October 31, 2014

Tirukkattuppalli Agneeswarar Temple

Site Name: Agneeswarar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tirukkattuppalli, located near 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
Nearest Airport: Trichy
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

Tirukkattuppalli is a village near Tiruvaiyaru, which in turn is located near Tanjore town in South India. The village has an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called as Agneeswarar temple. It is considered as the 9th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region south of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Appar and Sambandhar have revered the temple in their verses in Devaram.
  • God - Agneswarar aka Theeyaadiyappar
  • Goddess Soundara Nayaki aka Azhagammai
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Bilva and Vanni
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Agni Teerth and Cauvery
  • Considered as one of the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams

Legend:

As Agni worshiped Lord Shiva in this site, he is named as Agneeswarar. 

Brahma, Surya and Bhageerata also worshiped Lord Shiva in this temple.

It is believed that the temple was renovated during the reign of Uttama Chola.

As per the legend, someone gave two Chevvandi flowers to the King of Uraiyur. The flowers were meant for Shiva pooja. The king in turn gave those flowers to his two wives. The first wife offered the flower to Shiva and she lived with fame. The second wife wore the flower on her head and she faced a lot of difficulties in her life. Also, Uraiyur where the second wife of the King lived, was covered with sand dung whereas Tirukkattuppalli where the first queen lived was not affected by the natural calamity.

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple has five tiered tower (Raja gopuram).

The sanctum sanctorum has the main deity in the form of Shiva Linga named as Agneeswarar. The sanctum sanctorum is located slightly underground which is unique. Two big dwarapalas are found at the entrance. Ganesha idol is also located here.

The ardha mandapa and maha mandapa are very long. In maha mandapa, there are sub shrines and idols of Nataraja-Sivakami, Bhairava, Nalvar, Surya, Nava graha, utsava idols and Somakskanda. All the eight planets are facing towards Surya who is at the center; this depictions is unique.

In the innermost prakara, the niche (Koshta) idols of Yoga Guru, Ardhanareeswarar and Brahma are found.

In the middle prakara the Koshta (niche) idols of Dakshnimurti and Durga are found. The sub shrine of Chandikeshwara is also located here. Some of the other deities found here include Saaraswati, Gaja Lakshmi, Annamalai-Unnamalai, Srinivasa-Sri Devi - Bhoo Devi, Ganesha and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena.

The outermost prakara has the sub-shrine of Nardana Vinayaka.

The flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi are situated facing towards the sanctum sanctorum. There is a small Ganesha idol near the flag staff.

The Goddess of the temple is Soundara Nayaki. She is found in an equally big separate south facing shrine. Her idol is very attractive and she has four arms and is found in the standing posture. There is a Ganesha idol at the entrance of this shrine.

Happy travelling.



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