Kalyanasundaresar Temple, Nallur – The Temple
This is one of the Mada Koils (one where an elephant cannot reach the sanctum) built by the famous Chozha king Ko Chenganan, others include Thiruvanaikaval. This temple is located 5 kms east of Papanasam. In the Kumbakonam – Papanasam route, after Sundara Perumal koil, take a diversion at Uthani village for about 2 kms to Nallur. The main deity is Swayambu linga known as Periyandeswarar, Kalyana Sundarar, Pancha Varneswarar, and Sundara nathar, Soundara Nayakar with Ambal Giri Sundari, Parvatha Sundari Kalyana Sundari, Malaiazhagi, and Vanduvaazh Kuzhali.
The miracle of the temple here is the color of the deity changes 5 times a day as copper, light red, molten gold, Emerald and Multicolor for every 2 hours and 20 minutes. And so the other name is Panchavarneswarar. Many researches have been done for the color changes, but till now the reason is unknown and could not be found.
There are two lingams on a single square avudaiyar (not anywhere in the world). Since Lord Shiva gave Deeksha to Thirunavukarasar by placing his feet on him, as a rare custom in a Shiva temple, the devotees are blessed by placing Sataari as done in Vishnu Temples. It is believed that the Lingam starts from the land and ends at the top of the mount. It said that the Jada Mudi of lord Shiva is present at the back of temple, so we are not allowed to make a full round. Oblations to the manes take places here.
The lingam has many holes across. Sage Bringi, an ardent devotee of Siva, was not ready to worship the Goddess. So he took the form of vandu (bee family) and worshipped Shiva alone by flying around him. Hence there are small holes on the Shiva linga. Vaalakilya Munivar performed Thapas as vandu (beetle) in the holes and attained Mukthi here.
Kunthi Devi got rid of her curse by taking a dip in the Saptha Sagaram Theertham on a Masi Magaham day. Muchukunda Chakravarthy who belongs to Dwaparayuga, the third Yuga, has worshipped here. According to Bujandar naadi, Sri Maha Kali who was responsible for defending this region against the invasion of Malik Kafur is glowing with her divine presence here. Worshipping her on Fridays and Ashtami is believed to absolve many doshams of devotees. Ashtapuja Kali with 8 arms is present in the south praharam of this temple.
The temple is located 10 km (6.2 mi) away from Kumbakonam, 6 km (3.7 mi) east of Thirukarugavur and 30 km (19 mi) south of Thanjavur. The temple has a five-tiered Rajagopuram (gateway tower). The main shrines of the temple are located in an artificial hillock. The images of the presiding deity, Kalyanasundaresar is in the form of lingam (iconic form of Shiva) in a pedestal, occupies the main sanctum. The second lingam, believed to be installed by sage Agastya is in the sanctum. The walls on the interior of the sanctum have sculptural representations of Shiva and Parvathi on the west, Vishnu on the north and Brahma on the south. The shrine of Girisundari Amman, the consort of Kalyanasundaresar, is located in the first precinct facing west.
The temple also has a bronze image of Nataraja, the cosmic dance form of Shiva. Nataraja in the temple is depicted with eight hands and in a standing posture over the head of a demon. The image is considered to be one of the nine dance poses of Shiva, called Navathandavam. The temple has sculptural and metallic images of Ganapathi (elephant god), sage Agasthya and the three Saiva saints Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar. The temple also has an image of Somaskanda (a representation of Shiva with his consort Uma, and Skanda as a child), which is considered similar to the one present in the Thyagaraja temple in Thiruvarur. The third prakaram downstairs houses a separate shrine for the Hindu god Kali. The temple has a large tank called Sapthasagaram, located outside the main entrance. The temple complex is enclosed by granite walls, built around the third precinct.
Mother Thiripurasundari blesses the devotees from a separate shrine. There is a shrine for Lord Nataraja with 8 hands in a dancing posture with Lord Kasi Viswanatha, Sage Agasthya, Lord Gananatha and three Saivite Saints Tirugnanasambandar, Tirunavukkarasar and Sundarar. An image of Kalyana Sundareswarar and his consort are seen in the sanctum behind the Shivalingam. Two worship services are offered here each day. During the annual festival, festival images of deities from nearby towns converge to participate. The practice of placing an icon containing the imprint of the deity's feet on the heads of devotees is carried out here like in Vaishnavite temples, commemorating Appar's surrender at the deity's feet here at Tirunallur. The image of Natarajar here is of great beauty. Each of the idols seen at this temple is also special. The Chathura Thandava Nataraja is one not seen in any other temple.