A small Siva temple’s connection with Mangadu and Kanchipuram

The temple in Padappai has another Siva Lingam worshipped as Thiruvilakkunathar, which was originally in a temple situated in the market-place in Padappai.
Photo: Chithra Madhavan
Photo: Chithra Madhavan

The Thazhuva Kuzhaindishwarar is a small Siva temple in Padappai, which is mid-way between Chennai and Kanchipuram. There is a connection between this temple, the Kamakshi Amman temple in Mangadu (one of the suburbs of Chennai) and the Ekamranatha temple in Kanchipuram. According to the ancient lore (Sthala Puranam) of the Mangadu temple, Goddess Parvati was cursed by God Siva to come down to earth as She had playfully closed His eyes and the entire world had come to a standstill. In Mangadu, Parvati (Kamakshi) performed penance by standing on one leg amidst five types of fire (Pancha Agni Tapas) to be reunited with Siva. Pleased, Siva advised Her to go to Kanchipuram to continue Her penance and rejoin Him. It is said that on the way to Kanchipuram, Kamakshi consecrated a Siva Linga in Padappai. She hugged the Siva Linga as She was afraid that it would be washed away in sudden floods that occurred at that time. Hence, the name Thazhuva Kozhundishwarar as it refers to the Goddess embracing the Lingam. The episode of Goddess Parvati hugging the Siva Linga is also the famous Sthala Puranam of the Ekamranatha temple in Kanchipuram.

The Thazhuva Kuzhaindishwarar temple faces East with a modern three-storey gopuram in front which opens into a spacious prakaram (enclosure) with the dvajastambham, bali-pitham and the Nandi mandapam. The main sanctum enshrines the Siva Lingam worshipped as Thazhuva Kuzhaindishwarar. Adjacent to this sanctum is another one for Nataraja and Goddess Sivakami and close by is the shrine for Goddess Parvati, called Kamakshi Amman in this temple.

In the prakaram of the Padappai temple are many sanctums for Sanishwarar; Navagrahas; Veerabhadra; Bhairava; Subramanya with consorts Valli and Devasena; Chandikeshwara; and Nalvar (the important Siva devotees named Appar, Thirugnanasambandar, Sundaramurti and Manikkavachakar). Interestingly, there is a separate sanctum for God Sharabeswara, a unique form of God Siva, whose best-known sanctum is in the 12th century Chola-era Kampahareshwara temple in Tribhuvanam (near Kumbakonam). The temple in Padappai has another Siva Lingam worshipped as Thiruvilakkunathar, which was originally in a temple situated in the market-place in Padappai. Since it was in a dilapidated condition, the deity was brought to this temple and is in worship here.

The Thazhuva Kuzhaindishwarar temple too was once in a dismal condition and was subsequently renovated. However, in the process a few inscriptions could have been lost as evidenced by a stray inscribed slab propped up against the compound wall in the temple’s precincts.

The Sthala-Vriksham (sacred tree) of this temple have traditionally been the mango (ma-maram) and the Ottha Nandyavettai, though the latter is not seen in the temple premises now. Incidentally, the mango is the sacred tree of the Ekamranatha temple in Kanchipuram also.

Many festivals are celebrated in this temple including Skanda Sashti for Subramanya; Sivaratri; Panguni Uttiram; ten day Navaratri Utsavam for Kamakshi Amman and many others. Abhisekam is performed six times a year for Nataraja and Sivakami. On Moola nakshatram (asterism) in the month of Vaikasi, there is special Guru Puja for Thirugnanasambandar.

Padappai - Know your city

Padappai is about 43 km from Chennai and approximately the same distance from Kanchipuram. The Thazhuva Kuzhaindishwarar temple is well known in this locality and is in the place known as Mel Padappai.

Chithra Madhavan

cityexpresschn@gmail.com

The writer is a historian who focuses on temple architecture

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