Kutralanathar Kutralam

Kutralanathar, Kutralam

Paadal Petra Sthalams - Tirunelveli


Kutralanathar, facing east


Kuzhalvaimozhi Amman, facing east

Other Deities

Outer Prakaram – Vinayaka, Muruga, Surya, Kurumpalanadar, Vinayakar, 63 Nayanmar, Lingam, Nannagara Perumal, Sailappar, Vallabha Vinayakar, Papanasar, Sivalingam, Ulagamman, Nellaiappar, Gandhimadhi, Manakolanathar, Narumpoonathar, Chandra Lingam, Paalvanna Nadar, Chokkalingam, Meenakshi, Dharmasastha, Madhunadeswarar, Arumbalakanayakar, Somalingam, Agastya, Vasuki, Mahalingam, Sivalayamunivar, Parasakthi Peedam, Bhairava, Navagraha

Inner Prakaram – Panchalingam, Saptha Kanniyar, Juradevar, Mahalakshmi, Ayyanar, Brahmi, Mahavishnu, Narasimhar, Vinayaka, Kanni Vinayaka, Vanmiganathar with consort, Kalathiappar with consort, Thirumoolanathar with consort, Ramalingam with consort, Subramanya with consorts, Saneeswarar, Chandikeswara

Sanctum niches main deity – Dakshinamurthy, Brahma, Chandikeswara
Amman Shrine prakaram – Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi, Durga

Kutralanathar Kutralam is a unique temple with a Conch shaped layout. It is situated right next to the Kutralam main falls and is a joyous sight when the place is not too crowded. The entrance is through a small gopuram in the east. The temple faces east. The outer Prakaram has a long corridor and a 100 pillar Mandapam on the right side. The inner Prakaram houses the sanctums of the main deity and goddess. The Parasakthi Peedam believed to have been installed by sage Agastya is one of the 64 Sakthi Peedams in India. Kutralanathar Kutralam has 5 temple cars, one each for Ganesha, Muruga, Nataraja, the main processional deity, and Amman. To the north of the temple above, across the road, a little distance away is the Chithira Sabhai – one of the 5 places where Lord Shiva is believed to have performed his cosmic dance.

The Five Sabas are:
Rathina Sabhai at Vada Aaranyeswarar Temple in Thiruvalangadu (Dance – Oorthuva Thandavam)
Por Sabhai at Natarajar Temple in Chidambaram (Dance – Ananda Thandavam)
Velli Sabhai at Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai (Dance – Sundhiya Thandavam)
Thamira Sabhai at Nellaiappar Temple in Tirunelveli (Dance – Muni Thandavam)
Chithira Sabhai at Kutralanathar Temple in Kutralam (Dance – Thripura Thandavam)

In front of the east-facing Chithira Sabhai is a large and beautiful temple tank with a Mantapam in the middle. The Chithira Sabhai here at Kutralanathar Kutralam was constructed in the 15th Century CE by Parakrama Pandya. The Chithira Sabhai is filled with paintings created with natural herbal colors in the olden days. Over the years they have been touched up with the same kind of material and look as good as new. A large wooden gateway leads into the stone structure of the Mukha Mantapam. The wooden doors are divided into panels each having beautiful carvings including those of Sakthi Peedam, Parvati feeding milk, Krishna, Dakshinamurthy Veerabadra, Murugan, Ganesha, Meenakshi Gajendra Moksha, Rishabaroodar, Vishnu, and more. The Mukha Mantapam has several sculptures of dancing girls. This is followed by the outer Prakaram housing the Sabapathi Mandapam and the sanctum sanctorum. The outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum are filled with paintings including Dwarapalakas, Natraja performing Oorthuva Thandavam, Churning of the ocean by Devas and Asuras, Mohini distributing Amrut to Devas, Badrakali, Muruga fighting with Surapadma, Rama fighting with Ravan, Parasakthi, and more. Coming around the Prakaram you enter the Sabapathi Mandapam which is topped with a pyramidal roof and is plated with copper. The walls and roofs of this mandapam are made of wood and have been painted with colors very nicely. There are 14 stone pillars with 16 faces each. In the southeast corner of this Mandapam is a slot where a scale used during its construction is slotted in and cannot be taken out. The Inner Prakaram has several paintings of Muruga, Ashta Durgai, Vali Samharam, Veerabadhra, Gajendra Moksham, Kutralanadar with his consorts coming in procession on top of the Bull mount, Nataraja performing the Sandhya Thandavam, Ashta Bhairava, Ilanji Murugan with consorts, Sastha, and others. This is followed by the Ardha Mantapam which has paintings of Chokkanadar, Meenakshi Amman, History of Kutralanadar temple, Nellaiappar, Gandhimathi, Ramalingar, 16 forms of Muruga, 15 forms of Ganesha, and others. The inner Sanctorum has a painting of Lord Nataraja facing south. around him are seen Sage Pathanjali, Karaikkal Ammaiyar, Sage Vyagrapadar, and Manicka Vasagar. Also seen are Sri Chakra, Ashta Sakthi, Lalitha Parameswari, Parasakthi Peedam, Meenakshi Sundareswarar wedding scene, Nataraja performing the Oorthuva Thandavam, Badrakali, Wives of the Darugavanam Sages, Krishna, Kangala Nadar, Kannappa Nayanar, Kurumpala Nadar, Nandeeswarar, and more. An official caretaker acts as a guide and explains the details of the paintings very well to the visitors who are willing to spend quality time here.

Holy Water (Theertham) – Sivamadhu Gangai Theertham

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Kurumpala (jack fruit – Artocarpus sps)


89 inscriptions have been found in Kutralanathar Kutralam. Out of these 10 belong to the period of Parantaka Chola I (regnal years 927-943 CE) and are mostly in Vattezhuthu script with one in Tamil. He is mentioned as Madurai Konda Parakesarivarman indicating that he won over Madurai. This is the only temple in Pandya country where his inscriptions are found. These inscriptions mention donations of land, gold, money, goats, cattle, and others to the temple. The lord’s name is mentioned as Thirukutrala Perumal, Kutraladevan, and Mahadevan. 3 inscriptions belonging to Rajaraja Chola I found here mention the renovation work done during his times. He also had the Vattezhuthu script inscriptions translated into Tamil inscriptions. The lord’s name in his inscriptions is mentioned as Thirukutralathu Pattaragar. Some of the inscriptions found here are damaged including the one belonging to Rajendra Chola I.

Thirugnanasambandar (7th Century CE) has visited and sung the praise of the Lord here at Kutralanathar Kutralam. Thirunavukkarasar has mentioned the temple and lord in his hymns. Manickavasagar (9th Century CE), Pattinathar (14th Century CE), and Arunagirinathar (15th century CE) have also rendered songs on Kutralanathar Kutralam. Thirikoodarasappa Kavirayar (17th Century CE) has written several literary works including Thirukutrala Sthala Puranam, Thirukutrala Kuravanji, Thirukutrala Maalai, Thirukutrala Silaedai Venba, Thirukutrala Yamaga Andhadhi, Thirukutralanadar Ula, Thirukutrala Kovai, and more.


Kutralanathar Kutralam is believed to have been a Perumal temple that was changed to a Shiva temple by Sage Agastya. Sage Agastya saw this Conch-shaped Perumal temple but was denied entry and he went ahead to Ilanji and lamented to Lord Muruga. Lord Muruga suggests deceit as a way to win over such an act and suggested that he disguise himself as a Vaishnavite saint and enter the temple. Having entered he received a warm welcome from the priests and requesting them to fetch some articles for Pooja he was alone with the Lord. He kept his hands on top of the Perumal idol and it turned into a small Shiva Lingam. It is believed that Lord Shiva was affected with a headache because of this and even today the ablution of the main deity is made with a medicinal liquid made of 64 herbs. In the evenings he is offered a medicinal drink as Prasadam which is then distributed to devotees here at Kutralanathar Kutralam.

Kutralanathar Kutralam is one of the 5 Sabhas where Lord Shiva is believed to have performed his cosmic dance. This Sabha is called Chithira Sabha, pictorial hall and the lord performed his dance called Tirupura Thandavam.


Kutralanathar Kutralam is right below the main falls. Kutralanathar Kutralam is 60 kilometers northwest of Tirunelveli and 6 kilometers south west of Tenkasi.

Stay and Food

Kutralam has several restaurants, hotels, and resorts to suit all budgets. Vinayaka Mess in Melagaram on the Tenkasi road is a small and nice place for great vegetarian food.

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