Saturday, November 23, 2019

Ilamaiyakkinar Temple, Chidambaram, Cuddalore

Ilamaiyakkinar Temple, Chidambaram, Cuddalore
Ilamaiyakkinar Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Chidambaram Town in Chidambaram Taluk in Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu. Presiding Deity is called as Tiruppuleeswarar / Youvaneswarar / Ilamaiyakkinar and Mother is called as Thirupurasundari / Balasundari / Youvanambal / Ilamai Nayagi. The Temple is considered as Mukthi Sthalam of Thiruneelakanda Nayanar. There are inscriptions stating that the temple was built during Kulothunga Chola II. This Temple is situated at about 500 meters to the west of Thillai Nataraja Temple.

For brief details, please refer below link;
The Temple
For brief details, please refer below link;
Temple Opening Time
The temple remains open from 7.00 am to 12.00 noon and 4.30 pm to 8.30 pm.
On the Visaka star of the month Thai, the festival of Lord Siva bestowing grace on Thiruneelakandar is celebrated. During the festival Lord Siva in the guise of a sage giving the begging bowl (Thiruvodu) to Thiruneelakandar and asking him to take a vow at the riverbank are celebrated with much fanfare. Vyagrapada birthday celebration falls on the Thai Poosam day. On that day he goes to Ilamai Theertham and has Theerthavari (Holy immersion). Special Thirumanjanams are performed on Visakam star to Thiruneelakandar and on Karthigai day to Kanampullar. On the Ashtami (8th day) of the waning moon fortnight special pooja with Homam is performed to Bhairavar. Navaratri, Aippasi Annabishekam, Shivarathri and Tirukarthikai are the festivals celebrated in this Temple.
Couple separated because of incompatibility and those who are cross with opinion differences can pray here to be united in their views. When their prayers are granted, devotees light ghee-lamps and conduct abhishekam to the Lord.
Ilamaiyakkinar Temple,
Ilamaiyakkinar Koil Street,
Chidambaram – 608 001
Cuddalore District
Phone: +91 4144 220 500
Mobile: +91 94426 12650
For brief details, please refer below link;

Ilamaiyakkinar Temple, Chidambaram – Connectivity

Ilamaiyakkinar Temple, Chidambaram – Connectivity
The Temple is located at about 500 meters of Thillai Nataraja Temple, 1.5 Kms from Thillai Kali Amman Temple, 9 Kms from Bhuvanagiri, 14 Kms from Pichavaram, 14 Kms from Achalpuram, 20 Kms from Sirkazhi, 25 Kms from Kattumannarkoil, 26 Kms from Vaitheeswarankovil, 44 Kms from Cuddalore, 65 Kms from Puducherry and 216 Kms from Chennai. The Temple is situated inside Chidambaram Town. Take the bazaar street right behind Nataraja Temple (west side) and go straight down to reach this temple in a street on your left.
By Road:
The Temple is located at about 1.5 Kms from Chidambaram Bus Stand and 42 Kms from Cuddalore Main Bus Stand. Chidambaram is well connected to Cuddalore, Puducherry, Nagapattinam, Tindivanam, Chennai, Villupuram, Neyveli, Vadalur and Mayiladuthurai. Buses every 15 minutes from Madras via Tindivanam, Cuddalore – one can reach in about 5 1/2 hours. By car, one can reach Chidambaram in under 4 hours from Madras via East Coast Road.
By Train:
The Temple is located at about 2 Kms from Chidambaram Railway Station and 38 Kms from Cuddalore Port Railway Junction. Daily trains are available from Chennai Egmore to Chidambaram including a day express.
By Air:
The Temple is located at about 68 Kms from Puducherry Airport and 212 Kms from Chennai Airport.

Ilamaiyakkinar Temple, Chidambaram – Legends

Ilamaiyakkinar Temple, Chidambaram – Legends
Thiruneelakanta Nayanar:
Thiruneelakanta Nayanar was a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as the second in the list of 63 Nayanars. The life of Thiruneelakanta Nayanar is described in Periya Puranam written by Sekkizhar (12th century), which is a hagiography of the 63 Nayanars. Thiruneelakanta Nayanar born in Chidambaram, famous for its Thillai Nataraja Temple dedicated to the god Shiva, patron of Shaivism. He was born in the Kuyavar caste of potters. He made earthenware pots and other containers. He was a devout devotee of Shiva and distributed clay bowls to devotees of Shiva, free of cost. He and his wife specially revered the Neelakanta (Thiruneelakanta, "Blue Throated one") form of Shiva, who drank the Halahala poison.
Once, Thiruneelakanta Nayanar enjoyed pleasure with a prostitute. The news reached the wife before he reached home. The enraged wife fulfilled all her duties but did not allow her husband to touch her. When he tried affectionately touch her to placate her, she refused his advances and said 'Would you touch us (me) .... Thiruneelakanta.' While the wife meant that her husband does not touch her, she used a pronoun, which also meant "us". Thiruneelakanta could be interpreted as the name of the husband or god Shiva. Traditionally, a Hindu married woman does not address her husband by his name.
It is not clear by what she meant, but her husband took the meaning that she refrained him from touching all women ("us") by the name of the god Neelakanta. The Nayanar pledged not to touch any woman from that day, even in his thoughts. While the wife carried out all the responsibilities of a wife to Thiruneelakanta Nayanar, they never touched each other. They lived in different quarters in the house and fulfilled Tirunilakanta's vow in secret. The couple became old. Once, Shiva disguised himself as a Shaiva Yogi (mendicant). He was welcomed and worshipped by Thiruneelakanta Nayanar.
Upon inquiry by the aged potter about what he can do for the ascetic, the ascetic gave him his precious earthen begging bowl and told the potter to keep it safe till he returns. The yogi left; Thiruneelakanta kept the bowl in a safe location. After a long time, the yogi returned and demanded his begging bowl. Thiruneelakanta looked for the bowl in the place he kept it and then searched the whole house in vain. Lord Shiva had actually made the begging bowl disappear. The worried Nayanar prostrated before the mendicant and told him that he had lost the bowl and offered to replace it with a new clay bowl. However, the agitated ascetic refused and accused the potter of stealing his precious bowl.
Upon much persuasion, the ascetic ordered Thiruneelakanta to take a dip in the temple tank and swear by taking his hand on the head of his son. When the potter told the yogi that he was childless, the ascetic suggested that he do so by swearing on his wife's head. But, Thiruneelakanta refused to do so, due to his vow, the incensed left and appealed to the Brahmin priests of the temple for justice. The Brahmin court heard both sides and ordered the potter to swear his innocence in the holy tank. Thiruneelakanta and his wife entered the temple pond, each holding an end of a bamboo stick. The ascetic objected and suggested the potter hold his wife's hand.
Ultimately, the potter revealed the whole story - which was concealed from the world till then - about his private life and his vow to the assembled Brahmins and the ascetic. The old couple immersed themselves in the holy waters and emerged as a young couple as they rose up. The awestruck Brahmins looked in disbelief. The ascetic disappeared. In the sky, Lord Shiva appeared with his consort Parvati and blessed the couple. Pleased by the couple's devotion and sexual restraint, Lord Shiva took them to his abode Kailash, where they are said to have lived ever young.
One of the most prominent Nayanars, Sundarar (8th century) venerates Thiruneelakanta Nayanar in the Tiruthonda Thogai, a hymn to Nayanar saints, calling him "the blessed potter" and the first Nayanar mentioned in the hymn and the only one whose caste affiliation is stated. While describing the Nayanars, Nambiyandar Nambi (11th century) says that Thiruneelakanta Nayanar observed sexual abstinence with his wife and as an aged man, regained his youth with his wife by "God's grace". A maxim by Sivadevayya, also known as Visweswara Siva Desika, the guru and minister of the Kakatiya king Kakati Ganapati Deva (1199-1260), part of his lost Telugu Satakam (a poem with more than hundred lines) Siva-devadhimani Satakamu says that one must be like Siriyala in childhood, Sundarar in youth and Gundaya (Thiruneelakanta Nayanar) in old age; if one has no faith in Shiva then "his birth is burden and life is futile". Gopalakrishna Bharati (1810–1896) wrote a short opera named Tirunilakantha Nayanar Charitram on his life.
Thiruneelakanta Nayanar is worshipped in the Tamil month of Thai, when the moon enters the Visakha nakshatra (lunar mansion). He is depicted with folded hands. He receives collective worship as part of the 63 Nayanars. Their icons and brief accounts of his deeds are found in many Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu. Their images are taken out in procession in festivals. In Chidambaram, west of the main Nataraja Temple lies the temple tank called Ilamai Theertham (tank of youth) or Ilamai Nayanar Theertham (tank of the young Nayanar) or Vyagrapada Theertham, which is believed to the site of the test of Thiruneelakanta Nayanar by Shiva.
The Ilamaiyakkinar temple dedicated to Shiva stands on the banks of the tank. The temple is said to be built by the devotee Vyagrapada, long before Thiruneelakanta Nayanar's times and was also as Tiruppuleeswarar. After the Thiruneelakanta incident, the form of Shiva was renamed as Ilamayakkinar. The temple has a shrine for the Thiruneelakanta Nayanar and his wife Ratnasalai. The Thai Visakha day is believed to be the day of Thiruneelakanta Nayanar's test of devotion. The day is marked by a temple festival when the tale of the Nayanar's test are ritually enacted in the temple tank. Separated couples or couples with disputes in the marriage are prescribed to pray in the temple for a happy married life.
Vyagrapada desirous of seeing Lord Nataraja’s dance, came to Chidambaram. He established a Sivalingam at the banks of the Theertham, erected a hut nearby and carried on his penance. Sage Vyagrapada, by the grace of Lord Siva had tiger’s legs. Since he worshipped the Lord, Siva came to be known as Tiruppuleeswarar.
Kanampulla Nayanar:
Kanampulla Nayanar was a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as 46th in the list of 63 Nayanars. Periya Puranam (13th century CE) and Thiruthondar Thogai (10th century CE) describe him as a great devotee of the Hindu god Shiva. Kanampulla Nayanar was a grass cutter; selling the special Kanampul grass used for lamp wicks in Shiva temples. Because of this Kanampul has become associated with his name. Kanampulla Nayanar was born into a farming family in Pullirukkuvelur or Irukkuveloor, located at Sirkazhi Taluk, Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu.
As a farmer, Kanampulla Nayanar spent all his money in lighting the lamps in various Shiva temples. The Nayanar saint sang hymns to Shiva and served the deity and his devotees. Due to his devotional practices, Kanampulla Nayanar's wealth quickly eroded; he moved to Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, where he earned a living by cutting and selling Kanampul grass. With the money he earned, the saint purchased ghee (clarified butter) to light lamps in the Shiva temple.
Legend has it that Shiva decided to test Kanampulla Nayanar's devotion. Due to a famine, he was unable a to sell grass, but the Nayanar saint wanted to continue to serve Shiva by lighting lamps in his temple. He prepared a wick from the dry grass and burnt it, but it soon extinguished. In despair, he offered his own hair for burning. He extended his head near the lamp and spread his hair to be burnt. Pleased by the Nayanar's deep devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before him and released him from the cycle of rebirth. His Guru Pooja is conducted on the Tirukarthikai Day. Kanampulla Nayanar is said to have lit himself as a lamp and merged with Lord Shiva here. Same story is applicable to Chidambaram Temple also.

Ilamaiyakkinar Temple, Chidambaram – The Temple

Ilamaiyakkinar Temple, Chidambaram – The Temple
This is an old east facing temple with a 5 tier Rajagopuram with two prakarams. There are shrines for Aaknya Ganapathy and Adhikara Nandi with his consort Suyasaambikadevi at the entrance of Rajagopuram. Presiding Deity is called as Tiruppuleeswarar / Youvaneswarar / Ilamaiyakkinar. He is facing east. Lord is housed in the sanctum in the form of Lingam.

Ganesha, Dakshinamurthy, Lingothbhavar, Brahma and Durga are the Koshta Idols located around the sanctum walls. Chandikeswarar can be found in his usual location. Sage Vyagrapada in Anjali posture can be seen in the Arthamandapam in front of sanctum facing the Lord. In addition, there is another shrine dedicated to him in the prakaram. Utsava Idols and Nataraja can be found in the Maha Mandapam.

Mother is called as Thirupurasundari / Balasundari / Youvanambal / Ilamai Nayagi. She is housed in a separate south facing shrine. There are shrines for Suryan and Vyagrapada in the north east corner of temple premises. Shrines of Kanampulla Nayanar and Thiruneelakanda Nayanar with his consort Rathinasalai can be found in the southern prakaram.

Shrines for Santhana Kuravarkal (Meikandar, Arulnandisivam, Maraignanasambandar and Umapathisivam) can be found in the temple premises. The presence of shrines of all Santhana Kuravarkal in a single temple is a unique feature. Shrines for Naalvar, Patanjali, Kannimoola Ganapathy, Mahaganapathy, Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Ekambareswarar, Annamalaiyar, Moolanathar, Gajalakshmi, Navagraha, Bairavar, Chandra, Saraswathi and Brahma can be found in the temple premises.

Sthala Vriksham is Thillai Tree. Theertham associated with this Temple is Ilamai Theertham / Ilamai Nayanar Theertham / Youvana Theertham / Vyagrapada Theertham. It is a large tank situated opposite to the Temple. It is believed to the site of the test of Thiruneelakanta Nayanar by Lord Shiva.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Athmanatha Swamy Temple, Avudaiyarkoil – Religious Significance

Athmanatha Swamy Temple, Avudaiyarkoil – Religious Significance
Atheetha Sabha:
The Temple is also known as Atheetha Sabha as it has six Sabhas, the Kanaka Sabha, Chit Sabha, Sat Sabha, Ananda Sabha, Ratna Sabha and Deva Sabha in comparison to five Sabhas at Chidambaram, each of these halls is named after Shaivite theological terms. These halls have exquisite carvings. It is believed that Manikkavasakar himself built these Sabhas and covered the Sabhas with 21600 plates of copper. Mahamandapam represents Sath, Ardhamandapam the Chith and the sanctum sanctorum the Anandha. 
As at Chidambaram and Thiruvanaikoil, here Vedic rituals are performed, unlike the Sivachariyar or Adhisaivar temples who follow Agama rituals. In this case the temple is administered by Nambiar Brahmins, a class of Vaidheega Brahmins said to be descendants of Rowshayadana, a saint who originated from Agni, and were taught the Vedas by Athmanathar himself. They are said to number three hundred and are also called Munnothioruvar.
This agnivesha is also famous author of a magnificent ancient medical treatise called agnivesha Kalpasutra spanning 77000 verses that discusses treatment for many types of diseases and medicines. The duties connected with the temple are looked after by Nambiar brahmins, Sivacharya, Adyana Bhattar, Saiva Odhuvars, Kothanar and Kambar Kula Ocharkal. Nambiar Brahmins are the descendants of Munnothioruvar Brahmins.
Temple specialty:
Thetemple renowned for Moorthy (Athmanathar), Sthalam (Siva sthalam), Theertham (Agni Theertham), Vanam (Kurundha Vanam), Puram (Siva Puram) and Thondar (Manickavasagar).
South facing Temple:
While Shiva temples are generally facing east, Avudaiyarkoil temple is facing south.  As Lord Shiva plays the Guru part teaching Saint Manikkavasakar as Lord Dakshinamurthy, the temple is facing south, it is explained.  The other Shiva temple facing south is Lord Kadambavana Nathar temple in Karur.
Nandi, flagstaff and Balipeedam:
The temple does not have Nandi, flagstaff and Balipeedam is conspicuously absent as both Lord and Mother are formless. 
Practice of blowing of Conch:
Instead of playing Nadaswaram, Melam and Berigai, the blowing of conch, ringing of bell and Thiruchinnam is in vogue.
Generally, the Arati offered to deities in temples are shown to devotees who touch it and place their hands in eyes.  But the Arati plate in Avudaiyarkoil Lord is not brought out of the sanctum sanctorum as Lord by himself is a Jyoti.  Worshipping Lord or the Arati makes no difference. 
Worship during eclipse time:
Contrary to traditional absence of pujas in temples during eclipse time, it is otherwise in Avudaiyarkoil temple conducting the six-time puja as usual even during such occurrence.  The philosophy is that eclipses cannot stop the pujas for Shiva having no beginning nor an end – no Aadhi – no Andham.
The daily rituals for the third kala puja include the offering made to the God during puja – the steaming par boiled rice is heaped on the slab in front of the Garbha Griha like miniature mound, and around it are placed a huge variety of snacks - Thenkuzhal, Vada, Athirsam, Sooyam, Pittu and Dosai. The steam that rises from these is the offering to the Lord.
Utsava Idol:
Utsava Idol of the temple is the Saint Manikkavasakar, not of the Lord Shiva. This is a special feature in the Hindu religious practice in Tamil Nadu.
Idols in standing posture:
Representing the rule that disciple should not sit before Guru but only stand, Manikkavasakar, Chokka Vinayaka, Muruga and Veerabhadra are standing before their Guru (Lord Athmanathar).
Forms of Lord Shiva:
Lord Shiva graces in three postures in this Temple as formless, form-formless as the Kurundha tree and in form as Manikkavasakar.  As the Kurundha tree is praised as Lord, 108 conchs Abishek (Sankabisheka) is offered on Mondays of Karthikai month (November-December). 
There are three Deepas (lamps) lit in the sanctum sanctorum behind the presiding deity in white, red and green as the three eyes of Lord Shiva representing Sun (white), Agni (red) and Moon (green).  As Lord is formless, these three lamps are lit. Every entrance in the temple has Deepas (lamps) in specific numbers.  The Thiruvasi (a metal frame in upside U shape around Lord Shiva has 27 lamps representing 27 stars, the two nearby the Jeevathma - Paramatma philosophy, 5 representing the five arts, 36 representing many philosophies, 51 letters. 11 mantras and 224 world divisions.  Those facing planetary problems offer ghee for lighting the Deepas around the Thiruvasi.
Kodungai Carvings:
Avudaiyar Koil is famous for the art of Kodungai carving, the work done under the stone that forms the sun shade or overhang of the roof. It usually sits on top of the beam stone and is a superb example of the craft of the 9th century artisans.
One of the sacred books of Tamil Saiva Siddhanta, Manikkavacakar’s Thiruvasagam, originated from this shrine.
Importance of Number “6”:
The most interesting feature about Avudaiyar Koil is that the number six pervades in the name of the presiding deity, in the number of items that are presented as naivedana, Aaru kala puja, the number of Mandapams (Sabhas), six groups of archakas, number of iron rods inside Kodungai, and above all in the 51 Pathigams of Thiruvasagam. Based on six adharams and six adhwas, the sabhas and mandapams have been constituted.

Athmanatha Swamy Temple, Avudaiyarkoil – History

Athmanatha Swamy Temple, Avudaiyarkoil – History
The original temple is believed to be built by Manikkavasakar in the 9th century AD. Manickavasagar was said to have used the money meant for buying horses for the cavalry to construct the temple at Thiru Perunthurai, one of the ports of the Pandiya Kingdom. Manickavasagar penned Thiruvasagam and Thirupalliyezhuchi while camping in this temple and referred to it as Thiruperunthurai.
The State Archaeology department had found inscriptions confirming that Manickavasagar, the Minister of Pandiya King Arimarthana Pandian, built the sanctum sanctorum and the Kanaga Sabha Mandapam. His contribution has been recorded in the form of a poem. The inscriptions, found in the Panchakshara mandapam of the temple built in the 16th century, also record that Thiruvasagam was inscribed on the walls.
This temple was built in 3 different periods with the latest being about 16th Century AD in the Nayak Period. The sanctum sanctorum was constructed by Manickavasagar and the other portions were constructed by different kings and rulers of this area like Pandiya kings, Nayak kings, Thondaimans of Pudukkottai, Zamindars of Palayavanam, Sethupathis of Ramanathapuram etc., at different periods of time.
Inscriptions found in this temple describe it as a Chathurvethi Mangalam denoting the fact that it was the home of great scholars, who were masters of all the four Vedas, the holy scriptures of Hindus.  The stone inscriptions show that the temple was consecrated once in 1891 AD. The next consecration was performed only in 1990. The temple is now under the management of Thiruvaduthurai Aadheenam. The Zamindars of Palayavanam are honored to lead the temple festivals such as Temple Car festivals every year as they have donated more than 35 villages to the temple.

Athmanatha Swamy Temple, Avudaiyarkoil – Legends

Athmanatha Swamy Temple, Avudaiyarkoil – Legends
Lord Shiva divine play of converting foxes to horses:
Avudaiyarkoil Temple is connected to the history of Saint Manickavasagar. The saint Manickavasagar was born in a Brahmin family to the pious couple Sampupadhachariar and Sivagnanavadhiyar at Thiruvathavur near Madurai on the banks of Vaigai River. He learnt all the scripts, arts and studied various books on religions within the age of sixteen. Astounded by the scholarship of Vadavoorar, the Pandiya King Arimarthanan appointed him as the Chief Minister and awarded him title 'Thennavan Brahmarayan'. He guided the King in administering the Kingdom efficiently.
But his thoughts were being focused towards the attainment of Mukthi (salvation) at the feet of the Lord Siva and prayed him to show him a guru to fulfil his wish. One day the news that horses were kept on the coastal line of Chola Kingdom was received by the King through his spy. The King Arimardana Pandian of Madurai asked his minister Thiruvadhavoorar to buy horses and gave him money. Receiving gold coins from the King the Vadavoorar started towards the eastern coast and stayed at Tiruperundurai.
He heard sounds of Shivagama Mantras there and saw a Lord Shiva, in the guise of a Brahmin was seated under a Kurundha tree near the temple. The prime minister fell at the feet of the Lord and begged him to teach him wisdom. While learning, Manikkavasakar plunged into deep meditation. When he opened his eyes, he found his teacher absent in the place and understood that his Guru was none other than Lord Shiva himself. He spent all the money he carried for buying horses in building a temple for his Guru – Shiva and dedicated himself in the service of Lord.
Manickavasagar concluded that the Lord Shiva himself had come to help him. He begged Lord Shiva to initiate Shiva Gnana. Then the Lord initiated him into the divine mysteries of Siva Jnana. Manickavasagar spent all the gold coins received from the King to purchase horses, in the construction of temples and feeding Shiva devotees at Tiruperundurai. He built a temple for the Lord here. As the saint failed to carry out the order of the king, he ordered the saint to be arrested and jailed. 
Lord Shiva converted the foxes in the forests into horses, brought them to the king as instructed by Manikkavasakar. After delivering the horses, Lord went away. However, at midnight, the horses became foxes and started howling. Angry king, made Manikkavasakar stand on the sands of Vaigai River in Madurai under scorching Sun.  To teach a lesson to the Pandya who acted against his devotee, Lord made Vaigai flow in spate. King ordered to strengthen the banks to avoid a breach. 
Lord also came to Madurai as a coolie for the repair work.  The king struck him with a cane for not doing the work properly. The blow only fell on the king and everyone in Madurai leaving its scar on them. The King came to know that all that happened was Lord Shiva’s design, fell at the feet of Manikkavasakar and begged his pardon. Avudaiyarkoil was the ground for this Thiruvilayadal Purana story (an epic by Paranjothi Munivar speaking of the great plays enacted by Lord Shiva for his devotees).
Initially, only a platform like thing was built and offering of rice was kept on the platform. The steam was considered as God (Shiva) for him. It is the same platform which still present inside the shrine and the same rituals are still followed. In the later years, Pandya kings extended the temple with beautiful sculptures and pillars. The minister Thiruvadhavoorar thus became a great devotee of Lord Shiva and got the name Manikkavasakar. He wrote the famous Thiruvasagam in Avudaiyar Koil Temple.
Lord Shiva in disguise as an old priest:
In times past, a Pandya king brought 300 priests from Benares to attend the temple services here and to honour them he wanted to present gold brocade shawls to them. While distributing, he found one in excess and he searched for that priest in the crowd. An aged priest came forward and claimed that robe. On the next day, the king was astonished to find that garment, wrapped round the deity. Athmanatha was the priest who claimed that excess robe.
Keel Neer Katti:
A Kurumba chieftain Lundakshan of the place grabbed Avudaiyarkoil temple land. Devotees took the case to the reigning Pandya King; he still claimed that the land belonged to him. He demanded evidence to prove that it belonged to the people. Devotees, unable to oppose the king, fell at the feet of Lord. Lord went to the chieftain and asked him about the quality of his land. The chieftain said that it was drought land. Lord Shiva said that he was wrong, and the land was fertile and there was plenty of ground water down. On digging, water sprang up. The chieftain bowed his head down in shame. This place is just at a distance from the temple called Keel Neer Katti. This episode is well painted on the roof of the Panchakshara Mandapam.  
Mother Parvathi performed penance here:
Mother Ambika performed penance here to make amends for disobeying the advice of Lord not to attend the Daksha Yagna. 
Other Names:
Thiruperunthurai is also known as Kokozhi, Sivapuram, Akasha Kailasham, Vadavoor, Chatur Vedi Mangalam and Adi Kailasam.

Athmanatha Swamy Temple, Avudaiyarkoil – The Temple

Athmanatha Swamy Temple, Avudaiyarkoil – The Temple
Thetemple is facing south with sever tiered Rajagopuram with a Mandapam in front of Rajagopuram. The temple covers an area of over 10 acres (40,000 m2) with three enclosures and faces south, constructed so that the setting sun strikes the sanctum even though it is cloistered within three circumambulatory paths. This Temple is a testimony to temple architecture skills of ancient Tamil Sculptors and engineers. The temple renowned for Moorthy (Athmanathar), Sthalam (Siva sthalam), Theertham (Agni Theertham), Vanam (Kurundha Vanam), Puram (Siva Puram) and Thondar (Manickavasagar).

While Shiva temples are generally facing east, Avudaiyarkoil temple is facing south.  As Lord Shiva plays the Guru part teaching Saint Manikkavasakar as Lord Dakshinamurthy, the temple is facing south, it is explained.  The other Shiva temple facing south is Lord Kadambavana Nathar temple in Karur. Surprisingly, the temple does not have Nandi, flagstaff, Balipeedam and Somaskandar is conspicuously absent as both Lord and Mother are formless. And instead of playing Nadaswaram, Melam and Berigai, the blowing of conch, ringing of bell and Thiruchinnam is in vogue.

For brief details, please refer below link;
Mother Shrine:
Mother is called as Siva Yoga Nayaki / Yogambal. She is also formless here. Mother Shrine is situated to the right side of the sanctum.  She is represented by Yoga Peetam on which the foot prints of the goddess have been carved out. Pujas are offered only to the feet of Ambika as the shrine is always kept closed. To facilitate darshan of the feet, it is arranged through a mirror. Devotees can have only Pada - feet darshan.  The abishek Theertha and Kumkum is offered as Prasad.  Devotees use to tie cradles and bangles here seeking child boon.
For brief details, please refer below link;
Manikkavasakar Shrine:
There is a four-pillared Mandapam behind the sanctum in the first prakaram, wherein Kurundha Moola Swamy (Athmanathar) is seen seated like a preceptor, and in front of him is Manickavasagar, is depicted in such a way that he is receiving Deeksha from Lord Shiva. Manikkavacakar’s Upadesa Kaatchi is enacted here on festival days. Saint Manikkavasakar is occupying the Somaskanda status in the temple – in between the shrines of Lord and Mother. The palm leaves and the writing pin used by Manikkavasakar are still safe in the temple. 

Kuthirai Swami Shrine:
A Shiva form in the temple is known as Kuthirai Swami (Horse God).  As per legend, Lord Shiva brought horses for Saint Manikkavasakar and delivered them to King Arimardana Pandian. He also rode on a horse along with other horses.  Hence, he is praised as Kuthirai Swami (Horse God) wearing horseman dress with a whip in hand.  He is situated in the Panchakshara Mandapam.  There are foxes too under the horses praised as Ashwa Nathar.
Vinayaga Shrines:
There are four Vinayakas in the four corners in the second prakara one of them with Mother Annapoorani facing north.  People pray here for prosperity. There is a shrine for dancing Lord Ganesha called Nardana Vinayakar in one corner of the second prakaram. It is designed in such a way that the rays of the sun fall on the Lord throughout the year. Lord Vinayaka appears in dancing posture with two others dancing with him facing south. There is an idol of Lord Vinayaka with 11 hands in the Temple premises. Lord Vinayaka of the Temple is praised as Veyil Ugandha Vinayaka. 
Navagraha Shrine:
There is no shrine for Navagrahas in the temple, but they are in pillars. While Rahu and Ketu (serpent planets) are in the first pillar, Shukra –Venus, Sani Bhagawan-Saturn, Jupiter-Guru and Sevvai-Mars are in the second pillar.  Sun with his consorts Pradyusha and Usha and Mercury (Budhan) are in the third pillar.  Moon is at the fourth pillar.  In the next two pillars nearby are Lord Kalatheeswarar and Mother Gangadevi. 
Every entrance in the temple has Deepas (lamps) in specific numbers.  The Thiruvasi (a metal frame in upside U shape around Lord Shiva has 27 lamps representing 27 stars, the two nearby the Jeevathma - Paramatma philosophy, 5 representing the five arts, 36 representing many philosophies, 51 letters. 11 mantras and 224 world divisions.  Those facing planetary problems offer ghee for lighting the Deepas around the Thiruvasi.

This Temple is one of the best examples of the temple architecture skill of Tamil Sculptors and engineers. Lord Shiva and Mother Parvathi in the Thillai Mandapam in the second prakara granting the Pasupatha weapon to Arjuna as hunter and his wife is very realistic in workmanship.  Mother appears with a chain around the neck, bangles in hand and holding a bag.  The five philosophies representing the Panchakshara the five letters – Na, Ma, Shi, Va, Ya – Nivarthi Kalai, Pratiba Kalai, Vidya Kalai, Gandhi Kalai and Shandheetha Kalai are in sculpture form on the roof of the Panchakshara Mandapam. 

Some of the rare sculptures of the temple are Dundi Vinayaka idol, Stone chain with a snake spinning around, Udumbu (a  lizard-like creature) and the monkey, One thousand pillars carved in just two pillars, Sculptures Lords and Mothers in 1008 temple, Horses of various countries, 27 sculptures representing 27 stars, Various signs of dance art – Nattiya Kalai Mudras, Pillars expressing seven musical sounds and the shade of Koodalvai appearing as the neck of a cow.

Kodungai Carvings:
Avudaiyar Koil is famous for the art of Kodungai carving, the work done under the stone that forms the sun shade or overhang of the roof. It usually sits on top of the beam stone and is a superb example of the craft of the 9th century artisans.

Temple Chariot:
The chariot car of this temple is renowned for its wood carvings.

An architectural description of the 27 constellations and stories presented in a line of fresco paintings is beautiful.

Theerthams associated with this Temple are Deva Theertham, Agni Theertham and Athma Koobam. Agni Theertham is situated on the north-west corner of the third prakaram.
Sthala Vriksham:
Sthala Vriksham is Kurundhai Tree. The specialty of the tree leaves is, they have three different smells. Two Kurundha trees are situated in the northwest corner of the Thyagaraja Mandapam near the outer compound wall. Facilities are provided to circumambulate them.  The temple kitchen is at the other corner.