Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Sandeeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Kamakshi Amman|
|Timing:||7 to 11 & 5 to 7.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Velangudi||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (6 km)||Pudukkottai (35 km)|
|Tiruchirappalli (94 km)||Madurai (97 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, finding mention in one of Appar’s pathigams. This is perhaps the smallest of the 9 Nagarathar temples located in the Chettinadu region. Despite its small size temple posts of excellent Nagarathar style architecture.
The sthala puranam here is about a Pandya king named Pari. One day, the king was out hunting, when he saw rabbit running into a hole. Finding this to be quite strange the king instructed his soldiers to search what was under that hole. When the men hit the ground with crowbars, there was a metallic sound. The soldiers carefully dug the place and found a vigraham of Amman inside. The murti was first installed at Pallathur, and was later brought back to Velangudi and installed in this temple.
The village gets its name from the abundance off Vela trees, in olden times. Siva here is named Kandeeswarar, but is also referred to as Sandeeswarar– nobody knows the etymology of either name.
There are also two local legends about this temple. One is that anyone who tells a lie in the vicinity of this temple, will have their home and family destroyed by Amman! The other is that there is a curse on the village and its inhabitants, from ancient times, due to which the population of the village is always very low, with people typically migrating to other parts of the region, or even outside.
When the Nagarathars moved from various places (read our feature on Nagarathar heritage for more) to the Chettinadu region, the ruling Pandya king Soundara Pandyan granted the immigrants nine villages over a period of time. These eventually became the focal points of the 9 Nagarathar temples today. This place – Velangudi – is the last of the villages that were granted. There are two timelines to this story – one is that these were given in the early 8th century CE, while another trail of thought indicates it may have been much later (specifically in the year 1302 CE, since the record refers to the Kali Yuga year 3819). In terms of Nagarathar heritage, this temple belongs to the Kazhani Nallukudaiyar Pirivu (sect; this sect is said to have split from the Ilayathangudi sect) and has no ut-pirivus (sub-sects) associated with it.
The temple, its interiors and its architecture, are clearly Nagarathar in style, and consistent with the larger and more prominent temples in the Chettinadu region.
The temple itself faces east, where a number of steps takes us to the raja gopuram – which itself, along with the rest of the temple, is at a significant elevation to the ground level of the vicinity. However, this path is usually blocked by gates which are opened only for special occasions. On other days, the access into the temple is from a separate entrance on the southern side.
Using the southern entrance means we end up directly inside the inner prakaram, facing the Amman shrine which, along with the garbhagriham, is on a slight elevation of 3 or 4 steps, with elephant carvings as balustrades. The mandapam, which houses the dhwajasthambam, bali peetham and pradosha Nandi, has several pillars featuring bas relief work. In the koshtam and prakaram are the usual deities. The temple also has a lot of detailed architecture and carvings.
Other information for your visit
Due to cleaning work happening in the temple, we couldn’t spend much time inside, during our visit.
Adjacent to the temple is also a Perumal temple of more recent provenance.
Please do read this Overview on Nagarathar heritage and temples, in connection with temples in the Chettinadu region.
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