Irumbai Mahakaleshwarar Temple, Villupuram
This Shivasthalam is located 8 km North West of Pondicherry on Pondicherry — Tindivanam bus route. Arasili, another Shivasthalam is located at a distance of 5 km from here. The shrine to Subramanyar here is of significance, and Panguni Uthiram is celebrated in splendor here. Mondays in the month of Karthikai are also considered to be special. This is the 32nd of the 32 Tevara Stalams in the Thondai region of South India.
An ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is there hosting Mahakaleshwarar, Maga Kalanathar and goddesses Mathura Sundara Nayagi and Kuyil Mozhiyammai. This temple has ancient records written by Thirugnanasambanthar Swamigal. The Shiva lingam in broken form and tied together with a copper string.
Sri Vinayaka of the temple is worshipped as Lord Sundara Ganapathi. The vimana, tower above the sanctum sanctorum is of Ekadala design. The temple is praised in the hymns of Saint Gnanasambandar and Arunagiriar. Lord Nataraja graces from a shrine left of that of Ambica. His leg is seen slightly folded which is attributed to his pleasant state of mind.
There is a fire circle around Lord Nataraja, Mother Shivakami, which is rare darshan for the devotees. As this shrine is just before that of Ambica, the devotee can have the darshan of presiding Shiva, Nataraja and Ambica simultaneously. Behind is the shrine of Lord Muruga with six faces accompanied by his consorts Valli and Deivanai. Kalabhairava graces from a separate shrine facing south.
Lord Shiva in the temple is a swayambumurthy. Shivalinga in the temple is split into three parts with three faces. All the three faces are covered by a copper plate and pujas performed. It is said that the three faces represent three Lords, Brahmma, Vishnu and Shiva. This form of Lord Shiva is very rare in temples.
Two demons securing boons from Lord Shiva wanted to have Mother Parvathi for them and marry her. Mother Parvathi incarnated as Maha Kali and destroyed them. For killing the lives, even Mother was inflicted with the Brahmmahathi Dosha and was wandering in this place. She performed penance on Lord Shiva and got relieved of the dosha.
Later, a Rishi, Maakalar by name, during his pilgrimage installed one Linga in Ujjaini in North and one at Ambar Makala near Mayiladuthurai in South and worshipped them. By knowing the reputation of this place, he installed one Linga here too and named the Lord Mahalanathar.
The temple is particularly associated with the legend of Kaduveli Siddhar, a famous yogi who lived in the area some four to five hundred years ago. According to the legend, Kaduveli Siddha was performing harsh penance sitting under a Peepal tree in yogic pose for days. The heat of his body was so intense that the rain gods suffered, no rains came and the people were exposed to hardship and drought.
The situation was so bad that it finally came to the ears of the King, who ruled from Edyanchavadi village. No one dared to disturb Kaduveli in his penance as he chanted the mantra of Eshwara, and soon an anthill started to rise up around him. Finally a temple dancer, named Valli, devoted to the Lord Shiva, decided to do her best to get the attention of the yogi, and to rescue the King and his people from the adverse effects of his tapasya (penance).
She observed that occasionally the Siddha would, with his eyes shut, put out his hands to catch and consume the falling, withered Peepal leaves. So she prepared some thinly fried Appalam (pappad), and started placing them in the yogi’s outstretched hands, as he tried to catch the falling leaves. Soon he started eating the appalams and getting his taste back. Slowly he grew fatter until finally the anthill broke and he was once more exposed to the rays of the sun. Finally he opened his eyes.
Valli was extremely happy and was able to take him back to her house where she kept him happy, dancing for him and learning songs for him. Meanwhile the God of Rain was relieved from the torture he felt from the heat of the yogi’s tapasya, the rain fell in plenty, and the people were happy once again.
In order to celebrate this event the King ordered a big Puja to be held at Irumbai temple, which was to be followed by a classical performance by Valli in which she would act out the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, in the form of Nataraja. During the performance, however, one of her anklets fell off, and she started to lose her balance and rhythm. Kaduveli, who saw the Lord Shiva in Valli, picked up the anklet and put it back on her feet. This exposed him to the ridicule of the King and court for having touched the feet of a dancing girl, and he was heckled and jeered.
Furious, he invoked the Lord Shiva to come out of his temple and prove his innocence by causing a rain of stone. Immediately the lingam in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple exploded, and wherever its fragments fell became desert. No greenery will grow around these spots, including a crater at a distance of three kilometers from the village, still to this day known as “Kaduveli”.
The King was suddenly frightened and begged the pardon of the Siddha, bowing down to him with all his entourage and pleading with him to quench the effects of his anger and curse. This appeased Kaduveli, who, repenting of his anger, said that what was done was done, but that in the future, people from far-off lands would come and make the desert land green and fertile again.
Today, there are villagers who feel that the Aurovilians are the people from far-off lands mentioned by the Siddha and that the curse is now beginning to leave them.
This story was put together by several Aurovilians, based on a tape-recorded conversation with the temple Brahmin at Irumbai.
Greatness of Temple
Mother Ambica is worshipped as Kuyil Mozhi Nayaki – Ambica with a voice as sweet as that of nightingale. She is seated on a Lotus designed peeta facing south with features of Mother Mahalakshmi the Goddess of Wealth. Ambica was watching the penance of Kaduveli Siddhar and was telling Lord the greatness of his penance in her sweet voice, hence, the name Kuyil Mozhi Nayaki. People use to perform abishek to Ambica with honey and consume it seeking her blessing for a sweet voice and mastery of fine arts.
Lord Moon-Chandra has his shrine in the prakara facing west, holding a palm leaf praised as Kala Chandra. Devotees worship him with milk rice seeking his blessings to shine in education and arts. All the 9 planets in the Navagraha shrine are with their spouses. Sun is on Lotus peeta in sitting form with his legs folded with his spouses Usha and Pradusha on his lap. This is a rare darshan of Sun.
Saint Tirugnanasambandar had praised the Lord of the temple in Thevaram hymn as one wearing the sacred ash, accompanied by the daughter of the Mount (Parvatha Rajakumari), one who stripped the skin of the wild elephant, wearing the crescent moon and worshipped by those of impeccable traits, all merciful in Irumbai. This is the 32nd Shiva temple in Nadunaadu region praised in Thevaram hymns.
People pray to Lord Mahakaleshwarar for longevity. Innocent people blamed unjustly pray for the removal of such scars. Devotees perform special abishek to Lord with vastras on realizing their wish.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.30 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Masi Magam and Shivrathri in February-March, Tirukarthikai in November-December and Panguni Uthiram in March-April are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
Shri Mahakaleshwarar Temple,
Irumbai-605 010, Auroville,
Phone: +91- 413 - 268 8943
Mobile: 98435 26601.
This very ancient Shiva temple is one of the 275 Thevara Paadal Petra Sthalangals and is located at Irumbai village in the vicinity of Auroville International Township. Just after a km from Morattandi enroute to Tindivanam, there is a road going to right (east) to Auroville. Take this road and at one point you will encounter a T junction in front of a village temple. Here take left to Auroville Information Centre/ Matrimandhir and you will encounter another T junction where the road at the right goes to Auroville Information Centre and Matrimandhir. Here you have to go straight further for about 3-4 kms to reach the Irumbai village. At the village, there is a X crossing and you have to take the left road for another 1 km to reach the temple.
Irumbai is a village situated next to Auroville in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, some 10 km from Pondicherry. Another Paadal Petra Sthalam Thiruarasili is located at a distance of 5 Kms to the north – west of this Sthalam.
Nearest Railway Station: Puducherry.
Nearest Airport: Chennai & Pondicherry.