Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Chidambareswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sivakamasundari|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Sitta Vata Madam|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||7 to 12 & 5 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Kotalambakkam||District:||Cuddalore|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Viluppuram (21 km)||Cuddalore (31 km)|
|Tiruvannamalai (89 km)||Mayiladuthurai (96 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
The temple faces west – such type of Siva temples are considered highly endowed with spiritual powers.
This is the place where Sundarar – considered as the friend of Lord Siva – received pada deeksha (benediction / blessing by the placing of the Lord’s foot on the saint). Sundarar was on his way to visit Tiruvadhigai (which is located quite close to this temple). But since Appar had worshipped there, he did not want to step into Tiruvadhigai.
Having arrived late the previous evening, he spent the night at this place, which also served as a mutt (matham). In the middle of his sleep, he felt something on his head, and woke up to find an old man also sleeping there, whose feet were touching the saint’s head. Sundarar got up and moved to another part of the mutt to continue sleeping, but was disturbed there too, by the same old man placing his feet on the saint’s head. This annoyed Sundarar, who gently woke up the old man and told him that his feet were bothering him (Sundarar). At that time, the old man asked Sundarar if the latter recognised him, and disappeared. Instantly Sundarar realised that it had been the Lord Himself in the form of the old man, and that he had been blessed by the Lord who had placed His holy feet on his head.
The matham – which is said to have existed to the west of the temple, no longer exists today.
The structural temple is from the 9th century early medieval Chola period. The first temple here was built of brick and plaster. However, clearly the temple would have existed prior to that, as Appar has referred to it in one of his pathigams. An inscription in the temple indicates that in the 13th century, Kopperunjinga of Sendamangalam converted the garbhagriham from its existing form into a granite structure. Later period inscriptions are also found in this temple.
The west-facing raja gopuram has a niche on either side with Vinayakar and Murugan in standing posture. Upon entering, is Vinayakar followed by the bali peetham and Nandi mandapam. In the koshtam are Durga, Brahma and Dakshinamurti. On the left, facing east, are shrines for Vishnu as Lakshmi Narayanar (with Garudazhvar in front), and Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai. There are various independent shrines throughout the prakaram, for Anjaneyar, Siva as Annamalaiyar with His consort Unnamulai Amman, a Navagraham shrine, Natarajar, Bhairavar, Suryan, Agastyar with his wife Lopamudra, Chandran, Tevaram saints Appar, Sambandar, Sundarar and Manikkavasagar along with Sekkizhar, and Vinayakar.
One enters the maha mandapam which is after the Nandi mandapam on the west, from the southern side (facing the Sivakamasundari Amman shrine). The ardha mandapam and garbhagriham are simple, and along with the moolavar Lingam, the antarala has the processional deities of the moolavar and Amman, as well as Sundarar depicted worshipping the primordial couple.
Kodalam is a type of lily, specifically, flame lily (senganthal poo, in Tamil). This area was dense with ponds filled with this flower, and so the place was called Kodalampakkam. Over time, this corrupted to Kotalambakkam / Kotlambakkam. Today, the area also goes by the name Pudupet.
Other information for your visit
The temple is located at the end of a dead-end street. One of the houses on that street will usually have the keys to the temple, and because visitors are few and far between, the residents are very obliging when it comes to opening the temple outside of normal temple timings.