Location: Vadakurangaduthurai, 5 kms from Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights:One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station:Tanjore
How to reach:Well connected by road from Tanjore and Tiruvaiyaru; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore
Vadakurangaduthurai is a village near Tanjore town in South India. The village is also called as Aaduthurai Perumal Koil. The village has two prominent temples - one for Vishnu and another for Shiva. In this article, the temple of Lord Shiva - Dayaanidheeswarar is being explored. It is considered as the 49th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region north of Cauvery river.
Sambandhar has revered the temple in his verses in Devaram.
God - Dayaanidheeswarar aka Kulaivanangunathar aka Vaaleeswarar aka Chitti Lingeswarar
As per the legend, Vaali, the Vanara King and an important Ramayana character, got its tail cut. He visited this site and was graced to have his tail grown. Hence, Lord Shiva in this temple got the name "Vaaleeswarar".
When a pregnant woman was passing over this place, she felt very thirsty; she could not find anyone to ask for water; neither she found any water source nearby. She prayed to Lord Shiva. The Shiva Linga idol in this temple bent towards the nearby coconut tree to pluck the tender coconut to quench her thirst. Hence, the deity got another name "Kulaivanangunathar". Even today, pregnant women visit this temple in large number.
It is believed that he bestowed moksha to a sparrow and hence called as "Chitti Lingeswarar".
It is also believed that Lord Hanuman worshiped Lord Shiva in this site.
The east facing temple has a five-tier tower. The occupies large area with two prakaras (corridors).
The main shrine is divided into three parts - sanctum sanctorum, Ardha Mandapa and a long Maha Mandapa. A slightly larger Shiva Linga named as Dayanidheeswarar adorns the sanctum. The bas-relief image of Vaali worshiping Shiva is also found here.
The big statues of Dwarapalakas at the entrance of Ardha Mandapa are very attractive. A small idol of Ganesha is also found adjacent to Dwarapalakas.
The entrance of Maha Mandapa is adorned with Ganesha, Subramanya and very tiny idols of Sastha with his two consorts.
The niche images, Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, another Ganesha, Lingodbhava, Ardha Nareeswarar, Brahma and Durga on the external wall of the main shrine are mind blowing. Especially the image of Ardha Nareeswarar is inexplicably beautiful. The nice image of Vishnu Durga graces us with either arms. It is believed that the milk which is poured (during abhisheka) on this deity turns blue in color.
Usually the bronze images of Nataraja are found in all Shiva temples in South India. However, in this temple there is a sub shrine where the large stone images of Nataraja and Sivakami are found. It is another highlight of this temple.
The sub-shrines of Ganesha, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena, Chandikeshwara and Maha Lakshmi are located in the inner prakara.
The idols of twin Bhairavas, Surya, the pregnant woman, Naga and Nalvar are also found in this temple.
There is a huge open area found between the tower and the main temple structure. The image of Nandi and bali peetha are located there facing the direction towards the main shrine.
In this open area, the shrine of the Goddess Jadamukhuteswari is found facing the southern direction. A separate Nandi image is placed facing the Goddess. Navagraha's sub-shrine and a small mandapa are found adjacent to this shrine.
The Chola period inscriptions are also found in this temple.