People visit temples to get blessings but this is not in my case. As a history enthusiast primarily focusing on Cholas creation, I started picking up places to visit but Thiruvalangadu Vadaranyeshwarar Temple which I am going to talk about was not on my bucket list at that time.
But how I come to know about this beautifully architectured temple built by Cholas during the 12th Century which is one of the remarkable temples situated in the western suburbs of Chennai?
Again, Ponniyin Selvan was the sole reason where in the book it was said, some copper plate inscriptions about Great Aditya Karikalan were still found in Thiruvalangadu which irked me to visit this temple at that point.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to this great Vadaranyeshwarar temple, which is also “Paadal Petra Sthalam” (Four Thevaram songs composed here) and has a 200 years old Banyan tree as Sthala Vruksham.
Awaking early on the republic day with loads of excitement in travelling in my babe (D390) to a famous temple, suddenly I had an epiphany that why not let me visit Kanchipuram Kailasanathar Temple and explore more about the Pallava dynasty. Still, Kanchipuram temple will be more awesome, I took my route towards Thiruvalangadu and stick to my plan. This new route which I have never travelled earlier frustrated me a lot with twisted curves and finally, I could able to reach the temple hardly after 1.30 hours from my home, literally travelling through villages.
I didn’t step down from my bike after spotting such a big temple with long walls and circling the temple on a bike for two rounds to explore its beauties and recognized long pond and a famous Kali Temple nearby the temple.
In spite of great walls and a pond behind this big temple, architectural styles are seeking our attention here. There are many small temples inside this temple and each wall of those temples has beautifully sculpted idols.
Some of the things pulled my consciousness are,
- Lion statue in the corner of big walls, sitting elegantly.
- The Yazhi like sculpted idols beside Shiva shrine, which bring milk poured on to Shiva is exquisitely crafted.
- Hundreds of small idols of various lords in each pillar of the temple, around Shivan shrine, are sculpted very carefully.
- Simma Yazhi’s (Lion faced animal), sitting above each pillar with its rigorous face.
And I captured each thing carefully and attached pictures to fulfil your curiosity.
Distinctive Nataraja Statue
The Nataraja statue found here is unusual than the normal and there is an impressive history behind that statue.
Lord Shiva came to pacify Kali, who was in a rigorous state after killing demons. Kali challenged Lord Shiva to dance with her and if he won, she would give away the place. And while dancing, Shiva’s earring would fell on the ground and he picked it up with his toes of his left leg and fixed it back in his ear by raising his leg vertically while dancing. Kali conceded that she could not dance like him so marvellously and declared lord Shiva to be the winner.
Aforementioned history was the reason for a distinctive Nataraja statue, which is found only in this temple in Tamil Nadu and added a picture of it below.
200 Years old Banyan Tree
There is a 200-year-old tree at the back side of Shiva shrine, which is said to be a Sthala Vruksham of this temple.
This place was once a dense forest of Banyan trees, which is a sole reason behind the name of this place called Thiruvalangadu.
Thiru – Alam – Kadu = Thiruvalangadu.
Thiru – Holy. Alam – Banyan. Kadu – Forest.
I am lucky to have my sight on this beautiful tree which catches fire a month before since devotees had lit camphor under the tree that led to the fire. The tree was also dry, allowing the fire to spread quickly. Here is the recent click of the tree before it catches fire.
The big pond behind this temple was another peculiar thing, you will notice rarely. I have never witnessed such a big pond in any of the temples in my lifetime and this pond was another fodder for my hunger.
The pond is unclean and requires immediate attention by HR & CE department of TN to save water resources and if maintained well, definitely it would attract countless tourists. Pond view goes below.
Instead of finding inscriptions that have been etched on the walls of the Thiruvalangadu temple, which records various donations over centuries, I witnessed all the other beautiful things in and around this temple.
Even localities around this temple were not aware of the inscriptions and could never spot those were the only hard feelings held me of driving apart from this temple.
A very important Chola inscription, dated 1018 A.D., etched on thirty-one copper plates was discovered in this temple as early as 1905.
With the proper guidance and after the right knowledge about those inscriptions in Thiruvalangadu Temple, I would definitely revisit this exceptional temple. With the glad feeling of visiting another precious place in Tamil Nadu,
Moved off from Thiruvalangadu.
Let me know if you have unearthed any similar interesting temples in and around Tamil Nadu in the comments section so that we will explore its excellence.