Deserted Jain Sculptures and Earliest Hindu Temples (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. Then slowly began the excavation of Hindu cave temples and then were the tiny, little constructed Hindu temples and finally the huge constructions of Hindu temple. 


Proof of this Jain inhabitance is here ever since 2nd C BC with the several Jain Beds & Caverns. 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 region.

Bommadi Ancient Jain Idol Jainism Pudukkottai Pommadimalai

Bommadi Ancient Jain Idol Jainism Pudukkottai Pommadimalai

The Jain Thirthankara here is Thiruppalli Malai Azhvar/Alwar. 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 an iron spear kept in front of him, kept very recently which read 'Sri Muneeswaran Thunai' who is a local diety!!! 

Where is Pommadimalai Thirthankara Sculpture (on Google Maps): Bommadi Jain Temple & Inscriptions
How to reach Bommadimalai, Pudukkottai: 2 km from Narthamalai. Almost at the junction of the highway just before turning left for Narttamalai 

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... 

Where is Mayilapatti Thirthankara Sculpture (on Google Maps): Maylapatti Ancient Jain Temple
How to reach Maylapatti, Pudukkottai: 8km from Pudukkottai Railway Station on Pudukottai - Manapparai Road (towards Kudumiyanmalai & Kodumbalur), in the village of Pawanawar just after crossing Sudharsan College of Arts & Science. 

The Thiruthankara sculpture here is also, like the rest, is face-less. But this is, by far, the sculpture with most of the detailings intact. Esp., the tree atop the head and the lion base are exquisite sculptural marvels.

Where is Annavasal Thirthankara Sculpture (on Google Maps): Annavasal Jain Theerthankarar Idol
How to reach Annavasal, Pudukkottai: 18km from Pudukkottai towards Viralimalai. Can be a stop-over also while heading to Madathukoil via Iluppur.

Ancient Jain Idol Jainism Pudukkottai Annavasal
Pic Credit: Siddharth Chandrasekar

Ancient Jain Idol Jainism Pudukkottai Puthambur
Pic Credit: Rangarathnam Gopu

At another spot was a temple ruin which included a granite slab with a 27 line inscription. The Thirthankara in this area is called Perunarkilli Perumpalli. 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.

Where is Sadayapparai Jain Temple ruins (on Google Maps): 
How to reach Sadayapparai: Very close to Pudukkottai Museum

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 Buddha + oor, thereby Putthambur. Well, local legends are always there!!! 
Very close to this is Sembattur where the basement (floor plan) of a small Jain temple in ruins can be seen. 

Where is Puthambur Thirthankara Sculpture (on Google Maps): Puthambur Theerthangarar Idol
Where is Sembattur Jain Temple ruins (on Google Maps): Sembattur Theerthangarar Idol
How to reach Puthambur & Sembattur: 14km from Pudukkottai towards Sengipatti. This is the road that goes through the villages, parallel to highway NH36 towards Thanjavur

A locality near Avudaiyarkoil 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!

Early Hindu Temples Tamil Nadu Kaliapatti Pudukkottai Ottakkovil


Any idea of how the first-ever temple would have been. Right - The first-ever temples were the cave temples. But any idea what were the earliest built/constructed temples? Here they are...

This one was at Kaliyapatti. It was a bit challenging indeed to reach this place! It was a deserted thorny terrain and in fact we had to shut down all doors & windows to prevent the thorny plants from coming in!!! Finally, with the help of a local, we did manage to reach the place... This Kaliyapatti temple is of the 9th C and has inscriptions too!!!

Where is Kaliyapatti (On Google Maps)Ottakkoil (ஓட்டக்கோவில்) 
How to reach Kaliyapatti? 3 km from Visali Koil (below); 10 km from Kundrandarkoil 

Another early temple was at Visalur. Around this, a lot more has been constructed over a period of time till Nayak Period. The initial construction was done by Paranthaka Chola in the 9th C, and inscription are there for the same. A Shiva Lingam is in the sanctum sanctorum. 

Where is Visalur(On Google Maps): Visali Kovil
How to reach Visalur?  3 km from Kaliapatti (above); 13 km from Kundrandarkoil 

Early Hindu Temples Tamil Nadu Kaliapatti Pudukkottai Visalur
Pic Credit: Siddharth Chandrasekar

Early Hindu Temples Tamil Nadu Kaliapatti Pudukkottai Ottakkovil

Early Hindu Temples Tamil Nadu Kaliapatti Pudukkottai Ottakkovil

Early Hindu Temples Tamil Nadu Kaliapatti Pudukkottai Ottakkovil

Early Hindu Temples Tamil Nadu Kaliapatti Pudukkottai Ottakkovil

We missed Kundrandar Koil which was an early cave temple of Lord Shiva. It has a recent temple of Lord Muruga atop. Outside is the sculpture of Lord Vinayaka. Unlike the later depictions of Lord Vinayaka with a huge tummy with a small head, here it is more inspired by Mammoth than an elephant! The Ratha Mandapam (Mandapam of the Temple Car) is in the shape of a Ratha!! The best part - the wheel can be rotated!!!!! It has 100 pillars. 

INSCRIPTIONS ON KUNDRANDAR KOIL: It is said that this temple belongs to the 12th CHowever, Prof. Jambunathan has his own doubts about that, coz of an inscription, which says...
'Sri Kodhai Maindhan
Thiru Kundrakkudi Devarkku
Thiruvadhirai Maindhan
Veera Kaanaayanai Saarthi
Attrazhiya Vaitha Arisi
Nooru Orubadhu Parppaarukku'
This inscription talks about Kodhai Maindhan which mean 'Andal's son' which is not written anywhere in recorded history, so this temple is before that. Also, it talks about 'Orubadhu', a terminology to denote 'Pathu' / the number 10 has not been used ever since Sangam Tamil age, so this temple must have been before that. Also, it talks about 'Attrazhiya Vaitha Arisi' which means 'Boiled Rice' - Boiled rice has never been given a donation in known history, only raw rice was given, yet again, this temple must have been before that. It also talks about 'Veera Kanaayanai Saarthi' which means 'To bring in the sculpture of Veera Kanaayan', why would someone bring a sculpture from outside to place inside a cave temple where the sculpture can be easily rock-cut!!!

Where is Kundrandarkoil(On Google Maps): Kundrandarkoil
How to reach Kundrandarkoil? 35km from Pudukkottai

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

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

Ottakovil Visalur Kundrandarkoil Pudukkottai Tamil Nadu Jain Beds Sculptures Temple Ruins Pudukkottai


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. 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.

  10. Very beautifully illustrated. Ignorance is a bliss, at least it makes your present incarnation peaceful & promising. For the academic purpose at least, history must be truthfully compiled & preserved.


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