Ayyanar, also known as Sastha, is a Hindu deity who is widely worshipped in South India and Sri Lanka. His adoration is widespread among Tamils, Malayalese, and Sinhalese. Early history suggests that Ayyanar was once worshipped in South East Asian countries. He is primarily revered as one of Tamil Nadu's guardian deities. Ayyanar's village temples are usually found riding horses or elephants.


Ayyanar is a Tamil adaptation of Aiyan, the chief deity of Kerala and Tamil Nadu rulers. The history of Aiyanar is told in the 14th century Tamil version of Skanda Purana. Ayyanar dispatches Mahakala, his chief commander, to protect Indrani from the demon Surapadman. Mahakala slashes the hands of Ajamukhi, Surapadman's sister, who attempted to kidnap Indrani for her brother.


Aiyan's famous iconography depicts him alone, holding a crooked stick in his right hand. He is occasionally seen holding a whip, a stick, or a sword. He rides a white elephant. Another mount visible in his temples is a horse. According to some, the tiger is also known as Sastha's mount. Sastha is dressed in black with reddish garlands. His body is smeared with yellow paste, and he wields a sword. He is usually shown with a blue or black complexion. Although his two-armed form is the most common, some texts describe him having four or eight arms. In temples, he appears to be carrying an arrow, bow, knife, and sword.

Lord Ayyanar is a guardian god who will keep us safe from all evils. He is still riding his horse and riding through the streets to protect his followers. Those who have a strong faith in him can see him in their eyes and worship him directly. If we have bhakti for him, he will definitely protect us from our enemies and provide us with a healthy and happy life. 

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