Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Maruthanandeeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Narumalar Poonkothai|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Pennakonam||District:||Cuddalore|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Perambalur (29 km)||Ariyalur (35 km)|
|Kumbakonam (77 km)||Thanjavur (85 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This temple is located just south of the Vellar river, and close to the Chennai-Kanyakumari national highway.
This is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam that finds mention in one of Sambandar’s pathigams. However, there is no known sthala puranam for this temple, and even the temple priest was unaware of any puranam.
While the temple itself is east-facing, there is a marshy pond to the east of the temple. So the entrance to the temple is through a gate and arch on the southern side.
Based on the architecture inside the temple, and the design of the ekatala Nagara vimanam, this appears to be a later Chola temple, perhaps dating to the 11th or 12th century. However, the core temple is much older, as attested to by the fact that Sambandar has sung about Siva here.
There is no dhwajasthambam, but there is a bali peetham and Nandi mandapam, in addition to an older, discarded Nandi on the ground.
The fairly long mukha mandapam leads us to the garbhagriham, whose entrance is flanked by two massive dwarapalakas and a small vigraham of Vinayakar on the left. The moolavar Lingam is fairly large, as seems to be the case in many temples in this part of the Tamil country. On the exterior walls of the mukha mandapam and garbhagriham are koshtas with vigrahams of a nice and rotund Nardhana Vinayakar and Dakshinamurti on the south, Annamalaiyar in the rear (west), and Brahma and Durga in the north.
Narumalar Poonkothai Amman has a separate east-facing shrine, making this representative of Siva and Parvati’s kalyana kolam. Amman has Her own Nandi shrine in front. Inside the Amman shrine are two smaller vigrahams for two of the sapta matrikas – presumably the others no longer exist, either having been stolen, or lost to time.
There are no separate shrines in the prakaram for parivara deities, except Chandikeswarar and the Navagraham shrine. There is also a small mandapam on the east, which houses Bhairavar and Suryan.
In the south-east corner of the temple is a separate north-facing shrine for Murugan, with his consorts Valli and Deivanai. Murugan is depicted with 6 faces and 12 arms, seated on a peacock that faces to the right. There are separate vigrahams for Valli and Deivanai. This entire arrangement – both in terms of location of the shrine and its iconography – is rather unusual, and so it is possible that this is not original to the temple; in fact, parts of this shrine may have been added separately, over time.
On the west is a single brick and mortar mandapam which houses Koti Vinayakar, Koti Lingam (a fairly large one) and the procession equipment. In front of this mandapam lie two Nandis, again presumably older ones no longer in active worship.
Speaking to the gurukkal, we understood that this is a very old temple. However, the neighbouring areas are mostly occupied by those of other faiths, and so there are very few visitors to this temple. As a result, only one-time puja is conducted here. We also understood that the very few who worship here, pray for salvation, relief from various illnesses, gaining wealth and knowledge.
As with several of our temples, this one needs visitors to keep the temple in decent shape, and provide a livelihood for everyone associated with the temple – the temple ecosystem.