Pudukkottai District Information
Pudukkottai, the former princely state that was the first to join the Indian Union after breaking away from foreign yoke, is indeed the archaeological treasure house of Tamil Civilization. Pre historic and proto historic finds like megalithic burials, dolmens stone circles etc. in the district blaze forth the civilization of the Tamils of the past. Sangam classics mention this tract as a notable place of highly cultured elites. The rich cultural heritage of this district is also evidenced by the archaeological and cultural remains of Kodumbalur, Narthamalai, Kudumiyanmalai, Kunnandar Koil, Sittanna Vasal, Thirumayam and Avudayar Koil. Its emergence as a princely state occurred in the 17th century and even before that, from time immemorial, it has been a centre of culture, civilization, art, architecture, fine arts and polity. It is therefore no wonder that historians, anthropologists, archeologists and lovers of art have an absorbing interest in Pudukkottai.
This town lies on Chennai-Rameswaram line, 390km away from Chennai, 53km from Thiruchirappalli and 57km from Thanjavur. The rulers of PUdukkottai have left historical landmarks like buildings, temples, tanks, canals, forts and palaces.
Pudukottai is about 53km from Tiruchirapalli, Pudukottai on the eastern route from Trichy to Madurai is now a district headquarters. It was once a princely state, the antiquity of which dates back to prehistoric times. Sangam classics mention this tract as a notable place of highly cultured elites. The archaeological and cultural remains at Kodumbalur, Nartamalai, Sithannavasal, Tirumayam and Avadaiyar stand testimony to its rich cultural heritage.
17km from Pudukottai, Nartamalai was the seat of Mutharaiyar was the seat of Mutharaiyar chieftains. It has some of the oldest structural stone temples built by them. The Vijayalaya Choleswaram Temple and the Kadambar Malai Temple are worth visiting. The carved figures of dancers, the elegant dwarpals, and figures of other deities reflect the artistic greatness of Chola period.
Pudukkottai Tour Information
Sri Kokarneswar Temple
This temples of Pallava period is a rock-cut cave temple of Mahendravarma Pallava. The presiding deity is Kokarneswarar and His consort Brahadambal. Some later additions have also been made. The idols of Ganesa, Gangadhara, Saptha Kannikas are artistic creations of perennial value. An image of the saint Sadasiva Brahmendra is seen at the foot of a Bikula tree. The deity is the family deity of the Raja and in reverence of Brahadambal, coins called 'Amman Kasu' were released by the king. The place is called Thirukkokarnam and is about 5 km from railway station.
It is also located in Thriukkokarnam. It contains a wide range of collections in the sections of Geology, Zoology, Paintings, Anthropology, Epigraph, Historical records etc. Which are very interesting? Fine sculptures and bronzes of various periods exhibited here are the main attraction. Places of tourist interest around Pudukkottai
Sittannavasal is about 16km from Pudukkottai is this ancient abode of Jains dating back to the 2nd century BC. The main attractions are the rock cut cave temple with its beautiful paintings in natural colors akin to the ones at Ajanta and stone beds called Eladipattaman and a cave where the Jain monks sought refuge in those days. An Ardha Mandapam and inner shrines of the cave temple contain images of Jain Tirtankaras in the niches. But the ceilings and walls contain frescoes that resemble Ajanta paintings. Though partially damaged they are quite absorbing. Flowers, calves, elephants, geese all executed in inimitable poses and all relate to the Jains. They were believed to be a Pallava creation, but later discovery of inscriptions proved it to be the work of Pandyas.
As this place has been developed under the District Excursion Project, it is easily approachable by road and frequent bus services are available. In places around Sittannavasal, there can be sighted many pre-historic burial sites consisting of Kuranguppattarai, cairns, burial urns, cists etc.
The beautiful fresco paintings reminiscent of Ajanta decorate the walls. These include pictures of animals, fish, ducks, and people gathering lotuses from a pond, typical of the 9-century Pandyan period. Around Sithannavasal, there aremany prehistoric burial sites and among the relics unearthed are urns, cists and coins etc.
Kudumiyanmalai is about 20km from Pudukkottai. There are exquisite sculptures and a 1000 pillared hall in the temple of Sikharagireeswarar. Inscriptions abound in this temple and the quite interesting one is that of Mahendra Varma Pallavan who has actually made a treatise o music here especially on the seven notes called Saptha Swara. He is a versatile man and calls himself 'Vichitra Chittan', 'Chitthirakkarappuli' (Man of Wonderful Mind and adept Painter). He has also done research in music especially on the saptha swaras in a veena called 'Parvadhini' with 8 strings. There is also a rock-cut temple above called 'Melakkoil' which too was scooped by Mahendra Varma Pallavan. The Anna Agricultural Farm and Agricultural Research Institute located here indicated that even today the place is not bereft of research the former was a cultural research though the present one is on agriculture.
Kodumbalur is about 36km from Pudukkottai, this place is also known as Moovar Koil, Irukku Velirs, an illustrious warrior clan related to the Cholas once ruled over this place. Of the Moovar Koil (Three temples) only two exist now. They were built by Boodhi Vikrama Kesari, a general of the Chola army in the 10th century AD. One of the Irukku Velirs who ruled this place, named Idangazhi Nayanar is included in the canons of the 63 Nayanmars. This place was also a stage of fierce battles between the Pandyas and Pallavas. The architecture of this temple is unique among the temples of south India. The sculptures of Kalarimurthi, Gaja (Elephant) Samharamurthi, Gangadaramurthi etc. are unique masterpieces. Nearby is the temple dedicated to Muchukun deswarar of the early Chola period.
The temple of Lord Muruga is built here on a hillock. It has been existing from the 15th century. The presiding deity is seated on a peacock mount with His two consorts Valli and Deivayanai. There is also a peacock sanctuary. It is 30km from Trichy and 4okm from Pudukkottai.
Narthamalai is 17km from Pudukkotai. It contains several Jain monasteries on thehill sides. Rare medicinal paints and herbs such as black gooseberry (Karunelli), Jathitree etc. could be seen in the forest. This is also a place of historical importance and the capital of Mutharaiyar chieftains who had an upper hand in the polity of Tamil Nadu before the rise of later Chola. The earliest structural stone temple, circular in shape built by Mutharaiyars, the Vijayalaya Choleswaram cave temple built by Vijayalaya the first king of the later Cholas and Kadambar Malai temple are worth a visit in this place.
Thirumayam is 19km from Pudukkottai. The fort, the Siva and the Vishnu temples are the tourist attractions here. The fort played an important role in the history of Tondaiman rulers of Pudukkottai and the British. This 40 acre wide fort was built by Vijaya Ragunatha Sethupathi of Ramanathapuram in 1687AD. On the hill, there is a rock-cut Siva temple with inscriptions on music. There are the relics of another fort. At the foot of the hill are the Siva and Vishnu temples. The Vishnu temple houses the largest Anantasayi in India. It is a natural cavern which has been changed into a shrine. It was in this fort that the brother of Kattabomman, Oomaithurai was ensnared and imprisoned. An old chain armour used by him is exhibited here. Tirumayam is the site of an old fort called Oomaiyan Kottai. Built by King Sethupathi of Ramanathapuram in 1687, British used it to imprison the captured rebels. Atop the hill are cave temples dedicated to Satyagireeswarar (Shiva) and Vishnu Sathyamoorthy (Vishnu) built side by side. The Shiva Temple has some inscriptions of music. The Vishnu Temple houses the largest Anantasyi (Lord represented in a reclining posture) from of Vishnu in India.
Avadayar Koil is 40km from Pudukkottai. It is also called Thiruperunthurai. The presiding deity is Atmanatha. This temple is unique in many ways. There is no Lingam in the sanctum, only the Avudayar or its bottom pedestal in worshipped. Even the Goddess is not displayed by any for. No Neivedyam of food is offered to the deity. Even Nandhi the mount of Siva usually in front of the deity is absent. There is deep spiritual significance in the initial stage. As the devotee and his devotion mature he has to realize the absolute truth as formless. Simply to illustrate this, this temple has been modeled like this on monistic principles. This is the only Saivaite shrine in the whole of India to portray the supreme truth symbolically. Since the soul (Atma) has no form, the deity is called Atmanathar. This temple is supposed to have been built by Manicka vasagar, one of the 63 Saivaite saints who spent all the money he got for purchasing horses for the Pandya king in building this temple. As he ws bereft of money, God played one of His Thiruvilaiyadal by transforming foxes into horses and once they were entrusted to the king, they were reconverted into foxes again. Many legends vividly describe this.
Besides the legendary spiritual fascination, the temple is also unique and unrivalled from the sculptural point of view. The temple is noted for its zephyr (granite roof) work. The ceiling of the Kanaka Sabhai is a grandeur creation in stone the rope, rafters and nails are all in granite. The wielding muruga, Kali and Siva's Rudra Thandavam are the specimens in sculptural art.
Avur is about 28km from Pudukkotai lies this place famous for churches. The old chapel was constructed in 1547AD by Fr. John Venatius Bachet and the new Roman Catholic Church was built in 1747AD. The renowned Tamil scholar Rev. Father Joseph Beschi (Veeramamunivar) also served in this church. The Easter passion play followed by car festival in summer attracts people of all faiths.
Kumaramalai is about 10km from Pudukkottai is located a temple for Lord Muruga at a small hill. Kumaran is another name for Lord Muruga, hence the name Kumaramalai. The tank water of this hill is considered to be holy.
Kattubava Pallivasal 30km from Pudukkottai is this important Islamic pilgrim centre. Located on the Thirumayam-Madurai highway, it is visited by devotees of all faiths. The annual 'Urs' occurs in the month of Rabiyul Ahir.
Vendanpatti is 40km from Pudukkottai on the way to Ponnamaravathi. The Nandhi known as Nei Nandhi (Ghee Bull) in the Meenakshi Chokkeswarar temple is very famous. Though made of black granite, it shines like marble due to frequent ablutions with pure ghee. One more astonishing feature is the absence of flies and ants despite the Nandhi being showered with pure ghee daily. Every day large number of devotes visit this temple.
Aranthangi is the second largest city in Pudukkottai. There is a ruined fort here that attracts people, the walls of which are not constructed with bricks or stones. Large interstices are filled with mud. Inside the fort, there are no ruins of palaces or any striking building. The date of the fort is not known. But a line of Tondaimans who had no connections with those of Pudukkottai were in power during the 16 and 17th centuries. They are believed to have constructed it. There is also a eleventh century AD temple built by Rajendra Chola Varman.
With this we have covered all the important places for tourists in mid-east Tamil Nadu and we now move to the mid-west part of Tamil Nadu which contains Salem, Dharmapuri, Erode, Coimbatore and Nilgiri districts.
Athmanathaswamy Temple ia about 40km from Pudukkottai, the 10-century Athmanathaswamy Temple in Avadiyarkovil is the only Saiviate shrine in India to portray the supreme truth symbolically like the one at Chidambaram. There is no lingam in the sanctum and the deity is formless, the atma (soul) covered with copper plate. The temple is unique and is noted for its zephyr (granite roof) work. The graceful bow wielding Lord Muruga, Goddess Kali and Shiva's cosmic dance are the finest sculptural specimens.
How to get there
Nearest airport Trichy 53km from where flights are available to Chennai, Sri Lanka, Sharjah and Kuwait.
Chennai -Rameswaram Railway line will take you to Chennai, Trichy, Thanjavur, Madurai and Rameswaram.
It is well connected to Chennai, Thanjavur, Trichy, Madurai and Rameswaram By road, Town buses are available to all tourist centres in and around Pudukkottai. Besides, taxi, private vehicles and contract carriages are also available.
Pudukkottai Distance Guide
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