Tharamangalam Temple

Sri Kailasanathar Temple

Sri Kailasanathar Temple is in Tharamangalam, 30km from Salem.  It is a 10th Century temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, renovated extensively in the 7th century by Gatti Mudhalis, local Chieftains.

Several gigantic, monolithic pillars of pink granite, carved, polished, and ready to be installed for a thousand-pillared hall, lie scattered outside the temple, while more are said to be awating excavation.  The hall could never be completed, for its proponent, Vanangamudi, the legendary local ruler, was killed in 1667, leaving the foreground of the temple littered with the ruins of his dream.

The 28m (90 feet) tall, five-tiered Rajagopuram was conceived as a chariot on wheels, drawn by elephants and horses.  The temple is at level lower than it is at the gopuram entrance.  The shrine was deliberately conceived/constructed that way.  The lower level is said to be symbolize humility, in that, One has to come down, shed his/her ego, before seeing the Lord.  The vast open courtyard is surrounded by a pillared corridor.  The massive stone walls surrounding the temple were said to have been built in the 13 century.  The temple is noted for its fine gallery of sculpted figures of both Gods and humans.

According to the sthala purana, it was here that Goddess Sivakami was given away in marriage to Lord Shiva.  Shiva is worshipped here as Sri Kailasanthar.  His divine consort, Sri Sivakami Amman, is in a separate shrine.  There is a tiny pathala Lingam, in a basement, near the sanctum.  For three days, from February 21st, the rays of the setting sun travel through the Rajagopuram, passes the Nandi mandapam, and fall directly on the Siva Lingam, making it glow.
The walls outside and the Mandapam, preceding the sanctum, are the repository of some great sculptures.  There is an 18-armed Nataraja.  In another pillar is the sculpture of Rathi and Manmadha.  Manmadha is looking at Shiva and Parvati, who are visible to him.  But if you look from the Lord's pillar, Manmadha is not visible, for he is trying to escape Shiva's wrath.  Then there is a pillar depicting the Vali and Sugriva fight, while another shows Rama getting rady to kill vali.  It is so structured that only rama can see Vali, not vice-versa.  And on the ceiling, ringed by parrots, is a lotus that can actually be rotated.  Then there is the usual stone ring with stone ring.  The Yali, the mythical animal has a ball in its open mouth.  The ball can be moved with the fingers.  Outside, there is a tiny mouse, Sri Vinayaka's vehicle, so realistically carved that there is space between its body and tail.

Tharamangalam ranks among the best, for its sculptures alone.  the temple is also significant for its temporal values.  Thara is giving, and mangalam is auspicious conclusion.  Tharamangalam is the place where Goddess Sivakamai Amman was given in marriage to Lord Shiva: a truly auspicious conclusion.  Those worried about their marriage prospects can have their desire fulfilled after worshipping here, it is said.

How to get there: 

Tharamangalam is 30km from Salem.  Buses ply to and from at regular intervals.  If you are going in a private vehicle, take the Salem-Dharmapuri Highway and take a westerly turn at Omalur. 

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