Friday, June 17, 2011

A fairy tale town - Neyveli

We left to Neyveli from our Paati’s home (Lalgudi) after an early morning puja at Siruvacchur( our family deity temple) and a visit to Virudheeswarar temple, a huge temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on the banks of River Manimuttar in vriddhachalam.

Neyveli – 200 kms south of Chennai is the home of Neyveli Lignite Corporation - a mining and power generation industry in Cuddalore district inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru 40 years back. The thermal power generated here lights up the whole of South India.

I have written a lot about this township before and I can write some more about this well planned township where my FIL retired as chief engineer(electrical) and my husband studied in this township till he went for his engineering studies to Trichy. This 53 sqkms township is exclusively for the employees of NLC and there are no private houses here and so has a static population except for the visiting officials, relatives and friends of the employees.

Luckily my husband’s maternal uncle is the DGM here and we still have access to this place and visit this place almost once in a year since this falls on the way between Chennai and Trichy.

This is a well planned and well maintained township. The township is divided into blocks. A double road lined with trees separates the blocks. For a visitor like me each road and house looks the same, but for people like my husband who have grown here they know it by block numbers like Block 1, block 2 etc. No power cuts since they are the power generators and clean water flows in taps 24/7 without any overhead tank or underground sump.

For a nature lover, just sitting at home and watching the huge well manicured front and back lawns of each duplex house is itself a good time pass. These lawns are fringed with fruit trees like mango, gooseberry, coconut, black berry, jackfruit, cashew (both are grown abundantly in nearby Panruti), Lemon etc along with flowering plants like hibiscus, laburnum, Indian jasmine and many more ornamental plants and kitchen plants.You never feel the heat in summer @ home with lots of greenery clouding your home.

If you still want to go out and enjoy then you have two classy children’s park ‘ The silver jubilee park’ and ‘Nehru park’. These huge parks have many unique play equipments for children which I hav’nt seen in any other children’s park or for that matter even theme park.

Another attraction is the Lovely Natarajar temple which has a panchaloha idol of dancing Shiva supposed to be the biggest in Asia, It is supposed to find its place in the Guinness book of records, standing tall at 10’ and having a base of 8 feet. Anyone with a restless and disturbed mind is sure to find peace of mind in this lovely pristine temple. They have a big Dhyana mandapam (meditation hall) here. Another uniqueness of this temple is that it has a prayer box on the lines of ‘Manu’s needhi bell.

Manu Needhi chola was a chola king who was known for justice and he did not think twice before punishing his son when his son’s chariot killed a calf. His kingdom had a grievance box for his subjects under a huge bell and his name is synonymous with justice in Tamil literature. Similarly, here too devotees write their grievances in a chit and drop it into the box. The grievances and wishes are read to the God during prayers secretly by the priest in the morning and then the chits are burnt. When the wishes are fulfilled the devotees write a 'Thank you' note and drop in the drop box. A faith which many devotees believe in.

‘Villudaiyan patti’ is another temple. The idol of the temple was found during an excavation of the mines. The uniqueness of the murugan( son of lord shiva) here is that he has ‘Villu’(bow) instead of the usual vel(spear).

Many more temples, mosques and churches define the secular and multi-cultural population here.

For entertainment they have 3 theatres which may never have a ‘houseful’ board. When we went to watch the tamil movie ‘KO’ at Sri Nidhi Ratna theatre which has a seating capacity of 300. There were just around 25 people to watch the movie of which 6 were from our own family.

You will find no malls or chain outlets like Mc D or Subway, but they have a main bazaar which meets the needs and conveniences of the people. Also a 'Pay day bazaar' which pitches stalls like a 'mela' in the first fortnight of every month when every employee get their pay.

Sports lovers have a beautiful 9 hole golf course, skating rink, swimming pool, tennis court, chess academy, stadium to play cricket, volleyball, basketball etc.,

They also have an airstrip here which operated some flights. It did not bring in much revenue so it is not operational now. This now serves more as a training track for those learning 2 and 4 wheelers. Incidentally my 12 year old son learnt to drive a e-scooter BSA streak rider ( similar to scooty pep but does not require licence and registration) here this time and my 14 year old drove confidently on the broad roads here where you can never find traffic. The broad road sans potholes looks as though they are specially laid for you.

It also has its own prasar bharthi TV tower.

At night, when you drive out of the arch gate of the township through the cashew tree lined road and reach the national highway, you can find the mines at the horizon worth capturing in your camera.

The mine equipments ‘bucket wheel excavator’ and ‘spreader’ have a series of lights on them. When they excavate and send the lignite to the thermal stations through the conveyor belts the mines @ the horizon lights up against the dark sky.

An eco friendly place, where you’ll find lots of greenery, since NLC is an eco-warrior, actively involved in environmental care by afforesting the exhausted mine fields and careful waste disposal management.

Sea beach at cuddalore and Pondicherry is just an hour and half drive away.

My next post on Pondicherry.

Check pics of neyveli below( quality of some pics not good since taken from a moving vehicle)

The arch gate to enter Neyveli from National highway 45 (chennai to trichy)

The clean and peaceful Nataraja temple(you can see the idol of nataraja)

At the right side the tall tower with the bell is the replica of manu needhi mani

Roads without potholes and traffic. This almost when each house has a NLC jeep, a 4 and 2 wheeler and the township also has intra bus service.

The landing or take off area

the runway of the air strip, now used as an unofficial driving track for learners , mud mound at the far end which look like hills are the excavated mud of mines.

cashew fruit and nut

Lots of Cashew, Jackfruit, coconut and mango trees on either side of the road inside neyveli and out of the township leading to Pondicherry.

view of thermal station at night (last 2 pics courtesy: NLC india)


  1. very descriptive and informative post.....
    thnx for sharing.

  2. Wow!
    It is indeed a beautiful city especially during the night. The pictures are quite good. Your information about this place is really very good and interesting. The city looks so clean, and no traffic and pollution too. Must make it a point to visit it sometime.

  3. !!!madamgaaru..take a bowu...indru oru thagavalla podra alavuku info solreenga..kalakunga :)

  4. Loved the description. Sending requests to God was interesting:)

  5. @ irfanuddin - my pleasure.

    @ rama - thank you :) really worth visiting.

    @gils - saaray.. eppidi bowardhu.. naandhaan floor ayitenay unga commentla:)

    @chitra -- you (especially) will defintiely love the temple.

    @sm --- thank you :)

  6. very descriptive...i like it.i belong to panruti.i always like the congestion free roads of Neyveli for which panruti is notorious.i don't know about the nataraja temple.only now i do.I will go and see.
    also neyveli has a iyappan missed it.lot of my friends go there to get initiated to go to sabarimalai.that's how i came to know about it.(i never do that.. :) ).
    and it's not NH45.but NH45c which goes up to Tahnjavur.But you can go to Trichy via NH45c and then NH227....
    bye bye,......

  7. @ ramesh and Anonymous - thank you:)

  8. Landed on this space by sheer chance and delighted to see this post. The post and th photos brought back nostalgic memories. I myself am from Neyveli, did all my schooling there and my father retired from NLC as well. Although I am from an earlier era, its quite likely that we might have known of your father in law and husband. Drop me a line, if you can, at

  9. yes, neyveli is a huge ocean. will let my husband know about this and let's see if you can place each other. will write to you on your hotmail :)

  10. very useful information to me as I am in the verge of getting a posting there. I was in confusion whether to join. hope this article will help me for decision. once again thank you very much.

    1. Dont have a second thought..! you can never get a place like this..indeed a fairy tale town... :)

  11. just linked this article on my facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all.

    Duplex Houses in Chennai

  12. nice to see my hometown

  13. very nice to see about neyveli and m proud to say tats my native

  14. Good to see this write up about Neyveli where i spent my chilhood

  15. Nice post. It reminds me of my summer vacations at my grandparents place. :) When i was around 4, when i visited chidambaram natraja temple, i asked my granny where is natraja and she showed me a small idol, i was expecting a huge statue.

  16. beautiful neyveli...! :) and tats my place...yeah!


  17. lovely blog :) my search for something about my township on google landed me in this blog..well written..I would like to share it with ppl who feel bored being in neyveli, who under estimate the place.. Thank you:)

  18. My Father also retired from Neyveli as GM and I did my schooling in Cluny.. Good to know you liked our place:)

  19. So exciting to read this wonderful article about Neyveli township - Am proud to say that its my native and I lived here for 20 years. Now residing in Chennai, but still get chances to visit this holy place, as my relatives are still there. Thanks for your efforts.

  20. Wow..this is beautiful! I used to go there every summer from delhi when younger. Thank you for the musings and descriptions!!