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Kalakkadu Tamilnadu

Kalakkad is a panchayat town in Tirunelveli district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

As of 2001 India census , Kalakkadu had a population of 27,025. Males constitute 48% of the population and females 52%. Kalakkadu has an average literacy rate of 77%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 82%, and female literacy is 73%. In Kalakkadu, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

History

As per popular folklore, the name Kalakkad was due to one of the following: 1) The place was a forest full of 'kaLaa' (Tamil word) tree; 2) It was a battle field or 'kaLam' It was the capital of 'kaLapirars' who ruled Tamil Nadu from this place.

 

Kalakkad

In History of Travancore from the Earliest Times, P. A. Sankunny Menon mentions Kalacaud instead of Kalakkad. A few battles between the Travancore Kings and the British at this place are recorded.

The village was the capital of Pandya kings briefly. A rest house constructed by the British is still there at Sengaltheri in the nearbymountains.

Even today people refer to Kottai the equivalent of a fort, in this area, though no traces of it are found today.

Coordinates 8°30′43″N 77°33′29″E / 8.512°N 77.558°E / 8.512; 77.558
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District(s) Tirunelveli
Population 27,025 (2001[update])
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

 

How to get there

Kalakad can be reached from Tirunelveli, Nanguneri and Vallioor etc by bus. Nearest railway station is Nanguneri. Nearest airports are at Thiruvananthapuram and Madurai. Tuticorin also has an airstrip having one flight a day and is about 80 km away.

Village

The village of Kalakkad has several streets, running around the Sathyavageeswarar temple. Generally the streets were inhabited by people of specific castes, though these days you can find a mixture of people in all the streets. The village is surrounded by lush green paddy fields, with the western ghats at the horizon. Many small and beautiful water falls can be seen in the distant mountains. The main falls called Maalai aruvi near Chengaltheri can be seen from a distance almost 7 to 8 km.

There are several other temples for Mutharamman, Isakkiamman, Suadalaimadan and Ayyanar in the village. Pari Vettai and Kodai Vizha are annual festivals which are celebrated in these temples.

The forest areas have been declared as a protected tiger reserve - Kalakkad Mundanthurai Sanctuary.

Sathyavageeswarar Temple

Kallakkad is home to an ancient temple dedicated to Sathyavageeswarar The other principal deity is Goddess Gomathi.

Dating back to the 13th Century AD or the late Pandya period, further additions were made till the 17th Century AD.

An interesting anectode from the Sthala Purana (History of the place) goes like this. Goddess Sita was kidnaped from the Kalakkad Forest and hence the place is known as Chorakadavi. Lord Rama and Lakshmana prayed to Lord Siva who was seated under a Punnai tree here. He assured them that he will be with them when they proceed to rescue Sita. After successfully rescuing Sita, they returned to thank Lord Siva. Before leaving they named the lord Sathyavageeswarar (Lord of Truth ). The theertham(temple pond) is known as sathya theertham.

Tamil Saivite Saint Appar has recited songs in praise of the deity. In the stone inscriptions found around the temple, the lord is referred to as "புறமேரிச்சுவரமுடைவிய்ய நாயனார் - Puramerichchuvarudaiviyya nayanar". King Veeramarthanda Varma brought this temple to the present shape in the 12th century

The temple Kumbha Abhishekam (ritual consecration) was last done in 2000 AD. "Bhaktar Peravai" (Group of Devotees) has been formed to try and perform the Kumbha Abhishekam again by late 2009 or early 2010 along with general renovation of the temple.

Gopuram

The Gopuram or the temple tower of Sathyavageeswarar Temple is 135 feet tall having nine tiers. More than 200 ancient paintings adore the inner walls of each of the nine tiers. They resemble the Vijayanagara and Nayaka schools of art of the 16th/17th Century AD. This gallery of art on each of these floors depict scenes from the Ramayana, Thiruvilayadal Puranam, Siva's marriage to Parvathi, lives of saivaite saints and some local events.

Ramanavami - Krishna Temple Krishna Temple in Kalakkad is famous for the Ramanavami festival celebrated in the Month of April. This festival is ongoing for mote than 105 years. This starts before 10 days from Ramanavami and will get Completed after Anjaneya Utsavam.

An ambitious project to conserve these paintings has been undertaken by the REACH Foundation, an NGO

Workmanship

The exquisite workmanship of those days is revealed in the stone sculptures around the temple. There are several musical pillars in the mandapams of the temple, which resonate with sapthaswaras when tapped gently by hand.

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