Mahakaleshwarar temple at Irumbai is between 1000 and 2000 years old. This ancient temple is one of the Padal Petra Sthalams. The Lord here is also known as Chandrasekharar and His Consort is Kuyilmozhinayaki. The holy water is Maahala Theertham.
It is said that Makaalar Rishi, installed a Shivalingam at Ujjain in North India and another at Amabar Makaala near Mayavaram. When he heard of the divinity of this place, he decided to install a Shivalingam at this village.
There are some beautiful painting on the temple wall depicting the story of the temple.
According to a legend, Parvathi prayed at this place to the Lord to rid herself of the Brahmahatti Dosham. She had been afflicted with the dosham because she had killed two demons who had wanted to marry Her.
Another legend dating back to about 500 years relates to Kaduveli Siddhar who use to live around this place. Kaduveli Siddhar was once performing penance and the intensity of the penance was so strong that the heat generated from the body kept away the rains. The area was hit by drought and the people had to undergo a lot of hardship consequently. The Siddhar continued the Penance for months together and a anthill soon formed and was all over and around him. The King heard the plight of the people and the reason behind the same. Valli, a temple dancer was summoned by the king and assigned the task of disturbing the Siddhar in his penance. She noticed that Kaduveli Siddhar, while in his penance stuck out his hand from time to time, and ate the peepal leaves that fell into his outstretched palm. Valli prepared thin appalams (an important part of South Indian Cuisine, Appalams are thin salty wafers made out of rice flour or gram flour) and placed them in the outstretched palm of Kaduveli Siddhar. By eating the appalams the Siddhar slowly got back his taste and after a few days opened his eyes and came out of his penance.
The parched land in this area received rains once again in plenty. The people were relieved of their hardship and were delighted. Meanwhile, Valli took the Siddhar to her house and played a perfect host to him. A thanks giving pooja was performed at this temple at Irumbai. The pooja was followed by a dance performance of Valli. While dancing her anklets came off. She became conscious of this and lost her rhythm. Kaduveli Siddhar helped her in putting them back on her feet. Seeing this, everyone in the audience, including the King, was initially stunned. They could not believe that a man of his standing could touch the feet of a lowly temple dancer. Slowly this disbelief turned into heckling and jeering. This made Kaduveli Siddhar very angry and he prayed to the Lord to cause a shower of stones and prove his innocence. The shivalingam in the temple blew up into several pieces. He cursed that wherever these pieces fell, the area would become barren and no greenery will exist. When the King pleaded for forgiveness and mercy, the Siddhar said that the land here would become fertile again when people from far-off come and make this their home. The locals believe that the foreigners who have settled down at Aroville, very close to the village are the people from those far off lands as prophesied by the Siddhar. The Shivalingam at this temple is broken at the top and this can be seen when the priest performs aarathi.
This temple is said to have seven outer walls, one which can be seen in the google image.
Those who suffer from speech impediment and aspiring musicians pray to the Goddess by offering Her honey and partaking the honey prasadam. The belief is that She cures the speech impediment and endows the aspiring musicians with a great voice.
Chandran is present in the circumabulatory path in a seperate shrine. He holds a palm leaf in one of his hands signifying that He is the one who gifts his devotees with good knowledge, education and great skill in fine arts. He is known as Kala Chandran. Devotees offer Him rice boiled in milk as prasadam.
A very interesting feature of this temple is that all the nine planets can been seen with their spouses in the Navagraha Sannadhi. I have not seen this in any other temple.
Irumbai is just off the Pondy-Tindivanam Highway at a distance of about 10 Kms from Pondy. It is at a distance of just 3 Kms from Aroville.
Temple Timings: 6.30 AM to 12 Noon and 4 PM to 8 PM
Arulmigu Mahakaleswarar Temple,
Irumbai – 605 010,
Phone: +91-413-268 8943, 98435-26601.