After a long time of wanting to visit this temple I could go today. This temple is also called aalaya kovil . it is the fourth in the list of the 275 paadal petra sthalams.it is a huge temple dating back to 1500 years.It is associated with Sundarar who has a shrine inside and other nayanmars like appar and the samaya kuruvinars..
How to reach:
The temple is situated on the road parallel to the GST road in front of the ford factory at Maraimalai nagar . Coming from Chennai take a U turn in front of the ford company and reach the Marai malai nagar railway station. Take a left turn into the road before the railway station and keep proceeding as the road goes for about 3 kms via villages and the temple will be seen on the right.
Coming from Chengalpet side you can take a left turn at Singaperuman koil into the sriperumbudur road after the Singaperuman koil railway station and a right in the first turning . This will also bring you in front of the temple.
Both ways you have to cross the railway track. Be prepared to wait as the rail line is very busy.
There is no Raja gopuram here it seems it was demolished in the 1800’s.
There is a large banyan tree here hence aalaya koil is another name for this temple
There is a huge temple tank called agni theertham which is seen behind the banyan tree in the pic above
Legends with the temple:
When Mahavishnu took the tortoise avataram he prayed to Shiva here to give him the strength to bear the churning mountain on his back. Since he was worshipped in the Kaccham (tortoise) form he is also known as kacchapeshwarar
Sri Sundarar one of the Nayanmars came to this temple from Tiruporur and was hungry and exhausted in the high noon. Shiva taking pity on him assumed the form of a poor brahmin and begged for food from the village and fed sundarar hence shiva is called Virundhiteshwarar ( one who gave him a feast) here. There is a separate sannidhi for this as well as a sannidhi for sundarar in this temple
As you enter the temple you see a huge outer praharam with Kodimaram
The outer praharam has sannidhis for Ganapathy, Arumugham,Virunditteswarar , sundarar and ,bhairavar.
The entrance to the main praharam which houses the garba gruha of Siva and uma is on the north side
The main praharam has a small Sivalingam in the main sanctum with separate sannidhis for Natarajar and panchaloha idols of Thyagaraja and uma with Murugan hence this temple is also known as Thyagaraja swamy temple.
The Amman sannidhi has a standing smiling Anjanakshi devi(umai ammai/ Sundaravalli) bestowing her benign grace on the pilgrims.
There is a neat stone paved way around the temple and the lawns were well maintained. I found a devout man doing anga pradakshinam in the outer praharam which is quite huge! No mean feat on a hot summer day!!
call the priest Mr Nataraja Iyer before going. His number is +91-44-27463514.He is also in charge of the malai koil (oushadeshwara koil ) about a mile ahead on the road on top of a hillock
From The Hindu coverage from the past
In all a very peaceful and calm temple
( The legend of the temple)
Some inscriptions inside