December 7, 2013

Tiruchotruturai Odhanavaneswarar Temple

Site Name: Odhanavaneswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tiruchotruturai, 14 kms from Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore; 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

Tiruchotruturai is a small village near Tanjore town in South India. The temple has an important temple for Lord Shiva - Odhanavaneswarar temple. It is considered as the 13th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in Chola region south of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Sundarar, Sambandhar and Appar have revered the temple in their verses in Devaram.
  • It is considered as the 3rd of Tiruvaiyaru Sapta Sthana temples.
  • God Odhanavaneswarar aka Tolaiya Chelvar aka Chotruturai Nathar
  • Goddess Annapoorani aka Oppilambigai
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Cauvery
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Paneer tree

Legend:

As per the legend, Gautama Rishi cursed Indira and Indira got rid of his sin by worshiping Lord Shiva in this site.

As per another legend, after Lord Rama left to forest, his father, the king Dasrath came here and worshiped Lord Shiva.

Thanks to the blessing of the God and Goddess of the temple, rice instead of paddy (unhusked rice) were grown once in the nearby fields. Also the nearby lake got rice instead of water to ensure the people of this region do not experience hungry. Hence, the Lord is called as 'Chotruturai Nathar' and the Goddess is named as 'Anna Poorani' whereas the words Choru and Annam refer food/rice.

It is also said that the Lord gave Akshaya bowl for a couple to remove their poverty.

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple built during the Chola period does not have tower. The main shrine is long divided into three divisions - sanctum sanctorum (moolasthan), Ardha mandapa and Maha mandapa. Lord Odhanavaneswarar in a big Shiva Linga form is found in the sanctum.

Maha Mandapam has Nandi idol facing the sanctum. In addition, the idols of Ganesha, Kasi Linga and the couple who got Akshaya bowl from the Lord, are all located in Maha mandapa.

The inner prakara (corridor) has the sub shrine of a beautiful Maha Ganapati. There are a lot of idols located across the entire prakara such as a beautiful sculpture of Adikara Nandi, Lingodbhava, Navagraha, Surya, Bhairava, Sapta Mata, Pancha Lingams, Sapta Sthana Lingams, three more Shiva Lingas, two Ganeshas, Ayyanar, etc.

Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga along with Chandikeshwarar in a sub-shrine are present as Koshta deities on the outer wall of sanctum. The vimana and the outer wall look old and attractive. 

The right side of sanctum has two big shrines - one dedicated to Arumuga Nayanar - Subramanya with six heads and another to Maha Siddhar.

The open area outside the main shrine has flag staff, bali peeta and a Nandi idol facing towards the main deity.

There is a separate shrine for Goddess Anna Poorani aka Oppilambigai. She is found in her wedding attire. A separate Nandi idol is found facing her shrine too. Small idols of Ganesha and Subramanya are placed at the entrance of the shrine.

There are inscriptions of Chola period starting from Aditya Chola I found in this temple complex.

Happy travelling.



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