Karpaka Vinayakar Temple (Pillaiyar Patti Pillaiyar Temple), Thiruppatthur – The Temple
Pillaiyarpatti is located near Thiruppathur, Sivagangai District of Tamilnadu. It is situated between Kundrakudi and Tirupatthur. Pillayarpatti is 12 Kms away from Thiruppatthur and 3 kilometers from Kundrakudi. Pillaiyarpatti Karpaga Vinayagar is carved out in a cave of Pillaiyarpatti Hillocks. Lord Vinayagar is carved out from the rock of the cave. Lord Thiruveesar is also carved in the rock of this cave. The temple was built under patronization of Pandyas. The age of the cave temple is 2500 years or more. There are 14 stone Sculptures in the cave (dated from 500 BC to 1284 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 AD, found even today in the sanctum. It can be concluded that the icon of Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar must have been carved around the 4th century AD. Pillaiyar (Vinayagar), the God of Victory is the main deity here in the name, Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar.
This temple is the only one in Tamilnadu which contains a 6 feet rock-cut Pillaiyar deity. The Thumbikkai of Lord Pillaiyar is curled towards his right side and so the God is also known as Valampuri Pillaiyar. The Chettiyar community (Nagarathar - This temple is one of the nine important temples for Nagarathars) has kept the temple clean. Chettiars are the only community now whose sub castes are divided based on Sivan Temples. E.g. sub castes like Pillayarpatti, Elayatrankudi etc.
There is a one Pillaiyar painting, in which Pillayar's eyes will look at us wherever we stand. The Vinayagar Sannidhi (Sanctum Sanctorum) is a cave where the 6 feet of Karpaga Vinayagar has been carved inside. As this is a cave formation, there is no provision to go around for the pradakshina. The inner sanctum is well illuminated with oil lamps and the whole idol is covered with gold. It is only during the Abhishekam, or the holy bath, when one can see the full idol in its pristine glory.
Karpaka Vinayakar idol is facing north which is said to be the direction of Lord Kubera – the God of Wealth. Karpaga Vinayagar idol is in meditation posture here with Shiva Lingam at his right hand (most Ganesha idols usually have Mothakam in the right hand); hence Ganesha is also called Yoga Vinayagar (Ganesha with meditation and all fortunes), the one who grants success to all requests of his devotees. Karpaga Vinayagar Temple also enshrines Tiruveesar, a Shiva Lingam carved into the cave wall, and Marudankudi Eesar with his consort Vaadaamalar Mangai. A five-headed snake wearing a lingam on its neck is an important carving here. The temple also enshrines Pasupatheeswarar (who showers all wealth), Nagalingam (who gifts offspring to human beings), and Goddess Karthyayini (who arrange marriages).
The inscriptions within this temple dates back between 1091 AD and 1238 AD. There are 14 Agama texts found on stone sculptures in the cave from 500 BC to 1284 AD. According to the stone sculptures the ancient names of Pillaiyarpatti are Maruthangudi, Ekkattoor, Rajanarayanapuram, and Thiruveenkaikkudi. The temple features two Rajagopurams, a vimana, and a beautiful temple tank. Karpaka Vinayakar Temple is also known by the names Desiga Vinayaga Pillaiyar Temple, Vinayagar Cave Temple, and often Pillayar Temple.
Scholars say that Lord Vinayaga is the Lord of wisdom, which is confirmed by the head of elephant in the shape of sacred Mantram "OM". When we draw a line from the broken left tusk, starting upward, then turning left to wards right ear and after passing through the bended left tusk up to the tip of trunk, Tamil alphabet "O" appears. The Lingam in the hand indicates the alphabet "M". Together they form "OM". This is confirmed by the lord here "Valampuri Pillayar". As Vinayagar satisfies the wishes of his devotees like Karpagam tree, he is also known "Karpaga Vinayagar".
Here Lord Vinayaga appears with 2 hands unlike in other places where he is seen with 4 hands. Also he is seen seated without Angusapasam, with his legs folded and stomach not touching the Asanam in the form of "Artha Padma" Asanam. The deity of this temple is known as "Marudeeswarar" as Marudha tree (In Sanskrit Arjuna Virutcham, the Botanical name is Termanalia Arjuna) worship is followed in this temple which indicates that this temple in an ancient temple. The sculpture of Pasupatheeswarar, "A cow worshipping Lord Siva by offering his milk" is the special feature of this temple. Also Kubhera the Lord of wealth had worshipped at this temple.
To illustrate the information that one where controls his five senses will be able to understand God, a sculpture of five headed snake wearing a Lingam on its neck is found here. The five head of the snake indicate the five senses while the Lingam indicates God. Also adding to the spirituality Goddess Laxmi, Saraswathi and Durgai are found together at the same sport. Unlike other places, the three Lingams of Thiruveesar Marudheesar and Senchadeswarar and the three Goddess Sivagami Amman, Vadamalar Mangai Amman and Soundara Nayagi Amman all appear together at the same place and bless the devotees.
It is believed that by worshipping Karthyayini Amman at this temple women get relived from Sevvai dosham which prevent them from getting married. "Sabda Madha" has a separate Sannidhi known as Sakthi Sannidhi at this temple. This is an ancient cave temple built during Mahendra Pallava period 1600 years ago. Presently, the temple is under the administration of Nagarathar community. There are four Arjuna Kshetras in South India – Tirupudai Marudur in Tirunelveli district, Tiruvidai Marudur in Thanjavur district, Sri Shailam in Andhra Pradesh and Pillayarpatti in Sivaganga district.
There is a beautiful temple tank in front of the temple and there is an entrance from the east side also. There is a small shrine outside the temple above a small rock. The maintenance of the temple premises is also a major reason for drawing people here and all the glory belongs to the Chettiar community who have renovated the entire temple and taken care of it.