Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Thanthondreeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Abhirami|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Possible Vaippu Sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Sholampettai||District:||Mayiladuthurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (3 km)||Kumbakonam (36 km)|
|Tiruvarur (45 km)||Nagapattinam (57 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
The area of Sholampettai is actually a group of smaller villages including Sholampettai, Ramapuram and Mappadugai (Pandaravadai). There are several temples in this cluster of villages, including the Tirumeni Azhagar, Chandrasekharar temple and Lakshmi Narayana Perumal at Mappadugai; Azhagiyanathar temple, Thanthondreeswarar temple and Vanamutti Perumal at Sholampettai; and a Siva and Perumal temple in Ramapuram.
It is surprising that there is precious little information available about this temple, even amongst the residents of the village. In fact, the only thing that is known about this temple – said to be inscribed in the temple – is that the temple was renovated by Sembian Madevi. This places the temple somewhere in the timeframe of the 10th century CE, although word is that the original temple is from the 3rd century CE and was built by Kochchenga Chola.
At the nearby Azhagiyanathar temple in the same village, there are two vigrahams of Sambandar at this temple. This is unusual, and perhaps one of those belongs to this temple. That would suggest that this temple could possibly be a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, as also the Azhagiyanathar temple.
A flat welcome arch with Siva and Parvati on the Rishabham, and four Nandis, welcomes us. To the right is a pond that also serves as the temple’s tank. At the time of our visit in April 2022, a notice was posted warning visitors of the poor structural state of the temple. The inner grounds and prakaram are not very well maintained, providing further proof to support the contents of this notice.
There is no dhwajasthambam here, though there is a kodimaram Vinayakar. Upon entering the temple are an elevated bali peetham and Nandi. This brings us to a flat mandapam (which a recent construction) with beautiful Chola period pillars. Straight ahead is a long corridor followed by the ardha mandapam and garbhagriham, while on the right is the Amman shrine.
Passing through the corridor one can see the open grounds of the temple on both sides. Near the end of the corridor is a beautiful, ancient Nandi. The garbhagriham is flanked by dwarapalakas on both sides, and Vinayakar to the left of the entrance.
In the koshtam are Vinayakar, Dakshinamurti in a separate shrine, Brahma and Durga. There is no deity on the western koshtam, and this suggest that the other koshtam deities are likely to have been later additions.
In the prakaram, there is a corridor on the west that houses individual shrines for Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai and Gajalakshmi. This corridor also houses some of the temple’s procession accoutrements and also a separate area with various vigrahams including Vishnu, Dakshinamurti and the Sanaka rishis, what appear to be celestial deities (Bhairavar, Suryan, etc) and two separate Lingams with Amman in the middle. Beyond this are also some stone sculptures that perhaps belonged to this or another temple, which have been placed here. These look like the sapta matrikas. Chandikeswarar is in his separate shrine on the northern side of the garbhagriham. On the east, near the entrance, are vigrahams of Bhairavar, Suryan, Chandran and Vinayakar.
Other information for your visit
The temple appears to be in active worship by the local residents, but clearly does not see visitors from outside. Also, when we visited this temple, there was no priest, but the temple’s gates were open. Failing this, the house on the street opposite the temple usually has the keys to the temple.