Kadambar koil Shiva Temple (holier than Kasi):
This village name itself is Kadambar Koil and is in the Uthiramerur-Kanchipuram main road. The way to the temple from the main road is beautiful lush green on both sides in the backdrop of the Cheyyar river, though absolutely dry. The Cheyyar river which normally flows east-west, flows north-south at this place. Ganges also normally flows east-west but is considered holy only at Kasi where it flows north-south. This can be seen very well in the satelite picture below.
It’s a small but beautiful temple and cleanly maintained. It doesn’t have any major sculpture works but has very high historic values. When we went, all the sannidhis just underwent a clean water wash and so it was wet all over. We guess the previous day being a Pradhosham might have been the reason. It was nice for us in a wet, cool atmosphere. We were the lone family out there and we always enjoy being at temples without the mad crowd. The priest was young and very sincere indeed. He explained the temple history nicely and did the archanai in a majestic voice with a very nice rhythm. The main deity, the Shiva, called Kadambanathar is a Suyambu lingam. There were inscriptions on the sanctum sanctorum walls. The Nandhi is majestic and beautiful and it should be very nice to be there for the Pradhosham. There is a beautiful mandapam inside the temple where we finished our breakfast.
§ Two demons Malayan and Maagaran, defeated in the war with Soorapadhman, worshipped Maagaral God, got power and was doing all evils. So Kasiba rishi was doing a Yagna to get rid of them but was disturbed by them. So Kasiba rishi prayed to this Suyambu lingam, Kadambeswarar and he sent his son Lord Muruga at ThiruMaagaral (nearby) to destroy the demons. Lord Murugar destroyed them so that the yagna could be completed. Later Lord Muruga brought the Cheyyar and during the valar pirai of tamil month Panguni, on a Pradhosham day worshipped Shiva at this place. This day during Panguni is being celebrated in a grand scale during the Brahmostavam every year. Since this place is worshipped by Kadambar (Lord Muruga), this is called Kadambar Koil. Lord Shiva has a high regard for this holy place, (greater than his regard for Kasi) since he loved his stay in this sacred place and therefore this place possesses immense sanctity.
§ When a Pandya brahmin called Gunaseelan was dead, as per his wish, his son Budhisenan brought his ash to immerse it in Kasi. When he was doing Sandhyandhanam here keeping the pot with ash in the bank, he smelt flowers’ smell from the pot. He was surprised to find that the bones got changed to flowers in the pot. At that time, a sacred voice was heard that this place is much holier than Kasi and so let the ashes be immersed here. He did the same in the river Cheyyar here so as to fulfill his father’s wish. So this is a place where one can do the rituals for the forefathers like in Kasi and to worship for salvation.
§ Uma devi wanted to be with Shiva permanently and Shiva asked her to worship him at Kadambar koil to get her wish fulfilled. Uma devi left Kailasam and worshipped Shiva at Thirukedharam, Kasi, Thiruvengadam, Kalahasthi, Thiruvalngadu, Kachi and then came here to become a permanent part of Shiva.
In the Uthiramerur-Kanchipuram main road, at Vengacheri which is about 10 kms from Uthiramerur, we have to turn left (west) and go further for about a km. The temple is on the southern bank of Cheyyar.
Nearby places connected with this legend: Maagaral (Thevara Padal petra sthalam), Ilayanar Velur(Murugan), Malayan kulam, Irumpulam, Sempulam.
Nearby places of interest: Kuranganil muttam (Thevara Padal petra sthalam), Thirupulivanam (ancient shiva temple), Uthiramerur, Kanchipuram.
§ Much holier than Kasi, a place to do all the rituals that are normally done at Kasi, a place to get salvation
§ Small, beautiful and cleanly maintained without any great sculpture works.
§ Suyambu lingam
§ A good priest
§ On the bank of Cheyyar
§ Sung by Thirugnana Sambandar and so should be more than 1300 years old
From here, we then went to Thennangur, the Pandurangan temple for the concluding day festival of Gokulashtami. The temple is built by Haridoss Swamigal through the collections from his bhajans and the deity is majestic and beautiful. The temple is a modern day temple in Puri Jagannath temple style and is famous for its daily and special decorations. When we went, the deity was decorated with Sandhana Kappu beautifully, since the day was the Guru (Haridoss Swamigal) siddhi day. This particular decoration is done only once a year on this day. A more detailed web site is available here. Since this has become a famous tourist place, you will find lots of websites/ blogs covering this temple. The bhajans were going on in the opposite Guru mandapam and it was a pleasure to hear and sing there.
It is believed that Madurai meenakshi is born at Thennangur and so there is a temple nearby for Meenkashi-Sundareswarar where all the navagrahams appear with their spouses. There is also a Lakshmi Narasimhar temple nearby. Somehow, when we visit this place we get immense pleasure and we visit this atleast once in 2-3 months. We finished our lunch at the temple itself where the free food is being served everyday for atleast 100 people. Each day feed is being sponsored by donors mostly NRIs.
Update on 13th Feb 2008: A more recent travelogue on Thennangur is available here.