Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Somasundarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Soundara Nayaki|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Kallal||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (20 km)||Pudukkottai (56 km)|
|Madurai (76 km)||Sivaganga (79 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This temple is located about 18 km from Karaikudi. Coming in from Karaikudi, one is met by a huge stucco image of Siva seated in meditation, which serves as the northern entrance arch for the temple.
The protagonist of this temple’s history is a person who came to be known as Koil Ayya. In the year 1800, one Vellayappan Ayya – a local resident – had a dream in which Lord Siva appeared and informed him that He was present in Ayya’s garden, and it was His wish that Ayya built a temple with that Lingam. Initially, Ayya could not figure out what this meant, but a few days later, when walking in his garden, he found a Siva Lingam there. Recalling the dream, Ayya immediately had the buried Lingam excavated, and over time, built a temple with it as the moolavar Lingam. Because of this, Vellayappan Ayya came to be fondly called Koil Ayya by the locals.
The temple had its ashtabandhana kumbhabhishekam in October 2021, which was just a couple of months before we visited this temple. This perhaps explains the clean and neat look of the temple in the pictures!
Interestingly, the Murugan vigraham here is said to have been found in the temple’s tank – the Chandra Pushkarini – during cleaning and dredging that was done several years ago.
This is one of the many temples administered by the Nagarathar community. I understand that even today, the family of Ayya are the ones who maintain this temple.
Upon entering the temple, there is a short corridor with elevated platforms on either side. Beyond this are the dhwajasthambam and bali peetham, followed by Nandi. The maha mandapam follows, at an elevation of a few steps. The entire mandapam as also the corridors, are supported by ornate pillars with beautiful carvings and sculptures derived from the puranams. The architecture here, though contemporary (in relative terms) is tastefully done.
The upper part of the structure, as well as the ceiling, is painted with vibrant vegetable dye paints, and presents a pleasing sight. In the middle of the maha mandapam are old-time chandeliers that have come to typify most Nagarathar temples.
Straight ahead is the garbhagriham housing the moolavar, whose entrance is guarded by Vinayakar and Murugan. To the right is the south-facing shrine for Soundara Nayaki Amman. In the koshtams, one can find the usual Nardhana Vinayakar, Dakshinamurti (in a separate shrine, which is a common feature of temples in this region), Lingodhbhavar, Brahma and Durga.
On the southern side of the prakaram is a row dedicated to the 63 Nayanmars, while on the western side, are sannidhis for parivara deites – Vinayakar, Kasi Viswanathar and Visalakshi, Murugan, and Mahalakshmi. On the northern side are Chandikeswarar, Bhairavar, Chandran and Suryan, and a separate Navagraham shrine.
To the south of the temple is a vast tank that serves as the temple’s Teertham.
Other information for your visit
To the west of the temple premises, across the road, is a temple for Vishnu as Ranganatha Perumal.
Please do read this Overview on Nagarathar heritage and temples, in connection with temples in the Chettinadu region.