Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Siva Surya Perumal||Ambal / Thayar:||–|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Keezhkudi||District:||Ramanathapuram|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (51 km)||Ramanathapuram (56 km)|
|Pudukkottai (88 km)||Sivaganga (117 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
We visited this intriguing temple as it was on our way from Tiruvetriyur to Thondi. This temple is located about 3km to the south, off the main road from Tiruvadanai to Thondi. The village itself is rather small, with a population of less than 200.
No history or sthala puranam is available anywhere about this temple, perhaps because it could be a relatively new temple. Having said that, the signs here are that it may not be a new temple at all. On the contrary, the original temple here could be extremely ancient – why I think so, is further below. The thing is, nobody knows.
Based on information given to us by a local, the temple was last renovated in 2010. The temple is located in a quiet part of the village, with a large water body (which also serves as the temple’s Teertham) abutting the temple on the north-west.
The local, however, mentioned that he had heard tell, that the reason for this temple being established was to demonstrate the oneness and unity of Siva and Vishnu. This was needed because, in the centuries past, disputes arose amongst devotees who misunderstood the sthala puranam of the Tiruvetriyur Vanmeekanathar temple, and regarded Vishnu as having been diseased and cured by Siva at Tiruvetriyur.
The temple gates are adorned by an arch with typical Vaishnavite symbols marked in plaster. Inside is a mandapam, housing Garuda (who faces east, with his back to Perumal), followed by a dhwajasthambam. Straight ahead is the garbhagriham for Vishnu as Surya Narayana Perumal. The interesting aspect here is that Vishnu is not depicted as an anthropomorphic figure, but is represented by a pillar, which has the tirunamam insignia on it, and a sadaari is kept beside the base. This is a rather unusual depiction of Vishnu, seen only in a handful of places, such as at the Kaliyuga Varadaraja Perumal temple at Kallankurichi near Ariyalur. Outside this shrine, on the northern side, is a small shrine for Anjaneyar.
The pillar is considered the primary form of worship, and represents the point of transition between Vedic worship (which was without any murtis or iconography), and ritual Agamic worship (which has structured rules around construction of temples, installation of deities, etc). A pillar may be in any shape – a small mound of sand (various putru kovils), a Siva Lingam (which is also a pillar), or even something as large as a hill or mountain (Tiruvannamalai or Kailasam).
On the left is a separate shrine for Siva, though the deity does not seem to have a name. the shrine is flanked by smaller shrines for Vinayakar and Murugan on the outside. In the koshtams of this Siva shrine are Dakshinamurti, Lingodhbhavar and Brahma – to that extent, this is largely complete as a Siva temple in its own right.
To our right of the moolavar shrine, is another interesting shrine. Going by the stucco images on the top, this would appear to be the shrine for a grama devata. However, inside is a pillar, which clearly appears to be very old.
The pillar alternates with eight- and four-sided faces along its vertical axis, and is adorned with engraved images depicting each of the 10 avatarams of Vishnu. The pillar itself represents Siva, and the Dasavataram represents Vishnu – making this a Siva-Vishnu shrine (or even temple, given the name of the temple).
There is a separate Navagraham shrine in the northern/north-eastern part of the temple.
Other information for your visit
Despite the stated temple timings, this being a village temple, the main gates are usually kept unlocked, though the grill gates of the shrines themselves may be closed. Therefore, one can potentially attempt to visit this temple any time during the day or in the evening.
Phone: 96888 86566