How to reach:
Lalgudi is easily reached by road/train.It is on the Trichy to Ariyalur road about 20 kms from the toll gate.it is also on the chenaiTrichy railway line.
Legend and connected stories:
The place was referred to by allahuddin khilji as Lal gudi in reference to the red tower of the temple or to the red coloured lingam inside the temple.
When the asura king Tharakasura became un manageable Lord Shiva produced 6 sparks which were later to become shanmugha .The six children were seen by the wives of saptharishis who became so engrossed at their antics that they forgot to feed the children who were ultimately taken care of by the sapthakannikais.As a result the rishipathnis were cursed and banished by the rishis for neglecting an opportunity to get a better life.This angered muruga who cursed the rishis .They had to flee from thiruvaiyaru where they were doing yagnas and came to lalgudi where they were asked to pray to lord Shiva who had given boons to Lakshmi and Vishnu earlier at this place. The Saptharisis ultimately merged into the sivalingam which is split at the top with a reddish hue.( It .is a ardhanarishwara sivasakthi lingam).
The goddess here is Sivakamasundari (@Sreemathy/,perun thiru piratti), she was born to Mangalya maharishi who lived in lalgudi(his house is still in existence in the village and even now the in mates of the house send “porandhathu seeru” (wedding gifts to the bride) to the goddess on specific days of the Kalyana utsavam).
Thyagaraja swami has spent time here and composed the lalgudi pancharathna kirthanas on the amman here
As you enter the temple there are two prakaras one for the sivan and another for the amman.
In the sivan praharam before the sannidhi entrance are the statues for the Saptha rishis
The temple has very large number of inscriptions which speak of the times past.and extensive social structure present at that time in tamil society. The ASI has coped all these and they prove to be an authentic reference for history of the region .
As you go around the main prahara we have certain unique idols.The Dakshinamurthy here is Veena dakshinamurthy Shiva with a veena in his hand
,there is also a ardha narishwarar in the back instead of the lingodhbavar / Perumal as in other shivatemples ( see below)
A bhikshandar (beggar shiva)
a jwareshwarar who has no form but has a sannidhi.
There is also a sannidhi for Lakshmi who was initially the tapaswini here (“Thiru thava thurai”)
There is a original kapaleshwara form of Siva which was also worshipped earlier here seen at the extreme right
There is also a Dakshinamurthy in a seperate niche as seen below
The safe house where the thevarams were found this was built as an elevation behind the main sannidhi
Mangalya maharishi sannidhi
Thyagaraja's keerthanas are engraved here
The amman sannidhi is also huge and has a standing smiling samvardhini sreemathy who is supposed to have fulfilled the wishes of both Lakshmi and Saraswathy.Lots of people buy sarees for the amman after their prayers are answered, The idol is wonderfully attired in a 9 yard saree.with sandal paste annointment.
The 63 nayanmars displayed
The utsava murthys ( somaskandar and Parvathy)
The Natarajar in the outer praharam is huge (about 5 feet tall)and is resplendent during the pradosha puja which is a major attraction of this temple.
In all a very ancient and awe inspiring temple worth seeing for a whole day
The seven great Rishis – Athri, Bhrigu, Pulasthya,Vasishta, Gautama, Aangirasa and Marichi. .
The seven rishis are relatives of the nine planets. As all the rishis reached Lord Shiva here, those facing any problem through any planet are advised to worship Lord Saptharishiswara. . Sun is the grandson of Marichi rishi,Chandra the son of Athri, Mercury is the son of Chandra, Jupiter is the son of Angirasa, Mars comes in the lineage of Vasishta. Hence worship of Lord Saptharishiswara brings relief from planetary problems.
Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December-January and Mahasivarathri in Masi in February-March are the festivals celebrated in the temple in a grand manner
Tel:0431 2541 329
Pictures from my visit in June 2018