Temples in and around Vellore
listed below are many of the ancient temples in and around Vellore. This is a dynamic list and will be constantly updated as and when information is got.
Last updated on: 31st October, 2017.
All the temples have been marked here:
Shada Aranya Kshetrams
Around Arcot, the saptha (7) Maharishis lived in 7 forests and worshipped Lord Shiva. These are called Shada Aranya (meaning forest) Kshetras. Once these temples were very big with Rajagopurams. They are referred here as SA1 to SA7. In all these temples, the respective rishis are present right in front of Lord Shiva, in sitting posture in the North of Palar kshetrams and in standing posture in the South of Palar kshetrams . Only after showing aarthi to the rishis, the aarthi is shown to Lord Shiva.
Note: There is an exclusive handbook on “Shadaranya Kshetrams” in Tamil by Sri K.Saikumar
Walajapet – Vellore
Note: All the temples in the Walajapet – Chennai route are covered under ‘Around Chennai – South’ directory
Both the following temples are closeby.
1) Sri Soundaravalli Sametha Sri Boomeeswarar Temple
For any Vasthu related Pariharam / Poojas, this is a temple to be visited. Vasthu homams by devotees take place almost on everyday. The temple is being renovated for quite a long.
Contact:Sri Viswanatha Gurukkal 93455 07559 / 93441 55703
2) SA5 – Sri Thiripurasundari sametha Sri Athreeswarar (Thiruvantheeswarar) Temple
One of the Shadaranya kshetrams around Arcot.
Since this is worshipped by Sri Athri Maharishi, this is very special for the people of Athreya gothram to worship. Ramar padham is also installed.
Contact: Sri Viswanatha Gurukkal 93455 07559 / 93441 55703
SA6 – Sri Dharmasamwardhni sametha Sri Bharthwajeeswarar Temple at Puduppadi
One of the Shadaranya kshetrams around Arcot.
Since this is worshipped by Sri Bharadwaja Maharishi, this is very special for the people of Bharathwaja gothram to worship.
Since Sri Ramar visited this temple, the Rama patham is installed in front of Lord Shiva.
Gajaprashta vimanam. As per inscriptions, the temple was renovated in 1720. There are inscriptions belonging to the period of King Parakesari.
Contact: Sri Saravanan Gurukkal @ 97861 33957 / P.C. Kannan, Sivanadiyar @ 96005 95338
Note: There is also a temple of Sri Vedhanarayana Perumal here and the deity is very beautiful.
SA4 – Sri Bhuvaneswari amman sametha Sri Agastheswarar temple at Vannivedu
One of the Shadaranya kshetrams around Arcot, worshipped by Sri Agasthiya Maharishi. The fingerprint of Agasthiya Maharishi is still seen on the lingam. The temple became non-existent due to invasion and ageing and the lingam was covered with thick bushes. In 1993, during the Uzhavarappani, the Lord appeared in the form of a Brahmin, gave directions and disappeared. In 1997, the temple was built and later the shrines of 63 Nayanamars, 5 tier Rajagopuram, Sarabeswar, Dhanvanthri, Hayagreevar, Sorna Akarshana Bairvarar, Ashtathik Balahars, Sri Hanumar and others were added at different stages. Though the temple looks to be a little commercialized with the additions of all the modern day popular deities and the display of details of different poojas and homams, the good point is the temple is being maintained very well indeed and is being improved on a daily basis.
Contact: Gurukkal @ 96293 72155 / Trustee @ 94422 27867 / 04172 270595 / 99433 14410 / 94432 27864
Timing: 8:30 to 12:30 AM and 4:30 to 8:00 PM
Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple at Arcot
Note: An Auto driver at Arcot Sri Ravi @ 99946 98353 can take you to all the Shadaranya kshetrams around Arcot.
SA1 – Sri Balakujambal sametha Sri Vasishteswarar temple at Veppur (Thiruppugazh Sthalam)
One of the Shadaranya kshetrams around Arcot, worshipped by Sri Vasishta Maharishi
Arunahirinathar sang Thiruppugazh on this Murugar.
There are inscriptions of Vijayanagara kingdom on stopping the flood on Palara river which flows just behind the temple. Kalyana mandapam has plenty of beautiful sculptures.
Special temple for Uthrattadhi star people.
Moksha deepam and Pithru pooja are very special here
Both Sarabeswarar and Prathyangara devi are present in separate shrines in the mandapam next to each other.
Contact: Sri Sivakumar Gurukkal @ 98429 11671 / 04172 235470
SA2 – Sri Vadivudaiammai sametha Sri Valmigeswarar temple at Melvisharam
One of the Shadaranya kshetrams around Arcot, worshipped by Sri Valmigi Maharishi
Contact: Sri Suresh Gurukkal @ 95977 17352 / 93446 55747 / Sivanadiyar @ 94876 29288
Sri Bala Murugan Temple at Rathnagiri
Rathinagiri is about 13 km from Vellore towards Chennai and is famous for the Murugan temple on a hillock. There are 130 steps to the hillock top. Saint Arunagirinadhar had sung Thiruppugazh on this temple. The temple belonging to the 14th century was under dilapidated conditions a few decades back and with the efforts of Sri Swami Balamugan Adimai, the temple is now restored to its full glory with fantastic sculptural works, big mandapams etc., to the extent of people calling this as the 7th Padai Veedu of Lord Muruga.
Swami Balamugan Adimai, who was called Sachithanantham in his early days was working as a clerk in the Electricity Department and one day, while on his way to work, he climbed the Rathinagiri Hill to offer his prayers. There was neither camphor nor incense available at the poor and dilapidated temple. He walked around the shrine with a heavy heart and was suddenly overcome with divine awakening. He fainted onto the ground and on waking up he was unable to remember his own self. He dressed himself in a loincloth and took a sacred vow not to leave until the temple was restored to its former glory. This memorable event of Swami’s spiritual awakening took place on 20th March 1968 and he maintains silence all these years.
Sri Murugan Temple at Theerthagiri hill
Sri Murugar temple at Kangeyanallur
Location: Kangeyanallur is between Vellore and Katpadi.
Sri Kangeeswarar temple in Kangeyanallur was built during the time of Chola rulers. The temple dedicated to Lord Muruga was built some 500 years ago. Sculptures are artistically engraved in the gopuram depicting the Kandhapuranam and the six Padaiveedus of Lord Muruga. It is said that the sculpturer who created the Thiruthani Murugan temple has created this as well. It is said that Lord Muruga here is being worshipped by sages and celestial gods during mid-nights everyday. The temple was renovated by Sri Thirumuruga Kirupanandha Variyar, a popular exponent of Hindu Scriptures and his father Sri Mallaiyadhas Bhagavadhar. When Mallaiyadhas Bhagavadhar conducted the Kumbabhisheham in 1933, his son Srisailavasan fell from 50 feet but after intense prayer and applying holy ash over him, he just woke up without any injury. An inscription about this incident is present in the temple.
Theertham: Saravana Poihai (created by Krupanandha Variyar)
Variyar’s Knowledge centre: This is present opposite the temple where Kirupanandha Variyar was cremated. There is a 24 hours Moksha deepam burning here facing the North direction.
Contact: Sri Thiruvadi 98423 11755; Office – 0416 – 2248922
Walajapet – Chithur (Old Bangalore road)
Note: There is Walajabad near Padappai/Kanchipuram and people can easily get confused with Walajapet & Walajabad and so please be aware of it.
Sri Visalakshi ammai sametha Sri Kasi Viswanadhar temple at Walajapet
The temple is in Walajapet town. By visiting this temple, one can get rid of fear of death. Kala bairavar and Sani are opposite to each other and this is a Sani dosha nivarthi sthalam.
SA3 – Sri Kirupambikai sametha Sri Gowthameswar at Karai
One of the Shadaranya kshetrams around Arcot, worshipped by Sri Gowthama Maharishi
Contact: Sri Srinivasa Gurukkal @ 99409 48918 (He can arrange to worship all the Shadaranya kshetrams)
Sri Raja Gurukkal @ 99426 30445
SA7 – Sri Parvathavardhini sametha Sri Kashyabeswarar Temple at Avarakkarai
Worshipped by Sri Kashyapa Maharishi
You can take part in the daily pooja expense of 100 Rs on your specific day every year by paying an amount Rs 1000 to Nithya Aradhana Trust.
Contact: Sri J.Ragupathi @ 98655 62701 / Sri Pandian @ 94436 25896
Sri Vilvanatheswarar temple Thiruvalam
- One of the 275 sacred temples glorified by the Thevara hymns
- Considered holier than Kasi and is referred as a Mukthistalam
- Nandhi here is huge and is facing away from the shrine towards Kanjangiri nearby and is said to be guarding the temple from a demon Kanjan of Kanjan giri.
- Ambal shrine is said to be of great significance here.
- Vinayakar is said to have obtained the celestial mango from Shiva here after the circum ambulation of Shiva and Parvathi devi. That’s why the place is called Thiruvalam.
- Here, Lord Siva destroyed the yagna by Dakshan.
- Tamil poet Avvaiyar is said to be associated with this shrine.
Location: While traveling from Chennai on the Bangalore highway, immediately after the tollgate at Walajapet, take the right road NH4 under a road over-bridge towards Chithur (old Banglore road). Travel in the NH4 itself and you will pass through a rail 0ver-bridge and immediately after, you can see a juction of two bridges. Take the old bridge on the left and the temple is just at the end of the bridge.
Thiruvalam is around 25 km from Vellore and while traveling from Vellore, go to Katpadi, and take the road (towards east) to Thiruvalam at Katpadi bus stand. Proceed till you meet the Chennai-Chithor NH4 highway and Thiruvalam is right at this junction.
Temple: This temple is on the Western Bank of the Pennar river, the water of which was once known for its healing powers. The river is also called neeva, shiva said “nee vaa” and the river sprang forth. This is a very huge and beautiful temple, built by the Pallavas and Cholas. There are quite a few references of Rajendra Chola in the stone inscriptions. Although the presiding deity faces the East, the temple entrance faces the South. Inscriptions reveal that this was a grand pilgrimage center in the past with facilities for pilgrims travelling between Southern Tamilnadu and Benares (Kasi). A fine image of Perumal also adorns the temple. There are idols for the 27 birth stars on the vimaanam of the sanctum sanctorum. Almost all the pillars are very nicely decorated with some sculptures. The legend of Nandhi protecting the village from demon Kanjan is depicted in a sculpture. There is a ‘100 pillars Natarajar Mandapam’ here which is extremely quiet. In the left side outer praharam, there is a underground passage and no one knows where it leads to! The temple has highlighted all the inscriptions with white and yellow paint and made it easy to read.
Sri Lakshmi Narayanar Temple at Kembarajapuram
An ancient temple at 2 kms from Thiruvalam
Ranipet – Vallimalai – Ponnai ( Chithoor)
Sri Somnatheshwarar Temple at Melpadi
This is about 12 kms from Thiruvalam towards Vallimalai(Ponnai). It is close to the shore of the Pennar river and was the border between Chola and Rashtrakuta kingdoms. The temple is being maintained by Archeological Society of India. Arinjaya Chola (AD 956-967), the great grand father of Rajaraja chola died here after the war at Thakkolam and so this temple was built in memory of it.
Sri Choleswara temple, the tomb shrine of Arinjaya chola was built over the mortal remains of Chola Arinjaya by his grandson Chola Raja Raja I in the year AD 1014. This is just opposite the Somnatheswarar temple across the road.
This beautiful hill is located at 16 km north of the Thruvalam en route Ponnai, 4 km from Melpadi. Valli Malai is considered the birth place of Valli, one of the two consorts of Lord Muruga. The stunning beauty of Valli Malai with its pools, fresh greenery, caves and unusual rock formations stands as mute testimony to the continuing presence of the ever-youthful Goddess Herself. There is a natural rock formation like an elephant called Ganesh Giri where Lord Ganesa has helped in the Valli Tirumanam.
There is a Subramanya Swamy Temple, Valli Temple and a beautiful and clean Saravana Poihai temple tank at the base of the hill. At the top of the hill, there is a Subramanya Swamy Cave temple which is being maintained by Archeological Society of India (ASI). There are about 500 steps to climb through a picturesque path. At the top of the hill, there are many water streams (sunai) also.
There is another way to climb down and half way through that, there are caves where Jain saints stayed and Jain Sculpture are present in the rocks which are also being maintained by ASI. Vallimalai had been one of the important Jaina centers during the early medieval period. According to Kannada inscriptions, the natural cavern was converted into Jaina adobe by prince Rajamalla of Western Ganga dynasty in the 10th century.
People cannot stop making a trip to Vallimalai if they happen to see it in photos.
Sri Ranganathar Temple at Erukkampet
Being maintained by Archeological Society of India (ASI), this is close to Melpadi and Vallimalai on a lake bund. This is a 9th century temple and the main deity, Sri Ranganathar is in Sayana posture but not sure whether it is a living temple with daily poojas.
Sri Sorna Vinayagar Temple (also called Navagraha Kottai) at Ponnai
This is a beautifully painted modern day temple glittering in gold and the main deity is the ancient Swayambu Vinayagar. By the side of the main shrine, there is a small nandhavanam with 9 Navagrahas in separate Sannidhis with their respective Viruksham(tree), Dhaanyam(grain), Cloth, colour etc., There is also a shrine for Kasi Viswanathar temple behind the main shrine. This is about 2kms from the Ponnai town and about 6 kms north of Vallimalai. This is a beautiful must-see temple but like all modern day temples – little commercial.
Sri Mouna Guruswamy Ashram at Thangal
Srilasri Mouna Guruswamy and Guriji Sundararam Swamigal Ashram is at Thangal.
Shiva temple at Kanchan giri
Kanchan giri is connected to Thiruvalam temple by legend. The Nandhi of Thiruvalam temple had destroyed the demon Kanchan of this hill and his flesh pieces around this hill had become Swayambu lingas after the holy water was sprinkled on them. Knowing this legend, some ashram people from Coimbatore came here, researched and collected all the Swayambu lingams and arranged them in one place. There are around 100 of them on a plateau on top of the hill.
Location: It is about 7 kms from Ranipet en route Ponnai. After crossing a village called Agravaram you will reach a place called Lalapet. Kanchanagiri hill will be visible from Lalapet itself. You can also come from Melpadi which is about 5 kms.
Sri Jalakandeswarar Temple at Vellore Fort
The temple which had been built in the Vijayanagara style is situated within the Vellore fort. It comprised of the main shrine, closed ambulatory passage around and the integral Mahamantapa. Inside the temple, there is a Kalyanamantapa which is the gem of architecture in embellishments and the art motifs of its pillars, ceilings and plinth moldings. It stands as testimony for the architectural workmanship of that period.
Jalakanteswarar means ‘Siva residing in water’. The temple is adorned with some remarkable sculptures and the best is found on the left side of the entrance, a verandah which contains monolithic pillars of grandeur and delicacy of execution. There are impressive sculptures in the temple particularly outside the swami shrine and inside the main mandapam. The sanctum sanctorum is a small low building and at the entrance there are dwarakapalas in blue granite. Sculpture work on the ceilings and pillars are rich in its characteristics. In the outer prakara there is a well which has a stone door way opening on a point which is usually below water level. The under ground mandapa or Neerazhi Mandapa is said to lead to a subterranean passage leading to the River Palar.
Sri Lakshmi Narayani in Sripuram (Golden temple)
This Golden temple situated in Sripuram in Thirumalaikkodi, about 7 km from Vellore, is built in a 100 acre site with whopping 1500 kg of gold at a cost of 300 crores. According to Sri Sakthi Amma, head of the Sri Narayani Peedam, who built the temple, the decision to have the temple coated with gold, is only to attract visitors and enable them to get wisdom through the messages of the Vedas. The temple has been designed in such a way that visitors can reach the golden temple only after going through a star-shaped pathway, which has the messages from the Vedas on both sides.
This has already become highly popular and too crowded on weekends and will take several hours to complete the dharshan during weekends. There is a 200 Rs ticket (apart from free dharshan) also, but this too is crowded during weekends. Better visit the temple with ample time in reserve.
Arcot – Kannamangalam
Sri Thiripura Sundari Sakthi peetam at Arungundram
A Temple complex of Lord Muruga, Shiva, Perumal, Naagar and Maha Thirupura Sundari Sakthi peetams built under the guidance of Sri Muragashram Swamigal on a small hillock.
Ancient Jain caves at Pancha Pandava malai, Vilapakkam
Sri Uma Mageshwari Ambal sametha Sri Aathma Lingeshwarar Temple at Punganur
1) Sri Dharmaraja Temple in Saidapet area
2) Sri Boominathar Temple in Saidapet area
3) Sri Kailasanathar temple – Inside Arani fort
4) Sri Killa Varadharaja Perumal temple in Arani Palayam area
7) Sri Vedagreeswarar Temple in Arani town (Kosapalayam)
8) Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple in Arani town (Kosapalayam)
9) Sri Balasubramanya Swami Temple in Arani town (Kosapalayam)
Connected with Gugai Namachivayam
Birth place of Sri Maignana Desikar who installed the Sri Gnanniar Madam.
The Vinayagar is called Sri Gnanna Moorthy Vinayagar as he is connected with the Gnaniar Madam.
A special Skandha Durgai is present.
Murugar is present with six faces and twelve hands along with His consorts Valli and Deivanai in standing posture facing South on His peacock vahana.
The Sthala Vruksham Vanni has thorns in branches going towards North and without thorns in the branches going towards South.
10) Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple in Kosapalayam area
11) Sri Puthra Kameshteeswar Temple at Arani (Pudukkamur)
Located at 1km from Arani bus stand, this is a special parihara sthalam for child birth. King Dasarathar got Sri Ramar as his son only after conducting Puthra Kameshti yagna in 11 places and this is the first and prime one of those. There is a shrine for Dhasarathar here.
Every year, on the full moon day of the tamil month Aani, the temple conducts Puthra kamesti yagam and any couple can participate freely. If you want to do it on other days, it is better to do it on the star birthday or any other day suggested by a good astrologer and the expenses would be around Rs 7500.
Contact: Ravi @ 9486046908 / Mohana Swamy Sivachar @ 96294 73883 and Ganesh Gurukkal @ 97891 56179
Sri Vembuli amman Temple
Arani – Sandavasal (Padavedu)
Sri Abathsahayeswar temple at Mullipattu
Located at 3 kms from Arani
1) Sri Amirthambigai sametha Sri Chandrasekara Swamy Shiva temple (Thiruppugazh sthalam)
The temple is located at 7 kms from Arani on Padavedu route
The main deity is Swayambu lingam.
Lord Murugar, Chandran, Arjunan, Manmathan, Rathi, Dasarathan, King Viwasvan, a lady called Kamakoti worshipped Lord Shiva here and got liberated of their sins.
Lord Murugar is facing North in sitting posture with 12 hands.
Sri Aadhi Sankarar did Srichakra pradhishta and the Ambal is in Sri Kamakshi swaroopam. The Dwarabalahi of this Ambal shrine emanates different musical notes when tapped at different points. Just opposite the Ambal green stone Yazhi vahanam is present. Sahasra lingam is also present.
There are 5 theerthams in this temple.
When a person was travelling to Kasi through this with an asthi kalasam, the bone pieces turned into Arali flowers and since then this is considered equivalent to Kasi kshetram.
The Lord came in the dream of King Jayam konda Cholan and induced him to do some renovation works in this temple.
Contact: Sivacharyar @ 98418 48359 / 90872 25939
2) Sri Veeraraghava Perumal Temple
Sri Virupatcheeswarar temple at Sambuvarayanallur
Sri Kamakshi amman sametha Sri Ekambareswarar temple at Parvathi Agaram
This temple is associated with Erikuppam Sri Saneeswarar temple
Sri Saneeswarar Temple at Erikuppam
Location: In the Polur (Thiruvannamalai) – Vellore route, 45 km from Thiruvannamalai and 30 km from Vellore, there is a place called Sandhavasal near Padavedu. From there, Erikuppam is 3 km away towards Arani and is 10 km from Arani.
Temple: This 15th century temple was discovered recently and has been renovated. On Saturdays, devotees throng the place.
- Lord Saneeswarar is present in an unique Yantra form which is considered more powerful and hence the name ‘Yantra Saneeswarar’.
- Sri Saya Devi, mother of Sri Saneeswarar is present to His left side and due to the presence of His mother, Saneeswarar is in a peaceful and happy mind state here. Hence He is able to blessHis devotees, bestowing complete happiness, removing their sorrows, sins and difficulties.
- We can hear elders saying ‘Don’t stand and pray straight in front of Saneeswarar’ but his straight sight here will bring only goodness to life.
- The Holy Shrine is open to the skies, without any roof-top.
- Saneeswarar is present in the Yantra form nowhere else in the world excepting this one and another in Shinkapur, 70 km from Shiradi, in Maharashtra state.
Yantra: This Saneeswara Yantra has been made in a single granite stone, with a fantastic size of 5.5 feet height and 1.5 feet width and looks majestic. It is having the mark of Sun in the upper left side, Crow in the middle side and the moon in the upper right corner. Below these, Peejakshara Manthras in the form of Shutkonam (six corners – shut meaning six and konam meaning corners) can be seen. Below this we can see ‘Lakshmi Kadaksha Yandra’ and yandras relating to water and fire. The Shutkona yandra consists of Manthras in a right left mirrored form, praising Lord Shiva, Lord Anjaneya and Sree Saneeshwara. This Yandra is believed to be one of the most powerful ones and unique in its kind.
Arani – Arcot
This is the birth place of Sri Appaya Dikshithar, considered as an Avatar of Lord Shiva after Sri AdiSankara. A Yogi, Bhakta and a scholar — Sri Appayya Dikshithar was born in 1554 A.D and he has great connection with the Virinchipuram temple. There are several temples here which are of great significance connected with Sri Appaya Dikshithar.
Apart from many veda scripts and sthothras he wrote, the Margabandu Sthothram is highly popular.
Once he wanted to experiment himself whether he is in the thoughts of Lord Shiva even in the state of semi consciousness and so he drank the juice of Oomathai flower in the presence of his sishyas and what he recited in that state is called “Unmatha Pancha sathi” or “Athmarpana Sthuthi”.
He attained Mukthi on a Pradhosha day in Chidambaram. He was a grahastha and showed the world that Grahasthas can also attain Mukthi.
1) Sri Parvathi devi sametha Sri Kalakandeswarar Temple
Contact: Sivacharyar @ 97906 25762
2) Sri Sridevi Sri Boodevi sametha Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple
Located close to the Kalakandeswarar temple
3) Sri Ellai Amman Temple
4) Sri Neelakanteshwarar Temple (Kayapakkam)
Shiva Temple at Meyyur
Shiva Temple at Aadhanoor
1) Sri Somanatheswarar Temple
2) Sri Murugan temple at Rajagiri
3) Sri Vetri Veera Anjaneyar Temple
Shiva Temple at Thamaraipakkam
Sri Kasi Viswanathar temple at Mosur
1) Sri Murugan temple near Thimiri on a small hillock
2) Sri Navapashana lingeswarar Temple
3) Sri Somanatheswarar Temple
1) Sri Naganatheswarar Temple
2) Sri Kothanda Ramar Temple
Arani – Cheyyar
1) Sri Visalakshi sametha Sri Virupaksheeswarar Temple
Pattinathar has sung hymn on this Lord. This is the native village of Appaya Dikshithar’s mother. It is said that the village got its name from ‘Appayya’ only.
Contact: Sri Vinayakeswar @ 95979 81710
2) Sri Kariya Manikka Perumal Temple
Sathya Vijaya Nagaram (S.V.Nagaram)
1) Moola Brindavana of Sri Satya Vijaya Tirtha of Uttaradi Mutt
2) Sri Meenakshi ammai sametha Sri Thriyambageswarar Temple
3) Sri Padmavathi sametha Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
Sri Satya Vijaya Tirtha belongs to Madhwa Vaishnava parampa whereas his wife was from Saivism. Both the Shiva and Perumal temples here were installed by him as a true example of Saiva – Vaishnava unison.
Contact: Sri Narayana Bhattar @ 99447 28517 / Sri Padmanabha Bhattar @ 94439 64738
Sri Kasi Visalakshi amman sametha Sri Kasi Viswanatheswarar Temple at Kalpoondi
The temple is located 6 kms east of Arani. The temple is 500 years old and the Shiva lingam is made of Salagramam brought from Kasi. Sridevi Boomidevi sametha Sri Veera Raghava Perumal is also present in the temple. The temple is considered equivalent to Kasi. The temple was visited by Kanchi Maha Periyavar.
1) Sri Pachaiamman Temple
A highly popular temple and is the first of the many Pachaiamman temples in Tamilnadu. The main deity is mesmerising and very beautiful in green colour. There are plenty of big village deities in Sudai. Lord Shiva and Mahavishnu stand as guardians in front of the sanctum sanctorum. The Shiva in human form is present in a separate shrine.
Contact: 04182 244373 / Kumar @ 94448 96937 / Viji @ 94867 67395 / Sankar @ 84389 05021 / Magesh @ 99947 42216
2) Sri Dharmasamvardhini sametha Sri Bakthavacheleswarar Temple and Sri Aram Valartha Nayagi sametha Sri Manalkandeswarar Temple
It’s a twin temple with separate flag posts in a single big campus.
Contact: Pachaiamman temple archagars are taking care of this temple as well.
3) Swayambu lingam at Mukkoodal
A Swayambu lingam is present on a rock at the confluence of 3 rivers. Parvathi Devi worshipped Lord Shiva here during Her journey from Kanchi to Thiruvannamalai. It is the origin of Saptha Karaikandeswarar and Saptha Kailasa temples in the Polur – Thiruvannamalai region.
Contact: Sri Manohar @ 90800 85262
Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Adhishtanam at Kalavai
The Adhishtanam of the 66th and 67th Peetathipathis of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam is located here. The 66th Peetathipathi, Sri Chandrasekarendra Sarswathi VII is the Guru of Mahaperiyava and the 67th Peetathipathi, Sri Mahadevendra Saraswathi V headed the mutt at the age of 17 just for a week till Mahaperiyava came and took over the charge.
Unlike Kanchi Sankara mutt which is located at the heart of the busy town and buzzing with activities all round, the Kalavai mutt is in a very calm and serene location. You can see several Vedic students chanting and memorising different Vedas at different places inside the campus. A great place to sit in for meditation and feel the vibration.
The incident of how MahaPeriyava took over as the 68th Peetathipathy is an interesting read:
The 67th Peetathipathi was the only son of the widowed and destitute sister of Paramacharya’s mother. There was no one in Kalavai at that time to console her on her son assuming the Sanyasa Asrama. So Paramacharya’s mother with 13 years old Swaminathan (the pre sanyasa name of Paramacharya) and other children started for Kalavai to console her sister. They travelled by train to Kanchipuram and halted at the Sankara Mutt there. A carriage of the Kalavai Mutt came there to buy articles for the Maha Pooja on the 10th day after the passing away of the 66th Acharya. A hereditary maistri of Kalavai Mutt, asked Paramacharya to accompany him alone with a separate cart engaged for the rest of the family to follow them.
During the journey, the maistri started with a hint that Paramacharya might have to spend the rest of his life in the Mutt itself and then gradually began to clarify that the present Acharya, Paramacharya’s cousin, had fever which developed into delirium and that was why Paramacharya was being separated from the family to be quickly taken to Kalavai. The maistri was commissioned to go to Tindivanam, where Paramacharya was studying, but was able to meet Paramacharya at Kanchipuram itself. Paramacharya was stunned and was repeating “Rama Rama” during the rest of the journey. Paramacharya’s mother later only found that instead of her mission of consoling her sister, she herself was placed in the state of having to be consoled by someone else.
It is said that Paramacharya once set foot in the Kalavai mutt, the 67th Peetathipathi also attained Siddhi after 7 days of heading the mutt, as if was just waiting for Paramacharya to arrive. So the young Swaminathan had no Guru at the time of initiation and sat in between the Adhishtanams of the two Gurus to be ordained as the 68th Peetathipathy.
Surprisingly, a Tulsi plant is growing in the stone slab on which Paramarchaya sat and took initiation. It is said that Paramarchaya appeared in the dream of the Mutt Manager not to remove the plant since He Himself is present there.
Vellore – Polur (Thiruvannamalai)
This village’s history starts from the Pallava period wherein it was called Kattuthumbur, then during Rajaraja Chola I’s time this was christened as Uyyakondan Cholapuram. Now shortened to Cholavarm. Both the temples here have archaeological importance.
1) Sri Nandhi Gamebeeswarar Shiva Temple
2) Sri Gunamalai Perumal Temple
Around this temple eight Dikpalakas are erected. They are simple carvings depicting the age’s sculptural characters.
Sri Virupaksha Shiva Temple at Veppampattu
This Vijayanagara temple has many inscriptions. Front portion this temple is damaged. Garbagriha wall around has bas relief of Shiva’s Lilas. They are wonderful carvings to be seen and preserved for the futures so everyone take interest in protecting it.
Sri Kadambavana vasavi Amman Temple at Kanavaai Modu (Kaniyambadi)
This temple is located 2 kms before Kaniyampadi on the main road on the Polur-Vellore route. This temple is also Known as Kannikoil.
Sri Lakshmi Narsimha Swamy Temple at Singiri Koil
Singiri Koil is a hamlet, situated at a distance of about 25 km from Vellore and is off the main road from Vellore to Polur.
- One of the most beautiful scenic and dreamy spots
- 1300 years old temple
- Lakshmi Narasimhar with four hands, in Santha roopa with His consort on His right lap (usually He will have His consort on His left lap).
Sri Uttamaraya perumal temple at Periya Ayyanpalayam
This temple is located at Periya Ayyanpalayam village at almost halfway between Kannamangalam and Santhavasal on the Polur-Vellore route to the left side of the main road while going from Vellore. You have to travel inside for about 1 km from the main road.
The temple was built during the Vijayanagara period in the 14th century. We have to climb 350 steps to reach the temple but the steps are very easy to climb. The deity is known as Oomaikku vaai kodutha Sri uttamaraya perumal (the Perumal who gave the speaking capability to a dumb).
1) Sri Thirupurasundari Sametha Sri Yagneswarar Temple
This is the first of the temples on the banks of the Kamandala river after Padavedu and was renovated in February 2008.
Contact: Mr. Ramamurthy, 0416 2246666.
Sri Dharmalingeswaraswamy Temple at Athuvambadi
Temples in Polur and beyond are covered under Thiruvannamalai directory
Padavedu is the birth place of Parasuramar, one of the 10 avatars of Mahavishnu. It is a Pilgrimage centre and one of the most important ‘Sakthi Sthalas’ in Thondainadu with around 10 ancient temples. It is situated in the Vellore- Polur route, centrally among Vellore, Polur and Arani at 20-25 km from all these three places. All that is there in this village are beautiful ancient temples, hills and lush green fields.
Padavedu was the capital of the Sambuvarayar chieftains during the 12-14th Centuries. These temples were built at various points of time, but most of the improvements and decorations appear to have been done when the Sambuvarayar came under the sway of the Vijayanagar empire. Most of these temples excepting the hill temples were submerged in sand and dilapidated due to the sandstorm. TVS adopted this village during late 80s and the temples were discovered in 1993. The Renukambal trust (owned by TVS) maintains these temples in a clean and beautiful fashion.
Sri Kailasa Vinayagar Temple
The Vinayagar here is around 5.5 feet tall and looks very majestic.
Sri Uma Maheswarar Temple at Kailasaparai
This is a temple without any roof with only the dilapidated sanctum sanctorum on a hillock called Kailasaparai. The significance of this temple is Lord Shiva in human form is seen seated along with Paravthi devi and the deities are big and beautiful. On top of a hillock, surrounded by the Jawadu hills, they both seem to be enjoying in private, the beauty of the nature in an open-to-sky sanctum.
Chinna Kottai Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple
This is situated in an extremely nice ambience right in the middle of paddy and banana fields.
Sri Veera Anjaneyar Temple
The Veera Anjaneyar in this new temple is about 7.5 ft tall.
Contact: Mr Vasudeva Bhattar at 91596 32669 / 04181 248303
Sri Ammayappa Eswarar Temple
This temple is the oldest of the lot and looks very simple. The amman in this temple is Aparnambikai and the deity is around 5.5 feet. Right in front of the Amman statue, there is a pit from where they discovered the idols and ornaments. This is a 12th century temple and due to sand storms this temple was almost destroyed. However it is in good shape now.
Periya Kottai Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple
Sri Renugambal Temple
This is the most popular temple here. Goddess Renugambal is self-manifested in this place and offering her blessings along with Brahma, Vishnu and Lord Siva. In this place a number of sages performed penance and attained salvation. The existence of Banalingam and Nanakarshna Chakra consecrated by Aadhi Shankarar is the specialty of this place.
Sri Ramalinga Sowdambigai Amman Temple
The temple is located just adjacent to the Renugambal temple. The Amman here is the “Kula Theivam” for Telugu speaking Devanga Chettiar weaver community people who used to weave clothes for God in olden days. Even now, it is in practice in many temples that the clothes woven by these community people only will be adorned for the deities before the commencement of any big festivals.
Sri Subramanya swamy Temple at Kundalipuram
Sri Subramania Swamy Temple is located on a hill top with 237 steps to climb, on the southern side of Sri Renugambal Temple. The panoramic view of this temple seen from Renugambal Temple is awe inspiring. The finely sculpted idol of Moolavar Lord Subramania with his consorts Goddesses Valli and Deivanai standing on a peacock is quite impressive. Unlike in other places where Lord Subramania is seen seated on his peacock, here the Lord is standing on his peacock. The peacock is also seen not spreading its feathers. It carries a snake in its beaks. This idol is unique and the Lord is known for his boon granting.
Legend has it that Lord Subramania was conferred the title “Deva Senapathi” (Commander of Devas) only on this hill top at the request of Goddess Renukambal.
Sri Yoga Ramachandraswamy temple
This temple, constructed before 12th Century AD was also buried in sand and was dug out recently. In this temple Lord Rama is uniquely seated in Artha Padmasana with a “Yoga Mudra” with Goddess Sita and Lord Lakshman by his side. Unusually Lord Hanuman is seated in front of Lord Rama reading a Palm leaf manuscript.
Suggests that Pujas for Lord Rama to be done on Fridays, Pournami and Punarpoosam
Contact: Bhattar Shri Doraiswamy Iyengar @ 9488039816
Temple office @ 04181248224
Sri Velmurugan Temple at Nakchathra Kundru
This temple is located on the way from Ramar temple to Lakshmi Narasimhar temple on a hill top at the southern tanks of Kamandala river which is running on the southern side of Sri Ramachandra Swamy temple. The hill is known as Nakchathra Kundru (Star Hill). No idols are found in this temple. A Vel (lance of Lord Muruga) is consecrated and Poojas are performed daily. Legend has it that Bhogar (One of the 18 Siddhars, who created the medicinal Palani Murugan idol out of 9 herbal poisons) came to this place and consecrated the lance. Parasuramar penanced here. Considered equivalent to Kathirgramam at Srilanka. The temple is west facing Palani is the only other west facing temple. The main deity cannot be directly seen and can be seen only through a grilled window because of the power.
Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy temple
This temple is also on a hill top and the significance of the Lakshmi Narasimhar here is that Goddess Lakshmi is seen seated on the right side of the Lord (normally She will be seen on left side of the Lord).
Contact: Sri Mukundhan Bhattar – 94435 40660
Sri Venugopala Swamy temple at Kottaimalai
This temple for Lord Venugopala Swamy is open only on Saturdays 9 AM to 4 PM and is located on top of the Raja Kambeera Mountain popularly known as Kottaimalai at a height of about 2500 feet.
The only route available to this temple is a ghat road running through thick and beautiful forest. A breath taking journey to this temple can be performed sitting on a Tractor specially made to take the pilgrims and the materials to the foot of the temple. From there there are about 350 steps to climb. En route there are a few iron bridges around the hill and picturesque views of the surrounding Jawadu hills. The main deity is the beautiful flute playing Lord VenuGopala Swamy standing in a stylish posture along with his consorts Rukmini and Satyabhama.
Once seen in photos, nobody will want to miss the temple.
TVS office (04181-248279 or 04173-320444)
This is a hill (forest?) path where Beeman walked. Here he tore the breast of a lady demon. There are two ponds indicating the breasts of the demon. This is also the place where he did the rituals for ancestors with the darbai grass
Vellore – Ambur – Vaniyambadi
Sri Swayambu Selva Vinayagar temple at Shenbakkam
Location: 3 km from Vellore en route to Bangalore, this famous temple is dedicated to Sri Selva Vinayagar and Somasundareswarar.
Legend: Once when Thukkoji, a Maharashtra minister was passing through this place, the axle of his chariot broke and blood oozed out from the place. He stayed that night here and Vinayahar appeared in his dream and revealed his presence.
- There are 11 Vinayahars – all are Swayambu moorthies in the form of lingams and in the formation of ‘Om’.
- On the back of Selva Vinayahr, there is a mark of the wheel of the cart, which was supposedly driven by Thukkoji.
- There is no roof for the main shrine to facilitate all Sages and Celestial Gods to worship the deity
- Aadhi Sankarar worshipped here and installed Srichakra in the Esanya corner of the temple.
- The significances of the temple have been written about by Kanchi Maha Priyavar, Sri Chandrasekarendhra Swamigal in his book ‘ Dheivathin Kural’
- The flag post is present within the sanctum sanctorum itself
- Lord Saturn facing the main deity is a special significance
- A silver covering was made 75 years back to cover the Selva Vinayahar fully but now it covers Him only two-thirds, indicating He is growing all the way
Worship Benefits: It is believed that by doing milk abhisheham to the Bala Vinayahar here, the illness of children will be cured. Also, this Vinayahar is believed to sanction the boons for timely marriage and children.
Nava Brindhavana at Shenbakkam
Navabrindhavana (Nava=9 + brindhavana=holy shrine) is defined as a place where Nine Moola brindhavanas of Sri Madhva saints are found/buried under earth.
There are three famous Navabrindhavana’s in South India as follows:
1. Anegundi Navabrindhavana near Hampi,Karnataka
2. Navajeeva brindhavana of Erode,Tamilnadu. Click here to read our earlier article to know more.
3. Shenbakkam Navabrindhavana,Vellore,Tamilnadu.
The Shenbakkam Nava Brindhavana is fortunate to get the foot prints of various holy Madhva Saints. Jagadguru Sri Madhvacharya said to be here for sometime. Sri Vyasa Tirtha did his installation of Sri Hanumantha here. Kalyyuga Kalpatharu/Kamadhenu Mantralaya mahaprabhu Sri Raghavendra Swamiji stayed in this place for 14 days.
The bridhavanas of nine saints here are:
- Sri Sripathi Tirtha
- Sri Sri Kambalur Ramachandra Tirtha
- Sri Sri Vidyapathi Tirtha
- Sri Sri Sathyadhiraja Tirtha
- Brindhavans of Four Bidi Sanyasis who were shishyas of Sri Sri Sathyadhiraja Tirtha
- Mrithika brindhavan of Sri Sri Raghavendra Swamin which makes the total of holy ‘9’ brindhavanas.
Sri Margapandeswarar Temple at Virinchipuram
This temple is located at around 15 km from Vellore.
- 1300 years old temple – the oldest and the biggest temple of Vellore district
- The temple is famous for its prahara walls and the sculptures. ‘Virinchipuram Madhil Azhahu’ is a popular saying
- There are miniature Rajagopurams on the temple wall itself on two sides. If a small Rajagopuram itself can be built on the temple wall, the grandeur of the temple wall can be imagined. Also, this has a sacred significance that the Siddhars, Sages and Celestial Gods are believed to come here for worship during the nights through these exclusive entrance for them where the normal humans can not enter.
- Aadhi Shankarar had done the Beejakshara Pradhishtai to the Simha theertham of the temple
- Lord Brahma who could not reach the head of Lord Shiva once was born here and Lord Shiva bowed his head to accept the abhisheham from him as a small boy
- Arunachala Puranam, Siva Rahasiyam, Kanchi puranam and many other holy books have described this temple
- Sung by: Appayya Dikshithar, Thirumoolar, Pattinathar, Appar, Sambhandhar, Arunagiri nadhar and many others
- This is the birth place of Sri Appayya Dikshithar (1520-1593), the greatest interpreter of Advaitha Sidhantha after Adhi Sankara. His Margabandhu stotram on this Margabandheeswarar is for the protection of people while on journey. By reciting this one can have Lord Shiva with them as Marga-bandhu (protector during journey) along their journey.
Sri Uthra Ranganathar temple at Pallikonda
Location: The temple is 23 km from Vellore, 1km inside from the Pallikonda junction towards Gudiyatham.
Significance: It is considered that if you stay for 3 nights at Kanchi, you get salvation but here if you stay just one night, you get salvation.
Legend: Indhran’s Brahma harthi dhosham got cleared here.
When there was a fight between Saraswathi and Lakshmi on who is bigger, Brahma declared Lakshmi is bigger. So Saraswathi deserted Brahma. When Brahma conducted an yagna, Saraswathi refused to join him. So Brahma married another lady called Savithri and conducted the Yagna. Saraswathi’s anger grew more and she tried to disturb the yagna with the help of demons by creating a flood in the Palar. Then he prayed to Lord Narayan and He just lied across the Palar river in 3 places to stop the flood. The places are Pallikondan (called Vadavarangam), Thiruparkadal and Yadhothkari at Kanchipuram.
Temple: Temple is inside a fort like structure. People getting married at this temple will get all the 16 types of wealth.
Sri Ellaiamman temple Vettuvanam
It is considered that Goddess Renuka devi’s head was cut off by Her son Parasuramar. One of the Sakthi Peetams. This has a legend connection with the Reuga devi amman temple at Padavedu and Gangai amman temple at Gudiyatham
Sri Mahadevar temple at Mahadevamalai at Kankuppam village
This temple is located on the Katpadi-Gudiyattam route at around 14kms from Katpadi, 13 km to the east of Gudiyatham and to the north of Virinchipuram. This is a beautiful hilltop temple for Lord Shiva and there is a motorable ghat road till the hilltop.
Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple at Kailasagiri
This scenic hill temple for Lord Muruga is about 10 km north of Ambur; 15 km south of Pernampet; 32 kms from Gudiyatham on the Gudiyatham – Ambur route at a place called Kailasagiri. This is also Known as Gadambur temple. One can find this place next to Omarabad junction which is a popular place, there is a arch which welcomes us to the temple, one has to travel 2kms on the Ghat road and then climb nearly 300 steps to reach the temple. Caves and ponds(sunai)can be found at the top of the hill. Plan you visit in the mornings because the priest visits the temple during morning hours to perform pooja and gets down in half an hour.
Legend says that this is previously a shiva temple and during Mughal period the idols were thrown at the nearby pond. A few decades later during the British period Murugar idol has been installed in the temple and thus it came to be known as Murugar temple.
The place has ruins of a Mughal fort and water streams surround the temple area.
Sri Gangai Amman temple
Thanks to Sri.Saravanan for this message:
“This is a very popular temple at Gudiyatham. Every year festival happens during the 1st of Vaikasi (approx. May 15). Lakhs of people from neighbouring places and Chennai gather here for the festival. Amman’s Sirasu (head) is carried around the town (ancestrally done by a potter’s family) and fixed on the body at the temple. Its carried by the person from the potters family itself on his head. Later, again the head is removed from the body and dissolved in water. Amman’s Sirasu is believed to be too happy while reaching the temple, as it will be fixed to the body. Again when its removed and it reaches the river for immersion you can see the Amman in a sad mood. Vanavedikkai (fireworks) is very popular during that night.
This fixing of head and removal is connected to the legend where Parasuramar was asked to chop his mother’s head by his father Jamadagni. Padavedu Renugambal Temple is connected with this legend.
People worship Gangai amman to keep them without any water scarcity as these places are dependent on rains. Temple’s Ther (Chariot) festival happens one day before Sirasu festival. The next day after Sirasu, there is another Chariot floated around the town which is fully made of flowers. It is called Pushpa Pallakku and is a feast to eyes to see Amman coming around on Pushpa Pallakku. I take this opportunity to welcome everyone to this Thiruvizha at Gudiyatham (as Gudiyatham is my home town)”
Sri Kasi Viswanathar temple
Sri Devi Masupada Amman temple
Sri Karupaleeswarar (sivagama sundari bala Saarduleeswarar temple)
Ancient temple with beautiful sculptures and has a legendary connection to Virinchipuram temple.
Sri Periya Anjaneyar Temple
Location: This Vijayanagara period temple is located in the midst of Ambur town.
Significance: Sri Anjaneyar is found in a posture of stamping his leg on Sani bhagavan.
During the time of Sri Rama – Ravana war, Hanuman flew to get the Sanjeevini herbal to save Lakshman. All the nine Navagrahas were under the control of Ravana and were present as the nine foot steps in the Ravana’s palace, So, Ravana, sent Sani bhagavan to catch hold of Hanuman to stop bringing the Sanjeevini herbal. Hanuman, while bringing the whole Sanjeevini mountain, was stopped by Sani bhagavan and said that he was sent by Ravana to stop him. Hanuman got angry and chanting the Rama Nama, put the entire mountain on Sani bhagavan’s head. Unable to bear the pain, Sani bhagavan cried and Hanuman took off the mountain and stamped Sani bhagvan with one of his legs. Finally, Sani bhagvan apologized and pleaded to set him free. Hanuman ordered that he should not clutch any of his devotees who chant the great Sri Rama Nama and not even his sight should fall on them. Sani bhagvan agreed and finally got freed up.
The Hanuman deity is huge, about 11 feet high with Sani bhagavan being stamped under his leg.
Devotees who are much affected by Sani bhagavan can visit this temple to minimize the effect. Marriage prayers are answered.
Sthala viruksham: Nelli
All the Saturdays are special days to visit this temple.
Note: About 5 km from this temple, there is a small village named ‘Aanai madugu’, where the footprint of Sri Anjaneyar’s right leg is found. Every year, during Pongal, great utsavam is done and the utsavar of the Ambur temple visit here and great alankara utsavam is performed.
Sri Bindhu Madhava Perumal temple at Thuthipattu
This temple is located on the main road 2 kms before Ambur on the Gudiyatham-Ambur Road. The Rajagopuram of the temple is 45 feet high and is rich in architecture.
Sri Nageswarar temple
Ancient temple, a Parihara Sthalam, located in the heart of the Ambur town.
In and Around Vaniyambadi
Sri Athitheeswarar Temple at Old Vaniyambadi (PUNARVASU Star Temple)
This is the special parihara sthalams for people born on “PUNARVASU” star. An ancient temple and must be around 1500 – 1800 years old. Legend has it that this is the place where Goddess Saraswathi was absolved of a curse and started singing again and hence the name Vaniyambadi..
Sri Azhagu Perumal Temple at Vaniyambadi
The speciality of this temple being that the Swami is in a posture ready to apply his Sudarsana Chakra for the ‘Samharam’ (Prayoga Chakra).
The main deity is called Sundararaja Perumal. The other deities are Sundaravalli Thayar, Laxmi Narasimhar and Hanumar. An inscription in the temple says it was built by Madhuranthaka Cholan who preceded Raja Raja cholan. Hence the temple should have been built in the 11th century. Incidentally Raja Raja cholans father’s name was Sundara cholan. Hence the name for the main deity in the temple. Sundara and Azaghu mean ‘beautiful’ in Sanskrit and Tamil respectively.
Sri Hanuman Temple
One of the 700+ Hanumans installed by Vyasaraja all over India.
Sri Aravamudha Perumal Temple at Kethandapatti
This temple was constructed by Kethandapatti Swamigal in Vadagalai Sampradayam.
(Is this same as Kethandapatti Sugar Mills Varadar Temple??)