May 19, 2013

Ilambaiyankottur Arambeshwarar Temple

Site Name: Arambeshwarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva
Location:  Ilambaiyankottur, 10 km south of  Kadambattur on the Chennai Arakkonam suburban railroad, near Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Chennai; public transport is difficult
Hotel: Go to Chennai where there are lot of options 
Restaurants: Go to Chennai where there are lot of options

People of Tamil Nadu state in South India know Cooum river more as a dirty river. However, it used to be the major livelihood for Chennai city in the olden days (when it was hardly a city). Even today, the river is in good condition in its origin. The village where the river originates is also called as Cooum. It is traditional to find temples on the banks of the river. On the banks of the river Cooum also, there are two ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva are located. One of those two temples is called as Arambeshwarar temple located in Ilambaiyankottur. It is located on the western bank of the river. This small village is located near Kadambattur junction and can be reached from Chennai. It is considered as the 13th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in Tondai country. 


Highlights:
  • Sambandhar has revered the temple in his verses in Devaram.
  • The God cannot be touched even by the priest - called as 'Theendaa Thirumeni'.
  • Dakshinamurti in 'chin mudra' posture - Yoga Dakshinamurti; the temple is considered as an important Guru sthalam.
  • God Arambeshwarar aka Deivanayakeshwarar aka Chandrasekharar
  • Goddess Kanakakujambigai aka Kodenthu Mulaiyammai
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Mallikai Teerth (Chandra Teerth)
  • Sthala vruksha (Holy tree) - Mallikai (Jasmine)

Legend:

As per the legend, the divine damsels - Rambha, Menaka and Urvashi worshiped the God in this site seeking their lost youth. Rambha created a beautiful lotus pond surrounded by fragrant maramalli trees. Hence, the village got the name 'Arambaiyankottur'. Later it became 'Ilambaiyankottur'.

There is another legend related to this site. Lord Shiva took the form of a child and then an old man to guide Sambandhar to this temple. Sambandhar left Tiruvallam and was looking for this site. As he could not understand the signals, the God appeared as a cow and took him to this site.

It is believed that the Moon God (Chandra) also worshiped the Lord in this site. The temple tank is named as Chandra Teerth.

It is believed that a sprig from the wreath of flowers adorning Lord Shiva's matted tresses dropped in this site and formed as the Shiva Linga.

Temple Layout:

The temple which was built by the Cholas and later renovated by the Pandyas lost its heritage value completely; the current structure is an entirely renovated one during the modern days.

There is no tower; the entrance is at the west side; however, the main shrine is facing the east directions. Arambeshwarar is a big Shiva Linga; Kanakakujambigai is slightly bigger idol found in a separate south facing sub-shrine. 

At the entrance of the main shrine the idols of Ganesha and Subramanya are located.

The regular stuff such as bali peetha, flag post and Nandi idol are found facing the main shrine.

There are two prakaras in this temple. The outer prakara has two sub-shrines - Ganesha and Subramanya with his consorts.

The inner prakara too has two sub-shrines - Ganesha and Subramanya; apart from that the idols of Hanuman, Surya and Nalvar are also found here.

Nirudha Ganapati, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Durga, Brahma and Chandikeshwarar are found as the koshta deities on the wall around the main shrine. Dakshinamurti is very popular; he is found in a different posture with 'chin mudra'. He is called as 'Yoga Dakshinamurti'; the site is also considered as one of Guru sthalams.

Happy travelling.


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