Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Annamalaiyar||Ambal / Thayar:||Unnamulai, Meenakshi|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Thippirajapuram||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (7 km)||Tiruvarur (35 km)|
|Mayiladuthurai (40 km)||Thanjavur (40 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
The Rettai Lingeswarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Siva and the original temple here (which no longer exists in that form) is believed to have been built during the reign of the Chola dynasty. The temple’s name “Rettai Lingeswarar” refers to the twin lingams that are enshrined within the temple.
Though called the “Rettai Lingam” temple, the principal deity here is Annamalaiyar / Arunachaleswarar (more on this, below).
This village is located to the east of Thippirajapuram (south of Kumbakonam) by just a few hundred metres. This town is often confused with another place by the same name, Senniyamangalam, that existed in Tondai Nadu, and was ransacked by the forces of the Chalukya king Pulikesi, during his invasion of the reigning Pallava empire.
The word Senni in Senniyamangalam seems to come from the same word that refers to the Cholas, and is perhaps a derivative of Sembi (or Sembiyan, another name for the Chola clan). The usage of Senni / Chenni is, however, more prevalent in central and western Tamil Nadu, where a branch of the Cholas – later called the Kongu Cholas – moved to.
There is no known sthala puranam for this temple.
At some time after the 12th or 13th century, this temple – which was a much larger one in its time – was ransacked. Some sources say this was by Malik Kafur’s warriors during the Islamic invasion of the region, while others say it was by local feudatories. In any event, the temple was looted and also smashed to smithereens. Some centuries later, the locals found some of the vigrahams buried underground, and rebuilt a small temple at this place. In recent years, the temple has grown in size thanks to the efforts and land contributions from the locals, to what it is today.
The temple’s eastern entrance is closed, and the entrance is through a formal gate on the southern side. Straight ahead is the mandapam which houses the garbhagriham and Amman shrines. To the right are the bali peetham and the Nandi mandapam.
The principal deity / moolavar here is Annamalaiyar, with His consort Unnamulai Amman, both having separate shrines, facing east and south respectively. Flanking the entrance to the garbhagriham are smaller shrines for Sokkanathar and Meenakshi Amman, both facing east.
In the koshtam are Nardhana Vinayakar, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu (indicating this may be a very old temple), Brahma and Durga. In the prakaram, on the left is a platform for a shrine of the Sapta Matrikas, Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Chandikeswarar, Suryan and Chandran, and a small shrine for Aiyappan on the southern wall. There is also a separate Navagraham shrine in the north-eastern corner of the temple.