Vettuvan Koil, Kalugumalai, Thoothukudi - History
The temple is believed to have been built during 8th century around 800 AD. According to scholar K.V. Soundararajan, the octagonal shikara was the early architectural style or feature of the southern Pandyan kingdom and the Vettuvan koil could be the 'oldest in the series.' 'Any Pandyan architectural activity with Chalukyan indebtedness, aside of Pallava influence in the homeland itself, would essentially be of post Mamalla phase.
The earliest structural temples of the Pandyas with octagonal and square ‘sikhara,' in that order, would suggest that the Kazhugumalai temple, which has an octagonal ‘sikhara,' would have been part of a viable earlier phase of temple design when the octagonal ‘sikhara’ held the field. All these would seem to help in the circumscription of the incidence of the rock cut temple mode of southern dynasties – notably the Pandyas – almost securely between c. A.D. 675 and c. A.D. 860.'
However the name of the ruler who was instrumental in commissioning this monolith and why this structure was left incomplete remain as mystery. Some wild guess by scholars indicate the name as the celebrated Pandya king, Parantaka Nedunchadayan, who had patronized and over-generously gifted for both Brahminical and Jain religious orders and promoted their temple construction. The Jain monument located on a somewhat raised area of the same hill too carries his inscriptions.
The hill was under the control of Ettaiyapuram Zamindar until 1954. The Raja gifted the village to the Kalugasalamoorthy Temple and formed five streets around the temple to enable the temple car to pass easily. He also allocated a middle street for the temple priests. During the Panguni Uthiram festival procession, the elongated conflict between two castes in the region, namely, Nadars and Maravars resulted in riots, popularly called Kalugumalai riots of 1895.
A total of ten people were killed, many injured and the temple car and other property in the region were destroyed. The sculptures in Vettuvan Koil and the Kalugumalai Jain Beds were not affected during the riots.