Location: Poondi, 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
How to reach:Well connected by road from Chennai; Local train facility is available till Tiruvallur
Hotel: Go to Chennai where there are lot of options
Restaurants: Go to Chennai where there are lot of options
Poondi is a village located adjacent to Tiruvallur near Chennai city in South India. It is famous due to the reservoir located here. Ithas an important Shiva temple called as Oondreeswarar Temple. It is considered as the 17th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams(274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in Tondai region.
Sundarar has revered the temple in his verses in Devaram.
God - Oondreeswarar aka Aadharandeshwarar
Goddess - Minnoli aka Tadi Gowri
Sthala Vruksham (Holy tree) - Ilandai
As per the legend, the saint Sundarar lost his eye sight. He came to this site and begged for the sight. However, Lord Shiva blessed him only with a pole to aid him walk. He got angry and threw it towards Shiva; it fell on the head of Nandi and he lost one of his horns. In this temple, Sundarar holding a pole adjacent to Nandi with the broken horn are found.
Goddess Parvati appeared in the form of lightning now and there to guide Sundarar to this site. Hence, the Goddess is called as 'Minnoli' which means the light from lightening.
The original temple was built by the Cholas; it is believed that it belonged to 11th century CE. It was located in a village called Tiruvilamboothur. As the Government took over the village to construct the reservoir, the temple along with the original idols got shifted to the current site in 1968 CE.
Oondreeswarar temple is located in a calm location with a lot of trees within its compound. It does not have a tower. It has two entrances at east and north directions. The entrance at the north direction acts as the main entrance nowadays.
The sanctum sanctorum faces the east direction. Oondreeswarar in the form of small Shiva Linga is the main deity. The Panchaloka (metal) idols of Somaskanda are located behind the main deity. At the entrance of the sanctorum, apart from Dwarapalaks the idols of Ganesha and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena are found.
Nandi with broken horn
The highlight of the temple is Sundarar holding a pole and Nandi with his right horn broken - both facing the main deity. As Lord Shiva gave pole to Sundarar, he is named as 'Oondreeswarar' which means the Lord who presented pole.
The Goddess, Minnoli appears with four arms and in the standing posture in a separate shrine facing the north direction.
The wall surrounding the sanctorum has the koshta idols of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhava, Brahma, Durga and Chandikeshwara. The sub-shrines of Ganesha, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena and Lakshmi are also located in the inner prakara.
The mandapa in front of the sanctorum has few idols such as Navagraha, Surya, Arunagiri, Nalvar, Vallabha Ganapati and Bhairava with eight arms.
The outer prakara is full of trees. No sub-shrine or idol except for Vazhi Thunai Vinayaka sub-shrine is located there.
A big flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi are located facing the temple at the outer prakara. A small Bhairava idol is found adjacent to Nandi mandapa.