How to reach:
The place is easily reached from Mayavaram on the peralam road in about 8 kms . It can also be reached from Kumbakonam via aduthurai,Kuttalam or komal or from Peralam
History and Legends:
It is part of the Veerattanam temples where Shiva kills the ego of the Rishis.. The rishis had amassed powers by doing yagas but instead of using the powers for betterment of the world had started doing the yagnas only for getting more powers and feeding their egos. They had come to believe that the yagnas were the end to salvation and not the means to achieve salvation so Shiva and Vishnu decided to teach the rishis and their wives a lesson to forget their egos. They descended as Mohini and Bhikshandavar and teased the rishis and their pathnis with their simple ways.
The sages lost their minds at the sight of the Mohini and their wives on Lord Shiva’s handsomeness. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva created (Ayyappa) and disappeared. Realizing that they were cheated, the rishis performed a yajna and brought out Fire, tiger, deer, axe snakes, demon Muyalaga to attack Lord Shiva. but the lord merely used them as his adornments. Having miserably failed in their attempts, they finally created a wild elephant to kill Him. Lord shiva entered into the belly of the elephant. The world became dark. Mother Parvati held child Muruga in fear. Lord churned the belly of the elephant which cried out loudly unable to bear the pain. He came out dancing tearing its belly. The sages fell at the feet of Lord and sought His pardon. As Lord Shiva killed the Gaja-elephant, He is praised as Gaja Samhara Murthi.
The same history as in Tharukavanam Thiruparaithurai,Uthamar koil and Lalgudi saptha rishi temple legends
( click here for my blogs on these temples http://drlsravi.blogspot.in/2012/01/uthamar-kovil-trichy-guru-sthalam.html
There is a Rajagopuram with entrance to the courtyard which has a nandi and a huge pond before the temple. This pond is rare it is called Pathala ganga and is rare to find Nandi separated from Shiva by a pond in a Shiva temple
The main Temple has two seperate shrines each for Shiva and Parvathi and which houses the Dwajasthambam
There is a Mandapam with Gajasamharamurthy displayed on the top
The main shivan sannidhi houses both the shivalingam as well as the Gajasamhara murthy which is an exquisite art of idols with Shiva and parvathi and Skanda ,the infant on his mothers hip (from the internet) the upturned left heel and the entire composition especially Parvati with Murugan is truly a remarkable piece of art.There is a yanthra behind the Shiva which will help to control our egos
The outer praharam is vast with the usual kosta vigrahas and also paintings of the legend
The next building houses the eastern facing ambal Iangilai nayaki sannidhi
The temple legend displayed inside
The highlight to me was the Gajasamhara murthy statues with such attention to detail and the Bhiksandavar statue (From Dinamalar.com)