Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Rudrakoteeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Soundara Nayaki|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Kadambai Ilamkovil|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu Sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Keelakadambur||District:||Cuddalore|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (24 km)||Kumbakonam (44 km)|
|Ariyalur (64 km)||Thiruvarur (65 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
The name “Kadambur” will surely interest anyone with even a passing interest in Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan, as it is the location of the initial dram as well as much of the events leading up to the denouement of the story.
Located just one km to the east of Mela Kadambur, this place (including Mela Kadambur) used to be known as Kadambai. This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is referred to in one of Appar’s pathigams, and the saint refers to it as the Kadambai Ilankoil.
An Ilankoil is rather like a temporary temple, where the murtis of a temple are housed, while the other temple is undergoing renovation. It is likely that in Appar’s time, such a renovation was taking place at the Mela Kadambur temple, and the murtis were moved to Keela Kadambur.
According to the sthala puranam of the Mela Kadambur temple, Indra was to install one crore Lingams to atone for his misdeeds there. But every Lingam that he tried to install would get damaged. So Indra prayed to Siva, who instructed him to make just one Lingam, while chanting the Panchakshara mantram one crore times. This effort was successful, and this Lingam that Indra created is installed in this Rudra Koteeswarar temple. It is believed that even today, Indra performs puja at this temple every day.
While not as large or extensive as many other temples, this temple features some really interesting architecture – enough to warrant the attention of the authorities, who have brought this under the auspices of the ASI.
There is no gopuram or vimanam over the garbhagriham. As one can see in the pictures, the temple itself is rather simple – a one-room structure with a garbhagriham housing the Lingam of Rudra Koteeswarar (Rudrapati). However, it is the outer wall of the temple that requires any and all of the focus. The outer wall, with its pillars, kumbha-panjarams, koshtams and koshta-murtis, is a stunning example of Chola art. There is also a beautiful murti of Siva in Urdhva Tandavam, inside the mahamandapam.
In addition, the ASI excavated various idols including the sapta-matrikas, reliefs of Karaikal Ammaiyar depicted as walking on her hands to Kailasam, the story of Kannappa Nayanar and Chandesa Nayanar (Chandikeswarar), amongst others. Many of these are just kept in the outer courtyard. When we visited in 2018, we understood that the temple was being renovated, which may explain this situation.
Inscriptions in the temple suggest that Kadambai used to also be called Chola Chaturvedi Mangalam, and also Vriddharaja Payangaravalanattu Merkaanaattu Kadambur, suggesting that the place was so sold that even Devas worshipped here (the inference is that this refers to Kadambur as a whole, and not Keela Kadambur alone).
Other information for your visit
While the temple comes under the management of the Mela Kadambur temple, the locals living close to the temple are always willing to show visitors around at any time.
Phone: 94872 38628