May 5, 2017

Tirupalathurai Adimoolanathar Temple

Site Name: Adimoolanathar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tirupalathurai, 14 kms from Trichy, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Lalgudi and Trichy; public transport is not dependable; it's remote village
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Trichy or Lalgudi
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Lalgudi


Tirupalathurai is a lesser known and remote village located at a distance of around 14 kms from Trichy in Tamil Nadu state of India. It is located in Trichy - Lalgudi route. The nearest well known locality is Panayapuram. This village has an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The name of the temple is AdimoolanatharIt is considered as the 59th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region north of Cauvery river.

Although this is an important temple, it remains lesser known mainly as it is located in a remote location, which is not easily accessible. Let me discuss about this temple in this article.

Highlights:

  • Sambandhar has revered the temple in his verses in Devaram.
  • God Adimoolanathar a.k.a. Tirumoolanathar a.k.a. Adimooleshwarar a.k.a. Tiruppattrurai Mahadevar
  • Goddess - Nitya Kalyani a.k.a. Meghalambikai a.k.a. Moga Nayaki
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Kollidam river
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Bilva
  • Considered as one of the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams.

Legend:

As per the legend, the sage Markandeya visited this site once. He could not find milk to perform abhishek to Shiv Linga, as part of his pooja rituals. All of a sudden, milk sprang from the ground with the blessing of Lord Shiva. The sage happily used that milk to perform his pooja.

There is another version of the legend which states that a Chola King was passing through this place, which was a forest in those days. He saw a rare white colored bird. He aimed his arrow towards the bird, but the bird somehow escaped from his arrow. He kept following the bird and ultimately reached a place where all of a sudden milk sprang up from the ground. He was scared and left for his palace. Lord Shiva appeared in his dream and ordered him to dig up the place where milk was oozing out. The King accordingly dug up the land and discovered a Shiv Linga in that place. Then, he built this temple for Shiva.

Although there are two different versions of the legend associated with this temple, both indicate that the site was named as Tiruppaatrurai due to its association with milk. Tiruppaatrurai is the original name of this village. In Tamil language, it means the place of milk.

History:

The temple is a Chola period temple. Probably, it was built by Parantaka Choal I in the 10th century CE. The stone inscriptions of Parantaka Chola I and Vikrama Chola are found in this temple.

Temple Layout:

Entrance:

The east facing temple has three tiered tower. At the entrance, the sub-shrines of Ganesh and Bala Dandayudhapani are located.

The flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi mandap are located outside the temple complex and they face towards the tower.

 Adimoolanathar:

The east facing sanctum with a very beautiful vimana enshrines a big Shiv Linga, which is named as Adimoolanathar. (Interestingly, in few temples even Vishnu is named as Adimoola; here, Shiva is named so.) The sanctum is guarded by two big and beautiful images of Dwarapalas. In Maha Mandap, Nandi is found facing towards the sanctum.

Nitya Kalyani:

The Goddess of the temple is named as Nitya Kalyani. Her idol is big in size. She has four arms and is found in the standing posture. Her south facing shrine is located in the front side mandap. A Nandi is found facing towards her shrine.

Koshta Deities:

One of the highlights of the temple is the extremely beautiful Koshta Murtis. Bhikshatana, Veenadhara Dakshinamurti, Shankara Narayana, Brahma and Mahisasuramardini Durga are found as the niche images around the sanctum. Each one of them is incomparably beautiful. In addition, a carving of Ganesh is also found in this outer wall. A small shrine is built around another niche idol, Dakshinamurti in his regular form.

Utsava Deities:

In Maha Mandap, there is a sub-shrine where many of the bronze idols are kept. They include Nataraj-Sivakami, Somaskanda, Uma-Maheshwara, Ganesh, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena and Chandikeshwara.

Unusual Idols:

In Maha Mandap, there are few idols found which are unusual for a Shiva temple.

Venu Gopal is found along with his two consorts on either sides. A Shiva devotee is found next to Gopal. Then a male deity holding deer in one of his arms is found; he has his two lower arms folded in Namaskar posture. He is named as Narayan by the temple authorities. However, he must be Shiva or Rudra. Why does he have folded arms as if worshiping someone? I don't have a clue. Next to him, there is a Devi seated similar to Uma in Somaskanda group of idols. She is named as Lakshmi by the temple authorities. This also seems to be incorrect to me.

I assume all these idols might have been excavated out near this temple or somewhere in this village. They do not seem to belong to this temple originally.

Other Idols:

In the prakara, the sub-shrines of Ganesh, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena, Gaja Lakshmi, Chandikeshwara and Nava Graha are located.

Bhairav is found near Navagraha. Facing towards the sanctum, the Chola period beautiful idols of Surya and later period Chandra are located.

Happy travelling.












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