Kasinathaswami Temple, Ambasamudram – The Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is worshipped as Kasinathaswamy or Kasipanathar. Lord Shiva is Swayambu lingam. Mother (Goddess Parvathi) of this temple is worshipped as Maragathambigai. Mother Maragathambigai is a gracious god who is fulfilling all the wishes of her devotees. As Mother is all merciful as an ocean, the place is named as Amba Samudram (ocean). This temple has Lord Nataraja who is worshipped as Punugu Sabapathy. On the Thai Poosam day special pooja is performed to him.
Perumal graces in the temple from a shrine opposite Shiva shrine. The temple is located on the banks of Tamirabarani River. The temple measures 440×260 feet with two praharams. Those seeking child boon offer bangles in the shrine and hang cradles. Sthala Vriksham is Amla (Gooseberry). According to Agama Rules, six time puja is followed in the temple. The east facing temple of Kasibanatha Swami is magnificent in size. The location is very calm and scenic. The main region of the temple is built in the ‘maada kovil’ architectural style (raised platforms).
The sanctum sanctorum of the God as well as the shrine of the Goddess is located atop the platform. The main shrine has moolasthanam (sanctum), ardha mandapa, maha mandapa and a front side pillared mandapa. There are two prakaras around the main shrine. The area connecting the temple and the main entrance is huge and is in the form of a pillared mandapa with its roof covered. Rajagopuram has been constructed recently. The entire temple complex is covered by the thick fortress walls.
The sanctum sanctorum is facing the east direction. It houses a small Shiva Linga named as Kasibanatha Swami. The entrance of ardha mandapa has an idol of Ganesha. In the maha mandapa, there is a beautiful painting of Sivakami and Nataraja. Nandi is installed in the Maha mandapa facing towards Lord Shiva. There are many pillars with sculptures in the maha mandapa. The entrance of maha mandapa has another idol of Ganesha called as ‘Anugnai Vinayaka’.
As this region of the temple is located on a raised platform (maada kovil), there is also a front side pillared mandapa. The steps that lead to this mandapa too have few beautiful sculptures. In this front side mandapa the main shrine of the Goddess Maragathambigai is found; she is found in the standing posture with a flower on her right arm.
The first prakara has the following sub-shrines:
· Punugu Sabhapati – big idols of Nataraja and Sivakami along with the regular rishis – made up of Punugu – a kind of perfume
· Uma Maheswarar along with Ganesha and Nandi
· Utsava idols (metal idols)
Apart from the above sub-shrines the following idols are also found here;
· Nalvar – the four important devotees of Shiva
· 63 Nayanmars
· Sapta matas
The outer prakara is located in the open space with a lot of trees and plants. The following sub-shrines are located here.
· Vishwanathar – Vishalakshi
· Annamalai – Unnamalai
· Meenakshi – Chokkanathar
The shrine of big Shiva Linga named as Eritthatkondaar which is associated with the legend of the site is located in the inner prakara. The Nandi idol is placed facing this shrine. In addition there is another shrine for Vishnu located opposite to this shrine. It is believed that he calmed down Lord Shiva. He is standing on "Aavudai". He has four arms holding conch and discus in his upper arms.
There is a broad mandapa that connects the temple with the main entrance. The mandapa is full of pillars and its roof is covered. The big and tall flag staff, Bali peetha and Nandi are located in this mandapa. It should be noted that the flag staff is located between Nandi and the main temple in Ambasamudram and the surrounding areas; usually, nothing is placed between Nandi and the Lord.
The following sub-shrines are found in this mandapa:
· Navagraha – the nine planets
· Shasta with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala
It is believed that Thamirabarani is a confluence of all these seven Theerthams.