For those who have read kalki's novel ponniyin selvan this name will sound familiar. This is a small village near kumbakonam.
This village is famous for the Nataraja in the Shiva's temple. Lord Shiva is called as Umamaheswara and his consort devi parvati is called by the name Anga vaLa nAyaki or dehasundari amman. The temple is such a massive structure. Very very attractive with the large mandapams or halls. There is a big tank infront of the temple. Right now there is very little water in the tank.
This temple has been built by kandaradhittha chola and his wife sembian maa devi. Kandaradhithan is the grand father of the famous Raja Raja Chola. He is well known for his service to Lord Shiva, by building huge temples in his empire.
We enter into the temple. Usually to one's right side, in any shiva temple there would be Lord Vinayaka. But here, we could see Shanmuka Subrahmanya. Yes, Lord muruga with 6 faces, 12 hands, surrounded by Valli and Devasena on his both sides. To have darshan of Vinayaka first, we move to our left side portion. There Lord Vinayaka, protected by two bhutha gaNAs (one with banana bunch on his head and the other with a jack fruit on his head) is seated, blessing the devotees.
We then move into the main mandapam with dvijasthambam. If we look up, on the ceiling, there we could be amazed by the awesome paintings. We can see the five faces of Lord Shiva - thathpurusham, eesaanam, vamadevam, satyojatam and agOram, moorthis of 4 vedas, and more. After praying there at the dvijasthambam where it is believed that the power of the deity inside the sanctum sanctoram is concentrated, we enter the temple. There were also paintings of british period - policemen with arms standing at the ritual and so on. But due to poor maintenance, most of the area in the paintings got faded.
We could see lord Uma maheswara. The lingam is quite large in size that one could see the lord from the entrance. We circum ambulate the sannidhi and in the prahaaram we can see lot of other idols. Idols of Bhairava, Surya, some more siva lingas like kasi viswanathar, Shenbagavana nathar and few more are there.
Further proceeding we could see the vaahana mandapam (place where God's vehicles like swan, yaLi (mixture of lion and elephant), ox (rishabham) are kept). All the vaahanam speaks about the antique values. But again time has eaten away the charm of them. On the opposite side we could see the idols of Agastya rishi, vinayaka and some writings, stating about the architects of this temple (sembian madevi and kandaradithan).
We complete the round and come outside to see the navagraha sannidhi and there is another shiva linga that has been worshipped by all the 9 planets.
In the opposite side we see the majestic Nataraja. The tallest / the highest/ the majestic.. Whatever adjective that suits the best, we can use for him. There will be a mole and a hair stuck to the mole on his chest. To his side, stands the graceful SivakAmi. He is the moolavar. He wont be taken out for procession. To his side, there is another sannidhi where lies another nataraja. This is the utsava moorthi who will be taken out for procession. He is also called as kalyanasundara moorthi, also called as Maapillai swami and his consort is Devi kAthyAyani.
We come out of the shiva's sannidhi and go for a bigger round in the outer prakAram. There comes the devi sannidhi. Its like a separate temple. We offer our salutations to the anga vaLa nayaki or deha sundari and request for good health for every one of us. One could observe that there is a separate nandi for ambal which is very uncommon in temples in and around kumbakonam district. In few temples in other places this is very common. There is also a sannidhi of Lord Vaidyanatha in the outer prakAram, after coming out of Ambal sannidhi.
We go around the temple's outer prakaaram, talking about the massive structure and spacious prakaaraas of the temple and finally offer our namaskArams to the lord near the dvijasthambam and come out of the temple.
We then proceed to the agrahAram where people stayed. Now, it is almost deserted. Many of the people got settled in major cites or in other countries. There were houses on both sides of the street. There is also another street having houses in one lane alone. We saw our ancestral house, now belonging to someone else, from outside and proceeded to the perumaL temple, situated in the west side of the agrahAram.
PerumAL is called here as Varadharajan. Bhoomi and Neela Devi are his consorts here. In addition to Varadharaja perumal, we have a separate sannidhi for kodhanda ramar (rama with bow and arrow in his hands). Rama stands along with Sita, Lakshman and hanuman and blesses all his devotees.
There is also another temple near this perumal temple, for goddess Durga. Durga stands on the devil Mahishasuran's (buffalo like deamon) head. There is no roof for her. She is called as Akaasha Durga or Durga who is open to sky.
Praying to all these deities, with a nostalgic feeling, we left the village.