Shiva temples of Tamilnadu

Thevaara Paadal Petra Sivasthalangal
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Location of the templeTirunelvayil Arathurai (Now known as Tiruvarathurai, Tiruvattathurai)
Lord Shiva known asArathurai Nathar, Anandheeswarar
Female deity known asAananda Nayagi
PathigamThirunavukarasar, Sambandar, Sundarar
How to reach This temple is located 6 Kms to the south-west of another paadal petra sthalam Pennadam. One has to travel from Virudhachalam to Thittakudi via Pennadam. After Pennadam reach a place called Kodikalam. A branch road from Kodikalam goes to this sivasthalam which is about 3 Kms. from Kodikalam.
Temple addressArulmighu Arathurai Nathar Temple
Tiruvatturai Post
Thittakkudi Taluk
Cuddalore District
PIN 606111
Tirunelvayil Arathurai map
Map showing location of Tirunelvayil Arathurai temple from Virudhachalam
Map courtesy by: Google Maps

It is here at Tirunelvayil Arathurai, the presiding deity Lord shiva - Arathurainathar, bestowed upon his little devotee Tirugyanasambandhar, a pearl palanquin and a pearl umbrella (muthu chivigai, muthu kudai).Sambandhar had embarked upon his journey of visiting the abodes of lord shiva, after receiving the 'gyanapaal' (milk of knowledge) from Goddess parvathy's hand at Sirkazhi.

Since Sambandar was a child, it was customary for his father to carry him on his shoulder to their destination. When he was on his way to Thirunelvayil, Sambandhar stopped getting up on his father's shoulders and started walking . Everyone was saddened to see the little Sambandan walking with his bare foot. Sambandar halted at Maranpadi with his devotees for the night. That night, Arathurainathar appeared in the temple staff's dream, ordered them to provide a pearl palanquin , a pearl umbrella and pearl symbols to sambandhar and to be brought in comfort to the temple.

Arathurainathar also appeared in Sambandhar's dream and told him these details and ordered him to climb on to the vehicle that would be presented to him to ease his discomfort of walking.The next morning, at Tirunelvayil Arathurai,the devotees and the temple staff opened the Sanctum to see the objects that was envisioned in their dream.Sambandhar was then brought to the temple on the gifted palanquin, shaded by the divine umbrella

Located on the banks of the river 'vellaru',This sacred temple of Arathurainathar aka Theerthapuriswarar is facing east.In the outer part around the sanctum , there are shrines for Lord Ganesha, Samaya kuravargal - (the 4 saints of shivism), Rishi vaanmeeki, Saptha Kanniga - (Brahmi, Maheshwari, Kowmaari, Vaishnavi, Indraani, Varaahi and Chaamundi ), Mahavishnu and Jyothir lingams.Next are shrines for Annamalai, Adisesha, Lord Muruga with His consorts Valli and Deivanai, Dandayuthapani and Linga murtis in the name of Chera,Chola,Pandya kings. Kasi Viswanathar with his consort Visalakshi, Gajalakshmi, Santhana kuravargal (gurus who gave to this world the philosophy of shaiva sidhdhantha), Bhairavar, Surya and Chandra (Sun and Moon)- have their respective shrines. Goddess saraswathy appears beautiful with her melifluous veena in her hand. Banyan is the sthala vruksha (sacred tree of this place). 'vellaru' and 'neelamalr poigai' are considered to be the 2 sacred water bodies to this temple.

The main deity addressed as Athurainathar or Theerthapuriswarar is beleived to have been naturally formed (swayambhu) and is facing east. He is surrounded by lord Ganesha, Bikshadanar, Dakshinamurthy, Lingothbhavar and Lord brahma in the inner corridor of the sanctum.One can see Natarajar with his consort Sivagami, Goddess Durga, Ardhanariswar,Chandeswarar,Bhairavar and enter the shrine of the main deity Arathurainathar.On the left side of the inner sanctum , there is a seprate shrine for Saneeswarar.Facing the shrine of Arathurainathar and Arathurainayaki are the exclusive flagstaffs (dwajasthambam or kodimaram), the customary sacrificial altar and an idol for Lord Nandi.

Arathurainathar at this sthalam was worshipped by Mahavishnu.Adisheshan, Rishi vaalmiki,Rishi Sanakar,and the chera, Chozha, Pandiya kings. To prevent damages caused by the flooded 'vellaru' ,it is said that the head of the nandi is turned towards the river. Sambandhar in his hymns or padhigam, mention this tmeple as "located on the banks of river 'niva'". The aforementioned niva river during the times of sambandhar is now called as 'vellaru' Sevvaai and Sani workshipped Shiva here, and so it is beleived that those with Sevvaai or Sani dosham is benefitted by worshipping the Lord here. Also the sacred banyan tree here, is associated with the star 'magam' and so is considered as a special place of worship for those who are born in it

The 14th century BC Tamizh poet Arunagirinathar of Thiruppugazh fame also came to tirunelvayil and sang in praise of the Muruga here. The Lord muruga here appears facing east, in a majestic standing posture , with 4 hands and with his 2 consorts. The peacock is found at the back.

This is one of the 44 'paadal petra shivasthalams', on which the trinities - tirugyanasambandhar, tirunavukkarasar and sundarar - has sung hymns praising Lord shiva in this place.


Tirunelvayil Arathurai temple photos

5 tier temple tower
Flagpost, 2nd entrance on the backside
Sivan, Parvathi