Today on a leisurely Sunday our family visited this famous ancient temple near red hills . It was a peaceful village with a nice temple.
How to reach:
The temple is fairly easy to find about 40 kms from Chennai on the Chennai Nellore highway. After the karanodai bridge and toll plaza look for the periyapalayam turning on the left. 6 kms after the turn take a left at Kannigaiper village bazaar road and proceed for 6 kms the meandering road gets you to thirukandalam village and the temple .
Alternatively you can take a left into the road to red hills from the Kolkata highway on to SH 114 and after 4 kms turn right at boochiathipattu, This is a horrible road on the riverbed the temple is about 3 kms on this road. Please do not take this road. I travelled back on this road and almost busted my suspensions . There is scarcely any habitation around luckily a few lorry drivers were found drinking in a groove who guided me properly to red hills
Legends and stories of the temple
Shiva is worshipped here by Saint Bhrigu with Kallil flowers (Huge Indian hedge cactus) hence he is also called Kalilishwarar. Saint Bhrigu had a peculiar habit of circumambulating shiva alone daily which used to irritate Parvathy.Shiva gave darshan to Bhrigu rishi in the form of Shakthi dakshinamurthy to prove he was not different from shakthi . We find a sannidhi with Shakthi on the lap of Shiva here.
When Thirugnanasambandar was travelling to Kalahasthi he had a bath in the Kushashtalai river. His pooja box and Vibhuti box were washed away and were found near this Shiva in between a cactus (Kallil) forest. The saint thus composed poems on this lord.
This temple is recommended for couples with differences to visit so that they may resolve their differences with the lords blessings
The temple itself is very small and neat. It is built in the Somaskanda pattern with Skanda in between Sivan and Parvathi sannidhi. Ambal is known as Anandavalli here .
Today when I visited a group of devotees from Chennai were doing Laksharchanai .with such great devotion. The Kurukkal here is aged 102 years and is very sprightly. He lives on the premises hence the temple is open from 6 AM to night.7 PM
The main sannithi has a small austere Shivalingam with a square avudiar . There is good peace inside the main sivan sanidhi and it was a real divine blessing. The main Vimanam has a Gajaprushti construction signifying an ancient Swayumbhu lingam
Just near the Gopuram there is a shrine built for the nayanmars and Suryan
Next to vinayakar is the sannidhi for Kalahasthishwarar
Next to the main sannidhi is Murugan sanidhi. Here the lord is having a rudraksha in his hand signifying creation which he took over from Brahma temporarily.This was the norm in early chola temples I was told by the Kurukkal
Shloka on the sannithi for harmonius married life
Navagraha sannidhi seen below
View of the gopuram from inside . It has an ardhanari as well as a Hari hara
A very peaceful and nice experience