3 Sep'2011: We checked out of the TTDC hotel room and went straight to Meenakshi Bhavan(College House) for breakfast of Idli/vada & coffee. Then we left for Kalayiarkovil in Sivaganga distyrict - a 2 hour drive from Madurai - 66 Km South- East of Madurai. “ Kalayiarkoil” derived its name from the Kaleeswarar temple. 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. The invading English forces plundered Kalaiarkovil and collected jewels worth 50,000 pagodas. The temple was kept locked and prayers stopped for some time. It was later re opened and substantial repairs and development were done by Devakottai Zamindar. Today this day Devakottai Zamindars continue to be the temple trustees and carry on the family tradition started by their forefathers by conducting the daily temple rituals & pujas.
A lofty Rajagopuram (150 feet) and an imposing Teppakkulam tank (with a mandapam) 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 Parvathy is called as Swarnambikai, Soundara Nayagi, Meenakshi. Stone inscriptions from the periods of Maravarman Kulasekara Pandian I, Jadavarma Sundara Pandian II, Veerapandian and Vanaathirayan are found in this temple.
This is indeed a unique temple with magnificent structures and superb sculptures: We were taken on a personal guided tour by a temple official and were therefore accorded the highest honors by the solitary temple priest who personally accompanied us to all the important sanctums. At the Swarnambigai Sannadhi he opened the Palli Arai for our viewing - it was truly a beautiful sight. Here are some memorable pics taken at the temple:
1.Swarna Kaleeswara & Someshwarar Gopurams
2.dwaja Sthambam at Swarna Kaleeswara Sannithi
3.100 pillar mandapam enroute to Ambal Sannithi
4.Dwaja Sthambam at Ambal Sannithi
5 & 6: Intricate sculptures
7.Chinna Marudu, Peria Marudu & Kizhavan Sethupati
8.Devakottao Zamindar sculpture- 1887
9.Devakottai Zamindars - Venkats forefathers
12-14: Temple elephant Swarnavalli & geese specially reared to keep away snakes from Swarnavalli