Sunday, April 12, 2015

A temple for everlasting beauty!

The Deivanayakeswarar Temple at Elumiyankottur
There are temples to fulfill every kind of prayer - good health, marriage, childbirth, education, dosha nivarthi one can go on and on. Likewise, did you know there is a temple where prayers for everlasting beauty are fulfilled, and that too along the river Cooum?

Surprised? Well, that is a mandatory element with all temples along the Cooum!

History of the temple: 

When Lord Ganesha broke the axle of Lord Shiva's chariot, for not having worshipped him before starting out on Tripura Samhara (Read the article about the Tripurantakeswara Temple at Cooum here to know the full story), he lost balance and fell from the chariot and stood up with the support of his bow. While doing so, a garland of golden shower flowers (Konrai Maalai) fell some distance away and turned into a swayambu lingam. As the Lord had set out to save the Devas from the three Asuras - Tarakaksha, Kamalaksha and Vidyunmali, the deity came to be known as Deivanayakeswara.

At this time, the three apsaras,  Rambha, Menaka and Urvashi, celestial dancers at the court of Indra, were worried about their fading beauty. Known to be the epitome of beauty, the apsaras were worried about this and wanted to regain their youth and splendor. They approached Deva Guru Brihaspati, who advised them to go to the Earth and worship Lord Deivanayakeswara.

Entrance of the Deivanayakeswara Swamy Temple

So a total of eight apsaras, led by Rambha, came to the banks of the river Cooum to find Lord Deiva Nayakeswara. Rambha created a tank in front of him, the apsaras bathed in it and worshipped him with lotus and Jasmine flowers. They also installed another Shivalingam close by with sixteen stripes on the Baana to symbolise their visit. After their prayers, they found themselves feeling younger, radiant and more beautiful. They were delighted and after offering their gratitude, returned to their celestial abode. The tank created by Rambha stands to this day, and is called Rambha Theertham. The other names are Malligai Theertham Thamarai Theertham, Chandra Theertham, Boothagana Theertham, and Naga Theertham.

The Shiva lingam installed by Rambha came to be known as Arambeswarar and the place came to be called Arambayankottur. Over time, this changed to Ilambayankottur and today it is called Elumiyankottur.

Gnanasambandar and Lord Deivanayakeswarar:

Saint Gnanasambandar has sung a thevaram hymn in praise of Lord Tripurantakeswara at Koovam. When he was passing through Elumiyankottur, Lord Shiva wanted him to sing about him there as well. So he appeared before him as an old man, and a child requesting him to sing Lord Deivanayakeswara. However, Gnanasambandar could not find the location of the Lord through the forest of Jasmine trees, and finally the Lord appeared as a wild bull driving him into the temple. Gnanasambandar in his hymn at the Deivanayakeswara Temple, says worshipping him would make people eternally beautiful and enable them to attain mukthi without any further births.

About the temple:

The Veda Pada Sala inside the temple

There is no gopuram at the entrance. In fact the small wicket gate close to the Vedha Pada Salai is used for entry and exit. There is a vedha pada salai here where there are a number of youth who are learning the vedas. Other than the deities, there is no signs to show that the temple is many thousands of years old. This temple has been mentioned in the Koova Puranam.

Lord Deivanayakeswarar similar to Lord Tripurantakeswara is considered "Theenda Thirumeni". The priests do not touch him or perform abhishekam. Flowers are adorned using a small stick.
In the year 1983, there is said to have been heavy rains where lightning struck on the village. The Lord took it upon himself and other than his vimana, nothing else was damaged in the village. The villagers say, but for the grace of the Lord, major damage would have been caused by the magnitude of the lightning.

Sun's rays fall directly on the Lord who appears like a golden shower flower from 2-7 April and 5-11 September each year.

The Goddess is called Kanakagujambigai and Kodendhumulaiyammai. She faces South. A Srichakram installed by Kanchi Mahaperiyava sits at her golden feet.

Goddess Kanakagujambigai at Elumiyankottur

Yoga Dakshinamurthy:

Another speciality of the temple is the Yoga Dakshinamurthy found at the Goshtam. With his eyes closed and right hands forming the Chin Mudra, and placed on the Brahma knot of the Yagnopaveetham, holding a Trishul and Akka Maalai in the top hands, he is found in a very unique posture. On special days, like Guru Peyarchi, several hundreds of devotees come here to pray to Yoga Dakshinamurthy.

Yoga Dakshinamurthy at Elumiyankottur
The Arambeshwara with his sixteen sides is found to the South East of the temple, waiting to grant the sixteen boons of prosperity to his devotees.

Inscriptions at the temple:

An inscription belonging to the time of chola king Rajadhiraja II - 1175 AD mentions that this temple was converted from a brick temple to a stone temple by Pandari Sivacharanaalayan alias Sivapadhasekara Muvendavelan.

An inscription from the time of Kulothunga III refers to Ilambayankottur as Cholavichchadira Chaturvedi Mangalam in Kanrur Nadu.

An inscription of Vijayagandagopaladeva states that he gave the village of Kaliyanallur in Tiruvelurnadu, as gift to the temple.

There are also inscriptions of the pandya king Konerinmaikondan about grants given to the temple. These inscriptions have been recorded but unfortunately are not found in the modernized temple today.

However modern, it might have have become, the temple is still charming and has a very good vibration. Those visiting the temple at Koovam, can take a little bit of effort to visit Elumiyankottur as well. Please remember to call the Gurukkal before you do, so that you are not disappointed to find a closed temple.

How to get here: 

If going from Chennai turn right at the Empee Distilleries after Sriperumbudur. Take the Arakonam road upto Koovam. Elumiyankottur is about four kms from there. Google Coordinates: 13.0018681, 79.67114881

Temple Timings:

The temple is open only in the mornings around 10 am. One has to call the Gurukkal in advance to ensure his availability.

Contact Details:

Sivam Gurukkal - 96000 43000


  1. Yet another temple I hadn't heard of. And it really sounds intresting. Am tempted to make a trip just for these cooum temples.

    1. Dear Anu,

      We need more and more people to become Cooum champions. Let me know when you are coming and I will happily take you to see them. Watch this space for many more interesting stories from the Cooum!

    2. I have added you to the Cultural mapping of Cooum page on Facebook. Hope you find it interesting.

  2. Interesting place.Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a wonder. What a story.. Thousand pranams for bringing such gems to light..

  4. Moolavar is also called as Arambeshwarar ( worshipped by Rambha). I visited the temple long back when temple was in ruins. Now looks nice