Tuesday Jun 25, 2024

Kudumiyamalai Sri Shikanathar Temple- Pudukkottai

Address

Kudumiyamalai Sri Shikanathar Temple- Urugam Patti, Kudumiyamalai, Pudukkottai district, Tamil Nadu 622104 +91 4322 221084, 98423 90416

Diety

Shikanathar Amman: Akhilandeswari

Introduction

Shikanathar Temple is situated in the village of Kudumiyanmalai at a distance of 20 kilometers from Pudukkottai. The temple complex includes a 1000 – pillared hall and has many inscriptions by the Pallava king Mahendravarman including a treatise on music. Kudumiyanmalai has a very old Shiva temple, which is currently being maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The presiding deities of this temple are Shikhagireeshwarar and Akhilandeshwari. The village is centered around a small hillock, where a cave temple has been carved on its foot. This cave temple, locally known as Melaikkovil, has been extended continuously during later times which suggest that this place held quite an importance in the past.

Puranic Significance

This is a temple that has countless sculptures from entrance to the end. Many of them look threatening creating fear. Some them are very pleasant in look making the visitor happy as Lord Vishnu measuring the world with his legs – Ulagalanda Perumal, the beautiful alluring Rathi Manmatha – cupid – Agora Veerabhadra, Ravana with his 10 heads, Vishnu in his enticing Mohini avatar, Lord Vinayaka praised as Vinai Theerkum Vinayaka – Vinayaka destroying our ill – fates etc. are feast to eyes. There is an interesting story behind this name, Kudumiyaar. As per the story, from sthala – Puranam, a king, Sundara Pandiyan, used to visit the temple daily in the evening to perform his prayers. The priest used to give the Prasadam to the king after his evening prayers. One day the priest was waiting for the king and the king did not turn up. As it was getting late so the priest gave Prasadam to a temple dancer. After this happened, Dancer was about to leave & the king entered into the temple. The priest got scared as Prasadam was finished, so he borrowed the flowers from the dancer which were already worn by her. The priest offered those flowers to the king as Prasadam. The king noticed as strand of hair in those flowers hence asked for explanations for the presence of the hair from the priest. The priest was very scared so he lied that the hair is of the lord, Shiva’s head. The king was astonished and locked the priest inside the temple telling him that he will come tomorrow to see if the deity really has hair or not. The priest prayed the whole night to lord Shiva to save him. The next day the king arrived and he found a tuft (Kudumi) on Shiva lingam. When he tried to pull it, the blood came out of lingam. This is how the deity in this shrine is known as Kudumiyaar and the place as Kudumiyamalai. Another version of the story replaced the temple dancer with the lover of the priest. A small protuberance on the idol is still shown to the visitor as the Kudumi that originally appeared to save the priest lover. It must be remembered here that the God of Kalahasti whom Kannappanayanar worshipped was called Kudumiththevar. There is another interesting fact that Kudumi not only meant tuff of hair but also the top of hill. In that case Kudumiyaar seems to the god on top of the hill. It seems, this story may have been invented in 17th-18th century.

Beliefs

People pray in this temple for removal of obstacles in their life. They perform abishek to Lord and Mother and offer vastras.

Special Features

This is a hill temple noted for prayers for relief from adverse effects of Sani Bhagwan – Saturn. Traditionally, the idols of 63 Nayanmars are arranged in the prakara of Shiva temples, which are, in this temple is at the top of the hill. It is also a custom that at the end of the row, Lord Vinayaka is placed. It is different in this temple. With Lord Shiva and Mother Parvathi on the Vrushab vahana in the middle, Nayanmars appear in two parts on both sides. This is the only temple in Tamilnadu having this pattern of Nayanmar seating. While circumambulating the prakara, this could be seen clearly without climbing up the hill. Though a Shiva temple, the pillars bear sculptures of the Dasavatara scenes of Lord Vishnu. There are two such sculptures, one a youth on a horse and the other an aged man on a horse. This is explained as Kalki Avatar when both young and old would be destroyed. Of the Navagrahas the nine planets, this temple belongs to Sani Bhagwan – Saturn, it is believed. During the 10th century, this place was known as Thiru Nala Kundram. Emperor Nala who had to experience the ordeal of Sani Bhagwan worshipped Lord Shikanathar for relief. Those facing the adverse aspects of Sani Bhagwan pray to Lord Shika Nathar. There are invaluable epigraphic details written in Grantha letters about the art of music which are useful to those in the field. It is said that king Parama Maheswaran disciple of Rudracharya was proficient in the Ragas mentioned here. But nobody can go near the place now as honey bees have their hives around. Dwarapalakas – securities appear with a face of authority in temples both facing east. Here one is smiling and the other with a hard look facing north and south. Besides a shrine of Mother Akhilandeshwari, there is another Ambica shrine. A Devadasi, Umayalnachi by name built an Ambica shrine in the temple and named her Malaya Mangai. It is believed that this would have changed as Soundarya Nayaki shrine in the days that followed.

Festivals

Maha Shivrathri is grandly celebrated in the temple in February, March.

Century/Period/Age

1000-2000 Years old

Managed By

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

Nearest Bus Station

Pudukkottai

Nearest Railway Station

Pudukkottai

Nearest Airport

Trichy

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