Thiruvalanchuzhi Temple     

  Sri Thiruvalanchuzhinathar Temple

Sri Thiruvalanchuzhinathar temple, in Thiruvalanchuzhi, about a km from Swamimalai, is in a coconut grove.  It is dedicated to Lord Thiruvalanchuzhinathar or Sadaimudinathar, an aspect of Lord Shiva, and his consort, Sri Periyanayaki.

Saints TirugnanaSambandar and Tiruvukkarasar have sung in praise of the deity.  "Devotees here sing the praise, O Lord of Thiruvalanchuzhi, where the fragrance of the blossoms of the groves, compete with the hum of bees, "sings Sambandar (around the Seventh century CE).

Lord Thiruvanchuzhinathar's shrine is overshadowed by the presence of Sri Shweta Vinayakar temple at the entrance.  This shrine is famous for its white Vinayaka.  It is said that during the famous Asura/Deva tug of war for the celestial nectar, the Devas, led by their chief, Indra, could initially churn out only poison from the Milky Ocean.  It was then that they remembered to propitiate Vinayaka, the remover of obstacles.  Indra then created a Valampuri Vinayaka idol from the foam the churning, hence the white color.  The Deva Loka.  Later, he decided to install it on earth.  As he was searching for a suitable place, Shiva appeared, disguised as a boy, and offered to hold the idol while Indra went for the ritual bath.  When Indira returned after bath, he found the idol already installed, but the boy missing.  He tried to uproot it, but could not.  Shiva is represented by the Lingam.  The Cauvery is said to have turned in a right semi-circle (a sort of loop) around the Lingam, giving it the name, Valanchuzhi (right twist), and the deity the name, Thiruvalanchuzhinathar.

The Rajagopuram is a medium-sized five-tiered structure. Further inside, flanked on both sides by coconut trees, is a huge entrance over which are colorful 17th/18th centuries stucco figures of Shiva and Parvati.  The Ganesh temple is the first shrine.  Only white camphor is applied on the white Ganesha.  Beyond another massive gateway, embellished with more stucco figures of Shiva and Parvati, is the shrine of Sri Thiruvalanchuzhinathar, also known as Sri Kapardaneswarar.  Nearby is the shrine of the divine consort, Sri Periyanayagi Amman. The divine couple were married here, it is said.  Nayak-period paintings portray figures of women holding flowers and birds.  Also depicted here is Uma, in Her several incarnations.

Chola-period inscriptions (11th century) speak of land grants, and of ornaments presented to the temple by Raja Raja, his queen and sister.  Another inscription speaks of the structure being rebuilt after fire in the 12th century.  Vinayaka Chaturthi is celebrated in a grand manner here, spread over 10 days.

How to get there:

Swamimalai is the nearest place to Thiruvalanchuzi or Thiruvalanzuli.  You could hire an auto, or walk the kilometre or so. 
Accommodation: Kumbakonam or Swamimalai.

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