Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Chozhamudaiyar Temple, Kolli Hills, Namakkal

Chozhamudaiyar Temple, Kolli Hills, Namakkal

Chozhamudaiyar Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Kolli Hills of the Eastern Ghats in Kolli Hills Taluk in Namakkal District in Tamil Nadu. This temple is also considered as Pallipadai Temple (burial shrine) of Gandaraditya Chola.

The Temple

This temple is facing towards east. Nandi and Balipeedam can be found facing towards the sanctum. The temple consists of sanctum, ardha mandapam and maha mandapam. The sanctum enshrines the presiding deity, Chozhamudaiyar, in the form of Shiva Linga. It is said that the Shiva Linga is installed over the ashes of Gandaraditya Chola. Shrines of Vinayaga, Murugan and Navagrahas can be seen in the temple premises.


The Temple is located at about 500 metres from Ettukai Amman Temple and 9 Kms from Semmedu Bus Stand. Kolli Hills is located at about 42 Kms from Senthamangalam, 53 Kms from Namakkal Railway Station, 54 Kms from Namakkal, 58 Kms from Rasipuram, 88 Kms from Karur, 92 Kms from Salem, 129 Kms from Trichy and 137 Kms from Trichy Airport. Kolli Hills is well connected to Namakkal, Karur, Salem and Trichy by road.


Monday, March 21, 2022

Arapaleeswarar Temple, Kolli Hills – The Temple

Arapaleeswarar Temple, Kolli Hills – The Temple

This temple is facing towards east with an entrance arch. The entrance arch has stucco images of Rishabaroodar flanked by Sambandar and Appar. The entire temple is enclosed within compound walls. Stucco images of 18 Siddhars of Tamil tradition can be seen along the top of the compound wall. Dhwaja Sthambam, Balipeedam and Nandi can be found immediately after the entrance arch.

The sanctum sanctorum consists of sanctum, antrala and maha mandapam.  Presiding deity is called as Arapaleeswarar / Arapalli Mahadevar / Arapalli Udaiyar and is facing east. He is housed in the sanctum in the form of Shiva Lingam. Lord is a Swayambhu Moorthy (self-manifested). The scar caused by the plough injury is still visible on the head part of the Shiva Lingam. Dakshinamoorthy, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are the koshta idols located around the sanctum walls.

Chandikeswarar shrine can be seen in his usual location. Mother is called as Aram Valartha Nayagi / Thayammai. She is housed in a separate south facing shrine. Her shrine is situated in maha mandapam on the right side. Her shrine consists of sanctum and mukha mandapam. She is in standing posture. The ceiling of the mukha mandapa of her shrine has a carving Sri Chakra Yantra surrounded by Ashta Lakshmis.

There is a north facing shrine for Lord Arumugam can be seen in the southern prakaram. His shrine is facing towards her mother shrine. He is gracing the devotees in his peacock mount along with his consorts Valli & Devasena. Lord Murugan of this temple is praised in Thirupugazh hymns of Saint Arunagirinathar. Shrines of Vinayaga, Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi, Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Jyestha Devi can be seen in the western prakaram.

Shrine of Navagrahas can be seen in the north east corner of the prakaram. Shrines of Kala Bhairavar, Suryan and Chandran can be seen in the eastern prakaram. The temple is constructed in such a way that the devotees can enjoy the darshan of Lord Arapaleeswarar, Mother Aram Valartha Nayagi, Lord Vinayaka and Lord Muruga from one spot in the prakaram.

Sthala Vriksham is Maha Vilwam. It is situated on the southern prakaram close to the koshta idol of Dakshinamoorthy. Theertham associated with this temple is Pancha Nadhi. It is said that the hill streams in Kollimalai never dry up even if there is no rain. It is also believed that a secret path connects Arapaleeswarar Temple to the Kailasanathar Temple in Rasipuram, 60 Kms away by road.

Arapaleeswarar Temple, Kolli Hills – Literary Mention

Arapaleeswarar Temple, Kolli Hills – Literary Mention

The Temple is considered as Thevara Vaippu Sthalam as Devaram hymns sung by Appar and Sambandar had a mention about this temple. Ambalavana Kavirayar wrote Arapaleeswarar Sathakam in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple. Lord Murugan of this temple is praised in Thirupugazh hymns of Saint Arunagirinathar.

Sambandar (2-39-4):

அறப்பள்ளி அகத்தியான் பள்ளி வெள்ளைப்

பொடிபூசி யாறணி வானமர் காட்டுப்பள்ளி

சிறப்பள்ளி சிராப்பள்ளி செம்பொன்பள்ளி

திருநனி பள்ளிசீர் மகேந் திரத்துப்

பிறப்பில் லவன்பள்ளி வெள்ளச் சடையான்

விரும்பும் மிடைப்பள்ளி வண்சக்கரம்மால்

உறைப்பாலடி போற்றக் கொடுத்த பள்ளி

உணராய்மடநெஞ்ச மேயுன்னி நின்றே.  4

Appar (5-34-1):

கொல்லி யான்குளிர்

தூங்குகுற் றாலத்தான்

புல்லி யார்புர

மூன்றெரி செய்தவன்

நெல்லி யானிலை

யானநெய்த் தானனைச்

சொல்லி மெய்தொழு

வார்சுடர் வாணரே.  1

Appar (6-70-1):

தில்லைச் சிற்றம்பலமுஞ் செம்பொன் பள்ளி

தேவன் குடிசிராப் பள்ளி தெங்கூர்

கொல்லிக் குளிரறைப் பள்ளி கோவல்

வீரட்டங் கோகரணங் கோடி காவும்

முல்லைப் புறவம் முருகன் பூண்டி

முழையூர் பழையாறை சத்தி முற்றங்

கல்லிற் றிகழ்சீரார் காளத் தியுங்

கயிலாய நாதனையே காண லாமே.  1

Appar (6-71-1):

பொருப்பள்ளி வரைவில்லாப் புரமூன் றெய்து

புலந்தழிய சலந்தரனைப் பிளந்தான் பொற்சக்

கரப்பள்ளி திருக்காட்டுப் பள்ளி கள்ளார்

கமழ்கொல்லி யறைப்பள்ளி கலவஞ் சாரற்

சிரப்பள்ளி சிவப்பள்ளி செம்பொன் பள்ளி

செழுநனி பள்ளிதவப் பள்ளி சீரார்

பரப்பள்ளி யென்றென்று பகர்வோ ரெல்லாம்

பரலோகத் தினிதாகப் பாலிப் பாரே.  1

Arapaleeswarar Temple, Kolli Hills – History

Arapaleeswarar Temple, Kolli Hills – History

Kollimalai was ruled by Valvil Ori, a Velir chieftain of Sangam era. Valvil Ori is regarded as one of the greatest archers of India. It is said that he killed an elephant, tiger, deer, pig and monitor lizard with a single arrow. His birth name was Athan. The mature colour of honey is called as Ori. As he owned a horse in that color, he came to be called as Ori. He was one of the Tamil Kadai Ezhu Vallal (Last Seven Patrons).

He was an ally of Cholas and fought against the Cheras and Malaiyaman Thirumudi Kari. It is said that he was defeated and killed by Kari of the beautiful spear, the lord of Mullur, who then gave Kolli hills to the Cheras. Kari was later killed by the Chola king Killivalavan. Ori was praised in several literary works of Sangam period.

It is said that Kollimalai Arapaleeswarar Temple and Rasipuram Kailasanathar Temple were built by Valvil Ori. It is said that Kolli Pavai was the daughter of Valvil Ori. There are references to Kolli Malai and Kolli Pavai in several literary works of Sangam era like Silapathikaram, Manimekalai, Purananuru, Akananuru, Kurunthokai, Aingurunuru and Natrinai.

The temple is believed to be built by Valvil Ori in 1st century CE. The inscriptions in this temple records the visit of Queen Sembiyan Maadevi, wife of Gandaraditya Chola & great grandmother of Rajaraja Chola I to this temple and her gift of jewels to the Lord. There are about 19 inscriptions in this temple. Twelve of these inscriptions belonged to the Cholas. Inscriptions dating the reigns of Parantaka Chola, Uthama Chola, Rajaraja Chola, Kulothunga Chola and Vijayanagara King Venkatapathi can be found in the temple.

Arapaleeswarar Temple, Kolli Hills – Legends

Arapaleeswarar Temple, Kolli Hills – Legends


Once, a devotee caught the fishes in the Panchanathi river and began to cook them for food. To his astonishment, the fishes in the curry got their life back and jumped back to the river. It is said that Lord Shiva joined the fishes together and gave them their life back. Hence, he came to be called as Arapaleeswarar. It is a custom here that the devotees feed the fishes in the river before entering the temple. The tribals in the region join the devotees in celebrating Adiperukku in their own traditional ways. They catch the fishes, bore their nose and leave them back in the river again. The Adi Perukku is celebrated with all gaiety on 17, 18 and 19 of Adi month (Jul-Aug).

Swayambhu Lingam:

As per legend, the current temple site was agricultural land in ancient times. Once, a farmer ploughed the land and noticed blood oozing out at particular spot. He excavated the spot and found a Swayambhu Shiva Linga. The scar caused by the plough injury is still visible on the head part of the Shiva Lingam.

Arai Palleeswarar:

Arai means Mountain in Tamil and Palli means residence. As Lord Shiva took residence on mountain, he came to be called as Arai Palleeswarar and later got corrupted to Arapaleeswarar.

Kolli Pavai:

As per legend, the devas chose Kolli Malai as the perfect place for their meditation and penance. They decided to perform a grand yagna and were making arrangements. Sages were helping devas to conduct their Yaga. The asuras were worried about the yaga of devas. The asuras felt that devas would become unconquerable if they conduct the yaga successfully. The asuras started creating troubles to the devas and sages and preventing them from doing the works related to Yaga.

Unable to overcome the atrocities of the asuras, the devas prayed to Lord Shiva for his intervention in annihilating the asuras. Lord Shiva deputed Vishwakarma, the divine architect, to Kollimalai to assist the devas and sages. He devised a plan to easily subdue the asuras. Accordingly, he made a beautiful idol of a damsel near the place of the yaga. The devas were astonished to see the idol.

When the asuras came to this place with the intention of disturbing the yaga, they were mesmerized by the beauty of the idol and went near to the idol without realizing the danger. The asuras went near the idol were killed. It is said that this idol would attract the bad people and kill them. Thus, she came to be called as Kolli Pavai (The maid of death).

As the hill is abounded with several herbs, Siddha practitioners visit this hill on certain days for collecting herbs. These practitioners first visit Kolli Pavai Temple, seek her permission, recite mantra and then collect the herbs from the hill. After collecting the herbs, it is customary to place the herbs in her shrine and offer worship. It is said that full power of herbs could be realized after following this procedure correctly.


During Ramayana, this place was called as Madhuvanam and was ruled by Sugriva, the Vanara King.

Siddhar Caves:

It is believed that the 18 Siddhars of Tamil Siddha tradition and Sage Kalangi stayed in the caves in the hills and performed meditation.