Thirukadaiyur – A fascinating super efficient shared services model

Updated June 9, 2008: Rachel Laudan linked to this post and would like more information on how this whole thing works? I will try to find out. Thanks Rachel. On your question on private facility vs. temple. The 100+ events i mentioned happen in a temple on a shared services model. As Ganesh points out, there is also an option to do the whole event in a private facility in the same city without the shared services.


On friday, my uncle celebrated his 60th birthday at Thirukadaiyur, a small temple town near Kumbakonam. For the benefit of non-Hindus reading this post, 60th birthday and 80th birthday are celebrated slightly differently. During these 2 events, the man exchanges his marriage vows again with his wife. The place Thirukadaiyur is special because legend has it that Markandeyan achieved immortality here. Additionally, Abirami Battar’s devotion made Goddess Abirami convert a new moon day into a full moon day. The temple at which these events took place is the Amirthakadeswarar Temple (Shiva Temple) and is the place where the birthday events are conducted. My Uncle’s 60th birthday event was done near Goddess Abirami’s sanctum sanctorum. Even some Christians celebrate their 60th/80th birthdays here!

Shared Services Model

Over 100 such events take place in a single day in this temple. If you know the typical scale and size of a Hindu wedding, you can understand the scale required for conducting 100 of them simultaneously. To give everyone a feel, each event attracts 100-200 people on an average. And some of the celebrations are 2 day events like my uncle’s. Each family is allocated a small area where the rituals are performed.  One of my cousins remarked about the shared services model being adopted here and that is when i started taking note of the various things going on and i became fascinated by the efficiency.

Per the Hindu system, each event has a certain auspicious period – approximately 1 hour during which the exchanging of the vows happen. Immediately preceding and succeeding it are various rituals like elephant worship, cow worship, ritual baths for the couple etc.  In total, all the rituals take around 3-4 hours. There is only one elephant, only one cow, only one music band, only a few videographers and photographers and only a few priests. But somehow, magically, all of these services are coordinated with clock work precision moving between the various families without a single hitch.

Interestingly, even the food arrangements are shared. When we went to have the lunch, we found ourselves eating with the attendees of some other family’s events. I was even a bit worried about whether we are eating at the right place! For the eco-conscious, this system probably avoids the large quantities of food typically wasted during Hindu weddings.

No advance no nothing

My Uncle’s daughters who live in Hyderabad, arranged the whole thing by talking to the master contractor via the phone. They didn’t have to send any advance or anything like that. They told me that, even after the event, nobody called them for the payment etc as is typically expected. They went on their own to the Master Contractor and settled the accounts. The whole system works on trust and works quite admirably.

Nary a news item

For this post, I tried to find some news article on Thirukadaiyur and i couldn’t find a pip-squeak on this unique enterprise. As my cousin remarked, this could easily become a case study in some B-School, if someone did a serious analysis.


Have any of you come across such things in other places in India? or elsewhere in the world?


  1. Quote

    I was looking for info on conducting the shastiabthapoorthi for my parents and found your post quite helpful. Thanks in special to Sandhya for providing the contact nos. Can anyone also please give me details of the likely cost for the function,food and stay? also the number of the main contractor who will arrange for all this? Many thanks for all th info and help.

  2. Quote

    and i want to know the formalties donw there

  3. Quote

    Hi Raja

    The cost depends on how elaborate or simple you want to have the rituals/ceremonies.

    Like though its usually a 2-day function, we opted only for 1 day function i.e we did not do the rudra – ekadashi ritual on the previous day. The charges will vary based on the rituals.

    Since ours was 1 day function, we reached thirukadayur only on the previous night just in time for dinner.

    Please contact the phone number what i have mentioned in the site. The number belongs to one of the main Gurukkal of that temple. His name is Amirthakadeshwara Gurukkal.

    Once you decide on how you want to celebrate, you can call this number. They ll give you in detail about the charges/timings roughly. They will help in doing all arrangements including stay, food etc

  4. Quote
    Ramesh said June 24, 2010, 4:28 am:

    can anyone say whats the importance of celebrating 60th bday

  5. Quote
    REKHA.B.N said October 13, 2010, 5:42 pm:

    Dear sir or madam,

    I would like to know more about this 60th birthday , we would like to celebrate our father birthday in thirukadaiyur .
    plz help us to know more about this things .

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