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Cholavandan is located in Tamil Nadu
Location in Tamil Nadu, India
Coordinates: 10°01′00″N 77°58′00″E / 10.0167°N 77.9667°E / 10.0167; 77.9667Coordinates: 10°01′00″N 77°58′00″E / 10.0167°N 77.9667°E / 10.0167; 77.9667
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District Madurai
 • Chairperson of Town Panchayat [1]
Elevation 164 m (538 ft)
Population (2001)
 • Total 21,661
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 625214
Telephone code 04543
Vehicle registration TN-59

Cholavandan is a panchayat town in Madurai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on the left bank of the Vaigai River, sixteen miles north west of Madurai.[2] It is one of 12 "town- panchayats" of Madurai district.[3]


The town has been variously referred to as "Sholavandan", "Solaikuruchi" and "Senagapuri". During the Sangam period, the town belonged to Pandya Kingdom. There is a popular local myth, that a war between Chola and the Pandya kingdoms, resulted in the name. The invading Chola king, apparently got a sense of reverence and awe, seeing the intensive agriculture and scenic beauty of the village, irrigated by the Vaigai river; which reminded him of the Cauvery Delta region. He abandoned the war. The town was then named as Cholavandan [Cholan+Vandan]. Uvandan means getting awed, in Tamil. Legend has it that the invading king found the village and its flourishing agriculture cultivation, even more agriculturally prosperous then the historically famous Tanjore villages: and called this town as "Chinna Tanjai"(Tamil: சின்ன தஞ்சை).


Sholavandan lies on the left bank of the river Vaigai. The river turns from its easterly direction, to bend and travel in a north–south direction at Sholavandan - before turning south east and flowing towards Madurai city.[4] Sholavandan can be stated to be lying in some sort of a valley - between the Nagamalai hills and the Sirumalai. Both these hills can be perhaps described as spurs of the Western Ghats. Sholavandan is also the name of a forest range under Madurai division. The hills have some tracts as reserved forests, which is classified as a dry deciduous forest.[5] The geology of the land around Sholavandan is speculated to be hard rock, represented by the Charnockites and mixed Gneisses.[6] Sholavandan being on the banks of the river Vaigai would presumably have Alluvial soil.[7] The fertile soil around Sholavandan could be due to this land being a part of an alluvial plain.


This town appears in history from the Sangam period itself. A hillock in Anaipatti, a few kilometres from Sholavandan has a large cave: with hundreds of Jain beds with inscriptions carved in the Brahmi script. These are dated to 300 BCE. One of these inscriptions is stated to trace the origin of the name of the city Madurai. [8] Some Jain beds around the village seem to have epigraph evidence of Sholavandan.[9] In stone beds made by Jains, inscriptions have been found in the Tamil-Brahmi script;

"பாகன்ஊர் பே(ர)தன்; பிடன் இத்தசெபோன்"

where பாகன்ஊர் (Paganur) is thought to refer to the present village of Sholavandan [10]

Pagunur has been stated to have been established in the 200 BCE; which can perhaps be taken as one of the earliest evidence of documented inhabitation. Thenur a village near Sholavandan, has been reported to have been mentioned in Sangam texts. A rock cut inscription in the nearby Samanamalai hillock, dated also to 200 BCE, has reported one interpretation of the Tamil Brahmi script to include the word Thenur. [11]

A gold treasure found in Thenur, has been assigned a date of around 300 BCE: which could be another byte of information on the antiquity of the Sholavandan.[12]

The Tenkarai irrigation tank has been reported to have been dug by Chezhiyan Senthanm (620 to 640 CE). A barrage to feed water into this tank from the Vaigai river is also attributed to this period. An inscription has been noted, which records the renovation of the "Kallanai" (kall -stone, anai-bund) during the period of Pandyan Srivallabhan.(1175-1180CE) According to V. Vedachalam, an archeologist, a twelfth-century inscription found in Kuruvithurai village, refers to this channel as "Parakrama Pandian Peraru".[13] The king referred to, could be conceivably Parakrama Pandyan II

The famous Saivite saint, Thiru GnanaSambandar is associated with the banks of the river Vaigai at a spot a couple of kilometres downstream from Sholavandan. There are unauthenticated stories that during the reign of Arikesari Maravarman( 670-710 CE)- Sambandar worshipped a Siva lingam at this spot, which he called ‘Edu Senranai Tharum Edakam.’ That became the present Thiruvedagam.[14]

The Iyravadeshwarar temple in Anaiyur, nearby Sholavandan: is estimated to have been constructed around the eight or the ninth century.[15]

The Thengarai temple- termed Akhiladeswari sametha Moolanathar temple- dedicated to Lord Shiva is reported to have been built around 946-966 CE. An interesting sculpture here is of a bas relief, showing a person slitting his own throat. This sculpture has been dated to the tenth century; which is theorised to be commemorating an act of a "martyr".[16]

The Cholan king Raja Raja Chola I has been reported to have conquered the Pandyan kingdom, around 1000 CE: and after capturing Madurai and the surrounding region, renamed this place as "Chaturveda mangalam".[17]

The Jenagai Narayanaswamy temple is believed to have been constructed in the thirteenth century. Rani Mangammal is believed to have constructed a "chatram" (free lodge) for pilgrims, in the single agaraharam street, around 1700 CE.. Funds collected through this chatram is also believed to have paid for the more famous Mangammal chatram of Madurai.[18]

Ariyanatha Mudaliar is said to have settled some of his relatives in Sholavandan, around the sixteenth century; during the reign of Viswanatha Nayak.[19] This is locally stated to be the origin of the Mudaliar settlement, colloquially termed "Mudaliar Kottai".

In 1757, Hyder Ali captured Sholavandan, on his way from Dindigul to Madurai, reportedly "sweeping of the whole of the cattle and moveables in the surrounding country".[20] This invasion was reportedly at the invitation of Puli Thevar and the then ruler of Madurai, Barkadthullah.[21]

Under the British rule, Sholavandan started receiving some benefits of a settled administration. In 1856, the Madurai collector reported on the construction of a new road connecting Tirumangalam, Madurai to Sholavandan; to "save the necessity of bandies going from the southward to Dindigul, coming into Madura".[22] This road construction was apparently started with a subscription raised by the merchants of the Nadar community of Thirumangalam.[23]

Sholavandan started receiving the benefits of western school education as early as 1870. The report said that "Sholavandan is one of the best schools of its grade in the district...the boys pay a fee of Rs.1-8-0. There is at this school a Sanskrit class. No school house, has however yet being built".[24]

Another mention of the Sholavandan Anglo Vernacular school is found in another report in 1877.[25]

Sholavandan was one of the villages featuring prominently in a controversy over the legality of a traditional Hindu custom of swinging devotees from the hook in temples; which appeared in the English press in late October 1891.[26]

Sholavandan and the neighbouring villages, got increased access to Vaigai water after the construction of Peranai regulator in the 1890s decade.[27]


Sholavandan prominently features in the movie Pattikada Pattanama where Sivaji Ganesan and Jayalalithaa play the lead roles. It is also featured in the movie Karimetu Karuvayan starring Vijayakanth.

Intensive agriculture of paddy, seems to have shaped the culture of Sholavandan. Retired professor and archaeologist V Vedhachalam, has documented a popular saying that a person who went to Sholavandan would get his daily rice. "The quote became popular as Sholavandan was one of the most fertile places in Madurai, where paddy was cultivated round the clock, three seasons a year," [18]

As with much of South Tamil Nadu, bull taming or Jallikattu and cock fights, are a part of the village culture. These events are usually around traditional temple. festivals.[28]


Sholavandan houses educational institutions like Vivekananda College, Madurai; which is located at Thiruvedagam, a couple of kilometres from Sholavandan on the banks of the river Vaigai. This is an autonomous educational institution of higher learning, affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University. Vivekanandha Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Government Girls Highers Secondary School, Arasan shanmuganar Government boys higher secondary school, MVM Matriculation school and Kamarajar higher secondary school are the local schools. And also many other primary schools were started few years back, A primary school is started two years ago in rayapuram couple of kilometers from sholavandan which is Zee public school(CBSE curriculum).


Elected in the Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 2011, M.V.Karuppaih of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam represents Sholavandan in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. Sholavandan assembly constituency is part of Theni (Lok Sabha constituency),[29] which is represented by R.Parthipan of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.[30]


As of 2001 India census,[31] Sholavandan had a population of 21,661. Males constitute 50% of the population and females 50%. Sholavandan has an average literacy rate of 72%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 79%, and female literacy is 65%. In Sholavandan, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.


The prime occupation of the people is Agriculture. This agriculture benefits from the access to the irrigated water of Vaigai river, through the Peranai regulator in Dindigul District. Sholavandan used to be very famous for the Betel leaves grown, which used to be exported to other states in the sub continent.[32] Rice is the major crop grown; the extensive Paddy fields, around Sholavandan are a visual evidence. Banana and Coconut plantations are the other major crops. Thenkarai village, which lies across the river Vaigai from Sholavandan is sometimes called a small "Coconut island".


  • Jenagai Mariamman Temple, Janaga Narayana Perumal Kovil, Sri Santhana Gopala Krishnaswamy Kovil situated in Double Agraharam Street,[33] and Saneeswaran Kovil are some of the temples in Sholavandan. The largest temple dedicated to Shiva within the geographical limits of Sholavandan town panchayat, is Arilmigu Pralayanayaki sametha Sri Pralayanathaswami Kovil in Sivan Kovil street, on the banks of the river Vaigai.
  • Arulmigu Draupadi Amman temple is also located very close by and the mahakumbabhishekam was performed on 10-Feb-2014.
  • Arulmigu Akilandeswari Samethe Moolanadha swami temple is a temple of Lord Shiva, sited in Thenkarai, Madhurai, a village which is on the opposite side of Sholavandan on the banks of the Vaigai River. Its construction is dated to 946-966 CE during the reign of Cholan Thalai Konda Veerapandian.[34]
  • Another notable temple is the Chithira Ratha Vallabha Perumal Temple; at Kuruvithurai village which is 8 km from Sholavandan. It is believed to have been constructed by Jadavarman Sri Vallabha Pandyan, who ruled from 1101 to 1124 CE.[35][36] The temple is famous for its worship of the planet Jupiter, which in Hindu astronomy is referred to as Guru. The temple is famous for its festivals, which is attended by thousands of devotees: to commemorate the astronomical transition of the planet Jupiter from one zodiac to another.[37] There is a separate shrine for Jupiter ( Guru) in front of the Eastern rajagopuram where he is seen facing west - in the direction of the main deity - Chitra Ratha Vallabha Perumal.
  • Edaganathar temple in Thiruvedagam village, is another famous temple of Shiva, on the banks of the river Vaigai, three kilometers upstream from Sholavandan. The site is sanctified by its association with the Tamil Shaivism philosophy of GnanaSambandar, dated between 670-710 CE. This site is believed to mark his victory in philosophical disputation with the Tamil Jains.[38] These historical events are believed to have happened during the reign of Arikesari Maravarman (670-710 CE). Mangayakarasi a Chola princess, who was his queen, is believed to have sought the help of Gnana Sambandar- to shift her husband, from the influence of Jainism to Saivism.[39]
  • Shiva temple at Mullipallam
  • Kutladampatti Falls is a waterfall located in the village of Kutladampatti near sholavandan in Madurai district about 30 km (19 mi) northwest of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India.[1] The waterfallfall is in a reserve forest managed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department.[2] The water falls from a height of about 27 metres (89 ft).

Famous Personalities[edit]

  • Arasan Shanmuganar(15.9.1868-11.1.1915) was a professor of Tamil at Madurai College and a great expert on Tamil Grammar. His interesting and scholarly articles were published in early Tamil erudite journals, such as SENTHAMIL. Apart from number of other works he composed an excellent detailed commentary on THOLKAPPIYAM'S PAYIRAM.

[40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45]


  1. ^ Official results published by TN State Election Commission
  2. ^ Baliga, Rao B.S., ed. (1957). Madras district gazetteers, Volume 2. the Superintendent, Govt. Press. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "District Maps Online". GIS for Tamil Nadu. Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  4. ^ "Madura". Gazetteer of South India. 2. New Delhi: Mittal Publications. p. 213. 
  5. ^ SS. Kavitha and A. Shrikumar (March 20, 2013). "How green Madurai is...". The Hindu. Reserve forests under Madurai division include semi evergreen forests at Sirumalai, Kizhuvamalai and Vavuthumalai and Dry deciduous forest ranges at Cholavandan and Usilampatti (Elumalai, Sulapuram, Nalluthevanpatti, viralipatti, Kulasekerankottai, Vikiramanagalam). 
  6. ^ "Madurai District profile". Tamilnadu Water Supply and Drainage Board. Retrieved 11 April 2013. Most parts of the district is hard rock, represented by the Charnockites and mixed Gneisses 
  7. ^ "Water year 2007, District Groundwater brochure Madurai district" (PDF). Chennai: Chennai, South east coastal region, Central Groundwater Board, Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India. p. 6. Retrieved 11 April 2013. alluvial soil is found along the courses of the river 
  8. ^ T. LAJAPATHI ROY (Jul 5, 2004). "Jain vestiges". The Hindu. MADURAI IS the linguistic capital of South Tamil Nadu. It boasts of more than a dozen popular Jain abodes situated in picturesque locations with cave inscriptions in Tamil Brahmi script dating back to 300 B.C. Samanar Malai in Nagamalai Pudukottai, Anaipatti, near Sholavandan, Arittapatti and Mangulam Alagarmalai and Yanaimalai, are places of interest to students of history and commoners as well. To reach Anaipatti site one has to trek almost two kilometres from the Vikkiramangalam- Usilampatti Main Road. The place at the top of the hill has an enormous cave sheltering hundreds of Jain beds with Brahmi scripts carved on it, prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. The origin of the name of the city, Madurai, can be traced from those writings. `Madurai' is referred to as `Mathirai' or City of Walls. 
  9. ^ [1] A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: from the Stone Age to the Twelfth Century. By Upinder Singh p387
  10. ^ Jain beds from Kongar Puliyankulam
  11. ^ T.S. Subramanian (24 March 2012). "2,200-year-old Tamil-Brahmi inscription found on Samanamalai". The Hindu. Thenur, now located near Sholavandan in Madurai district, found mention in the Sangam texts, Dr. Santhalingam said. 
  12. ^ "Thenur gold treasure found four years ago is 2300 years' old, recent study reveals". Times of India, Madurai. 9 October 2013. A treasure trove discovered from under a fallen tree in a village near Sholavandan in Madurai district in 2009 has now been found to be ancient gold -- 2300 years. This was discovered after government museum officials conducted studies on it two months ago. Officials, who carefully scrutinised the gold bars, found seven of them inscribed with 10 letters of Tamil Brahmi, which is usually found on Jain beds in mountains and caves. 
  13. ^ Annamalai, S (October 30, 2008). "Reason behind Sholavandan greenery". The Hindu. 
  14. ^ Krishnamurthy, R (August 9, 2012). "Temple with rich history". The Hindu. 
  15. ^ S. S. KAVITHA (June 1, 2011). "From the bygone era". The Hindu. There are 25 inscriptions in the temple belonging to early Pandya kings, the Chola kings Rajaraja Chola and Rajendra Chola, Sadayavarman Sundara Chola Pandyan and later Pandya kings. The earliest inscription belongs to Cholan Thalai Konda Veera Pandya (946-966 AD)."The temple might have been constructed during the eighth or ninth century as the inscription on developmental activities belongs to 10th Century," points out Mr. Santhalingam. One of the inscriptions states the presence of a standing army in the village during the early Pandya period. And many inscriptions enumerate the land and cattle donations for maintenance of the temple. Even during the Chola rule spanning 200 years, the Pandya-built temple was maintained. Inscriptions belonging to Raja Raja Chola (985-1014 AD) and Rajendra Chola (1012-1044 AD) and their viceroy Sadayavarman Sundara Chola Pandyan (1011-1031 AD) also give an account of donations. Inscriptions are also found that relate to the later Pandya kings Sadayavarman Sri Vallabha Pandya (12th Century AD), Jadavarman Sundara Pandya (1238-1256 AD) and Maravarman Kulasekara Pandya (1268-1310 AD), and there are records of the Vijayanagara rulers of the 14th Century. 
  16. ^ Kavitha, S.S. (February 29, 2012). "Namma Madurai: What makes a martyr?". The Hindu. 
  17. ^ Padmini Sivarajah (September 11, 2012). "Tracing Sholavandan's history". The Hindu. 
  18. ^ a b Padmini Sivarajah (September 11, 2012). "Tracing Sholavandan's history". The Hindu. 
  19. ^ "2". Madura, a Tourist's Guide (1913 ed.). New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. p. 37. ISBN 9788120607064. 
  20. ^ Beveridge, Henry. "5". A comprehensive history of India; civil, history and social. 2 (1867 ed.). Glasgow: Blackie and Son. p. 222. 
  21. ^ Madras District Gazetteers: Tirunelveli District ( 2 v.) (2002 ed.). Madras: Superintendent, Government Press. p. 199. 
  22. ^ Faber, Colonel C.E. (1857). Report on the district roads for 1855-56. Selections from the records of the Madras Government, Volume 47. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  23. ^ "Summary of news - Madura". The Mornging star. 13. 1841. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  24. ^ Powell, E.B. (1871). Report on Public instruction in the Madras Presidency for 1870-71. Selections from the records of the Madras Government, Volume 28. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  25. ^ APPENDICES A. AND C. TO REPORT ON PUBLIC INSTRUCTION IN THE MADRAS PRESIDENCY. Oxford University. 1877. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  26. ^ Dirk, Nicholas B (2001). Castes of Mind: colonialism and the making of modern India. Permanent Black. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  27. ^ Illustrated Guide to the South Indian Railway (Incorporated in England) (1926 ed.). New Delhi: Asian educational services. p. 94. ISBN 81-206-1889-0. 
  28. ^ "Cock fight held after court nod". Times of India. Jul 23, 2013. With high court nod the cock fight was held at Sholavandan during the festival of the JanagaiMariamman temple on Monday. Birds from the southern states participated in the fight ... Bull fights and cock fights which are very much a part of temple festivals have come under the scanner after animal rights activists started protesting against them. But, villagers insist that these traditional games should continue. 
  29. ^ "List of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies" (PDF). Tamil Nadu. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  30. ^ Official biography of fourteenth Lok Sabha member
  31. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  32. ^ S. Annamalai,"Wilt attack and gale leave Madurai betel crop farmers in the lurch" "The Hindu" May 24, 2005
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  34. ^ S.S. Kavitha, "NAMMA MADURAI Thenkarai village and its mythological mysteries" "The Hindu" March 4th 2010
  35. ^ T. A. SRINIVASAN,"Festive time at the city of temples" "The Hindu" April 21, 2000
  36. ^ S. PRABHU (August 30, 2012). "The Lord saved Guru's son here". The Hindu. The temple which has a strong granite structure has several inscriptions on the Northern and Southern walls of the prakaram dating back to 1000 years. The temple, in its current form and structure, is believed to have been built in the early 12th century A.D. during the rule of Jadavarma Vallabha Pandya. 
  37. ^ Staff reporter,"Devotees throng temple for Gurupeyarchi""The Hindu" November 22, 2010
  38. ^ Iyer, T.G.S. Balaram (1987). Rajagopal, T.R., ed. History & description of Sri Meenakshi Temple. Sri Karthik Agency. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  39. ^ R. KRISHNAMURTHY (August 9, 2012). "Temple with rich history". The Hindu. Legend has it that during the seventh century A.D. when the entire Pandya Kingdom was under the influence of Jainism, Koon Pandya's queen, Mangayarkarasi, a Chola Princess, who was steeped in Saivism, wanted the ruler Arikesari Parankusa Mara Varman – 670-710 A.D. to follow Saivism. And for this she sought the help of Thirugnana Sambandar, who was staying at a mandapam adjoining the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple in Madurai. 
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  48. ^ Mountain path. Sri Ramanasramam. 16. 1979 Retrieved 1 August 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
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