Pillayarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar Temple - Karaikudi

Situated at Pillayarpatti in Sivagangi district near Karaikudi, the Pillayarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar Temple is among the oldest rock-cut cave temples of Tamil Nadu.

Pillayar is the Tamil name of Lord Ganesha, and that is how the town got its name Pillayar. Here Lord Vinayaga appears with two hands unlike the other images in India which has 4 hands, and the Tumbikai [Trunk] is curled to the right which again makes this image unique. In fact, Lord Vinayaga image with two hands is found only at 2 places in the world. One is this at the Pillayarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar temple and other one is found at Afghanistan, but the difference is that the later one is a standing pose of Vinayaga while the former one at Pillayarpatti is an image of Lord Vinayaga in sitting position meditating with legs folded forming an Ardha Padmasana Pose.

Pillayarpatti vinayagar History

The temple is believed to be at least 1600 years old. It consists of 14 stone inscriptions which date between 400 AD and 1238 AD. From those inscriptions it is understood that the place was called Ekkattur then. The image of Karpaga Vinayagar and that of the Shiv Linga here were carved out by a famous sculptor of that time ‘Ekkattur Koon Peruparanan’ who put his signature on the inscription which is still visible. The Tamil language he used on the inscriptions is calculated to be in use during 2nd to 5th century AD. It was this finding which concluded that the Karpaga Vinayagar Image must have been carved around 4th century AD.

Another notable work of this temple is the sculpture of Pashupatheeswarar which comprises of a cow named Kaaram Pasu which worships Shiva offering milk to the Shiv Linga beneath. There is a statue of Nataraja [Shiva as the lord of dance] holding a drum and dancing which adds more grandeur to the temple.

Other than Lord Vinayaga and Lord Shiva, there are many other shrines of various deities inside the temple. Karthiyayini Amma, the goddess who is worshipped here and visited by thousands is said to free women with “Sevvai Dosham” so that they could marry and lead a happy married life. Lord Kubera, the lord of wealth is also worshipped here at the Pillayarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar Temple.

Major Festivals

Vinayaga Chathurthi celebrated during the Avani [August-September] month every year is the most auspicious occasion in the Karpaga Vinayagar Temple. It is a 10 days grand festival, and by the 6th day onwards cultural programs are conducted to entertain the rushing crowd. Another most celebrated event of this temple is a ten day festival during the month of Vaikasi [May-June] in honor of Goddess Kongu Nachiamman. The Margazhi Thiruvathirai festival is celebrated during the Thiruvathirai month [December-January] in honor of Lord Nataraja and Goddess Sivakami.

Temple Timings

The temple is open for worship from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm, and 4:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Below is a table with various poojas conducted here and their respective timings :-

Thiruvanandal Abhishekam 06:00 am - 06:30 am Kaalasanthi Abhishekam 08:30 am - 09:30 am
Uchikalam Abhishekam 11:30 am - 12:00 pm Maalaisanthi or Sayaratsai 05:00 pm - 06:30 pm
Iruvusanthi or Arthajaman 07:45 pm - 08:30 pm

Those who want to perform Abhishekam will have to book inn advance.

How to Reach?

By Air:

The nearest airports are Trichy [73kms] and Madurai International Airport [105kms]. Flights to these airports are available from all major cities in India as well as abroad. Get down at the airport, grab a taxi or board in a government bus to the temple.

By Rail:

The railway stations which are near to the temple are Pudukkottai which is 32 kms away by road and Karaikudi Railway Station just 12 kms away by road. After reaching any of these stations grab a taxi or board in a government bus to the temple.

By Bus:

Frequent bus services are available from all the cities in Tamil Nadu as well as all over South India which passes via Pillayarpatti.