Tirunelveli Halwa

December 27, 2009

Tirunelveli or Nellai (as called in Tamil) is a town that is situated near to Kanyakumari/Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. This place is very famous for its Halwa – The jelly like sweet made out of wheat and ghee that almost melts in your mouth! In fact, Tirunelveli Halwa has become a brand in itself! It is easily one of the best sweets I have tasted so far.

People here say that the halwa recipe is more than hundred years old. Some say that the halwa recipe has come to the South from North India. In fact, the owner of a hugely popular stall called ‘Iruttu kadai'(Literally meaning dark shop) is a North Indian, perhaps settled here. It is also said that the halwa gets its special taste because of the water that is used to prepare the same is taken from Tamaraibharani river which runs in the place.

Iruttu Kadai in Tirunelveli
Iruttu Kadai is the most popular shop in Tirunelveli for Halwa. The opens only at 5:30 PM in the evening and remains open for a hour and a half or till all the halwa is sold out. We were lucky to get half a Kg of halwa when we went there at 7:30 PM when the shop was almost closed and only one door was open (see picture above). It seems that earlier, there were no lights in this shop and in the evenings they used a candle to run the business, and hence the name. Now there is an electrical bulb in the front of the store. It seems that the halwa bought from Iruttu Kadai doesn’t get spoilt even for 2-3 weeks. In fact, the people say that the halwa tastes better after a week! And yeah, there is not even a name board for this shop – If you see a bright flashy board in a shop called “Iruttu Kadai” you can be sure that it is not what it claims!

Santhi Sweets in Tirunelveli
Another hugely popular store that sells excellent halwa is called the “Santhi Sweets”. You need to be careful with this one – There are so many shops with the same place all over the town. But there is only one original! Above, you can see the photo of that shop located right next to St.Mary’s Medicals. The photo was taken at 11:00 PM in the night, and look at the crowd at that time! Fortunately, this shop is open almost 24 hours. People there say that the Halwa from Santhi Sweets is best consumed hot immediately or at least within a week.

Lakshmi Vilas Shop in Tirunelveli

Another less popular shop (but recommended by some local people) there is called “Lakshmi Vilas”. This shop has good milk halwa and muskoth halwa as well!

Below is the photo of the halwa from all the three shops. In my opinion, the halwa from Shanti Sweets is the best, and Iruttu Kadai halwa is a very close second! The photo of the jelly like halwa is also published below.

Halwa packets from Iruttu Kadai, Shanti Sweets and Lakshmi Vilas

Tirunelveli Halwa
Neighbouring Kanyakumari is a very popular and a must see tourist destination. Do consider going to this town from there, even if only for the halwa – It’s worth your efforts 🙂

Destination Infinity

The address of Iruttu Kadai and Santhi Sweets are given in this link.


  1. Interesting information!! will check it out if I go to Kanyakumari someday 🙂

    You should visit Kanyakumari. Vivekananda rock and Tiruvalluvar statue are quite different from the other tourist spots that we generally go to

  2. So you are in an ‘eating sweet’ spree. Iruttukkadai halwa – and article came in Vikatan.

    Good advertisements for the sweet shops!

    I was told that there was a program on the same in Sun TV as well…
    Free advertisements! The photos were included to let people see the original shops. There are so many duplicate shops with the same name in the town!!

  3. Thanks for sharing.Another place to visit during next trip.

    If you like sweets, its worth visiting

  4. Oh I had been to all these places while working there; infact my first posting soon after college ! Thanks for the pics; took me 6 years down ! Sigh ! 😦

    I too had gone there after about 4 years! There is a famous shop in Turicorin selling Macroons. Have you visited that? That one is also too good!

  5. been to kanyakumar lots of times… but never been here. good 🙂 another destination to explore! and esp for yummy halwas! yay!

    Lot’s of times? Seems like you keep travelling around for vacations! If you do go to that place, buy only from one of these shops, not from anywhere else.

  6. Mouth watering post 😀 😀 i Have eaten alwa from santhi sweets but never tasted iruttu kadai alwa 😦 as we usually go to nellai by morning…

    Irruttu kadai alwa is harder to get… it usually opens at 5:30 PM and is sold out by 7:00 PM. We went at 7:30 and got only half a kg!

  7. Puththaandu nalvaazhthukkal, Destination Infinity!

    Same to you… 🙂

  8. Now thats made my mouth water……… so much for the wonderful tastes of Tamil Nadu!

    Btw, I’m in Ooty now and will be here for a while, so if you visit here, please let me know!

    Wishing you a very happy new year!

    Let me see, if I can make it to there, we will definitely meet.

  9. Hey its really mouthwatering… Tirunelveli is always known for its halwa.. so used in many songs.. and in many dialogues..

    Being a Mumbaikar.. couldnt really njoi tis tings.. we make it a point wenever we come to tirunelveli we buy in bulk…thanks DI for reminding its been long time we have visited our Home Town !

    Cheers !!!

    So what? Enjoy the vada pav, poha and so many other specialities of Mumbai….

  10. a very happy new year wishes to you DI… 🙂 🙂

    Wishing you the same. This new year has been the most hectic one for me… hope I will be able to improve my time management…

  11. hi DI,

    happy new year first of all..

    you should not try to tempt blog viewers with such pictures of delicacies and explanation of its taste 😉
    ha ha haa..


    I am eating the Tirunelveli halwa after four long years! Hence I was not able to stop myself from photographing it! Wishing you a happy new year too…

  12. super post.. very useful for halwa fans like me

  13. But, Lakshmi Vilas is the first Halwa shop. They are only came from North India. Please correct it. Check my blog also : http://msooorya.wordpress.com

  14. dude i have eaten tht !! hahahaha!!
    It was like tasting heaven!
    i usually hate halwas,but this was something else
    One of my best friends lives there & whenever he comes back from his vacation,he usually brings a packet for me. i usually keep it in the fridge and every single day i used to eat one spoon of it till it got over!
    This was so precious to me 🙂
    Ans yes it was bought from the same ‘irrutu kada’:)

  15. Good data. I like it and appreciate your efforts. Thanks for such information.

  16. It is nice information.

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