Tirunelveli has a population of almost 5,00,000, a literacy rate of 90% and serves as the administrative headquarters of the Tirunelveli District, the sixth largest Municipal Corporation in Tamil Nadu. The city is located on the west bank of river Thamirabarani at an elevation of about 154 feet. The official language is Tamil. Tirunelveli district has a total population of 3 million, the literacy rate is 82.5% and 47% belong to the working age population. 34 percent of the workers participate in the agriculture sector, 17 percent in the household industry and 49 percent in industry and services. In 1991, the Tirunelveli region ranked second in the number of women workers. The major agricultural produce is paddy and cotton and the local industries include cotton textiles, spinning and weaving, beedi manufacture, cement, tobacco, steel and other metals, power generation (especially wind power generation), tanneries and brick kilns. Major employers in Tirunelveli include administrative services, agricultural trading and food-processing industries, religious tourism, banking, agricultural machinery and educational services. The city is an educational hub of southern Tamil Nadu. In ancient and medieval times, Tirunelveli was a strategic point, connecting the eastern and western parts of the peninsula, as well as a trading centre. Records of sea and overland trade between 1700 and 1850 indicate close trading connections with Sri Lanka and Kerala Tirunelveli was part of the Pandya, Chera, Cholas, Nayak and Vijaynagar Kingdoms and as Tinnevelly under the British Rule. There are a number of historical buildings in the city, the most prominent amongst them being the Nellaiappar temple, around which the city has evolved over the centuries.