Pillaiyarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil, Chettinad

This post is on my visit to Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil in Tamil Nadu. Read on to know what is so special about the temple. I have coincided the posting on this temple with Ganesh Chaturthi festival. It is that time of the year again when Hindus are gearing up for Ganesh Chaturthi (Aug 29th, 2014). This day is the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha. Every home celebrating this festival install clay idols of Lord Ganesha. The ritual is: after the celebrations are over the idols are immersed in water.

Belief About Lord Ganesha

Have you ever noticed the lovable elephant headed God is always depicted with His trunk curved towards left? Popular belief is that: left side of our body symbolizes the feminine side of our personality and is cool and composed by nature. The right side is masculine and is considered hot fiery and aggressive. So it is believed that Lord Ganesha depicted with His trunk turned to left, is in good mood and easy to please. No strict rules need to be followed while worshiping this idol.

What is Special About Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil

Lord Ganesha depicted with trunk to right is known as Siddhi Vinayaka and is worshiped in a special manner adhering to rules very strictly. Puja is performed after fulfilling all religious requirements. If the rules are violated the results can be disastrous. Such idols are rare.

There is one temple in Chettinad, Tamil Nadu which has this image of Karpaga (black) Vinayagar (black Ganesha). A sculptor called Ekkattur Koon PeruparananIdol carved this mammoth 6 feet tall idol out of a single black stone. Trunk of Lord Ganesh in Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil is curled towards right side. He is ‘Valamburi Vinayagar’! And devotees believe Him to be a powerful deity who makes all their wishes come true.

Another unusual factor is the idol faces north direction.

Yet another unique feature is: Lord Ganesha here is with two arms, else where in other temples Ganesha idol is featured with 4 arms.

Furthermore, Lord Ganesha is seen seated without Angusapasam. He is seen with his legs folded and stomach not touching the Asanam (seat) in the form of “Artha Padma” Asanam.

Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil

Undisturbed reflections of Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil in the temple pond.

Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil, the oldest Cave Temple

Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil is one of the oldest Cave Temples (Rock Cut) temples of Tamil Nadu. Ambiance outside was very soothing. Undisturbed reflections of the gopuram (gates) of the temple looked good. History records the temple is 1600 years old. The temple’s northern tower was erected by the Pandya kings. Nagarathar community, renovated it in 1284, and added the eastern tower and an adjoining mandapam.

Devotees throng this temple in huge numbers. But to the disappointment of tourists cum devotees, authorities here are strict about ‘no photography’ rule. The temple walls reverberate with Vedic mantras recited by students throughout the day. When I reached I felt slightly disappointed about the long queue to enter it. But it moved fast. Most eye-catching feature of the idol is the golden trunk. I could stand long enough to grasp it in my eyes and mutter a silent prayer.

Several different kinds of puja takes place just outside the temple, but within the complex. I saw this family offering some kind of puja.


Location of Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil

The distance of Pillayarpatti from Madurai is 71Kms.  And from Karaikudi it is 12Kms on Thirupathoor – Karaikudi state highway in Tamil Nadu.






Goan Skies
Facade of Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa

34 Responses to “Pillaiyarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil, Chettinad

  • Hi Indrani, your photos are marvelous and this was a very interesting post. Thank you so much.

  • Wonderful shots and interesting post.

  • thanks for the education on the lord ganesha depictions!

  • very interesting. i'm quite fascinated by the hindu gods.

  • Thank you for another beautiful, interesting and informative post about your world!! I do enjoy them so very much, Indrani!!

  • What a lovely elephant and a beautiful temple.

  • Stunning architecture doubly beautiful when reflected as in your photograph.

  • I just noticed that you have written 1000+ posts. Hats off to you.

    Nice pictures. I always why these temples don't clean the pond inside the temple. 🙂

  • That was a very informative post. Many hindu idols display feminine side in the idols. Shiv-linga has an entire right side is feminine while Lord Krishna idols wear nose ring.
    It is said that the lord is not complete without being feminine

  • I loved to read the post and the info in it. The pictures were beautiful.It is amazing how much richness does our country hold.

  • Tuesday in Maharashtra is celebrated as the day of Siddhi Vinayaka and today is Tuesday and you shared this post and the picture of Lord Ganesh. I consider this a good Omen. Thank you Indrani. You made my day auspicious.

  • Before reading your post I didn't even notice that the trunk was curved to a side! Now I will always see which side it is curved towards and will remember this post!

  • How very interesting. In London, where I normally live, the archeologists find lots of these terracotta images in the Thames when they carry out archeological digs. We have a lots of Hindu Londoners who perform their ancient rituals in the Thames, which I think is a lovely blending of the East with the West. The temple in Tamil Nadu looks amazing. Beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing them. All the best, Bonny

  • Enjoyed the informative post, Indrani! And nice pictures, as always.

  • Interesting observation on the Idol there! Beautiful capture on the temple and nice reflection

  • A very interesting post, thankyou.

  • Interesting … never heard abt this temple …my parents love all religious places and they will be happy to know abt this temple …thanks indrani for sharing 🙂

  • Very interesting about the trunk! I get the fiery, masculine side is less tolerant of mistakes!! 😀

  • Nice photos Indrani and thanks for the information provided…never heard of this temple before…

  • Nice write-up and pictures

  • Nice to know about this temple. 2nd picture is simply amazing. Thanks for sharing

  • Very interesting. The reflective photo is well done!

  • Great post, I love the elephant and the pretty temple..The family shot is beautiful. Thanks for sharing, have a happy day!

  • Lovely reflection in the second photo. Ah, now I will look for Ganesh's trunk facing the right!

  • Lovely photos and very interesting read! You have taught me many new things through this post!

  • It's really interesting. I often find Ganesha statues or profiles on so many place here, but I have never known the history. Thank you for sharing.

  • There is so much to learn about India, fortunately there are many bloggers from your country, who tell about the Indian deities. Thanks!
    Wil, ABCW. Team.

  • Lovely Photos and very nice read Indrani. Loved the post…:)

  • Great Info ! thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Informative. Loved that photo of the family offering the Pooja.

  • Very interesting post. I did not know about Ganesha's trunk. But in your photo, is his trunk turned to 'our' left or to his 'right'? Would it be pointing to the masculine or feminine side in your photo?

  • How very interesting! I am not Hindu but, after living in India, off and on, for over a year now, I am beginning to know your gods and Ganesha is special to me. I always pray to him to help me overcome any obstacles to my return to this country that I love.

    I wish I could visit this temple. There are still so many places in India that I want to go but my retirement pension barely covers flying here and back!! I live vicariously through your wonderful posts.

  • Yogi Saraswat
    1 year ago

    Lord Ganesha here is with two arms, else where in other temples Ganesha idol is featured with 4 arms. Nice information about the sacred place .

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