Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Balasubramanian||Ambal / Thayar:||x|
|Timing:||5 to 8 & 4 to 7||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Uthiramerur||District:||Kanchipuram|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kanchipuram (31 km)||Tiruvallur (75 km)|
|Chennai (94 km)||Vellore (95 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Uthiramerur is located on the banks of the Cheyyar river (also called Uttira Varuni). In ancient times, the banks of the river were full of thick forests, suitable for sages to perform their penance; the place was called Kadamba Vanam as it was full of Kadamba trees.
Sage Kashyapa also established his ashram in this place, but two demons named Malayan and Makaran, who had received boons of longevity, started harassing the sages including Kashyapar. Unable to stand this, the sage worshipped Siva as Kadambanathar, who deputed Murugan to deal with the matter. Murugan reached the ashram and, calling out to the demons, advised them to stop, but they refused. So Murugan sent His vel (spear) to stand guard at the entrance to the ashram, to protect the saints. Then, he proceeded to fight the demons, first killing Makaran. This enraged Malayan, who jumped in to fight, but was also beheaded by Murugan with the sword given by Lord Siva. After these events, Murugan went to nearby Kadambar Koil, where He worshipped Siva and established a temple for him (Kadambanathar temple). Siva asked Murugan to settle nearby, which Murugan did at Ilaiyanar Velur.
The spear that Murugan sent is in this temple even today, in the north-west part of the temple. Nobody knows the depth of the spear. Today, the place where Makaran was killed is called Magaral, and where Malayan’s head fell is called Malayan Kulam (both are located about 12-14 km from Uthiramerur).
Archeological and epigraphical evidence suggests this temple dates back to the 8th century, and is said to have been built by a king named Jayam Konda Chola (it is not clear if this was a mainstream Chola king or a local chieftain under the Pallavas). A rock-hewn temple constructed primarily in the Pallava tradition, the temple itself is reasonably large, and has one main shrine (the garbhagriham for Murugan) and only one other separate shrine (excluding niches) – a smaller and more recently established east-facing shrine outside for Ayyappan. In the garbhagriham is a six-foot tall murti of Murugan depicted performing the Siva puja, wearing a sacred thread (yagnopavitam) and rudraksha mala. Also in the garbhagriham are His consort Gajavalli (a combination of Valli and Deivanai), and the Siva Lingam which Murugan worshipped after vanquishing the demons).
Interestingly, next to the balipeetham where normally the vahanam of the main deity is seen is a murti of an elephant, instead of Murugan’s peacock. The reason for this is that the elephant represents the gift that Indra gave Murugan on the latter’s marriage to Indra’s daughter Deivanai. This temple is considered to be very ancient, and the sthala puranam relates to a time before the Samharam of Soorapadman at Tiruchendur, only after which Murugan took on the peacock as his vehicle and rooster as his emblem.
Other information for your visit
The following temples can be covered as part of a trip to Uthiramerur:
- Vaikunta Perumal temple
- Sundara Varadaraja Perumal temple (adjacent to the Balasubramaniar temple)
- Balasubramanian temple (Murugan)
- Kailasanathar temple
- Kadambanathar temple at Kadambar Koil
In December 2020, Uthiramerur became popular for a brief while across India when PM Narendra Modi mentioned the Uthiramerur inscriptions as an example of the grassroots level governance that was practiced in Chola times, and how that unique principle had been a characteristic feature of governance in India even during ancient times. These inscriptions are housed in the Vaikuntha Perumal temple, which abuts the town bus stand (on the right hand side of the road, when coming into Uthiramerur from NH45).
Sidelight: [Food] A couple of hundred meters before the Sundara Varadaraja Perumal temple, on the left had side of the road, is a small eatery called Iyer Mess, run by a brahmin family, which serves really tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner.