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The Temples of Tamilnadu

Temples In and Around Vellore

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Temples in and around Vellore

Listed below are many of the ancient temples in and around Vellore. This is a dynamic list and will be constantly updated as and when information is got. 

Walajapet – Vellore

Note: There is Walajabad near Padappai/Kanchipuram and people easily gets confused with Walajapet and Walajabad.  Hence please make a note of the same.

Visalakshi ammai sametha Kasi Viswanadhar temple at Walajapet

The temple is in Walajapet town. By visiting this temple, one can get rid of fear of death. Kala bairavar and Sani are opposite to each other and this is a Sani dosha nivarthi sthalam.

Bala Murugan Temple at Rathinagiri

Rathinagiri is about 13 km from Vellore towards Chennai and is famous for the Murugan temple on a hillock. There are 130 steps to the hillock top. Saint Arunagirinadhar had sung Thiruppugazh on this temple. The temple belonging to the 14th century was under dilapidated conditions a few decades back and with the efforts of Sri Swami Balamugan Adimai, the temple is now restored to its full glory with fantastic sculptural works, big mandapams etc., to the extent of people calling this as the 7th Padai Veedu of Lord Muruga.

Swami Balamugan Adimai, who was called Sachithanantham in his early days was working as a clerk in the Electricity Department and one day, while on his way to work, he climbed the Rathinagiri Hill to offer his prayers. There was neither camphor nor incense available at the poor and dilapidated temple. He walked around the shrine with a heavy heart and was suddenly overcome with divine awakening. He fainted onto the ground and on waking up he was unable to remember his own self. He dressed himself in a loincloth and took a sacred vow not to leave until the temple was restored to its former glory. This memorable event of Swami’s spiritual awakening took place on 20th March 1968 and he maintains silence all these years.

The official website is available here and also the temple is covered in Vikatan Publication’s ‘Nimmafhi Tharum Sannidhi’ part 2 book.

Murugar temple at Kangeyanallur

Location: Kangeyanallur is between Vellore and Katpadi.

Temple: Sri Kangeeswarar temple in Kangeyanallur was built during the time of Chola rulers. The temple dedicated to Lord Muruga was built some 500 years ago. Sculptures are artistically engraved in the gopuram depicting the Kandhapuranam and the six Padaiveedus of Lord Muruga. It is said that the sculpturer who created the Thiruthani Murugan temple has created this as well. It is said that Lord Muruga here is being worshipped by sages and celestial gods during mid-nights everyday. The temple was renovated by Sri Thirumuruga Kirupanandha Variyar, a popular exponent of Hindu Scriptures and his father Sri Mallaiyadhas Bhagavadhar. When Mallaiyadhas Bhagavadhar conducted the Kumbabhisheham in 1933, his son Srisailavasan fell from 50 feet but after intense prayer and applying holy ash over him, he just woke up without any injury. An inscription about this incident is present in the temple.

Theertham: Saravana Poihai (created by Krupanandha Variyar)

Variyar’s Knowledge centre: This is present opposite the temple where Kirupanandha Variyar was cremated. There is a 24 hours Moksha deepam burning here facing the North direction.

Contact: Sri Thiruvadi 98423 11755; Office – 0416 – 2248922

More details are available in Vikatan Publication’s ‘Punniya Yathirai’ book

Ranipet – Vallimalai – Ponnai ( Chithoor) NH4

Sri Vilvanatheswarar temple Thiruvalam

Significance:

  • One of the 275 sacred temples glorified by the Thevara hymns
  • Considered holier than Kasi and is  referred as a Mukthistalam
  • Nandhi here is huge and is facing away from the shrine towards Kanjangiri nearby and is said to be guarding the temple from a demon Kanjan of Kanjan giri.
  • Ambal shrine is said to be of great significance here.
  • Vinayakar is said to have obtained the celestial mango from Shiva here after the circum ambulation of Shiva and Parvathi devi. That’s why the place is called Thiruvalam.
  • Here, Lord Siva destroyed the yagna by Dakshan.
  • Tamil poet Avvaiyar is said to be associated with this shrine.

Location: While traveling from Chennai on the Bangalore highway, immediately after the tollgate at Walajapet, take the right road NH4 under a road over-bridge towards Chithur (old Banglore road).  Travel in the NH4 itself and you will pass through a rail 0ver-bridge and immediately after, you can see a juction of two bridges. Take the old bridge on the left and the temple is just at the end of the bridge.

Thiruvalam is around 25 km from Vellore and while traveling from Vellore, go to Katpadi, and take the road (towards east) to Thiruvalam at Katpadi bus stand. Proceed till you meet the Chennai-Chithor NH4 highway and Thiruvalam is right at this junction.

Temple: This temple is on the Western Bank of the Pennar river, the water of which was once known for its healing powers. The river is also called neeva, shiva said “nee vaa” and the river sprang forth. This is a very huge and beautiful temple, built by the Pallavas and Cholas. There are quite a few references of Rajendra Chola in the stone inscriptions. Although the presiding deity faces the East, the temple entrance faces the South. Inscriptions reveal that this was a grand pilgrimage center in the past with facilities for pilgrims travelling between Southern Tamilnadu and Benares (Kasi). A fine image of Perumal also adorns the temple. There are idols for the 27 birth stars on the vimaanam of the sanctum sanctorum. Almost all the pillars are very nicely decorated with some sculptures. The legend of Nandhi protecting the village from demon Kanjan is depicted in a sculpture. There is a ‘100 pillars Natarajar Mandapam’ here which is extremely quiet. In the left side outer praharam, there is a underground passage and no one knows where it leads to! The temple has highlighted all the inscriptions with white and yellow paint and made it easy to read.

Sri Somnatheshwarar Temple at Melpadi

This is about 12 kms from Thiruvalam towards Vallimalai(Ponnai).   It is close to the shore of the Pennar river and was the border between Chola and Rashtrakuta kingdoms. The temple is being maintained by Archeological Society of India. Arinjaya Chola (AD 956-967), the great grand father of Rajaraja chola died here after the war at Thakkolam and so this temple was built in memory of it.

Sri Choleswara temple, the tomb shrine of Arinjaya chola was built over the mortal remains of Chola Arinjaya  by his grandson Chola Raja Raja I in the year AD 1014.  This is just opposite the Somnatheswarar temple across the road.

Vallimalai

This beautiful hill is located at 16 km north of the Thruvalam en route Ponnai, 4 km from Melpadi. Valli Malai is considered the birth place of Valli, one of the two consorts of Lord Muruga. The stunning beauty of Valli Malai with its pools, fresh greenery, caves and unusual rock formations stands as mute testimony to the continuing presence of the ever-youthful Goddess Herself. There is a natural rock formation like an elephant called Ganesh Giri where Lord Ganesa has helped in the Valli Tirumanam.

There is a Subramanya Swamy Temple, Valli Temple and a beautiful and clean Saravana Poihai temple tank at the base of the hill. At the top of the hill, there is a Subramanya Swamy Cave temple  which is being maintained by Archeological Society of India (ASI). There are about 500 steps to climb through a picturesque path.  At the top of the hill, there are many water streams (sunai) also.

There is another way to climb down and half way through that, there are caves where Jain saints stayed and Jain Sculpture are present in the rocks which are also being maintained by ASI. Vallimalai had been one of the important Jaina centers during the early medieval period. According to Kannada inscriptions, the natural cavern was converted into Jaina adobe by prince Rajamalla of Western Ganga dynasty in the 10th century.

People cannot stop making a trip to Vallimalai if they happen to see it in photos.

More details are available here and also here

Sri Ranganathar Temple at Erukkampet

Being maintained by Archeological Society of India (ASI), this is close to Melpadi and Vallimalai on a lake bund. This is a 9th century temple and the main deity, Sri Ranganathar is in Sayana posture but not sure whether it is a living temple with daily poojas.

Sorna Vinayagar Temple(also called Navagraha Kottai) at Ponnai

This is a beautifully painted modern day temple glittering in gold and the main deity is the ancient  Swayambu Vinayagar.  By the side of the main shrine, there is a small nandhavanam with 9 Navagrahas in separate Sannidhis with their respective Viruksham(tree),  Dhaanyam(grain),  Cloth, colour etc.,  There is also a shrine for Kasi Viswanathar temple behind the main shrine. This is about 2kms from the Ponnai town and about 6 kms north of Vallimalai. This is a beautiful must-see temple but like all modern day temples – little commercial.

Sri Mouna Guruswamy Ashram at Thangal

Srilasri Mouna Guruswamy and Guriji Sundararam Swamigal Ashram is at Thangal.

Shiva temple at Kanchan giri

Kanchan giri is connected to Thiruvalam temple by legend. The Nandhi of  Thiruvalam temple had destroyed the demon Kanchan of this hill and his flesh pieces around this hill had become Swayambu lingas after the holy water was sprinkled on them. Knowing this legend, some ashram people from Coimbatore came here, researched and collected all the Swayambu lingams and arranged them in one place. There are around 100 of them on a plateau on top of the hill.

Location: It is about 7 kms from Ranipet en route Ponnai. After crossing a village called Agravaram you will reach a place called Lalapet. Kanchanagiri hill will be visible from Lalapet itself. You can also come from Melpadi which is about 5 kms.

Vellore

Jalakandeswarar Temple at Vellore Fort

The temple which had been built in the Vijayanagara style is situated within the Vellore fort. It comprised of the main shrine, closed ambulatory passage around and the integral Mahamantapa. Inside the temple, there is a Kalyanamantapa which is the gem of architecture in embellishments and the art motifs of its pillars, ceilings and plinth moldings. It stands as testimony for the architectural workmanship of that period.

Jalakanteswarar means ‘Siva residing in water’. The temple is adorned with some remarkable sculptures and the best is found on the left side of the entrance, a verandah which contains monolithic pillars of grandeur and delicacy of execution. There are impressive sculptures in the temple particularly outside the swami shrine and inside the main mandapam. The sanctum sanctorum is a small low building and at the entrance there are dwarakapalas in blue granite. Sculpture work on the ceilings and pillars are rich in its characteristics. In the outer prakara there is a well which has a stone door way opening on a point which is usually below water level. The under ground mandapa or Neerazhi Mandapa is said to lead to a subterranean passage leading to the River Palar.

Sri Lakshmi Narayani Golden temple in Sripuram

This Golden temple situated in Sripuram in Thirumalaikkodi, about 7 km from Vellore, is built in a 100 acre site with whopping 1500 kg of gold at a cost of 300 crores. According to Sri Sakthi Amma, head of the Sri Narayani Peedam, who built the temple, the decision to have the temple coated with gold, is only to attract visitors and enable them to get wisdom through the messages of the Vedas. The temple has been designed in such a way that visitors can reach the golden temple only after going through a star-shaped pathway, which has the messages from the Vedas on both sides.

This has already become highly popular and too crowded on weekends and will take several hours to complete the dharshan during weekends. There is a 200 Rs ticket (apart from free dharshan) also, but this too is crowded during weekends. Better visit the temple with ample time in reserve.

Sri Selva Vinayagar temple at Shenbakkam

Location: 3 km from Vellore en route to Bangalore, this famous temple is dedicated to Sri Selva Vinayagar and Somasundareswarar.

Legend: Once when Thukkoji, a Maharashtra minister was passing through this place, the axle of his chariot broke and blood oozed out from the place. He stayed that night here and Vinayahar appeared in his dream and revealed his presence.

Significance:

  • There are 11 Vinayahars – all are Swayambu moorthies in the form of lingams and in the formation of ‘Om’.
  • On the back of Selva Vinayahr, there is a mark of the wheel of the cart, which was supposedly driven by Thukkoji.
  • There is no roof for the main shrine to facilitate all Sages and Celestial Gods to worship the deity
  • Aadhi Sankarar worshipped here and installed Srichakra in the Esanya corner of the temple.
  • The significances of the temple have been written about by Kanchi Maha Priyavar, Sri Chandrasekarendhra Swamigal in his book ‘ Dheivathin Kural’
  • The flag post is present within the sanctum sanctorum itself
  • Lord Saturn facing the main deity is a special significance
  • A silver covering was made 75 years back to cover the Selva Vinayahar fully but now it covers Him only two-thirds, indicating He is growing all the way

Worship Benefits: It is believed that by doing milk abhisheham to the Bala Vinayahar here, the illness of children will be cured. Also, this Vinayahar is believed to sanction the boons for timely marriage and children.

Vellore – Polur (Thiruvannamalai)

Sri Lakshmi Narsimha Swamy Temple at Singiri Koil

Singiri Koil is a hamlet, situated at a distance of about 25 km from Vellore and is off the main road from Vellore to Polur.

  • One of the most beautiful scenic and dreamy spots
  • 1300 years old temple
  • Lakshmi Narasimhar with four hands, in Santha roopa with His consort on His right lap (usually He will have His consort on His left lap).

Sri Uttamaraya perumal temple at Periya Ayyanpalayam

This temple is located at Periya Ayyanpalayam village at almost halfway between Kannamangalam and Santhavasal on the Polur-Vellore route to the left side of the main road while going from Vellore. You have to travel inside for about 1 km from the main road.

The temple was built during the Vijayanagara period in the 14th century. We have to climb 350 steps to reach the temple but the steps are very easy to climb. The deity is known as Oomaikku vaai kodutha Sri uttamaraya perumal (the Perumal who gave the speaking capability to a dumb).

Arulmigu Kadambavana vasavi Amman Temple at Kanavaai Modu (Kaniyambadi)

This temple is located 2kms before Kaniyampadi on the main road on the polur-vellore route. This temple is also Known as Kannikoil.

Padavedu

[See under Padavedu section]

Erikuppam Saneeswarar Temple

Location: In the Polur (Thiruvannamalai) – Vellore route, 45 km from Thiruvannamalai and 30 km from Vellore, there is a place called Sandhavasal near Padavedu. From there, Erikuppam is 3 km away towards Arani and is 10 km from Arani.

Temple: This 15th century temple was discovered recently and has been renovated. On Saturdays, devotees throng the place.

Significances:

  • Lord Saneeswarar is present in an unique Yantra form which is considered more powerful and hence the name ‘Yantra Saneeswarar’.
  • Sri Saya Devi, mother of Sri Saneeswarar is present to His left side and due to the presence of His mother, Saneeswarar is in a peaceful and happy mind state here. Hence He is able to blessHis devotees, bestowing complete happiness, removing their sorrows, sins and difficulties.
  • We can hear elders saying ‘Don’t stand and pray straight in front of Saneeswarar’ but his straight sight here will bring only goodness to life.
  • The Holy Shrine is open to the skies, without any roof-top.
  • Saneeswarar is present in the Yantra form nowhere else in the world excepting this one and another in Shinkapur, 70 km from Shiradi, in Maharashtra state.

Yantra: This Saneeswara Yantra has been made in a single granite stone, with a fantastic size of 5.5 feet height and 1.5 feet width and looks majestic. It is having the mark of Sun in the upper left side, Crow in the middle side and the moon in the upper right corner. Below these, Peejakshara Manthras in the form of Shutkonam (six corners – shut meaning six and konam meaning corners) can be seen. Below this we can see ‘Lakshmi Kadaksha Yandra’ and yandras relating to water and fire. The Shutkona yandra consists of Manthras in a right left mirrored form, praising Lord Shiva, Lord Anjaneya and Sree Saneeshwara. This Yandra is believed to be one of the most powerful ones and unique in its kind.

The official website is here and also detailed in Vikatan Publication’s ‘Alaya Dharisanam’ book.

Sri Kamakshi amman sametha Sri Ekambareswarar temple at Parvathi Agaram

This temple is associated with Erikuppam Sri Saneeswarar temple

Sri Narasimhaswamy Temple at Polur

Polur is situated in the Vellore – Thiruvannamalai state highway at about 33 Kms from Thiruvannamalai and 48 Kms from Vellore and 55 Kms from Vandavasi. Since it is also a Taluk headquarters, there is a good availability of hotels and accomodations.

Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Temple atop a small and steep hillock with about 840 steps is very powerful. The temple is currently served by a single priest called Sekhar Bhattachariar who also looks after a small Perumal temple below. He goes atop the hill at 4:30 AM and returns back by 8:30 AM. A chowkidar remains on the hillock opening the temple for visitors who come later. The priest also visits the hill atop temple in the evenings.

Contact Details: V.Sekar Bhattachariar, 17, Perumal Koil St, Polur-606803

Mobile: 9842307594; 9443098358

Temples In And Around Vellore(Contd)

The Temples of Tamilnadu

            Exploring the Rich Temple Heritage of Tamil Nadu