Visited Avinashilingeswarar temple, the first amongst the Kongunadu Tevara Sthalams , on 20 July’08 - exactly one week after the Kumbabhishekam. As we entered the parking lot the Deepasthambam & colorful Gopurams greeted us – regal, royal & majestic. The Rajagopuram & the smaller Gopuram opposite Ambal sannithi looked sparkling as also the well scrubbed & polished Deepasthambam & outer walls. The 70 ft Deepasthambam carved from a single stone is a unique feature of all Kongunadu temples. As we enter the temple from East side, we see the 30 pillared mandapam to the right, Selva Vinayakar to the left and Ucchi Pillayar above the tall doorway. There are two beautiful Narthana Pillayars on either side of the doorway.
We enter into a pillared mandapam called the Navaganga Hall carrying sculptures of Oordhva thandava moorthy, Alangattu Kaliammai & Virabhadran and the main Dwaja Sthambam with gold covering. On either side of the entrance to inner sanctum, are raised pavilions carrying legends of Sundarar & the crocodile who swallowed the boy on the left & of Ambal worshipping the lord on the right side.
We enter the inner sanctum of Avinashilingeswarar and pray to the deity & receive vibhooti. As we circumambulate the inner prakaram, we see idols of Nalvars & 63’vars, Santhana Kuravars, Saptha Mathas on the south pavilion, Pillayar, Sahasara lingam, other Siva lingams, Gajalakshmi & Baladandayuthapani on the west pavilion. Around the sanctum goshtam you see Dakshinamoorthy, Lingodhbhavar, Brahma, Durgai & Sandikeswarar.
On the North side is a sub shrine of Kalabhairavar. This is considered to have special significance and devotees offer vada malai on festive occasions. You emerge from the inner sanctum and circumambulate the outer prakaram. To the east is sub shrine of Suryan & the colorful Kalyana Mandapam carrying pictures/paintings of the various legends associated with the temple. To the south of the main sanctum are sanctums of Subramaniaswamy & Ambal Karunambigai – Somaskandar formation. Opposite the Kalyana Mandapam is the newly built Vasantham hall. In front of the Ambal sannithi is a colorful pillared mandapam and a pillared portico carrying exquisite sculptures. We go in pray to Goddess Karunambugai, see deeparathanai & receive kumkumam. On the Ambal sannithi goshtam you see kalvettu or stone inscriptions all around. On the west side you also see three stone slabs carrying more inscriptions. On the west goshtam is a sculpture of a scorpion, which also is of special significance – it is said to have the efficacy to cure a person of snake bite or scorpion sting. There is a Pillayar sannithi on the south west corner. On the north side is a pillared mandapam on a raised platform containing Natarajar vigraham. On the east side are the Navagrahas & Saneeswarar.
The scaffoldings erected for all vimanams & gopurams to facilitate the Kumbabhishekam were still intact.
For full details, history, descriptions, pooja timings etc you can visit the temple website: http://www.avinashilingeswarartemple.org/.
For photogallery visit: http://picasaweb.google.com/ramakrishnan49/AvinashiLingeswarar