This is a very ancient and historical temple connected with many legends. It was built around 700 AD and is one of the southern most pallava rock cut temples barring Trichy rockfort temple
How to Reach:
The temple is situated on the tirukoilur Villupuram road about 2 kms away. You will reach the tirukoilur Railway station on the left.Directly in fron of the station is a small road which will lead you on to the hill top
Legends associated with the temple:
Sage Thirugnanasambandar when he came here was prevented from entering the temple with huge rocks blocking the temple doors but listening to his songs the stones moved and he had a darshan of Tiruvannamali from here. to commemorate this there is a small pedestral with two small feet carved in front of the Annamalai sannidhi.
Mahavishnu after killing King Bali in Vamana avatar prayed to shiva to relieve him of the dosha Shiva asked him to do penance near a swayumbhu lingam.The entire hill looked like a sivalingam and Vishnu prayed here along with sridevi. Inside you can see a bass relief ofSridevi with a bird in one hand and a staff in the other.
This is the place where Shri Ramana first came to and was in meditation and was stuckwith a brillian tlight which transformed him to a maharishi!!
Click the link below for a detailed account
The early life history of Shri Ramanamaharishi
The temple proper:
As you enter the huge complex you can see a seven tiered rajagopuram, and separate shrines for Arunachaleswara, and the goddess Soundara Kanagambikai, (as seen below)
apart from the main shrine which is seen at the right side of the photo below
The separate shrine for arunachaleshwara is seen above in the middle the idol of arunachaleshwarais seen below. In front of this sannidhi is the pedestal with the small feet of Thirugnana sambandar
.When you enter the main temple you see an outer praharam and the inner praharm has the majestic Sivalingam
There are two Nandi's in front of the lord which are both turned so as to allow Gnanasambhandar to see the lord clearly as he was only a small boy!!
The surrounding praharams have very unique gods as below . The Carvings were mostly in relief forms signifying Pallava work
(Balamurugan and Gaja lakshmi on the right)
There were a lot of inscriptions about the temple
The famous four tamil savants appar,sundarar,Thirugnanasambandar and Manickyavasagar
The youthful statue of Ramana maharishi
Next as you come out is the ambal sannidhi
The Main Gopuram steps descend towards the Pandava caves
The place was full of dirty water. It was supposedly made by the force of Bhimas Gadha
A view of the Tirukoilur Ulaganda perumal from the main rajagopuram
( A view of the temple rajagopuram from Kapilar’s shrine in the pennar river)