Sunday, April 4, 2021

Aditya Mahadevar Temple, Anaikattaputhur

Aditya Mahadevar Temple, Anaikattaputhur

Anaikattaputhur is a non-descript village in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. Referred to as Anai Akkarai Puthur in inscriptions, the village is found along the banks of the Cooum river. 

Sthalapuranam: Today the temple has very little antiquarian remains. However, the Sthalapuranam states that the Lingam was installed by Sage Bhrigu, and worshipped by Sage Sukracharya and Goddess Lakshmi.

Historical Evidences : The Shiva temple now known as Ekambareswarar temple is significant from the epigraphical evidences around it. The sole inscription that has been documented in this temple is from the ninth regnal year of  Parthivendrathi Varman, (ARE 288/1895)

Who was Parthivendra Varman as mentioned in inscriptions?

There is still lack of consensus among historians about Parthivendra Varman's identity. He has been mentioned as Parthivendrathi Varman and Parthivendra Panmar too in inscriptions. Scholars like Shri. Neelakanta Sastry are of the opinion that it was the title taken by Aditya Karikala, the son of Parantaka II (Sundara Chola) and older brother of Rajaraja I on his being appointed as Crown prince and Co-regent because of the words "Virapandyan Thalai Konda" that appear in the inscriptions of Parthivendra Varman, as Aditya Karikala had been the one who took the head of Virapandya in the battle at Sevur (estimated to have been in 963 CE).

However, there are others who disagree with this view point and are of the opinion that Parthivendra Varman could have been a feudatory of the Cholas, managing affairs at Jayamkondacholamandalam (Thondaimandalam during Chola rule) and might have added the title to his name, after having assisting Aditya Karikala while he took the head of Vira Pandya. The historians further refer to the Thiruvalangadu Copper plates and the Udayarkudi inscription which mention Aditya Karikala as Karikala Chola and not Parthivendra Varman. While Aditya Karikala was indeed the co-regent with his father, it was only for a period of six years before he was killed and therefore they conclude that inscriptions which state  "Virapandyan Thalai Konda Ko Parakesari" which could be inscriptions during Aditya Karikala's period and if the inscription mentions "Virapandyan Thalai Konda Parthivendra Panmarku" it could mean Parthivendra the feudatory, whose inscriptions are available even after the death of Aditya Karikala (estimated as 969 CE) .A third hypothesis is that Parthivendra Varman could have been Rajaraja. This at the moment is an evolving theory put forth by a historian.

In the Cooum circuit, there are three temples which are believed to have been constructed by Aditya Karikala - Mappedu, Pichivakkam and Anaikattaputhur. Out of them, historians seem to agree that the Anaikattaputhur temple is among the temples directly built by Aditya Karikala  - the others being the Adityeswara Temple at Keeraikalur in Tiruvarur District and Ponsei Natrunaiyappar Temple. (Source: Varalaatril Anaikattaputhur Thirukovilgal, Dr.Ma. Chandramoorthy, Prof.Dr. T. Kalyani, Prof. Dr.K.A.Kavitha)

Aditya Mahadevar at Anaikattaputhur

The deity here is referred to Aditya Mahadevar in an inscription from the 9th regnal year of Parthivendra Varman refers to lands given to the priest, Kalineeki Bhattan as Archana Bhogam for conducting prayers at the temple by Serubosan Ezhuvan and his brothers. Since this inscription mentions 9th ruling year, historians conclude that the temple must have been built by Aditya Karikala and grants to the same may have been provided during the time of his friend and feudatory Parthivendra Varman.

Nayaka Period Doorway - Doors and compound wall missing

The temple built originally during the Chola period, has been rebuilt with brick during the Nayaka period and we see that this too has become dilapidated and is being renovated at this point in time. The deity has been renamed as Ekambareshwara and a Goddess Kamakshi shrine added during the Nayaka period renovation. The sole inscription that has been documented in 1895 has been lost to time.

As you enter the very impressive massively high brick archway, you see the Chola period Nandi in a mandapa outside the temple. There are a couple of stones with images of snakes inscribed below which is said to be the samadhi of a saint named Nandi Siddhar. Nothing further is known about him.

Nandi Siddhar Samadhi

On entering the temple, the shrine of Goddess Kamakshi comes first. This is a later period addition to the temple,during the Nayaka renovation. The wall next to the Goddess shrine had fallen earlier and has now been repaired. During the Tamil months of Purattasi and Panguni, the sun's rays are seen falling on the Goddess as if to worship her.

Goddess Kamakshi at Anaikattaputhur

Lord Aditya Mahadevar is found in the sanctum sanctorum. Not a very large deity, but one with his own charm. The niches have the remains of the old Koshta devathas including a Narthana Ganapathy (unable to make out ), Dhakshinamurthy, Lingothbavar, Brahma and Durga soon to be replaced. I have made a request to store the old deities (new machine-cut miniatures are ready for installation) in the temple itself and not to throw them away.

Nardhana Ganapathi ??

The sanctum also houses the beautiful bronze icons of Nataraja with Shivakamasundari, Ganesha and other deities. Other stone idols of Chandra, Surya, Bhairavar and an idol is titled Veerabahu are found in the circumambulatory path within the temple. Subrahmanya, with Valli and Devasena is found in a seperate shrine.

Who is this? - Photo: Nisha Kesavan

The ceiling has a snake with the Sun and Moon on either side (Eclipse Iconography?), and a Fish swallowing an Elephant. (Not sure what this depicts)

In the circumambulatory path around the main shrine, an old Ganesha and a shrine for Lord Vishnu with his consorts Sridevi and Bhoodevi are found. They probably had individual temples in the village and have moved here over time, when their original habitats were lost.

Kalyana Perumal with consorts at Anaikattaputhur

About 200 metres from the temple is the samadhi of Saint Kumbakonam Gurupadha Swamigal who lived over 300 years ago. The samadhi attracts several serious seekers who visit here to meditate and have felt the divine presence of the saint. 

Samadhi of Kumbakonam Gurupadha Swamigal

Ongoing renovation work at the temple:

I have used pictures from my earlier trip in 2014 during the cultural mapping of Cooum temples, as the shrines are currently under Balalayam for renovation. The civil work inside the temple has been completed, However, the hereditary trustee is desirous of building a compound wall to safeguard the temple as well as construct a gopuram at the entrance, the cost of both along with Kumbabhishekam is estimated at around Rs. 20 lakhs. The renovation work has been on for over ten years now, and has stopped currently due to paucity of funds.

Renovation work underway at Anaikattaputhur

Those interested in supporting the work may contact the hereditary trustee, Mr Annamalai Mudaliar or contribute directly to the 

Adhithya Mahadevar Charitable Trust, 

Account Number: 356402010031698 

Bank and Branch: Union Bank, 13, Bazaar Street, Thakkolam - 631151 

IFSC code: UBIN0535648

How to reach here:

While going from Chennai, take a right after Saveetha Engineering College and continue on Arakonam Road upto Perambakkam. Take a right again on the Cooum bridge towards Perambakkam. Anaikattaputhur is about 4 kms from Perambakkam.

GPS Coordinates : 13.04741, 79.78562

Contact Details:

Mr Annamalai Mudaliar - 94447 29626, 97502 60484

Temple Timings:

Since the temple is currently under Balalayam, the priest comes only once a day for conducting poojas. The main temple is otherwise closed until the work is completed. Please contact the trustee before visiting.

Renovation under way at Anaikattaputhur


  1. nice information madam. after some lucky google find i've been reading a lot of ur information about cooum and surrounding temples. Any map would be high desirable. i live in SG and i will make a trip when the corona disappears. thanks for ur blessed work. vijay

    1. Here you are :
      You can get more details from my book The Gods of the Holy Koovam . Thank you for your feedback.