January 27, 2011

Tiruninravur Hridayaleeswarar Temple

Tiruninravur, a small village near Chennai, one of the four main cities of India, has a temple which is a replica of the temple originally visualized and built within the heart of a great devotee. The name of that Shiva temple is Hridayaleeswarar Temple.
Tiruninravur has two ancient temples; one of the two temples is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is named as Hridayaleeswarar in this temple. As per the Bhakti movement of Tamil Nadu, there are 63 great devotees of Lord Shiva named as Nayanmars. Poosalar was one of the Nayanmar, who was very poor. He lived in Tiruninravur. He wanted to build a temple for Lord Shiva. However, he couldn't do the same. Hence, he started visualizing to build the temple step by step within his heart. Ultimately, he constructed the entire temple within his heart and fixed up a date for consecration ceremony. Apparently, it was the same day fixed up by the Pallava king Rajasimha Pallava for the consecration ceremony of his newly built Kailasanath temple in Kanchipuram. The God appeared in the dream of the king and ordered him to postpone the ceremony as he had to attend the ceremony in the temple built by Poosalar. The king wanted to visit the temple of Poosalar. When he reached Tiruninravur and met Poosalar, he realized that the temple was built within his heart. Thus, the importance of the great devotee was known to the outside world. Later, a similar temple was built in brick and mortar in Tiruninravur. As the original temple was built within the heart, the God got the name "Hridayaleeswarar" (Hridaya means heart).

The ancient temple of Hridayaleeswarar has the west facing entrance with a beautiful tower. In front of the sanctum, the flag staff and Nandi idol are located. The sanctum enshrines Lord Hridayaleeswarar in the form of a big Shiv Linga idol facing the east direction. Along with Shiv Linga, the idol of the devotee Poosalar is also present. There is a separate shrine for the Goddess Maragadambal.

The small corridor surrounding the shrines of Hridayaleeswarar and Maragadambal has the idols of Surya, Chandra, Raja Simha Pallava, Polla Pillayar (Ganesha), Nalvar (four great devotees), Navagraha (nine planets), Chandikeshwara and Bhairav. There are also small shrines for Maha Ganapati and Murugan with Valli and Devasena.

The vimana of the sanctum is Gajaprshtha type.

The ceiling of the shrine has some beautiful paintings. In fact, the roof near the back side of the shrine is too beautiful; there are holes which are artistically beautiful to allow sun rays to fall inside the small corridor. The wall surrounding the sanctum has the niche images of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga. The Sapta Mata idols are present in the outer corridor of the temple.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Hridayaleeswarar Temple 
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Tiruninravur,near Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: The original temple built within the heart of a devotee
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city

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