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179. Tirunelveli


Location: Tirunelveli near Tirunelveli .
(Pandya Naadu)
Shiva: Nellaiyappar, Venuvaneswarar
Ambal: Kantimati
Vriksham: Moongil
Theertham: Tamraparani
Patikam : Sambandar
Travel Base: Tirunelveli
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Description: This Shivastalam is a  vast temple with sprawling mandapams decked with life sized images in the town of Tirunelveli. It is one of the most beautiful temples in India and is hailed as one of the 5 Pancha Sabhas of Nataraja housing  Tamra Sabha (the copper hall) - a beautiful hall with exquisite woodwork, where Natarajar is worshipped during Arudra Darisanam. The image above is that of the approach to the Tamrasabha, with the Sandana Sabhapathi shrine behind the dance hall.  This shrine  is regarded as the 14th of the Tevara Stalams in the Pandya region of Tamilnadu.

The five dance halls of Shiva are Chidambaram, Madurai, Tiruvalankadu, Tirunelveli and KutralamThe Tenkasi temple in the vicinity of Tirunelveli, Papanasam, Kutralam, Tiruchendur and Kanyakumari are some of the other tourist attractions nearby.

Legends: It is believed that food grains collected for worship at the temple were protected from the floods by a fence of grains and hence the name Nel Veli. Agasthyar & Vishnu are said to have worshipped here.

The Temple: In reality the temple is a complex of two huge temples for Nellaiappar and Kantimati linked by the Sangili Mandapam which has several life sized sculptures adorning the pillars.The Oonjal Mandapam and the 1000 pillared hall are of great beauty.There is a Nellai Govindan shrine near the sanctum. Periya Sabhapathi and Sandana Sabhapati are the other two Natarajar images enshrined here.

This temple is known for its sculptural splendor and its musical pillars. It could take days, if not hours to soak in the grandeur of this temple. An example of its several unique features is the Manimandapam near the Nandi mandapam with 2 giant pillars carved out of a single stone. Each of these has 48 small sub pillars which produce musical notes when struck. 

Festivals: Six worship services are offered each day here. The annual Bhrammotsavam is celebrated in the Tamil month of Aani for an extended period of time. Arudra Darisanam in Margazhi witnesses a lot of festivity.

For more information on Tirunelveli, please read  a Templenet Feature on Tirunelveli.

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