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Ayyanar – About Tamil Village God Ayyanar

Ayyanar is the all powerful village god in Tamil Nadu and He along with his 21 companion gods protects villages. Huge images of Ayyanar with weapons in hand and riding horses are a common site in Tamil Nadu. One of the most popular beliefs is that Ayyanar is the son born to the Mohini Avatar of Vishnu and Shiva.

Ayyanar and his retinue of 21 gods are worshipped as protective deities. The most important companion of Ayyanar is Karuppuswami and Veeran. Pushkala and Purnakala are the wives of Ayyanar.

Some of images of Ayyanar and Karuppuswami are 20 feet tall. Ayyanar is always atop a horse.

Karuppuswami is sometimes depicted in sitting posture. Ayyanar with his whip and Karuppuswami with his Aruval (a large sickle) stand guarding villages on its outskirts. Karuppuswami is identified by his thick black moustache.

One of the most important offering to these village deities is lemon. One comes across Trishul – trident – and spears decorated with lemons in the Ayyanar shrines. In most shrines, goats and chicken are also cooked and offered.

One of the most important festivals in these temples is known as ‘Kuthirai Eduppu’ – fresh statues of horses and weapons are made by the temple priest who is also usually a potter. The old murtis are replaced and fresh ones are worshipped.