Temples in and around Salem

Salem region has the largest number of hill temples of Murugan, Perumal & Shiva and so is a trekker’s paradise. Since there are large no of hills, there are also plenty of lakes and dams. This is the birth place of Avvaiyar, the famous Tamil poet.

Last Updated: 22nd Feb 2019

All the temples in this directory have been marked out in this map:


Sri Raja Ganapathy Temple

It is located at 1st Agraharam, one of the primary market areas of the town near the Sugavaneswarar temple and is always bustling. This is a small but highly popular and powerful temple. It is a sub temple of Sugavaneswarar temple and both have a legend connection. As the Lord graces the devotees with his royal appearance, He is named Rajaganapathy, (Ganapathy the King).

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Five temples worshipped by Beema

Beema, a Pancha pandava, worshipped Lord Shiva on the banks of Manimuthar river at five places and they are:
Salem Sukavaneswarar, Uthamachozhapuram Karapuranathar, Pillur Veeratteswarar, Paramathi Beemeswarar and Nan Sei Idayaru Eyilinathar.

Sri Sugavaneswarar Shiva Temple

This temple within Salem town is one of the primary landmarks of the town.
The Siva is said to have emerged on His own (swayambu). This is one of the five temples with Swayambu lingams on the banks of Manimuthar river  that were worshipped by Beema.
The main linga is in a slightly slanted position.
Goddess Swarnambikai is housed in a separate sanctum.
The temple has a East facing 3 tier Rajagopuram with single praharam.
The place has many names in ancient literatures. Sukha Brahmma rishi worshipped and so has the name Sukha vanam; Has cleared off the sins of Devars and so called Papanasam; Worshipped by Kamadhenu and so called Patteeswaram; Worshipped by Aadhiseshan and so called Nageeswaram
Legend has it that Avvaiyar went to Kailayam with the help of this Vinayagar
Arunagirinathar sang Thiruppugazh on this Murugan
Apart from the usual shrines of a Lord Shiva temple, there are shrines for Gangala moorthy, Kasi Viswanathar, Pancha bootha lingams, Saraswathy, Gaja Lakshmi, Saptha Kannigas and 63 Nayanmars.

Theertham: Mainmuthar river, Papanasam, Thenu, Amanduga, Manusarana, Manatha
Sthala Vruksham: Peeple tree

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Sri Vyasaraja Mutt

Sri Kasi Viswanathar Temple

This is a sub temple of Sri Sugavaneswarar temple located in the 2nd Agraharm.

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Sri Kottai Mariamman Temple

The Kottai region is within the heart of the city near the Old Bus stand.
Kottai Mariamman is believed to be the primary Goddess protecting the Salem town. Pilgrims and locals alike throng this temple in big numbers. The Goddess here is small but beautiful. Unlike in a typical Mariamman temple, at the feet of the Goddess one would not find a skull or a devil, but rather just a lotus bud, making it quite unique.

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Sri Azhaagirinatha Perumal Temple

The temple is located near the Kottai Mariamman temple

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Sri Soundararaja Perumal Temple

Chinna Thirupathi Lord Prasanna Venkatachalapathy Temple

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Sri VeerabhadhraSwamy Temple

The temple is about 1 km from Salem old bus stand. The temple is close to Guhai Palam bus stop

Veera badhrar is the angry form of Lord Shiva when He burnt His father in law Dhatchan.Veera badhrar normally found in a sub shrine in the praharam of a Shiva temple is having the main place here.
Veera bhadhrar is worshipped here in both linga form and human form.
The main deity Jangameswarar in linga form is being worshipped as a Veera badhrar.
Normally Shiva faces only East or West direction. Here he faces North, the direction of Guberan, the Lord of wealth. Shiva blessed Guberan with all wealth and so worshipping Lord Shiva here is believed to clear off all wealth related problems.
Ambal Vedhanayagi is having a separate shrine.
To the left of the Jangameswar, Veera badhrar in human form is present along with Mahakali and His father in law, Dhatchan. So worshipping the Lord here is believed to clear off all family relational issues.

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Around Salem

Sri Kariyaperumal Karadu at Nethimedu

There are two temples Subramania swamy temple and Kariaperumal temple here. Steps are available till Murugan temple. But further up there is a huge temple for Kariya Perumal but no proper paved steps are available.

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Sri Ramanuja Mani mandapam at Erumapalayam
Built in memory of 1000th year of birth anniversary of Sri Ramanujar which falls on year 2017.
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Shiva Temple at Sivapuram at Erumapalayam

Sri Murugan Temple at Kumaragiri (Thiruppugazh Sthalam)

The temple is located on a hill top and is dedicated to Lord Muruga. Arunagirinathar sang Thiruppugazh on this Murugan.
The temple was established by Saint Karuppanna Swamy, when Murugar appeared before him and asked him to build the temple where his feet can be found on top of this mountain. Mythology says that a disappointed Muruga, after losing the mango to his brother, stopped here on his peacock on the way to Palani hills. Hence Mango is offered as the main food for Muruga.
The first Kumbabishekam was done in 1914.
There are about 700+ steps to climb the hills and there is a newly built motorable road also.
Muruga is in the form of Bala Dhandayudhapani (Dandam in hand and facing northwards). Deities of Valli and Devasana are only as Utsavar along with Muruga as Shanmugar.
Other deities are Vinayakar, inside the shrine and outside, Durga and Shasta (in the form of Iyappan).

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1) Sri Somanatheswarar Temple
Located at the foot of the Naamamalai. The Agasthiya theertham here will have water even at the peek of the summer.
Links: Location Weblink

2) Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
Located on the top of the hill
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3) Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple

Sri Siddeswar Temple at Kanjamalai

Location: 14 kms West of Salem near Salem Steel Plant at the base of the Kanjamalai hill.

It is said that Kanjamalai Siddhar or Kalangi nadhar, in the clan of Thirumoolar lived here and He only became the Siddeswar here. The main deity is facing East with a Chin mudhra with a big Nandhi facing Him. Siddhars are believed to live here even now. The temple has a small Rajagopuram with a Maha mandapam.
Worshipping here on the NewMoon days is considered highly powerful.

Legend: As per the Karabura nathar puranam, Moolan, an age old Brahmin came to Kanjamalai once along with his aged Sishya. When the Sishsya was preparing food for his Guru, he stirred the food with a stick and it became black. Thinking that it became unusable for his Guru, he ate all the food himself. Surprisingly he became very young then. When the Guru returned and understood all that had happened, he asked for the stick but it was already burnt in the fire while cooking food. So the Guru made the Sishya to vomit some food, ate himself and he also became young. It is believed that there are plenty of rare medicinal plants in the hill.

Theertham: Gantha theertham at the back of the temple.

Note1: Near the temple, there is another temple for Lord Muruga in the name of Sri Gnana Sarguru Balamurugan on a small hill with 100 steps. There are many ancient scriptures about this Lord Muruga.

Note2: At the base of the hill is the Kalangi nadhar temple

Links: Location Weblink1 Weblink2

Salem – Omalur – Mecheri – Mettur

Sri Muniappan Temple at Vennangudi

The temple is located near the Kurangu chaavadi bus stop on the highway itself. This is the temple where almost all the lorries / buses passing through will wait and perform the poojas for safe journey.

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Sri Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal  (Chinna Tirupathi) Temple at Karuvalli

Omalur is about 10 kms from Taramangalam and from Omalur, the Chinna Tirupathi temple is about another 10 kms. This is an ancient temple but renovated fully. Note that there is one more place called Chinna Tirupathi near Salem town as well.

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Sri Badhra Kaliamman Temple at Mecheri
One of the most popular temples of Salem district
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Sri Kasi Lingeswarar Temple at Amaram
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Mettur – Nangavalli – Tharamangalam


1) Shiva Temple
2) Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple

Sri Ari Kathiri Perumal Temple at Vanavasi
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Salem – Tharamangalam

Sri Kailasanathar Temple at Tharamangalam

Location: Tharamangalam is located at about 30 kms west of Salem and 10 kms South West of Omalur and the temple is present just opposite the bus stand.

Significances: The temple is highly popular as an art gallery of sculptures

  • One of the specialties of the temple being that both the main deity Kailasanathar’s shrine (facing West) and the Ambal Sivagamasundari’s shrine (facing East) are facing each other.
  • Just above the Shiva shrine there is a beautiful sculpture depicting Lord Vishnu handing over His sister Parvathi to Shiva for marriage which is called “Tharai varthal” in tamil and hence the name of the place as Thara mangalam.
  • There is also a Pathala linga in the underground in the inner praharam that can be reached by a series of few steps under ground  It is a small stone linga, just bigger than one’s thumb standing on a peeta.
  • Seven stone Vinayagar in the inner praharam is popular. There are shrines for Sahasra lingam, Pancha lingam, Natarajar and Avinasiappar.
  • The temple, constructed by Gatti Mudaliyar (a local king) in 13th century is one of the highly popular temples of Tamilnadu for its art gallery of sculptures. One would be mesmerised with the beautiful sculptures of various Gods, Goddesses in varying postures and emotions in the inner praharam like voluptuous Rishi pathni  (Sage’s wife), Manmathan and Rathi, Urthuva Thandavar, Bitchadanar, Kodungai , Ramar killing Vaali .
  • The God and Goddess of Love, Manmathan and Rathi are considered very unique where Manmathan is looking at There are statue of Rathi and Manmadhan; from the statue of Rathi we can see Manmadhan but Rathi is invisible if you look at from the statue of Manmadhan (not sure of this, so pls check yourself).
  • Also depicted at the temple is a scene of Ramayan. Here Vali & Sukrivan fighting is depicted on one pillar, and Lord Ram with bow and arrow aiming to kill Vali is depicted on another pillar. If we look from Rama’s side Vali will be visible but from Vali’s side Rama will not be visible.
  • A freely rolling stone ball inside the yazhi’s mouth (a mythical dragon combining the lion and the elephant) is a testimony to the sculptural talent showcased in some of our temples. The Tharamangalam temple has two such sculptures. The one in the outer praharam has one such stone ball whereas the one in the inner praharam has amazingly three stone balls inside the Yazhi’s mouth. Possibly this is the only temple which has more than one rolling stone inside Yazhi’s mouth.
  • The West facing temple has a 5 tier Rajagopuram of 90 feet high that is conceived as a chariot on wheels, drawn by two elephants. It is said that these two elephants were the ones that helped building this temple and the sculptures were created in memory of them.
  • The huge entrance doors, made of vengai (pterocarpus marsupium) wood, are studded with unrusting iron knobs each of a different pattern. Their panels are decorated with wooden carvings depicting incarnations of Vishnu.
  • The temple has two praharams. The entrance to the inner sanctum is through a portico supported by six sumptuously carved stone pillars. The scenes of tiger hunting by princes seated on horses and accompanied by footmen are depicted very realistically and with great sensitivity.
  • The wooden doors of the portico are adorned with twenty four panels of excellent carving, some of which have been vandalized. The motifs for these carvings are drawn from the divine exploits of Siva and scenes from the daily lives of ordinary people.
  • The ceiling is supported by rows of stone pillars from whose capitals hang elegant chains carved out of solid stone. The ceiling in front of the main shrine is covered by a block of stone seven feet in diameter carved in the shape of an inverted open lotus with parrots. This carving is surrounded by the Gatti Mudhali insignia. The outer walls of the inner most sanctum are covered with inscriptions.
  • Several gigantic monolithic pillars of pink granite carved, polished, and ready for erection in the proposed Thousand Pillar Hall lie outside the temple. More are said to be under the ground. Before this project could be completed, Vanangamudi Gatti Mudaliyar was killed in 1667, leaving the foreground of the temple littered with ruins of a noble dream.
  • During the days of 9 to 13 of Tamil month Maasi, the Sun rays fall on the Lord during sunset. The rays of the sun travel down through the front Gopura at the temple’s entrance gate and through a small hole travels across the front plane to fall directly onto the statue of Siva. The movement of the sun beam can be witnessed as it progresses across the front of the temple, making the lingam appear to glow.
  • A temple tank (about 180 by 180 feet) is one of the finest of its kind in South India. Thirty-six Nandhi sculptures (two feet high) of black stone sit at intervals on top of the parapet wall whose inside holds 365 lamp niches, one for every day of the year.

Theertham: Sivagangai, Brahmma theertham
Sthala Vruksham: Vilvam, Kadalaathi tree

Links: Location  Photos  Weblink  360deg view

Sri Ilameswarar Temple at Tharamangalam

The temple has a a big Nandhi with Rameswar as the main deity

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Salem-Rasipuram-Namakkal (Trichy)


Located at about 6 kms from Salem, this is another hill with temples and vehicles can go all the way to the temples at hilltop. In this hill, the Sidhars like Agasthair, Pambatti Sithar, Bogar and many others are believed to visit often.

1) Sri Balasubramaniar Temple

This hill top temple too is dedicated to Lord Muruga. It is a small temple, but Lord Muruga is present in a very unique posture of holding the neck of His vahana, peacock. Also, the view of the Salem town from the hill top is amazing.

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2) Sri Chakra Maha Kala Bairavar Shiva Temple

As you descend a few meters, you would notice a small Shiva temple. Next to the linga, on the rocks one would find wonderful engravings of Gods and Goddesses along with a Swayambu Srichakra. Sage Agasthiyar is believed to have offered prayers to this chakra. This small section of engravings is fenced and is worth a visit.  The cave next to it is where many siddha purushas and rishis have done penance.

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3) Sri Sathyanarayana Siddhar Peedam

Opposite to the small Shiva temple, a climb through a series of steps would take you to this Vishnu temple. It is one of the very few temples dedicated to Satyanarayana in Tamil Nadu and hence assumes significance. The flight of steps are few, probably less than 60, but slightly steep in nature. The temple is a small one but the statue of the main deity is just beautiful.

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4) Sri Sowdeswari Amman Temple
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Sri Surya Lingeswarar Temple at Kottaikaradu
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Poi maan Karadu

The main feature of this place is that, from a particular spot, specifically a cave between rocks on the nearby hills, appears like a deer with two horns. The mysterious vision disappears when you get nearer. Hence this spot got its name.

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Sri Ekambareswarar Temple at Mallur
An ancient temple on a small hill has been renovated.
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1) Sri Athayee amman temple

A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars.
It is said that per Ramayana, the Goddes Sri Athayee and Her sister Azhiya Ilankai Amman (the undestroyable Lankan amman) were in Sri Lanka and came to this place on Sri Hanuman’s request. That is why Sri Hanuman while moving the Sanjeeva giri stayed one moment near Sri Athanoor Amman Temple and worshiped the Goddess  Sri Hanuman temple near Sri Athayee temple is called Sri Sanjeeva Rayar Temple.

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2) Sri Aatheeswarar Shiva Temple
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3) Sri Sanjeeviraya Perumal Temple on a hillock
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Sri Azhiya Ilangai Amman Temple (Aya Kovil)
A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars.
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Sri Siddhar Temple at Koonavelampattipudur

Sri Bala Subramanyar Temple at Alavaipatty

Location: 12 kms North-West of Rasipuram
This is a hill temple  in this region with 1500 steps spreading 2 kms distance
Main deity is Swayambu lingam Ekambaranathar with Kamakshi amman
Bala Subramanyar is present in a separate shrine
Siddhars are considered to worship the Lord here
Sthala Vriksham: Ilanthai and Vilvam

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Location: Rasipuram is about 27 kms from Salem.

1) Sri Kailasanathar Temple

This is a fairly big and ancient temple with a 35 feet high Rajagopuram.
The main deity is a Swayambu lingam facing West and the Goddess Dharma Samvardhini is facing East.
Murugan sitting on peacock with consorts is present in a separate shrine. Arunagiri nathar sang Thiruppugazh on this Murugar.
Valvil Ori renovated this temple
Sthala Vruksham: Vilvam

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2) Sri Pon Varadharaja Perumal Temple
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Sri Veerakeswar Shiva Temple at Pattanam

Located at 3 kms North-East of Rasipuram

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Perumal Temple at Ponkaradu

The temple is on a small hill near Patnam village at about 4 kms North-East of Rasipuram

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Sri Sevvantheeswarar Temple at Seerapalli
Located at 7 kms East of Rasipuram
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Sri Kasi Viswanathar Temple at Oduvankurichi
Located at 7 kms East of Rasipuram
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Sri Thiruneeswar Temple at Singalanthapuram
Located at 7 kms South-East of Rasipuram
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Sri Bala Murugan Temple at Onakkaradu
Located at around 3 kms South East of Rasipuram
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Location: Around 20 kms North-West of Namakkal

1) Sri Kailasa nathar Shiva Temple

The main deity is a Swayambu lingam.
The temple is a Thevara Vaipu Sthalam and Thirunavukkarasar sung pathikam on this Shiva.

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2) Sri Desika Narayana Perumal Temple
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Sri Kamakshi amman Temple at Minnampalli
Around 13 kms North of Namakkal
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Sri Varadhraja Perumal Temple at Nainamalai

Location: Around 20 kms South of Rasipuram and 15 kms North of Namakkal
The temple is on a 3 kms high hill with 3700 steep steps. The temple building covers the entire hill top. The temple is considered to be present in all the 4 yugas in various names like Indhra Jalam, Padma jalam, Yadhava jalam and Naina jalam. Perumal is present along with Kuvalaya valli Thayar.
In the maha mandapam, the sculptures of Ramar, Seetha, Lakshmanan, Krishnan with butter pot, Narasimhar, Veera Anjaneyar, Manmadhan, Rathi, Ayyappan and Dasavatharams are present.,
From the 1st of Tamil month Aani to the 30th of Aadi, Sun rays fall on the Lord.
There are 3 water streams.

Contact: Soundaraja Battachariar @ 94434 99854 or 04286 – 271330
email: /

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Sri Karumalai Murugan Temple at Karungal Palayam
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1) Sri Anjeneyar Temple

This is the most popular temple of the town. The Lord Hanuman idol here is one of the largest in this region. Several larger idols of Lord Hanuman are now seen across the state, but clearly this is among the oldest and hence carries its own charm and significance. The temple, by size is quite a small one with just the Hanuman shrine. The idol is however not covered on top, as the legend has it that any efforts to place a roof on top of the Lord has been unsuccessful in the past, either lost to fire or otherwise. The idol is wonderfully sculpted in such a way that the eyesight of Hanuman directly falls on the feet of Narasimha sculpture located quite a few meters away at the foot of the Namagiri fort.

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2) Sri Narasimhar Temple at Namagiri fort

This is a typical rock cut temple of Narasimhar inside the Namagiri fort just opposite the Anjaneyar temple. In the sanctum sanctorum, Lord Narasimhar is present along with Shiva, Brahma and his sons beautifully carved out on all the 3 walls of the sanctum. Interesting aspect is the red mark on Lord Narasimha’s hands, reflecting the legend that the Lord presented Himself at Namakkal, after killing Hiranya Kashipu. The Goddess here is known by the name Namagiri thayar in a separate shrine. Mathematics genius Sri.Ramanujam used to get the dharshan of this Thaayar in his sleeps and get solutions for many complicated problems.

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3) Sri Ranganathar Temple

This is another beautiful rock cut temple on the opposite side of the Narasimhar temple.

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4) Namagiri Fort
It is s a tourist attraction

Sri Valliammai sametha Sri Thanthondreeswarar  Temple at Valipuram

Location: 6 kms west of Namakkal
Main deity is a Swayambu lingam

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Location: 9 kms South-West of Namakkal

1) Sri Choleeswarar Temple

Main deity Choleeswarar is a Swayambu lingam with Ambal Visalakshi.
The temple is a Thevara vaipu sthalam and Thirunavukkarasar sung pathikam on this Lord.

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2) Sri Perumal Temple
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3) Sri Kaliamman Temple
A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars
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Sri Muthusamy Temple at Aariyur
A popular community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars
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Location: 18 kms South of Namakkal on the Northern bank of river Cauvery.

1) Sri Asala Deepeswarar Shiva Temple

The main deity is a West facing Swayambu lingam and Ambal is Madhukaraveni facing East.


  • The deepam in the sanctum sanctorum does not get disturbed by any force of wind and burns still freely. So the deity is called Asala Deepeswarar.
  • When Lord Muruga got angry with His parents when He was not spared with the mango, He disappeared somewhere. When Shiva and Parvathi were searching for Him everywhere, they found Him here and so the place was called Mahanur (Mahan means son in Tamil) and became Mohanur.
  • The temple is a Thevara vaipu sthalam and Thirunavukkarasar and Sundarar sang hymns on this Lord.

A curd seller lady Thenayee at Kaumari palayam was helped in her child birth by this Lord and so He is called Kumareeswarar and the place was called Mahavanur.
The temple has a single praharam
The cauvery is very wide here and the bathing ghat of this place is called Kumarithurai and is considered as scared as Ganga.
AadiPerukku is the most colourful and popular festival here.

Sthala Vruksham: Vivam
Theertham: Cauvery

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2) Sri Kalyana Prasanna Venkataramanar temple
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3) Sri Valliamman Temple
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4) Sri Kandamalai Murugan Temple
A highly popular temple
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5) Sri Navaladi Karuppannaswamy Temple

This highly popular temple is located on the bank of river Cauvery. Karuppannaswami is also known as Navaladian and Judge Durai. Sri Navaladi Karuppuswami is in the form of a Peeta or a platform in a small pit.  This peeta is drawn with eyes, nose and tilak with sandal and dressed (Alankara) as a deity. A turban is also placed on the peeta. Since the main deity is near the Naval tree is He is called Navaladian. The Chellandiamman shrine in the temple is very popular among devotees.  The temple is noted for its architectural and sculptural beauty.
Here people submit their prayers to Lord Karuppannaswami in writing like an official petition and tie them in the Pattamaram Naval tree in the temple. The devotees have the privilege to speak face to face with the deity. A special puja is held in the midnight called ‘Sathya Puja’. It is considered very important by the devotees.

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Rasipuram – Kolli Hills

Sri Annamar Swamy Temple at Arasapalayam (Kakkaveri)
A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars
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Sri Palaniappar (Murugan) Temple at Belukkurichi

The village is right below the Kolli Hills. The name Belukurichi has its root from ‘Velavan Kurunji’, meaning the land and hills that belong to Velavan (Lord Muruga) known as Palaniyappar for whom there is a beautiful temple in the name of Palaniyappar Temple. This is the place where Lord Muruga disguised himself as a handsome hunter youth to lure and marry Valli.
This temple has got a historical significance, where several kings have visited.
It is also said that the Tamil saint poetess, Avvaiyar whenever visited her friend, Valvil Ori, the then chieftain of the Kolli hills, never left the region without offering her prayers to this Lord Muruga.
The idol is found with His hair knotted atop his head like a hunter. This idol has got a unique feature wherein Lord Muruga holds a rooster (Cheval) in His left hand though resting on His hip. In His right hand He holds the vajra vel (the sacred spear). He has also got a pichuva katthi (a hunter’s dagger) in his waist band. This is a unique posture of Lord Muruga which is not seen in the sanctum sanctorum anywhere in the world though it can be seen in temples like Sikkal the sub shrines. The Lord is also depicted as wearing sandals in his feet which is another unique feature (This is also seen in Sikkal)

Note: Belukurichi is also famous for Indian spices like mustard,pulses,turmeric,garlic etc. People from all over South India throng the weekly market of this small village on all Saturdays every year from February to May.

Contact: 98425 46555 / 94430 08705

Links: Location

Karumalai Murugan Temple at Kalappanaickenpatti
The temple is located on a small hill
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Namakkal – Kolli Hills


Note: There are many Senthamangalams in Tamilnadu

1) Sri Lakshmi Narayana Swamy Temple

The temple is located just adjacent to the main bus stand of the town and is an ancient one.
Main deities: Sri LakshmiNarayanan and Perundevi thayar.
Contact:  Soundararajan Battachariar @ 94434 99854

Links: Location

2) Shiva Temple

3) Sri Dattareyar / Murugan Temple at Dattagiri

Quite close to Senthamangalam, there is a small hill top called Dattagiri. The temple is primarily dedicated to Dattareyar, unison of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. There is also a sanctum for Muruga here and that is what most of the locals associate with the temple rather than Dattareyar. The same foundation of Skandasramam is also credited with construction of the Dattagiri temple. One would have to climb about 50 steps to reach the temple. The temple primarily has two deities at the top, Lord Muruga and Lord Dattareya, both being quite magnificent structures as is the case with the Skandhashramams of both Salem and Chennai (Selaiyur).
There is also a small temple at the foot hill. Although small, this houses four sanctums for Vana Durgai, Ayyapa, Dakshinamoorthy and Saneeswara. One has to take a round trip of the premise to catch sight of the four wonderful sculptures. As though to say it has been set up by the same foundation as Skandasramam, the four sculptures are quite big in size and the artistry is spell binding. In specific, the statue of Vana Durgai is such a wonderful sight and is worth the effort.

Links: Location

Kolli Hills

Location: 40 Kms South East of Namakkal. The hill is around 4700 feet height with 70 hairpin bends.

1) Sri Arappalleeswarar Temple at Kolli hills

Significance: Thevara Vaipu Sthalam; ThriruGnana Sambandhar and Thirunavukkarasar sang hymns on this Lord

The main deity is a Swayambu lingam facing East and the Ambal is Thayammai facing South.
There are shrines for Vinayagar, Murugar, Naalvar, Kasi Viswanathar with Visalakshi, Mahalakshmi, Sawarswathi, Durgai, Bairavar and Navagraha.
Sage Kaalaangi  and many Siddhars worshipped Lord here
The nearby water stream is called Ayyaru and fishes in this stream are considered very sacred. The main Lord Arappalleeswarar and many Siddhars are considered to be present here in the form of fishes. Only after feeding the fishes here, the main Lord at the temple is offered food.
Arunagiri nathar sang hymns on this Lord Muruga. The significance of this place has been written in many ancient Tamil literatures.

Links: Location Photos Weblink

2) Sitraruvi Waterfalls

Close to the Arappalleeswarar temple, the Ayyaru water stream where the fishes are considered Siddhars themselves and so are very sacred forms a tiny waterfalls

Links: Location 360 deg view

3) Ahaya Gangai water falls
Near the Arappalleeswarar temple, water is falling from about 600 feet.
Links: Location 360 deg view

4) Sri Ettukai Amman temple at Poonthottam

The deity Ettu kai amman or Kolli pavai is the Goddess of the Kolli hills and the temple is located in a beautiful atmosphere.

Links: Location Photos 360 deg view

5) Sri Masi Periyasamy Temple

Masila falls is a cascading falls of 200 feet and Masi Periyasamy temple is on top of Masila falls

Links: Location Weblink

6) Vasalurpatti Boating Point
Links: Location 360 deg view

7) Botanical Garden
Links: Location 360 deg view

8) Seekku Parai view point
Links: Location 360 deg view

9) Saiakkadu view point
Links: Location 360 deg view

Namakkal – Paramathi Velur


1) Ettukai Amman temple
A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars
Links: Location

2) Shiva Temple


1) Sri Veeratteswarar Shiva Temple

This is one of the five temples with Swayambu lingams on the banks of Manimuthar river  that were worshipped by Pancha Pandava Beema.

Links: Location

2) Padaivetti Amman-Muthusamy Temple
A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars
Links: Location

Sri Veemeswarar Shiva Temple at Mavureddy

Location: 2 kms North of Paramathi
This is one of the five temples with Swayambu lingams on the banks of Manimuthar river  that were worshipped by Pancha Pandava Beema.

Links: Location


Location: About 18 kms South-West of Namakkal

1) Sri Bheemeswara Temple

This is one of the five temples with Swayambu lingams on the banks of Manimuthar river  that were worshipped by Pancha Pandava Beema. This is quite a small temple, but the pillars and carvings tell a great story of how they have stood the test of times.

Links: Location Weblink

2) Sri kothanda Ramar Temple

Mohanur – Paramathi Velur – Pandamangalam – Jedarpalayam

Nanjai  Edaiyar

1) Raasa Koil
A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars
Links: Location

2) Sri Eyilinathar / Thirumaaleeswarar Shiva temple

A Swayambu lingam and one of the five temples with Swayambu lingams on the banks of Manimuthar river  that were worshipped by Pancha Pandava Beema.

Links: Location Weblink

Sri Oonchakattu Karrupanna samy Temple near Ooncha Palayam
A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars.
Links: Location

Sri Kasi Viswanathar Temple at Paramathi Velur
Location: About 25 kms South-West of Namakkal
Links: Location

Sri Prasanna Varadharaja Perumal Temple at Pandamangalam
Links: Location

Sri Vengarai Kaliamman Temple at Vengarai

This is a highly popular and powerful temple. People from far off places throng this temple.

Links: Location

Paramathi – Jedarpalayam

Sri Murugan Temple at Kabilar malai
A highly popular temple
Links: Location Weblink 

Salem – Thiruchengode

Sri Kandhaswamy Temple at Kalipatti

Location: About 25 kms North-East of Tiruchengode and 25 kms South West of Salem
This is a highly popular Murugan temple and one of the richest temples of Salem district. It is backed by significant history and is considered as sacred as Arupadai Veedu Murugan shrines. Here, instead of the Vibhooti (holy ash), devotees are given black ash made of sugarcane. This is supposed to have medicinal properties and supposedly been used for snake bites even,  historically.

Links: Location

Sri Soleeswarar Shiva Temple at Malla Samudhram

Location: 21 kms North-East of Tiruchengode and 28 kms South-West of Salem.
Soleeswara Temples are always in honour of Chola kings

Links: Location


Location: Thiruchengode is about 40 kms South-West of Salem and 35 kms North-West of Namakkal.

1) Sri Elavar Kuzhali amman sametha Sri Kailasanathar Temple

Before visiting the main Thiruchengode hill top temple, one could visit the Kailasanathar temple located at the foot hill. It is a reasonably spacious temple facing East with a 5 tier 76 feet Rajagopuram. The temple is well maintained and the entrance door carvings are a great treat for the eyes.

Links: Location

2) Sri Ardhanareeswarar Temple

Significance: One of the 275 Thevara Padal Petra Sthalams

The historically famous Ardhanareeswarar temple on hill top is undoubtedly the main attraction in this region. Ilangovadigal sang on this temple 2000 years back itself.
Ardhanareeswarar represents union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi in one human form. Goddess Baham Priyal ammai penanced here and became the half part of Lord Shiva.
The main deity is a Swayambu lingam facing West. There are also shrines for Vinayagar, Lord Murugar in the name of Sengottu velavar, Lord Vishnu in the name of Aadhi Kesava Perumal. The premise also holds a huge putru (sand pit), probably among the biggest.
The hill is 1200 feet high with 1200 steps but a road also has been laid to the hill top to drive through vehicles. There is a 5 headed 100 feet long Nagar engraved on the rock by the side of the foot path for climbing. On the 60th step, Sathya Vakkiya Perumal shrine is present
The temple has a North facing 5 tier Rajagopuram with two praharams. There are beautiful carvings on pillars and ceilings.
Since this is a hill of red soil, it is called Sengode.
Sage Bringi is seen worhsipping the deity in standing posture with the support of a stick under the shadow of a tree
Arunagiri nathar sang 27 Thiruppugazh hymns on this Murugar
One of the 63 Nayanmars Viranminda Nayanar was born and lived here.
When the adiyar group of Thirugnana Sambhandhar was suffering with severe cold, he  sang Thiruneelakanda Pathigam and got rid of their suffering.

Theertham: Dheva Theertham
Sthala Vruksham:  Iluppai tree

Links: Location Weblink1 Weblink2

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Kovilpalayam
Location: Around 8 kms East of Thiruchengode
Links: Location

Perumal Temple at Thimirathampatty
Location: Around 10 kms East of Thiruchengode
Links: Location

Thiruchengode – Rasipuram

Sri KonKaliamman temple at Kokkalai (Gokilai)
A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars.
Links: Location

Sri Azhagu Nachiamman Temple at Paruthipalli
A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars.
Contact: 9443220409
Links: Location

Sri Selliamman temple at Konnayar
A community Temple of Kongu Vellala Goundars.
Links: Location

Sri Bala Subramanyar Temple at Vaiyappa malai
A popular temple on a hill
Links: Location

Sri Siva Subramanyar Temple at Pillanallur
A popular temple. Guru Easwaran temple is also just behind.
Links: Location

Salem – Sankagiri

Just after the outer ring road, Kondalampatti is famous for Silk sarees!

Sri Karabureeswarar Shiva Temple at Uthama Cholapuram (Periyur)

Location: The town is located on the western bank of the Manimuthar river at around 8 kms South-West of Salem city. It was known variously as “Karapuram”, “Kaveri Poompattinam,” and is still known as “Periyur.” During the Chozha period, the town flourished as one of the main commercial places of the Kongu Nadu.


  • One of the Thevara Vaipu Sthalams
  • One of the five temples with Swayambu lingams on the banks of Manimuthar river  that were worshipped by Pancha Pandava Beema.


The presiding deity of this famous and historic Shiva temple is called Karabureeswarar and is said to have emerged on His own (swayambu). The linga is present in a slightly tilted position towards North to accept the garlands from a small boy. Goddess is Periya Nayahi amman in a separate shrine.
One of Ravana’s brothers Karan worshipped the Lord here and so the Lord is called Karabura nathar or Karabureeswarar.
It is believed that the famous Tamil poet Aavaiyar arranged the marriage of Angavai and Sangavai here, the two daughters of King Pari, extensively covered in Tamil history to the  King of Thirukkovilur, Deiveegan. The Vinayagar of this temple is believed to have written down the marriage document. Chera, Chozha and Pandya kings attended the marriage. Karadi Siddhar lived in Kanjamalai was present at the marriage in the form of a bear. There is a separate shrine for Karadi Siddhar.
Chera, Chola, Pandya Kings, Seekizhar, Pattinathar, Arunagiri nathar worshipped the Lord here.


The temple is over 1200 years old and was built by Cholas as the name of the town suggests.
The temple has a 5 tier Rajagopuram facing East with a single praharam. There is a life-size sculpture of Avvaiyar placed at the entrance of the temple.
There are shrines for Vinai Theertha Vinayagar, Natarajar, Naalvar, Amarneethi Nayanar, Karaikkal Ammaiyar, Vanthi ammai, Karadi Siddhar, Pancha lingams, Gnana Bairavar and Navagrahas.Sthala Vruksham: Vilvam

Note: The village also contains temples dedicated to Azhagiri Perumal and Mariamman.

Links: Location Weblink

Sri Kariya Perumal (Dasavathara) Temple at Ariyaanur

Location: Around 15 kms from Salem in the Kanjamalai area.

The place of Hari (Vishnu) is called Ariyaanur. Karadi Siddhar found two stones here and identified them as the twins of Lord Rama, Lava and Kucha. A devotee of Karadi Siddhar built a temple for Kariya Perumal and Rama’s son Kuchan is giving dharshan here as Kariya Perumal. Dasavathara sudai sculptures are found over the mandapam. Garudazhwar and Anjaneyar are present as Dwara balahars. Danvanthri, Lakshmi Hayagreevar and Vishnu Durgai are present as Koshta Gods around the sanctum. There is also a Gubera lingam and the idols of 18 Siddhars.
The doors of the temple are never closed and the devotees can do abhsihegam and pooja on their own.

Note: There is also a modern day Dhasavathara temple nearby and don’t confuse that with this ancient temple and make sure that you visit the right one!

Links: Location

Perumal temple at Periya Seeragapadi (Kavagiri)

Location: Around 15 kms from Salem
The temple is located on the Kavagiri hill

Links: Location

Sri Chendraya Perumal Temple at Rakkipatti

Location: Around 18 kms from Salem
The temple is located on a beautiful hill

Links: Location


The town is famous for sarees!
While going from Salem, at Kakapalayam, you have to take a diversion to the right  for about 5 kms.

Links: Location

Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple at Orukkamalai
Location: Around 6 kms from Sankagiri
Links: Location Weblink

Sri Manja Malai Perumal Temple
Location: Around 4 kms from Sankagiri
Links: Location

Sankagiri Hill

Location: Around 37 kms SouthWest of Salem.

The hill is located at 2345 feet above sea level with 1500 steps to the top.
The great Kongu King Theeran Chinnamalai was placed in noose at this place by the English army. On event of this, there is a memorial for Theeran Chinnamalai with his statue in this hill. Sankagiri hill also houses a fort built by Tippu sultan

1) Sri Chenna Kesava Perumal Temple at Sangagiri hill (upper)

There are Chenna Kesava and Varatharaja Perumal temples at the hill top and the hill base, both built by Vijayanagara empire. After completing the pooja at the hill top temple only pooja in the lower hill Varatha Raja temple starts.

Links: Location

2) Sri Varatha Raja Perumal Temple at Sangagiri hill (lower)
Links: Location

Sankagiri town

1) Sri Someswarar Temple

The main deity is a Swayambu lingam with Goddess Soundara Nayagi. There are shrines for Vinayagar, Arumugar, Natarajar, Sellandi amman, Kamkshi amman and Somaskandar.

Links: Location

2) Sri Nava Anjaneyar Temple

Perumal Temple at Mangamalai
Location: Around 10 kms North-West of Sankagiri
Links: Location

Sankagiri – Thiruchengode

Sri Pujaneswarar Temple at Morur
A Swayambu lingam at 6 kms South of Sangagiri
Links: Location

Salem – Athur – Thalaivasal – Veppur

Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple at Udaiyapatti
Links: Location

Sri Kandasramam at Udaiyapatti

Location: About 10 kms from Salem town. It is located on top of a small hill called Skandagiri. A couple of small hairpin bends would take you to the main entrance of the temple.

This is one of the primary landmarks of Salem and is a modern day temple. The same foundation that constructed the Skandasramam at Selaiyur in Tambaram, Chennai has constructed this also in 1970s. As the name indicates, it is the temple dedicated to Lord Muruga. Like Selaiyur Skandashramam, this temple is also very famous for the sheer size of idols of various Gods and Goddesses in its premises. There are Pancha Mukha Vinayaka, Anjeneya, Danvantiri, Dattareyar, various renowned sages and saints across India, Navagrahas with their spouses.

Links: Location Weblink

Sri Kothanda Ramar Temple at Ayodhiapattinam

Location: About 10 kms East of Salem

As the name of the town suggests, this is a temple dedicated to Lord Rama. It is quite an old temple with wonderful sculptural works. The temple sanctum ceilings are filled with paintings depicting various mythological scenes, although it has got slightly eroded over time. The walls and pillars of the sanctum are beautifully decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures. This temple’s pillars are made of phonolitic rock, so they give different sounds when we strike them at different places.
Legend has it that given the delay in time for Rama to reach Ayodhya from Sri Lanka in time for his Pattabhisheka, Lord Rama had his Pattabhisheka done at Ayodhiapattinam, when the auspicious time was still available and later did it in Ayodhya with all necessary procedures. So, we find Rama and Sita in pattabisheha posture – Rama with his left leg folded and Sita Devi with her right leg folded seated to the left of Ramar.
Ayodhya was not only the birthplace of Lord Rama and therefore sacred to the Hindus, but was also sacred to the Jains and Buddhists.  It was the birthplace of Rishaba, Ajitha, and other Jain theerthankarars. It was the place where the celebrated Toothbrush tree of the Buddha grew.  The naming of this village may possibly have roots in the local Jain Buddhist traditions, not just the Hindu epic, Ramayana.

Contact: Raja Bhattar @ 98948 70206

Links: Location Weblink Photos

Panch bootha Shiva Temples on the banks of Vasishta Nadhi

There are 12 Shiva temples located on villages through which Vasishta Nadhi flows. These include the following pancha boodha (Five Classical Elements or Tattva) sthalams and they are marked as PBV1 to PBV5 in this article and in the map:

  • Belur Sri Thandodreswarar (Land),
  • Ethapur Sri Sambamoortheswarar (Water),
  • Athur Sri Kottai Kayanirmeshwarar (Fire),
  • Aragalur Sri Kamanadeshwarar (Air) and
  • Koogaiyur Sri Swarnapurieswarar (Sky).

PBV1 – Sri Thanthondreeswarar Temple at Belur

Location: About 18kms from Ayodhiapattinam and 32 kms from Salem.

Significance: This is one of the Pancha bootha Sthalams installed by Vasishtar on the banks of the Vasishta river representing the land element.

This 12th century temple is fairly big and grand.  Thanthondree means emerging on its own and as the name indicates, this is a swayambu linga. For a swayambu linga, one would be surprised by the relatively large size of the linga. The Rajagopuram of the temple is quite an imposing one and is a 7-tier structure facing East and the temple has a single praharam. Rotating ball inside the mouth of a Yali and the temple pillar carvings are wonderful works of art.
The Goddess is known by the name Dharma Samvardhini. One would also find a sanctum for Kalyana Ganapathy, which houses two Vinayaka statues within the same sanctum, one large and one slightly smaller. People offer prayers here for early marriage.
Narathar, Vasishtar, Dhurvasar, Indhran, Romasar, Kabilar, Sambugan, Sunanthan worshipped the Lord here.
Kanampullar, one of 63 Nayanmars, belongs to this place.

Sthala Vruksham: Jack fruit tree
Theertham: Vasishta Theertham

Links: Location Weblink

Anaimaduvu Reservoir
At around 5 kms from the Belur temple, this is a good picnic spot
Links: Location Weblink


Location: 35 kms East of Salem and 15 kms West of Athur

1) PBV2 – Sri Manonmani Ambal sametha Sri Samba Murtheeswarar temple

Significance: This is one of the Pancha bootha sthalams of Salem district installed by Sage Vasishtar. Located beautifully on the northern bank of the Vasishta river (Unfortunately, this jeeva nadhi didn’t see water since 1983) representing the water(Appu)  element.
The main deity is a Swayambu lingam
One of the Thevara Vaippu Sthalams


Parvthi devi was cursed for attending the Yagna of Dakshan, Her father, without the permission of Lord Shiva and getting insulted. She came here along with Her brother Lord Mahavishnu, did penance under the Vilwa tree in the praharam and got the dharshan of Lord Shiva. When Parvathi Devi worshipped Lord Shiva, Sun God also joined Her during the 1st to 7th of Masi (Feb–March) month during which the Sun rays fall on Lord Shiva. During Her penance all the four Vedas came here and present as Chathurveda lingams.

Also, Indhra once conducted an yagna to get back his lost position as the head of Devas. Sage Gouthama gave a flower to Indhrani with which she got distracted and so the Yagna became a failure. Angered Indhra cursed Sage Gouthama and so he got separated from his wife, Agaligai. He then worshipped Lord Shiva here and got re-united with Agaligai.

Both the above incidents indicate that this is a powerful parihara sthalam for reunion of couples and they do parihram by circumambulating the Vilwa tree in the praharam.

Sun God plays a significant role in this temple and so Ratha Sapthami is very popular.

The Temple:

The temple with 3 praharams was built by Mysore Maharaja,  .

In the praharam, there are shrines of all the other four Pancha bootha Sthalangals of Salem such as Sri Thanthondreeswarar of Belur, Sri Kamanandeswarar of Aragalur, Sri Swarnapureeswarar of Koogaiyur, Sri Kaya nirmaleswarar of Athur so that visiting this temple alone will be equivalent of all the Pancha bootha sthalams of Salem district. In addition there are shrines of Sahasra lingam, Chathur veda lingams and the Pancha bootham lingas, Prithivi (Land), Appu (Water), Tejas (Agni), Akasam (Space) and Vayu (Air).

Our Visit:

Unfortunately, during our visit, the Parivara deities of such a great temple looked as if they didn’t see oil in the near past. If you plan a visit, please take some oil.

For the attention of temple worship groups:
If you can buy sufficient vasthras and oil and see to it that all the parivara deities are bathed and dressed up with new vasthras, it will be a soul stirring experience.

Contact: 04282 270210

Links: Location Photos

2) Sri Lakshmi Gopala Temple
This temple was also built by Mysore Maharaja
Links: Location Weblink

Sri Aatkondeeswarar Temple at Pethanaicken Palayam
This is another temple located on the bank of Vashishta river
Links: Location Weblink


Location: Athur is located at 50 kms East of Salem

There is an ASI maintained Fort here. A nice article on Athur here.

1) PBV3 – Sri Kaya Nirmaleswarar Sivan Temple at Athur Fort (Ananthagiri)

The temple is located in the Athur Fort region near Athur town.
Significance: This is one of the Pancha bootha sthalams installed by Vasishtar on the banks of the Vasishta river representing Fire (Agni) element.
The main deity is a Swayambu lingam in the name of Kayanirmaleswarar / Vasishteswar with Goddess Akilandeswari.
Ananthan worshipped the main deity and so He is also called Anantheswar

Sthala Vruksham: Vilvam
Theertham: Vasishta

Links: Location Weblink1 Weblink2

2) Sri Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Temple at Athur Fort
Links: Location

3) Sri Thalayatti Vinayakar temple
Links: Location Webink

4) Sri Veera Anjaneyar temple
Links: Location Weblink

5) Sri Kailasanathar Temple

Sri Bala Subramanyar Temple at Vada Chennimalai
A hill temple at about 9 kms East of Athur
Links: Location Weblink


Aragalur is about 20 kms East of Athur. Aragalur means in Tamil – village of six trenches and it speaks of its militant nature. All the three religions – Hinduisam, Jainisam and Buddisam flourished here.

1) PBV4 – Sri Kaamanatheeswarar / Kala Bairavar Temple

Location: 21 kms East of Athur towards Veppur  and 4 kms of South-East Thalaivasal on the Southern bank of Vasishta river.


  • This is one of the Pancha bootha sthalams installed by Vasishtar on the banks of the Vasishta river representing the Air (Vayu) element.
  • The temple with 5 praharams is the biggest temple of the Salem district.
  • The main deity is a Swayambu lingam with Goddess Periya Nayahi
  • Natarajar of this temple is very big and beautiful
  • The temple has the following Ashta Bairavaras:
    Ajitanga Bhairavar, Ruru Bhairavar, Chanda Bhairavar, Krodha Bhairavar, Beeshana Bhairavar, Kapala Bhairavar, Unmatta Bhairavar and Kala Bhiravar

On every Ashtami day after the full moon special poojas are conducted at midnight. People worship Ashtabairavar here to get remedy for all their problems.

Contact: Sabesa Gurukkal @ 99765 82396

Links: Location Photos

2) Sri Karivarada Perumal Temple

The Karivarada Perumal Kovil is equally famous and is a treasure house of beautiful sculptures. It receives a steady stream of devotees throughout the year.
Rajaraja Vanar Kovaraiyan built this temple facing West in the 12th century. There are nice Dasavatara murals with the 9th avatar as Buddha! This is a parikara sthalam for people with stars Uthiradam, Thiruvonam, Avittam & Moolam. The vimana is of 3 levels.

Note: The temple cars donated by Eramanchi Tulukanna Nayaka 1518 under Vijayanagara Empire are in ruins but the art work is brilliant even in the current condition.

Links: Location

3) Sri Solesvaran Temple

This temple gives the old name for the village as ‘Thayinum nalla chozhiswaram’. The temple is constructed using Granite stones with no mortar. Nandi is in separate Mandapa. There is another small temple for the Goddess adjacent to the Solesvaran temple and the construction is similar to the main temple. Locals believe that this was constructed by / in honor of Kulothunga Chola III.

Links: Location

4) Anbairamman temple
The temple on the bank of Vasishta Nadi, has 2 Vinayakars that’s not a common feature.
Links: Location

5) Shiva Temple
Links: Location

6) Perumal Temple
Links: Location

Also there is an icon stone with information about 12th century Jain school (Jeenalayam)


1) Buddha temple
Links: Location Weblink

2) Buddha Dhyana Mandapam
A 5th century 6 feet high sculpture of Buddha is present here
Links: Location


Location: Around 2 kms South of Aragalur

1) Shiva Temple
2) Perumal Temple


Location: Around 11 kms East of Aragalur; 6 km South of Kural village Chinna Salem junction in the Salem-Athur-Vridhachalam road.

This small village has 5 Shiva temples within apart from Sri Raja Narayana Vinnagar Perumal Temple and at about 1 km from here, the popular Veera Bayangaram Ayyanar temple.
A separate travelogue has been posted here on my visit to Koogaiyur Shiva temples

The 5 Shiva temples are:

1) Sri Periyanayagi sametha Kailayamaana Pon Parappina Eswaramudaya Nayanar / Sri Sornapureeswarar Temple – the most active and popular temple and is being called as ‘Periya koil’ by locals.
2) Sri Kariyampureeswarar Temple – a granite temple in dilapidated condition now. The main deity is sitting in open space within a ruined sanctum.
3) Sri Oppila ammai sametha Sri Panchatchara nathar / Sri Thirumoola Siddha nathar Temple (Thevargal Thambiran temple), family deity temple for Veera Saivas.
4) Sri Kailasa Chozheeswaramudaiya Nayanar Temple – a small single shrine temple
5) Sri Pon Parappina Chozheeswaramudaiya Nayanar Temple – under renovation now.

1. Sri Periyanayahi sametha Sri Swarnapureeswarar Temple

Significance: This is one of the 5 Pancha bootha sthalams installed by Sage Vasishtar on the banks of the Vasishta / Niva / Vellar river in the Salem-Athur-Veppur route and this temple represents the Sky (space) element.  The pancha booth sthalams are:

  • Belur Sri Thandodreswarar (Land),
  • Ethapur Sri Sambamoortheswarar (Water),
  • Athur Sri Kottai Kayanirmeshwarar (Fire),
  • Aragalur Sri Kamanadeshwarar (Air) and
  • Koogaiyur Sri Swarnapurieswarar (Sky).

In addition to the above Pancha bootha sthalams, the 5 Shiva temples within Koogaiyur itself are considered as the Pancha bootha sthalams. People who pledge to worship the 5 Pancha bootha sthalams of Lord Shiva come here and worship all the 5 temples here and complete their prayer.

The Niva river is glorified in various pathigams by Thirunavukkarasar, Sambandhar, Sundarar and Sekkizhar. It is said that the Saptha rishis called up the river to flow, starting from Kalvarayana hill (Velli malai), so that they can worship various shiva temples on its bank. Sundarar has sung 11 pathigams on the significance of this river in his ‘Thirunelvayal Arathurai’ thevara pathigam. Apart from the above 5 temples, the other temples which are located on the banks of this river which are worshipped by the Saptha rishis are: 6) Aadhithurai (Kaariyanur) 7) Thiruvalanthurai 8) Thirumaanthurai 9) Aduthurai 10) Thiruvathithathurai (Thittakudi) 11) Thiruvarathurai and 12) Thirukaithurai. These temples are called as Thurai temples (thurai in tamil means banks of a river)

The Swarnapureeswarar temple is a very grand and beautiful temple with a massive compound wall with lots of great architectural features and legendary importance.
This temple is a Thevara Vaipu Sthalam sung by Thirunavukkarasar.
The main deity Swarnapureeswarar is a Swayambu lingam.


When Dakshan conducted a Yagna and insulated Lord Shiva and Parvathi, it was Sage Vasishtar and his Sishyas who authored the Yagna. So Lord Shiva got angry and cursed them to forget the Vedas. They worshipped Lord Shiva in all the Pancha bootha sthalams and finally here, the last of the Pancha bootha sthalams, got absolved of their sins and got back their lost knowledge & power.

Devaguru Brahaspathi (Vyazha Bhagavan) was once insulted by Indhran. So he got vexed and walked out of the Indhra Sabha. While he was living in aroopam in the forests, he came here, worshiped Lord Shiva and got back all his lost fame and position.

There are 19 inscriptions just in this temple alone and totally 32 inscriptions are there in all the 5 temples of Koogaiyur. They have been documented in a separate book in tamil “Koogaiyur inscriptions” by Sri Rama Arunachalam.

There is an interesting story on how this temple was built:
During the coronation ceremony of Chola King Klothunga III in Gangai konda Cholapuram on 6-8 of July 1178, a divine voice was heard to the King and Queen asking “Did you forget your vow to build a temple during your coronation ceremony?”. Just at the same time, a tributary chief of the Chola kingdom from Koogaiyur came and the King suddenly remembered his earlier vow/wish to renovate the Koogaiyur Swarnapureeswarar temple to convert it into a granite temple. He immediately ordered to start the work on this temple and after 6 years of work, the Kumbabhishegam was conducted on 24.01.1184 in the presence of the King Klothunga III. Becaue the exact date of the temple is inscribed, this is called as “Dated temple / தேதியிட்ட  கோயில்”.

The Temple:

Amman shrine:
The Amman shrine here is very special with lot of features. The Kodungai (the ceiling of the front mandapam) is highly popular and there is an old saying “Koogaiyur Kodungai Azhagu / கூகையூர் கொடுங்கை அழகு” proclaiming its beauty. The Kodungai is very artistically carved with various beautiful icons of Shiva’s various divine plays in 72 squares within a 20 x 20 feet big square.
On the koshta walls around the Amman shrine, there are 108 Shiva linga icons in two rows being worshipped by Parvathi Devi, Kannappa Nayanar, monkey, crab etc., The icons of King Klothunga III and Queen Thirubhuvana Sundari are also present in the outer walls.
Also, there are musical pillars in the Amman shrine mandapam which emnate all the Saptha swaras from different places.

After Rajaraja Chola II built the Tharasuram Iravatheeswarar temple, his son Klothunga III built this temple and so the influence of Tharasuram temple can be seen here also in the Musical pillars, Kodungai, the 108 tiny Shiva icons around the outer wall and various other sculptures

As we enter the temple, there is a big 46 pillar Vasantha mandapam where different temple urchavams are conducted.

There are shrines for Vinayagar, Murugan, Suryan, Chandran, Agni, Kala Bairavar, Naalvars, 63 Nayanmars, Old and new Murugars, Aadhi Periya nayagi, Jeshta Devi, Pradhosha Nayagar (granite moorthy), Natarajar etc.,
Apart from these, Sridevi, Boodevi sametha Sri Mahavishnu and Aadhi Mahavishnu are also present in the inner praharam.
In the koshtam, Narthana Vinayagar, Dakshinamoorthy, Lingothbavar, Brahmma and Vishnu Durga are present.
Chandikeshwar shrine is also present.
The Kala bairavar of the temple is the Kshethra balahar and Swarna Akarshana Bairavar.
There is said to be a cave that goes for a long distance where Thirumoola Siddhanathar was in penance.

Sthala Vruksham: Nelli (Goosebeeery)
Contact: Sri Rama Arunachalam @ 0427-2400415 / 93450 65727, a historian who has written an exclusive book on the inscriptions of the Koogaiyur temples.
Sri Subramanya Gurukkal @ 89402 84119 / 97867 99942

Links: Location Photos

2) Sri Kariyampureeswarar Temple

In front of the Swarnapureeswarar temple, there is a Government school and at the backside of the school, this temple – Sri Kariyampureeswarar Temple – is located. This is a small and beautiful granite temple but devastated by a long grown tree on top. Surrounded by green fields all around, it is located in a beautiful environment just at the outside border of the village. Though it is pathetic to see Lord Shiva sitting calmly in open space within a ruined graba graham, on the other hand it also looks like that he wants to sit in ehantham without the disturbance of any human! There are only indications of an Ambal shrine which has totally disappeared (Just wondering how it hasn’t got the attention of Uzhavarapani group yet! Atleast the long grown tree has to be cut immediately).

Links: Location Photos

3) Sri Oppila ammai sametha Sri Panchatchara nathar / Sri Thirumoola Siddha nathar Temple (Thevargal Thambiran temple)

The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva as Sri Panchatchara nathar with Ambal Sri Oppila Ammai but the temple is locally known more as a Siddhar temple because of the shrine for Sri Thirumoola Siddhanathar (not one of the 18 Siddhars, Thirumoolar) who lived and performed many miracles here. His living period and origin are unknown but it is said that he was an expert in Ashtama Siddhis, travelled in air to visit many sacred rivers and blessed / taught so many students and people. Here he lived in a cave, established an yoga mutt and practiced Shiva yoga.

It is said that, when the temple construction was going on for the Swarnapureeswarar temple, the son of the chief Vishwakarma died due to snake bite and the Thirumoola Siddhar brought him to life. King Malangan and the Queen, realizing the holiness and power of the Siddhar, were rendering service to him. When the King and Queen became old without any child, Thirumoolanadha Siddhar made them young so as to re-live their youth life. The Siddhar taught Veera Saivam to the King and made him as a guru in the name of Madhava Gurubaran to teach ‘Veera Saivam’ to others. Since then, t he temple is being maintained by the descendant Veera Saivas of Madhava Gurubaran only and once in a year all the families gather here for a grand festival. The temple is beautifully located right on the bank of the Vsishta river but due to negligence, the river bank is full of unwanted weeds

The 9 inscriptions of this temple are dated back to 16th century (1504 – 1551) Vinayanagara regime but it is believed that the temple was initially constructed by the Pandya Kings in 14th century.

This is also a fairly big granite temple with a huge periphery wall. The temple is facing East with a 3 stage 45 feet high Rajagopuram. After the Balipeddam, the Nandhi mandapam is present with a vimanam. In the koshtam, Narthana Ganapathy, Dakshinamoorthy, Lingothbavar, Brahmma and Durga are present.

In the main shrine, Lord Shiva is present on a Sqaure Avudayar. Panchachtra nathar represents Pancha (five) – Atcharam (syllable) of Na-Ma-Chi-Va-Ya.

In the praharam, the ancient Saptha mathars as well as the newly installed Saptha mathars, Valli & Deivanai sametha Murugar, Gajalakshmi, Saraswathi, Annapoorani, Navagrahas, Bairavar Veera badhrar, Surya Chandras are all present.

In the Oppila Ammai shrine, the beautiful Ambal is present with a smiling face and a kind look.

Links: Location Photos

4) Sri Kailasa Chozheeswaramudaiya Nayanar Temple

This is the 4th Shiva temple at Koogaiyur, a small one with just a single shrine for Lord Shiva only without any outer praharam. It is located just about 100 meters before the Sri Panchatcharanathar temple.

Links: Location Photos

5) Sri Choleeswarar Temple

The 5th Shiva temple of Koogaiyur, Sri Soleeswarar Temple is under renovation now (Dec 2018).

Links: Location

6) Sri Raja Narayana Vinnagar Perumal Temple
Links: Location

Sri Ayyanar temple at Veera Abayangaram

This is a highly popular temple located at about 1 km from Koogaiyur.
For about 200 feet from the entrance to the temple, there are immense stucco sculptures on both sides.

Links: Location Photos

Sri Swarnambigai sametha Sri Swarnapureeswarar Temple at Then Ponparappi

The place of Kagabujanda Sidhar’s jeeva Samadhi
The main deity is a huge Shodasa lingam with 16 stripes made of a special Chandragantha stone which is considered equivalent to Navabhasanam.

The Temple:
The main deity lingam is made of a special Surya gantha stone and is considered equivalent of Navapashanam. It was installed and worshipped by the Kagabujanda Siddhar who is being considered as the Head Guru of all the Siddhars. He is present in the Jeeva Samdhi in the Esanya corner of the temple.
It is said that the Kagabujanda Siddhar did penance for 16 years here and Lord Shiva gave dharshan to him as Shodasa lingam with 16 stripes during a pradhosha time. So, the pradhosha worship is considered very significant. Sri Swarnapureeswarar appears as Shodasa lingam with 16 stripes and is huge at about 5.5 feet height. Though the shodasa lingams are present in many other places also, the uniqueness here being all the 3 parts of the deity – Brahmma, Vishnu and Rudhra – have 16 stripes in unison.
The name of the place as Ponparappi (Pon means Gold in tamil) and the name of Lord Shiva as Swarnapureeswarar indicates that this place was flourishing in wealth once and Lord Shiva is present here to bless the devotees with wealth.
Unlike other places, Nandheeswarar appears as a calf and is in straight line to the main deity.
All the koshta moorthies, including Maha Vishnu appear in simple attire without any grand ornaments. Maha Vishnu here is seen wearing just a Rudrakshamala and is called Rudraksha Maha Vishnu. The Alankara priyan Mahavishnu in simple attire is a very rare form.

The temple is kept open from morning to evening without break as the caretaker lives close by.
Contact: 04151 257057 / 94432 40127
Sridharan Gurukkal @ 99525 52554

Links: Location Weblink Photos

Sri Sokkanathar Shiva Temple at Peththaanur

Links: Location

Sri Ardhanareeswarar Temple at Ulagiyanallur

Built by Veera Rajendra Cholan at 1184 CE, the legend of the competition between Saraswathi and Lakshmi on which one of wisdom or wealth is better than the other (Remember “Saraswathi Sabatham” tamil movie) is said to have taken place here.

Links: Location

Sri Chidambareswarar Temple, S.Naraiyur
Links: Location


1) Shiva Temple
2) Perumal Temple
3) Murugan Temple


1) Sri Kalatheeswarar Temple
2) Perumal Temple

Shiva Temple at Malayanur
Links: Location

Shiva Temple at Magarur
Links: Location

Perumal Temple at Keezh Orathur
Links: Location


1) Sri Lokapaleeswarar Temple
2) Perumal Temple
3) Sri Kailasanathar Temple
4) Shiva Temple


1) Sri Amirthalingeswarar Temple
2) Perumal Temple

A nice link on Salem Tourism here:
A nice
article on Athur


  1. Hello sir,

    I’m looking for the Kasthoori rangan malai temple which is in Valayapatti namakkal trichy road. My mother’s family temple. she has been there at her childhood. she asked me to take her to the temple. I’m not able to find that temple. Please let me know the details about the temple.

    The temple has some speciality. There is 7 sunai(7 kulam) in that temple. the temple resides in the top of the hill. Each sunai, has some specific purpose. Snake will come If we use wrongly. Only Male and old ladies can make Pongal overthere. Its a perumal temple which made of sudhai roobam with snakes.

  2. sir your service to hindu society is outstanding.hats of to you.sir i came to know that my kuladevata is mullai kolaviammam . can you please let me know which god is this and where it is located in tamilnadu now.iam in serious need of this detail please help me sir thankyou.

  3. Dear Mr.Raju

    I am from Bangalore. Nice to know about you.

    Sir can you please give Ettukai Amman Temple Priest contact number?

    I heard he is from Rajajinagar Bangalore and his name is Sri: Palani Gurukkal.

    Pease help with the contact number sir.



  4. Thank you very much for compiling this together, it would be extremely helpful if you could share details of Periyaandavan Koil at Attur (address, contact nos. and/or website, any information would be more than helpful. Thanks again

  5. A great work . This blog wl help very much for those who want visit or to know temples in and around of the salem district. Fantastic. As a native of salem town, myself also din’t visit many of these temples.
    I once again thank you for your detailed posting.

  6. I am from Salem and I fondly remember the days I lived there. The temples in and around Shevapet Agraharam were my favourite visit-spots. I am grateful to you for the nice way you have put across the details. Hve y ou mentioned about Lakshminarasimar temple and Koppu-konda Royan temple in Pethanaickenpalayam, Attur Taluk?

  7. Hello there,

    I would love to visit the Aragalur Sivan temple when I visit Tamil Nadu in April. Does anyone have a contact number to the temple? Thank you.


  8. A small correction: The chakra in Shiva Temple at Oothumalai is “Sri Chakra” and not Sudharshana Chakra. This chakra is believed to be offered prayers by Sage Agasthya. The cave next to it is where many siddha purushas and rishis have done penance.

  9. Respected Sir, remarkable…… no word to praise the work for natives … my sincere mamaskaram.

    viswam on 14th August 2013

  10. Dear Raju Sir,

    This is a priceless service to mankind by you. God bless you always for this wonderful philanthrophy. Just one small suggestion, if you do mention the timings during which the temple would be open, it would be of very great help.

    Madhan Mohan. M

  11. Mr Raju,
    Very Interesting and very useful. Can yoou suggest good and decent accommadation at Salem for a day this weekend. We are 2 and purpose of our visit is pilgrimage.

  12. It seems Viranminda Nayanar was born in Tiruchenguntrur(Chengannur), kerala( But here given as Tiruchengodu (Kodimadachenguntrur).Which is correct?

  13. Very nice to read devine news about my Birth place Salem and its nearby places including Vengarai which is our native place.Thanks for bringing out such a detailed study of various locations.

  14. Excellent and painstaking write ups with photos highlighting their importance tempting for visits .Thank you very much nad good wishes for your continued research and postings.
    Vaidyanathan from Mumbai

  15. Many thanks for the Salem Temples blog. I was very much useful for our visit to Salem by the description of various temples in and around Salem. May your divine service continue.Like this send in and around Kathiramangal near aduthurai temples.

  16. Sir, Thanks for the compilation which is very useful. You can also add the Maasi Periyasaami temple at the top of kolli hills which is a very famous one.

  17. Many thanks for the Salem Temples blog. As it is the town/district where I grew up, I was very touched by the description of various temples in and around Salem. May your divine service continue.

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