Karaikal is an ancient temple town famous for its various temples. It makes for a complete tourist destination for tourists and pilgrims alike. The sandy beach, the city's rich French cultural heritage, the beautiful temples and the port are sure to interest one and all. Besides temple hopping, you could also relax in the beach and go boating in the backwaters of the Bay of Bengal here. It is a perfect getaway for those wanting to escape the noisy city. Here is a guide to the scenic town of Karaikal in Pondicherry.
Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple
The Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple is a shrine dedicated to Karaikal Ammaiyar who was a famous Bhakti Saint. This small yet beautiful temple was built in 1929 and contains an enormous idol of the goddess also famous as Goddess Punithavati. The locals worship her for the supernatural powers. Legend has it that when her husband deserted her and married another woman, she prayed to Lord Shiva and asked him to turn her into a demoness. Impressed by her devotion Lord Shiva gave her the name of Mother Ammaiyar and announced that when he performs the Tandava she would sing for him. Every year the ‘Mangani' festival is celebrated here during the month or June-July and devotees throng to the temple to offer their prayers during these days.
A view of the temple.
Photo Courtesy: Jonas Buchholz
Mela Kasakudy is a popular village in the Karaikal district and is famous for the Varadaraja Perumal temple that was constructed here in the 12th century. Protected by the State Authorities as an ancient monument, the stone carvings in the exterior and interior of the temple is a definite attraction. It is also recommended to visit the Sri Naganatha Swami Temple while you are in the village. It is mainly a tourist attraction during the celebrations of Thiruvathirai, Vaikunda Ekadasi, Masi Mangam festivals and Chithirai Pournima. This place has been an attraction to pilgrims and tourists alike due to its religious and architectural significance.
Karikal Sandy Beach
The Karaikal Sandy Beach is perhaps one of the most beautiful beaches to be found in the region. Unexploited by tourists, the beach provides solitude and serenity to water lovers. Well known for its water sports, you should certainly go boating in Arasalar, the backwaters of the Bay of Bengal. The boat club provides many boating options, including; paddle boats, motor boats and rowing boats to the tourist. There is also a children's park for the little ones, a few beach restaurants and a tennis court. Make sure that you go there at the right hours to experience the sunrise or the sunset, when the beach is at its best.
Scenic view of the sunset at the beach.
Photo Courtesy: Jassimjazz
Sri Kailasnathar Temple
Sir Kailasanathar Temple is possibly one of the oldest surviving temples in Karaikal. It is believed to be around 2,000 years old but is said to have been reconstructed during the eighth century by the Pallava rulers. It is dedicated to Lord Kailasanathar and Goddess Soundrambal. The most attractive part of the temple is perhaps the four elaborate doorways. The temple is visited by many devotees who come here to seek the blessings of the lord.
How to Reach Karaikal
By Air: The Trichy Airport is the closest domestic airport to Karaikal. It is well-connected with all the major cities of India.
By Train: Nagore is the nearest railway station to Karaikal and is at a distance of about 10 km from here. Karaikal is directly connected by train from most towns located in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Kerala.
By Road: State Government buses of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry ply to and fro from Karaikal at a regular basis. Private buses are also available at regular intervals. Tamil Nadu State Express and Omni buses have recently been started for pleasure travels to various cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore to name a few. For local transportation taxis and auto- rickshaws are also available.