Kalainathaswamy Temple, Pallimadam, Virudhunagar
Kalainathaswamy Temple is located at Pallimadam, Virudhunagar District, on the banks of the Gundar River. Vira Pandya had built this sepulchral shrine (Pallippadai) at Pallimadam for his brother Sundara Pandya, a famous Pandya ruler. This shrine was earlier known as Pallippadai Sundara Pandya Isvaram Udayar Kovil, now it is called Kalainathaswamy Kovil. It is a unique sepulchral temple of its kind in Pandya Nadu.
Sundara Pandya, a 10th century AD Pandya ruler, famous for his erudition, died while visiting Pallimadam. He was buried there and his younger brother Vira Pandya (AD 946-966) erected a sepulchral shrine (Pallippadai) over his grave. The temple was known as Pallippadai Sundara Pandya Isvaram Udayar koil. It is now called Kalainathaswamy koil. The name Pallippadai has over the years been corrupted to Pallimadam. This sepulchral temple is the only one of its kind in Pandya Nadu.
Kalainathaswamy Temple is located at Pallimadam, Virudhunagar District, on the banks of the Gundar River. There are two structures - Kalainathaswamy and Sornavalli Amman sannidhis. There is also a small pillared Mandapam for Nandhi in the front. The temple has a garbhagriha, ardhamandapa and mahamandapa. Everything is simple and plain without sculptures, which is typical of Pandya style architecture. The shrine for Shiva’s consort lies on the right side of the main temple. She is known as Sornavalli Amman. The temple has the Nagara style of Vimana.
The steps have a half-buried Vattezhuttu inscription that has details about a Kurandi Thirukattampalli, a Jain school. In total there are 16 inscriptions. “Stones used for the construction of the temple were brought from Kurandi village which had a dilapidated Jain temple. Inscription found at the temple also have details about the existence of a Jain school at Kurandi”. Other inscriptions engraved in the temple mention about the various donations made to the temple.
According to one of the inscriptions belonging to the period of King Veera Pandya (953 AD), Moovenda Velaan alias Arangam Poothi, Kilavan Arulali and Thatchan Ulagan and Maran Athichan alias Cholanthaga Pallavarayan of Puliyur donated lamps and sheep to the temple. During the same period, some Devaradiyars who were engaged in temple work also donated sheep towards the maintenance of the temple. The inscriptions bear the names of the donors as Kaavidhi Kanaipetral, Nithipetral, Nakan Kulangavilai etc.
Though the temple was constructed during the 10th century, the temple was rebuilt and renovated during later Pandya rule. According to a later Pandya period inscription, one Sonaadan Nambi donated a doorjamb during renovation. The temple also has 17th century inscription that informs about the renovation undertaken by Sethupathi Raja. The pallippadai temple stands as a testimony for ancestor worship which was rampant in Tamil culture, as Veera Pandya wanted his brother to live as long as the sun and the moon.
In Saivism, there were three sects namely Pasupatas, Kalamukhas and Kapalikas. Kalamukha sect priests named as Mahaviradhis settled here and looked after the temple’s maintenance and administration. Kalamukhas priests established a mutt in the temple. Because of the presence of the mutt, the village came to be known as Pallimadam.
Pallimadam or Pallipadi is a village situated on the outskirts of Thiruchuli in Virudhunagar district, Tamilnadu on the eastern bank of the river Gundar. Madurai Airport is the nearest airport.