Location:Thiruvalangadu, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights:One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalam temples
Nearest Railway Station:Thiruvalangadu
How to reach:Well connected by road from Chennai, Tiruvallur or Tiruttani; Local railway station option is also there
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tiruttani or Tiruvallur
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; go to Tiruttani or Tiruvallur
Thiruvalangadu (Tiruvalankadu, as per the correct pronunciation - however, written as Tiruvalangadu or Thiruvalangadu) is a village in Tamil Nadu stateof India. The nearest well known localities are Tiruttani and Tiruvallur. From Chennai city, the village is at a distance of around 70 kms. This village has a very prominent temple called Vadaaraneswarar Temple. It is considered as the 15th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Thondai region. As this temple has Ratna Sabha, which is one of the five most important sites for Nataraj, people locally refer this temple as Nataraj temple also.Let me explore this temple in this article.
Sambandhar, Sundarar and Appar have revered the temple in their verses in Devaram.
God - Vadaaraneswarar
Other Names - Devarsinga Peruman, Aalankattu Appan,
Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Jack Fruit Tree - Pala in Tamil (as per few, it might be Banyan - Aalam in Tamil)
15th Devara Paadal Petra Sthalam located in the Thondai region
Urdhav Tandav posture by Natraj
One of the Five Sabhas of Natraj - Ratna Sabha
Karkotaka and the sage Sunanta are believed to have worshiped Lord Shiva of this temple.
Kali dancing with Nataraj Kali destroyed the Asuras Sumbha and Nisumbha. She drank their blood after killing them. As a result, she became uncontrollably furious. As per the request by the sages, Shiva reached this place. Kali challenged him to dance with her and promised to leave this place if Shiva would win the competition. Shiva and Kali danced for long. Shiva dropped his ear ring and using his left leg toe, he picked it up and fixed it back. Kali could not do that obviously and admitted her defeat. It is believed that in this village, the dance competition between two divine forces happened. Karaikkal Ammaiyar Karaikkal Ammaiyar walked to this village not using her legs but with her head upside down. She got darshan of Nataraj in this site. Shiva called her as "Ammaiye" in this site.
From the inscriptions, it appears that the early Pallava period temple was renovated by the Cholas, in the 11th and 12th centuries CE. Temple Layout:
The east facing huge temple has a five tiered Raja Gopura (tower) and another interior Gopura. At the entrance, the sub-shrines of Karpaga Ganapati with 12 arms along with Siddhi and Shanmukha-Valli-Devasena. The entrance arch as well as both the gopuras have many interesting stucco idols. In front of the temple, there is a 16 pillared mandap. There is a 100 pillared mandap after the first entrance of the temple.
Presiding Deities The east facing sanctum enshrines a tall and wide Shiv Linga called as Vadaaraneswarar. The big Dwarapalas along with an idol of Ganesh are found at the entrance of the sanctum. The Goddess Vandarkuzhali is found in a separate south facing shrine. She has four arms and is found in the standing posture. In Ardha Mandap, the idols of Nataraj and Shivakami are found. The relief images of Ganesh and Subramanya are found at the entrance of this mandap. A small Nandi idol is placed facing Shiv Linga in this section.
Nandi mandap, bali peeth and the flag staff are found facing towards the sanctum.
Ratna Sabha The maha mandap area is wide. There, the popular Ratna Sabha is located. It is one of five Sabhas of Natraj. Natraj is found in the Urdhav Tandav posture. He is found in a unique dancing posture with his left leg raised upwards. He is also called as Ratna Sabhapati. Shivakami and the utsav idol of Karaikkal Ammaiyar are found adjacent to Natraj. Koshta Idols Nritya Ganapati, Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhava, Brahma, Durga and Durga Parameswarar are found as the niche idols around the sanctum walls. Durga Parameswarar idol is something unique, which is not found anywhere else. Chandikeshwara is found in his usual location.
Inner Prakara There are lot of idols found in the inner prakara. They include:
Vijayaraghav with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi
A big and beautiful Agora Veerabhadra
A unique idol of Chandesa Anugraha Murti
Small idols of Vadaaraneswarar and Vandarkuzhali
Agasteeswarar Shiv Linga
Kailasanath Shiv Linga
Ramalingeswar Shiv Linga
Ekambaranath Shiv Linga with Kamakshi
Valmikinath Shiv Linga
Eight different forms of Ganesh
Three Shiv Lingas together
Apart from the idols stated above, there are few sub-shrines located in the prakara, which include:
Kuzhaindeeswarar Shiv Linga and Soundarya Nayaki
Utsav idols of Uma and Satyojatha Murti
Utsav idol of Bhadra Kali
Outer Prakara The vast outer prakara has the holy Sthala Vruksha with a Shiv Linga and Nandi below the tree. This prakara is surrounded by fortress walls. Kali Temple Outside the temple, at the distance of around 300-400 meters, a small temple of Bhadra Kali is located. Kali is in peaceful posture and her idol is very small. The huge temple tank is also located outside the temple complex. Happy travelling.