September 4, 2010

Tirunelveli Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi Temple Structure - Part 5

Read: Tirunelveli Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi Temple Structure Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Statue of Karna - Nellaiyappar Temple
Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi temple is located at the center of Tirunelveli city of South India, and it is considered as one of the oldest and biggest temples of South India. I have already written few blog posts about the structure of the temple. In this article, I am writing about the structure of the main shrine of Nellaiyappar and the corridor surrounding the shrine.

Nellaiyappar Temple Corridor
Bheem - Nellaiyappar Temple
As I have already mentioned in my previous blogs, the entire temple of Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi can be considered as two separate temples - one for Kanthimathi and another for Nellaiyappar. Similar to that of Kanthimathi temple, Nellaiyappar temple also has a main entrance and big temple tower. Once you enter the temple through this entrance, you can find the very interesting feature of the temple - the beautiful sculptures of Pavalakodi, Alli, Manmadan, Rathi, Kuravan, and Kurathi. Each of the sculpture is so beautiful on its own. Each main sculpture is supplemented with some small sculpture on both sides and slightly behind. The area where these sculpture are located is called as Somavara Mandapam. You can also find the big flag stand and white colored Nandi idol in this mandapam. The flag stand is very ancient - it was set up in the year of 1155 CE.

After crossing the flag stand before entering the inner side of the temple, you can find few more beautiful sculptures - Veerabhadra, Arjuna, and Bheema. You can also find the sculptures of Lord Ganesha and Murugan. There is small place named Nandi Mandapa which has the idols of Nayanmars and Sekkizhar. There is also a small flag stand and an image of Lord Surya. After you enter inside, you can find another master piece of the temple - Mani Mandapam - the hall with musical pillars. This is one of the highlights of the temple. The hall has musical pillars - each pillar has a big pillar surrounded by 48 smaller pillars and the whole lot was constructed using a single stone. Each pillar when tapped produces a musical sound. This musical pillar hall was constructed by the king Nindraseer Nedumaran in the 7th century CE.

There is more to write about the structure of this extraordinary temple. I will write about them in my next post. Till then...

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi Temple
City Name: Tirunelveli
1) One of the oldest and biggest temples of South India

2) Musical Pillars
3) Beautiful sculptures
4) One of the five adobes of Nataraj
5) One of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalam temples
Location: 180 kms from Madurai; 620 kms from Chennai; Located in the Southern part of Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Tirunelveli; Tirunelveli station is a popular train junction; you can find a lot of trains from all over India to this city
Nearest Airport: Madurai (around 180 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available in Tirunelveli
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in Tirunelveli; Don't forget to taste the Halwa either from Iruttu Kadai or Shanti Sweets

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