Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Kandeeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Nitya Kalyani|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Sembanur||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (22 km)||Pudukkottai (56 km)|
|Madurai (72 km)||Sivaganga (75 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Not much is known of the sthala puranam of this temple. The term kandi usually refers to an ornament like bracelet worn on the list, or anklet. This may have something to do with the name of Siva here.
Researchers have placed this temple as belonging to the 9th century. From my reading of the architecture here – specifically the pillars, vimanam, and the iconography of Gajalakshmi (in the prakaram, which could be a new murti based on an old design) and the Nandi in the maha mandapam, it appears that this temple may be from the very early Chola period, or the few years just prior when this was proper Pandya country. Alternatively, some of these could be renovations in later Chola periods around the 10th century.
Clearly the temple has seen later renovations during the Chola rule here, between the 10th and 12th centuries, as evidenced by the elephant-shaped balustrade at the entrance of the temple.
The temple has a three-level raja gopuram, and a Raja Ganapati at the entrance. Nandi has a separate mandapam before the maha mandapam. From the maha mandapam the ardha mandapam and antarala lead to the garbhagriham, while to the right of the maha mandapam is the Amman shrine.
In the koshtams are the usual murtis of Vinayakar, Dakshinamurti, Lingodhbhavar, Brahma and Durga. In the prakaram, are the parivara devata shrines for Vinayakar, Murugan, Gajalakshmi, Chandikeswarar, Bhairavar, Suryan and Chandran, and a separate Navagraham shrine.
While the temple’s architecture and iconography do not indicate anything extraordinary, the vimanam is beautifully designed. Like the rest of the temple, the three-level vimanam is built according to agamic rules. However, the most fascinating part of the vimanam is the Dakshinamurti in the first level nasi – sitting with one leg crossed, and at an angle, Dakshinamurti strikes a beautiful yet assertive pose!
The temple is managed by the Sivaganga Samasthanam Devasthanam, and the same priest as at the other Kandeeswarar temple at Chokkanathapuram officiates here as well.
Other information for your visit
Please do read this Overview on Nagarathar heritage and temples, in connection with temples in the Chettinadu region.