Pudukkottai is on the Eastern coast of Tamil Nadu and has its headquarters in Pudukkotta town. The antiquity of the religion which was once a Princely state is evident in the numerous dolmens, stone circles and other forms of Megalithic burials that have been excavated which date back to Prehistoric and protohistoric times. Pudukkottai finds mention in the Sangam literature. Also proof of its rich cultural heritage are the archaeological and cultural remains at Kodumbalur, Nartamalai, Kudumiyanmalai, Kunnandavar Kovil, Sittannavasal, Tirumayam and Avudaiyar Kovil. Pudukottai emerged as a princely state in the 17th century and its rulers built several beautiful palaces and constructed Tanks and canals. The District Collectorate has its offices in one of these palaces.
The list below are the places to visit and top things to do while you go there.
Avudaiyar Kovil (40 Km)
The Athamanathaswami temple situated here has some graceful life size sculptures. There are beautiful carvings on the temple car. The zerphy work on the granite roof of the temple is particularly noteworthy.
Avur (28 Km)
The church here has a chapel which was constructed in 1547 A. D. by father Jhon Enantius bouchet, a Roman Catholic priest. A new Roman Catholic Church was also built in 1747. The Eastern Passion play followed by the car festival is the highlight of the year.
Kadayakkudi (10 Km)
There is a temple for a Lord Arulmighu Perumal here. The legend goes that an elephant caught in the jaws of a crocodile sought the help of Vishnu and he gave succor to him. The place is known thus as the site of “Gajendra Motcham”. The noteworthy hallsworth dam is also situated here.
Kodumbalur (50 Km)
Also known as Mooverkovil, this temple was built in the 10th century by Boodhi Viramkesan. There were originally three shrines of which only two exist now. The unique sculptures of this temple include Kalarimurthi, Gajasamharamurthi, Arthanari, Gangadaramurthi etc. The Muchkundeshwarar temple nearby belongs to the early Chola period.
Kudumiyanmalai (20 Km)
The presiding deity in the temple here is Sikhagireeswarar. There is a thousand pillar hall and several beautiful sculptures. Of the numerous inscriptions in the temple, there is one relating to a musical treatise of Mahendravarman Pallava who experimented with the sapthaswara in an eight stringed veena called parivadini. There is also a rock cut cave temples called Melakkoil. Other places of interest here are the Anna agricultural farm and Anna Research institute.
Kumaramalai (10 Km)
This temple dedicated to Lord Subramanya is built on a small mountain which is believed to be holy.
Kunnandavar Kovil (26 Km)
Temples hewn out of a single rock and stone chariots are found here.
Nartamalai (17 km)
The historical importance of this place lies in the earliest structural stone temple (circular in shape) built by Mudharaiyar. The other temple is the Vijayalaya Choleeswaram cave temple built by Vijayalaya Chola, the first king of later cholas. Other places of interest are the pre historic burial grounds and the Kadambarmalai temple.
Pallivasal (30 Km)
This is an Islamic pilgrim centre but Hindus too visit this place. The annual “Urs” takes place in the month of Rabiyul Ahir.
Sittannavasal (16 Km)
This ancient abode of Jains dates back to the 2nd century B.C. There is a rock cut cave temple which has some beautiful fresco painting in natural colors as in Ajanta. On the ceiling of the Arhamandapam and fresco paintings dating back to the 7th century. There is also some inscription from the 9 th and 10 th centuries. Stone beds are known as eladipattam and a cave in which the Jain monks were said to have taken refuge are also of interest. The temple itself is said to have been excavated in the 7th century.
The area around Sittannavasal has many prehistoric burial sites considering of Kurangupatarai, burial urns, cists etc.
This is another important that is located nearby.
Tirumayam (21 km)
Tirumayam has a fort and Siva and Vishnu temples. The 40 acre wide fort was constructed in 1687 by Sethupathi Vijaya Ragunatha Thevar, the Sethupathi of Ramanathapuram. On the hill there is a rock cut Siva temple with music inspiration. At the foot are shrines dedicated to the Vishnu and Siva. The Vishnu temple is the largest of the Anantasayi group in the country.
Viralimalai (42 Km)
There is a temple on a hillock dedicated to Lord Subramanya. It was constructed before the 15th century. The idol is seated on a peacock with consorts on either side. There is also a peacock sanctuary nearby.
Tirupunavasal (65 Km)
This is one of the famous Saivite religious centres mentioned in the verses of Thevaram.