Chinnathurai is located on the western coast of Tamilnadu. It is one of the eight villages on the border to Kerala in Kanyakumari District. The Kerala border from the village is approximately 8 km. It is about 66 Km westwards from Kanyakumari and is located 18 Km from Marthanadam and 10 km south to Kaliyakkavilai. Both Marthandam and Kaliayakkavilai are prominent business towns in this area. It is well connected to other near towns through roadways. Arabian Sea plays with its waves on the shores of Chinnathurai’s south part. Nithiravilai, a small business town which caters its day to day needs, as northern boundary. Eraviputhanthurai and Thoothoor ( both are nearby fishing villages ) are fortifying its west and east boundaries respectively. The village is being spread across more than 1000 acres of area approximately
Chinnathurai is basically a Catholic Christian village but also is having some Hindu families, diversified like India. The village is having large Catholic Church on its centre. The Church can accommodate approximately 1200 people for a service. It has five shrines of different Saints on its various parts. There are 4 schools and one college inside the village and 2 schools outside the village which all impart education to the people of surrounding places. St. Jude’s Community Hall serves as common hall for any village or family functions adds beauty to its panoramic view. St. Jude’s Sports Club is maintaining the library which inculcates the reading habits to its youth. A small Post Office and a petrol pump which is owned by the government also cater the respective needs. Chinnathurai is a junction which connects the villages like Eraviputhenthurai, Nithiravilai and Thoothoor. And there stands on the junction itself a newly constructed Shopping complex which accommodates various businesses and Canara Bank which caters the banking needs of the village people.
The beautiful Anantha Victoria Maharani Canal ( AVM Canal ), dug by the then King Raja Marthanda Varma of Travancore Kingdom which once connected Kanyakumari to Kocin, runs through the centre divides the village by Northern Chinnathurai and Southern Chinnathurai. A bridge across this canal connects both the sides. This bridge also connects the other neighboring villages on east and west through Chinnathurai as well through roadways. The village is having more than 25 acres as vacant land inside the village apart from the beach area covered with white sand which serves as the main recreation spot and playground for its people and adds beauty to the village.
Chinnathurai as a village is on the shore of the Arabian Sea. The people live in this village are fisherman who venture into the deep sea to earn their daily livelihood. The fisher folks of this village use the innovative methods of fishing and uses modern devices like GPS, Echo sounder etc. even though they are not much educated. They travel by sea till all the borders of India for fishing. Using small mechanised boats, they stay on the sea for more than a month for fishing. Although the village is known as Christian village, some Hindu families are also in the village. Everybody in this village, be it a Christian or Hindu, are living in harmony.
India, the peninsular country is having a 7500 km long coastline. In that, Chinnathurai, a small fishing village in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu, may look like a dot, but standing tall among all other fishing villages by helping our country to earn a lot of foreign exchange. The people in the village are professionals in catching sharks and large fishes. And also now many of its own people spread across the world in different fields ranging from software to management to engineering. The literacy rate in this place is as high as 98%, which is far better than any other villages in India.
Chinnathurai is basically a fishing village right from its origin. It is one of the last eight fishing villages on the edge of Tamilnadu border off Kerala. In about 1544, the coastal villages in Travancore were facing a lot of troubles from a Muslim community called ‘Moors’. As requested by then Travancore king Raja Unni Kerala Varma, only with the help of a small Crucifix, St. Francis Xavier driven the Moors out of the country. As a gratitude for the help, the king granted permission to St. Francis Xavier to do his ministerial activity in the coastal regions of Travancore. Thus St. Francis Xavier baptized more than 40 coastal villages in Kanyakumari District at once. Chinnathurai village is also one among them. Since then, Chinnathurai, as village developed as an independent Christian Parish
Most of the socio economic activities or developments were happened in Chinnathurai for it is being located centrally in that region. In the early days of Chinnathurai as a parish was a part of Kollam Diocese. To begin with, as a parish, Chinnathurai was combined with Thoothoor and Eraviputhenthurai as one parish for administrative purpose, as Thoothoor was the only parish which had a Church among the three parishes. Although the three parishes were combined as one parish, the administrative powers were being vested with each parish committee. The head of the committee was also called “Powrikkar” or to be precisely “Power-kaarar”, which means ‘the person holds power’. Among the three above mentioned parishes, Eraviputhenthurai got separated first as it was difficult for them to go to the Church in Thoothoor, which was quite far. Being a combined parish to Thoothoor, Chinnathurai used to contribute to the expenses in the ratio of 2:3 i.e., 2/3 of the expenses were borne by Chinnathurai. This was because; the people in Chinnathurai were economically strong. To cite a note of importance, there was a kind of representative to the king of Travancore designated as ‘Naattukoothan’, means he who unites the people of a specified region, in this case, Thoothoor, Chinnathurai and Eravputhenthurai, is also from Chinnathurai. The people Chinnathurai were also trained in warfare and the king used them in naval wars. They were also guarding the sea shore and was protecting from the enemies and pirates.
Chinnathurai as an independent parish from the combined one, got separated in the early 1940s. Since then the Powrikkar and the members of the committee laid the plans for the foundation of the Church, as for any Christian village, the Church plays a vital role to unite the people. St. Jude, the Apostle of Lord Jesus, was being made as the Patron Saint. From 1950 onwards, the parish got its own Baptism records. The building work of the Church got completed in the year of 1989. Unlike other parishes which seek the help of others to complete the Church projects, the Church in Chinnathurai was built by collecting money from its own people. And that explains the generosity of the people in Chinnathurai.
The banks on the river are called Thurai in Tamil which means ‘a place where people can get closer to the shore and also can do their loading and unloading from the boats’. Though Chinnathurai is on the shore of the Arabian Sea, it has attached ‘thurai’ on its name simply because it is on the banks of Anantha Victoria Maharani canal which is shortly called as AVM canal. This canal was being dug by King Marthanda Varma to facilitate water transport and trade which originates from Kanyakumari and was well connected to the Cochin Port. Most of the names of the villages on the banks of this canal had attached the name of ‘thurai’ and these villages were the main stops while travelling on the canal. ‘Chinna’ in Chhinnathurai means ‘small’ in Tamil language. This ‘Chinna’ might have attached to Chinnathurai may be due to the river bank in Chinnathurai a smaller one.