I have already blogged about the adhistnam of the Kanchi acharya in this temple town. The temple is a very famous old temple more famous for its budhan (Mercury) . Bronze images and panchaloha images of Adithya chola and Raja raja chola times have been unearthed from here and are in the museums at Tanjore and Chennai.
The Temple is a very huge one with three big ponds inside in five different praharams.The soma kundam surya kundam referred in silappathikaram are said to refer to these ponds The main Diety is Shwetaranyeshwarar and the Goddess is Brahma vidya nayaki. Since Yama was punished here for taking the life of Swetakethu .Yama prayed here and was relieved of his curse . Thus the lord is called Swetaranyeshwarar
The main sanctum has a large Sivalingam behind this is the sanctum for Vishnu (The adi devatha here) To the North west in the main praharam are the praharams for Agora murthy and a separate sannidhi for Natarajar.
Agora murthy is Shiva with a beasts head and Birds body, a rupa he took to kill an asura called padmasuran under the Vanni tree here. It is the counterpart of the Narasimha avataram and the idol is huge about 6-7 feet tall.
The Natarajar is unique in that he has a chidambaram style sannidhi and it is said that shiva did 7 types of dance here The Nataraja image bears the seven instruments and weapons - Vetalam, Khadgam, Udukku, Mani, Kedayam, Kapalam and Trisulam .
Once you come out of this prakaram you will see there are two shrines for ashta lakshmi with four in each shrine
The next structure you see is the Budhan sanidhi with the amman sanidhi in the back ground
The rudra mandapam seen from the Budhan sanidhi. This tank was dug by Indra to escape from a curse he incurred from Durvasa. He gave a mala received from Durvasa to Airavatha who trampled it and so incurred durvasa’s wrath so he atoned by worshipping shiva and dug a pond in this temple.
Next to the Amman sanidhi is the Adhishtanam of Brahma who was the father of the amman Brahma vidya nayaki.
A very huge temple with lots of Antiquity and three huge ponds full of water!!. Still the rush is for budhan sannidhi