Sivasailanathar Temple, Sivasailam – The Temple
The temple is very huge in size. It has a stunning tower and the front side of the temple is covered with trees. The main gopuram has five floors and is adorned with many statues. The main god of the temple is Sivasailanathar and Paramakalyani Amman. This temple was built by Pandya king. The temple is surrounded by Velli malai, Mulli malai and Podhigai hills. It is located on the bank of River Gadananathi River (Karunai River).
The temple is full of long Mandapams, huge idols, different designs of huge pillars and large sculpted pillars. Everything in this temple appears to be grand. The Vimana is spectacularly gilded. The Nandi idol that is located near the flag staff and bali peetha facing the main shrine is artistically beautiful. In the South direction of the temple, there is an east facing statue of Vinayagar.
In the North direction, a statue of the Tamil God Murugan is placed. In the South direction, 63 Nayanmars statue and Suryan and Chandran statues are placed, and a statue of Dakshinamurthy facing south is placed. The temple has a number of mandapam (ritual pavilions) for Nartha, Maa, Aartha and Mani. The statue of Paramakalyani Amman with emerald green cheeks gives grace to devotees.
A Manimandapam (memorial) is located on the bank of the river Gadananathi. In the south of Mani mandapam, a statue of Nataraja Perumal is placed. In the pillars of the mandapam, a lion crest is seen. On the inner side of the pandal mandapam many coloured flowers are depicted. The temple has two wooden chariots, one is large and the other is small. The large chariot is for Sivasailanathar and the smaller is for his consort, Amman.
The sanctum sanctorum unusually faces the west direction. A large sized Shiva Linga idol named as Sivasailappar is found there. The highlight is that he has tresses at his back. The devotees can view his tresses through holes on the back side of the sanctorum. Hence he is also called as Sadaiappar. It is said that it is only west facing Swayambu Linga. It is also said that there are 27 Aavudais (the base of Linga) placed one above the other and the idol is placed on top of 27th Aavudai. Ganesha and Adhikara Nandi idols are found near the entrance of Arthamandapam. The Maha Mandapa has Nandi facing the sanctorum; it also house few sub-shrines with so many Utsava (metal) idols that include Nataraja-Sivakami, Chandrasekhar-Uma, etc.
The inner prakara surrounding the Sanctum Sanctorum has many sub-shrines housing lot of deities. All of them are unusually large in size.
Following are the deities found in the Inner prakaram;
· Sura Deva
· Maha Lakshmi
· Anna Poorani
· Vishnu Durga
· Sapta Matas
· Vishwanathar-Vishalakshi-Navaneetha Krishna
The Goddess Parama Kalyani is found in a separate west facing shrine. She is found in the standing posture and has four arms. The shrine has its own front side mandapa, Nandi, flag staff and bali peetha. It is said that the idol was found in a well. The inner prakara has Agastya, Ganesha, 63 Nayanmars and Dhakshinamoorthi.
Statue of Nandhi:
The representation of Nandi in the temple is particularly noted. Nandikeshvarar statue looks like an ox sitting upon its folded tail. This statue demonstrates the special character of Tamil and the artistic work of the artist.
Some of the other sub-shrines in the temple:
· Saila Vinayaka
Stone Inscription no.519 of Sivasailam Temple was found in Poovankurichi lake in 1916. The Stone Inscription tells that Jamindars of Ambur, Alwarkurichi, Kadayam, Krishnapuram, Poovankurichi collected tax from people for god. In the year 1916 another Stone Inscription was found in Kizha Ambur. It is Stone Inscription no.518 and tells about King Ravivarma.