April 26, 2014

Tiruvaaleeswaram - Near Ambasamudram

Site Name: Tiruvaaleeswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tiruvaaleeswaram aka Kakkanallur village, near Brahmadesam village, near Ambasamudram town, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: medieval Chola period temple in the land of Pandyas; an architectural marvel with so many beautiful sculptures 
Nearest Railway Station: Ambasamudram
Nearest Airport: Tirunelveli
How to reach: Well connected by road from Ambasamudram; public transportation is not dependable
Hotel: Few options in Ambasamduram and no option in this village; more options in the nearby city Tirunelveli
Restaurants: Only few options in the nearby Ambasamudram town

Ambasamudram is a picturesque town located on the banks of the beautiful Tamrabharani river and on the foothills of the Western Ghats. The nearest city of Ambasamudram is Tirunelveli. It is located in Tamil Nadu state in South India.The town has a lot of scenic spots and temples. Tiruvaaleeswaram is a small village located at a distance of around 5 kms from Brahmadesham which is again 4 kms from Ambasamudram. The village has an architecturally beautiful temple with innumerable sculptures. Let us explore this temple in detail.

Unfortunately the temple is in neglected state today. If you are either spiritual or art lover, you will definitely love this site. Let us work together to make such unknown beautiful sites of India popular.

  • A medieval Chola period temple in the land of Pandyas
  • The sanctum sanctorum is completely a stone structure
  • No niche images (koshta) around the sanctum - similar to that of Pandya style
  • Two-tier vimana on top of sanctum
  • The temple has inscriptions of Cholas, Chola Pandyas and Pandyas; importantly there is an inscription of Rajaraja Chola I
  • It was originally called as Rajaraja Chaturvedi Mangalam
  • God Vaaleeswarar aka Vaalinathar
  • Goddess Soundarya Nayaki
  • Teerth (holy water) - Tamrabharani and Ghatna rivers

Temple Layout:

No travel site or travel guide talks about this temple. It is not the fault of the temple but it is the fault of those websites and guides which do not cover such a magnificent master piece. It is not fair that such a majestic temple is getting neglected.

On the banks of the beautiful Tamrabharani river, the architectural marvel temple of Tiruvaaleeswarar is located. It is well maintained by ASI although neglected by the devotees. 

The east facing temple does not have tower. It has two sanctums; the main one is dedicated to Vaalinathar aka Vaaleeswarar - a big Shiva Linga; the other sanctum is dedicated to the Goddess Soundarya Nayaki

The sanctum of Shiva Linga has two tiered vimana. Both the sanctums face the east direction. Both of them have Nandi idols, flag staffs and bali peetha in front of them. The idols of Ganesha and Subramanya are found alongside the Dwarapala at the entrance of Shiva shrine.

The prakara of Shiva shrine has the idols of Surya, Adhikara Nandi, Sapta Matas, Sura Deva and two Subramanyas. Bhairava is found in a separate small shrine.

The maha mandapa inside the shrine of Shiva has many circular shaped pillars and Yazhi pillars. The vimana has a lot of beautiful sculptures such as Bhoot ganas, Rishabha Vahana, Gaja Samhara Murti, Dakshinamurti, Ardha Nareeswarar, Nataraja, etc.

There are two small separate shrines of Ganesha, Shasta with his consorts and Shanmukha with his consorts. Dakshinamurti is also found in the outer prakra.

A beautiful garden with so many plants and trees is found at the backside of the temple.

When you go to South Tamil Nadu, ensure that you visit this site. Brahmadesham temple which is located near this site as well as this temple are architectural marvels and stand as fine examples of South Indian temple architecture. It is unfortunate that they remain unknown sites.

Happy travelling.

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