Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Swayambhunathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Bhavani|
|Vriksham:||Teertham:||Surya Teertham, Chandra Teertham|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Peralam||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (19 km)||Tiruvarur (26 km)|
|Kumbakonam (37 km)||Nagapattinam (38 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Strangely, tis fairly large temple lacks a proper sthala puranam. Based on the name of the moolavar here, this would appear to be a place where Siva manifested as a swayambhu murti.
The place Peralam itself gets is name from Perala Maharishi, who worshipped in this region and possibly in this temple as well. There is a separate shrine for him in the temple, to signify his involvement with the place. In addition to the sage, others including Sukracharya (the preceptor of the asuras), sage Markandeyar, and sage Viswamitra have worshipped here.
Going by the architecture here, the temple appears to be rather old, but clearly a Chola temple, perhaps from the 11th or 12th century. The other unusual architectural aspect here is the presence of several small mandapams with the vavvaal-nethi design, which is classic Chola of that period, and in this region. That said, going by the design of the vimanam over the garbhagriham, it is possible that the temple is even older, and these mandapams were later additions.
The temple is west-facing, and has a five-tiered raja gopuram with simple but interesting stuccos from puranams. As one proceeds, there is a long pathway that leads to the dhwajasthambam, and the rest of the temple.
In addition to shrines for the moolavar Swayambhunathar and Bhavani Amman, there are the usual koshta murtis, and also separate shrines for other deities including Vinayakar, Murugan, Bhairavar, Guru, Sani, Suryan and Chandran.
There are also several bronze sculptures in the temple, and in particular, the Natarajar bronze here is a simple, elegant, yet nuanced piece of Chola craftsmanship. The architecture here is also equally simple but often stunning, particularly the small ones on various pillars.
An interesting object in this temple is a massive Patthayam – a trunk-like box for storing rice. This is a relic from earlier times, particularly in the Thanjavur district region which is made fertile by the Kaveri river – when households used to have such Pattayams for their own needs. This one is much larger than the average household version, perhaps for use during annadanam, etc.
The temple comes under the administration of the Dharmapuram Adheenam, and as such, is a private temple, not subject to government bans. This is relevant, since we visited this temple in October 2021, when TNHRCE temples were shut. Perhaps due to the prevailing situation then, there was nobody in the temple premises who could give us more information on the temple.