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Athancheri Tiruvaleeswarar Temple

Padappai is a well-known and fast-developing town near Chennai. People from Chennai and its southern suburb localities know the town very well. However, not many of them would have heard about the Chola-era beautiful Temple of Tiruvaleeswara, located in Athancheri, a hamlet located at about one km from Padappai.

I agree it is contented to find the temple maintained well and all festivals and rituals conducted regularly. However, it is sad that the villagers, while renovating the temple, did not care about the inscriptions or other historical records. 

Garbha griha, Ardha mandapa and the granite base of the Vimana are the only original structures that still remain. The super-structure of Vimana is renovated. We can assume that the original design was followed in the rebuilt structure. There are traces of inscriptions here and there, but none of them is in a readable form. I could not find details about the inscriptions in any published work. I spoke to a few people from the village, but I could not gather any information about the inscriptions or other records. Purely based on the architectural features of Vimana, we can assume that it might belong to Kulottunga Chola III or later, say 12th or 13th century CE.

Shiva Linga must be an original sculpture. Vishnu in the Koshta appears to be of the Chola period. Dakshinamurti, Bhairava, Nandi, Chandra and two Ganeshas under Nagalinga Tree are old sculptures, but they may not belong to the original period though. All other sculptures and structures of the temple are made in the last few years.

The temple faces east direction. A three-tiered tower (Gopuram) with the sub-shrines of Ganesha and Dharma Shasta (bronze icon) at either side is at the entrance.

The east-facing Garbha griha enshrines a two feet high Shiva Linga named Tiruvaleeswara. A small image of Kamakshi is enshrined in a separate south-facing shrine in Maha mandapa.

The Maha mandapa is a modern-day concrete work.

A south-facing shrine has all the metal utsava (processional) icons. Nataraja, Sivakami and Manickavasagar are significantly big. The other icons include Uma and Maheshvara, Vishnu-Sri Devi-Bhoo Devi, Nalvar (four devotees) and two Karumari Amman images.

There is just one prakara around the shrine. But, it is very spacious and open-to-sky. A big Nagalinga tree with two old images of Ganesha is a highlight of the prakara. The shrines of Karpaga Vinayaka, Nalvar and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena are also situated here.

Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are the Koshta Devas. Although Dakshinamurti and Vishnu are old sculptures, their sizes are bigger than that of niches. Hence, they may not be the original Koshta images.

Surya, Chandra, Bhairava, Navagraha, Chandikeswara and Shaneesvara are the other deities of the temple.

Nandi and bali peetha are found facing the main shrine. There is no flagstaff.

The holy tank is located outside the temple complex.

Happy travelling.

This post first appeared on Indian Columbus, please read the originial post: here

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Athancheri Tiruvaleeswarar Temple


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