Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Chidambareswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sivakamasundari|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Kattalaicheri||District:||Mayiladuthurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (6 km)||Kumbakonam (36 km)|
|Tiruvarur (48 km)||Nagapattinam (60 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This small temple in the village of Kattalaicheri does not have a sthala puranam of its own, but is regarded as one of the oldest temples in the region. Local residents say they have heard tell of stories that the temple was much larger several decades ago, but this may not be entirely accurate. Based on the name of the principal deity, it may be that this temple is connected to the Chidambaram Natarajar temple, or be an adjunct of that temple.
The village is located close to the Vikrama Chola River, one of the distributaries of the Kaveri River, which splits from the Kaveri near Bhaskararajapuram.
The name of the village has some interesting etymological possibilities. Kattalai (or Kattai) refers to the metre in which songs are sung (in Sanskrit, this is called Chandas). Kattalai could also refer to grants given to temples, usually by royalty, through edicts. In recent times, it also refers to charitable foundations or other similar organisations, with a specific focus on religion and spirituality. It is likely that the village’s name comes from the second meaning, and was given as a grant to the temple by the king of the time.
The village also has a small Perumal temple, located a hundred metres to the west on the same road that this temple is on.
The temple is east facing, but the eastern gate is just that – not even a welcome arch, which instead is on the south. The temple itself has only five shrines – the main garbhagriham for Chidambareswarar, the south-facing shrine for Sivakamasundari Amman, and the prakaram shrines for Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai and Chandikeswarar. Of course, there is a Nandi mandapam facing the moolavar on the east.
There are no koshtam deities – not even Dakshinamurti (who is otherwise a standard fixture in many temples, even if no other koshtam deities are there). There is no Navagraham shrine, though there is sufficient space for one in the north-eastern portion of the temple premises. There is, however, a well on premises, water from which is used for abhishekam, etc.
Other information for your visit
The temple does not have fixed timings. While the local residents worship this temple on a regular basis, the priest resides in a village a few kilometres away, and so daily puja here is not guaranteed. The local residents are proud of this temple, and are ever ready to open it for visitors. The keys to the temple are usually kept in the shop near the southern entrance, or in the shop owner’s house which is adjacent to the shop itself.
Given the state of the temple, if readers are passing anywhere near this place, please do go and visit this temple. It will definitely provide impetus to the locals to take care of the temple.
Gnanasekaran: 96266 70942