History has it that Sivaganga used to be part of the Sethupathy kingdom. But with help from the Raja of Tanjore, Sasivarna Thevar and Kattaya Thevar conquered Bavani in 1730. It was then divided into five kingdoms and two were given to Sasivarna Periya Oodaya Thevar, who founded Sivaganga and became its first king. The town later came to be run by his successors, and finally his widow Nachiyar ruled it till 1790, before the British took over.
The Marudhu brothers, called the Lions of Sivaganga, were chieftains towards the end of the 18th Century. They fought against the East India Company and were finally hanged in the fort of Tirupattur, which is in the district.
Two important temples are located here – the Sri Vishwanatha Temple and the Sri Subramanya temple.
Temple: Vishwanatha Swamy Temple, Perumal Kovil, Sathiya Moorthy Street
Pillaivayal Kali Kovil
Velayuthasamy Temple [opp. Bus Stand]
Rajarajeswari Amman Temple
Sivagangai Palace Mariamman Kovil, Bose Road
Church: Alangara Matha Church – Madurai Road, St.Joseph Church – College Road
Mosque: Walajah Nawab Pallivasal, Periya Palli Vasal – Nehru Bazaar, Adam Pallivasal – Thondi Road
Flower Festival May-June
Panguni Uthiram Apr-May
The Karpaga Vinayaka Temple is an ancient rock cut cave shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesh, who is 6 feet tall and in the valampuri posture [trunk is on the right side] and faces north. The temple is dated between 1091 and 1238 BC. Built by the early Pandyas, it has been carved in a cave in the hillocks. The deities here are goddess Karthiyayini, Nagalingam and Pasupatheeswarar. It is one of the nine important temples for Chettiars or Nagarathars who maintain it.
This village houses a famous Murugan Temple, known as Shanmuganathar, atop a small hill in Karaikudi. Shanmuga means six faces. Kundrakudi Adigalar, a Tamil saint, lived in the region and attained his Samadhi here.
Known for the 500-year-old Koppudai Nayaki Amman Temple, it is one among few temples where the deity in the sanctum and the procession deity are one and the same. The guardian deity Karupanna Swami appears on a horse.
Places of worship
Temple: Koppudaiyamman Temple, Muthu Mariamman Temple, Sivan Temple.
Church: Madha Church, Sekkalai road, L.F.R.C Church, Devakottai road
Mosque: Sekkalai Road 2. New Mosque – Kattu vassal
Car Festival April-May
Mariamman Temple 10 days festival Feb and April
This is a historic location which was ruled by the Maruthu brothers. The Kaleeswaran Temple is a very large temple, which is run by the Devasthanam and the family of the Rajah of Sivaganga and a zamindar family trust from Devakottai. The place derived its name from the temple and it is a distortion. During the Sangam period this place was called Kaanapair. Sundaramoorthy Nayanar described the presiding devotee in his songs as Kaalai, and the yar was added as a mark of respect. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams.
It is a village near Tirupattur and is a place of importance for Vaishnavites. The Sri Sowmya Narayana Perumal Temple is located here, and this is one of the 108 Divya Sthalams of Lord Vishnu. Surrounded by high walls, the shrine for Narayana has been constructed like a three storied building at three levels – representing Bhoolokam, Tiruparkadal and Sri Vaikuntam. Lord Narayana appears in the three levels in three forms – as Sri Krishna, Sayana Thirukkolam resting on Adiseshan and as Sri Sowmya Narayana at the top level.
This famous Kannudaya Nayaki Amman Temple is 9 kms from Sivaganga. This is the resting place of Kambar, the famous poet who penned the Ramayana in Tamil.
Kollan [blacksmith] + kudu[village]. The blacksmith’s village where arms were manufactured for warfare for the Marudhu. The Vettudaiya Kaliamman Temple is an important landmark, and it celebrates its annual festival in April/May every year.
Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary
This small sanctuary is located 51 kms from Madurai, near Tirupattur in the Sivaganga District, and attracts around 8000 winged friends of 217 species. The birds mostly arrive from European or North Asian Countries.
This town takes its name from the popular Muthumariamman Temple. Muthuchettiar, a childless man, once found a 3-year-old child lost and crying in Chinnamannur. He embraced the child and seeing no one around took her away. On the way home he left her on a river bank, and when he came back, he could not find the child. Lost and frustrated he returned home and lamented to his wife. When they went to sleep depressed, the child appeared in his dream and asked him to make an idol of it and worship it regularly. The child also directed him to add his name with the goddess, and hence Muthu was added, and the temple is called Muthumariamman.
The Madhapuram Badrakali Amman and the Ayyanar temple are important temples here. The 12-foot goddess stands on an open space on a stone pedestal under the shelter of a 30-foot magnificent horse.
Near this shrine is the Adikalam Katha Ayyanar. Usually, Ayyanar is found to be riding a horse, but in this temple, he is in a standing posture. According to the legend he is supposed to have protected Kali by giving her his horse. So, people seek the blessings of Ayyanar before they proceed to Kali.
It is home to a prosperous business community known as Nattukottai Chettiars. Chettinad cuisine is famous for its combination of spices and herbs. This place is also known for its architecture and temples. It is also home to some local crafts like kandaangi cotton saris, and athangudi tiles which come in kaleidoscopic colours and patterns.
It is a fortified hill at around 2000 feet, with a Bairava temple and five rock cut elements called the Pandava theertham. It is also sacred to Muslims, with the Dargah of Waliullah Sheikh Abdulla. At the foot of the hill there are remnants of the Marudhu fort, which was pulled down in the early 19th century.
It is also spelt as Tirupattur. It is famous for the Thiruthalinathar Temple. The Mahatma Gandhi statue is another prominent landmark here. There are around 23 holy spots and temples in and around this place.
Places of worship
Temple: Bairava Kovil, Thiruthali Natahar temple, Poomari Amman Kovil, Maruthu Pandiyar Monument – S.M.Hospital Road.
Church: R.C.Church – Middle Street; Mada Church –Madurai Road.
Mosque: Periya Kadaiveethi, Anna statue, Madurai road
Adi Thirukalyanam - 10 days [June – July]
Mariamman Festival [Apr-May]
This village gets its name from the temple dedicated Vairavan, who is also referred to as Kala Bairava. It is held in very high esteem by Nattukottai Chettiars. The presiding deity at this temple is Valaroli Nathar, and the temple is said to be around 500 years old.
This temple, built by King Nala around 1300 years ago, has the divine presence of Tirunokia Azhagianathar. It is just 25 kms from Sivaganga, and the nick name for this town is thirupachi, a bill hook. [These machetes are made for agricultural purposes.]
Road: Sivaganga is well connected by bus services.
Rail : The Sivaganga railway station is a major transit point in the district.
Air: Madurai airport is 43 kms away.