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About Karaikudi

KARAIKUDI

Karaikudi, located at 10.07°N 78.78°E (average elevation: 82 metres), in Sivagangai District, Tamil Nadu, on the Tiruchirappalli – Rameswaram Highway, derived its name from the type of houses in the area built with limestone called 'karai veedu' and also may be due to a plant called ‘Karai’ which is widely spread over this area.  As per Census of India 2011, population of Karaikudi in 2011 was 1,06,793 (male: 53,425 and female: 53,368) with an average literacy rate of 91%.

The renowned Pillaiyarpatti temple is 12 kms away from Karaikudi. The city is also known for Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple, also known as Shiva temple, which has 108 statues of Ganapathi. Sekkalai, located at the northeast of Karaikudi, was also known as Jain Kunda Puram. In the North-east of Karaikudi is Muthu Pattinam which is known for Muthu Mariamman Temple. At the centre is Kallukatti where the famous temple of Koppudaiamman is located. The river Thennar flows through the south of Karaikudi. Tamil Thai Kovil, Kamban Manimandapam, the Vallal Allagappar Statue and Memorial, Kaviarasar Kannadhasan Manimandapam and Statue are among the prominent places in Karaikudi.

Tourist Spots around Karaikudi

Pilliyarpatti: It is situated 12 kms west of Karaikudi, 8 kms east of Thiruppathur and 68 kms east of Madurai. The village derives its name, i.e., Pillaiyar village, from the temple. The presiding deity, Karpaga Pillaiyar, is 6 feet high and 5 feet wide. People from all over the world come here everyday and large number of pilgrims assemble here during the festival season. Every year during August-September the Ganesh Chathruthi festival is celebrated here with gaiety.

Kundrakudi: It is situated 10 kms west of Karaikudi, 11 kms east of Thiruppathur. In Tamil, kundram means hillock and kudi means village. Lord Subramanya, known as Shanmuganathan, with six faces facing east, is the presiding deity of the temple located on top of a hillock here. The main festivals are Visakam in May, Kiruthigai in July, Skandhashasti in November, Poosam in February and Uthiram in April.

Vairavanpatti: It is on the Karaikudi-Madurai road, about 15 kms from Karaikudi. A splendid 19th century temple tank is testimony to Dravidian architectural skills. Behind the Nagarathar choultry is the Vairava Theertham, a sacred spring said to have miraculous powers. The temple has 23 bronzes, all dating to the first renovation, and 12 vahanams. The temple also has several striking wall paintings, 37 on the Vairava Puranam and 43 on the Ramayana. There are also paintings of scenes from the Mahabharata. The main deities here are Lord Aatkondanathar and Sivapurandevi.

Chettinad-The Land of Heritage & Devotion: It is a place that enchants and enhances the soul. Chettinad is the homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars called the Nagarathars, a prosperous banking and business community. It is a tourist's paradise with a difference, and one which certainly cannot be missed by the discerning tourist. A stray thundershower adds to the charm of the place, churning up the red soil, and filling up the temple tanks. The palatial mansions, makes Chettinad a place of rare charm, and a must visit destination.

Chettinad Houses: Chettinad, rich in cultural heritage, art and architecture, is well known for its houses that are embellished with marble and Burma teak. The houses have wide inner courtyards and spacious rooms. The grandly and wonderfully embellished houses created reflect the prosperity of the Nagarathar community. The basic design comprises of a "thinnai" which is an enclosed courtyard and this is surrounded by family rooms. The walls are smooth and are made of special plaster. The plaster involves the application of the finely ground mixture of powdered shell, lime, jaggery and spices, including gallnut (myrobalan) to walls. This technique keeps the interior of the house cool during the hot and humid Indian summers and lasts a lifetime. The architectural structure of a typical Chettiar home is a study in how a human dwelling can be constructed in harmony with nature. High ceilings, airy and well ventilated, the house has one courtyard near the entrance leads to the imposing main door, usually made of wood with extraordinarily intricate carvings of mythological figures. The thinnai is a long narrow raised platform that serves as a meeting place and also as a kind of accomodation for travellers and visitors. The inner courtyard has special significance. It is lined with classically beautiful pillars made out of granite or teakwood. The courtyard serves as the venue for the many ceremonies that the community performs from births to weddings to death. Chettinad is also well known for its mouth-watering delicacies.

Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary: It is situated near Thiruppathur, about 51 kms from Madurai and 22 kms from Melur. It a natural habitat of winter migratory and residential birds and provides a safe place for roosting, breeding and feeding. There is considerable diversity in their nesting and feeding behaviour. The Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary is situated over 39.9 hectares and it covers the 3 tanks of the Vettangudi, Periyakollukudi and Chinnakollukudi villages in the area of operation.

Thirukoshtiyur: It is situated 8 kms from south of Thiruppathur and 24 kms of Sivagangai on the Thirupathur-Sivaganga Road. Thiru means sacred, koshty means assembly and ur means place i.e. place of sacred assembly. This place is famous for the Vaishnavite temple. The tower of the temple is 85 feet high, the golden kalasam 5 feet high and circumference is 6.25 feet. Though festivals take place all around the year the main festival held in May every year attracts a large number of Vaishnavite pilgrims and devotees.       

     

Idaikattur Church: It is a sacred heart shrine built fully with arts in Gothic architectural style on the model of the Rheims Cathedral in France.  All the beautiful statues here were brought from France 110 years ago. Relics of 40 saints are kept on the main altar. A historical event of appearance 9 choirs of angels and solving a great problem is believed to have happened here 110 years ago when this Church was being built. It is located 36 kms away from Madurai on the way to Rameswaram at Muthanendal.

Piranmalai: It is situated 24 kms to the north-west of Thiruppathur, 58 kms from Sivagangai and 194 kms from Rameswaram. This place is situated at the bottom of a mountain which is about 2,500 feet in height. There is a Piravar temple and Mosque of Sheik Abdullah. It is a place of pilgrimage for muslims. There are five peedas in the rock called Pandavas Theerthams. At the feet of the hill there is a fort Marudhu. It is a historic place where one of the seven vallals namely Pari who lived and ruled the area. The Pari Vizha is celebrated every year in this village.

Kalaiyarkoil: It is situated 15 kms east of Sivagangai, 30 kms west of Devakottai and 60 kms south east on the Madurai-Thondi Road. Kalaiyarkoil derived its name from the Kaleswaran temple here. Kalaiyarkoil was the stronghold of the rulers of Sivagangai with a well-built extensive fort. The temple is very large and surrounded by strong stonewalls which is about 18 feet high. The tomb of Marudhu can be seen to the east of the temple facing the old entrance. Saints Gnanasambandar, Sundarar, Appar and Arunagirinathar have visited this temple and sung in praise in their sacred poems. Every year during May-June the Vaikasi Festival during Jan-Feb and the Thaipoosam festival are celebrated here in a grand manner.

Nattarasankottai: It is situated 9 kms to the north-south of Sivagangai on the Madurai-Thondi Road. Nattarasankottai is derived from the word Nattu means country, arasan means king and kottai meaning fort. Kannudayanayaki Amman Temple, Shiva temple and Vishnu temple are located here. This place is widely famous for the tomb of Tamil poet Kambar, the author of Kamba Ramayana.

Kollangudi: It is 10 kms from east of Sivagangai on the Madurai-Thondi Road. The name is derived from Kollan in Tamil means blacksmith and kudi means village. It was the place where arms and ammunition were made for Marudhu during his stewardship of the Sivagangai kingdom. The village is now famous for the Vettududaiya Kaliamman temple.

Thayamangalam: It is situated 20 kms from Sivagangai and 20 kms from Paramakudi near llaiyankudi. In the Mariamman Temple here, grand festival is celebrated in April-May every year for 10 days.

Madapuram: It is situated in Sivaganga District 35 kms away from Sivagangai and 30 kms from Madurai. It is popular among the domestic temples dedicated to Adaikkalam Katha Ayyanar and Kaliamman. A lot of pilgrims as well as tourists visit this temple every day.

Thiruppathur: It is situated 22 kms from Karaikudi and 27 kms from Sivagangai. A temple dedicated to Thiruthallinathar and Sivakama Sundariamman here attracts lot of pilgrims as well as tourists. 

    

Thirupachethi: It is situated at Sivagangai district, 25 kms away from Sivagangai 32 kms away from Madurai. Lot of pilgrims and tourists visit the Thiru Nokkiya Azhagiya Nathar-Poongkuzhaliamman temple and worship the lingams here.

Soorakudi: It is about 10 kms from Karaikudi on the road to Kanadukathaan and the Chettinad railway station. The soorai shrub is abound here and hence the name of the village. The temple has ten vimanams and two gopurams. Its rajagopuram to the east, comprises five storeys and is richly embellished. Another striking feature of the temple is the sculptured pillars on the corridor around the shrines of the main deities. This is one of the temples of the Nagarathar clan that is held in high regard for its sculptures.


Velankudi: The last clan temple is the Velankudi temple that is located on the Karaikudi-Tiruchirappalli road, about 10 kms from Karaikudi, in an area abounding in vela trees. With just 46 pullis and a membership of less than 200 in its four villages, this is smallest temple clan among the Nagarathars. A curious feature is that their numbers have not changed for over a hundred years. The result is a temple to which scanty attention has been paid towards renovation. The last kumbhabhishekam for the temple was performed in 1937. The temple was granted to the Nagarathars in 718 A.D.

Iraniyur: About 25 kms from Karaikudi on the Pillaiyarapatti road, near Keelasivalpatti, is the Iraniyur temple. There are 50 bronzes here, a splendid Nataraja dating to the 12th -13th century period. One of the bronzes belong to the 16th century, another in a 5-metal alloy of the 17th century, a dozen from the 19th century and the rest from the 20th century. Two groups of beautiful paintings grace the Lakshmi mandapam. Opposite the Rajagopuram is one set of paintings done in the Vijayanagar style during the first renovation and another in the 1940s during the second renovation. The latter displays the Ravi Varma influence.

Mathur: The Mathur temple is a little over 5 kms from Karaikudi that can be reached not long after passing Iluppakudi. Burial urns found in the vicinity indicate that there were settlements here more than 1500 years ago. The temple is rich with sculptures, and there is a unique piece at the entrance to the mahamandapam, where the steps, the two flanking elephants and the pedestals for the two doorkeepers have all been hewn from one stone. The nearly 70-foot tall rajagopuram here has been constructed in five storeys. The vizha mandapam or the festival hall in front of the rajagopuram or the main tower, at the entrance was built in 1949 and can seat 500 persons within the hall and another 500 around it. The main deity here is Lord Ainootheswarar and his consort Periyanayaki.

 

Sight seeing places around Karaikudi
(Approximate distance from Karaikudi)

Koviloor

4 km


Tanjore

100 km


Velanganni

210 km

Kundrakudi

8 km


Trichy / Srirangam

100 km


Thirunallar

225 km

Pillaiyarpatti

10 km


Rameswaram

180 km


Kanyakumari

310 km

Nemam

12 km


Kodaikanal

180 km


Trivandrum

350 km

Madurai

85 km


Nagore

200 km


Ooty

380 km