Published On: Sun, Feb 19th, 2017

Rare Linga-pitha in ancient Shiva temple

CHENNAI: Sadras, originally known as Chaturangapattinam, located on the East Coast Road, is approximately 70 km from Chennai.  An ancient temple for Shiva located here is dedicated to Thiruvareshwarar.

The entrance, devoid of a gopuram, leads to a granite mandapam with a bali-pitham, dvajastambham and a Nandi, facing the small Shiva Lingam. An unusual feature is that the base of the Lingam called Avudaiyar or the Linga Pitam is square in shape and not round as in most temples. The circumambulatory passage around the principal sanctum has shrines for Pillaiyar, Nalvar and Subramanya and also a modern image of Arunagirinathar, the ardent devotee of Muruga.

The pillars of the mandapam in front of the main shrine have sculptures of many forms of Shiva such as Nataraja performing the Urdhva Tandava, Bhikshatana (Shiva as a mendicant) and also a portrait sculpture of a person, probably the donor of this structure. The shrine for Goddess Parvati, worshipped as Thiruvatishvari Amman is in the same mandapam with a narrow prakaram around it.

The sacred tree (Sthala Vriksham) has traditionally been the Pipal tree (Arasa Maram) which is however not there in the temple today. Located a few metres away from the temple is the temple tank called Karakulam. There is a small Vinayaka temple-Karunya Vinayaka, originally known as Karani Vinayaka, near Karakulam.

On the walls of the Shiva temple is a damaged Tamil inscription probably belonging to the reign of a chieftain named Rajanarayana Sambuvarayar. It records the assignment of tolls and duties on articles of merchandise on the king’s orders, by the local people and the merchants, to this temple.

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