Tiruvalangadu is an ancient Siva sthalam consecrated by the verses of nayanars Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Karikal ammiyar. It is one of the five Sabhas where the Lord Siva had performed his cosmic dance. The ancient temple built by Cholas and later by Pallavas is quite big with several praharams housing the deities and Nayanmars.
There are two interesting stories related to this temple in the religious scriptures.
Firstly, the dance competition between Siva and Kali:
It was a fierce dance competition between the Lord Siva and Sri Badra Kali performed here which was witnessed by all the Devas, saints and other heavenly beings. The cosmic dancer Siva had to give a tough fight to his opponent who was equally versatile. At one stage, Siva had to resort to a trick to put an end to this dance-battle in his favor and he raised his left leg up to his ear to fix up an ear-ring that had snapped and fallen. But Badra Kali, being a feminine deity of modesty, couldn’t perform such a daring act before the audience and had to accept her defeat!
Lord Siva however acknowledged her as his equal and asked her to stay at Tiruvalangadu itself and he further wished that all his devotees would visit her first and get her blessings before they come to him. That custom set by him is still followed today.
Tiruvalangadu is the foremost among all the five Sabhas where the Lord had performed the cosmic dance which is known as Rathna Sabha, and his dance as Urthuva Thandavam.
Secondly, about Karaikal ammiyar:
She was from a well to do family at Karaikal and her name was Punithavathy. She was married to a merchant on attaining the age by her parents. By nature Punithavithy was pious and a stanch devotee of the Lord Siva. She continued to pray him besides serving the savites who visited her household. Her married life however didn’t last long and her husband deserted her after he came to know of her spiritual powers. There upon she acquired an ugly devil’s form by her own will and came to be known as Sri Karaikal ammiyar.
When the ammiyar came to Tiruvalangadu, Lord Siva wanted to reveal her devotion to the world and appeared in the lingam form wherever she tried to step on the ground. She then realized the divine drama of the Lord and then started to ‘walk’ upside down with her head on the floor and reached the temple. Her intense devotion thus made her one of the sixty three nayanmars.
At the Rathna sabha, one can see the image of Sri Karaikal ammiyar at the foot of the Lord dancing in the Urthuva thandava kolam.
The temple is well maintained and the peaceful village surroundings without noise and pollution are conducive for the religious atmosphere. It is situated about 5 km away from the Railway station at Tiruvalangadu and auto-rickshaws are available near the station for the temple and back. The temple is open from the morning to evening without any break, which makes it convenient for the outstation visitors.
Tiruvengadu is very near to Chennai on Chennai – Arakonam segment and is frequented by suburban trains. Auto-rickshas are also available to reach the temple from the station. With its many unique features, a visit to this temple is sure to add to one’s spiritual experience.
Tiruvalangadu – Additional information
He who has no beginning or end, He who has no parents and who prevails every where, the benevolent Lord Siva himself addressed his devotee, Karaikal Ammiyar as ‘Ammaiye’ (அம்மையே). Such is the greatness of the Ammaiyar, who scaled the holy place, Tiruvalangadu on her head. The Lord revealed his ‘Kailash Darsan’ to her and retained her forever by his side, which is depicted in the Rathina Sabha at this temple and witnessed even today. It is for this reason, the verses sung by Karaikal ammaiyar is known as Muutha Padigangal (மூத்த பதிகங்கள்)
Who all have worshipped this holy Sthalam?
A snake called Karkodam, Bindukesa Munivar, Saints: Appar, Sundarar, Tirugnanasambandar, Karaikal Ammaiyar, Pattinathu Adigalar, Arunagirinathar, Vallalar, Kachiappa Sivachariyar, Pamban Swamigal and others.
Specialties of this temple:
There is a Pillaiyar known as Vallabha Vinayagar with ten hands and with his tusk added eleven, is granting darshan here. This is a rare appearance of this foremost of Gods, Vinayagar, who is the remover of all obstacles in life.
Lord Subramaniya is seen with six heads and twelve hands on a peacock with his consorts, Valli and Deivayanai The saint Arunagirinathar has sung four of the verses of Tirupugal here.
In the Rathna Sabha, besides the Urthuva Thandava Kolam of the Lord, is also seen his consort, Sivagami, and a Maragatha Lingam and a Spatika Lingam. Abishegam is performed for the Spatika Lingam daily.
There is a big Banian tree outside the temple as this place was once full of such trees which is the reason why it is called Tiru Alangadu. The holy temple tree, the Sthala Virusham however, is the Jackfruit tree (பலா மரம்) which is in the precincts of the temple.
The Rathinasabha is covered with copper plates and the five Kalasams atop the Vimanam reminds one, the five letters of the holy name of the Lord, NA MA SI VA YA ( ந ம சி வா யா) as well as the five elements of the Universe.
The Lingam is known as Papahareswarar (பாப ஹரேஸ்வரர்) as the one who annihilates the sins. There are also five lingams to represent the five elements of the Universe.
The most famous festival here is Panguni Uthiram festival that falls in the Tamil Month of Panguni, and is celebrated with gaiety for ten days. The Tiruvadurai Day is also specially observed here.
What the Scripture says about Tiruvalangadu?
The holy Saivaite Tamil scripture, Thevaram says those who worship Aalangangattu Appan, Vandar Kuzali Amman, Rathina Sabhapathi or Nataraja and Kali at this temple will be granted the boon of no rebirth after this life.