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KARAIKAL
A religious retreat in the land of the Gods
Introduction A Visit Around Sacred Ground
The Festive Side to Karaikal Around Karaikal
Shopping and eating Navagraha Temples Around Karaikal
Path to your Religious Retreat Accommodation
For Further Information
   Introduction
          Get away to a place where there’s a tryst with God whichever way you go.

         A place with countless temples, each with its own story to tell. A majestic church that’s the tallest landmark in town. And a dharga right in the center of the town to commemorate the miracles of a Muslim saint…

         This quiet and picturesque former French enclave of Karaikal is the second largest constituent of the Union Territory of Puducherry. It is located 135 Km south of Puducherry, 20 Km north of Nagapattinam and about 300 Km from Chennai.

         Karaikal forms the delta of the Cauvery River system. It is an agricultural town and is dotted with irrigation canals and paddy fields. To add to its beauty it also has the tributaries of Arasalar, Nattar, Nandalar, Thirumalairajanar and Pravadayanar crisscrossing over the landscape.

         Rich in architecture and history, Karaikal offers it all. It is studded with scores of beautiful temples and quiet little places to relax. Legend has it that the King Thirumalai Raja built 100 temples and an equal number of holy tanks at T.R.Pattinam. All this makes Karaikal a peaceful religious retreat.
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   A visit around sacred ground
Sri Dharbarenyeswaraswamy Temple

          Sri Dharbarenyeswaraswamy Temple is one of India’s most famous Lord Shiva temples. This 7th century beauty stands as a monument to Lord Shiva’s attainment of Abhayahastham. It is situated 5 Km West of Karaikal and is well connected by bus and attracts devotees from all corners of the world. Sri Dharbarenyeswaraswamy Devasthanam comprises:

  • Saneswara Bagavan Temple:
    It’s unique because it is one of the very few temples in India dedicated to Lord Saneswara (Lord Saturn). The Nala Theertham situated in the Northwestern side of the temple washes away all the sins and hardships of its devotees.
  • Sapthavidanga Shrine:
    This sacred place enshrines a naturally formed Marakatha (Emerald) linga known as the Nagavidanga. According to legend it is the second of seven images gifted by Indra to Muchukuntha, a Chola King.
  • Nalatheertham:
    There are three holy tanks (Theertham) namely the Brammha Theertham, the Saraswathy Theertham and the Nala Theertham. They are spiritual pools where you can step in for a dip and rejuvenate yourself.
           Temple Timings: 6 a.m to 1 p.m and 4 p.m to 9 p.m.
Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple

          According to legend Lord Shiva came as a sadhu to eat in the house of Punithavathi who was destined to occupy a prominent place among the 63 saints with the name of Karaikal Ammaiyar. An image of this great lady saint is housed in a small but beautiful temple.

Masthan Sahed Dharga

          This Dharga with 4 minarets is the main Dharga of Karaikal. Legend has it that Masthan Sahed a descendant of the Prophet came to Karaikal about two centuries ago. The saint performed innumerable miracles during his visit to various places. He left his mortal remains as he had predicted, in his 120th year. His last rites were performed at what is now called the “Kadar Mahal” (Mansion of Mirrors). He was buried in accordance with his wishes at the center of the town in Karaikal.

Our Lady of Holy Angels Church

          Of the many Roman Catholic Churchs of this erstwhile French Territory, none compares to the Church-Notre Dame Angels – Our Lady of Holy Angles Church. Built in 1739 by the French, it is known for its architectural beauty, intricate stained glass windows and its decorated marble altar. The Church has a lofty, imposing look with its 133 feet tall tower, the tallest landmark of the town, housing three huge clocks and five large bells.

Karaikal Beach

          Karaikal beach is one of the most scenic natural beaches in Tamil Nadu and is one of Karakal’s major attrations. The Beach Road – 2 Km road that runs along river Arasalar is brilliantly illuminated. Going down this scenic road is a refreshing wholesome experience.

Boat Club

          The Boat Club is located on the backwaters of the river Arasalar, stretching about 2 Km from the town. The boat club provides both peddler and rowing boats to the tourists.

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   The Festive Side to Karaikal
          There are many holy festivals to attend in karaikal.

  • Once in two and half years, lakhs of people gather to participate in the Sanipeyarchi Festival. During this festival Lord Saneeswara moves from one Rasi to another.
  • The month long Mangani Festival in July is a feast dedicated to Karaikal Ammaiyar.
  • The Kandhoori of saint Masthan Sahed is another important festival which happens in the month of September (subject to the sighting/appearance of moon)
  • The feast of Our Lady of Holy Angels is celebrated on Auguest 15th every year during which the decorated statue of Our Lady is taken around the streets of Karaikal.
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   Around Karaikal
Around Karaikal
 Chidambaram 60 Km World famous Chidambaram Temple
 Vaitheeswaran Koil 52 Km The place of traditional Fortune Tellers
 Tranquebar 12 Km A former Danish settlement with an old fort on the seashore.
 Nagoor 12 Km World famous for Nagoor Dharga. A sacred place for Muslims.
 Valankanni 29 Km The site of a world famous Basilica dedicated to Mother
 Tanjore 100 Km Known for Birhadeshwara Temple
 Point Calimer (Kodiakkarai) 70 Km Bird sanctuary
 Kumbakonam 62 Km Adi Kumbeshwar Temple
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   Shopping and eating out at Karaikal
Shopping:
           Step into the Dharga Market, a shopping complex at Thirunallar Road for linen, clothes, electronic goods and other fancy products. (Closed on Fridays)
Eating out:
          Feast on vegetarian, non-vegetarian & Continental delicacies at famous restaurants like Hotel Seagulls, Hotels Nala, Hotel Madhura, Hotel Sri Kandaa’s, Hotel Chola Chinese Restaurant, Hotel Chettinad, Paris International and Hotel Nanda.
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   Navagraha temples situated in and around Karaikal
Navagraha temples situated in and around Karaikal
 Suryanar Koil near Aduthurai 48 Km Sun
 Thingaloor near Kumbakonam 80 Km Moon
 Vaitheeswaran Koil near Sirkali 45 Km Mars (Sevvai)
 Thiruvenkadu near Poombukar 40 Km Mercury (Bhudan)
 Alankudi near Needamangalam 60 Km Jupiter (Guru)
 Kanjanoor near Suryanar Koil 45 Km Venus (Sukkiran)
 Thirunallar near Karaikal 5 Km Saturn (sani)
 Thirunageswaram near Kumbakonam 50 Km Rahu
 Keezhaperumpallam near Poombukar 49 Km Kethu
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   The Path to your Religious Retreat
           Karaikal can be accessed by both air and road. The nearest airport is at Tiruchirapalli, 163 Km west of Karaikal. Frequent flights and convenient timings make it a fairly easy place to reach. The nearest railway station is at Nagore, 10 Km from Karaikal. It can also be accessed by bus, both private and Government.
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   Accommodation
Name of the hotel Phone No. Tarrif
 Govt. Tourist Home 222621 120-300
 Arasalar Guest House 220531 300-500
 Municipal Tourist Home 222757 150-300
 Hotel Nanda 225033 200-500
 Hotel Paris International 220304-306 250-1000
 Hotel French Residency 231403 A/c 300-650
 City Plaza 222730 80-375
 Kumaran Guest House 220596 100-500
 Saudha Manor 225973 350-850
 Presidency Lodge 222736 80-400
 Hotel Moon Park 236427, 236026 80-300
 Devasthanam Tourist Home 236530 150-300
 Bharathiya Yatri Avas Vikas Samithis 236547 50-75
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   For Further Information
Contact:
Branch Office of Tourism
Jawaharlal Nehru Street, Karaikal
Phone: (04368) 222177
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