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Tirunelvayil is the 3rd in the series of Tevara Stalangal on the northern banks of the river Kaveri in the Chola region of Tamilnadu. This temple houses two shrines, one to Uchinathar of Nelvayil with a sculptured panel of Shiva and Parvati behind, and a shrine to Paalvannanathar of Tirukkazhippalai. The temple faces towards east and the highlights are a five tiered Rajagopuram at the entrance and inscriptions from the Nayak period. Also found are the sanctums of Lord Ganesha and Murugan. The Ambal shrine within the temple faces south. There is a shrine housing images of Nataraja and Sivakami. There are inscriptions from the Nayak period here.
Tirunelvayil Arathurai is 10km from Pennadam. Sambandar was visiting temples and singing in praise of the Lord as a child. The Lord gave Sambandar a pearl palanquin and a pearl umbrella (Muthu Chivikai & Kudai) so that he could travel in ease. When Thirugnana Sambandar was visiting the temples in Cauvery River, he had to stay in Eraiyur Temple as it was past dawn. As he was hungry, goddess Amball came to him and gave food. However,he got hiccups while eating. It is then that Lord Shiva appeared and created a pond for him to drink water.
As goddess amball provided him with food she then onwards came to be known as “Anna Poorani” and because the Lord Shiva gave water and quenched his thirst, he was named as “Thaakam Theertha Pureeswarar”. In the night, in Thirugnana Sambandar’s dream, Lord Shiva came and told that Thirugnana Sambandar does not have to walk anymore as he is just a child. Instead the Lord had asked a thanavandar (a businessman) in Thiruvattathurai or “Thirunel vaayil arathurai” to give him a “Muththu Chivigai” – a pallackku(cart carried by humans on their shoulders) decorated with pearls.
In the morning, Thirugnana sambandar did not wait for the “Muththu Chivigai” to arrive. As he started his jorney he realized his dream was turning to reality. Lord Shiva had told the thanavandhar in Thiruvattathurai to send a “Muththu Chivigai” for Thirugnana sambandhar. They met Thirugnana Sambandar at a place called “Koodalur”(Or Gudalur). From there on, Thirugnana sambandar travelled to many places in Muththu Chivigai and also wrote a poem on Lord Shiva in Thiruvattathurai or “Thirunel vaayil arathurai”. The Major River that flows through Virudhachalam or Virudhagiri to Pennadam or Penn Aavu Kadam to Eraiyur to Thiruvattathurai, Thittagudi and Thozhudur is named as Vellaaru – Vellai Aaru – meaning the White River.
Five worship services are carried out every day. Vaikashi Vishakam is the most pompous and annually celebrated festival here.
Lord Shiva known as Arathurai Nathar and the female deity known as Aananda Nayagi
The temple is open on all days of the week from 7am to 10am and from 5pm to 6pm.
Tirunelvayil Temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu
How to reach:
Tirunelvayil Temple, is located 2km from the main town near Tiruvetkalam temple near Annamalai University.
The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli Airport, which is located at the distance of 175 Kms from Chidambaram and Chennai is the major airport in Tamil Nadu accessible with domestic and international flights to various cities in India and world and taxis are available from Tiruchirapalli airport to Chidambaram.
Chidambaram is served by Chidambaram railway station, which is located at the distance of 2 Kms from the city on the main railway line and connected to various cities in Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring states.
National Highway 45A connects to Chidambaram from various cities in India and Government of Tamil Nadu ply buses to Chidambaram and buses also ply from neighbouring cities as well.
This temple is located 6 Kms to the south-west of a paadal petra sthalam Pennadam. One has to travel by Pennadam – Thittakudi road and reach a place called Kodikalam. A branch road from here goes to this sivasthalam which is about 3 Kms from Kodikalam.