattinam has one of the most thriving harbors in India. The city has some very famous temples such as Shri Kayahorana Swami, Neelayathatchi Amman, Sowriraja Perumal and Nellukkadai Mariamman. The name is derived from its ancient name 'Nagur'. It was called so because of the Nagurs, an ancient and now somewhat extinct aboriginal race that inhabited this place.
Nagapattinam is a unique town that has its own historical and cultural significance. Nagapattinam was one of the constituents of Cholamandalam, and was acclaimed as the most prominent of the then cities. The city contributed to the glory of the erstwhile Chola Kingdom. It was the Cholas who built the Nagapattinam Kayaroganam Shiva temple in the 6th century AD. Some of the famous Shivite poets such as Appar, Sambandar, and Sundarar were associated with this temple.
Nagapattinam has great significance in Buddhism as well. Nagapattinam is mentioned as Padarithitha in ancient Buddhist literature. The Pallava King Rajasimha permitted a Chinese king to build Buddha Vihar in Nagapattinam. This Buddha Vihar was known as Sudamani Vihar.
A Portuguese commercial center was established in Nagapattinam in the year 1554 and since then Christianity began to take root through Portuguese influence. The Portuguese traders took control of ten villages around the shores and built a harbor and a garrison. With the advent of Portuguese, the Velankanni Church came in to existence.
In the year 1658 the Dutch tried to evict the Portuguese from Nagapattinam in order to establish their own commercial center. This led to a bloody battle where Portuguese were routed. An agreement ensured that all the 10 villages that were in the control of the Portuguese were transferred to the Dutch. Dutch contributed a lot to the architecture of Nagapattinam. The Dutch built as many as ten Churches and a hospital. They also struck coins with the name Nagapattinam engraved in Tamil. In the year 1781 this town fell into the hands of the British after the prolonged battles. All the 277 villages along with its headquarter Nagur were handed over to the East India Company.
The town was completely devastated by the Tsunami that struck the southern hemisphere in the year 2005. Wide scale relief and restoration works by the state government ensured the restoration of many of the buildings and monuments.
Nagapattinam is carved out by bifurcating the composite Thanjavur district on 18.10.1991. Nagapattinam has other names like Naganadu, Cholakula Vallippatinam and Shiva Rajadhani. Nagapattinam was the major port of Chola dynasty.
Nagapattinam, one of the most important port-cities of Tamil Nadu was formed by carving out a portion of Thanjavur district in 1991, which has thus resulted in the region also being refereed to by the name of East Thanjavur. Nagapattinam, located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, lies between Northern Latitude 10.10’ and 11.20’ East Longitude 79.15’ and 79.50’. One of the most important cities of Tamil Nadu, a tour to Nagapattinam is a definite must-have while planning a trip to Tamil Nadu.
Nagapattinam was referred to by early writers and the Portuguese as "the city of Coromandel". Nagapattinam was one of the regions severely affected by the tsunami which followed the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
Nagapattinam is a unique pilgrim centre where the confluence of the three major religions of India (Hinduism, Islam and Christianity) takes place. Famous Christian pilgrimage centre Velankanni is located in this district. Nagore Dargah and Shani temple at Thirunallar are the Muslim and Hindu pilgrim centres respectively.
Tourists from various places come to visit Poompuhar, Dargha in Nagore near Nagapattinam, the temple of Lord Anjaneyar, shri Kayahorana Swami Neelayathatchi Amman Temple, Sowriraja Perumal Temple, and Nellukkadai Mariamman Temple and the virgin beaches.
Nagapattinam is a major tourist and pilgrimage location in the state of Tamil Nadu. Nagapattinam, the name derived from Nagur – the land of serpent gods, is credited with praise worthy cultural and historical significance. Nagapattinam once was a thriving and most prominent constituent of Cholamandalam. The glory of the Chola Kingdom had run around the importance of Nagapattinam. The 6th century Nagapattinam Kayaroganam Shiva temple was constructed by Chola Kings.
The Nagapattinam town itself has a long stretch of coastline along the banks of majestic Bay of Bengal. One of the dynamic and the best harbors in South India is located at Nagapattinam. It has a long pristine beach attracting leisure travelers. The beach is perfectly ideal for adventurous water sports and beach entertainments like beach volleyball, boating, catamaran rides and water theme parks. A min museum and a light house add the majestic view of the beach.
Nagapattinam is renowned as a pilgrim center as well with many shrines of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Nellukkadai Mariamman, Shri Kayahorana Swami, Sowriraja Perumal and Neelayathatchi Amman are few famous shrines in Nagapattinam. This town houses a salt swamp making it one of the most bio-diverse locations in India.
Nagapattinam has also made important contributions to the growth of Buddhism. Mentions of Nagapattinam can be seen in ancient Buddhist literature as Padarithitha. Sudamani Vihar, a famous Buddha Vihar was built by a Chinese king, is specimen of Buddhists’ activities in Nagapattinam.
Nearby attractions in Nagapattinam includes The 17th century Dutch fort located at Tranquebar, Valankani church, a famous basilica known as Our lady of Good Health church and Nagore, a prime Islamic religious destination with a renowned Sufi shrine and dargah. The only temple in India dedicated to Shani (Planet Saturn) is near to Nagapattinam.
Nagapattinam was an important trade centre during ancient Tamil years and particularly during the Chola Dynasty.
The town was Buddhist centre from the 8th to the 15th century. Viharas (Buddhist monasteries) built here survived till 18th century. The Buddhist literature mentions Nagapattinam as Padarithitha.
Nagapttinam was also one of the constituents of Chola mandalam, which was one of the most prominent ancient Tamil Kingdoms. The Chola Kings used the port for trade and for conquering the gateway to east. There are still ruins of the Saiva temples here built by the Cholas.
In the early 16th century, The Portuguese established a commercial centre here, but in 1658 the Dutch took over from them to develop their commercial centre at Nagapattinam. The Dutch helped in the development of the town by building churches, hospitals and even released coins with the town’s name engraved in Tamil letters. When the first Maratha king Egoji (also known as Venkaji) of Tanjore came to power, an agreement was made between the Dutch and Maratha king, where Nagapattinam and a few other surrounding villages were handed over to the Dutch for administration. In 1781 the British took over from the Dutch after a prolonged battle.
By Air: Nearest airport to Nagapattinam is at Tiruchirappali at distance of about 150 kms. It is well connected to Chennai airport by regular flights.
By Rail: Nagapattinam is well rail connected to all major cities in India through Chennai and Tiruchirapalli.
By Road: Nagapattinam is connected by buses to all the major towns and cities in Tamilnadu and also connected to cities in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Regular bus services are available to Velankanni, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Chennai, Trichy, Pondicherry, Trivandrum and Thanjavur.