Erumbeeswarar Temple, Thiruverumbur – History
Erumbeeswarar Temple is an ancient temple. This 1300-year-old temple’s unique feature is that Lord Shiva’s form is Erumbeeswarar, a Lingam in the form of an ant. Erumbeeswarar Temple, locally known as the Kailash of South India, is the 7th Shiva shrine on the southern banks of River Cauvery. It is revered by the Tevaram hymns of Saiva Nayanars, the 7th century Tamil saint poets. It was mentioned and praised in the Thevaram hymns of Saint Tirugnanasambandar. It comes under the classification of ‘Paadal Petra Sthalam’ or shrines mentioned in the classical Tamil songs.
Erumbeeswarar temple in its current form was built by the Chola king Aditya I (871-907 CE). Aditya won a battle in Thiruppurambiyam and to commemorate the victory, he built a series of temples along the banks of the river Cauvery. The temple has 49 inscriptions from the Chola period (850-1280 CE). The inscriptions numbered 101, 104, 105, 127, 130 and 133 of 1914 are believed to be inscribed during the 5th to 7th year of the reign of Aditya and hence believed to be between 882 and 885 CE.
Another set of inscriptions from the Sundara Chola (957-970 CE) period indicate gift of land to maintain four signs of Tirupadigam. One another inscription indicates the donation of ten kalanchu (a measure) of gold to the deity by a temple woman in the year 875 CE. A king by name Siruthavur Sembian Veithi Velan from Kiliyurnadu is believed to have constructed the vimana (structure over the sanctum).
The temple was the only temple that Malik Kafur (1296-1316 CE) could not conquer in 1311 CE, during his South Indian expedition. The temple is a declared monument of the Archaeological Survey of India on account of the inscriptions in the temple. During the war between British & French during 1752, the temple acted as an infantry for the French troops. In modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamilnadu.