Varamoortheeswarar Temple, Ariyathurai – The Temple
The south facing temple has been renovated beautifully and the Kumbabhishekam took place very recently. Presiding Deity is called as Varamoortheeswarar and is facing east. The main deity here is said to represent the Satyojatha face of Lord Shiva. The Avudaiyar (base) of the Lingam is of square in shape. It is said that the Shiva Lingams which were installed by Rishis or Sages would have the Avudaiyar in square shape.
An ancient Nandhi is seen on the outer prakaram facing the sanctum. The temple has a significance of having 32 koshtams (shrines on the outer praharam of the sanctum sanctorum) though deities are present only in some of them. This is called Uthama Patcha Prathishtai and only around 15 temples in Tamilnadu are in this manner. In other temples, one can see only Pancha (five) Koshtams for Vinayagar, Dhakshinamoorthy, Lingothbavar, Brahma or Vishnu and Durgai.
Snakes, Lizards, frogs and fishes have been inscribed in the ceiling top of the sanctum sanctorum representing that this is a Parihara Kshetram for Sarpa Dhosham and Naga Dhosham. Mother is called as Maragathavalli and is facing south. Both the Varamoortheeswarar and Goddess Maragathavalli idols are made of Green granite stone.
Since Lord Shiva appeared here as a Kala Bairavar to Sage Mukunthan, there is a separate shrine for Kala Bairavar along with the front ardha mandapam. The original Swayambu Bairavar and the later installed Bairavar idol are present side by side. The Artha mandapam is a very tiny one and only about 5 feet high but it is worth taking the pain to go inside and have a very close Dharshan of the Swayambu Bairavar.
Sthala Vriksham is Arasa Maram (Peepal Tree). Just outside the temple, by the side of it, two huge Peepul trees (Arasa Maram) are present at the banks of River Brahma Aranya with pleasing greenery all around. Here, it is believed that Lord Krishna had stood as an Ashwatha Vriksham (Peepul tree) for 1000 years. There is a clean and beautiful temple tank in front adds beauty to the temple.
There is no Navagraham shrine in the temple since the temple was built before the Navagraha worship came into practice. Instead, Sri Surya Bhagavan (Sun God) and Sri Chandra Bhagavan (Moon God) are seen on the pillars just outside the sanctum, facing the Lord. There are shrines of Balasubramanya and Vinayakar in the outer prakaram. A stone slab containing some old inscriptions is kept on the outer prakaram. There is also a small shrine for Romasa Rishi just behind the temple.