Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tall, Dark and Handsome!

A view of the Vimanas and Gopuram of Sri Amirthambigai Samedha Sri Aavundeeswarar Temple, Nemam

On the second saturday of every month, through the Aalayam Kanden Trust, we visit an ancient, lesser known temple, and donate ghee and oil for lamps. We also light lamps in all the shrines and in front of all the Goshta Devathas on that day. The details of the temple, and the time of the activity are informed well in advance through the Aalayam Kanden Facebook Page for the benefit of those who wish to participate and/or contribute. This month, for some reason, we were not able to decide on the temple. Several options were analysed, but no decision was arrived at. With just one week left , I started receiving phone calls from anxious friends. It was then that the Nemam Avundeeswarar temple came into my mind.

Eagerly, I started reading about it. Two articles, one written by renowned astrologer Shri AMR, and the other that appeared in Agasthya Vijayam, made me decide on the temple. We called the trustee Mr. Kumar to agree upon the time. What he said was music to our ears. He suggested, that we visit on Sunday instead of Saturday as Sunday was Pradhosham . So the date and time were quickly set, and we waited eagerly for Sunday afternoon.

We reached the temple around 3.45 pm. The Gurukkal was just opening the door as we arrived. He welcomed us warmly and introduced us to Mr. Kumar, trustee, and the man instrumental in making this temple rise from dust. As we waited for him to freshen up and meet with us, we walked around the temple admirng the various idols and their beauty. The Gurukkal took us into the temple. There was no electricity and with the help of an emergency lamp, he opened the door of the sanctum sanctorum.

My heart stopped at the sight of the magnificient Avundeeswara. Almost 4.5 feet tall, the long Baana on a square Avudaiyaar in the dimly lit Grabagraha, reminded me of Thirugnanasambandar's verse - " காதலாகி, கசிந்து, கண்ணீர் மல்கி" as my hands automatically rose above my head, and I felt goosebumps all over. He looked every bit the title of this post. 

The Gurukkal pointed out to the dampness on the walls around, to the height of the Lord. He said that the source from where the water was seeping through the walls was unknown, but it was through the year and did not raise beyond the height of the lingam.

He also mentioned about the Amudha Yogeeswara Bhairavar at the temple. He said that it has been witnessed that he guards the temple at night - such a living, strong presence! Worshipping this Bhairava on Saturdays rids one of problems faced due to Shani Dasa and also due to Seivinai (Mantrikam/Sorcery)

Sri Amudha Yogeeswara Bhairava - The Guardian of the Temple!

We went around the temple which was spotlessly clean and well maintained. Soon, Mr Kumar joined us and took as to the Meditation Hall that has been built recently. The hall had pictures of the 18 Siddhars placed on the wall, and ambience conducive for meditation. Mr. Kumar started talking about the history of the temple and how it was raised from shambles.

He recalled how until 1999 the whole temple had been covered by thick vegetation and there was no passage available even to get close to the temple. No one ventured close, fearing the giant sized bats and reptiles crawling around! Right from childhood, Kumar had the desire to get close and see how the temple looked like and when he along with some friends, finally managed to do so, this is how the temple looked like!


From what it was, it took eleven years of struggle, patience and support from people from different parts of the world, and the consecration was performed in the year 2010. He said that over these years of struggle to raise over a crore of rupees, it was the Siddhars who guided him at every step. This temple is also said to be the Aikiya Sthalam of Gantha Siddhar (காந்த சித்தர் ).

History of the temple:

After Pralaya, when Lord Brahma started creation of human beings again, it is believed that he sprinkled the holy nectar (amirtham) on Nemam and that the Devas had offered the Amirtham first to Goddess Amirthambigai. Hence this Kshetram is known as the Amirtha Janma Bhoomi. Being a Janma Bhoomi from where creation started, the Goddess grants prayers of childbirth with generosity and compassion.

Couples seeking childbirth, perform Ko Puja (puja to the Cow and Calf) here, circumambulate them 12 times, and offer Abhishekam to the Lord and Goddess with the fresh milk and take the milk as prasadam. After childbirth, they perform the abhishekam again as a gesture of gratitude.

The Goddess Amirthambigai with her head tilted to the right and left knee bent as if to place a foot forward, waits to listen to the Abhilashas of each one of her devotees, and grant them instantly.

It is desirable for every woman born in this world to worship Goddess Amirthambigai at least once in their life time.

Those girls seeking suitable marriage alliances, offer garlands of glass bangles to the Goddess Amirthambigai on fridays and during Navarathri.

This temple is also believed to be a Parihara Sthalam for those born under Makam and Pooram Stars.

This temple is south facing, with the Lord facing the East at the Eesanya Corner of  Nemam. Eesanya Lingam is said to be one that gives mukthi and hence this temple is also known as Pitru Mukthi Kshetram, and performing rites to ancestors here, is said to be even more beneficial than Kasi. 

The Oushadha Theertham behind the temple, is said to contain medicinal properties. The once huge tank has now been reduced, to gain more land for the temple and also for effective maintenance. It is believed that the Ashtadhikpalakas bathe in this tank to rid themselves of their fatigue.

The Oushadha Theertham also known as Agni Theertham
Over time, the temple had been covered by sand and Lord Shiva waited patiently for the time to come to show himself to the world again. During this time, the cows that were being grazed through this area, used to shower their milk over the hidden lingam. Mr. Kumar, put his hand on the top of the Baana to show the soft portion on the head of the lingam where a dimple had been formed (just like the head of a new born baby)due to the constant showering of milk on the lingam. 

The cowherd did not understand why the cows were showering their milk on a sandhill and in a fit of anger, raised his whip and started beating the cows. It is believed that Lord Shiva rose from the sandhill and hugged the cows close whereby the whiplashes fell on him. Till today, the marks of a whip striking against him can be seen on the Murthi. As he protected the cows, he came to be known as Aavundeeswara. This temple is a preferred place of worship for those people whose name starts with the sylabble "Go" like Gopalakrishnan, Gomathy, Govindarajan, Govardhan etc.

Built in the 11th Century by Jayamkonda Chola (Rajadhiraja Chola I) this temple lost its glory over the years, only to be reconstructed again at the turn of the 21st Century. (1999 - 2010).

The Sthala Puranam depicted through this sculpture on one of the pillars
Apart from the ancient shrines of Ganesha, Muruga, Veerabadra, Bhairava, Brahma, Vishnu, Vishnu Durga and Chandikeshwara, new shrines for Navagraha and a separate shrine for Shani Bhagavan as well as Saptha Matrikas has been constructed. A notable feature of this temple is the existence of Jyeshta Devi.

The ancient Murthis at the temple

By now, it was time for the Pradhosha Abhishekam to start. After worshipping the Nandi and witnessing the Abhishekam being performed, we moved into the Artha Mandapam. The temple is built in such a way that we enter from the South. go around the temple, worship the Nandi, then enter the main temple, after worshipping Goddess Amirthambigai, and then turn left to face the Lord, who is being worshipped by Nandi through a stone lattice.

The magnificient Avundeeswara!
Through the grace of the Almighty, I have been blessed to visit several temples over my life time. But the peace and tranquility and the vibration we experienced as we sat before the Lord was something special. Tears of joy automatically welled up in my eyes. There were a few local people who had come to witness the Pradhosha Abhishekam and as the priests started the abhishekam, to the rendering of Thevaram songs, in the dim light of the emergency lamp, it was as if we had been transported to another world. 

After the abhishekam was performed, we were able to light lamps at all the shrines in the temple and also give away ghee and oil for the rest of the month to Mr. Kumar.

For pictures on the lighting of lamps at this temple, and to like our Aalayam Kanden page and participate in our future events click here.

After witnessing the procession of Lord Shiva and Parvathi on the Nandi Vahanam around the temple we started from the temple, with the satisfaction of an evening well spent!

How to get here:
When driving from Chennai, on the Chennai-Bangalore Highway, turn right at Thirumazhisai. Drive down the road towards Nemam. After crossing the Lotte Chocolate Factory, take the next left at the Ambedkar Statue. You can see the temple from there through the greenery along the way. After about a kilometre, turn left at the end of the stone wall, and it leads directly to the temple.

Temple Timings:

8 am to 12 pm, 4 pm to 8 pm

Contact Details:

Mr. Kumar,
Trustee, Sri Amirthambigai Trust,
No 73 Vellalar Street, Nemam Post,
Chennai 602 107
Phone: 98407 70248


  1. That's a lovely Jyeshta. looks older than the other murthis, but I can't see the Vishnu too clearly. Bhairava is interesting, too

  2. Shivaaya Namaha ,
    Very Good Article n Nice Photos. Pls visit melmanambedu saantheeswarar , Aranvaayal Thiruthaleeswarar and kobbur(big shivalingam) temples which are just 1-2 kms away from nemam. You will get more amazing informations. Aranvaayal temple has connected history with 5 more temples. Aranvaayal dharmakartha 9445296237, Melmanambedu Anandhan gurukkal 9444080380 , Kobbur gurukkal 9962955299

    1. Dear Shankar Sir,

      I cant tell you how grateful I am for this. Our original plan was to visit both Nemam and Aranvoyal but since we wanted to watch the abhishekam fully we stayed back at Nemam. I heard Aranvoyal temple is under Balalayam right now. Will definitely visit the temples very soon.


    2. Based on your above comments, I visited both the temples last week end. Very useful interaction with the dharmagartha of aranvoyal temple. Plenty of issues to cherish on its heritage and spiritualvalues. Was pointed out a Mayan figure of Mayan civilization in the idol of beautifully sculpted dhakshinamoorthy idol.amazed

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks so much. The pictures were taken by my daughter who is an Electronic Media student, so the credit actually goes to her:)

  4. Very nice works. I pray for your work to flourish more in coming days as has the case earlier also.

    Though you had once explained about people copying your photos/work and the need to imprint photos with your site name, please think whether there is a real need to seek credit for such divine work.

    As a member of temple cleaners we have living examples who are working very hard like you, and do not turn back after working as far as credit is concerned. I am sorry if the writing is hurting


    1. Dear Mr Mani,

      I think you are mixing up two different things here. Aalayam Kanden does not charge anybody for the information that is mentioned herein. All the travel and expenses and research that go into it are my own, and the information is shared so that more and more people can visit these temples and patronise them. A newspaper using my pictures without acknowledgement in order to earn revenue out of it is a totally ethical issue that I had written about.

      I hope you now understand the difference and are not seeing my rightful request to appreciate copyright as an attention seeking issue.


  5. That is nicely written and good images too.

  6. Priya Madam,
    Wonderful job.
    I would like to know how this temple is associated to Pooram and makam stars?

    1. Thanks for your feedback Ms.Mohana. For detailed clarification, please contact Mr. Kumar at the number provided in the post.


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  8. Dear Madam, The photographs are very clear and lively. Congratulations. i would suggest you to visit and report one Nemam next to Pazha(ya)mar(a)neri, near Thirukkattupalli, Thanjavur Dt. The Lord is Iraavatheswarar and Goddess is Alankaari.

  9. very recently i saw your article while searching for old temples to visit. Thanks for giving perfect location with number. I hoping to visit this temple with my mom very soon. Once again thank you