Deserted Jain Sculptures (Pudukottai - Tamil Nadu)

History was standing everywhere in Pudukottai. Historically it had been a huge Jain area with Jain sculptures, Jain Monuments and Jain Beds in caverns everywhere. 
Proof of this Jain inhabitance is here ever since 2nd C BC. We did spot several several deserted Jain sculptures everywhere. However many of them had their head chopped off which was done during the 12th C AD during the social, religious unrest that happened in this part of the world.

One was this. This Jain Thirthankara is Thiruppalli Malai Azhvar. His head too is missing. However today he is worshipped as Lord Vinayaka. Vinayaka Chathurthi is celebrated here in full swing with head and trunk made out of sandalwood & turmeric paste and fixed onto this Thirthankara sculpture! There were broken loose sculptures of Yaksha and Chatradhara (fan bearer) beside. 

There was a iron spear kept in front of him, kept very recently which read 'Sri Muneeswaran Thunai' who is a local diety!!! 

At a place called Mayilapatti, a  7 ft granite slab with 4 line Jain inscription. This place was earlier called Mayilappore. Now in this area are a Shiva Lingam, a Vinayaka, and a local diety Karuppar... 

At another spot was a granite slab with 27 line inscription. The Thirthankara in this area is called Perunarkilli Perumbpalli. The inscription talks about the river is the Perunarkilli Pereri, i.e., the River of Perunarkilli. This river has been existing since the Sangam Era. With the literary proof of the Sangam Age this locality was called Kavi Naadu then, and this river was called Kavi Naadu Kanmai.

In another locality called Putthambur, another ancient Jain Thirthankara sculpture and another loose sculpture of a Yaksha. According to Prof. Muthazhagan this must have been the oldest sculpture given the amount of erosion that has taken place on this. The best part is meeting some local boys here. On striking up a conversation with these boys, they said, this is a sculpture of Buddha and that's why this place is called Buddhamur aka Putthambur. Well, local legends are always there!!!

This river and this this locality is called Thazhikkadu. An inscription of the Chola Period talks about this place specifying 'East till Thazhikkadu, West till Rajarajan Peruvazhi'. It means that there has been a highway called Rajarajan Highway in this locality which till date has not been deciphered where!

An almost fossilized tree!!!

The Kotrambai Jain Beds near Kodumbalur... That guy may or may not be a Jain, and definitely not a saint, but was resting his soul, high atop a hill here...
Yes, the religious unrest was all there in the 12th C, but to some extent glad to see that these deserted sculptures are today still worshiped, may be not as thirthankaras, but as vinayaka, or munishvara or buddha or some local diety!!!

P.S: Click here to know what I wore on this day...

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

Dedicated to Prof. Swaminathan, Prof. Muthazhagan, Prof. Jambunathan, and the whole group...


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. Would have added immense wealth if you have marked the exact locations on where these Jain Sculptures were sighted... With Google Maps at hand, am sure shouldn't have been a tough task to you at all. Would appreciate if you could add that to the info on the post even now... :)
    Thank you.

    1. I'll try my best to spot all the locations on google maps and share that soon! :)

  2. Hi Bhusha
    How are you ? Looks like you are having a long sojourn in Pudukottai and "discovering" many monuments. Lovely pictures of neglected Jain sculptures, fossilized tree & huge rock boulders !

    Warm Regards

    1. Am fine Ram Sir. Pudukottai was an amazing time off and a fabulous eye-opener on lots of aspects!!! Thank u so much for your appreciation...

  3. Lovely. Seems to be one of the richest places historically. Many thanks for bringing up all these. Incidentally, my blog remains denied of your visits. Any reason?

    1. No no. Not like that!!! Coming real soon to visit your blog!!! :) :) :)
      And thanks again for your appreciation... :)

  4. Nice place. Good luck for the contest.

  5. nice collection and post. thanks for sharing amazing info..

  6. I've been to Pudhukottai once and it really is an amazing place and the sculptures are indeed good :)

    1. Nice to know you've been to Pudukottai. Its a heritage enthusiast's paradise!!!

  7. History was not only standing, it was also sitting down and lying down. :-)

    Minor correction, the Jain beds are actually at Kudumiyaan Malai, not KodumbaaLur.

    Local people worship whatever idol they can find in their own way. It's a strong part of Hindu and village tradition, a window into the present, while also looking at the past. I remember those kids at Puthambur. They said that they promise to offer pongal for the Buddhar (actually a Jain tirthankara), if they have a good harvest. And they do so every year!

    At one or two places, those abandoned idols were turned upside down and used as slabs for washing clothes!! Worshipping them as Muruga or Kaali, is in my opinion, infinitely better!!

  8. All over India Jaina & Buddhist murthis are mistaken for each other, or worshipped as Brahmanical deities. Very interesting. That headless Jina in the field, we snapped, too.

    1. That's true and it happens everywhere. Once I saw a Veenadhara Dhakshinamurthy worshipped as Saraswathi!!!

  9. excellent penning. pictorials and compilation very perfect. alluring to make a trip. superb.


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