Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Sridhareswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sugandha Kunthalambigai|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Vellur||District:||Pudukkottai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (56 km)||Pudukkottai (70 km)|
|Thanjavur (102 km)||Ramanathapuram (105 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Located 7km from Manamelkudi and 21km from Avudaiyar Koil is this dilapidated temple for Siva as Sridhareswarar. There is no sthala puranam or other history available for this temple. However, at least the temple is not so bad that one cannot go inside and worship (though the state of the temple is lamentable). Local residents and those of neighbouring villages keep this temple in active worship.
Outside the broken wooden gates of the temple is a bali peetham and Nandi in a Nandi mandapam. This suggests that the original temple premises would likely have covered a much larger area, encompassing this bali peetham and Nandi mandapam.
Once we go in, we see the main maha mandapam inside which are an ardha mandapam and the garbhagriham. On the right is the Amman shrine, with an interesting square vimanam. The shrine is generally kept locked, but opened for visitors.
The maha mandapam is lined with pillars on both sides, whose design suggests this may have been an early Chola temple (this is also plausible given the location of the temple, at the border of Chola and Pandya countries). This maha mandapam, which is more like a corridor, has no roof – clearly it has fallen off over the years, as a result of continuous non-maintenance.
At the entrance to the antarala and garbhagriham are Vinayakar on the left, and Vishnu Durgai (who should have been in the northern koshtam) on the right. Inside is a smaller Nandi, followed by the Lingam in what can only be visualised as the garbhagriham – there is no roof and two of the three walls are missing. Given the design of the vimanam over the Amman shrine, it is very likely that this garbhagriham would have also had a one-tier square vimanam.
Because this is no longer a “temple” in the technical sense, visitors are allowed to walk into the “garbhagriham”. In fact, this is the easiest way to access the outer prakaram. There are no koshtam deities. However there are sub-shrines in the prakaram for Dakshinamurti, Kannimoolai Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Chandikeswarar (no shrine, just open to sky), and a separate Navagraham shrine. But the architecture on the outer walls is simple, yet exceptionally refined.
Abutting the northern wall is the temple tank, which was filled with lotuses during our visit in December 2021.
Other information for your visit
About 1km from this temple, to the north, is the temple for Vishnu as Sundararaja Perumal. In fact, we were pointed in the direction of this temple, by the person who takes care of the Perumal temple. That temple and this Siva temple seem to be competing for the position of which is the more abandoned temple between them; such is the state of things. If any of our readers are interested in helping out, you may visit the temple and find out from the caretaker / priest. Alternatively, if you could help by bringing this to the attention of the relevant authorities, so that necessary action is taken promptly.
The temple priest lives adjacent to the temple. No phone number available.