Thursday, September 16, 2010

Aarudhra Kabaaleeswara Temple, Erode

This is one of the twin temples situated in the busy Fort area of Erode. The reason why the city got its name lies in the Thala Puranam ( உண்மையிலேயே தலை புராணம் தான் ) of this temple!!!

The story goes like this:

King Lakshmi Kanthan, ruled over the Kongu nadu from his palace at a place called Soorapatti. He was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and took extreme care in growing beautiful flowers in his garden to worship the Lord. His Goshala was at Pallipalayam. Everyday, a cowherd would carry pots of milk from there for the King's pooja, and while he did so one pot would fall down and break over a particular spot and all the milk would spill on the ground.

The cowherd did not know the reason why. He would be very careful while crossing that spot, but in spite of that, the pot would break and the milk would spill. When he took the remaining pots to the palace, he would get scolded for bringing  less milk. To save himself, he narrated the story to the Queen who thought he was selling the milk outside and lying about it. So she asked the King to send his men to check on the cowherd. The King's men found that the cowherd was not lying and reported back to the King.

Surprised, the King asked his men to dig the place where the milk spilt everyday to see what was causing the incident. When the men dug, they found nothing. The king then took the chisel himself, and started digging. When the chisel hit the ground, the ground broke, and the head portion of the lingam broke into four, and fell in four different directions. The place where the big portion of the head fell is called "Perode"( பேரோடு), where the small portion fell is called "Sithode"(சித்தோடு), where the white portion (brain ) fell is called " Vellode", (வெள்ளோடு) and the place where the broken baana (பாணம்) along with the wet bloody scalp of the Lord remained came to be known as "Erode" (ஈர ஓடு or ஈரோடு) . The lingam still bears a wound on its portion as is said to be wet at all time which is why the Lord is called Arudhra Kabaleeswara ( Eswara with the wet skull). The temple is ancient, and the praharams are wide, housing several other sannathis. It is believed that Goddess Parvathi worshipped Shiva here as a peacock. She is called Varani Ambal and is found in a separate shrine. 
A Beautiful Rudhrakoteeswara ( lingam with a thousand and eight lingams engraved on it) can be found on the praharam. It is believed that the Sun worshipped Lord Ardhra Kabaaleswara here. To this day, the Sun's rays fall on the lingam on the 26, 27, and 28th day of the Tamil month of Masi and Surya is found with his consorts Sandhya and Chhaya in the outer praharam.
Shiva Kudumbam under the Peepal Tree
One other unique feature is that of a statue of Ambal and Shiva along with Ganesha found under the Sthala Vriksham. 

The Ardhra Kabaaleeswara is worshipped mainly by weavers who desire to succeed in their craft. A very interesting tale is associated with this practice. Once upon a time, there was a very poor weaver called Thandavan who lived here. He was a very staunch devotee of Lord Ardhra Kabaaleswara and spent all his life and the very meagre resources he had in serving the Lord through his devotees. Lord Shiva, pleased with his devotion, wanted to showcase it to the world. 

So he approached his wife when Thandavan was away. Pleased to receive the aged devotee of Shiva, the lady welcomed him warmly and asked him how she could help. The old man said that he had come looking for a towel. The lady responded that her husband had only one towel and had gone out wearing it, but if the old man could tell her where he was staying , her husband would make sure he received a towel. 

The old man smiled and said he could be found outside the Ardhra Kabaleeswara temple and left. Once Thandavan returned, his wife narrated everything that had happened. Thandavan was overjoyed that the old devotee had sought him for help. He ran to his boss, and requested him to give him a towel on credit. The boss was surprised. Thandavan had been working as a weaver with him for many years, but had never asked for any help. He always received his meagre wages with gratitude and went about his work without a complaint. So he agreed to give him a towel on credit.

Thandavan ran with the new towel to the temple. He was quick to spot the old man, sitting near the entrance of the temple and gave the towel to him. The old man received it with a divine smile and blessed Thandavan. 

Next morning, the priest was in for a surprise when he opened the temple. The silk parivattam (towel) which had adorned the Lord the previous night was missing and in its place was a humble cotton towel. The priest was unable to comprehend how this had happened and raised an alarm. At that time, Thandavan's boss came to the temple for his daily worship. He saw the towel and identified it as the one he had given on credit to Thandavan.

The priests decided that Thandavan had stolen the silk towel belonging to the Lord. He was dragged to the temple, tied to a pillar and the people starting beating him up. Thandavan pleaded innocence and appealed to the Lord for help. Wanting to reveal the truth, the Lord spoke through the Village Officer's son, that he had performed that incident to show to the world the depth of Thandavan's devotion. Even though he did not have anything to call his own, he had happily strived to serve the devotees of Lord Shiva and through his service, had pleased the Lord himself.

In recognition of his service, the Lord proclaimed that from that day on, he would be known as Thondeeswarar. Thandavan was overjoyed. He spent the rest of his life serving the Lord and was attained salvation.

To this day, weavers and those involved in the weaving craft, worship Lord Ardhra Kabaleeswara in order for their business to succeed. 

How to reach here: The temple is found in the fort area within the city of Erode, opposite to the Kasthuri Ranganatha Perumal temple.

Temple Timings: 6 am - 11 am, 4 pm - 8 pm

Contact details: 0424-2267578


  1. It is so suprising ,I've been to the temple so many times,never knew the history behind it.Thanks for starting this &is also very interesting!Keep going!

  2. Thanks check in when you find time!

  3. hmm - not bad at all - so nice to see something creative from a good friend dear - congrats and keep rocking :)

  4. thanks so much Judy...I really value your feedback :)

  5. I appreciate your interest in spirituality; I myself did not know the history of the temple having visited the temple (Kasthuri ranganathar also) so many times and having been in Erode for twelve years.But how do you authenticate your information?(the sthala ppurana et al.,)

  6. That is a very valid question...I speak to the Archakas/Executive officer of the temple and gather information, I refer to the official sthalapuranam published by the temple wherever it is available, I also refer to wikipedia sometimes, especially for geographical information such as correct distances, name of district etc. when the temple is outside tamilnadu.Hope this answers your query.

  7. Thank you.Carry on your good work of Kshethradanam and may the Almighty shower His choicest blessings on you for your good work of making the people aware of the divine.

  8. thank you so much Mr. visit the blog whenever you find time and offer your feedback


  9. Hello Priya,

    We belong to a religious group located at Bangalore. Planning a trip to erode,banvahi, Tirichengodu and Kodumudi. The trip will be for two days. If you find time kindly give me a list of important temples we can cover in two days apart from the above..
    Muruga saranam.

    1. Please check out the Erode and Salem temples labels on this blog which will give you the details of temples like Sangameswara temple, Sri Raghavendra temple, Kannankurichi, Orukkamalai Sri Varadaraja perumal temple,1008 Shiva Temple, Sri Kasturi Ranganatha Perumal temple at Erode etc. You can also visit the Erode Navabrindavanam at SPB Nagar, if you happen to find time in the morning.