Valluvar Kottam was constructed in 1976 as a shrine in memory of poet Thiruvalluvar, author of Thirukkural, a collection of 1,330 rhyming Tamil couplets that expound simplicity of life and set a moral code for his followers. Thiruvalluvar lived and wrote during the first century BC in what is now Chennai.
The memorial includes a giant 115-foot (35-meter) chariot with a stone effigy of Thiruvalluvar within and an auditorium that seats 4,000 people. A bas-relief in the front hall corridors contains inscriptions of all 1,330 couplets from the poets’ famous work, and the massive auditorium structure is said to have been built from more than 3,000 blocks of stone without any visible support pillars.
Valluvar Kottam has become one of the city’s most important landmarks and currently sits in what used to be an unused lake. The memorial is closed to the public on Fridays.