Thursday, April 14, 2011


Pudukkottai town is the headquarters of the District of the same name. Once a Princely State, the area, Which comprises the district, is of absorbing interest to historians, anthropologists, Archaeologists and lovers of art.  The numerous dolmens, stone circles and other forms of megalithic burials in the district indicate the antiquity of this region dating back to pre-historic and proto-historical times. This tract is mentioned in the Sangam classics. The archaeological and cultural remains at Kodumbalur, Narthamalai, Kudumianmalai, Kunnandarkoil, Sittannavasal, Thirumayam and Avudaiyarkovil are proof of its rich cultural heritage. The origin  of Pudukkottai as Princely State in the 17th  Century A.D. is only an aspect of the region’s colorful past.

Pudukkottai town lies on the Chennai-Rameswaram railway line. It is 395 kms from Chennai, 50 kms form Triruchirapalli and 57 kms from Thanjavur. The rulers of Pudukkottai have built several beautiful palaces and also constructed tanks and canals. The Collectorate of the  district is functioning in one of the palaces.


          The rock-cut cave temple of Sri Kokarneswarar Brahadambal at Thirukokarnam is of Mahendravarma Pallava’s Period.

          Situated at  Thirukokarnam, the museum is at a distance of 5 kms from Pudukkottai station. The rare collections in the sections of Geology, Zoology, Paintings, Anthropology, Epigraphy, Historical Records etc. are very interesting. The fine sculptures and bronzes of various periods are the attractive items of the Museum.


          This ancient abode of JAINS dating back to the 2nd Century B.C. is about 16 kms from Pudukkottai. The rock-cut cave temple with its  beautiful fresco painting in natural colors as in Ajanta, stone beds known as Eladipattam, and a cave in which the Jain Monks were said to have sought refuge in those days, are the main attractions. There are a few sculptures of Jain Theerthangaras in the Ardhamandapa and the inner shrine of the cave temple. The ceiling of Ardhamandapa contains fresco paintings of the 9th Century A.D. The cave temple excavated earlier was renovated by Ilangowthaman, a Jain monk under the auspices of the Pandya King Srimara Srivallabha of 9th Century A.D.

     It is easily approachable by  road and transport facilities are available. This centre is developed under the District Excursion Centre Project. In the area around Sittannavasal there are many pre-historic burial sites consisting of Kurangupattarai. Cairns, Burial Urns, Cists, etc.


          Kudumianmalai is 20 kms from Pudukkottai. There are beautiful sculptures and a thousand- pillar-hall in the temple. The presiding deity is Sikhagireeswarar. The  temple is noted for numerous inscriptions. Remarkable among them is the one relating to a musical treatise of the Mahednra Varma Pallvan, who experimented the Sapthaswara in a Veena called “Parivadini” with 8 strings. There is also a rock-cut cave temple called Melakkoil, which was excavated during the time of Mahendravarma Pallavan. The agricultural farm and agriculture research institute are the other interesting features of this place.


          Also known as Moovarkoil, it is 36 kms from Pudukkottai and 42 kms form Tiruchirapalli. It was formerly the seat of Irukkuvelirs., who were related to the Cholas. Of the three shrines of Moovarkoil only two exist now. These temples were built by Boodhi Vikramakesari in the 10th Century A.D. The architecture of the temple is unique among South Indian temples. The sculptures of Kalarimurthi, Gajasamharamurthi, Ardhanari, Gangadaramurthi etc., are interesting masterpieces of art. Nearby is the Muchukundewarar temple of the early Chola period.


          The temple of Lord Subramanya at this place is on a hillock and  is said to exist before 15th Century A.D. There is a peacock sanctuary. It is 30 kms from Tiruchirapalli and 40 kms from Pudukkottai. The principal idol is seated on a peacock with consorts on either side.


          It is a place of historical importance. Vijayalaya Choleeswaram, a structural stone temple. Circular in shape built by the Mutharyars. Besides the structural stone Temple built by the Mutharayars the  life size sculptures carved out of the rock during the Chola King Vijayalayan known as Vijayalaya Choleeswaram. There are also two cave temples here known as Pathinen Boomi Vinnagaram and Paliyili Eswaram. There is also another stone temple near the Kadambarmlai on the plains north of the village.


          The place is  40 kms from Pudukkottai. The Athmanathaswami temple situated here contains graceful life-size sculptures, which are of absorbing interest. The car of this temple is renowned for its wood carvings. The temple is noted for Zephyr (Granite roof) work. The sanctum sanctorum is covered with copper plate and is similar to the Chidambaram Natarajar temple.


          The place is 19 kms from Pudukkottai. The Fort, the Siva and Vishnu temples are the tourist attractions here. The fort played an important role in the history of Tondaiman rules of Pudukkottai and the British. The erection of this 40 acre-wide fort in 1687 A.D. is attributed to Sethupathi Vijaya Ragunatha Thevar, the Sethupathi of Ramanathapuram. On the hill there is a Rock Cut Siva temple with music inscription and the relics of a fort. At the foot of the hill also Vishnu and Siva shrines are found. The Vishnu temple is one of the most complete and the largest Anantasayi groups in India. It is a natural Cavern, which has been changed into a shrine.


          The place is 28 kms from Pudukkottai. To old chapel here was constructed in 1547 A.D. by Father John Venantius Bouchet and the new Roman Catholic Church was constructed in 1747 A.D. The Tamil Scholar Rev.Father Joseph Beschi (Veerama Munivar) also served in this church. The Easter Passion play followed by Car Festival, takes place in summer, which attracts people of all faiths.


          It is 10 kms from Pudukkottai. Atop a small mount is a Murugan temple. The tarn water of this  mount is considered to by holy.


          It is 30 kms from Pudukkottai. One of the Islamic Pilgrim Centers, this is located on the Thirumayam-Madurai highway. Both Hindus and Muslims visit this place. Annual “Urs” takes place in the month of Rabiyul Ahir.


          It is 40 kms from Pudukkottai, on the way of Ponnamaravathi. The Nandi known as Nei Nandi in the Arulmighu Meenakshi Chokkewarar Temple is very well known. Though made of black granite, it now shines like marble due to  frequent “abishekam” with pure ghee. Another interesting features is the absence of flies and ants in spite of the nandi being showered with pure ghee every day. A large number of devotees flock daily to this temple.


          It is 57 kms from Pudukkottai. Once the capital of the Cholas, it is known for the Brahadeeswarar Temple, built by the great Chola King:Raja Raja-1. The palace, art gallery, Saraswathimahal library. Schwrtz Church and the  Sivaganga tank are other places of interest.



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