Friday, November 10, 2017

Sudarkozhundeesar Temple (Pralayakaleswarar Temple), Pennadam – The Temple

Sudarkozhundeesar Temple (Pralayakaleswarar Temple), Pennadam – The Temple
This temple has two corridors and its main tower (Rajagopuram) has 5-tiers. This is one of the 78 shrines built by Kochengata Cholan at an elevation. The Temple covers an area of about 4 acres. Vinayagar Sannidhi is located at the entrance of the temple. Inside the main entrance there is a small garden. There is plenty of beautiful carvings of idols in the main Tower. Unlike other temples here Nandhi doesn’t look at Shiva. It is facing the town. The legend says that, there was a Pralayam and Shiva ordered Nandhi to turn and drink all the water to save the town. That is the reason for ‘Pralayakaleswarar’. Both the Nandhis at outer prakaram and inner prakaram are facing the opposite direction.

Presiding Deity is called as Pralayakaleswarar / Sudarkozhundeeswarar / Kadanthai Nathar / Kaivazhangeesar. Lord Shiva in this temple is a Swayambumurthy (self-manifested). The Vimanam (roof tower) of the sanctum sanctorum has been constructed according to the Gaja Brushtam style of architecture. The vimana (roof tower) of the sanctum sanctorum is designed in a special style of architecture called the Gaja Brushtam. This makes the Vimanam look like the rear of an elephant (Gaja - elephant, Brushtam - rear). This is also known as “Thoonganai Maadam” in Tamil (thoong(um) - sleeping, Aanai - elephant, Maadam - top of a temple).

Next strange thing is position of Dwarapalakas. Normally they will be facing the same direction in which main deity faces. But here they are facing each other and perpendicular to the deity. There is also a sanctum located to the north of main sanctum, has three slotted windows on three sides which facilitates dharisanam of the Lord from all sides. The lingam inside the elevated shrine is made of 16 plate faces (Shodasa lingam) and is known as Sri Soundareswarar. One can see this lord from outside the temple also.

Mother is called as Aamodanambal / Kadanthai Nayaki / Azhagiya Kadhali. There is a separate temple for Goddess Aamodanambal in the outer corridor. There are separate shrines for Saint Kalikamba Nayanar and Saint Meikanda Devar in the corridors. Shrines and idols of Lords Vinai Theertha Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts, Natarajar and Sivakami, Kasi Viswanathar, Dakshinamurthy, Nalvar, Navagraham, Goddess Mahalakshmi and Saptha Madakkal can be seen in the corridors.

This temple is full of inscriptions – hundreds of them on outer walls of the main structure. They are so crowded that many of them are written even on small curved surfaces. Stone inscriptions of Chola and Vijayanagara Kings regime are seen in the temple. There are three pillars with Rajendra Chola inscriptions. Rajendra Chola meikeerthi could be seen in these inscriptions. There was an inscription about the coronation of British emperor George in one of the pillars in Mother Shrine.

There are few Pallava period sculptures – Saptha Matha – placed in this temple. It appears that they are brought from somewhere nearby for safety. They are beautiful. Two of the mathas are missing. Theerthams associated with this temple are Parvathi Theertham, Kapila Theertham, Kayilai Theertham, Indira Theertham, Mukkulam and Vellaru river. Sthala Vriksham is Shenbaga tree. Vedavalli Samedha Vedanarayana Temple is also present in Pennadam.