The charms of an old ruined temple in India – Pulicat

Have you noticed that ruined Temples have a charm associated with them – Especially, if a Temple is very old? Today, let us look at one such charming, old and ruined Temple in India – Adi-Narayana Perumal Temple, Pulicat, Tamil Nadu. Does the photo below look like the entrance of a Temple? It sure looks like an entrance alright, but Temples here generally have a Gopuram (Tower) on top of the main entrance doors. Looking at the size of the Temple doors of this Temple, the Gopuram should have been quite huge. But no one knows whether the Gopuram was destroyed in a war, or whether the Temple was constructed with a Gopuram at all! If there was no Gopuram from the beginning, this Temple should be quite unique.

Adi-Narayana Perumal Temple, Pulicat, Tamil Nadu
Adi-Narayana Perumal Temple, Pulicat, Tamil Nadu

However, there is a Gopuram Tower atop the central complex which houses the main deity – God Vishnu. Notice the material used to construct the wall, in the above photo – Doesn’t it look different from normal bricks? That’s because, these walls were constructed using Laterite blocks, not bricks. Laterite blocks, it seems, were available in plenty along the Coromandel (Eastern coast) of India, but not on the Konkan (western coast). That’s one reason why old Temples in this region used them extensively for construction purposes. This particular Temple is believed to have been built during the 13th Century, when this region was under the rule of Vijayanagara Empire.

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Vijayanagara Empire Temple
Temple believed to have been built during the 13th century under the rule of Vijayanagara Empire

This photo shows the second shrine inside the Temple complex – Thaayaar Sannidhi. There are three shrines in Total – the other one is Aandal Sannidhi, but it is totally surrounded by bushes. Since this Temple hasn’t been used for centuries, a lot of greenery has grown all over the place. It is on the top of this Thaayaar Sannidhi that they found an inscription in Telugu, giving reference to the period of construction and the King who might have initiated the same (Balavandakulu).

 Thaayaar Sannidhi
Thaayaar Sannidhi

The main (central) shrine has been renovated recently. We were able to go inside this shrine, which contained many pillars (like the ones shown below). It seems, the entire story of Ramayana (the famous Hindu Epic) has been engraved pictorially on the pillars and the roof. I saw one interesting note put up by the trustees of the Temple here, in which they have provided a short history of the Temple. They have also given – hold your breadth – A WEBSITE ADDRESS for this Temple!! I checked, but the link is not working. Nevertheless, I am sure this is the first ruined/unused Temple that has its own web-address/URL ๐Ÿ™‚

Pillars with story of Ramayana, Pulicat
Pillars with story of Ramayana

The town where this Temple is located has a very interesting history. The recorded history goes back up to 8-10th Century when this coastal town was under the Chola Empire. Thereupon, it shifted hands to the Vijayanagara Empire. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to land here, but they were soon defeated by the Dutch who built a large fort (Fort Geldria), here. This town, was in fact, the Dutch Coromandel headquarters for over a century and they even minted Dutch Pulicat coins/currency. Later on, the Dutch were defeated by the English and the strategic location of this town played a major role in identifying and creating the city of Madras/Chennai, which is located 55 KM to the south of Pulicat/Pazhaverkadu.

Fort Geldria, Temple built during the Chola Empire
Temple built during the Chola Empire

Can you guess what the below tool could have been used for? To make Shiva Linga! Now look at it again in perspective, you’ll be able to correlate. The entire Temple complex is surrounded by a huge wall (which is still intact), but thick vegetation has covered most of it. The Temple well can also be seen, but there is no water in it right now!

Garuda Sannidhi
Garuda Sannidhi

This is a fuller view of the Garuda Sannidhi, which is located right before the main (central) shrine. There are two other structures called Dwajasthamba Peedam and Balipeedam, but I don’t have a proper photo to show you. This Temple is normally locked, but it was specially opened for us as we went there on the Pulicat Day. They do open it occasionally, for performing puja and sometimes also if requested by travelers.

Fuller view of the Garuda Sannidhi
Fuller view of the Garuda Sannidhi

There is a lot of history that still survives in Pulicat, but not much has been done to showcase them to visiting tourists. That makes this place more exciting than a normal tourist place – the possibility of exploration is endless. AARDE ( is an NGO which is involved in development of this location and a few months back, they organized the Pulicat Day walk, which I attended. I took these photos during that heritage walk, which was organized quite well.

People do visit this place, but mostly for boating/visiting the islands of the second largest salt-water lagoon in Asia, which is also here. Given the proximity to Chennai, I am sure you can guess why this place could become an important tourist spot in the country, very soon.

Pulicat Adi Narayana Perumal Koil Temple Tamil Nadu
Pulicat Adi Narayana Perumal Koil Temple Tamil Nadu

About the author:ย 

Rajesh (Destination Infinity) is a Sustainable-Living enthusiast and a Blogger. He has recently published an eBook – ‘Happiness Guide for Tourists Visiting India: 50 Exciting Things To Do‘.

87 thoughts on “The charms of an old ruined temple in India – Pulicat”

  1. Hi Rajesh, and welcome to Shalu’s blog ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reading your post surely made me remember my history lessons and the various old temples we had learned about ๐Ÿ™‚

    I liked the way you described the place so well, and yes – the charm, history and mystic behind old ruins and temples has always intrigued me. Frankly speaking, there are very few temples I’ve really visited, but the ones I have, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

    I’ve only heard about Pulicat, Tamil Nadu – but never really been there, so this temples goes down in my list of must-see now!

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice week ahead, both of you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, Harleena. Actually, many people in Chennai don’t know much about Pulicat, but that will hopefully change soon. You know what, when I was young, I didn’t much care about history, but now that I am devoid of it, I have started adoring it! I feel that history offers an excellent gateway to understand our complicated human minds.

      Destination Infinity

  2. hello rajesh and shalu. thanks for sharing this insightful post. anything that is ancient fascinates me. it keeps me wondering how those ancient people live their lives during their existence.

    this article made me include this location as one of my “must visit” ancient landmarks

  3. Thanks Rajesh ๐Ÿ™‚

    Am so glad to read the details of Puicat AAdi Narayana Perumal Kovil Temple.

    I visited once before long as Perumal is powerful and our favorable god.

    Thanks for publishing it Shalu ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I really want to see ruins in the different part of the world and may be go there in person. These photos are awesome and it sparks something in me. Thanks for sharing this one….

    • Yes, ruins do have a charm associated with them. I guess that’s why it’s preserved carefully in many countries. We should also take our history more seriously and try to protect/preserve the incredible number of ancient monuments that have survived in our country.

      Destination Infinity

  5. I really love these old temple ruins ! I saw many new and old temples during my travels and hope, that I will find the time to visit the tempels of Tamil Nadu in the future.

    • One thing that strikes me about our archaeological treasures is – Our ancestors built monuments like these without any modern implements/plans. It should have taken them a lot of time/efforts to complete any construction. I salute the spirit of our ancestors and wish we imbibe some of that spirit in our daily work, as well.

      Destination Infinity

  6. Hi Rajesh,

    This was a wonderful review of the Adi-Narayana Perumal Temple and Shalu, thanks for having Rajesh over at your blog!

    Rajesh, what I liked in particular about your post, is how this is a ruined temple. India as we know, is full of amazing ancient temples, which are still being used today. On a similar token, there must be so many unused ones, which also have a fascinating history behind them like the Adi-Narayana Perumal Temple.

    Thank you.

  7. Beautiful ! I will be visiting this temple when i get a chance to visit the beautiful state of Tamil Nadu .There are many such temples across our wonderful country and this is one of them .


    • Do visit TN sometime – I am sure you’ll love it. Just avoid the summer. BTW, the Acer Liquid seems to be an interesting name for a phone but I don’t see many reasons to explore beyond micromax ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Destination Infinity

  8. It actually seemed a run down to the history lectures we used to have in school and university. I love reading about and exploring such old monuments and remains. Thanks for sharing an interesting one.

  9. Hey Rajesh as mentioned here you wrote a book โ€˜Happiness Guide for Tourists Visiting India: 50 Exciting Things To Doโ€˜. So from it is clear that you explore India very keenly with love and interest and sharing your personal experience about Pulicat temple here in Shalu’s blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ Beautiful discovery by the ways ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

  10. This is a fascinating post. The pictures are simply amazing. I really loved the photography skills. The ancient temples have their own grandeur which is one thing which captivates the tourists for visiting the various temples. Thanks for the share.

    • Yes, there are laws and the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) protects many historical monuments from being razed to the ground. This one is not yet protected by ASI but it may soon be…

      Destination Infinity

  11. The temple looks really old and seems to have a lot of history to it. I wouldn’t mind checking it out. I have kept track of the Chola of India and I think they we responsible for building some of the most beautiful temples and structures in South of India.

    • Good to know that you are aware of the Chola Empire and their Temples – Some unique gems built by them still survives. I need to sometime visit and document them all in my site – Thanks for your comment ๐Ÿ™‚

      Destination Infinity

  12. Hello Shalu ji i just want to say that i’m proud to be an Indian and proud on you also.As a lady its very hard to give time to internet after the home.Really appreciate your dedication ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. there are infinite such places in india, That’s why it is said that india is incredible. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks a lot for sharing this article mam! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. It sure looks like an entrance alright, but Temples here generally have a Gopuram (Tower) on top of the main entrance doors. Looking at the size of the Temple doors of this Temple

  15. thanks for sharing this insightful post,I love reading about and exploring such old monuments, and even i love to read your articles.

  16. I note that the temple is not so neglected. Are local authorities do not make it as a tourist attraction. Unfortunately once. As we know that the temple of Borobudur is so enchanting and the goal of all foreign tourist.

    But, you really are so good article. Hopefully, the local government can take good care.

  17. I note that the temple is not so neglected. Are local authorities do not make it as a tourist attraction. Unfortunately once. As we know that the temple of Borobudur is so enchanting and the goal of all foreign tourist.

    But, you really are so good article. Hopefully, the local government can take good care.

  18. very attached to the cultural history of the area , it’s probably a relic of history in India , but there is another Hindu cultural center in the country , namely Indonesia , in Indonesia is also very much the temple just as Borobudur , Prambanan and so forth . This case shows that the Indonesian state once stood Hindu kingdom and became one of the cultural centers of Hindu kingdoms in Indonesia

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  20. Old temples in India attract me so much. I like the ancient atmosphere here. Such a great place to visit this summer. Thanks for sharing with us.

  21. Lovely beautiful temples. They look really old. Its great to look at these pictures it gives you a sense of how things used to be in ancient time

  22. India is a state of great architecture & sculpture. There are many ruined temples and arts presents in India. You have presented the history in an excellent way.

  23. Actually I’d always like to travel the world but can’t due to my 9-5 job. But thinking to setup a business and skip my job from 2019. So what which place will be the best place for first tour?

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