Thirumarperu Manikandeswarar Temple, Tirumalpur, Kanchipuram – The Temple
The temple covers an area of 1.20 acre with compound walls, two prakarams (corridors) and a Rajagopuram facing east. Chakkara Theertham is before the temple. Lord’s shrine is facing east and that of Mother the south. There are shrines of Lords Vinayaka, Chidambareshwarar, Somaskandar, Muruga, Chandikeswara, Nataraja and Mother Gajalakshmi in the prakara. Vishnu (Called Tirumal) is believed to have worshipped Shiva in this temple & hence the name Tirumalpur.
The temple has a five – tiered Rajagopuram (temple tower). The temple has set of inscriptions from Chola period of Rajaraja Chola I (985 – 1014 CE). Appar, the 7th-century saint poet glorified the deity in Tevaram in one verse. The temple is also referred as Hari-Chakrapuram. The Adhikara Nandi (sacred bull of Shiva) is in standing portion in this temple unlike other Shiva temple where Nandi is in sitting posture. The temple tree is Bilva.
Dwarapalakars are in huge size. The presiding Moolavar Lingam is made of sand by Parvathi Ambal on the banks of Virudaseera River. Swami is untouchable (தீண்டா திருமேனி). While doing the abishekam the priest put a cover (குவழை) over the Lingam. Thirumal is called as Senthamaraikkanan in worshipping form with his two hands in front of Swami Sannathi. There is also an Uthsava murthy of Thirumal with lotus flower in one hand and one of his eyes in another hand.
There are shrines of Vinayakar. He is known as Vallaba Vinayakar with ten hands. Durgai in this temple is a special and beautiful with eight hands holding Sangu and Chakram. Though it is Siva temple, only after Arthi to Thirumal they serve Sadari and Theertham for all devotees as in other Vaishnava temples. This is apart from serving Viboothi and Kungumam. Garuda Seva is celebrated during the Brahmotsavam festival which is unusual for a Shiva temple.
Outside the sanctum, you can notice south side facing Ganesh, Dakshinamoorthy Sculpture here is a unique one and Vishnu facing west on back of sanctum, Brahma facing north & Durga with multiple hands is nicely sculptured. Inside the Prahara on the south west we can see Choleesvarar facing west and on south East Bala Ganapathy and Uthisthaganapathy facing East and Gajalakshmi and in North west Lord Muruga.
Opposite to sanctum we can see Veerabhadrar facing west and also on the both sides of entry to Prahara we can see Chandran (moon God) on North side and Suryan (Sun God) on South side facing the Main Deity Manikandeswarar. Bhairavar is outside the Prahara on North side main entry facing south. In the main campus on the North East Corner there is a Separate sanctum for Ambal called as Anjanakshi.
In the main sanctum outside we can see his guards Tarkashan & Vidyunmali, The Lingam is a made of sand & we can observe that it's not in a proper geometry. The poojas are done with utmost care. We can see the 63 Nayanmars in the South inside the Praharam. Teertham is Cheyyar Teertham. Lord Choleeswaram installed in the temple in memory of Paranthaka Chola is facing west.
Balipeedam, Dwajasthambam and Nandhi are in an elevated level under a Kottagai. Pancha moorthy’s sudhai sirpangal are on the top of entrance. At the entrance of main shrine Ganapathy with 10 hands to be seen on the left and Murugan on the right. Thirumal is standing at the centre worshiping Lord Shiva behind Nandhi.
In the mandapam reliefs of Dhakshinamoorthy, Suryan, Mahavishnu, Balasubramaniar, Appar, Sundarar, Vinayagar, Murugan, Thiruganasambhandar, Naanmugan (all the four faces are visible), Ambal worshiping Lord Shiva, Kalinga narthanam, Kamadhenu, Bairavar, Veerabadhrar doing Dhabas standing on one leg. In the Saba mandapam, Natarajar with Ambal and Manickavasakar can be found. Urchava moorthangal are in artha mandapam.