Soundarapandeeswarar Karuvelankulam

Soundarapandeeswarar, Karuvelankulam

Saivite Temples - Tirunelveli District


Soundarapandeeswarar, facing east


Gomathi Ambal, facing east

Other Deities

Vinayaka, Bala Murugan, Adhikara Nandi, Suryan, Naalvar, Boothathar, Juradevar, Kannimoola Ganapathi, Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi, Chokkalingam, Subramanya with consorts, Nataraja, Saneeswarar, Bhairava, Chandran, Harihara Puthra (Ayyappa). Sanctum niches – Dakshinamurthy, Chandikeswara

Soundarapandeeswarar Karuvelankulam is a small temple with a single Prakaram and a cloistered Mantapam all around. The sanctum of the main deity and goddess are separate. The Mahamantapam and the Ardha Mantapam of the main deity have exquisite carvings of Yaali Pillars, musical pillars, a revolving bar in one pillar, and wonderful large carvings of Sage Vyagrapaadar, Sage Pathanjali, and others. One of the Yaalis has a free-rolling stone ball in its mouth which cannot be taken out. The temple car here is very good and has excellent small carvings of various forms of Lord Shiva. The Nataraja Mantapam has some faded murals including that of Lord Nataraja dancing and Shankaranarayana. The 4 pillars of the wooden Nataraja Mantapa have carvings of Sages Pathanjali, Vyagrapadar, Karaikal Ammayar, and Thirugnanasambandar in them. In one of the pillars is the carving of Goddess Parama Kalyani depicted as a pregnant woman, also called Garba Rakshambikai. This is one of the 5 Shiva temples where the 5 Nataraja Idols made by the same sculptor is installed. The others are Chidambaram, Chepparai, Karisoozhnthamangalam, and Katterimangalam. There is a temple tank outside the temple on the east side. The location of the temple is very beautiful with the hills in the backdrop.

Holy Water (Theertham) – Gomathi Theertham, Temple tank

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Nelli (Indian Gooseberry – Phyllanthus emblica)


Soundarapandeeswarar Karuvelankulam has some inscriptions indicating its antiquity from the Pandya Era. The details of the same are not available. It is said that the temple was built by Soundara Pandya.


Soundarapandeeswarar Karuvelankulam received its name after King Soundara Pandya who built it after his daughter was cured of mental disorder after praying to the Lord here. An elephant is believed to have circumambulated and played in the pond here giving the name of the village – Kari (elephant) Valam (circumambulate) Kulam (pond). Over time the name changed to Karuvelankulam.

In the ancient days, a King called Singavarman gave up his royal life and became a saint. In a forest of Thillai (Excoecaria agallocha) Trees (present-day Chidambaram area) he saw Sages Vyagrapadar and Pathanjali in penance and decided to be there. He shared the divine vision of Lord Shiva dancing for the 2 sages. Upon their advice he created the dance posture as 2 metal idols, one in copper and one in gold. It is believed that the lord not wanting to be in gold changed the metal to copper. Of these two the first one was taken to a place called Chepparai near Tirunelveli and the other was kept in Chidambaram. The sculptor was one Namachivaya Muthu. Further to this, the ruler of a place called Katterimangalam, Veerapandyan who ruled under another King Ramapandya requested him to employ the same sculptor to create two more. One each for Katterimangalam and another for the Nellaiappar temple in Tirunelveli. This was done and upon seeing the beauty of the pieces Veerapandyan chopped off the hands of the sculptor to prevent him from creating more. One was carried to Katterimangalam and one was taken towards Tirunelveli. The second group of carriers was prevented to proceed by the Tamiraparani in spate. They left the idol on the banks which was washed away and discovered by villagers later. The idol washed away and found later could not be moved and the Lord appeared in King Ramapandya’s dream asking him to build the temple there itself. This became Karisuzhnthamangalam. Later the sculptor equipped with wooden appendages made one more such idol which was kept in Soundarapandeeswarar Karuvelankulam.


Soundarapandeeswarar Karuvelankulam is about 3 kilometers north of Kalakkad. Take the road to Cheranmahadevi from Kalakkad and take a left at 2 kilometers onto Padhai – Manjuvilai – Pachaiyar Reservoir road and go for half a kilometer to reach Soundarapandeeswarar Karuvelankulam. There is a Perumal temple also behind. Driving on in this road will take you to the Shiva Temple at Paadhai.

Stay and Food

None locally. The closest for food and stay is Tirunelveli.

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