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Hills near Kalakkad
Hills near Kalakkad
Kalakkad is located in Tamil Nadu
Location in Tamil Nadu, India
Coordinates: 8°30′43″N 77°33′29″E / 8.512°N 77.558°E / 8.512; 77.558Coordinates: 8°30′43″N 77°33′29″E / 8.512°N 77.558°E / 8.512; 77.558
StateTamil Nadu
 • TypeTamilNadu
 • Total27,025
 • OfficialTamil
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)

Kalakkad is a Panchayat town in Tirunelveli district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Currently, the Chairman of the Town Panchayat is PC Rajan, who hails from the nearby village called Manjuvilai. The town is centered on the Sathya Vageeswarar Temple.


As of the 2011 India census,[1] Kalakkad had a population of 30,921. Males constitute 48.9% of the population and females 51.1%. Kalakkad has an average literacy rate of 78.93%, higher than the national average of 72.99%: male literacy is 82.8%, and female literacy is 75.21%. In Kalakkad, 10.18% of the population is under 6 years of age.


As per popular folklore, the name Kalakkad was due to one of the following:

  1. The place was a forest full of 'kalaa' களா(Tamil word) tree;
  2. It was a battlefield or 'kalam'களம் (Tamil word);
  3. It was the capital of 'kalapirars' who ruled Tamil Nadu from this place.[citation needed]

In History of Travancore from the Earliest Times, P. A. Sankunny Menon mentions Kalacaud instead of Kalakkad. A few battles between the Travancore Kings and the British at this place are recorded. Joannes de Lannoy, the only son of Eustachius De Lannoy, was killed in battle of Kalakkad on 14 September 1765 at the age of twenty.

Kalakkad was a scene of frequent struggles from in late 1750's during the Polygar revolt led by the Puli Thevar and changed hands several times.

The village was the capital of Pandya kings briefly. A rest house constructed by the British is still there at Sengaltheri in the nearby mountains.

Even today people refer to Kottai(கோட்டை), the equivalent of a fort, in this area, though no traces of it are found today.


The village of Kalakkad has several streets, running around the Sathyavageeswarar temple. Generally the streets were inhabited by people of specific castes, though these days one can find a mixture of people in all the streets. The village is surrounded by lush green paddy fields, with the western ghats at the horizon. Many small waterfalls can be seen in the distant mountains. Maalai (Garland) aruvi near Sengaltheri can be seen from a distance of almost 8 km.

There are several other temples for Mutharamman, Isakkiamman, Suadalaimadan and Ayyanar in the village. Pari Vettai and Kodai Vizha are annual festivals which are celebrated in these temples.

The forest areas have been declared as a protected tiger reserve – Kalakkad Mundanthurai Sanctuary.

Sathyavageeswarar Temple[edit]

Gomathiambal, Sathyavageeswarar Temple in Kalakkad was constructed by King Marthanda Varma.

Kalakkad is home to an ancient temple dedicated to Sathyavageeswarar (Lord Siva). The other principal deity is Goddess Gomathi.

Dating back to the 13th century AD or the late Pandya period, further additions were made till the 17th century AD.

The Rajagopuram renovation and temple Kumbha Abhishekam (ritual consecration) was performed on 14 July 2011 by Bhakthar Peravai (Devotees Forum).


The Gopuram or the temple tower of Sathyavageeswarar Temple is 135 feet tall,[2] having nine tiers. More than 200 ancient paintings adorn the inner walls of each of the nine tiers. A project to conserve these paintings has been undertaken by the REACH Foundation, an NGO.[3] They resemble the Vijayanagara and Nayaka schools of art of the 16th–17th century AD. This gallery of art on each of these floors depicts scenes from the Ramayana, Thiruvilayadal Puranam, Parvathi Parinayam, the life and work of Saivaite saints and some local events. The Gopuram structure is made of lime mortar and brick. This Gopuram contains the maximum number of sudhais or human figures made of lime.


The exquisite workmanship of those days is revealed in the stone sculptures around the temple. There are several musical pillars in the mandapams of the temple, which resonate with sapthaswaras when tapped gently by hand.

Ramanavami – Krishna Temple[edit]

Krishna Temple in Kalakkad is famous for the Ramanavami festival celebrated in April. This festival has been going on for more than 105 years.[citation needed] It starts 10 days before Ramanavami and is completed after Anjaneya Utsav.

Sri Soundara Pandeeswar Natarajar Temple[edit]

This temple is Located at around 2 km North of Kalakkad. This is one of the popular Nataraja temples of Tamilnadu. The person who created the Chidamabaram Nataraj idol created five idols and this is one among them. This is located at the foothills of the Pothigai. The location was once a forest and elephants used to come in front of the temple tank. On seeing this, King Soundhara Pandy created this village and built this temple in his name. The Sthala Vruksham (temple tree) of this temple is Aamla.Aarudhra festival happens in Margazhi month is famous over the kalakkad region.

Angalaparameshwari Temple (Mathang kovil)[edit]

There are two Angalaparameshwari temples in kalakad. One placed in Kottai thopu street and another placed in Kovilpathu. The famous function in both temple is Masi festival. Maha Shivarathiri function is very famous because of Alagu kudam from kalakad river.

Western Ghats[edit]


Kalakad is surrounded on three sides by the Western Ghats. The forest area is protected as KMTR Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. It is home to many endangered animals such as lion tailed macaque etc. It is a tiger sanctuary also, though differing counts are put forward by the government about the correct number of tigers.

The village is surrounded by vegetation, and it is probably one of the most fertile locations in Tirunelveli district. In fact, this was one reason why it changed many hands from Cheras to Pandyas to Nawab to the English. Recently (about 30 years back) a small dam, known as Vadakku Pachayar dam has been constructed by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Vadaku Pachayar is a tributary of Tamirabarani river which merges near Tharuvai. Even when there is no water in, say Courtralam, it is said that water is available here always for tourists to visit and enjoy. To enter into the sanctuary areas, you need to get special permission from forest department. However, the dam is approachable without such a permit. The climate of Kalakad is usually cool and breezy because of the Western Ghats.


Kalakkad has three higher secondary schools: Government Higher Secondary School, Girl's Higher Secondary School run by Kuntrakudi Adheenam, KAMP Meerania Higher Secondary School run by a minority community trust (all are state board schools) and two private matriculation schools in addition to many primary schools. Generally, the people living here are well-educated. People from this village are living all over the world. Earlier, they were mainly going only to Ceyl.


St Paul Lutheran Church at Nagankulam kalakad

Kalakkad has lot of churches affiliated to Lutheran Church and Tirunelveli Diocese Church of South India (CSI). The biggest church in Kalakad is St. Paul Lutheran Church of Lutheran at Nagankulam. The tower in front of the church is about 85 feet high.

The Salvation Army Church located in Ambedkar Nager,Kalakad (comes under the Palayamkottai division)


Kalakad can be reached from Tirunelveli, Nanguneri and Vallioor etc. by bus. The nearest railway station is Nanguneri. Nearest airports are at Thiruvananthapuram and Madurai. Tuticorin also has an airstrip having two flights a day to Chennai (MAA)and is about 80 km away.

Many private buses like SGKR, Sakthi, Shree Ganapathy, Priya Bus and minibuses do provide transport facilities for small villages as there is long gap of time duration for government buses.

Nearby villages and temples[edit]

The villages around Kalakad are Sivanaperi, Malayaneri, Sivapuram, Moongiladi, Nagankulam, Thambithoppu, Singampathu, Shivashanmuga puram (kudil street), Chidhambarapuram, Mavadi, Mootha Nainar Medu, Thoppur, S.N.Pallivasal, KaruvelanKulam, Keelapathai, Manjuvilai, Dr. Ambedkar Nagar, Pathmaneri, Kattarkulam, Srinivasnagar Padaliayarkulam, Chettimedu, Pudur, Kalladi Chidambarapuram and JJ Nagar etc.

Notable temples include Vallioor Subramaniya Swamy temple, Thirukkurunkudi Nambi temple, Mela karuvelankulam Sri Soundara Pandeeswar Natarajar Temple (the sthapathy who created the Chidamabaram Natarajar idol created this Natarajar also), Nanguneri Vanamamalai temple. Othaipanai Sudalai Aandavar Kovil near Sirumalanji.

Manjolai Hills[edit]

Located between elevations ranging from 1000 to 1500 meters, the Manjolai area is set deep within the Western Ghats within the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in the Tirunelveli District. Located on top of the Manimuthar Dam and the Manimuthar Water Falls, the Manjolai area comprises tea plantations, small settlements around the tea plantations; Upper Kodaiyar Dam and a windy view point called Kuthiravetti

The tea plantations and the whole of Manjolai Estates are operated by the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation Ltd on Forest Lands leased by the Government of Tamil Nadu. There are three Tea Estates within the Manjolai area – Manjolai Estate, Manimutharu Estate and Oothu Estate. The Estates are located on elevations ranging between 2300 feet to 4200 feet. The estates, road and the settlements in the Manjolai area are managed by The Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation Ltd.

Notable people[edit]

  1. Vidharth, star of the Tamil movie Mynaa
  2. Visu (director), an actor and director of Tamil movies


  • "A forest less travelled". DNA India. 21 November 2010.
  • Subramanian, T. S. (7 July 2011). "Ancient temple gets a face lift". The Hindu.
  • "என் ஊர்: களக்காடு - நடிகர் விதார்த்".
  1. ^ "Census of India 2011: Data from the 2011 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  2. ^ Subramanian, T.S. (23 May 2008). "Height of Kalakkad Gopuram". The Hindu.
  3. ^ Subramanian, T.S. (23 May 2008). "New Look for Kalakkad Murals". The Hindu.

External links[edit]