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Location in Tamil Nadu, India
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Megnanapuram (India)
Coordinates: 8°28′N77°59′E / 8.467°N 77.983°E / 8.467; 77.983 Coordinates: 8°28′N77°59′E / 8.467°N 77.983°E / 8.467; 77.983
CountryFlag of India.svg  India
State Tamil Nadu
District Thoothukudi
  Official Tamil
Time zone UTC+5:30 (IST)
Vehicle registration TN-92,TN - 69
Nearest cityTiruchendur
Lok Sabha constituencyThoothukudi
Avg. summer temperature41 °C (106 °F)
Avg. winter temperature28 °C (82 °F)

Megnanapuram (Neduvilai) lies in the southern side of Thoothukudi district, at about 10 km east of Sattankulam and 11 km south of Nazareth. It is also known as Meignanapuram. Udangudi is the nearest town. The nearest railway is Nazareth Railway Station. It is served by Tuticorin Airport. By road, it is accessible from Tirunelveli (41 km north-west), Tuticorin and Nagercoil.


One of the stateliest churches in the whole of India is St. Paul's church. Meignanapuram is a village which came under the influence of Rev. C. T. E. Rhenius. On 7 March 1830, Rhenius changed the name of the village "Neduvilai" into "Meignanapuram" (True Wisdom). Rev. John Thomas took the village to his heart and designed the church, [1] which is a must for any visitor to Tirunelveli. The imposing steeple, 192 ft high, was added in 1868, the coping stone being fixed by Lord Napier. Rev. John Thomas was buried in a corner of the church. Every year, in the month of January's last Thursday, the ASANA PANDIGAI is celebrated. The Village people celebrate the Church Festival in the memory of Desible St. Pauls. At this time, relatives of the villagers and visitors attend this, once exceeding one lakh people. Mass amounts of food is prepared and served at the time. It is very famous in Thoothukudi dist . The village is currently headed by Mr.S.Jeyabose Thanaraj who is one of the most amazing leaders the village has ever seen. Under his leadership, the Rev.Rhenius Chapel which is located in Elliott Tuxford Girls Hr.Sec. School was renovated in 2019. This renovation helped the chapel reflect the English age old beauty along with a new age touch. Glory be to God.


The climate is very pleasant in rainy and winter season (September–January),and very hot in summer. As it is only 5 km away from the Bay of Mannar a pleasant wind blows in the evening all around the year.


Agriculture is the major source of livelihood for the people here. The west ayacut irrigation (sadaneri kalvai) is the only source of irrigation. Lake Sadaneri is always dry because the farmers of 'semmerikulam' are not allowing the water in the canal as it will immerse their 'illegal' cultivation in 'Padugai'. The failure of monsoon over the years made the people to migrate to town for grocery business. As education is very accessible, the young generation got good job all over the world. The profession of 'cooking' is very famous and they travel to Chennai and Coimbatore for preparing mouth watering delicious food in churches. The New generations teaching and uniform government post knowledge good English.

History of village and church

One of the Stateliest churches in the whole of India is St.Paul's church, Megnanapuram- a village which came under the influence of Rev. RHENIUS at first. In 1830 march 7th (07.03.1830) Rev. RHENIUS changed name of the village “NEDUVILAI” in to ‘ MEGNANAPURAM”(True Wisdom). Rev.JOHN THOMAS who landed here in 1837 took the village to his heart, designed and built the magnificent church which is a ‘must’ for any visitor to tirunelveli. The imposing steeple 192 ft high was added in 1868,the coping stone being fixed by Lord Napier. In a corner of the Church has been buried Rev.JOHN THOMAS.

Rev.John Thomas John Thomas was born in Wales in 1807. He was at the C.M. College, Islington, 1833–35 ; was ordained deacon by the Bishop of London in 1835, and priest in 1836 by the Bishop of Gloucester, and went at once to Tinnevelly, where he was stationed at Mengnanapuram. He was a deeply religious man with several accomplishments and a great power of organization. Like so many of his countrymen he was a skilled musician with an attractive singing voice. He had a good working knowledge of architecture and a remarkable taste in designing and town planning. In course of time he laid out a new village with broad streets, overcame some sanitary difficulties, erected schools and a Church of real magnificence, whose tower was and is a landmark for travelers for many miles. He visited the villages round and did similar things on a smaller scale for them. The story of these great undertakings is written in the C.M.S. Reports of the period. It is also referred to in terms of admiration by Bishops Spencer of Madras and Cotton of Calcutta in their published works. He was a very able, talented and remarkable leader. He died at Megananapuram in 1870 after 34 years’ service. His widow and unmarried daughter survived him and carried on mission work as managers of the Elliot-Tuxford Girls’ school for many years. His other daughter married a C.M.S. missionary Ashton Dibb ; one son followed in his steps as a missionary, Ashton Dibb ; one son followed in his steps as a missionary ; and two others were in the service of the Madras Government. The missionary cause prospered greatly under his able guidance.


Although people play all games Kabaddi and volleyball are very famous. Meignanapuram has generated lot of national Kabaddi players. John Thomas club it was founded Mr. Thoeogaraj he was a real hero in this village. He is one of the Administrators in the village for all the functions like asanam Christmas kabaddi tournaments. He sacrificed his life to the village youngsters; many of them got jobs in sports quota. This club has participated in various tournaments in and around the village and won many prizes. Meignanapuram has given international players to the world.[ citation needed ]

Also in 2016 Walsh Sports Club founded by Joseph Raj and his classmates in Ambrose school and friends help to build a real club, they are in growing stages.

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  1. Susan Billington Harper, In the shadow of the Mahatma: Bishop V.S.Azariah and the travails of Christianity in British India (WM.Erdmans publishing company, 1999) page 17