Maha Kaleswarar, Irumbai, Viluppuram

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:Maha KaleswararAmbal / Thayar:Madhurasundaranayaki, Kuyilmozhiammai
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Tiruirumbai MaakaaLam
Vriksham:PunnaiTeertham:Mangala Teertham

Age (years):

Timing: to & to Parikaram:

Temple group:Paadal Petra Sthalam (Tondai Naadu)
Sung by:


Temple set:



City / town:IrumbaiDistrict:Viluppuram
Maps from (click): Current location Cuddalore (36.3 km)Viluppuram (40.4 km)

Tiruvannamalai (102.9 km)Kanchipuram (114.1 km)


Irumbai is located about 8km from Pondicherry.

Sthala puranam and temple information

This is one of 3 Makalam temples, consecrated by Rishi Makalanathar. The other two are at Ujjain and Tirumakalam.

About 500 years ago, Kaduveli Siddhar was undertaking severe penance praying to Lord Siva under a peepal tree. The heat generated by his devotion and penance created draught and famine in the village. The villagers complained to the King, but no one dared disturb the Siddhar. Over time, an anthill formed over him. Finally Valli, a devadasi and devotee of Lord Siva, decided to disturb the Siddhar and bring him back to worldly life. She would keep appalams on the outstretched hands of the Siddhar, who otherwise ate the peepul leaves that fell on his hand. Over time, the Siddhar developed worldly tastes and eventually came out of the anthill, fell for Valli, and went to her house.

As the penance was broken, rains lashed the village, and the king and the people were happy. They had a big event to celebrate this, during which Valli was performing, when her anklet fell down. The Siddhar saw this, picked it up and put it back on her leg. For this act, he was mocked by the villagers. So the Siddhar lost his temper and invoked Lord Siva to shower a rain of stones, to prove his devotion. Immediately, the Lingam at the temple broke into three pieces and fell all over. The siddhar further cursed that wherever the stones fell, would become arid land. (A place three kilometers from the temple where the stones fell, is called Kaduveli.)

The villagers pleaded for mercy, so the siddhar invoked the Lord again to join the broken pieces, and make the land fertile again with the help of people from far off places. It is believed that this is actually happening today with the help of the residents at Auroville (many of whom are from different parts of the world).

When the Siddhar was meditating, Parvati used to keep Lord Siva updated of the developments with the voice of a nightingale (kuyil). Hence, She is called Kuyil Mozhi Nayaki.

Two demons, armed with a boon from Siva himself, sought to marry Parvati. She killed them for their inappropriate desires, which afflicted her with the sin of killing. She was relieved of her dosham after worshipping Siva here.

The area was full of Iluppai trees, which are as strong as iron. For this reason, the place is called Irumbai (irumbu = iron).

The temple was built by Kulothunga Chola III.

Other information for your visit

The Arasaleeswarar temple at Ozhindiyampattu, another Paadal Petra Sthalam, is located 7-8 km away.

The temple is located not too far from Pondicherry, which can be used as a base to visit several temples nearby.


Sthala puranam by temple Sivacharyar

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