Sri Gnanapureeswarar Temple (Thiruvidaichuram), Thiruvadisoolam – The Temple
This temple, one of the 275 Thevara Paadal Petra Sthalams, is in a beautiful surrounding in the midst of hills in a serene village full of greenery and it is neither in a dilapidated state nor in a good shape. There is a small Vinayagar temple just outside the temple. The ground level of the entrance is slightly down. The temple entrance is south facing with no Rajagopuram in the past and the shrine of Goddess is facing the entrance. This is an ancient Chola temple about 2000 years old built by the early Cholas. The temple has been sung by Gnanasambandar. The temple had a Rajagopuram built very recently. It was also a Mottai koil built by early Cholas.
In the outer praharam, Shrine for Valampuri Vinayagar is located. Shrines for Brahmaandeswar in the form a lingam and Brahmaandeswari are present in the eastern side of praharam. Nearby is the Balipeetham, west facing Nandhi and three trees Neem, Vilvam and Arasu bound together is believed to represent Lord Shiva, Mother Ambica and Lord Vinayaka. Worshipping the trees will ensure unity in family and those separated will have a re-union. . The Sthala Vriksham is Vilvam. In the east praharam there is a shrine for Lord Subramanyar facing south and in the South praharam, there is a snake pit that looks like a Vinayagar.
There is a beautiful inner praharam and we can see the Agazhi style of the sanctum sanctorum there. Here, the shrines for the Nalvar, Sthala Ganapathy, Lord Subramanyar with his consorts, Chandikeswarar, Kala Bairavar, Dwara Ganapathy Muthukumaraswamy and Sun God are present; also Brahma, Maha Vishnu (Goddess Parvathi came here with her brother Maha Vishnu to worship Lord Shiva), Durga are present as Koshta moorthies.
Madhura Theertham is the Temple Tank of this Temple. The tank from where Lord Shiva disappeared still exists. The structure of this temple is unusual, looking like an old village house when viewed from outside. There are beautiful stone pillared mandapams inside the temple. The ceiling is a bit lower and the whole mandapam allows limited sunlight. The main deity Sri Gnanapureeswarar is seen facing east from a small, beautiful sanctum. The deity is made of Maragatha (dark green) stone and hence called as Maragatha Lingam, which is not too visible to make out while having Dharshan.
It is said that the actual color and the glow of this Maragatha Lingam will clearly be visible when ‘Then Abishegam’ (Honey Abishegam) is performed to the deity. The Goddess Sri Govardanambikai is seen facing south. One can have Dharshan of both the God and Goddess by standing in the same place. Inside the temple, there is a mandapam in front of the Goddess Shrine with many pillars but with no intricate sculpture works. The Goddess is called Govarthanambihai (Go means cow) since she came as Kamadhenu, poured milk on the lingam and did the worship of Lord Shiva.