The Shiva Lingam at Kalyanasundareswarar Temple in Thirunallur is one of the 64 sayambhu lingams. This is one of the Mada Koil or temples built at an elevation by Kochengat Cholan. This is one of the 275 Padal petra sthalams of Lord Shiva. The main deity here is Panchavarneswarar and His consort is Parvathasundari. He is also known as Kalyanasundareswarar. The sthala cruksham is Vilvam. The holy water here is the Saptha sagara theertham. A dip in this water is supposed to absolve one of all sins.
Kunti, the wife of Pandu and the mother of the Pandavas had a bath here to attain absolution. Kunti had committed a sin by having a child before her marriage. She then put this infant in a basket and set him afloat in a river. This child grew up to be known as Karna. A repentant Kunti after this act sought the advice of Sage Uromasa. The sage said that she would be absolved of the sin if she takes bath in the waters of all the seven oceans. A flabbergasted Kunti wondered how this could be possible. The Sage then told her that there was a place in the South of Vindhyas which had a pond with water from all the oceans. She then reached this place near Tanjore and prayed to Lord Shiva and also had a bath in the tank. She was then absolved of her sin and also attained mental peace. There is a niche in the temple which depicts Kunti performing the Siva pooja.
When the marriage of Shiva and Parvati took place, everybody went to Kailash to attend the marriage. This created an imbalance and the Earth tilted. To set right the imbalance, Sage Agasthya came to the South of Vindhyas. Sage Agastya was however disappointed that he could not witness the wedding. At this temple, Sage Agastya consecrated another Lingam beside the already existing one and performed puja. Hence there are two Shiva lingams in one single base (avudaiyar). This is a very unique feature of this temple. Lord Shiva was pleased with Sage Agastya’s devotion and appeared before the Sage with His Consort as groom and bride (Kalyana Kolam), thereby fulfilling the Sage’s wish of attending the wedding. Behind the Lingam in the garbagraham, Shiva and Parvathi are in seated posture. An interesting feature is that Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma are present in the same garbagraham. Brahma is seen standing to Shiva’s right and performing the marriage rites. Vishnu is seen standing to Shiva’s left. I am not sure if this can be seen at any other temple. Like in a Vaishnava temple, Shadari and holy water are offered to the devotees. One of the Vimaanas also has the idol of Narasimha.
A very interesting feature of this temple is that the Shiva Lingam here changes colour every six nazhigai (a nazhigai is 24 minutes) or 2 hours and 24 minutes. From 6am to 8.24am the Lingam is Copper coloured, between 8.25am to 10.48am the Lingam is red in colour, changes to golden colour between 10.49am and 1.12pm, between 1.13pm and 3.36pm the colour changes to emerald green. Awe struck!!! Wait till you read this, the Lingam will appear in a colour that the devotee wishes to see, between 3.37pm and 6pm. The last time that I visited this temple, I was on a tight schedule and could not spend enough time to actually appreciate these aspects. I plan to spend enough time, during my next visit, to be able to witness the phenomenon.
Thirunallur is also known as Dakshina Kailasam. Once there was a contest between Adisesha the serpent God and Vayu the wind God, to decide who was more powerful. Vayu tried to blow out the thousand peaks of Meru Mountain and Adisesha protected them with his thousand hoods. During a moment of lapse of concentration on the part of Adisesha, Vayu blew the peaks away one of which is supposed to have fallen here at Thirunallur. The Shiva Linga here is said to have been manifested from this peak. There is a belief that the mane of Lord Shiva is at the back of the temple.
Thirunallur is located at a distance of 13.5 Kms from Kumbakonam. It is about 2 Kms from Papanasam which is on the Kumbakonam-Tanjore route.
Other Temples Nearby:
Sakthivaneswarar Temple – Thiru Sakthi Mutram
Swamimalai Murugan Temple
Avur Pasupatheswarar Temple – Avur
Temple Timings: 7 am to 12.30 am & 4 pm to 7 pm
Arulmigu Pancha Varnasewarar Alayam
Via Sundraperumal Kovil
Tamil Nadu – 614208.
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