It is a padal petra sthalam with the ranking of 15 in tamil nadu
How to reach:
The place is 15 kms from Vizhupuram and easily reached. on the Chennai tiruchy highway after crossing the first pass to vizhupuram, look for the board to Tiruvennainallur on the right it is reached after you cross the pennar river. Take the road on the right after agaram and proceed straight till you cross a village called gramam . Proceed further for about 8 kms and the road takes a bend to the left. The first left after this turning leads to the temple. The marker for this place are the flower vendors at the market on either side of the narrow road.. The road curves around to the temple and the entrance appears narrow it leads to a mammoth temple
The fore ground has the sannnidhi for Sundarar
(side enrance leading to the ambal sannidhi)
Legends with the temple:
This temple is associated with many interesting stories.The basic legend is that when Shiva had consumed poison and was unconscious Parvathi came here and created a hall of butter (hence vennai nallur) , and created a panchagni and reduced the poison. Hence Shiva was saved .
This place is one of the Shakthi peetams with Parvathy on a simha vahanam and sangunidhi and padmanidhi as gaurdians.of the door.Her ugram was pacified by the Meru installed in front and she is a shanta swaroopi here called Mangalambikai who bestows only good here.
Maikandar a renowned shaiva poet was blessed by Sage paranjothi when he was playing here as a five year old and he received the knowledge in front of the swayambhu Vinayagar ( unchiselled vinayakar) seen below.He saw the truth (Mai kandar) and started composinghis mammoth work here.
This is the temple(around about 600 AD) where Sivaperuman stops the marriage of Sundarar and proves that sundarar is his slave and brings him to the temple disguised as an old man. The sandals that Shiva wore are still seen preserved in the sanctum .It is huge and frayed . Sundarar realises that the old man who he called as a mad cap is Shiva and starts singing the first of his compositions”Pitha pirai soodi”(mad man wearing the moon as a head ornament) in this temple.
The hall where Siva argued withthe vilage elders to prove that Sundararis his slave is seen below It is a 100 pillared hall present at the entrance of the temple as seen below
Arunagirinathar is supposed to have had the vision of Muruga dancing on his peacock here
As you enter the temple you see the dwaja sthambam with a small vinayagar in front
The structure behind is the Sivan sannidhi . The nandi seen behind the dwaja sthambam is supposed to be dharmarajan himself. He also helps in people getting married, so he is very popular .
Seen above is the chamber leading into the Shivan sannidhi complex on the right. The way to ambal sannidhi is on the far left
The main hall has a garba gruha with a massive sivalingam and the anteroom has the paduka of shiva inside a glass box.
There are sannidhis for vinayaka and muruga in addition to the usual niche devatahas like bhikshandar, Dakshinamurthy, Lingodhbhavar, Brahma, Durga and chandiikeshwarar as in all shiva temples.(lingodhbhavar below)
Dakshinamurthy seen below
(Bhikshandar seen below)
There is a huge verandah running all around the main praharam
One of the sculptures seen in a corner
The ambal sannidhi is next door in the next prakaram
She is seen standing with four arms and a benign smile.There is a simha vahanam in front and a meru installed .
The Sthala vriksha here is the bamboo.It seems the vedas came here to worship the lord in the form of bamboos.
Kurukkal Ravi is seen in the picture of the ambal sannidhi he can be contacted on cell:7708638986
People light lamps for pariharam with a mixture of five oils hence the notice below to do it outside!
A view of the 100 pillar hall in front and the main praharam seen on the right as seen from The ambal praharam to give a sense of the size of the temple
I revisited the temple today 27/4/13 here are a few more pics. The road to the temple is freshly relaid and is great.
Legend from the amman sannidhi
Legend on the side of the vinayakar at the entrance in front of the dwajasthambam
Nandi at the entrance
Temple legend at the entrance
The Divine couple at the entrance