Sunday, November 15, 2009

Karaikudi and Nearby Temples

Pillaiyarpatti KarpagaVinayagar temple -

Pillaiyarpatti is situated 12 Kms. from Karaikudi which is the prime town of Chettinadu. As there is a famous Pillaiyar temple, the village takes it name as Pillaiyarpatti. The temple is a rock cut temple and the sanctum sanctorum is inside a cave. This temple 1600 years old. This deity is believed to be the benefactor of all the business community and every one from this community apportion a small percentage of their income as their offering to this deity and they also ensure excellent maintenance and up keep of the temple through regular contributions and care. The main deity faces the North and it is considered, a worship here bestows prosperity as he is facing the direction of god of wealth Kubera hence the attraction for the business community.

The mammoth idol of Vinayagar is a bas relief, more than 6 feet in height and is in a sitting posture. The uniqueness of this deity is that it has only two hands compared to the other Vinayagar idols and the trunk is curved to the right and he is known as Valampuri Vinayagar. Another name for this deity is Karpaga Vinayagar. The Sivalingam, Tiruveesar is also a bas relief. Nine lamps always glow around the Vinayagar idol as it is believed to be representing the Navagrahas. The Lord Vinayagar looks magnificient in his golden kavacham and people flock to this temple to seek his blessings.

There is a beautiful temple tank in front of the temple and there is an entrance from the east side also. There is a small shrine outside the temple above a small rock.

Other deities of the temple are Siva, known here as Marundeshwar and his consort Vadamalar Amman. There are niches for Lingodbhavar, Dakshina moorthy, Muruga and Navagrahas. The sthala vriksham is also inside the temple. The small road leading to the temple is lined with shops selling various items related to worship, devotional books and idols of Ganesha made of granite.

The main festival in this temple is Vinayaga chathurthi and during the festival period the temple gets thronged with pilgrims. The Karthigai festival is also very important and special buses ply during these periods to help the pilgrims. On April 1 st also this temple attracts lot of crowd as that is the beginning of the financial year for the business people.

Last two pics.  Pillaiyarpatti idol , pictures courtesy Wikipedia.

Enroute to Pillayair patti from Karaikudi 3 Kms before, is a Murugan temple atop a small hillock.This place is called Kundra kudi . One has to climb a fleet of stairs cut in the rock itself to reach the temple. It would take about 10 minutes to reach the top . The temple is about 1000years old and is situated at a height of 200 feet from ground level. The famous violinist Kunnakudi Vaidya nathan hailed from this place.

Then Tirupathi- .Ariyakudi
Ariyakudi is 5 Kms. from the town of Karaikudi is famous for the Venkatchalapathi koil known here as Thiruvenkadamudayian. This temple also very old and was recently renovated. When we went there some special pooja was being conducted to the deity. This is considered to be an important abode of Lord Balaji. It is believed a worship here is equivalent to that of a worship a Lord Balaji at Tirumala and hence it called Then Tirupathi meaning Southern Tirupathi. There is a special Garuda's idol here on the Norther side of the temple known as Kalgarudan. Some pictures which I captured during my recent visit.

Vairavar Koil
Two Kms. from Pillaiyar patti ,on the way to Tirupathur there is a temple dedicated to Lord Vairavar, another incarnation of Lord Shiva. The Vairavar idol is beautiful and is always decorated with a golden kavacham which is around 1000 sovereigns, There are separate shrines for Siva known here as Varalori Nathar and and his consort known as Vadivudai Amman. This temple is small and the ceiling of the temple is painted in myriad colours. Near the entrance of this there a shrine for Vinayagar.

Tirupathur Koil
Thiruthali Nathar Koil is an ancient temple near Tirupathur bus stand. This is on Karaikudi- Madurai route in Sivaganga district. It is 12 Kms. from Pillaiyar patti.This temple is under renovation and here, there is a seperate shrine for Yoga Bhairavar. Of the 64 forms of Bairvar, Yoga Bairavar is considered to be the most important as he is the Moola Bairavar meaning he is the first. All other Bairavar's came off him. We could not approach the Amman sannidhi as it was under renovation. It is believed that sage Valmiki stayed at this place  and also took care of Sita, Rama's wife when she was banished from the kingdom. The Lord  Siva here helped his devotee to win rewards from the king by helping him by composing a poem.

A word about Chettinadu
Chettinadu is famous for Sir Raja Annamalai Chettiyar, Sir Raja Muthiah Chettiar, Dr. Alagappa Chettiar etc. who contributed to their well being of their community and founded many educational institutions like Annamalai University , Alagappa University, A.C.Tech in Karaikudi and Chennai and many schools in Chettinadu and Chennai . Even now the Chettiyars community people who do business in other parts of the country and outside India make it a regular habit to come back to their roots at regular intervals and they have built palatial buildings with best accessories imported and each house is a store house of antiques and arte facts. Most of the houses have open central courtyard with rooms arranged on all four sides. The Chettinadu cuisine is very famous , would be attractive for people who like spicy food. Chettinadu saris are also very famous and is a definite attraction for women.

How to reach Karaikudi
Can be reached from Madurai and Trichy which are at 70 Kms and 82 Kms respectively. Both the cities have airports and railway stations. Karaikudi also has a railway station.

Buses ply from all the towns in Tamil Nadu to Karaikudi and all the above temples are on regular bus routes and are easily reachable.

Karaikudi town has good number of hotels for boarding as well as lodging.


Felicity Grace Terry said...

Thanks for this post. You mentioned a poem, is it possible for you to let us know more of this? I'd be very interested to know.

Anuradha Shankar said...

Chira : your travelogues are going to be really very useful to me... i have been planning a trip to pillayar patti for ages, but still havent been able to go there... my hubby wants to stay at a chettinad house and eat authentic chettinad cuisine (only the pure veg items, of course!!!), and i want to visit all the beautiful houses and temples....lets see when the gods call us there!!

chitra said...

Hi Petty Witter,
Read this for your query.

"Once, a Pandya king of Madurai felt that his queen’s hair had some kind of natural fragrance. A doubt arose in his mind as to whether human hair could have natural fragrance, or could be rendered fragrant only through association with flowers or scents. He went to the Sangham or the Tamil Academy the next day, suspended a bag containing one thousand gold pieces and said to the poets that anyone who would write a poem clearing the doubt he entertained in his mind would get the gold pieces as a prize. Many poets composed poems but they were not able to satisfy the king.

Darumi, a Brahmin priest in the temple, was extremely poor. He requested Lord Siva thus: “O all-merciful Lord! I am very poor. I wish to marry now. Relieve me of my poverty. Help me to get these gold pieces now. I take refuge in Thee alone”. Lord Siva gave him a poem and said: “Take this poem to the Sangham. You will get the gold pieces”.

The king was immensely pleased with the song as it cleared his doubt, but the Sangham poets did not accept it. Nakirar, one of them, said that there was a flaw in the poem. The poor priest was greatly afflicted at heart. He came back to the temple, stood in front of the Lord and said: “O Lord! Why did You give me the poem which contained a flaw? Nobody will take You for the Lord. I feel very much for this”. The meaning of the poem is: “O fair-winged bee! You spend your time in gathering flower-dust. Do not speak out of love, but speak out of truth. Is there any among the flowers known to you that is more fragrant than the hair of this damsel who is most loving, is of the colour of the peacock and has beautiful rows of teeth!”

Thereupon, Lord Siva assumed the form of a poet, went to the Sangham and asked: “Which poet found out flaw in the poem?” Nakirar said: “It is I who said that there is a flaw.” Lord Siva asked: “What is the flaw?” Nakirar said: “There is no flaw in the composition of words. There is flaw in the meaning.” Lord Siva said: “May I know what defect is there in the meaning?” Nakirar said: “The hair of a damsel has no natural fragrance. It gets the fragrance from association with the flowers.” Lord Siva said: “Does the hair of Padmini also possess fragrance by association with the flowers?” Nakirar said, “Yes.” Lord Siva said: “Does the hair of celestial damsels also possess fragrance by association with the flowers?” Nakirar replied, “Yes. Their hairs become fragrant by association with Mandara flowers.” Lord Siva said: “Does the hair of Uma Devi who is on the left side of Lord Siva whom you worship possess fragrance by association with the flowers?” Nakirar replied: “Yes. Quite so.”

Lord Siva slightly opened His third eye. Nakirar said: “I am not afraid of this third eye. Even if you are Lord Siva, even if you show eyes throughout your whole body, there is flaw in this poem.” The fire from the third eye of Lord Siva fell upon Nakirar. Nakirar was not able to bear the heat. At once he jumped into the neighbouring lotus-tank to cool himself.

Then all the poets approached Lord Siva and said: “O Lord! Pardon Nakirar.” Lord Siva appeared before Nakirar. Through the grace of Lord Siva his body was rendered cool. He repented for his mistake and said: “I pointed defect even for the hairs of Uma Devi. No one but the Lord can pardon me.” He sang a song with intense devotion. Lord Siva entered the tank and brought him to the shore.

Then Nakirar and other poets gave the purse of gold to Darumi".
The above contents has been taken from internet. If you need any further explanation let me know . i will be happy to oblige.

chitra said...

Hi Anu
Very happy to see you again. There's a temple of Siva a very old one in the town itself if possible include that also in your list. By God's grace i have come closer to Pillayairpati now and I could make my trip last month.

K. Narayanan said...


Nicely written and very useful information. I was browsing for information on temples around Karaikudi and found your site. I am visiting those temples this weekend. I write a blog too on temples. Visit my site when you do have the time.

chitra said...

K. Narayanan
I am happy you have found my site useful. I will definitely visit your site too.

chitra said...

When you are visiting Karaikudi visit temple at Tirukoshtiyur, Sowmya Narayana temple and Pattamangalam Dakshina moorthy temple which are only 10 -15 kms from Tirupathur, I am yet to write on these temples though I have visited them already.

Sridharan said...

Hi Chitra
I landed on this post from one of your recent posts and was rekindled of my visit to Karaikkudi during my school days when I visited this place during Summer Holidays. My Uncle used to work there for a tenure at that time. I remember a huge temple that I visited there, it is named Koppudai Amman temple that houses a beautiful amman idol.

chitra said...

Sridharan, Planning to visit Karaikudi soon as I heard about a temple in Nemam . Also would like to visit Pillayarpatti, as I make it a point to visit the temple when I am in Karaikudi.From my place Karaikudi is only 100 Kms.

If possible I would get some nice photographs.
Shall try to go to the Amman temple which I heard recently from one of my students.thanks for the info.

ashok said...

great post..enjoyed!

chitra said...

Ashok , thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chitra,

This is Dr Swaminathan from Singapore. Can I have the Nemam temple number? this is my ID:

Jagadeesan said...

Recently I visited only the temples at Kundrakudi & Pillayarpatti eventhough I stayed for a full day at Karaikudi. I never knew there are other important temples around Karaikdi until I landed in your post. I will visit those temples when I plan my next visit. Thanks.

chitra said...

Thank you Jagadeesan. Hope you will make it next time.There are some more which I am yet to blog.

Unknown said...

Very informative . Thankyou .

Rajagopalan said...

Thanks a lot for the blog. I am in the passenger train at trichy leaving to rameshwaram via Karaikkudi. The train will reach Karaikkudi at0830. And i will see all the temples you mentiined