Karpaka Vinayakar Temple

Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar Temple is an ancient rock-cut cave shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha, located at Pillayarpatti in Tiruppathur Taluk, Sivaganga district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Pilliyarpatti is located 12 kilometers far, east to Tiruppathur, 3 kilometers far, west to Kundrakudi Murugan temple and 16 km far, west to Karaikudi, and 47 km far, north-east towards Sivaganga town, the district head-quarters.

Karpaka Vinayakar Temple
The Pillaiyar murti adorned in gold kavacham, or armor
DeityKarpaka Vinayakar Tamil: கற்பக விநாயகர்
LocationThiruppatthur, Sivagangai District
StateTamil Nadu
Geographic coordinates10°07′09″N 78°40′04″E
Completed4th century

The presiding deity of the temple is Karpaka Vinayakar.[1] In the cave temple, there are rock cut images of Siva and other gods as well as several shrines. The Āgama texts found on stone inscriptions in the temple help to date the temple between the years 1091 and 1238 B.C.

History and Architecture

Pillaiyarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar temple was built by early Pandyas. Karpaga Vinayagar is carved out in a cave of Pillaiyarpatti Hillocks. Thiruveesar (Shiva) is also carved in the rock of this cave. There are 14 stone Sculptures in the cave (dated from 400 to 1038 AD). These stone sculptures state the ancient names of Pillaiyarpatti such as Ekkattoor, Thiruveenkaikkudi, Maruthangudi, and Rajanarayanapuram. The image of Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar and that of a Siva Lingam were carved out of a stone by a sculptor named Ekkattur Koon Peruparanan who put his signature on a stone inscription, in Tamil Language used between the 2nd and 5th century, found even today in the sanctum. It is believed that the icon of Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar must have been carved around the 4th century AD.[2]

The Vinayagar sannidhi (Sanctom Sanctorum) is a cave where the 6 feet of Karpaga Vinayagar has been carved inside that faces north direction. As this is a cave formation, there is no provision to go around for the pradakshina. Vinayagar’s trunk is curved at the right side (Valampuri Vinayagar) which is unique feature. There are deities in this temple such as goddess Karthiyayini (who arrange marriages), Nagalingam (who gifts offspring), Pasupatheeswarar (who showers all wealth).

Religious importance

This temple is the only one in Tamil Nadu which contains a 6 feet rock-cut Pillaiyar deity. The Thumbikai(trunk) of Lord Pillaiyar is curled towards his right side and so the God is also known as Valampuri Pillaiyar.

The Chettiar/Nagarathar community (Nagarathar - This temple is one of the nine important temples for Nagarathars) maintains the temple through a NGO trust. Chettiars are the only community existing now whose sub-communities are divided based on Sivan Temples. e.g. Pillayarpatti Pirivu, Elayatrankudi Pirivu.[3] Although a Sivan temple, the temple is popular for the Karpaga Vinayagar. The deities in the temple include Marudeesar Thiruvisar as Sivan and Vadamalar Mangai Sivagami. The sthala viricham of the temple is the Archuna tree.

Vinayagar Chathurthi(Ganesh Chathurthi) is the temple's most important festival. It is commemorated for 10 days long. Kappaukkattutual(Divine rope attire and fasting) and hoisting temple flag begin before 9 days. On the 9th day the car festival and the much celebrated decoration of sandal covering ( Santha-na-kkappu) to Pillaiyar takes place which is of great importance among the devotees

Festivals and administration

The temple opens at 6 in the morning and stays open till 1 PM. The shrine is again opened at 4PM and is open till 8.30 PM.

As of today, the Pillayarpatti Nagarathar worshipers are involved in conducting daily worship services in the temple, as well as maintaining it. People from all over the state come to the temple for the worship of Pillayar, the Lord of Wisdom. It is one of the nine temples of the Nagarathar Chettiar community of Chettinad, Tamil Nadu.

The Ganesh Chaturthi / Vinayaka Chaturthi festival, is celebrated for 10 days in a grand manner every year during the months of August and September.[4] During that time, a large number of pilgrims gather and participate in the Car Festival. Like all Shaivite temples, Pillayarpatti temple also has Lord Shiva as its presiding deity. The lord's name is Arjunapureeswarar. This temple is most famous for the rock cut Vinayagar (Ganesha) sitting majestically inside a cave.

On 1 May 2017, Kumbhabhishekham was performed at this temple.


  1. "Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil". Tamilnadu.com. 2 February 2013.
  2. Diwakar, Macherla (2011). Temples of South India (1st ed.). Chennai: Techno Book House. pp. 154–5. ISBN 978-93-83440-34-4.
  3. V., Meena. Temples in South India. Kanniyakumari: Harikumar Arts. p. 18.
  4. "Pilliarpatti". Retrieved 17 September 2006.
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