Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Vataranyeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||BrahmaraaLakaambal, Vandaarkuzhali|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Tiru Aalangadu|
|Vriksham:||Pala, Aalamaram||Teertham:||Senraadu Teertham|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Tondai Nadu)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruvalangadu||District:||Tiruvallur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Tiruvallur (18 km)||Kanchipuram (42 km)|
|Chennai (67 km)||Vellore (91 km)|
Tiruvalangadu is located about 65km from Chennai. This place is not to be confused with Tiruvalangadu on the Kumbakonam-Mayiladuthurai route.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Lord Siva as Vataranyeswarar (vata=banyan, aranyam=forest) is a swayambhu murti here, found in the banyan forests (ala=banyan, kadu=forest) in the region. The place used to be called Pazhayanur and the forest was called Alangadu. This temple is one of the Sakti Peethams – the Kali Peetham. The Lord here is a Swambhu murti.
Once there were two demons – Sumban and Nisumban – who undertook penance and received boons from Lord Siva, that every drop of blood from their body that fell on the ground would become a Lingam. Having received the boon, the demons started terrorizing the Devas, who complained to the Lord. Lord Siva asked Parvathi to create Bhadra Kail to kill the demons. Bhadra Kali fought with the demons and killed them by sucking out all their blood. Due to this, she started behaving like the demons, terrorizing one and all. Again the Devas complained to Lord Siva, who came here with Parvati, and Kali started fighting with the Lord himself. At this Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Sage Narada intervened and told Kali to compete with Siva in dance to decide the winner. To further calm her, Siva also promised to show her the Raksha Natanam in Tiruvirkolam. Witnessed by Parvati, Naradar and others, and with music by Lords Vishnu and Brahma, Lord Siva danced 17 different varieties which were matched by Kali. Finally the Lord took up the Urdhva Tandavam, and standing on his right leg, he picked an earring which had fallen on the ground and wore it again – all with his left foot. Kali could not repeat this and accepted defeat. Lord Siva however pardoned her and ordained that devotees who come to this temple should first pay their respects to Kali and the come to him. The Bhadra Kali temple is located about a kilometer away from this temple.
As Parvati was watching the Urdhva Tandavam, she is called Arukilirundu Viyantha Nayaki and the Lord is called Andamura Nimirntharuliya Nayakar. The Natarajar here is seen with the left leg almost touching the left ear. The temple also has a sculpture of Parvati watching the Urdhva Tandavam in awe, her index finger on her chin, in an expression of surprise and pleasure! [Edit courtesy: T Anantha Narayanan]
Karaikkal Ammaiyar, who witnessed Siva dancing in competition against Kali, has sung the Mootha Tirupatigam in the praise of Lord Siva. She had undertaken a trip to Kailasam, walking on her head and hands as respect and reverence to Lord Siva. It was in fact Lord Siva who called her “Ammaiyar” or mother. She again walked on her head and hands to this temple as Lingams kept sprouting wherever she put her foot on the ground. She lived in the temple till her salvation, blissfully playing the cymbals for the divine dance of Natarajar. She is part of the the Natarajar shrine with a pair of cymbals, keeping tune to the Lord’s dance.
A woman named Neeli was killed by her husband as he suspected her of infidelity. Unable to be reborn, she came as a ghost to take revenge. Meanwhile, the husband had married, and was travelling through this village when Neeli spotted him. She took the shape of his wife and wanted to go with him, but he recognised her as Neeli and did not allow her to accompany him. Neeli complained to the village elders with tears in her eyes that her husband was ill-treating her. The elders told the husband to take her with him and stay in the village for the night. They assured the husband that should anything happened to him they all would die with him. In the night, Neeli killed the husband and took her revenge. In the morning, seeing this and realizing their folly, 70 elders (Vellalars) committed ritual suicide. At this, Lord Siva appeared and granted salvation to all of them. Even today when people put up an act of innocence it is said Neeli kanneer (tears like Neeli’s). The place where the Vellalars committed suicide is in the Sakshi Bootheswarar temple in the nearby town of Pazhayanur.
Out of respect, Sambandar did not want to step on the ground where Karaikal Ammaiyar had walked on her head and hands. Lord Siva appeared in his dream and asked him if he had forgotten Him. The following morning, Sambandar visited the temple and sang a pathigam mentioning Neeli’s story.
Mandi, the son of Sani, was relived of the dosham caused when a lizard fell on him, by praying to Lord Siva here.
Arunagirinathar and Pattinathar also have sung here, apart from Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Manikkavasagar.
There are 5 Siva temples – Pancha Sabhai – famous for his tandavam (cosmic dances). This temple is one of them, and is known as the Ratna Sabhai. The other four places are Chidambaram (Por Sabhai), Madurai (Velli Sabhai), Tirunelveli (Tamra Sabhai), and Kutralam (Chitra Sabhai).
The temple was originally built by Parantaka Chola and subsequently added on by the Pallavas.
Other information for your visit
Vacheeswarar temple at Tirupachur (a Paadal Petra Sthalam) is located about 15km away. A further 5km away is the Veeraraghava Perumal temple, a Divya Desam sthalam. Also, Tiruttani – one of the Arupadai Veedu temples of Murugan – is 30km from Tiruvalangadu, and behind that temple is the temple of Saraswateeswarar, a Vaippu Sthalam.