Apatsahayesvarar Temple (Guru Sthalam), Alangudi – The Temple
The temple occupies an area of about 1.25 acres with high walls on all the 4 sides. The temple has a 5-tier Rajagopuram surrounded by two prakarams (closed precincts of a temple). Presiding deity Abathsahayeswarar / Kasi Aranyeswarar is a Swayambu Linga Murthy in the temple. Mother is called as Elavarkuzhali. Lord Dakshinamurthy adored as Guru Baghwan (teacher of Dharma and Yoga Sastras) has special importance in the temple and therefore, the place is regarded as Dakshinamurthy. Theertham is Amirtha Pushkarani. Sthala Vriksham is Poolai Plant. Scars of measles are found in the idol of Saint Sundarar.
The temple is one of the nine Navagraha Sthalas (Temples of Nine planets) located in the Cauvery Delta region dedicated to planet Jupiter, called Dhakshinamoorthy, the Guru. While the deity who attracts the maximum crowd at Alangudi is Guru Bhagavan, or Dhakshinamoorthy, the main deity in the temple is Shiva as Aapathsahayar - the one who aids his devotees in troubled times. Sukravara Ambica graces from a separate shrine. The other significance of the temple is that the structure reminds one the Matha (Mother) Pitha (Father) and Guru (Teacher) philosophy. Entering the temple, we meet Mother-Ambica Shrine first, followed by the presiding deity and the Guru-Dakshinamurthy.
The Balipeeta (a stage or platform) for Nandhi the bull vehicle of Lord Shiva is covered by copper plates. As there is no direct Jupiter shrine here, Lord Dakshinamurthy, the authority for the planet is worshipped very devotionally here. Dakshinamurthy graces here with four Sanakathi rishis. This is the only temple where Lord Dakshinamurthy is taken in car procession. There is also a statue of Daksha, father of Mother Parvathi, with a goat head.
There are shrines for Kalangamal Katha Vinayaka, Muruga, Lakshmi, Nalvar (Gnanasambandhar, Thirunavukkarasar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar), the authors of Thevaram and Tiruvasagam hymns Suriyeasar, Somesar, Gurumaswarar, Somanathar, Sabtharishinathar, Vishnunathar, Brahmmesar, collectively known as Saptha Lingas, Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi, Sage Agasthya in the inner corridor (Prakara) of the temple.
There are procession deities – Big sized Vinayaka, Subramanya, Chandeswara, and Kalyanasastha. The Thirumurai temple is in the Sabanathar shrine. Procession deity Dakshinamurthy graces with four Sanakathi rishis. In the temple premises is housed a smaller sanctum to Ganesha, who, it is believed killed the demon Gajamukhasuran at this holy place, and is called "Kalangaamal Kaatha Vinayakar".
The forest associated with this temple is the Poolai Vanam, or forest of Silk Cotton trees, though there is not a single one left in this much-visited temple any more. There are around 15 Theerthams in this temple and the one which is located inside the temple is referred to as Amrita Pushkarini. . It is a belief that Chakra Theertham was created by Maha Vishnu’s Chakra (Disc). To the south is the sanctum of Suryan. Southward is the Sundaramoorthy Nayanmar.
In the southern perambulatory square are the four poets, saints of Saivism, suryesar, Somesar, Grumosekarar, Somanathar, Sabtharishinathar, Vishnunathar, Birmesar with Kasi Vishwanathar and Mother Vishalakshi. Sage Agasthiar has also worshiped in this temple. Dhakshinamoorthy is at the southern corner. Bronze Sculpture of Nandhi is located in front of Moolavar. Vinayagar, Guru Dhakshinamoorthy, Lingothpavar, Brahma and Durgai are the Koshta Moorthys.