Friday, April 28, 2017

Agastheeshwarar Temple, Kallidaikurichi, Thirunelveli

Agastheeshwarar Temple, Kallidaikurichi, Thirunelveli
Agastheeshwarar Temple is dedicated to Sage Agastya located at Kallidaikurichi in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. Presiding Deity is called as Agastheeshwarar and Mother is called as Lopamudra. There are two temples dedicated to the sage; one in Kallidaikurichi and another in Ambasamudram. 

Legends
As per the legend, when Lord Shiva married Parvati in the Himalayas, all the deities, Devas, seers and the others gathered there. Due to this, the earth lost its balance and tilted. Lord Shiva ordered Agastya to go towards south to balance the level of the earth. On his way to Podhigai hills in the south, Agastya visited many sites and installed a lot of Shiva Lingas. It is believed that all of them were installed by the sage. In Kallidaikurichi village, the sage was taking rest under a tamarind tree.
A devotee met the saint and invited him to have lunch in his home. However, the sage requested the devotee to bring the food there itself. As the devotee did not return on time, the sage started moving towards Podhigai hills. The devotee apparently realized that the sage left the place already. He vowed that he would not return home till the seer accepts his offer. Moved by his devotion, the sage gave darshan to him in Ambasamudram (may be the place where the devotee was living) and had food offered by him. 
The Temple
Agastheeshwarar temple is located at the heart of Kallidaikurichi village. Unlike the other Agastheeshwarar temple in Ambasamudram, it is very small temple. Although the temple is supposed to be very old as per the legend, the current structure cannot be dated more than half a century. Perhaps it could have been renovated multiple times. There are many temples named as 'Agastheeshwarar temples' in Tamilnadu state of India. However, they all are dedicated to Lord Shiva Lingas installed by the sage Agastya. However, in Ambasamudram and Kallidaikurichi, the name Agastheeshwarar denotes to the sage Agastya himself.
This temple in Kallidaikurichi is dedicated to him. He is the main deity who is present in the sitting posture and his sanctum sanctorum faces the east direction. A separate north facing shrine of the Goddess Lopamudra is located. She resembles the posture of any typical Uma/Parvati/Amman in Shiva temples; she is in the standing posture and holding a flower in her right arm. There is a small prakara around the main shrine where the small idols of Ganesha, Uma & Maheshwara (Shiva Linga) and Pazhani Andi (Kartikeya) are located.
There is an outer prakara which has the sub-shrines of Ganesha, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena and Navagraha. The outer wall of the main shrine has the Koshta idols of Dhakshinamoorthi and Vishnu Durga. A small sub-shrine with the metal (Utsava) idols of Agastya with his wife is also located within this temple. The temple does not have a tower; however flag staff and bali peetha are found.
Connectivity
Kallidaikurichi is located on the Southern bank of the river Thamirabarani at about 12 Kms West of Cheranmahadevi, 8 Kms from Veeravanallur, 4 Kms from Ambasamudram, 43 kms from Thirunelveli, 210 Kms from Madurai and 147 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Ambasamudram. Nearest Airport is located at Thiruvananthapuram and Madurai.

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