|Elevation||138 m (453 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
As of 2001[update] India census, Kalavai had a population of 9761 as on year 2001. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Kalavai has an average literacy rate of 68%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 77%, and female literacy is 59%. In Kalavai, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
The modern village Kalavai, in Arcot taluk of North Arcot district, Tamil Nadu, situated about 120 km from Madras is a village of historic importance from the time of the Pallavas in the 8th century. Ancient relics and inscriptions relating to the village are found in the local Siva temple named thirukkarisvara temple. Probably the temple was built by one Thirukkari and hence the name Thirukkarisvara (on anology with Rajarajeshvara). If so the history of the village could be traced to the Sangam age. The area was under the control of the Malaiyamāns of Thirukkoiyilur where ruled the famous chiefain Malaiyamā Thiru-mudikkāri who has been sung by eminent Sangam poets like Auvaiyār, Paranar, and Kapilar. It is not unlikely that Thirukkari of this family built the Siva temple after whom it came to be called Thirukatisvaram. The Sthala purāna of the village seems to support this antiquity. Its close link to Malaiyanur may be seen in the sequence.
Kalavai is also called Temple Town. There are number of historical temples situated in Kalavai.
Karivaradharaja Perumal temple
There are a number of temples in the village that needs attention. The Vishnu temple in the center of the village was in existence from before the 13th century but seems to have been rebuilt in the Vijayanagara times in the 16th century, the moolavar here looks like Tirumala Balaji.
thirukkarisanadhar temple(kottai Koil)
The village Kalavai has been in existence since the 7th century is seen from a Śiva linga with sixteen facets on its cylindrical part, a feature found mostly in Pallava temples in Mamallapuram and Kanchipuram. It is now found inside the enclosure. Also found is a natarajar statue which look alike the same in Chidambaram natarajar temple..due to safety the above said natarajar statue is now kept in karivaradharajar temple.
The town is historically significant for the Sankara Matham, and houses the Adhistanams (place where the mortal remains of a Saint are interred) of the 66th and 67th pontiffs of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam - Sri Chandrasekarendra Sarswathi the VII and Sri Mahadevendra Saraswathi the V. The 68th Pontiff His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamiji was initiated into ascetic order and ordained as the 68th Acharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Math in Kalavai.
Kalavai sprang into world wide prominence with the association of Sri chandrasekarendra Sarasvati swamigal, the mahaswamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti pitha. Two of his predecessors on the pitha attained samadhi merged with (Para-brahmam) in the village where their Brindāvan temples are enshrined. Providence brought young Swaminathan (the pre sanyasa name of mahaswamigal) to Kalavai when he was hardly 13 years of age and was ordained as the Head of the Kanchi Mutt under the diksha name chandrasekarendr Sarasvathi, in this village in 1907. After the country was liberated from the Colonial rule and its associated alien thrust, this Great Acharya by his divine wisdom and pure and simple life guided the religious destiny of India. He instilled a sense of harmony and spiritual life among the people of India and received veneration from Mahatma Gandhi down to all the leading personalities of India. His Call to the United nations in His celebrated song "maitrim Bhajata" - cultivate friendship and harmony among different people of the world, - rendered into soul stirring song by the Supreme musician M.S Subbhalakshmi, echoes even to this day. The Acarya started his march of peace and spirituality from this village and ever since this village is a place of pilgrimage not only for the devout but all sections of people.
Towards the end of 19th century, a family of mudaliyars who were residents of Kalavai but devotees of Mel-malaiyanur-Angala Parameswari temple took efforts to built the Angala parameswari temple in Kalavai. One Appu Mudaliyar who established the temple and received a yantra from the Kanchi Sri Sankaracharya Mahaswamikal and consecrated it in the temple. Appu Mudaliyar was succeeded by his efficient son Kannappa mudaliyar who popularized the temple in Karnataka and Andhra besides Tamil Nadu. His statue is placed in the enclosure of the temple. Ever since the worship is in the hand this family. The goddess is seated in the sanctum with four arms holding udukka, and trisūla in the rear arms and sword and varada pose in the front arms. But what is significant is that an image of the Goddess, over five meters in length, is portrayed in stucco, brightly coloured, with multiple arms wielding weapons, lying face up on the ground in the front mandapa. She is portrayed as if in a Shadkōna (six sided) sacrificial pit. The image is awe inspiring and clothed and decorated with garlands. This temple is attracting large number devotees and believed to cure incurable diseases especially mentally affected patients. Peoples from far off places like even Karnataka and Goa are seen coming here. Thus it is a great pilgrim center prarthanai sthalam. Secondly it attracts tens of thousands of devotees on the Mahasivarathiri day for the masana kollai festival when the Goddess is taken in procession to the cemetery.
kamalakkani amman temple
Adjacant to this Angalaparameswari temple is another temple dedicated to Goddess Kamalak-kanni which also attracts large number of devotees. This is almost identical with the Angala Parameswari temple with a sanctum inside and a huge stucco figure of the Goddess in lying position with multiple hands in the front mandapa. This is considered Goddess Mahalakshmi. This temple was built in 1979 by Swami Sacchidananda who settled here after several years of wanderings in Northern part of India including the Himalayas and other places as a mendicant. This Sanyasin who remains in the temple premises observes complete silence and does not speak to any for the past sixteen years. He communicates through gestures and also written messages. He is a noble personality, venerated and held in high esteem by the devotees and village people.
Subramanya swamy temple
There is also a Subramanya temple in the middle of the Market street. It is possible that a Subramanya temple existed in the village earlier as seen from a beautiful 16th-century Subramanya bronze image in the village. However it might have fallen into disuse. The temple is in a neat surrounding with a good tank and enclosure. The temple includes a sub-shrine for Lakshmi narayana and another for Siva Akhilandeswari with Goddess Meenakshi.The temple attained popularity with His Holiness, the Mahāswāmigal presenting a yantra for consecration in the temple in the year 1978.The Subrahmanya temple plays an important role in the life of the people of Kalavai.
- "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.