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266. Tiruvennainallur

திருவெண்ணெய் நல்லூர் 

Location: Tiruvennainallur near Villuppuram, Tirukkovilur
(Nadu Naadu)
Shiva: Taduttaatkonda Nathar, Kripapureeswarar
Ambal: Verkanniyammai, Mangalambika
Vriksham: Moongil
Theertham: Pennai nadhi
Patikam : Sundarar
Travel Base:Tiruvannamalai
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Description: This is a Shivastalam in Nadu Naadu known primarily for its association with the attainment of sainthood by  Sundaramoorthy Nayanar. Meikkanda Devar the author of Sivagnanabodam is said to have lived here. Tirukkovilur is located  22km west of this town. The river Pennar runs by the temple.. Tiruvennainallur is located about 20 km south west of Villuppuram. This is the 14th of the 22 Tevara Stalams in the Nadu Naadu  region of Tamilnadu.

Legends: Parvati is said to have worshipped Shiva in a fortress of butter. Shiva is said to have danced here to enunciate the details of the Natya Sastram. The Vedas in the form of bamboo are said to have worshipped Shiva, hence the name Venuvanam.

Sundarar is said to have been reminded of the purpose of his life by Shiva here, and this his where he sang his first hymn 'Pittaa Pirai Soodi'. Closeby is a village known as Puttur, (Manam tavirnda Puttur), which is believed to be the scene of the scheduled marriage of Sundaramoorthy Nayanar, which did not happen, as Shiva in the guise of an elder, is believed to have  halted the ceremony, showing proof of Sundarar's serfdom; this elder is believed to have led Sundarar and others to the temple at Tiruvenneinallur, and disappeared in to the sanctum, revealing his identity as none other than Shiva.

This ancient temple of Taduttatkonda Naathar  was renovated during the period of Uttama Chola (10th century) and the structure today is a result of later renovations. The central shrine consists of a sanctum and an arthamandapam, with niche images of Bhikshatanar, Dakshinamurthy,  Lingodbhavar, Bhrama and Durga. The Mahamandapam in front of the ardhamandapam has 24 finely carved pillars. On the southern wall of this mandapam is a beautifully carved decorative window. On the northern side of this hall in a chamber, are enclosed a fine set of bronze images of Sundarar, Paravaiyar, Sangiliyaar, Cheraman Perumaal, Manikkavacharar and others.

The frontal mukhamandapam has a shrine to Sundarar on its roof, with a vimanam over it. The entier complex of buildings is enclosed by a Tiruchutru maalikai, with a wide circumambulatory passage. In this courtyard, are shrines to Vinayakar, Subramaniyar, and Lakshmi. In the north eastern corner of the prakaram, is the vazhakkuraitta mandapam, (scene of dispute between Sundaramoorthy Nayanar, and Shiva in the guise of an elder) supported by 62 pillars (left over from possibly a 100 pillared hall). The eastern wall of the outer prakaram has a 5 tiered gopuram, which was built by a later Pallava chief Kadavarayan (circa 1181) prior to the period of Kulottunga III.

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