July 13, 2014

Tirupudaimarudur Narumpoonathar Temple

Site Name: Narumpoonathar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tirupudaimarudur, 8 kms from Veeravanallur, near Ambasamudram town, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Shiva Linga with the scars of sickle and deer hit and slightly leaning towards left side
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. Tirupudaimarudur is a small village located near Veeravanallur near Ambasamudram. The village has an ancient and magnificent temple, Narumpoonathar temple. Let us explore this temple in detail.

Highlights:

  •  God – Narumpoonathar aka Pudaar Jeeneshwarar; Utsava - Bhoonathar
  • Goddess – Gomati 
  • Teerth (Holy water) – Tamrabharani
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) – Marudam
  • Shiva Linga in a leaning posture; marks of deer hit and sickle
  • Tombs (Samadis) of Siddhars inside the temple
Legend:

As per the legend, Indra, the king of Devas had some difference of opinion with his Guru Brahaspati. He made the Asura Viswarupa as his new Guru. He later came to know that Viswarupa was secretly performing a yagna to destroy him. He killed his new Guru and incurred Brahmahatti sin. When the Devas approached Shiva to help, he advised them to throw Brahmadanda and install Shiva Linga at the site where it would fall. He also added that that site would be equal to Varanasi. The Devas threw Brahmadanda and it fell in Tirupudaimarudur on the banks of the river Tamrabharani. Indra along with his wife Indrani came here, bathed in Surendra Moksha Teerth on the banks of the river, performed penance towards Lord Shiva and got rid of his sin. He also installed this Shiva Linga.

As per another legend, Karuvur Siddhar, a great devotee of Lord Shiva wanted to come here. He reached the northern bank of Tamrabharani and he could not cross the flooding river. He prayed to Lord Shiva. The Shiva Linga in this temple leaned towards the direction where he was standing to hear his voice clearly and also inviting him to proceed to his temple. Thus the Shiva Linga is found in the leaning position even today. Siddhar, based on the gesture of Lord, just crossed the river without any challenge and worshiped Lord Shiva.

After several years, the area became a thick forest full of Marudam trees. The king Veeramarthanda who ruled this region came to the forest for hunting. He targeted a deer which hid itself inside the hole in a marudam tree. He asked his soldiers to cut the tree; blood was oozing out of the tree. He discovered Shiva Linga inside the tree with scars of deer hit and sickle cut. He thus built this temple for Lord Shiva.

The idol of Goddess Gomati is made up of Rudraksha and it was brought here from Komal hills as per the advice from a divine voice.

Temple Layout:

Temple Tower:

Tirupudaimarudur Narumpoonathar temple is one of the biggest temples in Southern Tamil Nadu. The 1200 years old temple has a stunning and magnificent east facing five tier tower (Raja Gopuram). A temple wall without tower (mottai gopuram) is standing in front of the tower. It appears that the tower was originally planned but not constructed. Otherwise, this large temple might have another stunning tower. There is a huge open space between the two towers. A small beautiful pillared mandapa is located in front of the mottai gopuram.

A long and broad hall covered with a ceiling on top and supported by a lot of pillars found with carvings is located once you enter into the temple. In this mandapa (hall), the flag staff (dhwajastambha) and bali peetha are located facing the sanctum sanctorum. Two small idols, Dhwaja Ganapati and Dhwaja Subramanya are found near the flag staff.

Main Shrine:

The main shrine is very long and divided into Moolasthan (sanctum sanctorum), Ardha Mandapa and Maha Mandapa. The entire main shrine is built as per 'maada kovil' (raised platform) temple architectural style.

The Moolasthan has big Shiva Linga named as Pudaar Jeeneshwarar aka Narumpoonathar. He is found slightly leaned towards his left side. The marks of deer hit and sickle cut are found on his body. The reasons for his leaning posture and the marks are given above in the 'legend' section.

At the entrance of Ardha Mandapa, a pair of Dwarapalas are located. Also, the idols of Anugnai Vinayakar and Bala Subramanya are found here.

The entrance of Maha Mandapa has another pair of Dwarapalas sculptures. The mandapa has a big sub-shrine with a lot of utsava (metal) idols such as Nataraja-Sivakami, Shiva Linga, Bhikshatana, Ganesha, Chandrasekhar, 63 Nayanmars, etc. Nandi is found in the mandapa facing towards the presiding deity. The hall has so many beautiful pillars having lion faces on their upper sides. 

In the area below the maada kovil, there is another Nandi facing towards the main Shiva Linga.

Brahmadanda:

The Brahmadanda, which is associated with the origin of the temple, as per the legend, is found more like a thin long Shiva Linga in the inner prakara. Along with Brahmandanda, the idols of Surya, Shiva Linga and Nandi are also found.

Gomati:

The Goddess of the temple is Gomati. She is very tall and beautiful; her idols is made up of Rudraksha. She holds parrot in her right arm. Her shrine is equally big similar to that of Narumpoonathar and has three sections - moolasthan, Ardha Mandapa and Maha Mandapa. At the entrance of Maha Mandapa, the idols of Ganesha and Subramanya are located. Nandi is found in the maha mandapa facing towards the Goddess. There is an exterior mandapa with a lot of pillars with carvings.

The structure of this temple where the Goddess shrine facing the east direction and having equally big shrine is rare to find. Even in the temples where such style is followed, the Goddess' shrine is generally located to the left side of the main shrine. In this temple, the Goddess' shrine is located to the right side of the main shrine, which is very rare.

At the main entrance of the Goddess temple, the sub-shrines of Ganesha, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena and Bhoodathar (in the form a tomb like structure) are all located.

Inner Prakara:

Some of the idols found in the inner prakara around the main shrine:

  • Ganesha
  • 63 Nayanmars
  • Karuvur Siddhar
  • Kasi Lingam with his consort
  • Rameshwara Lingam with his consort
  • Tritiya Lingams - three Shiva Lingas
  • Chatur Lingams - four Shiva Lingas
  • Ganesha
  • Maha Vishnu with folded hands
  • Subramanya with folded hands
  • Big Jwara Deva
  • Big Sapta Matas
  • Krishna
  • Yoga Dakshinamurti
  • Shaneeswara
  • Saraswati
  • Sahashra Linga
The prakara is full of pillars and half of the region has a kind of raised platform called 'thinnai'.

Some of the sub-shrines found in the inner prakara:
  • Ganesha - very beautiful idol
  • Subramanya on top of peacock with his consorts Valli and Devasena
  • Utsava idols of Uma and Maheshwara - sitting posture
  • Chandikeshwara
The niche sculptures found on the main shrine walls:
  • Shiva Linga
  • Very beautiful Dakshniamurti
  • Vishnu and Mahalakshmi in the sitting posture
  • Brahma with folded hands
  • Durga

Punagu Sabhapati:

A big sub-shrine is located in the inner prakara, which is dedicated to Nataraja and Sivakami. Both the deities along with the other usual saints are all made up of Punagu, a kind of perfume. 

Other Idols:

Near the flag staff, there are five small Shiva Lingas; two of them are found along with Ambal. Apart from that there is a small Shiva Linga in a small shrine and another big one - Ishana Linga along with Ambal in a separate shrine. All the Shiva Lingas have their corresponding Nandi facing them. Navagraha, the nine planets, are also located adjacent to these sub-shrines.

Outside the Raja Gopuram, there is a shrine dedicated to Shasta with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala. Sapta Matas and some village deities are also found near this shrine.

Tamrabharani river:

Tamrabharani river is flowing on the backside of the temple. On its banks, there are two separate shrines - one is dedicated to Ganesha and in another shrine has part of the holy tree Maruda where the deity was discovered originally. Currently, a four-armed Shiva idol is installed here. The roof of this shrine is slope, somewhat similar to that of Kerala type architecture.

Outer Prakara:

The outer prakara is more like a garden with so many trees and plants. Under a particular holy tree, the idols of Shiva Linga, Ambal, Ganesha and Nandi are found.

Bird Sanctuary:

The area outside the Raja Gopuram and around the temple complex is a declared bird sanctuary. This area has abundant natural beauty which attracts so many varieties of birds.

It's an extraordinary temple with so many beautiful sculptures, fine architecture, surrounded by natural beauty and peaceful Tamrabharani river - never miss to visit this place.

Happy travelling.

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