Sankaralingaswami Temple, Kottarakulam, Ambasamudram, Thirunelveli
Sankaralingaswami Temple is located in Kottarakulam Village near Ambasamudram Town in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. The temple is for Raghu/ Kethu worship and considered highly sacred. Kottarakulam is also called as Chinna Sankaran Koil.
There was a Shiva devotee here living on alms. Before eating, he used to place a little rice to the crow as traditionally followed in Hindu families. One day, the crow took the rice to a jungle nearby, placed it at a spot and worshipped there with flowers. He dug the place and found a Swayambu Linga and began to perform puja with flowers. As he did not return to the village, they searched for him and found him when he immersed himself with the Shivalinga. This came to be known as Sankaralingam.
It is a common fight in our families as to who is great – the bride’s or the bridegroom family. Mother Uma is the first to establish the truth that both are equal, none high, and none low. To confirm this truth, Lord Shiva gave her a darshan in a combined form as Sankara Narayana. As such a darshan is not that easy, Mother Gomathi undertook a severe penance.
This is known as ‘Aadi Thapasu’ – penance in the month of Aadi – July-August. This is a famous festival in Sankarankoil in this district. This is followed in Kodarankulam also near Ambasamudram known as South Sankarankoil. Kodarankulam is on the banks of the confluence of Tambiraparani - Manimuthar Rivers. Lord Shiva holds the powers of the planets Rahu and Ketu here.
Lord Sri Sankaranarayana is the main deity in the temple. Vinayaka is Anugnai Vinayaka. The temple has a 9 tier Rajagopuram. Lord graces in this temple facing north. There are two snakes on his body both in front and back. To avoid snake and scorpion bites, people use to place metal plates embossed with figures of these creatures in the hundi. They also put pepper and salt in the shrine. Lord Shiva graces here as a Swayambumurthy representing the powers of Rahu and Ketu.
When Mother was in penance, the Devas came there for his darshan in the guise of cows. Seeing her looking so bright, they named the Mother Gomathi – Go means cows and Mathi bright as full moon. As Mother protected the cows - Aa in Tamil, She is also known as Aavudai Amman. During the Aadi Thapasu, Mother Gomati graces from a Mandapam for the penance. Lord Shiva appears as Sankara Narayanan and Sankara Lingam. The wedding with Mother Gomathi follows then.
The temple is such that both Lord and Mother grace from their shrines with separate flag posts-Kodimaram. Adhikara Nandhi is at the entrance with his consort Suyajadevi and the Nandhi before the sanctum is under a Rudraksha Pandal-tent. The Adhikara Nandi traditionally seen before the shrine of Lord Shiva is before the shrine of Mother Gomathi. Sankara Narayana graces from another shrine. The rays of Sun fall on Lord Sankaralingam for three days from the 21st day in the months of March and September.
Aadi Thapasu in July-August; 41 day Brahmmotsavam in Panguni-Chithirai covering March to May; Aipasi wedding festival in October-November and Thai float festival in January-February are the festivals celebrated in the temple. The festival of Lord Shiva seated on his bull vehicle Nandhi granting Darshan to 63 Nayanmars takes place during Chithirai (April-May) and Margazhi (December-January) months.
Devotees pray here to develop the quality of love for all promoting unity and to be simple and austere in nature. Devotees perform abishek to Lord and Mother and offer vastras. The ant-hill sand is offered as Prasad which the sick consume along with water for cure. Devotees facing problems due to the presence of poisonous creatures in their houses as lizards, scorpions and snakes offer silver pieces embossed with the images of such creatures for solution.
Sri Sankaralinga Swami Temple,
Kodarankulam, Thirunelveli District
Phone: +91 – 4634 – 223 821 / 221821
Mobile: +91 – 93602 19237 / 94891 19594
Kottarakulam is around 3 Kms South-West of Ambasamudram. The devotee has to reach Ambasamudram and then the bus passing through Manimuthar and get down at Kodarankulam bus stop. The temple is 1 km from the bus stop. Buses are not frequent. Auto facility is available. Ambasamudram is 37 Kms from Tenkasi, 12 Kms from Veeravanallur, 47 Kms from Thirunelveli, 206 Kms from Madurai and 143 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Ambasamudram. Nearest Airport is located Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.