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Kalaiyar Kovil is a place which is situated in Sivaganga Districtmarker, Tamil Nadumarker, Indiamarker which was ruled by the Maruthu Pandiyar. There is a very big Shiva temple, which they built.Kalaiyar Kovil is owned by the family of the Rajah of Sivaganga. It is run by their devasthanam, and a trust of the zamindar family of Devakottaimarker.

Kalaiyar kovil
Temple view


The holy temple Kalaiyar kovil is in Sivagangamarker District. It is 16 K.M east of Sivagangai, 30 K.M west of Devakottai on the Devakottaimarker - Manamadurai Road and 66 K.M south - east of Madurai - Tondi Road

Name cause of the temple

Kalaiyar kovil derived its name from the Kaleeswarar temple of the place. Kalaiyar is a corruption of the word Kaleeswaran. During the Sangam period, this place was known as Kaanapair as is seen from the 21st verse in the purananooru sung by Iyur moolakizhar, a poet of the Sangam period. In the 9th Century A.D. Saint Sundara moorthy nayanar described the presiding deity in his devotional songs as Kaalai. Since then the deity was known as Kalaiyar, with the Tamil sufix yar added to it denoting respect. The temple came to be known as Kalaiyar kovil and later adapted to the place also.

Temple structure

A lofty Rajagopuram (150 feet) and an imposing Teppakkulam tank (with a mandapam) named Aanai madu adorn this shrine. Airavatam the elephant of Indra is said to have created this tank. There are three shrines in this temple associated with the three functions of creation, preservation and completion. The presiding deity lord shiva is called as Kaaleeswarar, Someswarar, Sundareswarar and the Ambal his consort mother Parvathy is called as Swarnambikai, Soundara Nayagi, Meenakshi . Additional to that there are 3 separate shrines for both the male and female deities of famous Shiva temples. In a mandapam outside the shrine

Seat of kings

Kalaiyarkoil was the seat of the kings from very early days. King Vengai Marban ruled over this area during Sangam period. It was the strong hold of rulers of Sivangangai. It was also the seat of the freedom fighters like Muthu Vaduga Natha Thevar and Maruthu brothers.


On 25 June 1772, the Company forces under Col. Joseph Smitt and Cap. Bonjour marched towards Kalayar Kovil. The second king of Sivagangamarker, Muthu Vaduga Natha Thevar (1750 - 1772) and Maruthu brothers defended it bravely. Rajah Muthu Vaduganatha Thevar in anticipation of the English invasion made every possible preparation for defence. But the brave Rajah Muthu Vaduganathar with the many of his soldiers fell dead in the kalaiyarkoil battle. The invading English forces plundered Kalaiyarkoil and collected jewels worth 50,000 pagodas. Kalaiyarkoil temple belongs to Sivagangai Devasthanam.

The temple was kept locked and prayers stopped for some time. it was later re opened and substantial repairs and development were done by the nagarathars of devakottai, especially the Zamindar family. In fact Shree AL.AR.RM.Arunachalam Chettiar, zamindar of devakottai took up sanyas and moved to the vedantha madam at kalayar kovil. He was known as Shreelashree Jamindar Arunachala Gnana Desiga Swamigal and his samadhi is in the rear of the madam. Shree Zamindar swamigal, senior heir had started AL.AR.Trust to conduct daily,monthly poojas to God Sorna Kaleeswarar.This is performed continously by his eldest son AL.AR.Kalairaja Chettiar, thereafter by his grandson AL.AR.K.Veerappan Chettiar and even now subsequently by his heirs


Kaaleesar's festival is celebrated in the month of Thai where the car festival is observed during the Poosam. Someswarar's Bhrammotsavam is celebrated in the tamil month of Vaikasi. the float festival also happens then. Aadi Pooram is celebrated for Swarnavalli amman..

See also


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