Vilvanatheeswara temple, Triuvalam
Tiruvalam is around 25 kms from Vellore. There is a very famous Sivan temple there called as ‘Vilvanatheeswarar Devasthanam’. As the sign board says, it seems this was the place where Lord Ganesha did a pradakshanam for his parents and got the mango. And this was the place where Dakshan was doing a Yaga, which Lord Siva destroyed. It is a paadal petra sthalam.
It is a very huge and beautiful temple, built by the chozhas and later by Pallavas. There are quite a few references of Rajendra Chozhan in the stone inscriptions.
There are many unique things in this temple. For instance, I have never seen idols for the Tamil Stars(Natchathirams) like Aswini, Barani, Karthigai etc. There are totally 27 stars and you can see an idol for each one of the them. It can be found on the vimaanam of the Moolasthanam.
Almost all the pillars are very nicely decorated with some sculptures. One particular sculpture caught my attention. According to history, an Asura Kanjan lived near the temple(At a place called Kanjangiri) and used to torture people. He stopped people from taking water to the temple. Kanjan had taken a boon that he cannot be killed by anyone belonging to Devar, Munivar and Asurar.
So the Nandi came to the rescue of people and tamed Kanjan. That is one of the reason, Nandi is not facing the god but towards Kanjangiri. Huge Nandi! And this story is depicted in the sculpture.
Very nice temple with lots of history, in a serene atmosphere. And that information on how to do Namaskaram is interesting 🙂
This temple is 20 kms from Vellore. From Vellore go towards Katpadi, and take a right turn at Katpadi bus stand and keep proceeding till you meet the Chennai-Bangalore NH4 highway. You will reach Tiruvalam. It is near an old bridge. You can ask anyone and they will direct you to the temple. In case you visit this temple try to spend sometime at the Natarajar Mandapam. Some 100 pillars are there, and it is extremely quiet. And in the veLi pragaram to the left, you can find a subway. No one knows where it leads to!
Somnatheshwarar Temple, Melpadi
Melpadi is a small village on the Tiruvalam – Poigai road. There is a Sivan temple close to the shore of the river(River without water). This temple is called as the Somnatheshwarar temple and is maintained by ASI. It seems great grand father of Rajaraja chozhan (I could not get his name. Something that starts with aruNa’) was visiting this place after the war at Thakkolam. He died while he was resting here. So his son built this temple and also a samadhi for his father.
This temple is open only till 6 in the evening. Ideal time for visiting this temple would be after 5 PM. Its very nice to see in Twilight. It is secluded, empty and therefore very nice. Apart from me there were only two people. Temple priest and one guy from ASI. Actually you are not supposed to take photographs inside the temple. In case you want to do that, take permission from the ASI office within Vellore Fort(Near Jalakanteshwarar temple). It is not very tough to get permission. So in case you are visiting this temple do get the permission. Unfortunately I could not!
This temple is around 12 kms from Tiruvalam. It is on the way to VaLLimalai on the Tiruvalam – Poigai Road. Tiruvalam is in the south. Chennai in East, Bangalore in the west and Melpadi on the north. After crossing some 7 or 8 kms do ask people for Melpadi. It is a very small turning and there are very high chances of you missing it. Not many people know of this temple. So ask for Melpadi(pronounced melpaadi), and once you are in Melpadi ask about the temple. By the way there is another village nearby called as ‘Erukampattu’ and there is a perumaL temple close to the shore(Again river with no water). This temple closes by around 3.30 or 4 PM itself. So visit there first, and then come to Melpa(a)di.
Entire set can be viewed here.