Arapaleeswarar Temple, Kolli Hills
Arapaleeswarar Temple is in the Kolli Hills in Namakkal District, Tamil Nadu. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and he gives darshan to his devotees with his entire family of Shakthi as Thayammai, the Mother Goddess, Lord Vinayaka and Lord Muruga with his two consorts Valli and Deivanai. Arapaleeswarar Temple was built by Valvil Ori in the 1st or 2nd century CE when he ruled the area (Circa 200 CE).
In olden days, the temple area was an agricultural land. Once, when a farmer ploughed the land, he found blood oozing out. Surprisingly, he found a Shivalinga. Pujas began to the Lord. The scar caused by the plough injury is still visible on the head part of the Shivalinga. This is a significant feature in the head part of the Shivalinga.
Devotees believe that Arapaleeswarar is in the form of a fish. Therefore, they offer Prasadam to people with the idea that they are feeding a symbolic fish to devotees before entering the temple.
Lord Shiva is a swayambumurthy. A scar on the head of the Shivalinga is visible caused by a hit of a plough. The construction of the shrine is such that a devotee could enjoy the darshan of Lord Arapaleeswarar, Mother Thayammai, Lord Vinayaka and Lord Muruga standing from a single spot.
Greatness of Temple
The beauty of Kollimalai is the sum total beauty of nature clothed by hills spanning a distance of fourteen miles far and wide with a proud history dating back to 2,500 years. It is "Kollipavai" that has crowned the fame of the region. Kollipavai is a most beautiful feminine form created by a divine sculptor to create lust in the minds of the demons that came down to Kollimalai with evil designs.
Kollimalai has the reputation of being ruled by the Chera kings. One of them, Valvil Ori was known for his charitable and compassionate traits. He was also a great warrior capable of defeating an elephant, deer, wild pig and such other animals with a single arrow. A part of the region ruled by him was known as Arappalli.
As Lord Shiva graces this place as a Swayambumurthy, Arapaleeswarar temple came into being here. There is a statue for Valvil Ori here.
The temple is praised in the Thevaram hymns of Saint Gnanasambandar and Saint Thirunavukarasar as Arappalli.
Devotees use to feed the fishes in the Panchanathi River and use to do nose-boring to them. Due to ignorance, a devotee caught the fishes and began to cook them for food. When the curry began to boil, live fishes began to jump and run. Symbolizing this incident, the Lord is praised as Arapaleeswarar who joined the fishes cut by the devotee.
‘Arapaleeswarar Sathakam’ is the poem which praises the Lord of this temple. It is believed that Arapaleeswarar Temple existed even during the Sangam period.
Arapaleeswarar Temple is situated in an area called Valapur Nadu. The Lord graces the devotees along with Mother Thayammai, Lord Vinayaka and Lord Muruga. The devotee can have the darshan of the Gods standing at one place in the temple.
The carvings around the temple bear the history of the visit of Madevi, the great grandmother of Rajaraja Chola and wife of Sivagnana Kanadarathitya Chola and her gift of invaluable jewels to the Lord.
Enjoying a pleasure bath in the falls and the darshan of the Lord in the temple devotees become healthier both physically and spiritually. There are five ever permanent rivers on the northern side of the temple, the falls of which look like flower showers from a height of 150 feet. They bring rare medicinal properties from the plants around the hills. There are plenty of fishes in the rivers.
Devotees believe that Arapaleeswarar is in the form of a fish. Therefore, they offer food to the fishes in the people before entering the temple.
Rivers are flowing here even when there would be no rain. They are never dry. The Adi Perukku is celebrated with all gaiety on 17, 18 and 19 of Adi month-July August.
The tribals in the region join the devotees in celebrating Adiperukku in their own traditional ways. They catch the fishes, bore their nose and leave them back in the river again. These rivers flow from Kollimalai through Turayur, Musiri and join the Cauvery.
The construction of this shrine is very interesting as devotees can enjoy the darshan of Lord Arapaleeswarar, Mother Thayammai, Lord Vinayaka and Lord Muruga from one spot in the temple courtyard. There are shrines in the inner corridor of the temple dedicated to Lord Vinayaka, Lord Muruga with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Lord Shiva as Kasi Viswanathar, goddess Parvathi as Visalakshi, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Dakshinamurthy, Chandikeswara, Durga, Kalabhairava and the Sun and the Moon.
This is a verdant hilly place and there is the wonderful sound of flowing water as the hilly streams never dry up even if there is no rain. It is also believed that a secret path connects Arapaleeswarar Temple to the Shiva Temple in Rasipuram, 50 kms away by road. The temple attracts sadhus (holy men) and hermits who are supposed to be tantric. Kolli Hills is reputed to be the headquarters of ancient black magic.
Stone cut inscriptions in the temple record the visit of Madevi, the great grandmother of Rajaraja Chola I and wife of Sivagnana Kanadarathitya Chola. She had donated some valuable jewels to the deity.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 7.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. During the festival days, the temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.
Devotees seeking child boon, removal of obstacles in marriage talks and brilliance in education pray to the Lord in the temple. Devotees perform Abhishekam and offer clothing to Lord and Mother.
The Valvil Ori festival and the spring festivals are also known to draw huge crowds to the temple. All around the temple, one can see a lot of sadhus and hermits who are keen followers of the tantric art. No wonder, Kolli Hills was the headquarters of ancient black magic.
Important celebrations include Maha Shivarathri in Panguni (March – April), Adi Perukku (July-August) when the River Cauvery is in spate, Navarathri in Purattasi (September-October), Karthikai Deepam in November-December, Annabishekam and Tiruvadhirai (the day the star of Shiva—Tiruvadirai reigns in the skies) in Margazhi (December-January).
Shri Arapaleeswarar Temple,
Kollimalai, Namakkal district
Phone: +91- 94422 76002
Mobile: 97866 45101
Kollimalai Arapaleeswarar temple is 90 km from Salem on the Rasipuram route. Buses are available from Salem and Namakkal to reach the temple. Nearest railway station is Salem & Nearest airport is Trichy.