Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sri Virudhagireeshwarar temple at Vriddhachalam

Some say this is the oldest temple in Tamilnadu. The lord of the temple is Pazhamainathar (Olden Lord) and Vriddhachalam means old hill, Though there is no hill around the temple the temple itself is considered the hill. To show that the temple is the hill the Vinayaka temple is built at about 18 feet lower.T he temple is very ancient with four Rajagopurams and Three main temples inside. There are 5 sannishis, five Kodimarams, five chariots all 5 in number!!
How to reach:
The temple is right next to the Railway station in Vriddhachalam. It is just after the road over bridge
The temple model shows the layout of the temple betterIMG_0118
The Thazha pillayar koil is seen on the left Ambal sannidhi is seen on  the right near the back and the main Shivan sannidhi is seen in the middle.the Chola queen
The nandi mandabam in front of the main shrine was built by sembian ma devi
There are 5 praharams and the pillars and walls are adorned with exquisite carvings. The temple was initially built by
This temple is considered to be older than Kasi itself and the lord is supposed to utter the panchakshara mantra to the departed here and take them to kailas.The Saivaite saints Appar, Sundarar and Gnanasambandar have sung poems on this lord. The ambal Vriddhambikai has a separate temple behind. To appease the saint Namachivayar she appeared as Balambikai and has a sannidhi in the main Shiva complex also .
  Main Shiva temple and nandi mantap seen from amman koil sideIMG_0099
Thazha pillayar koil
IMG_0105 IMG_0107
The main builders of this temple

Main Shiva complex from Pillayar koil
The shivan koil is a huge temple by itself the entrance is seen above entrance is through the Gopuram. There is a huge shivalingam with usual Kosta devathas and Mahavishnu instead of Lingodhbhavar and a separate sannidhi for Balambikai inside. There is a Cute Vallabha ganapathy inside in the back.
IMG_0123  IMG_0126
The Vridhambikaisannidhi
The sthalavruksham  Vanni maram which is more than a 1000 years old

On 22/6/14 I happened to visit the temple armed with the info that the Adhishtanam of  the 12 th Kanchi acharya Sri Sri Sivananda Chidghanendra Saraswati  has recently been discovered here as per details in the Kanchi mutt calendar 2014. The Annamalaiyar lingam in the northwest corner next to the Kamakshi sannidhi is where this acharya attained Jeeva samadhi. (Below are details from the Kamakoti peetam website Kamakoti.org acharya parampara)

Sri Sivananda Chidghanendra Saraswati : He was a Karnataka Brahmin and the son of one Ujjvala Bhatta. His poorvasrama name was Iswara Vatu. His predilections were towards Sivaadvaita. He attained mukti at Vrjddhachala on Sukla Dasami in the month of Jyestha of the cyclic year Virodhikrit (172 AD).



The pic below is a carving from one of the pillars in the second praharam of the Shivan temple in front of the Nataraja which I believe depicts the acharya .