Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Arunachaleswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Vandamarum Poonkuzhali|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||6 to 8 & 5 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Keelaiyur||District:||Tiruvarur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Nagapattinam (23 km)||Tiruvarur (29 km)|
|Mayiladuthurai (69 km)||Kumbakonam (69 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam that finds mention in one of Sundarar’s pathigams.
In inscriptions in the temple, the name of this place is mentioned as Arulmozhi Theva Valanattu Aalanattu Keezhaiyur, suggesting this place may have been named so during the time of Raja Raja Chola I. In ancient times, this place was called Keezhayil – we see this in literary references. Over time, the name has been corrupted to Keelaiyur (or Keezhaiyur).
The historical name of the moolavar here is Semmalainathar. In Tamil, this carries the same meaning as Arunachaleswarar, since “aruna” in Sanskrit refers to the redness of the morning sun, which is denoted by the prefix “semm” in Tamil.
It is believed that during the time of the Mahabharatam, the five Pandavas in exile visited this place and installed one Lingam each. The moolavar Lingam we see today as Arunachaleswarar is believed to be the one installed by Arjuna. (This is similar to the sthala puranam of the Neelakanteswarar temple at Iluppaipattu.)
In addition, there is a separate shrine for Amman as Vandumarum Poonkuzhali, and there are also separate shrines for parivara deities such as Vinayakar, Murugan, Dakshinamurti, Bhairavar and Suryan.
The garbhagriham, ardha-mandapam and maha-mandapam are built at an elevated level, the same way as maadakoils are, but this is not one of the 78 maadakoils built by Kochchenga Cholan.
The temple is spread over an unexpectedly large area, but its current state of upkeep is lamentable, despite the desire of locals to keep it well-maintained.
Other information for your visit
Phone: 99438 52180