Avudaiyarkoil Aathmanathar Temple (Pudukottai - Tamil Nadu)

The trip to Avudaiyarkoil Aathmatha swamy temple and Irumbanadu Agastheeswarar Temple were in fact on our Day 1 itinerary of Pudukottai, following Thirumayam. Thirumayam did overshoot a bit with all the 3 different sites in it + we also stopped for a short while to participate in flag hoisting as it was the 26th of Jan, Indian Republic Day! We were in Avudaiyarkoil at 4PM after the 'Nadai Moodudhal' - afternoon closure.

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Kodungaigal கொடுங்கை

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Aayiramkal Thoon

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Sculptures

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Aayiramkal Thoon

The best way to depict the awesomeness of Avudaiyar Koil is the words in the ancient contract signed by any Vishwakarma Acharya who begins to build a temple.

"Any temple can be built with any detailing except
The Pillars of Tharamangalam
The Granite Grills of Thiruvalanjuzhi
The Tiled Terracotta Roof simulation of Avudaiyar Temple"

"தாரமங்கலம் தூண்கள், 
திருவலஞ்சுழிப் பலகணி, 
ஆவுடையார் கோயில் கொடுங்கை 
நீங்கலாகச் செய்து கொடுப்போம்"

The terracotta styled roof was everywhere. At a particular point, there were a couple of holes in it. It was made by the English during the British rule when they doubted if it was actually a stone sculpture, and shot it with the gun. If it was not, the gunshot would have shattered the roof. But it was, so just a couple of holes were made!!!
It is amazing how they built this temple. No wonder it is one of the most important temples of Tamil Nadu, one of the most important temples of Pudukottai and one of the important pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Nowhere near the locality of this temple was any granite hillock. So the granite must have been brought all the way from Pudukkottai!

Lord Shiva here is Athmanabhar and his consort here is Yogambikai. However there is no actual granite representation of Lingam or Ambal, and that is why this temple is called the Avudaiyar Koil. Avudaiyar is only the base of the Shiva Lingam!!! The Lord here is an Aroopan - Formless!!! Behind the Aavudaiyar are 3 lights depicting Sun, Moon & Fire!!! The offering to God here is cooked boiled rice!!! This temple was built in 3 different periods with the latest being about 16th C in the Nayak Period. 

As soon as we entered right atop were these Kodungaigal - Tiled Terracotta Roof simulation. The planks, the nuts, the bolts, the wooden logs, everything is sculpted of rock! A portion in fact has a very realistic depiction of a Monitor Lizard and a Monkey running around! Like how those animals would really be, playful and running around on the roofs of houses in the countryside!!!
As soon as we enter, just to the right and left are 2 pillars which together make 1000 mini pillars making this as Ayiram Kaal Mandapam
Just next to these pillars are the Akora Veerabadhrar with a Spear and 8 hands and Rana Veerabadhrar with a Knife and 10 hands to the left and right. 
Apart from these are 7 huge soldiers on horses of about 10 feet high, each styled in a different way - 1 in Tamil Style, 1 in Greek, 1 in Malayali, 1 in Marathi etc. Each of these fighters is wearing unique outfits as well, about which I would be writing a separate post. Each of these sculptures is made of 1 whole rock!!! Astonishing - isn't it? The detailing is just mind-blowing. Their nails, veins are all depicted, so realistically!!!
Another important relief sculpture if of a tribal man & woman (last pic above). They are actually Lord Shiva & Parvati who took part in this form at the Somasimarar Holy Pyre.

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Sculptures

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Sculptures

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Sculptures

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Sculptures

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Sculptures

The pillars had an assortment of several relief sculptures including Krishna Leela, Saniyai Adakkiya Anchaneya, Kannappa Nayanar, a wolf with 3 heads, single headed wolf with 3 bodies etc. 

These are all from the Avudaiyar Koil... They are horse riders... Look at each Kachcha Dhoti (Lower garment), each one is of a different design, with a different border and different belt. Not just that, they also have a different cloth on the horse too!!! Notice the modern 2-bar sandals (slipper) and fanny pack (hip pouch/bum bag)? There's a fine striped top Dhoti with an exquisite border!!!

The whole of the ceiling has Vijaya Nagara Paintings all over. At one part it was like a saree design  (left image in 3rd pic below). At another part was Lord Nataraja painted on a relief sculpture. At another part was this Ganda Perunda Pakshi, (right image in 3rd pic below) a mythological creature with 2 heads, 2 tails, and 6 elephants in its 4 wings!!! Apart from these a complete section was painted with several murals in the 19th C under Thiruvavadithurai Aatheenam. In some locations, these Vijaya Nagara paintings were done over inscriptions of the previous era!!! 

From there we ventured to Irumbanadu. The temple here Irumbanadu Arulmigu Umayambikai Sametha Kalasamhara Agastheeswarar Temple was built by Paranthaka Chola, as per the Sundara Pandyan's inscriptions. It was pretty late by the time we reached there, that's after sunset. At a secluded temple with no lighting, it was pretty difficult to enjoy the architecture & sculpture here! Hard luck!!!

Will continue with more on Pudukottai... Stay tuned.

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Sculptures

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Sculptures

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Frescoes Gandaperundam

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathaswamy Temple Sculptures

Irumbanadu Agastheeswarar Sivan Temple
Pic Credit: Siddharth Chandrasekar

Chennai to Pudukottai distance and route: 400 km via Villupuram, Trichy
How to reach Pudukottai from Chennai: Trains to Rameshwaram go via Pudukottai. Trains / Buses can be taken to Trichy and regular buses are available from Trichy.
Trichy to Pudukottai distance and route: 50 km. Regular buses are available.
Madurai to Pudukottai distance and route: 115 km via Tirupatthur
Coimbatore to Pudukottai distance and route: 300 km via Dharapuram, Dindigul

Where is Avudaiyarkoil? (On Google Maps) - Avudaiyarkoil Athmanatha Swamy Temple
Pudukottai to Avudaiyarkoil distance & route: 50 km via Aranthangi
Karaikudi to Avudaiyarkoil distance & route: 40 km via Aranthangi

Where is Irumbanadu? (On Google Maps)Kalasamhara Agastheeswarar Temple
Avudaiyarkoil to Irumbanadu distance: 10 km

6AM to 12 Noon; 4PM to 9PM

Dedicated to Prof. Swaminathan, Prof. Muthazhagan, Prof. Jambunathan, and the whole group of Tamil Heritage Trust...

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathar Temple Frescoes Pinterest Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathar Temple Kodungai Pinterest

Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathar Temple Sculptures Pinterest Avudaiyarkoil Aathmathar Temple Sculptures Pinterest 


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. Irumbanadu is how Badri has it and how I remember that place. C. Suresh www.jambudweepam.blogspot.in

    1. Thanks for spotting.. I have this tendency to mix up ra & da, like many others... :)

  2. Beautiful architecture. Nice clicks.


  3. Beautiful. Kodungaigal is amazing. Thanks.

  4. Good one. Thank you for exploring the value of Indian architechture. The temple is quite close to my native place but I have never shared its values with others like this. Now I have started sharing it.....Nice clicks

  5. more details about the temple and stories behind can be found at http://temple.dinamalar.com/en/New_en.php?id=641

    1. Thank you so much for the appreciation Balaji! :)

  6. Nice to see people travelling to temple as remote as Irumbanadu... Great work Bhushavali


Thanks for visiting...! Why not leave a comment.? And tell your friends..!!!
By commenting you accept to our GDPR Policy.