Avudaiyarkoil Aathmanadhar Temple (Pudukottai - Tamil Nadu)

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"

It is amazing how they built this temple. 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 infact 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 in the roofs of houses in 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 Marati etc. Each of these fighters are wearing unique outfits as well, about which I would be writing a separate post. Each of these sculptures are made of 1 whole rock!!! Astonishing - isn't it? The detailing is just mind blowing. Their nails, veins are all depicted, so realistically!!!

The whole of the ceiling has Vijaya Nagara Paintings all over. At one part it was like a saree design. At another part was Lord Nataraja painted on a relief sculpture. 
At another part was this Ganda Perunda Pakshi, 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!!!
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. 
Another important relief sculpture if of a tribal man & woman. They are actually Lord Shiva & Parvati who took part in this form at the Somasimarar Holy Pyre.
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 stone sculpture, and shot it with the gun. If it was not, the gun shot would have shattered the roof. But it was, so just a couple of holes were made!!!

From there we ventured to Idumbanadu, 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!!!
Continuing with more on Pudukottai....

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: 50km via Aranthangi

6AM to 12 Noon; 4PM to 9PM

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


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. 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! :)


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