Gowthameswarar Temple, Karai, Vellore
Gowthameswarar Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva located at Karai in Vellore District of Tamilnadu. The place Karai is located on the north banks of Palaru River. The place was filled with Karai plant in the forest, hence the place was known as Karai. Presiding Deity is called as Gowthameswarar and Mother is called as Kirupambikai.
Shada Aranya Kshetrams:
Once, Goddess Parvathy penanced at Kanchipuram (Prithvi Sthalam) which is one of the Pancha Boodha Sthalam. Lord was pleased with her penance and married her. Rishi’s and Devas from heaven came down to Kanchi, to participate in the heavenly marriage of Lord Siva and Kamakshi Ammai. The place was so crowded; Rishi’s who came to participate in the marriage stayed in the forest near to Kanchipuram. They had to perform their daily rituals unobstructed. Each one of them chose a place in the forest to worship Lord Siva. All six places where they worshiped are known as Shada Aranyam. Since Six Rishi’s worshiped Swayambu Lingam in these six places it is considered holy to visit and worship Lord Siva here. The temples in these places were big in size with Rajagopurams once. Gowthama Rishi installed and worshiped Lord Siva in this place. Here in the temple there is a statue for Gowthama seen in sitting posture in front of Lord Siva sanctum.
The place on the northern bank of River Palaru was once dense with Karai trees. Hence, it got the name Karaimaraikadu which in course of time shrunk as Karai.
Sage Gautama cursed Indira for his immoral approach towards his wife. Yet, the incident greatly disturbed the peace of his mind. He came to this place seeking peace and worshipped Lord Shiva. For his puja, he made Ganga spring up here. The river that came at the request of the sage was known as Gautami. In course of time Gautami mingled with Palaru. As Gautama worshipped the Lord here, He is called Gowthameswarar.
This is a small temple and has no flag post (Kodimaram) and tower. Main Deity is Swayambu Lingam known as Gowthameswarar with his consort known as Kirupambikai. Lord Gautameswara is known as “Vaidya” (doctor) for his healing blessings. The roof tower (Vimana) in the sanctum sanctorum has paintings of Lord Dakshinamurthy and Lord Krishna. There is a separate shrine for Lord Bhairava in the prakaram.
The structure of the temple is such that the shrine of Mother Kirupambikai is in the Artha Mandapam just opposite the Shrine of the Lord facilitating simultaneous darshan of both. Gowthama Rishi installed and worshiped Lord Siva in this place. Here in the temple there is a statue for Gowthama seen in sitting posture in front of Lord Siva sanctum. Lord Sabeswara appears furious in a shrine. Lord Vinayaka is installed by his side to cool him down.
On Shivarathri day Lord graces with Mother Kirupambikai sitting on the Rishabam, the bull vehicle of the Lord – Nandhi. This worship is considered very blessingful. Besides this temple, on Shivarathri day, devotees also visit simultaneously other nearby Shiva temples at Mel Visharam, Veppur, Pudhupadi, Gudimallur, Vannivedu and Avarakkarai. To facilitate darshan to the devotees, all the temples are kept open during the whole night.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is opened from 6.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. The devotee may get in touch with the priest in advance for convenient darshan of the Lord.
Special abishek and pujas are performed to Lord Sarabeswara and Lord Vinayaka during the Rahu Kala time on Sundays (from 4.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m). On Full moon days, seven types of abishek are performed to Lord Shiva as he granted darshan to Sage Gautama this day. Milk abishek is also performed on this day.
Lord Gautameswara is praised by the devotees as Vaidya (doctor) for curing the prolonged and serious illnesses of his devotees. They offer abishek, vastras and also a mixture of dry ginger, pepper and thippili as Nivedhana and consume it as Prasad for remedy from serious diseases. Devotees perform abishek to Lord and Mother and offer vastras.
Karai, Vellore District
Mobile: +91 – 97901 43219 / 99409 48918
The Temple is located on the North bank of River Palaru. The Temple is located at about 29 Kms from Vellore, 3 Kms from Ranipet, 7 Kms from Walajah, 19 Kms from Kaveripakkam, 24 Kms from Sirukarumbur, 6 Kms from Arcot, 29 Kms from Sholinghur, 53 Kms from Arakkonam, 53 Kms from Thiruthani and 118 Kms from Chennai. Nearest Railway Station is located at Walajah and Nearest Airport is located at Chennai.