July 12, 2014

Moondreeshwarar Temple - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as Shiva Linga

Site Name: Moondreeshwarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Athalanallur, near Veeravanallur, near Ambasamudram town, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva together in the form of a single Shiva Linga; Dakshinamurti in different posture
Nearest Railway Station: Veeravanallur
Nearest Airport: Tirunelveli
How to reach: Well connected by road from Ambasamudram and Veeravanallur; 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. Athalanallur is a small village located near Veeravanallur near Ambasamudram. The village has an ancient temple, Moondreeshwarar temple. It is very rare temple unfortunately which remains unknown. Let us explore this temple in detail.

Highlights:

  •  God – Moondreeshwarar
  • Goddess – Maragadambika
  •  Dakshinamurti in a rare and different posture
  • Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in the form of a Shiva Linga
  • Tombs (Samadhis) of Siddhars inside the temple
Legend:

As per the advice from Lord Shiva during his marriage, the sage Agastya travelled to South India. He first landed in Podhigai hills. Later, he visited this site. Many saints followed him. Some of the Siddhars liked the place and stayed here. Hence, this temple is also considered as Siddhar Peetham.


Temple Layout:

This ancient temple of Lord Shiva is located at the outskirts of Athalanallur village on the way to Tirupudaimarudur. Unfortunately, this extraordinary temple, which is supposed to be the highlight of the village, remains unknown. It is not easy to locate this temple. Even the local people are unaware of this temple. It is located at a distance of around 400 meters from the famous Aadi Moolam Gajendra Varadan temple.

The temple, which badly needs maintenance, is east facing. It does not have tower. Instead, there is a beautiful Nalkal (four pillared) mandapa in front of the temple. 


The bali peetha, flag staff and Nandi mandapa are all located inside a long mandapa which is found with a ceiling.

The main shrine is built based on 'maada kovil' architecture. The sanctum sanctorum has a small Shiva Linga named as 'Moondreeshwarar'; it is believed that all three main deities Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva together appear as this Linga and hence it is named as 'Moondreeshwarar' (the word Moondru in Tamil language means 'three').

The Goddess Maragadambika is found in a separate south facing shrine outside the maha mandapa.

As the temple structure is not maintained well and as it is mostly damaged, few Ganesha and Subramanya idols are placed inside the Maha mandapa.


The prakara has the idols of Dakshinamurti, Chandikeshwarar, Surya, Chandra, Bhairava, Bhadra, Sura Deva, Sapta Matas, Durga and Adhikara Nandi. There are two sub shrines dedicated to Ganesha and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena.

Dakshinamurti is in a rare and different posture. He is found in the sitting posture with his right leg hanging down and his left leg folded on top of his right leg; his left foot is facing upwards which is a rare posture.

The temple also houses two samadhis of Siddhars; Shiva Linga idols are installed on those samadhis. Three sub shrines of Shiva Lingas are also found in this temple; it is also believed that due to these three sub-shrines of Shiva Lingas which are located together, the main deity is named as Moondreeshwarar.

There are many beautiful carvings in the pillars and also few mandapas which are not reachable thanks to poor maintenance.

A serene place which needs maintenance... Please travel to this site before it completely falls down.

Happy travelling.

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