Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple Puducherry Entry Fee
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Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple Puducherry Phone
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Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple Puducherry Address: 45, Church St, Karaikal, Puducherry, 609602, India
Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple is a unique Shiva temple in Puducherry. It is dedicated to a devotee of Lord Shiva, Punithavathi, who is now known as Karaikal Ammaiyar (the mother of Karaikal town). She was also one of the 63 Nayanmars (Tamil saint-poets) who sang praises for Lord Shiva.
Punithavathi was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, right from her childhood. She was known not only for her hymns but also for her demoniac form.
This temple was built in 1929, at the same place where she is believed to have lived in those days. Apart from the main shrine of Lord Shiva and a huge idol of Punithavathi, Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple also has a separate shrine of Lord Ganesha, and several other sub-shrines.
Where is Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple located?
The location of Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple is in Karaikal region of Pondicherry. It is about 130 km away from the Pondicherry city centre.
Legend of Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple
Karaikal Ammaiyar was born as Punithavathi, and she was married to a trader, Paramadutta. Once Paramadutta received two mangoes from a Shiva devotee. And he sent those mangoes home. When Lord Shiva (disguised as a homeless Shiva devotee) came asking for alms, Punithavathi gave him one of those mangoes.
Later, Punithavathi served Paramadutta the remaining mango, when he came home for food. Paramadutta found it was sweet and asked for the second one. Punithavathi didn’t want to disappoint him, so she prayed to Lord Shiva. A mango fell into her arms, which she served.
Paramadutta told her that the mango was even more sweet. And he asked her for the details. Punithavathi revealed the truth and showed him another mango falling into her arms.
Paramadutta realised she was divine and decided not to live with her.
Punithavathi then prayed to Lord Shiva to take her beauty and youthfulness away. Her wish was granted. So, she went on a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. The lord, pleased with her dedication, greeted her as “Ammaiye” (which means mother).
Image Gallery of Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple Puducherry
Architecture of Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple
Although this temple is dedicated to Karaikal Ammaiyar, the sanctum enshrines Lord Shiva’s Shivalinga, called as Somanathar. The temple’s Dhwaja Stambham, Bali Peetam and Nandi Mandapam, face the Lord Shiva’s shrine. Its walls have images of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, and Lingodbhava, among other idols.
And in the shrine of Karaikal Ammaiyar, she is in a standing posture holding a serving ladle. Its walls have paintings which depict her life stories.
A separate shrine for Lord Ganesha is also built near Karaikal Ammaiyar’s shrine. Sub-shrines and idols of Nataraj-Shivakami, Gaja Lakshmi, Surya, Chandra, and many others are also in this famous temple in Karaikal.
Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple has a three-tiered Gopuram. It has two entrances, one each for the shrines of Karaikal Ammaiyar and Lord Shiva.
Things to do at Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple
In this temple, devotees offer mango naivedyam to the mother. People come to the temple also for their evening walks, in the small park around the temple. You can also sit beside the fish pond in the temple complex and spend some time in the serene environment.
And if you visit the temple in the Tamil month of Aani (around June-July), you can celebrate Mangani Tirunal (which means calling the mango). It’s the most popular Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple festival.
Curd rice and mangoes are distributed to those who come to the temple and are a part of the festivities.
Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple Timings and Entry Fee
This temple near Karaikal is open every day, from 6 AM to 9 PM. And it’s best to visit it during the winter months (from November to February). During winter, the weather of Pondicherry is comforting for a relaxed exploration. So, you can spend as much time as you want in the temple complex or by the pond.
It takes only about an hour to explore it. But you'll need half a day reserved for your visit, as this place is some distance away from Pondicherry city.
The entry to Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple is free.
How to reach Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple Puducherry?
Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple is in Karaikal town, about 130 km away from Pondicherry city. It’s easily accessible by trains and buses. And the airport in Pondicherry is the closest airport to the temple. But the nearest major railway station and international airport is in Tiruchirappalli, about 150 km away.
And following are the ways to reach Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple from Pondicherry –
By trains – Karaikal railway station is only a kilometre away from the temple. And you can find trains to Karaikal from many nearby towns and cities.
By buses – Regular buses are also available to Karaikal from Pondicherry and other neighbouring towns and cities. Karaikal's bus stop is only a few hundred metres from the temple.
By taxis/cabs – Getting a taxi or private cab from top car rental companies in Pondicherry is the best way to visit Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple. It’s the most comfortable way to travel and explore the temple, taking as much time as you want.
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