Kulashekharanatha Mahalingam Temple, Pathai, Thirunelveli
Kulashekharanatha Mahalingam Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva located in the village of Pathai near Kalakkad in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. The Village Pathai is situated at the foot of Western Ghats and on the banks of Pachai river. The village is located amidst sylvan settings. Presiding Deity is called as Kulasekhara Nathar. Mother is called as Sugandha Kundalambikai / Avudai Nayaki.
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The temple is a unique blend of the three major regional influence — the three major rulers of the South India - Chera dynasty — as the Lord is known as the Lord of King Kulasekhara (Kulasekhara Natha) - Chola dynasty — the Goddess is known by the same name - Sugandha Kundalambikai - the Consort of Lord Matrubhuteshwara at Tiruchchirapalli in the heart of Chola land - Pandya dynasty — the temple located in the Pandya land with its unique architectural style.
The Temple has many inscriptions on the walls waiting to be studied by the scholars to understand the hoary history of the temple and greatness of the shrine. The latest inscription near the entrance after the Nandi Mandapa informs of the Consecration or the Kumbabishekam done on 31 January 1971 AD by the citizens of Pathai village. According to epigraphic findings, the village was known as Mullinattu Chadurvedi Mangalam during the rule of kings.
There are two Shivalingas – presiding deities – of which that of Lord Kulasekhara Nathar also praised as Kulasekharam Udayar is the principal one. The Shiva Mahalingam is unique with five-faced as is the Lord Himself. Main Goddess of the temple is Mother Sugandha Kundalambikai located in a separate shrine. A separate niche may be seen inside the temple for goddess Sugandha Kunthalambal The temple is facing west.
The other presiding deity is at a lower level pit – Pallam in Tamil – is a Swayambumurthy commonly known as Pallathu Udayar and praised also as Tirupura Hareswarar, Adhi Nathar, Thanezhundha Nayanar and Pazhayon. Mother Avudai Nayaki praised also as Gomathi Amman and Tiripura Sundari graces in a standing posture from the shrine south of this sanctum sanctorum. These two shrines are located at a slightly lower level than the plinth of the main Sanctum Sanctorum.
According to Puranas, Divine Cow Kamadenu worshipped this Swayambu Shiva Linga. It is said that Lord Aadhi Nathar existed here even before Kulasekhara Nathar. When monsoon fails, the villagers fill the Pallam-Pit of Pallathu Udayar, perform pujas praying for rain. People of Keel Pathai village are staunch devotees of Pallathu Udayar.
Apart from the main deities, there are separate shrines for Subramanya with his consorts Valli & Devasena, Chandikeswara, Saneeswara (Shani/Saturn God), Kanni Moola Ganapathy, Dakshinamurthy, Yogeeswara and Kala Bhairava on the outer corridor (prakaram) (outer courtyard) around the main Sanctorum. Dakshinamurthy or the South facing Universal Teacher avatar of Shiva is on the south side of the outer wall of the Sanctum Sanctorum of the main deity as per the tradition. The idol of Lord Dakshinamurthy was installed by his Holiness Kodaganallur Sundara Swamigal.
The Dwajasthambam or the Flag pole and an intricately carved Nandhi or the Sacred Bull, the divine mount of Lord Shiva, sits facing the main deity — Kulashekharanatha Mahalingam. There are several Vahanam or the divine mounts in the temple indicating the festivals in the past with pomp and glory, but now in dilapidated condition. The processional idols or the Utsava Vigraha are now kept in the Nellaiyappar Temple in Thirunelveli, after a foiled theft attempt, for safe-keeping.
Worship is offered once a day by the priest coming from a neighboring place. Village manages to offer the Pradosham Puja/offering without fail. (The Thirteenth Evening twilight after the new moon, is considered is a very holy and auspicious day for the worship of Lord Shiva). The temple is said to be several thousand years old and the present structure is about 1,200 years old. This ancient temple, with rich ancient carvings and inscriptions, was lying in a state of disrepair.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m. and from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Besides monthly Pradosha pujas, the temple celebrates Maha Shivarathri grandly in February-March.
People pray here to realize their various wishes and for good health free from illness. Devotees perform abishek and Aaradhanas to Lord and Mother and offer vastras.
Sri Kulasekhara Nathar Temple,
Keela Pathai, Thirunelveli District,
Mobile: +91 94866 43260 / 98840 28541
Keela Pathai village is located at about 5 Kms far from Kalakkad. Kalakkad is located on the Cheranmahadevi – Valliyur Road. Kalakad is located at about 12 kms West of Nanguneri, 21 Kms from Cheranmahadevi, 37 Kms from Ambasamudram, 23 Kms from Valliyur, 44 Kms from Thirunelveli, 135 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram and 203 Kms from Madurai. Nearest Railway Station is located at Nanguneri and Thirunelveli. Nearest Airport is located Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.