Weather :

Timings : 5:30 AM to 9:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hours

Entry Fee : Free

Thiruvanaikoil Temple , Trichy Overview

Located in the suburb of the city Tiruchirappalli, Thiruvanaikoil Temple, also known as Jambukeshwarar Temple is one of the holiest places in Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the Panchabhoota Temples (signifying the 5 elements of nature) and represents the water element (Neer). It is situated on an island surrounded by rivers Cauvery and Coleroon and should definitely be on your list when moving around this suburb. 

The temple is also called “Appu Sthalam” and the Shiva Lingam here is called “Appu Lingam”. Dedicated to Lord Shiva and Akilandeshwari, the shrines in the Thiruvanaikoil temple are situated right opposite each other. This signifies the relationship between them: the Devi is the student and the Jambukeshwara is the teacher. The sanctum of Jambukeshwara has an underwater stream which is always full even though the water is pumped out every day. This temple is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams where all the 4 saints have sung prayers to the deity of this temple and it has inscriptions from the Chola period. Whether one is interested in religious beliefs of South India or is simply inquisitive about the culture of Tamil Nadu, this temple is a must-visit for anyone who visits this Southern suburb.

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Thiruvanaikoil Temple

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Timings

The timings of the temple are as follows:
  • The temple is open on all days
  • It is open from 5:30 AM to 12:00 PM in the morning
  • In the evening, it opens at 5:00 PM and shuts at 9:00 PM

Legend

The legend of this temple goes back to the time when Parvati condemned Shiva for his acts towards making the world better. As a way of punishing her, Shiva asked Parvati to make reparation. As a result, she found the Jambu forest where she paid her price for her sins. Hence, this temple has the two shrines (Shiva and Parvati) right opposite each other since it is believed that Parvati (Akilandeshwari) learnt from her guru facing the east while Lord Shiva gave his lessons to her facing the west. Other legends such as the quarrel between the elephant and the spider and the story of the red-eyed king also make this temple a highly auspicious one.

Architecture

Thiruvanaikoil temple is very close to the Ranganathaswamy temple in terms of architecture. It has a square structure with 5 enclosures. The outer wall that covers the fifth precinct called Vibudi Prakara is 25 meters high and stretches to over a mile. The fourth precinct has 796 pillars and measures 2436x1483 feet. The third enclosure measures 745x197 feet and is covered by a wall that is 30 feet high. The second enclosure is 306x197 and the innermost precinct is 126x123 feet. The temple has “gopurams” or gateway towers, coconut thoppu, water tanks and perpetual springs. There are a number of inscriptions from different Chola Kings from the 11-12th century that indicates grants given to the temple. The temple was subject to conquest by the French and the English during the 18th century. However, they were well maintained by Vellalars and Nattukottai Chettiars during the 19th and 20th centuries.

History

It is said that Parvati (Akilandeshwari) used to worship Lord Shiva, till date, the “Archakar” (priest) dresses up as a woman and worships Akilandeshwari and “Go Maata” or Cow at noon. The coconut grove in the third enclosure is said to have a small water tank where the festive image of Vaishnavite used to be brought once a year. Even today, a large number of people visit this temple during the Noon pooja where a black cow “Karam Pasu” is worshipped and the rituals are celebrated with cooked rice along with Indian classical dance.

Significance

This temple is a part of the Panchabhoota Sthalam which refers to five Shiva temples. This roots out of the manifestation of the five elements of nature: water, air, fire, earth and space. Sthalam means place, Panch means five and Bhoota means elements. The 5 temples are situated in South India with 4 of them in Tamil Nadu and one of them in Andhra Pradesh. Each of them is enshrined with Lingam which represents Lord Shiva. Thiruvanaikoil temple is called “Appu Lingam” for it represents the element of Water as Shiva had taken the form of Water here.

Do You Know?

Thiruvanaikoil is known to be the birthplace of the Nobel Indian physicist C. V. Raman who won the Nobel prize for physics in 1930.

How To Reach Thiruvanaikoil Temple

The temple is situated in Tiruchirapalli. The nearest bus stand from this attraction is in Trichy itself: the chathiram bus stand which is 3 kilometres away and the Central bus stand which is 8 kilometres away.

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