Sundareswarar, Karaikudi, Sivaganga

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:SundareswararAmbal / Thayar:Meenakshi Amman
Deity:SivaHistorical name:

Age (years):


Timing:7 to 12 & 4 to 8Parikaram:

Temple group:
Sung by:

Temple set:



City / town:KaraikudiDistrict:Sivaganga
Maps from (click): Current location Karaikudi (2 km)Pudukkottai (42 km)

Madurai (92 km)Sivaganga (96 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

Located in the heart of Karaikudi is this beautiful temple for Siva and Parvati as Sundareswarar and Meenakshi Amman, which is also the largest temple in Karaikudi.

More popularly known as the Nagara Sivan temple amongst the locals, this temple does not have a specific sthala puranam. However, it is said to be steeped in history, having been originally built by Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan in the late 13th / early 14th century. (Interestingly, it is said that he was killed in the first decade of the 14th century, by his legitimate but younger son Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan III, for favouring the older but illegitimate son Jatavarman Veera Pandyan II. This led to the protracted Pandya civil war that lasted till 1323.) Very little of this original structure remains now.

The present-day structural temple was originally built in 1872, as a complete reconstruction of the temple, and several improvements have been undertaken periodically since then. All of this construction has been done by the Nagarathar community, and so the temple’s architecture is classic Chettinadu style.

The beautifully sculpted raja gopuram faces east, and a covered pathway leads to the multi-pillared maha mandapam. There is a tall dhwajasthambam, followed by bali peetham and a fairly large Nandi. To the right is the Amman shrine, and straight ahead is the garbhagriham for the moolavar. Before entering the ardha mandapam is a beautifully crafted shrine for Vinayakar as Maada Pillaiyar. Meenakshi Amman is depicted standing, with Her right hand in abhaya hastam.

The outer walls of the garbhagriham are replete with several bas relief images, including Bhairavar and Siva in Urdhva tandavam.

In the koshtams, there are shrines for the usual deities – Vinayakar, Dakshinamurti, Annamalaiyar, Brahma and Durga. The Dakshinamurti shrine is very well executed, architecturally. Adjacent to the Dakshinamurti shrine is a separate shrine for Sarabeswarar, who is worshipped with special reverence at this temple.

To the rear of the raised prakaram, are shrines for Sundara Vinayakar, Murugan, a single shrine for Durga, Gajalakshmi and Saraswati, Chandikeswarar, Siva as Kasi Viswanathar with Visalakshi Amman, Bhairavar, Suryan and Chandran. There is also a separate Navagraham shrine, and a shrine housing the Tevaram four.

The temple tank abuts the temple on the south. To the east is the famous Nootriettu Pillaiyar temple, housing 108 different murtis of Vinayakar in a single shrine.

The temple’s most interesting festival takes place on the 8th day (Ashtami) of the Tamil month of Margazhi (December-January), when Sundareswarar, Meenakshi Amman, Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, and Chandikeswarar go out in procession, blessing devotees on the way. Each of these deities has a separate chariot in which they proceed, visiting various places and temples on the way. The procession starts around 7 am, and the deities are back in the temple only in the night.

Other information for your visit


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