SRI IRUDAYALEESWAR TEMPLE, TIRUNINDRAVUR
There are very few temples we know of, where one finds the idols of both the deity and the devotee are seen together in the sanctum sanctorum. One such temple is that of Sri Irudayaleeswarar at Tirunindravur. The saint Sri Poosalar nayanar is seen worshipping Lord Siva with folded hands before him in the Garbagraham of this temple. This temple has a strong connection with the one at Kancheepuram dedicated to Sri Kailasanathar in that, both were built in the same Pallava style of construction and at the same period of time.
At Tirunindravur, a nayanar called Poosalar conceived a temple for Lord Siva but couldn’t afford to build one as he was so poor. Driven by his intense devotion to do so, he started building a virtual temple in his heart for the Lord. Where as, at Kancheepuram, a glorious temple with beautiful sculptures was raised by a Pallava king called Raja Verman. On completion of these two temples, the legend has it, that the Lord gave preference to attend to the consecration of the virtual temple over the material temple. Later on, the Pallava king realizing the sage’s intense devotion to the Lord, had built a temple at Tirunindravur, as conceived by the nayanar which stands today so beautifully before our eyes.
The large temple is surrounded by a compound wall with two entrances, one on the East and the other on the West. The absence of a temple tower on any of the entrance is conspicuous by its not being there, but a big tower is seen on the Sanctum Sanctorum itself. The garbhagraham is in a curved shape at the rear end, as one observes while circumambulation. The Ambal’s name is Sri. Maragathambigai and the beautiful idol of the Devi is seen in the near by separate shrine.
It is the strong belief of the devotees that this Siva sthalam offers an immense relief from heart ailments by the grace of Lord Irudayaleeswarar and the temple is frequented by most of those with such ailments. Also, devotees in large numbers throng to this temple, on all auspicious days and on Pradosham days in particular.
Those who visit Sri Irudayaleeswar temple at Tirunindravur should also visit Sri Kailasanathar’s temple and vise-versa as they share a common story that gave rise to the existence of these two temples.
Tirunindravoor is about 32 km from Chennai on the suburban electric train route in Chennai -Tiruvallur segment. The temple is about a km and half from the railway station and a number of auto-rickshaws are available at the entrance of the station. Close to this Siva temple is there a renowned Divya desam (No. 58), dedicated to the benevolent Lord Vishnu to his devotees, as his very name suggests, Sri Bhakthavatsala Perumal and to his consort, Sri Enni Petra Thayar, after whom this place is known as Tiru-Nindra-Vur.
A visit to this holy place, whether you are a Saivaite or a Vaishnavaite is surely a rewarding and soul inspiring experience which can’t be described in words but can only to be felt by one self.