Hidden Treasures of the South – Gokilambal Thirukameswara Temple

 In Pondicherry, Temple, Things to do, Travel

What makes India’s Temples so sacred? Is it the rich history behind the temple’s existence or the legacy that it holds? The Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple, also known as the Kameshwarar Temple and Villianur Temple, is a Hindu temple honouring and dedicated to Lord Shiva. Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple Puducherry is situated in Villianur town, a short distance from Puducherry, and is an ancient place of worship.

 Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple is a haven of spirituality located near a town and the soothing embrace of a serene pond. This historic Hindu temple stands as a timeless testament to centuries-old traditions, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the South Indian region.

As you embark on a journey with India trips, experience the temple’s hallowed halls, where you will be captivated by the harmonious blend of architectural marvels and natural wonders. Join us as we explore the mystical allure of Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple, where every corner is steeped in history, and every moment is imbued with tranquillity and reverence.

Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple at a Glance

Image Source : Pondicherry Tourism

Situated in the quaint town of Villianur, the Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple stands out as one of the prominent places to visit in Pondicherry. Commonly known as Villianur Temple, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva, embodied in a Shivalinga.

The temple premises also house sanctuaries dedicated to Devi and Lord Murugan, with roots tracing back to the Chola Period. Throughout the year, the temple attracts numerous devotees, particularly gathering in numbers during the annual Temple Car Festival in May and June, which marks a significant celebration for the shrine and elevates its status as one of Pondicherry’s most frequented temples during this period.

Witnessing this festival’s beauty is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry. During this festival, a 15-metre-high chariot embarks on a sacred procession through the streets, pulled by devotees who believe that their wishes will be granted by participating in this act of devotion. The event draws countless devotees from various parts of the country to partake in this renowned car festival.

While some devotees assist in pulling the chariot, others offer traditional delicacies like sundal, buttermilk, and curd to those following the procession. A visit to this sacred sanctuary promises an enriching experience for travellers exploring Pondicherry.

History of Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple

The primary shrine of the Villianur Temple is believed to have been built approximately a millennium ago during the 12th century CE under the patronage of a Chola monarch.

According to local legends, the Chola king, afflicted with leprosy, found healing after fervently worshipping Lord Shiva at this sacred site. In gratitude, he commissioned the construction of the temple and founded the town of Villiyanallur, named after the surrounding forest of Vilwa trees.

Subsequently, both the Chola successors and rulers from the Vijayanagar Empire contributed to the temple’s expansion, adding further structures. The masonry work, notably, is believed to have been completed during the 16th century.

Architecture of Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple

Image Source : Pondicherry Tourism

The temple compounds are surrounded by successive rectangular granite walls. The primary sanctuary is situated within a pavilion, adorned with pillars intricately carved with captivating mythological depictions, while additional shrines encircle it.

A notable characteristic of the Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple is its immaculate temple tank. This large body of water, known as the temple tank or kulam, is positioned within the temple complex. This revered pond holds significant religious and cultural importance for the temple. In addition to these sacred spaces, the Kameshwarar Temple Complex encompasses a petite pond and a garden along its borders.

What are the places to visit near Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple?


Some of the nearby attractions that make Pondicherry very famous and attract tourists are:

  • Ousteri Wetland and National Park.
  • Water Sports in Pondicherry.
  • Reppo Beach.
  • Chunnambar Boat House.
  • Arikamedu.
  • Botanical Garden, Pondicherry.
  • Eden Beach.
  • Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

When can we visit Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple?

The Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple Puducherry Timings are as follows:

The temple welcomes visitors from 6 AM to 12 PM and from 4 PM to 9 PM daily, maintaining its accessibility all year round.  There is no admission fee required therefore you can seek blessings at your convenience any time of the year.

For those interested in observing the Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple’s daily rituals, the ideal times to visit are 8 AM for Kalasanthi, noon for Uchikalam, and 6 PM for Sayarakshai. There is no Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple Puducherry Entry Fee and is free for all.

How to reach Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple Puducherry?


The Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple is situated approximately 8 km from the Puducherry bus stop, and around 11 km from both the Puducherry railway station and the Puducherry airport. However, the closest major railway station is located in Villupuram, approximately 40 km away. For international travel, the nearest airport is located 150 km away, in Chennai.

Things to do in Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple

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One of the things to do in Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple is to get involved in the religious practices and festivals being held in the temple.

The temple hosts three daily puja rituals, each encompassing sacred ablutions (abhisheka), adornment (alangaram), food offerings (nivedhanam), and reverence with lamps (deepa aradanai) to Thirukameshwara and Gokilambal Amman.

Special observances occur on Mondays and Fridays, with additional fortnightly rituals such as pradosham and monthly ceremonies like amavasai and pournami.

Noteworthy is the presence of Prasava Nandi, a Nandi statue, revered by women during pregnancy, alongside a smaller Nandi icon.

The temple’s pinnacle event is its annual chariot festival, which garners participation from diverse communities and religions.

More Than Just A Hindu Temple

The Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple holds importance beyond religious worship, it stands as a prominent cultural icon in Pondicherry. The festivals that are held yearly, such as Shivaratri and Panguni Uthiram, attract numerous travellers and devotees from distant places. These festivals are characterised by vibrant processions, musical performances, dance displays, and customary rituals, serving as a testament to the area’s diverse cultural heritage. Tourists are also attracted to the various water sports in Pondicherry, making the area diverse in its attractions as well.

How can one reach Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple?

The Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple is located approximately 8 km from the Puducherry bus stop, and around 11 km from both the Puducherry railway station and the Puducherry airport. However, the nearest significant railway station is in Villupuram, approximately 40 km away.

What are the main festivals celebrated at Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple?

The central sanctuary is situated within a pavilion adorned with intricately carved pillars depicting captivating mythological scenes. Surrounding this are additional shrines. Besides these sacred spaces, the Kameshwara Temple Complex features a petite pond and a garden along its edges.

What is the historical significance of Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple?

There is a rich and historical significance of Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple.The primary shrine of the temple is believed to date back approximately 1000 years. It was built during the 12th century CE by a Chola monarch. According to legend, the king was afflicted with leprosy but found healing after worshipping Lord Shiva at this sacred site.The legacy of the previous rulers and the culture behind it is intertwined with the history of this temple.

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