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14. Arankandanallur

ங்கண்ட நல்லூர்

Location: Tirukkovilur near Tiruvannamalai
(Nadu Naadu)
Shiva: Araiani Naathar
Ambal: Soundarya Kanakambika,Azhagiya Ponnammai
Theertham: Bhima Theertham
Patikam: Sambandar
Travel Base: Tiruvannamalai
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Description: The Arankandanallur Shivastalam near Tirukkovilur  is located on top of a hill adjacent to the Pennar river. Tiruvannamalai is visible from this hill. Tirukkovilur is also the site of Tirukkovalur Veerattam and the Ulagalanda Perumaal Vaishnava Divya Desam. Sambandar's Tevaram refers to this shrine as Araiyaninallur. Temple inscriptions refer to the deity as Oppillamaneeswarar. This is the 12th of the 22 Tevara Stalams in the Nadu Naadu  region of Tamilnadu.

Legends:It is believed that the Pandavas visited Arankandanallur, and that the temple tank close to the cave in which they stayed was created with Bhima's mace. There is an imprint of Tirugnanasambandar's feet here. Sambandar is said to have miraculously moved a huge rock that had been placed to block the shrine.

The Temple: The 160 feet high Gopuram in this shrine (dating back to the 7th century) with three prakarams is visible from a distance, across the Pennar river. Rich in inscriptions, it received Royal patronage from local chieftains, the later Cholas and the later Pandyas; Such a historical monument bears a desolate appearance today with hardly any visitors.

The innermost temple consists of the sanctum with two mandapams in front , surrounded by a compound wall with a pillared raised verandah. The second prakaram houses the Utsava Mandapam and the Ambal shrine. Inscriptions from the days of Rajaraja Chola I (early 11th century) are seen here. This temple was renovated in the 13th century during the reign of Kulottunga Chola III. The Navaratri Mandapam (one of the Mandapams in front of the sanctum) dates back to the period of Kulottunga Chola I (1075-1120). The Nritta Mandapam was built during the period of Kulottunga III. The Utsava Mandapam dates back to the 14th century, and the eastern gopuram dates back to the 15th century.

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