A Siva temple in a historical area

Going through the gopuram, visitors step into the prakaram (enclosure) with the small Nandi-mandapam, bali-pitham and dvajastambham.
A Siva temple in a historical area

CHENNAI: Athanancheri, a small place close to Padappai (enroute from Chennai to Kanchipuram), has a small temple where Siva is worshipped as Thiruvalishwarar. The temple faces East with a small sanctum for Dharma Shasta (God Iyappan) next to the three-tier gopuram, which is of modern times. The inner side of this gopuram has the images of Surya and Chandra facing west, towards the main sanctum. Going through the gopuram, visitors step into the prakaram (enclosure) with the small Nandi-mandapam, bali-pitham and dvajastambham.

The principal sanctum enshrining the Siva Linga (Thiruvalishwara), faces East, with its outer walls having devakoshtas (niches) with the images of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Maha Vishnu, Brahma and Durga. Next to this shrine is another sanctum for Nataraja and Goddess Sivakami. Close by is a south-facing shrine for Thiruvalishwara’s consort, Goddess Kamakshi. It is noteworthy that in the nearby Thazhuvai Kuzhaindishwarar temple also, the consort of the main deity is Goddess Kamakshi.

In the prakaram are worshipped Nalvar (Appar, Thirugnanasambandar, Sundaramurti Nayanar and Manikkavachakar) who were ardent devotees of Siva; Karpaga Vinayakar; Subrahmanya flanked by Valli and Devasena; Bhairava; Chandikeshwara; Navagrahas and Sanishwarar.

Although this temple has been much modernised and vestiges of antiquity are not seen, it could possibly be an old temple as the area between Chennai and Kanchipuram and surroundings are known to have temples of great historicity and antiquity.

Know your city

Athanancheri village is very close to Padappai and is situated on the road between Chennai and Kanchipuram.

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