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panorama view of Thayumanaswamy Temple, Tiruchirappalli, TN :: courtesy wiki commons

Sri Anjaneyar, Nandhi Kovil, Tirucharapalli, Tamil Nadu

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Tiruchiramalai Fort, temple and the Temple tank,Tirucharapalli, Tamil Nadu The city of Tiruchirappalli is more popularly known as Trichy. What brings to our mind at the first instance when we talk about Trichy is Malikkottai. This beautiful and wonderful hill can be seen from all around in the city. When we see this hill from far from different places, it is astonishing to see the images of Lord Shiva’s Vahana, Rishabham, Ambal’s Vahana Lion and Lord Ganesha in a sitting posture with His extended trunk. This hill is known as Kailasa of South, devotees offer their prayers to Lord Shiva to the hill itself here. The city acquiring the name of Tiru-chira-palli rests on the presence of Lord Shiva here.

During the 16th century, a Shaivite saint by name Ellappanavalar wrote a book called “Sevvanthi Puranam". This was a work on the story of Tiruchiramalai. What we understand from this Purana is that a Shiva devotee by name Tiruchiran performed Pooja for the Lord by offering Sevvanthi flowers, hence the presiding deity is known as Sevvanthinathar. Since Tiruchiran prayed the Lord here the city came to be known as Tiruchirappalli.

There is a natural formation of a cave in this hill and it has beds made of stones for Jain saints. Inscriptions of the names of these saints were made on these stones which are of the fifth century script can be seen even today. One of such inscription is on a saint by name“Chiraa”. And hence the archeologists and historians believe that this city should have derived its name as Chirappalli.


The Tiruchirappalli hill has three temples. On the peak is the Uchi Pillayar Temple. In between, there is a rock-cut temple named 'Lalithangura Pallava Ishwara Griham' taken by Mahendra Pallavan after he renounced Jainism and converted to Saivism. Beneath this is Thayumanaswamy Temple. The presiding deity of this temple is known by different names – Sevvanthi Nathar, Thirumalai Kozhunthar, Thayumanavar, Thirumalai Perumal Adigal and Mathrubootheswarar. These are not just conventional names of the places but has significance based on certain reasons.

Today this temple is known more popularly as Thayumanavar Temple. The Sevvanthi Puranam elucidates the blessings that one can get from this Lord in Tiruchiramalai:

Nandhi Kovil, Tirucharapalli, Tamil Nadu ஒருதலம் இறந்தவர்க்கு உறுதி நல்கிடும்
ஒருதலம் பிறந்தவர்க்கு உதவும் நல்கதி
இருதலம் தம்மினும் எய்தும் யாவையும்
தருதலம் இது அலால் தரையில் இல்லையே
orudhalam iRndhavarghghu uRudhi nalghiḍhum
orudhalam bhiRndhavarghghu udhavum nalghadhi
irudhalam dhamminum eydhum yāvaiyum
dharudhalam idhu alāl dharaiyil illaiyē

[Kashi will provide Mukthi to those who visit this place. Thiruvarur will provide Mukthi to those who are born in this place. Tiruchiramalai will provide what both these places can give.]

Thayumanaswami Temple

This temple is situated in the mid-height of Tiruchiramalai. One has to take 260 steps to reach this temple. Around the sanctum of Thayumanavar, there is a Prakaram (the outer ring meant for circumambulation) at a much lower level thus the sanctum for Lord Shiva is arranged in two tiers. Further this Prakaram has the idols of Brahma, Agasthyar, Indra, Jatayu, Mahraishi Athri, Dhoomakethu, Tiruchiran, Arjuna, Rama, Anjaneya, Vibhishana, Naga Kanni, Saarama Munivar, Rathnavathi, Mounaguru Swamigal, Thayumanava Adigalar, and Sekkazhiyar in one row. The Purana says that all these deities received the blessings of Sevvanthi Nathar. The archeologists believe that these idols should have been sculpted during the period of Nayakars.

Normally the deity faces the eastern direction and this is so in this temple as well. Saarma Munivar had once kept some Sevvanthi flowers for performing Pooja for the presiding deity and it so happened the Chola king reigning during that period desired to have those flowers. Angered by this act of the king, it is believed Lord Shiva turned towards West. However, today one can see the entrance to the sanctum and the Kodi Maram (Flag Staff) in the East. Even today while the Pooja is performed for the deity, the drums and kettle are played and the Devaram sung in the Eastern side only.

There is a Nandi Temple in the Eastern side of the hill to confirm that the deity was facing East earlier. Today the Nandi Temple itself is a stand-alone temple, where the deity of Nandi is facing West in the direction where the main deity is presenting Himself in a blissful posture at the top of the hill. Before discussing on the Nandi Temple, it would be interesting to trace the connection between Tiruchira and Ramayana.

Tiruchira and Ramayana

Vibhishana, who had come to attend the coronation of Lord Rama, had the good fortune of obtaining the deity of Lord Ranganatha, who was propitiated by Rama. Vibhishana, while returning to Lanka was supposed to take the deity without placing it down or keeping it on the ground. During the return journey, since Vibhishana had to offer his evening prayers, he chose a small island located between River Cauvery and Kollidam for this purpose. Therefore he had requested a small boy nearby to hold the deity of Lord Ranganatha for some-time without keeping it down. However driven by a divine destiny, the young boy had kept the deity on the ground and that is the place, where the current Lord Ranganathaswamy Temple is located. The young boy is non other than Lord Ganesha and it is He, who is gracing us as Uchi Pillayar in Tiruchiramalai.

Tiruchiran, as described in Sevvanthi Puranam is a devotee of Lord Shiva. He used to worship the Lord in this hill with Sevvanthi flowers. Ravana had sent Khara, Dushan, Trishira to safeguard the area north of Lanka. Of this three, it was only Tiruchiran who worshipped Lord Shiva with Sevvanthi flowers and hence the deity here is called as Sevvanthi Nathar. This story is narrated in Sevvanthi Puranam. On the behest of the order of Surpanakha, who was the sister of Ravana, Tiruchiran engages himself in a battle with Lord Rama and gets vanquished by Him. This piece of information can be found in Ramyana.

temple recipt with Sri Anjaneya seal, Thayumanaswami Temple,Tirucharapalli, Tamil Nadu manu ghulandhanil iravi bhuṅghavan
madhalai dhandharuḻ dhayaradhan
manuchan aṅghavan anuchan enbhavar
dhamadhu vembhaghai dhaviravē
ghnal ilaṅghaiyil iḍhum avan
chori gharuṇai añjhanai bhālaghan
anuman enbhavan malaiyil vandhuadhil
ariya nanbhunl āḍhinān

[Anjaneya son of kind hearted Anjana Devi, had burnt the Lanka the kingdom of Ravana who was enemy of sons of Dasaratha, Rama and Lakshmana of Surya vamsa.]

Further it is said that Hanuman, who was standing as magnificent as a hill, was offering his prayers and obeisance to Lord. And when the Lord asked Hanuman as what he wanted as a boon from Him, Hanuman responded by saying that it was His desire that His symbolic seal of identity should find its place in this holy place.

This information is given in the Sevvanthi Puranam as “Bestowed as Requested” chapter (நினத்தது கொடுத்த சருக்கத்தில்). Based on this and as already mentioned the deities of Rama, Vibhishana and Anjaneya have been consecrated here in this temple. Based on this, even today, one can see the divine picture of Lord Anjaneya as a seal in the “Receipts” issued by the temple.

Nandi Temple

Google map showing Thayumanaswami Temple and Nandhi temple on line of sight,Tirucharapalli, Tamil Nadu In the Eastern side of the Thayumanavar Temple, in the foothills, a Temple Tank can be seen. Viswantha Nayakar was the royal representative of the Vijayanagar Kingdom ruled by the Madurai Nayakars those days. It was Viswanatha Nayakar, who built the Tiruchiramalai Fort and the Temple tank. In the western side of this Temple Tank is the Nandi Temple.

The Nandi was called so because of His extraordinary physical valour and immense knowledge. Probably it may be because of this reason, Ravanan also thought Anjaneya as a Nandi! The Group of Nandis are called as Nandi Gana. Being superior amongst Ganas, the Adhikara Nandi was bestowed the responsibility of safeguarding Mount Kailasa, where Lord Shiva resides. Due to this empowerment [Adhikara], he is called as Adhikara Nandi Devar.

Since Tiruchiramalai itself is cherished as Kailasa of South, Nandi has been consecrated facing eastward the Tiruchiramali. It is also appropriate that the Nandi is facing Thayumanuvur Temple atop the hill. Since he is located as protector of Kailasa of South he is known as Adhikara Nandi Devar. He stands magnificently tall with a height of 7 feet, 10 feet length and 16 feet in diameter like a huge Nandi. Behind the Nandi is a 35 feet tall Kodi Maram (Flag Staff). There is a Nandi on top of this Kodi Maram also. Following the Pooja to Nandi, pooja is also performed to the Kodi Maram. Beneath the Kodi Maram, is the sanctum of Sevvnathi Vinayakar and Veera Anjaneyar facing west.

Sri Anjaneyar, Nandhi Kovil, Tirucharapalli, Tamil Nadu If one looks at these sanctums from the Nandi Koil Street, what is seen first is the entrance to the Nandi Temple, followed by Sevvanthi Vinayakar sanctum and Anjaneyar sanctum. On closer scrutiny of the sculptural characteristics of the Anjaneyar deity, one can conclude that it should have been carved during the Nayakars period.

Shri Anjaneyar

The idol of Anjaneya is around 3 feet high. Facing North, the deity has His right feet kept in the front. He is seen wearing the anklets in both the legs. He is wearing a dhoti in the Kachha style upto his knees. The upper garment is tied around His dhoti. Both His wrists have bracelets, upper arm is adorns ‘keyuram’. The mace held by His right hand is seen resting on His right thigh. The raised left hand is holding the Sanjeevi hills. His tail is seen raised upwards with a curve and at its tip is a beautiful bell. The sacred thread and the pearl necklace add more beauty to his wide barren chest. The ears are adorned by Kundalas. His brilliant eyes reflect grace and blessings in plenty.


Location of the temple :    "Nandhi temple,Tirucharapalli, TN"


Ravana understood that Shri Anjaneya was an epitome of strength, valour, knowledge and intelligence. In-spite of that understanding he did not uphold Dharma. Let us adhere to Dharma and receive His blessings and knowledge. Let us be the recipient of Mukthi that is sanctioned by the Lord of Tiruchiramalai.


Ed: May 2023





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