The Census of lndia has an impressive tradition of recording the diverse aspects relating to the
life of the people of India. Reports on a wide range of topics from Village and Town Studies to
studies on Fairs and Festivals, Arts and Crafts, Tribes and Temples have been well received and
greatly appreciated by discerning experts in various fields.
Temples are treasure houses of the rich social and cultural heritage of India. Apart from being
objects of veneration of the people, they have served as the centres for nourishing various art and
craft forms in the country. Realising the unique position that this institution plays in the life of
the common man, the Census Organisation has been bringing out special studies on Temples. The first
Volume in this series brought out by the Directorate of Census Operations Tamil Nadu, covered the
District of Kancheepuram. The present Volume is the second in the series.
"Temples of Tamil Nadu Thoothukkudi District" is a survey of all Temples located within the revenue
District of Thoothukkudi in Southern Tamil Nadu. 1684 Temples have been listed in this survey. The
Publication contains Maps showing the location of temples, Layout Sketches of some major temples and
a large number of high quality colour photographs. Such an exhaustive listing of Temples, covering
every administrative unit of the District has not been hitherto attempted and cannot be easily
An electronic version of this publication is under process. The additional feature in the CD version
is audio and video gallery. Songs and verse associated with some of the temples featured in the
e-version are rendered by traditional temple musicians.
The Census of India besides conducting decennial population enumeration has also a rich legacy and
tradition of undertaking number of surveys on topical issues like village/town studies, handicrafts,
and linguistic studies, studies on fairs and festivals and temples. These surveys provide very
important and vital inputs to understand better some of the social, cultural and demographic
dynamics of the society. The studies, therefore, not only provide a link with the past but also
allow glimpses of the change over a period of time.
Temples have been treasure houses of the rich social and cultural heritage of India. Apart from
being objects of veneration by the people, temples have served as centres for nurturing various art
and craft forms in the country. Some of the temples had even served as important learning centres of
Vedic scriptures. Architectural excellence of some of these structures and rare sculptures kept
therein has been attracting interest of the tourist and the learned across the globe.
Census Organisation has been bringing out special studies on temples to highlight their unique
sociological, archeological, cultural and organizational aspects. The then, Office of the
Superintendent of Census Operations, Madras brought out several monographs in the series called
'Temples of Madras State' covering all the districts of the Madras State (now Tamil Nadu) as part of
the Census of India, 1961 publications. The Directorate of Census Operations, Kerala undertook a
similar effort following the Census of India, 1991, and published three volumes on ' Temples of
Kerala'. The present Director of Census Operations, Tamil Nadu has initiated a special study titled
'Temples of Tamil Nadu' in the year 2002. The first publication in this series covered the
Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. Encouraged by the responses the first volume evoked, the
present work was taken up covering Thoothukkudi district of the State.
I congratulate Dr. C. Chandramouli, Director of Census Operations, Tamil Nadu and his team for
bringing out this publication and succinctly documenting the rich cultural tradition of India.
The Census of India has an enviable track record of recording the diverse aspects relating to the
life of the people of lndia. Reports on a wide range of topics from Village and Town Studies to
studies on Fairs and Festivals, Arts and Crafts, Tribes and Temples have been well received and
greatly appreciated by discerning experts in various fields. In fact, some of these Reports are the
only available documentation in the concerned field. Continuing this tradition, the Directorate of
Census Operations, Tamil Nadu look up a study entitled Temples of Tamil Nadu. The first Volume in
this series covered the District of Kancheepuram. Enthused and encouraged by the positive response
that this Publication received, the Directorate has come out with the present Volume, which is the
second in the series.
"Temples of Tamil Nadu —Thoothukkudi District" is a survey of all Temples located within the
revenue District of Thoothukkudi in Southern Tamil Nadu. This includes 2 Municipalities, 20 Town
Panchayats, 4 Census Towns and 433 Revenue Villages. 1684 Temples have been listed in this survey.
Details have been furnished for lO5l temples, while in the case of 633 Temples no details could be
gathered. Here are 78 Villages that have reported "No Temple".
A Survey Questionnaire was canvassed from two main sources- the Village Administrative Officer (VAO)
of each village and from the Executive Officers of the Temples under the control of the Hindu
Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
To this was added information available from secondary sources like books and publications.
Particular mention has to be made here of the "Sthala Varalaru", the history of the Temple brought
out by many temples, which is a rich source of information. The information thus gathered has been
presented Town and Village wise. The Permanent Location Codes assigned to the various geographical
units in the Census of India 200l have been adopted in the Survey.
The descriptions furnished about the temples are of two types- l) Empirical information on the
location, size, assets etc. and 2) Information based on folklore, legends and local beliefs. The
first has been culled out from the schedules filled in by the Village Officers and Executive
Officers of the temples. The second category of information is based on various published sources
and hearsay. The Study has reproduced this information as it is without any attempt to research the
authenticity or otherwise.
The Publication contains l0 Maps showing the location of major temples. Layout sketches of some
major temples have also been included. 76 pages of high quality photographs in colour bring out the
beauty of these temples in their full glory. Such a large collection of photographs of temples in
one District is in itself a unique feature.
My personal debt of gratitude is due to Sri G. Ramakrishnan, I.A.S., Commissioner, Hindu Religious
and Charitable Endowments Department, Government of Tamil Nadu and all the officers of the
Department for the cooperation rendered in collecting the information regarding Temples under the
control of the Department.
My sincere thanks are due in particular to the Collector of Thoothukkudi, Sri K. Rajaraman, I.A.S.
and to all officials of Thoothukkudi District especially the Village Administrative Officers without
whose assistance this Survey could not have been completed.
It has been an enormous team effort and I would be failing in my duty if the contributions of the
Officials of the Directorate of Census Operations, Tamil Nadu who have been working tirelessly for
bringing out this Publication were not acknowledged.
At the outset, I would like to place on record my appreciation to the following members of the
Village Survey team - Sri.A.Gurusamy, Statistical Investigator Grade II, Sri. N.Gnanasekaran,
Statistical Investigator Grade II and Sri.G.R.Mugundan, Statistical Investigator Grade III. Sri R.
Joseph, Senior Geographer, Sri A. Lazar, Senior Draftsman, Smt J. Coumary, Senior Draftsman and Sri
E.S. Jayamohan, Senior Drawing Assistant of the Cartography Section prepared the Maps and Layout
Sketches. I acknowledge their contribution.
Smt. K. Chandra and Smt. M.S. Shantha Stenographers, Smt. M. Selen, LDC and Sri S. Anandakumar,
Assistant Compiler assisted in the typing of the manuscript. Thanks are due to them. My appreciation
to Sri P. Ramakrishnan, Statistical Investigator Grade I and Sri N. Raghu, Printing Inspector, who
assisted in the printing of the Publication.
I acknowledge the services of Sri N. Ravichandran, Sri M.R.V Krishna Rao and Dr. D. Venkatesan,
Deputy Directors of Census Operations who coordinated various aspects of the preparation of this
A special word of appreciation is due to Sri M.A. Prabhakaran, Confidential Assistant to the
Director of Census Operations, who not only assisted in the field work but also meticulously typed
out and edited several versions of the Publication, spending hours and hours of sincere work. His
tireless effort is an important factor that contributed to the early publication of this Monograph.
Thanks are due to Sri Thyagarajan, Photographer, who has shot wonderful photographs for this volume.
His sincere approach and dedication to his profession are to be greatly appreciated.
I would be failing in my duty if I do not place on record my gratitude to Shri J.K. Banthia, I.A.S.,
the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India for the absolute trust he reposed in me and the
unstinting encouragement he gave me to take up and complete this venture. My thanks are also due to
all the officers of the Office of the Registrar General India and the Directorate of Printing who
have readily assisted us whenever approached.
I would also like to thank the readers who have offered their valuable comments/suggestions after
going through our earlier publication. Finally, my thanks to members of my family for assisting me
in various ways and painstakingly proof reading the manuscript. This work would not have been
possible without their support.
While all efforts have made to minimize errors, it would be impossible to eliminate them altogether
in a work of this nature. I humble beg the indulgence of the readers for any such inaccuracies that
might have inadvertently crept in.
This is our second foray into this fascinating field. While we humbly submit that our expertise in
tackling such a complex subject is limited, we take considerable pride in the fact that such an
exhaustive listing of Temples, covering every administrative unit of the District has not been
hitherto attempted and cannot be easily duplicated. The countless hours of toil would be worthwhile
if it prompts even a single reader to take up a more comprehensive investigation. It is indeed with
immense pleasure that I place this publication before the people of India.
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