April 27, 2017

Nangavaram Sundareshwarar Temple

Site Name: Sundareshwarar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Nangavaram, 30 kms from Trichy, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Chola period lesser known temple of Shiva
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Karur and Trichy; public transport facility is available from Trichy and Karur
Hotel: Mid-range hotels; better to stay in Trichy or Karur
Restaurants: Few options; it is better to go to Trichy or Karur

Nangavaram is a village located at a distance of around 30 kms from Trichy city in Tamil Nadu state of India. The village has an ancient Chola period temple of Shiva, called as Sundareshwarar temple. Let us discuss about this temple in this article.

Highlights:

  • God Sundareshwarar
  • Goddess Komalavalli
  • The Samadhi of Akhandeswara.

Legend:

It is believed that a Chola King brought the Shiv Linga idol from Kasi and installed the same in this village and built this temple. Akhandeswara, the sage from Kasi, completed his penance and could not find Shiv Linga which he used to regularly worship. With his spiritual power, the sage came to know the whereabouts of his Lord. He traveled towards south and reached this village. When he reached this village, the temple doors were closed. He jumped over into the temple complex. Unfortunately, the place where he landed was full of mud. His legs got caught into the quicksand. Lord Shiva told him that he wanted to stay in this village and ordered the sage also to stay back. Thus, the sage attained samadhi in this site. Today, we could find a shrine dedicated to Akhandeswara in this temple.

After sometime, the face of the Princess turned into a jackal's face. With the blessing of Lord Shiva in this temple, she got back her human face. Hence, this village is named as Nangai Varam, which became Nangavaram (the words Nangai and varam mean woman and boon respectively).

History:

The historical name of the village was Arinjikai Chatur Vedi Mangalam. It is believed that the temple was built during the period of Parantaka Chola I in the 10th century CE.

Temple Layout:

Entrance:

The south facing temple has no tower at the entrance. Nandi and bali peetha are located outside the temple complex and face towards the direction of the temple.

Sundareshwar:

The east facing sanctum enshrines big Shiv Linga named as Sundareshwarar. The Vimana of Sundareshwarar is very attractive. The sanctum along with the Vimana as well as few other sub-shrines that are adorned with similar style of Vimanas in this temple are all identied to Parantaka Chola's period. In Maha Mandap, Nandi is found and it faces the direction of the main deity.

Dwarapalas:

The Dwarapalas at the entrance of the sanctum are interesting sculptures. The Dwarapla at the true right side of the entrance has the index finger of his right arm raised upwards and leaned towards his forehead, somewhat similar to saluting. The Dwarapala on the left side has his left arm raised upwards and all the five fingers widely spread across. The features of these two big sized Dwarapalas are slightly unique and look interesting. Unfortunately, the photographs are not allowed.

Komalavalli:

Komalavalli is a name given to Lakshmi in few Vishnu temples. However, in this temple, the consort of Shiva is named as Komalavalli. Komalavalli's idol is slightly big. She has four arms and is found in the standing posture. Her shrine faces the north direction and is located in the prakara.

Other Shrines:

The sub-shrines of Kanni Moola Ganapati, Shanmukha-Valli-Devasena and Dandayudhapani are important structures. They have beautiful Vimanas  that can be dated back to Parantaka Chola's period. Shanmukha has six heads and twelve arms with a peacock behind him.

Interestingly, there is no shrine for Gaja Lakshmi in this temple. Instead, a sub-shrine of Jyeshtha Devi is found. She is found along with her two attendants.

Sapta Matas, Chandikeshwara and Navagraha are also found in the prakara.

At the entrance of the Maha Mandap, the idols of Ganesh and Dandayudhapani are located.

In Maha Mandap, there is a sub-shrine which enshrines all the bronze idols of the temple that include big bronze idols of Nataraja and Sivakami and other smaller idols such as Uma-Chandrashekhar, Ganesh, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena and Somaskanda.

A Navakanda sculpture is also found in this temple complex.

Koshta Deities:

The Koshta deities of the temple do not belong to the original period. I am not sure what happened to those original idols. Dakshinamurti, Vishnu and Brahma are found as the niche idols. There is no Ganesh or Durga in the niche.

Akhandeswara:

The specialty of the temple is the shrine of Akhandeswara. The sage is found in seated posture holding Kamadulu in his right arm and left arm rested on his lap.

Bhairav idol is located near this shrine.

Happy travelling.


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