September 5, 2010

Tirunelveli Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi Temple Structure - Part 6

Read: Tirunelveli Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi Temple Structure Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

I have written five posts about the structure of the famous Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi temple located in the ancient city of Tirunelveli in South India. This is the last post on the structure where I am writing about the main shrine of Nellaiyappar and the corridor surrounding the shrine. I would request you to go through my previous posts on the temple structure to get a better understanding of this post, as this is a continuation of those posts.

I wrote about the popular music pillar hall in my previous post. After you cross the hall, you can enter into the main shrine of Nellaiyappar. Nellaiyappar is also called as Venuvananathar in this temple. These are the names given to Lord Shiva in this temple. As we saw in the legend of the temple, the idol of Shiv linga in the main shrine has a cut on the left side. You can also find the images of Lord Ganesha and Murugan in the entrance of the main shrine. On the other side of Nellaiyappar shrine, there is a separate shrine for Lord Nellai Govindan - which is Lord Vishnu in the reclining posture.

Nellaiyappar Temple Tower
The inner corridor of Nellaiyappar has the idols of Dakshinamurti, Bhikshatana Murti, and Chandikeswarar. There is a small shrine for Shiva in the name of TiruMoola Nathar, which is believed to be present in the site even before Nellaiyappar idol. The corridor also houses the utsav idols of Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi, Durga, Bhairav, Sapta Kanni, Sapta Rishis, 63 nayanmars, and Polla Pillayar (Ganesha). There is a shrine which depicts Raavan lifting Kailash. If you take the steps up, you can reach to the shrine of Lord Shiva on top of Ravan's idol. There is Tamara Sabha located in the corridor, where the dancing ceremony of Lord Nataraj takes place in this temple. (Nataraj is the dancing form of Lord Shiva, and this temple is one of the five adobes of Lord Nataraja - Tamra Sabha). There is a separate shrine for Lord Nataraja in the form of Sandal idol - called as Sandana Sabapathi.

The corridor also houses the idols of Ashta Lakshmi - Lakshmi in eight different forms and Shaneeswar. There is a shrine for Shasra Linga (the idol of Shiva Linga with thousand eyes), Kubera Linga and Nataraj. You can also find the Sthala Vruksham - Moongil and the idol of Rama Kone who was the main reason for this temple to be built in the corridor.

Nellaiyappar Temple Corridor

If you come out of Nellaiyappar shrine, diagonally opposite to Navagraha shrine, there is a big shrine for Lord Nataraj with his consort Sivakami. This is the Tamara Sabha Nataraja - one of the five most important idols of Lord Nataraja. The idol is located here whereas the Tamara Sabha - one of the five adobes is located in the inner corridor of Nellaiyappar.

With this, my series of posts on Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi temple gets completed.

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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