Vishnu temple of Ay Dynasty

A 9th century Vishnu temple, which remained dilapidated for years, is being rebuilt at Perumpazhuthur, near here, thanks to the initiative of the local people.

Authenticated by historians as having been built during the rule of the ”Ay” dynasty in 867 A.D, the temple is one of the rarest of its kind the country with a circular-shaped sanctum santorum.

Though the temple finds mention in the ”Monuments of Kerala”, published by the Archaeological Survey of India, it remained dilapidated with most of its remains buried till the people of Perumpazhuthur organised themselves to reconstruct the edifice and restore its old glory a few months ago.

The book, authored by H Sarkar, mentions only a few circular temples in Kerala, including that at Perumpazhuthur. He also highlighted that circular temples were rare for Dravidian style.

”The Arts and Crafts of Travancore,” authored by Stella Kramrish and pubished by the Department of Culture, carries the photo of the temple in a dilapidated condition and the damaged statue of Vishnu. [Local people rebuild a 9th century Vishnu temple via IndiaArchaeology]

Before the Cheras established themselves as a major force in Kerala, it was ruled by the Ay dynasty sometime between 7th to 11th century AD with Vizhinjam as the capital.The Ay dynasty ruled the land between Nagercoil and Thiruvalla. In A History of South India, Nilakanta Sastry writes that the Ay kingdom lay around the Podiya hill, the southernmost section of the Western Ghats. He also writes that the Greek geographer Ptolemy wrote about one ‘Aioi’ was ruling the country at that time which included Cape Comorin and Mount Bettigo.

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