Sri Karaikal Ammayar temple is a famous Hindu temple. It is situated in Karikal. This Hindu temple is dedicated to devotees of lord Shiva, Karaikal Ammaiyar (one among the 63 Nayanmars).
In this famous Hindu temple lord Shiva is called as Somanatha and Vinayaka is Sambanda Vinayaka. The Speciality of this temple is, the goddess is very powerful and clears any problems related to marriage.
In the month of Aani (June-July) Mangani Thirunal (Mango Festival) is celebrated every year.
Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple was built by Malaiperumal Pillai in 1929. In this place, once called Karaivanam, there lived a couple Dhanaduttan and Dharmavathi. Punithavathi (Sumathi in her earlier birth in the celestial world) was born to them. She was a Shiva devotee since her childhood. She was married to Paramadutta a trader but continued to be greatly devoted to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva sent two mangoes to Paramadutta through a devotee who sent it home. Lord Shiva came in disguise to Punithavati’s house and asked for alms. She happily offered one fruit to him as he said that he was a Shiva devotee.
When Paramadutta came home for lunch, Punithavati served him the remaining fruit. As it was so sweet, the husband asked for the other one too. Punithavati was in a dilemma and begged the Lord to help her. A mango fell into her hands which she served to her husband. The second mango was sweeter than the first one. He asked his wife what happened and she told him the truth. When her husband demanded her to get one more through Lord Shiva, she prayed and to the surprise of Paramadutta, a fruit appeared in Punitavati’s hand. Paramadutta understood that Punitavati was divine and that he could not be a husband to her. He parted from her and went away to another city, remarried and had a daughter and named the child Punithavati.
When Punithavati came to know all this, she asked Paramadutta to come back to her. He however refused as he thought her to be divine. Punithavathi prayed to Shiva and asked him to take away her youth and beauty and to make her old. She heard a voice from the heavens asking her to proceed to Kailash, the holy abode of Shiva. As Kailash was a holy place, Punithavathiar went towards the north by placing her head on the ground and inching forward. She did not want to place her feet on the sacred ground. Lord Shiva was pleased with her devotion and came to receive her saying, “Have you come safely?” He showed her his cosmic dance. The Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple was built later in her birthplace, Karaikal.
The Mangani Tirunal Festival (mango festival) is observed on the Pournami (Full-Moon) day in Aani (June-July). The belief is that Karaikal Ammaiyar gave annam (food) to Bhikshatanar (Shiva) during his tour around the world begging for alms. She served him curd rice and mangoes. To commemorate this incident, curd rice with mango is distributed in a big hall adjacent to the Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple on this festival day.
Lord Shiva comes in a procession as Bikshadana with his begging bowl and devotees throw mangoes from a higher level. Those seeking the birth of a child catch the fruit in their sari ends. Next day, the event of Karaikal Ammayar’s spirit reaching Kailash is celebrated. On this day, Lord Shiva can be seen outside the temple. The two hymns Rettai Mani Malai and Tiruvandadhi by Karaikal Ammayar are recited. After the chanting, all the lights in and around the place are put out. Only a flame near Lord Shiva and one near Ammaiyar is lit. The torch of Ammayar is taken to the one near Lord Shiva and united with it, symbolizing the merging of Ammayar with the Lotus feet of the Lord in the form of a Jyoti (flame). This festival is celebrated in Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple in Panguni (March-April) also.
How to Reach
The temple is 1 km from Karaikal bus stand.
Near By Railway Station :
Karaikal, Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthurai
Near By Airport :
Private lodging houses are available in Karaikal and Tirunallar form the convenience of the devotees.