The Aayiram Kaal Mandapam or thousand pillar hall is of very high sculptural importance and contains 985 (instead of 1000) magnificiently carved pillars and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The thousand pillar hall is supposed to have been built by Arya Natha Mudaliyar, the Prime Minister of the first Nayaka of Madurai (1559-1600 A.D.), the founder of 'Poligar System'.
An equestrian statue of the Mudaliyar flanks one side of the steps leading to the 'mandapam'. Each pillar is sculptured and is a monument of the Dravidan sculpture. There is a Temple Art Museum in this 1000 pillars hall where you can see icons, photographs, drawings, etc., exhibiting the 1200 years old history. Just outside this mandapam, towards the west, are the Musical Pillars. Each pillar, when struck, produces a different musical note. The kalyana mandapa, to the south of the pillared hall, is where the marriage of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated every year during the Chithirai Festival in mid-April.
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