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Ayyanar, a Powerful Village God in Tamil Nadu, India.

Ayyanar and his retinue of 21 gods are worshipped as protective deities in Tamil Nadu. Ayyanar shrines are usually located at the peripheries or boundaries of rural villages, and the deity is seen with a sword riding a white horse. He and fierce-looking Karuppusami, his most important companion with a moustache, a large sickle and a scary demon by his side, are eternally vigilant fighting against demons and evil spirits that are threatening the village.
It is believed that the Ayyanar cult goes back to an ancient clan-based Dravidian cult of ancestor worship that is linked to nature and fertility worship. Blood sacrifices at these shrines are very common. The huge (sometimes taller than 20 feet) and terrifying images are accompanied by larger than life figures of attendants and animals. Smaller terra cotta horses and iron tridents and spears, offered by devotees in fulfillment of their vows, usually crowd the front yard of these shrines.
Most officiating priests are non-Brahmins. They derive from local lineage that had initiated the cult many generations ago.
Have a full preview of my book about Dravidian deities (120 pages with lots of photos) in German: AYYANAR UND MARIAMMAN, DRAVIDISCHE SCHUTZGÖTTER IN SÜDINDIEN and in English: Christa Neuenhofer, AYYANAR AND MARIAMMAN, FOLK DEITIES IN SOUTH INDIA (see below).
AYYANAR UND MARIAMMAN, DRAVIDISCHE SCHUTZGÖTTER IN SÜDINDIEN by Christa Neuenhofer | Make Your Own Book

AYYANAR AND MARIAMMAN, FOLK DEITIES IN SOUTH INDIA by Christa Neuenhofer | Make Your Own Book

The English book also exists in a low-cost version as an ebook. ISBN: 978-1457955617: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/417542-ayyanar-and-mariamman-folk-deities-in-south-india
Ayyanar temple on the way to Pondicherry. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple on the way to Pondicherry. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple on the way to Pondicherry. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple on the way to Pondicherry. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple on the way to Pondicherry. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple on the way to Pondicherry. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Karuppusami. Ayyanar temple on the way to Pondichery. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Karuppusami. Ayyanar temple on the way to Pondichery. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Pondichery. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Pondichery. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Pondichery. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Pondichery. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Giant statues of Ayyanar's companion gods at Pachaiamman Kovil near Thiruvakkarai.  http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Giant statues of Ayyanar's companion gods at Pachaiamman Kovil near Thiruvakkarai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Pachaiamman Kovil near Thiruvakkarai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Pachaiamman Kovil near Thiruvakkarai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
At an Ayyanar temple near Chidambaram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
At an Ayyanar temple near Chidambaram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Chidambaram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Chidambaram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Chidambaram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Chidambaram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Villaiyandavar koil, Ayyanar temple on river island near Anaikarai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Villaiyandavar koil, Ayyanar temple on river island near Anaikarai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Villaiyandavar koil, Ayyanar temple on river island near Anaikarai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Villaiyandavar koil, Ayyanar temple on river island near Anaikarai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Thanjavur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Thanjavur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Thanjavur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Thanjavur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Hundreds of terracotta horses and elephants in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Hundreds of terracotta horses and elephants in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
In Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
In Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Elephant in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Elephant in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Elephant in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Elephant in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Terracotta horses in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Terracotta horses in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Terracotta horse in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Terracotta horse in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Terracotta horse in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Terracotta horse in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Terracotta horse in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Terracotta horse in Namana Samudram. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Madurai Veeran temple near Ralur. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Devotees buy lemons for the god to appease the deity. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Devotees buy lemons for the god to appease the deity. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Spears decorated with lemons to appease the deity. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Spears decorated with lemons to appease the deity. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Spears decorated with lemons to appease the deity. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Spears decorated with lemons to appease the deity. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Goats´ and chickens´ scrifice at Pandi Kovil (Ayyanar temple). http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Goats´ and chickens´ scrifice at Pandi Kovil (Ayyanar temple). http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Muthiah Swami temple in Kochadai  near Madurai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Muthiah Swami temple in Kochadai near Madurai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Muthiah Swami temple in Kochadai  near Madurai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Muthiah Swami temple in Kochadai near Madurai. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Karumbu Ayyanar temple on the way to Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Karumbu Ayyanar temple on the way to Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
At a small Ayyanar temple in Amma Playam near Salem.http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
At a small Ayyanar temple in Amma Playam near Salem.http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
At a small Ayyanar temple in Amma Playam near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
At a small Ayyanar temple in Amma Playam near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Huge Ayyanar statues at a temple in Mallur near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Huge Ayyanar statues at a temple in Mallur near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Huge Karuppusami statues at a temple in Mallur near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Huge Karuppusami statues at a temple in Mallur near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Huge Karuppusami statues at a temple in Mallur near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Huge Karuppusami statues at a temple in Mallur near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Huge Karuppusami statue at a temple in Mallur near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Huge Karuppusami statue at a temple in Mallur near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
At an Ayyanar temple near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
At an Ayyanar temple near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
At an Ayyanar temple near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
At an Ayyanar temple near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Ayyanar temple near Salem. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Statue in a Sudalai temple compound. Tamil Nadu, India. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738
Statue in a Sudalai temple compound. Tamil Nadu, India. http://www.blurb.com/books/3782738