Legends and stories :
This is one of the paadal petra sthalams sung by the nayanmars Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar ,Karikalammiyar and arunagirinathar. The temple has been built by the Cholas as well as the pallavas. The Tiruvalangadu copper plates excavated and in possession of the ASI talk of grants of panayur village nearby by Rajendra CholaI.(ref. Tiruvalankadu copper plates)
This is one of the pancha Sabha's of Shiva’s cosmic dance. It is the Rathina sabha where he showed the Oordhwa thandava ( lifting of the left leg up to his ears). The other sabhai’s are Chidambaram(Swarna sabha),Madurai(Rajatha sabha),Tirukutrallam(Chithra sabha) and Tirunelveli (Tamira sabha)
Legend has it that upon being requested by Narada, to save the earth from the rage of Kali, born out of her vanquishing the demons Sumban and Nisumban in the banyan forest in this region( each drop of the asura’s blood spilton the ground gave rise to many more asuras so Kali started drinking all the blood of the asuras hence she became intoxicated and enraged she started attacking all the people),Shiva agreed to a dance duel It was a fierce dance competition between the Lord Siva and Sri Bhadra Kali performed here which was witnessed by all the Devas, saints and other heavenly beings. The cosmic dancer Siva had to give a tough fight to his opponent who was equally versatile. At one stage, Siva raised his left leg up to his ear to fix up an ear-ring that had snapped and fallen. But Badra Kali,being a feminine deity of modesty, could not perform such an act before the audience and had to accept her defeat!
This is also the temple where Karaikal ammayyar lived for a long time.She apparently moved about only on hands as where ever she put her foot a shivalinga would appear knowing this as the lords’ mischief she took to the reversed posture of walking!! you can see this depicted in the pic below!( this scene is the depiction of the life of karaikal ammayar)
How to reach:
Tiruvalangadu is midway between Arakkonam and Tiruvellore.It is well connected by train and buses from Chennai, Arakonam,Tirutani.
I travelled from tiruvellore on the Chennai tirupathy highway . About 8 kms from the Tiruppachur temple there was a left turning towards arakonam. From here at about 5 kms you can reach Tiruvalangadu village the temple is only 500 metres off the main road. On the main road you can see the huge structure and staircase leading to the huge temple chariot .
There are three main praharams as you enter. The first houses a huge hall where in I saw lots of Gas cylinders stacked may be for the kitchen where annadanam and prasadams were being prepared at the temple. This leads to the Rajagopuram and next praharam as seen below
This First praharam entrance houses temples for Vallabha vinayakar and valli devasena Murugan seen on either side of the gopuram in the pic above.
Vallabha Vinayagar is shown with his consort Vallabha seated on his lap. (The same type of Idol is also instaled at Apollo Speciality Cancer hospital in Chennai)
Lord Subramaniya is seen with his consorts, Valli and Deivayanai The saint Arunagirinathar has sung four of the verses of Tirupugal here.
The entrance to the next praharam showing Karaikal ammayar on the left and meenakshi kalyanam on the right ( as seen below)
The Second praharam houses the Shrine of Vandar kuzhali amman seen in the far end in the pic below.The amman is shantha swaroopi and is standing benignly smiling
The entrance to the main praharam is seen on the left of the pic below
The main Praharam houses a huge Sivalingam in the garba gruha Papahareswarar .The Vimanam is of the gaja prushti type signifying swayambhu lingam ,pallava influence and great antiquity to about 1100 ADThere is also a separate sannidhi for a huge natarajar in the Rathina sabha. This hall has a copper roof with five kalasams representing the five elements .
Entrance to the rathna sabhai
The natrajar in the Oordhwa thandava is at the far back of this photo.In the Rathna Sabha, besides the Urthuva Thandava his consort, Sivagami, and a Maragatha Lingam and a Spatika Lingam are seen . Abishekam is performed for the Spatika Lingam daily.
The whole place was a forest of Banyan trees (Alamara kadu= alan kadu) there is a huge tree which is but a remnant of the forest behind the main sannidhi
The opposite corner of the banyan houses a Nandi with a mirror in the Sanctum. The Nandi is facing the tree which means Shiva is in the mantap near the Banyan tree! as seen from the photo fom the banyan tree
A yaga salai is found near the amman sannidhi. Here we can make out the copper roof of the Rathina sabha with the five kalasams .
The pancha sabhai as depicted at the entrance of the main praharam
The temple of Kali who was vanquished by Shiva.It is customary to first visit this temple before visiting the main temple.The Kali here is in the dance pose as seen in the picture
She was from a well to do family at Karaikal and her name was Punithavathy. She was married to a merchant on attaining the age by her parents. By nature Punithavathy was pious and a stanch devotee of the Lord Siva. She continued to pray him besides serving the saivaites who visited her household. Her married life however didn’t last long and her husband deserted her after he came to know of her spiritual powers. There upon she acquired an ugly form by her own will and came to be known as Sri Karaikal ammiyar. Even today a mango festival is celebrated in Karaikal in her memory.It seems once she prayed to the lord to save her as she had donated a mango brought by her husband to a Mendicant. when her husband asked for it she prayed to lord Shiva and got another one which was sweeter and tastier. When her husband came to know of the source of this mango he got scared and abandoned her!
When the ammiyar came to Tiruvalangadu, Lord Siva wanted to reveal her devotion to the world and appeared in the lingam form wherever she tried to step on the ground. She then realized the divine drama of the Lord and then started to ‘walk’ upside down with her head on the floor and reached the temple. Her intense devotion thus made her one of the sixty three nayanmars.
At the Rathna sabha, one can see the image of Sri Karaikal ammiyar at the foot of the Lord dancing in the Urthuva thandava kolam.
more ref to Karaikal ammayar
The temple is open from 6AM to 8 PM
Most important there are excellent clean toilets available as pay and use