Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Pathangeeswarar Temple, Palur – The Temple

Pathangeeswarar Temple, Palur – The Temple

This Temple is facing towards east with an entrance arch. The entrance arch has stucco image of Rishabaroodar (Lord Shiva and Parvathy sitting on Rishaba). Nandi and Balipeedam can be found immediately after the entrance arch. Here Nandi is depicted with its face turning sideway. Nandi is housed in a four pillared Mandapa. The pillars of Nandi Mandapa are made of sand stone. All these pillars have lion sculpture.

The outer prakaram is accessed through the second level Rajagopuram. This Rajagopuram is of single tier. The Sanctum Sanctorum consists of Sanctum, Antrala, Maha Mandapam, Ardha Mandapam and Mukha Mandapam. The Sanctum can be accessed from the southern side. The mukha mandapa was built during Vijayanagara period. Stucco Dwarapalakas can be seen guarding the entrance of the sanctum.

Presiding Deity is called as Pathangeeswarar / Thirupathangamudaiyar / Thiruppatangadudaiya Mahadevar / Balapathangeeswarar and is facing east. He is housed in the sanctum in the form of Lingam. Vinayaga, Dakshinamurthy, Lingothbhavar, Brahma and Vishnu Durga are the koshta idols located around the sanctum walls. Chandikeswarar Shrine can be seen in his usual location. The Vimana over the sanctum is of two tiers.

Mother is called as Brahmarambigai / Vandarkuzhali. She is housed in a separate east facing shrine in the outer prakaram. Her shrine consists of Sanctum, Ardha Mandapam and Mukha Mandapam. She is in standing posture. She is depicted with four hands. Her upper hands holding Rudraksha Mala and Kamandala and her lower hands shows Abhaya and Varada Hastha. Her mount, lion and Balipeedam can be seen in front of her shrine.

There is a shrine for Lord Murugan in the inner prakaram. This shrine is facing towards north and situated towards left side of the sanctum. His idol is about six feet tall. He is depicted with six faces sitting on his peacock mount flanked by his consorts Valli & Devasena with a Thiruvasi behind. All these are chiselled from single sand stone. His mount peacock and Balipeedam are situated on outer prakaram due to the additional walls built at later stage for covering the sides of Mukha Mandapa.

This additional wall also obstructs the circumbulatory path around the sanctum. There is a shrine for Nalvar in the inner prakaram.  Sundarar idol is not matching with this traditional depiction. His crown is missing in this idol. Initially, Nalvar shrine was situated in the outer prakaram and later got shifted to the inner prakaram. There are shrines for Vinayaga, Kala Bhairava, Surya and Navagrahas in the outer prakaram.

There was no Navagrahas shrine in olden days as Suryan worshipped Lord Shiva here and current Navagrahas shrine was added in later stage. There is an abandoned sculpture of a warrior in the ground outside the compound wall on the southeast corner of the temple. He is seen cutting his head with his own sword. This practice is known as Navakandam as per ancient scriptures.

This is a hero stone (Nadukal) erected in honour of the fallen warrior. There is a Vinayaga shrine situated outside the temple premises. This Shrine is facing towards sanctum. Elephant is the mount here instead of his traditional mouse. Theertham associated with this temple is Surya Pushkarini. It is situated to the south of the temple near the railway line.

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