Ayyanar (also spelt Aiyyanar, Ayanar or Iyenar) is a Hindu village god of Tamilnadu also worshipped by Sri Lankan Tamils. He is primarily worshipped as a guardian deity who protects the rural villages. Most officiating priests are derive from local potter community, but other caste members also officiate in his temples. The temples of Aiyanar are usually flanked by gigantic and colorful statues of him and his companions riding horses or elephants.
Ayyanar or Sathanar worship is a very ancient ancestral clan-based worship system linked to nature and fertility worship. The festivals of Ayyanars are celebrated in Sacred Groves during spring season by all the related clan. Ayyanar shrines are usually located at the peripheries or boundaries of rural villages and the deity is seen riding a horse with a sword. Weapons such as a trident or a lance are also associated with the shrine. Most officiating priests are of Tamil vellar and derive from local lineages that had initiated the cult centers generations ago.
In Tamil Nadu, Aiyanar God worshipped in open grounds surrounded by trees holds an important position in the local villages because of the values installed in family and community life. Aiyanar System is the base for forming large family clan associations and maintaining family values in rural areas.