Tourism in Ariyalur district comprises some of the famous temples, a church, bird sanctuary and a number of beautiful natural settings. The Gandaikonda Cholapuram Siva temple is one of the most prominent temples in the district of Ariyalur which was constructed by Rajendra Chola-I, the son of the Great Rajaraja Chola-I. He erected this temple after his victorious march to the river Ganges on Northern India. He was previously known as Madurantakan, but later he assumed the title of Rajendra during his coronation and went on to rule along with his father Rajaraja-I for a while. The temples in the district of Ariyalur form the best destinations in the Tamil Nadu state where pilgrims in large numbers visit from different parts of the state and also from other parts of India.
The Gandaikonda Cholapuram Siva temple constructed by Rajendra Chola I
comprises of three stories and surrounded by a huge fort like wall. The outer wall was severely destructed during the English rule in order to reuse the building material for the construction of the Lower Anicut, the dam across Kollidam River
. He constructed about ten temples at a number of places. Rajendra-I assumed the title of Gangaikonda Cholan and named his new capital as Gangaikondacholapuram
and he also constructed a large lake known as Chola Gangam which spreads over twenty two kilometers mainly used for drinking and irrigation. A statue of Rajendra-I is also found in Kolaram temple at Kolar District
state in India.
Another major temple in the Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu
is the Sri Kaliuga Varatharaja Perumaal temple. It is one of the major attractions of the district. This temple is located at a distance of about five kilometres from Ariyalur
. It is known for its well-known `car festival` which is conducted every year during the month of March-April. This car festival is grandly celebrated by the people of this district every year. It is a ten day long festival in the district of Ariyalur. The festival commences with the day of `Srinavami` in the month of Chithirai or Panguni which is from the month of March to April. The grand event of Eganthem Sevai for Varatharajapermual is on the tenth day of the festival. The temple is also known for the Puraittasi Saturdays. Every year in the month of `Puraittasi` or September, special pujas are performed on the four Saturdays.
Thirumazhapadi is a place which is on the bank of the River Kollidam which is the branch of the Kaveri River
. This region was previously the region of the Chola Dynasty
. The entire surrounding is filled with paddy and sugarcane
fields. The renowned Siva temple is situated in Thirumazhapadi and it is known as Sri Vaithiyanatha Samy Koil
Another major attraction in the district of Ariyalur is the Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary. It is located at a distance of about sixty five kilometres from Tiruchirappalli and about thirty five kilometres to the north of Thanjavur
. This bird sanctuary spreads over an area of over four hundred and fifty four hectares. Water birds congregate in this place during the month of November to February. About fifty species of resident and migratory birds are recorded to visit this area. The list of birds includes varieties of stork
, heron, pelicans, darter, egrets, ibis, coot, cormorants, terns, kingfisher, plovers etc. Apart from this, there is also a church at Elakurichi. Elakurichi is thirty two kilometres away from Ariyalur. The church at Elakurichi was constructed by the famous Catholic Missionary Constantino Joseph Besky famously known as Veerama Munivar.