Ideal Trip Duration: Full Day

Base Station: Karaikal

Nearest City to Karaikal: Tiruchirappalli (154 Kms)

Best Time to Visit Karaikal: November to February

Peak Season: November to February

State: Pondicherry | District: Karaikal

Karaikal Weather: Summer: Maximum - 40°C and Minimum - 24°C
Winter: Maximum - 32°C and Minimum - 18°C

At a distance 130 km from Pondicherry, 285 km from Chennai, 66 km from Chidambaram, 283 km from Rameswaram, 274 km from Madurai, 96 km from Thanjavur & 154 km from Trichy, Karaikal is an important port town and district headquarters under the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Karaikal was a French colony until its merger with Indian Union in 1954.

French acquired Karaikal in 1674 and converted that into a major commercial port, primarily trading spices. French acquired trading rights in Karaikal by then Tanjore rulers. In 1739, the current town of Karaikal along with its adjacent villages were transferred to French East India Company by the king of Tanjore, Sahuji. This territory was surrendered to the British in 1761. The control changed between French and British few times until it was finally handed over to French in 1816 until the Treaty of Paris, 1814.

Karaikal has rich heritage and it still holds the old charm. Thirunallar, Karaikal Beach, Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple and Tantondreeswara Temple are few important places to visit around Karaikal. Nagore Dargah (14 km), Nagapattinam (20 km) and Velankanni Church (31 km) are other major attractions in the vicinity of the town.

Nearest Airport to Karaikal is Tiruchirapally at a distance of 158 km. Karaikal Railway Station is connected with Chennai, Trichy, Mumbai, Thanjavur, Ernakulam, & Bangalore. There are regular buses from Karaikal to Pondicherry, Chidambaram, Nagapattinam, Chennai, Rameswaram, Thanjavur & Trichy.

November to February is the best time to visit Karaikal. It usually takes a full day to visit Karaikal and surrounding places.

OTHER INFO
Internet Availability: Good
STD Code: 04368
Languages Spoken: Tamil, French, English
Major Festivals: Details Not Available
Notes/Tips:
None

HOW TO REACH KARAIKAL


By Air

Nearest Airport: Tiruchirappalli - Tiruchirapalli Airport (158 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Karaikal Railway Station (0 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Karaikal Bus Station (0 Kms)

22 PLACES TO VISIT & THINGS TO DO IN KARAIKAL


Beach

At a distance of 1.5 km from Karaikal Railway Station, 23 km from Nagapattinam, 67 km from Chidambaram, 100 km from Thanjavur and 133 km from Pondicherry, Karaikal Beach is one of the best natural beaches in the South Tamil Nadu. It is one of the famous tourist attractions in Karikal located on the banks of Arasalar River. It is popular among the tourists as a place of entertainment and it is also the perfect place for those seeking leisure, tranquility, solitude and piousness.

The beach has been given easy accessibility by widening the 2 km road along the Arasalar River and by illumination of the road, now known as Beach Road. The Karaikal beach offers a lot to adventure lovers and family tourists with water sports like boating, canoeing, kayaking etc. and beach games like Volleyball. In addition to natural sandy beach, a boat jetty in the Arasalar, Children's Park, Restaurants, Tennis Court are also attracting large crowd of local people and tourists.

The boat club offers .....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 1.5 km from Karaikal Railway Station, Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple is a Hindu temple situated in Barathiar Street in the center of Karaikal Town.

The temple was constructed by Malaiperumal Pillai in 1929. The main goddess is Punithavathi, also known as Karaikal Ammaiyar, the only woman out of the sixty three Nayanmars. This temple is known for the huge idol of the lady saint and there is also a sanctum for Vinayaka inside this temple.

According to history, a lady named Punithavathi lived in Karaikal in 5th century AD. She married a merchant named Paramadatta and performed spiritual Pujas to Lord Siva. One day Lord Shiva sent two mangoes to Paramadatta through a devotee and he sent it home. Lord Siva disguised himself as a Saint and appeared before her for taking food in the house of Punithavathi. She offered food along with mangoes kept for her husband to the Saint. When the food was supplied to her husband he demanded the mangoes that he had given to her. She .....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 6 km from Karaikal Railway Station, 96 km from Thanjavur and 135 km Pondicherry, Sri Saneeswarar Temple, also known as Dharbaranyeswara Swamy Temple is one of the most popular Shani Temples in India and is located in Thirunallar near Karaikal. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Dharbaranyeswara Temple houses a rare Marakata Linga.

According to history, the great King Nala was relieved from the trouble of Lord Saneeswaran after worshipping the Lord consecrated in this temple. It is believed that by bathing in Nala theertham here will wash off all kinds of misfortunes and miseries caused by one's past karmas. Whenever (planet) Saturn transits from one zodiac sign to another once in every 2.5 years, millions throng this shrine to offer prayers. Believed to have been built in the 7th century, the temple also has small shrines dedicated to other gods including Lord Ganesha.

Marakata Linga (Emerald Linga) is located inside .....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 1.2 km from Karaikal Railway Station, Mastan Syed Dawood Dargah is a famous tomb that houses the relics of Syed Dawood, a Muslim saint born at Bukhara, a city in Uzbekistan. The saint arrived in India for taking spiritual guidance from Halareth Syed Ahmed Kalkhel Diwan Oliulla of Trichy. Staying in the region during his entire lifetime, the saint died in February 1829 at the age of around 120 years.

Kandoori Festival is one of the most popular Muslim festivals in the region which is held at Mastan Syed Dawood Dargah in Karaikal. This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm by local people in honor of Syed Dawood. The dargah is adorned with flowers and other decorative materials during the annual Kandoori festival, which is marked by processions, music, dance and display of fireworks.


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 1.5 km from Karaikal Railway Station, Sri Nithya Kalyana Perumal Temple is situated on the Bharathiar Road and close to the Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple.

This temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu has an idol of Vishnu carved using a single stone in the lying posture (known as Ananthasayanam). The temple premises also have shrines of Alamelu Thaayar and Aandal.

Rama Navami, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Hanuman Jayanti and the entire month of Margazhi are the festive days at this temple and large number of pilgrims visits the temple on these occasions.

Timings: 6 AM - 8 PM


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 2.5 km from Karaikal Railway Station, Sri Parvatheeswara Swami Temple is situated on Thirunallar road near Pondicherry University.

This temple is dedicated to Lord Parvatheeswara, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. This is a west facing temple and represents Chola architectural style. It is believed to be built around the 8th century, during the reign of Pallavas but the temple was thought to be reconstructed during the period of the Cholas. The site is one of the four places in Karaikal region visited by Thirugnanasambandar, a saint who sang Pathigam in honour of Sri Parvatheeswara Swami. The temple celebrates Vijayadasami, Kadaimuzhukku, Thiruvadhirai and Surasamharam festivals.

Timings: 6 AM - 8 PM


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 6 km from Karaikal, Melakasakudy is one of the popular villages of Karaikal district located on the Karaikal - Nedungadu Road. It is famous for the Varadaraja Perumal Temple which was constructed in the 12th century.

This temple is protected by the state authorities as an ancient monument. The interiors and exteriors of this temple have beautiful stone carvings that enhance the beauty of the monument. Tourists and pilgrims visit this temple mainly during the celebrations of Vaikunta Ekadasi, Thiruvathirai, Chithirai Pournami and Masi Magam festivals. Tourists can also visit Sri Naganatha Swami Temple which is located in the vicinity of the village.


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 1 km from Tirumalarajan Pattinam Bus Stop and 8 km from Karaikal, Aayiram Kaliamman Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Kali is renowned for housing a wooden statue of the goddess.

According to legend, a devotee of Senguntha Mudaliar community had a dream to collect a Goddess Amman idol in silver box floating in sea. The next day he visited the sea shore and found the box with the idol of Goddess Amman with inscription in palm leaf indicating that this deity has to be worshipped with 1000 items daily.

Since performing puja with 1000 items could not be conducted daily, the people of the locality decided to have the puja conducted once in 5 years. Accordingly, even today during the Tamil month of Vaikasi, the festival is conducted for 3 days during the months of May and June. After the festival, the idol is kept back in the box to be opened during the next festival after 5 years. The temple will be kept open throughout the year but the original idol .....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 9.5 km from Karaikal, Sri Tantondreeswara Temple is an ancient shrine situated in Nedungadu and is believed to have been constructed during the Chola period. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is also known as Tantondrinathar Temple.

Sri Tantondreeswara Temple is named after the local deity Nedunthuyar Theertha Nayaki, meaning one who redressed the longstanding grievances of the people, the consort of Tantondrinathar or Swayambhu Eswara. The temple was declared as a protected monument in 1971. The temple features many inscriptions on the outer walls of the sanctum. It is also believed that the temple was renovated by the Nayak Rulers of Thanjavur. Tourists throng to the temple especially during the celebrations of Thiruvadhirai festival and the annual festival at Sri Mariamman Temple.

Several architectural excavations were conducted near the temple site in 1948, 14 Bronze idols belonging to the 14th century were unearthed in the vicinity of this temple. The .....


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 14 km from Karaikal, 85 Kms from Thanjavur, 9 Kms from Nagapattinam & 291 Kms from Chennai, Nagore is famous for a Muslim dargah dedicated to the 16th century saint Meeran Sahib.

The Nagore Dargah shrines are situated at three locations, Nagore, Vanjur and Silladi. The main campus is at Nagore, spread over an area of about five acres, which is enclosed by compound wall, with four impressive entrances, one each on the north, south, east and west. In front of the western gate, just outside the compound, is a large tower, 131 feet tall, called 'Periya Minara'. Nagore Dargah literature discloses that Tanjore King Pratap Singh built -Periya Minara- around 1760 AD, about 200 years after the death of Meeran Sahib. He is said to have built it in appreciation of having received the grace of Meeran Sahib.

Although this is a Muslim religious place, the dargah's rituals and architecture are influenced by Hinduism. Kandhuri .....

Distance (From Karaikal): 14 Kms
Trip Duration (From Karaikal - Including Travel): 2 Hours
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Pilgrimage

At a distance of 15 km from Karaikal, 10 km from Thirunallar, Bhadrakali Temple is located in the Ambagarathur village of the Karaikal district. The ancient temple is dedicated to Goddess Parasakthi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi.

The temple facing north has an attractive Rajagopura, large wide corridors and mandapa surrounding the temple. The temple houses an image of the goddess with 4 arms made using terracotta. The idol of the goddess is always draped in a white cloth with measures around 20 m in length.

According to legend, two demons called Ambaran and Amban were very cruel and started troubling the world. When Indra, Brahma and Vishnu went and complained about them to Lord Shiva, he sent Bhadrakali to kill them. At that time Ambaran took the form of a buffalo and fought with the Goddess. She cut off his head using her sword. The devas requested Goddess Kali to live in that place and protect the people and she stood there facing the north (Vatabhadra Kali). The .....


Beach

At a distance of 20 km from Karaikal, 85 Kms from Thanjavur & 298 Kms from Chennai, Nagapattinam is a coastal town on Bay of Bengal and is a district headquarters.

This place is also famous for its temples. There are few famous temples in Nagapattinam - The Shri Kayahorana Swami Neelayathatchi Amman Temple, Sowriraja Perumal Temple, and Nellukkadai Mariamman Temple.

The long and clear beaches of Nagapattinam attract large crowds on evenings.

This favourite town of Chola Kings was also celebrated later by Vijayanagara Kings. The Portuguese had a commercial contact with this town during the rule of the Thanjavur Nayak Sevvappa Nayakkar and Acchuthappa Nayakkar.

There are several historical and pilgrimage places around Nagapattinam.

Distance (From Karaikal): 20 Kms
Trip Duration (From Karaikal - Including Travel): 4 Hours/Half Day
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Pilgrimage

At a distance of 20 km from Karaikal, 80 Kms from Thanjavur and 5 Kms from Nagapattinam, this temple is situated at about 1 Km north of Ramarmadam Busstop in Nagapattinam - Tiruvarur Main Road. The ancient history says Kamadhenu, the devalogha cow prayed to Lord shiva in this shrine to get rid of its sabam. One more speciality about this temple, on evenings, Nataraja is worshipped first prior to all other gods. This is also referred as Dhakshina Chidambaram (chidambaram is where famous temple of lord Nataraja located). This village is also called as Vyagrapuri named after the lord.


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 22.5 km from Karaikal, 80 Kms from Thanjavur and 5 Kms from Nagapattinam (which is 85 Kms from Thanjavur), this temple is situated on Nagapattinam-Tiruvarur main road. The ancient history says here Lord Murugan got the 'Sakthi Vel' from Parvathi (refered as Velnedunkanni amman in this temple ) and killed Suran. This temple is one of the few temples in Tamilnadu which has both Siva and Vishnu in the same campus. The 'Vel vankuthal' festival in the Tamil month of Iyappasi is very famous here.


Pilgrimage

At a distance of 23 km from Karaikal, 23 km from Mayiladuthurai, 44 km from Chidambaram and 57 km from Kumbakonam, Thirukkadaiyur is a popular temple town located on the east coast of Tamil Nadu in the Nagapattinam district. The Amritaghateswarar - Abirami Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is the most famous temple in Thirukkadaiyur.

The presiding deity of this temple is Sri Amirthalingeswara and his consort is Sri Abirami. Thirukkadaiyur is one of the 8 Veera Sthalas, where Yama was clashed with Lord Shiva. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Shiva protected Markandeya, son of Mrikandu, from Yama. The scar caused by the Yama's rope is visible on the Linga during abisheka times.

The temple was built by Chola kings in 11th century in the traditional Chola architectural style. Spread over 11 acres, the temple has great architecture and has five enclosures, huge towers and spacious mandapas. Based on the inscriptions .....

Distance (From Karaikal): 23 Kms
Trip Duration (From Karaikal - Including Travel): 2-3 Hours
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Pilgrimage

At a distance of 1 km from Velankanni Railway Station, 31 km from Karaikal, 93 km from Thanjavur, 11 km from Nagapattinam, 161 km from Pondicherry and 313 km from Chennai, The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is located in Velankanni town of Tamil Nadu. The Roman Catholic Latin Rite Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health. Situated on the coast of Bay of Bengal, this is one of the most popular Christian pilgrimage sites in South India.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni is one of the most frequented religious sites in India. It can be traced back to mid-16th century and is attributed to three miracles at different sites around where the Basilica currently stands. The appearance of Mary and Christ Child to a shepherd boy, the curing of a buttermilk vendor and the rescue of Portuguese sailors from a violent sea storm are the miracles associated with this shrine.

The shrine was started as a small structure in the .....

Distance (From Karaikal): 31 Kms
Trip Duration (From Karaikal - Including Travel): 2-3 Hours
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Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

At a distance of 217 km from Chennai, 189 km from Kanchipuram, 43 km Cuddalore, 66 km from Pondicherry, 43 km Mayiladuthurai, 85 km from Nagapattinam, 303 km from Madurai and 173 km from Trichy, Chidambaram is a pilgrimage town in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. Well known for Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram is one of the most celebrated shrines in South India and also one of the famous Tamilnadu places to visit.

Chidambaram is also known as Thillai. The name Chidambaram comes from the Tamil word Chitrambalam which means the small hall or stage of wisdom. According to legend, it was once a forest of thillai, a mangrove species of trees. There was once a small shrine on the banks of a tank. The saints Vyagrapada and Patanjali are said to have worshipped at this shrine, now called Thirumoolanathar. It is believed that their penance attained perfection with the revelation of Shiva's cosmic dance by Lord Nataraja on the auspicious Thai Poosam .....

Distance (From Karaikal): 37 Kms
Trip Duration (From Karaikal - Including Travel): 2-3 Hours
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Pilgrimage

At a distance of 2 km from Thiruvarur Junction, 40 km from Kumbakonam, 39 km from Karaikal and 62 km from Thanjavur, Thiruvarur is a famous temple town known for Sri Thyagaraja Temple is a Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is the fore most form of the Saptha Vidanga Sthalams.

Thyagaraja Swamy temple was first constructed by Aditya Chola I in 9th century. The temple was upgraded and rebuilt with stone by Rajendra Chola I in 11th century. The later expansions are attributed to Vijayanagar rulers. This temple is one of the biggest in the country and has the biggest temple chariot in Tamil Nadu.

Sri Vanmikanathar (Lord Shiva) is the presiding deity of the temple. According to the legend, Vishnu worshipped Shiva in the form of Somaskanda, associated with Ajapa dance. Shiva is said to have appeared in an anthill to Vishnu. So, no abishekam is performed for Vanmikanathar. Daily poojas are offered to a small idol referred .....

Distance (From Karaikal): 39 Kms
Trip Duration (From Karaikal - Including Travel): 2-3 Hours
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Beach

At a distance of 40 Kms from Chidambaram, 40 km from Karaikal, 90 Kms from Thanjavur & 257 Kms from Chennai, Poompuhar was once the biggest port on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, and was as its peak of glory under the earlier Chola kings.

The River Kaveri is merging with the sea here. It was known as puhar due to the exquisite beauty of the port town, and it later came to be called Poompuhar. Silappathikaram and Manimekalai, the tamil epics, bring out the greatness of the city in some of the poems in Sangam literature.

Danish Fort that was built as early as 1620 A.D is the masterpiece of the Danish architecture in India. The fort is in perfect condition till now and most of the decorations and carvings are still prominent.

A fine beach and calm waters offer good opportunity for sunbathing and swimming.

Distance (From Karaikal): 40 Kms
Trip Duration (From Karaikal - Including Travel): 3-4 Hours
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Pilgrimage

At a distance of 20 Kms from Chidambaram, 45 kms from Karaikal and 110 Kms from Thanjavur (located in Nagapattinam district), the Bhramapureeswarar temple in Sirkazhi is build by the Chola kings of Vikrama Chola, Kulottunga II and III in 10th Century.

The Bhramapureeswarar is a vast temple complex with 3 different Shiva Shrines known as Bhramapureeswarar shrine, Thoniappar Shrine and Sattainathar/Vatukanathar Shrine. The Bhramapureeswarar shrine is housed in the lower level. The second level houses Periyanakar with Periyanayaki on a 'Thoni'(boat), hence the name Thoniappar (The boat symbolizes that Thoniappar helps people cross their sea of birth). The Thoniappar shrine on a mound west of the central shrine, and the Sattainathar shrine in the second floor reached from the southern prakaram of the Thoniappar shrine by a flight of steps.

The famous Thirumulaippal Utsav is held every year during Chithirai month.

Open from 6 AM - 9 PM.

Distance (From Karaikal): 45 Kms
Trip Duration (From Vaitheeswaran Koil (5 km) - Including Travel): 1 Hour
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Pilgrimage

At a distance of 17 km from Mayiladuthurai, 27 km from Chidambaram, 45 kms from Karaikal, 54 km from Kumbakonam and 94 km from Thanjavur, Vaitheeswaran Koil is town in Nagapattinam district which is famous for the Vaidyanatha Swamy Temple. The temple is also known as Pullirukkuvelur.

Vaidyanatha Swamy and Thaiyalnayaki are the presiding deities of this temple. The Selva Muthukumara Swamy shrine here is also considered to be of important. There are Shiva lingas said to have been worshipped by Rama, Jatayu, Skanda, Surya and Angaraka. It is believed that Rama and his brother Lakshmana cremated the vulture king Jatayu who was killed by Ravana when he tried to prevent the abduction of Sita at this place. There is a pond at this temple called Jatayu kundam.

It is one of the Navagraha temples associated with the planet Mars (Angaraka). According to legend, Planet Mars was once afflicted with leprosy and was cured by Vaidyanatha .....

Distance (From Karaikal): 45 Kms
Trip Duration (From Karaikal - Including Travel): 3 Hours
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Pilgrimage

At a distance of 35 km from Mayiladuthurai, 43 km from Thanjavur, 54 km from Karaikal, 65 km from Nagapattinam, 72 km from Chidambaram, 105 km from Trichy, 129 km from Pondicherry, 235 km from Madurai and 282 km from Chennai, Kumbakonam is one of the ancient temple town located amidst the two rivers Cauvery and Arasalar in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu.

The name Kumbakonam in English means the Pot's Corner. In olden days it was called Thirukudamookku and it is also popularly called as Kudanthai now. According to history, Kumbakonam dates back to the Sangam period and was ruled by the Early Cholas, Pallavas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Kings, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas. It rose to be a prominent city between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, when it served as a capital of the Medieval Cholas. The town reached the zenith of its prosperity during the British Raj when it was a prominent center of European education and Hindu .....

Distance (From Karaikal): 54 Kms
Trip Duration (From Karaikal - Including Travel): Full Day
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