Karaikandeswarar Nainarkurichi

Karaikandeswarar, Nainarkurichi

Saivite Temples, Kanyakumari District


Karaikandeswarar, facing east


Ambal, facing south

Other Deities

Vana Dharma Sastha, Naagar, Kalabhairava, Valampuri Vinayaka

Karaikandeswarar Nainarkurichi is a large east-facing temple situated in 2 Prakarams. A 7 tiered Rajagopuram is under construction in the entrance on the east side. The large outer Prakaram has a flagstaff and Balipeedam before a Shobana Mandapam. This mandapam has some nice carved pillars with images including Krishna with a flute, Arjuna in penance, and more. The outer Prakaram has a lot of trees, a large well, and is very spacious, housing the shrine of Kala Bhairava on the northeast side. The inner Prakaram houses the Sanctum sanctorum of the main deity and has a covered circumambulatory path around. The goddess is an idol installed in the Ardha Mandapam. The outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum are nicely carved. The Valliaar River runs right behind the temple and there is a small gate in the west wall of the temple to reach it. In a platform below three trees Banyan, Peepal, and Neem are installations of Naagar and Vana Dharmasastha.

Holy Water – Valliaar (River)

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – No information


Karaikandeswarar Nainarkurichi is a temple considered older than 13th Century CE from the fact that it in an inscription the sanctum is called ‘Aga Nazhigai’ which is said to have been in use before that period. There are a total of 10 inscriptions here at Karaikandeswarar Nainarkurichi. They mention the temple and lord as Rajaraja Thennattu Kurunattu Kadikaipattinathy Karaikandeswarar Udayar – Nayanar and Koothadum Devar endra Karaikandeswaram Mahadevar. There are mentions of an organized permanent and temporary administrative system, roles, a monitoring body visiting the temple for inspection, and other details. The Shobana Mandapam was constructed by one Perumpatrapuliyur Sivanukkadiyan in 1432 CE employing fine artisans. There is also mention of names like Sivanukkiniyar, Uyyavandha Devar, and Petran, but their contribution details are not available.


The Lord drank the poison that came out during the churning of the ocean by the Asuras and Devas in the quest for Amrut (Ambrosia). To prevent it from entering his stomach the goddess presses his throat and held the poison (Karai – unwanted stain or element) thus giving the lord his name as Karaikandeswarar. There is a platform in the sanctum sanctorum where lamps are kept to worship Sage Kara. It could also be that the lingam was installed by him and received the name Karaikandeswarar. The lord here is believed to have imbibed the Navagrahas inside him and appears as Lingotbavar.


Karaikandeswarar Nainarkurichi is 10 kilometers south of Thucalay via Eraniel. Thucalay is about 15 kilometers northwest of Nagercoil. Karaikandeswarar Nainarkurichi is about 32 kilometers west of Kanyakumari off the coastal road.

Stay and Food

None locally. The closest place for food and stay is Nagercoil and Kanyakumari.

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