Thursday, May 30, 2019

Iruttu Kadai Halwa: Icon of Tirunelveli

Iconic Iruttu Kadai Halwa shop of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu

Tirunelveli and Halwa go hand in hand. The dessert called Halwa is so famous here that people fondly refer to it as Tirunelveli Halwa. Such is its celebrity status that if you happen to visit this riverside city, people expect you to return with the iconic Tirunelveli Halwa. And if you don’t, they get mightily mad at you.

The question in everyone’s head is, what is so special about this Halwa and where do you find it? Some say, it is because of the sweet waters of the Thamarabharani river. Some say it is because of secret ingredients in the halwa making recipe. Whatever the reason may be, there is no doubting the legendary taste of this dark red wheat halwa that literally melts in the mouth.

Immensely popular with both locals and visitors, the best place to buy this iconic Halwa is the Iruttu Kadai (which literally means dark shop as the shop used to operate in the dark during its early days) that is located right front of the main entrance of the 7th century Nellaiappar temple, the original icon of Tirunelveli. This Iruttu Kadai Halwa shop opens every evening at around 5 to 5:30 pm and remains open till stocks last, which is usually not more than a couple of hours. People stand in line for the lip smacking halwa a few hours in advance and traffic cops are placed in front of the shop just to regulate the flow of people and traffic. That is how popular this place is.

If you end up loving this halwa like I do, do thank the ancient Halwayis of Rajasthan who brought their culinary skills and recipe to Tirunelveli district sometime in the 19th century under the instructions of a zamindar (landlord) of Chokkampatti, a nearby village.

And while you are in this part of Tirunelveli for your dose of Halwa, do pay a visit to the gorgeous Nellaiappar temple, shop at the famous clothing stores of Rmkv and Pothys and lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of this vibrant traditional market of Tirunelveli town.

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